Apis was the most important of the bull deities of Egypt and can be traced back to the beginning of the Dynastic Period. The origins of the god called by the Egyptians Hap are not entirely clear, but because his cult centre was at Memphis he was assimilated into the worship of the great Memphite god Ptah at an early date – first as the ‘herald’ or son of that god, and eventually as the living image or manifestation of the ‘glorious soul’ of Ptah himself.

In addition to its participation in special processions and other religious rituals, the animal was utilized in the delivery of oracles and was regarded as one of the most important oracular sources in Egypt. Egyptologists believe that the golden calf was a representation of the Apis bull since it was thought to be the mediator between the gods and man.


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