Shepherd's crook

A shepherd's crook is a long and sturdy stick with a hook at one end, often with the point flared outwards, used by a shepherd to manage and sometimes catch sheep. In addition, the crook may aid in defending against attack by predators. When traversing rough terrain, a crook is an aid to balance. Shepherds may also use the long implement to part thick undergrowth (for example at the edge of a drovers' road) when searching for lost sheep or potential predators.

A shepherd's crook

Symbolic useEdit

The crook and flail on the coffinette of Tutankhamun

The innovation of a hook facilitates the recovery of fallen animals by ensnaring them by the neck or leg. For this reason the crook has been used as a religious symbol of care (particularly in difficult circumstances), including the Christian bishop's crosier.[1]

In medicine, the term shepherd’s crook is used to describe a right coronary artery that follows an unusually high and winding route. This variant, which has a prevalence of about 5%,[2] imposes technical problems in angioplasty procedures.[3]

Thalia, Muse of comedy in Greek mythology, was usually portrayed holding a shepherd's crook.

William Blake's hand painted print for his poem "The Shepherd" depicts the idyllic scene of a shepherd watching his flock with a shepherd's crook. This image represents copy B, printed and painted in 1789 and currently held by the Library of Congress.[4]

The shepherd's crook and the flail (an agricultural tool) are insignia of pharaonic authority.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Caeremoniale Episcoporum (Vatican Polyglott Press, 1985)
  2. ^ Shriki, Jabi E.; Shinbane, Jerold S.; Rashid, Mollie A.; Hindoyan, Antereas; Withey, James G.; DeFrance, Anthony; Cunningham, Mark; Oliveira, George R.; Warren, Bill H. (2012-03-01). "Identifying, Characterizing, and Classifying Congenital Anomalies of the Coronary Arteries". RadioGraphics. 32 (2): 453–468. doi:10.1148/rg.322115097. ISSN 0271-5333. PMID 22411942.
  3. ^ Gossman, David E.; Tuzcu, E. Murat; Simpfendorfer, Conrad; Beck, Gerald J. (1988-01-01). "Percutaneous transluminal angioplasty for shepherd's crook right coronary artery stenosis". Catheterization and Cardiovascular Diagnosis. 15 (3): 189–191. doi:10.1002/ccd.1810150313. ISSN 1097-0304.
  4. ^ Morris Eaves; Robert N. Essick; Joseph Viscomi (eds.). "Songs of Innocence, copy B, object 4 (Bentley 5, Erdman 5, Keynes 5) "The Shepherd"". William Blake Archive. Retrieved January 17, 2014.