Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Apis, the sacred bull of Egypt, the seat of whose worship was at Memphis. This deity was not a mere abstraction, but took concrete form as a black bull bearing a white square on the brow, the figure of an eagle on the flank, and a scarabaeus under the tongue. After twenty-five years the animal was solemnly drowned in the Nile, and embalmed, and a period of mourning ensued till a properly-marked successor was found. It is said that Osiris took the shape of a bull and was harnessed to the plough. Probably the cult may have originated in the primitive rites of an agricultural people, and possibly there may be some connection between the Egyptian and the Brahminical veneration for the bovine species. The Golden Calf of the Israelites was undoubtedly a reminiscence of Egyptian customs.