Before I begin this post it's important to note that I'm going back to school August 20th to Thornwood High. Just wanted to get that out of the way.
Now I wanted to talk about something that's been on my mind lately, animal worship in the ancient world. It's amazing how in the many ways animals were worshipped especially in Egyptian reglion. I'm going ro about the different animal cults from the Ancient world.
The Apis Cult: I should start with the Egyptian cult of Apis. The most important animal cults were the bull cults which are mentioned in Egyptian writings going back to 3100 B.C. Ancient Egyptians believed that the powerful bull respented the personality of the king. It was chosen because it symbolized the courageours heart, great strength, fighting spirit and virility of the Egyptian king. The Apis cult is thw most well known of the divine bull cults. Herodotus who lived in the 5th century B.C. wrote in his book the Histories book 3, chapter 29 this about Apis
Here's the text in ancient Greek:
ὡς δὲ ἤγαγον τὸν Ἆπιν οἱ ἱρέες, ὁ Καμβύσης, οἷα ἐὼν ὑπομαργότερος, σπασάμενος τὸ ἐγχειρίδιον, θέλων τύψαι τὴν γαστέρα τοῦ Ἄπιος παίει τὸν μηρόν· γελάσας δὲ εἶπε πρὸς τοὺς ἱρέας ὦ κακαὶ κεφαλαί, τοιοῦτοι θεοὶ γίνονται, ἔναιμοί τε καὶ σαρκώδεες καὶ ἐπαΐοντες σιδηρίων; ἄξιος μέν γε Αἰγυπτίων οὗτός γε ὁ θεός, ἀτάρ τοι ὑμεῖς γε οὐ χαίροντες γέλωτα ἐμὲ θήσεσθε.» ταῦτα εἴπας ἐνετείλατο τοῖσι ταῦτα πρήσσουσι τοὺς μὲν ἱρέας ἀπομαστιγῶσαι, Αἰγυπτίων δὲ τῶν ἄλλων τὸν ἂν λάβωσι ὁρτάζοντα κτείνειν. ὁρτὴ μὲν δὴ διελέλυτο Αἰγυπτίοισι, οἱ δὲ ἱρέες ἐδικαιεῦντο, ὁ δὲ Ἆπις πεπληγμένος τὸν μηρὸν ἔφθινε ἐν τῷ ἱρῷ κατακείμενος. καὶ τὸν μὲν τελευτήσαντα ἐκ τοῦ τρώματος ἔθαψαν οἱ ἱρέες λάθρῃ Καμβύσεω
Now here's the text translated in English by George Campbell Macaulay ,an Classical scholar.
When the priests had brought Apis, Cambyses being somewhat affected with madness drew his dagger, and aiming at the belly of Apis, struck his thigh: then he laughed and said to the priests: "O ye wretched creatures, are gods born such as this, with blood and flesh, and sensible of the stroke of iron weapons? Worthy indeed of Egyptians is such a god as this. Ye however at least shall not escape without punishment for making a mock of me." Having thus spoken he ordered those whose duty it was to do such things, to scourge the priests without mercy, and to put to death any one of the other Egyptians whom they should find keeping the festival. Thus the festival of the Egyptians had been brought to an end, and the priests were being chastised, and Apis wounded by the stroke in his thigh lay dying in the temple.
Please note that Macaulay lived in the 19th century and early 20th century. There are more up to date translations of Herodotus' Histories like the translations by John Marincola's book Herodotus:The Histories (Penguin Classics) which came out in 1997 amd is available on Amazon if you want to buy it to read.
The Apis bull was at first considered to be the incarnation of the god Ptah. Later the Apis bull became known as the incarnation of Osiris, the god of the dead and father of Horus and wife of Isis in Egyptian mythology. An Apis calf could be identified by certain distinct markings: The black calf was supposed to have a whote diamond on it's forehead, an image of an eagle on its back and a scrab mark under it's tounge. Since the Apis was so sacred in Ancient Egypt, it's also obvious that it's mother called the Isis cow would be worshipped as well. Later during the Ptolemaic Period which ran from 332 B, C. to 30 B.C. a new god was made in and effort to unify the Greeks and The Egyptians. This new god was called Serapis, which combined components of the Greek gods Zeus, Asklepios, and Dionysys as well as the Egyptian deity Osiris and the Apis bull cult.
Sources for my info on the Apis Bull cult:
[Cults of the Sacred Bulls] from touregypt. com
Herodotus'Histories translation by G.C Macaulay [](a primary source) which is on sacred texts.com