‘If a crocodile has sex with her…’: Animals between magic, religion, and divination in Graeco-Roman Egypt
Animals played a huge role not only in the practical daily life of the ancient Egyptians, but also in their intellectual and spiritual life, especially in the Graeco-Roman Period. Sacred animals typically carried personal names (very much like our pets), that archaeological excavations revealed the existence of animal nurseries in Egyptian temples where, for instance, thousands of crocodile eggs were looked after to hatch, and many more such intriguing facts.
We know of numerous Graeco-Roman papyri that discuss omens connected with animals. Some are dream interpretation handbooks, and discuss the meaning of dreams in which animals appear, explaining what this foretells with regard to the dreamer’s future. Others, such as ‘The Book of the Gecko’ focus on animal omens experienced in the waking state, interpreting a myriad of animals’ movements and behaviour as signs of events to befall the human observer.
This talk will introduce the audience into this fascinating and little-known material.
Dr Luigi Prada is Lady Wallis Budge Junior Research Fellow in Egyptology at the University of Oxford and a Trustee of the Egypt Exploration Society
Tickets can be booked here.