book cover
Download Sample PDF

H 290 x W 205 mm

242 pages

33 figures, 23 tables (5 pages of colour)

Published Oct 2021

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781789698213

Digital: 9781789698220

Recommend to a librarian

Egyptian Animal Worship; Egyptian Religion; Religious Practice; Sacred Animals

Related titles

Archaeopress Egyptology 36

Religious Practice and Cultural Construction of Animal Worship in Egypt from the Early Dynastic to the New Kingdom

Ritual Forms, Material Display, Historical Development

By Angelo Colonna

Includes PDF

PDF eBook
(personal use)

PDF eBook
(institutional use)

Add to basket

Add to wishlist

This study presents an articulated historical interpretation of Egyptian ‘animal worship’ from the Early Dynastic to the New Kingdom, and offers a new understanding of its chronological development through a fresh review of pertinent archaeological and textual data.



Preface and Acknowledgements ;

1. Introducing Animal Worship ;
Animal worship and ancient Egyptian religion: articulation of the problem ;
Thesis, goals, and limitations of the present study ;
History of research and status quaestionis ;
Theory and methodology ;

Presenting the Evidence ;

2. The Early Dynastic ;
Royal evidence ;
Titles and personal names ;
The Classical tradition ;
Summary ;

3. The Old Kingdom ;
Royal and temple evidence ;
Private inscriptions: titles and biographies ;
Personal names ;
Funerary domains ;
Pyramid Texts ;
Architectural evidence ;
Summary ;

4. From the First Intermediate Period to the Middle Kingdom ;
Titles ;
Private inscriptions ;
Personal names ;
Coffin Texts ;
Summary ;

5. The New Kingdom ;
The Apis bull at Memphis ;
The Mnevis bull at Heliopolis ;
The ‘Fish-stelae’ from Mendes ;
The fish necropolis at Gurob ;
The ‘Salakhana Trove’ at Asyut ;
Bulls in the Theban region ;
The ‘Crocodile-stelae’ from Sumenu ;
The inscribed jar fragment Munich Ä 1383 ;

Synthesis and Reconstruction ;

6. Modelling Animal Worship ;
Introduction: etic and emic ;
The etic perspective: single and multiple animals ;
The emic perspective: Egyptian concepts and modes of predication ;
The sacralisation of the animals: a ritual and semantic process ;
Reconfiguring ‘animal worship’: practice, display, history ;
Conclusions ;

Bibliography ;


About the Author

Angelo Colonna is Research Fellow in Egyptology at Sapienza University of Rome, where he graduated in 2010 and completed his PhD in 2014. In 2017 he was Academic Visitor at the Oriental Institute – Oxford University. His research on animal worship has been awarded by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (2016) and the Istituto Italiano per la Storia Antica (2017).


'...Colonna has provided readers with an authoritative compilation of data pertaining to animals in cult practice from the Early Dynastic through the New Kingdom and, given the limited nature of the evidence, has made a heroic effort to explore the role(s) of animals in the cults of the ancient Egyptians.' – Salima Ikram (2023): Current World Archaeology 112