CAIRO – 23 August 2021: The ancient Egyptians were surrounded with crocodiles, as the environment around them was abundant with these predatory aquatic reptiles, especially for people who lived and worked near the Nile River.
How did ancient Egyptians view crocodiles?
Ancient Egyptians, according to the "history extra" website, showed much respect for crocodiles. This appears clearly in the drawings of the ancient Egyptian deity "Sobek". But they also created the phrase “crocodile tears” to describe fake crying to obtain sympathy.
But do crocodiles really cry? There's no doubt that crocodiles do cry when they spend enough time out of the water, as their eyes dry up, and crying keeps their eyes moist. Crocodiles also shed tears when attacking and eating their victims, either as a trap to lure their prey or out of emotion at their violent act.
The writings of the ancient Greek historian Plutarch show that this concept persisted through the centuries, until the Middle Ages, even in countries where crocodiles did not appear. Also, the phrase “crocodile tears” was seen in English publication in the 14th century, and in Sir John Mandeville's travels - about the adventures of a knight around the world - as mentioned in William Shakespeare's canon.
In the current era, enough is known about the anatomy of crocodiles to know that they do not scream out of emotion and do not have to set sinister traps, but cry to survive when they get too hungry.