The Striding Apis Bull
The Apis Bull originated in Memphis, cult of Serapis during the reign of
Ptolemy I. Serapis was the god whose association with Osiris, the god of the dead, formed the name Asar-Hapi. Asar is the Egyptian name of Osiris and Hapi was the name given to the Apis Bull which was the object of worship at Memphis. The Greeks combined the two together to form Zaparrus. Even though it is not quite clear, it is certain that Serapis is the shape Apis took after death. “Apis is called the “life of Osiris, the lord of heaven, tem (with) his horns (in) his head .”He is said to give life, strength, and health to thy nostrils forever.” At the beginning of the new Empire Osiris and Apis are united by priests of Memphis to represent a funeral character which, at the time, was considered a god of the underworld. This character that was considered to be the god of the underworld was the Apis Bull.
There are several different Egyptian myths about the “Apis Bull”. However, the most common myths of the Apis Bull are alike. “In one myth Apis assisted Isis, Osiris’s wife, in searching for the body of Osiris. It was believed by the ancient Egyptians that the bull’s fecundity and generative powers could be transformed to the deceased, ensuring him or her rebirth in the next life.”
In another Egyptian myth it was said that an Apis Bull was born of a virgin cow that was impregnated by Ptah. “The Bull could be recognized by a peculiar white mark on his neck, a rump that resembled the wings of a hawk, and a scarab like hump under his tongue. He had to have twenty-nine marks; the most important being a rich black coat intermingled with white patterns, and a triangle blaze on his forehead. Once the he was chosen he was brought to Memphis where he was enthroned in his own palace located south of the temple Ptah. Everyday he was let free to roam in the courtyard of the temple for devotees to observe.
They believed that the bull’s movements could fortell the future. The Apis Bulls birthday was celebrated with a festival, and on his twenty-fifth birth year he was killed. Devotees drowned, mummified, and entombed the mummy in the Serapeum.” The Serpeum was an underground chamber in the temple. It is also known as Saqqar Necropolis. “Here he is mourned for seventy days.” This ritualistic killing was probably very symbolic of the...