ancient egypt: history and culture
Ancient Egyptian bestiary: Cobras
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Cobras

Cobra, Source: Excerpt from 'Ancient Egypt', Time-Life books
Cobra
Source: L. Casson, Ancient Egypt
Uraeus
Tutankhamen wearing a headdress with an uraeus
Source: Jon Bodsworth

 
    Cobras (Naja haje) are extremely poisonous and are thus feared and respected. They have few natural enemies, chief among them is the ichneumon, which was revered as Atem-Re and Horus.
    The Egyptian Spitting Cobra (Naja nigricollis nigricollis) has three black bands on its neck, and sprays the eyes of its intended victim with poison blinding it. Their bite causes necrosis and at times neurological dysfunction.
    The Inne's Cobra or Desert Black Snake (Walterinnesia aegyptia), not a true cobra despite its name, lives only in desert areas. Its venom is mainly neurotoxic. Bites are reported to be relatively painless, but can be lethal.     Symbolizing Lower Egypt, the head of the cobra, the uraeus was part of the red crown.
While the Cobra decks your brow,
You deliver the poor from harm.
The story of Sinuhe
M. Lichtheim, Ancient Egyptian Literature, Vol.1, p.232
    The cobra was connected to Re, Maat and Neith, who as a protective deity in the guise of a cobra would spit fire at anybody attacking her charges. Hathor was also depicted as a cobra at times.
 

 
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