Stele of Horus on crocodiles


Stele of Horus on crocodiles
Stele of Horus on crocodiles
Room VI. The Carlo Grassi Collection

The stele, owing to its decoration, belongs to the category of “Stelae of Horus on crocodiles”. On the front there is the figure of the god Horus as a boy, standing with his feet on two crocodiles depicted frontally, and holding dangerous animals in his hands, symbolising his triumph over the forces of evil.
At the top, there is often the head of the god Bes, protector of children and births, as in the specimen conserved in the Vatican.
This iconography, with the boy-god represented frontally as a plump child, was affirmed at the beginning of the Ptolemaic Age, a period during which this type of magic stele became widespread. Specifically, the head engraved on the edges of the stele and on the reverse side recount a tale of magic: Horus, mortally wounded by the sting of a scorpion, is saved by the magic formulas of his mother Isis, goddess of magic.
The thaumaturgical virtues of the object, expressed in the formulas and in the images depicted, were activated by magic, and to be cured the person affected by a scorpion sting or snakebite would have to drink the water first poured over this stele and then gathered.
The sting of the scorpion was a scourge during the Egyptian campaigns and a frequent cause of death.