Settlements > Crocodilopolis


Egypt History - Egyptian Chapter Decoration


Crocodilopolis, also known as Shedet in ancient Egyptian, and later called Arsinoe, was an ancient Egyptian settlement located in the Fayyum region of Lower Egypt, southwest of Memphis. The city was renowned for its association with the crocodile god Sobek and was a significant religious center throughout various periods of Egyptian history. Here's an overview of the ancient Egyptian settlement of Crocodilopolis:

  1. Location and Importance:

    • Crocodilopolis was situated in the Fayyum Oasis, a fertile region fed by the Bahr Yusuf (Joseph's Canal), a branch of the Nile River.
    • Its strategic location made it an important center for agriculture, trade, and religious pilgrimage.
    • The city's proximity to Lake Moeris provided access to water resources for irrigation and fishing.
  2. History:

    • Crocodilopolis was established during the pharaonic periods of ancient Egypt, with evidence of human habitation dating back to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2055 BCE - 1650 BCE).
    • The city reached its peak during the Greco-Roman period (c. 332 BCE - 395 CE), when it became known as Arsinoe and served as the capital of the Arsinoite Nome.
  3. Religious Significance:

    • Crocodilopolis was dedicated to the worship of Sobek, the crocodile god associated with fertility, protection, and the Nile's annual inundation.
    • Sobek was believed to inhabit Lake Moeris and was venerated as a powerful deity who controlled the waters and safeguarded the people.
    • The city was home to the Temple of Sobek, a major religious complex where rituals, festivals, and sacrifices were conducted to honor the crocodile god.
  4. Cult of Sobek:

    • The cult of Sobek was widespread throughout Egypt, but Crocodilopolis was considered the primary center of worship for the deity.
    • Crocodiles were revered as manifestations of Sobek, and the inhabitants of the city worshipped and protected these sacred animals.
    • Crocodile mummies were buried in special necropolises near the temple, reflecting the religious significance of these creatures.
  5. Archaeological Discoveries:

    • Excavations at Crocodilopolis have uncovered remains of the Temple of Sobek, as well as residential areas, workshops, tombs, and other structures.
    • Archaeological finds include artifacts such as statues of Sobek, crocodile mummies, pottery, religious inscriptions, and offerings dedicated to the deity.
  6. Cultural and Economic Activities:

    • Crocodilopolis was a bustling city with a vibrant cultural life, economic activities, and trade networks.
    • The city's inhabitants engaged in agriculture, fishing, pottery making, weaving, and other crafts, contributing to its prosperity and cultural diversity.
  7. Decline and Abandonment:

    • Like many ancient Egyptian settlements, Crocodilopolis experienced periods of prosperity and decline over the centuries.
    • The decline of the city coincided with changes in political control, economic fluctuations, and shifts in religious beliefs.

In summary, Crocodilopolis was an ancient Egyptian settlement located in the Fayyum region of Lower Egypt, dedicated to the worship of the crocodile god Sobek. The city's religious significance, economic activities, and cultural heritage made it a prominent center in ancient Egyptian civilization, leaving behind a rich archaeological legacy that continues to be studied and explored by scholars and archaeologists.

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