Skip to Main Content

Breadcrumb

Social Plugins

Apis Bull TitleThe divine bull
Strong bull
Cult CenterMemphis
GenderMale
Patron - Dominionfertility
Dedicated ShrinesSerapeum
Appearancea black bull, between his horns, a sun disk and an Uraeus snake
Greek equivalentThe semi-god Epaphus, a son of Zeus and his lover Io, who had been transformed into a cow.
Cult- Apis was the most important of all the sacred animals in Egypt, and, as with the others, its importance increased as time went on
- Apis was a god originally associated with fertility, known into the Early Dynastic Period, and later connected with the god Ptah.
- Apis also was considered to be a symbol of the Pharaoh, embodying the qualities of kingship, courageous heart, great strength, virility, and fighting spirit.
- The Apis bulls were a succession of individual animals carefully selected by priests and had the role of serving as a physical manifestation of Ptah, whose principal sanctuary was at Memphis.
- The bull was chosen for its markings and for its divine birth. According to the Greek historian Herodotus, the Apis was conceived from a bolt of lightening and it should be black in color with a white diamond on the forehead, the image of a vulture on its back, double hairs on its legs and a scarab -shaped mark under its tongue. Paintings on coffins of the Late Kingdom show the Apis as pied rather than black, which may have made such an animal easier to find. Its mother was revered as a manifestation of the goddess Isis.
- At the death of each Apis, the animal was embalmed on the huge stone tables at Memphis and buried in the Serapeum catacombs with great ceremony.
- The died bull had become identical to the god of the Underworld Osiris. Therefore, he was known as Osiris-Apis. During the Ptolemaic Period, Osirapis or Serapis became the most important god of Egypt, but was depicted as a man not a bull

Top of Page

By Ayman Fadl - Copyright © 2001-2014