Significance of the Egyptian Crocodile on the Roman Imperial Coinage

Document Type : Original Research Articles



No other creature in ancient Egypt was perhaps as feared, revered and frequently depicted as the crocodile. It was one of the first animals to be early portrayed. It also appeared in ancient texts from the Old Kingdom onwards to symbolize the conflict between good and evil. It was mainly worshipped as Sobek, regarded as both a protector and a demon. This is because there were two types of crocodiles, represented in arts, both lived in Egypt. The Crocodylus Suchus and Crocodylus Niloticus. One of them was considered totally sacred, yet the other one was hated and even eaten by others. The Ptolemaic kings paid great attention to the crocodile cult, for the Romans it was the regular symbol of Egypt and its fertile Nile, especially on coins. This study analyzes some selected coins to assess the various representations of the Egyptian crocodile on coins produced during the Roman Imperial. The findings of the research analysis will highlight the significance of the crocodile as a subject sometimes appeared in the field of numismatic studies, to make it possible to answer some questions concerning interpretations and issues related to its various representations on the Roman coinage.


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