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Crocodile-skin suit of armour
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When Egypt became part of the Roman empire in 31 BC, Romans came into direct contact with Egyptian culture and religion. As elsewhere in the empire, Roman soldiers were closely integrated into the civic and religious life of Egypt and participated in local cults. Around Manfault, on the banks of the River Nile in central Egypt, Roman soldiers were particularly attracted to the crocodile cult.

This imposing armour is made from the skin of a crocodile. It comprises a helmet and cuirass (body armour) and would have been used in military stile ceremonies of the regional crocodile cult. The skin was presented to the British Museum in 1846 by a Mrs Andrews, who visited Manfault and found grottoes containing the mummified remains of humans and animals, including many crocodiles. Although the cold, dry environment of the grotto preserved the suit, it has since been painstakingly remoulded by the Museum’s conservators.

Crocodile-skin suit of armour


Found near Manfault, Egypt Roman, III century AD.
Ht (helmet) 49 cm.
Gift of Mrs Andrews.



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