Apis (deity)

Ancient Egyptian deity / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In ancient Egyptian religion, Apis or Hapis (Ancient Egyptian: ḥjpw, reconstructed as Old Egyptian */ˈħujp?w/ with unknown final vowel > Medio-Late Egyptian ˈħeʔp(?w), Coptic: ϩⲁⲡⲉ ḥapə), alternatively spelled Hapi-ankh, was a sacred bull or multiple sacred bulls[1] worshiped in the Memphis region, identified as the son of Hathor, a primary deity in the pantheon of ancient Egypt. Initially, he was assigned a significant role in her worship, being sacrificed and reborn. Later, Apis also served as an intermediary between humans and other powerful deities (originally Ptah,[1] later Osiris, then Atum).

Quick facts: Apis, Name in hieroglyphs, Major cult center,...
Statue of Apis, Thirtieth dynasty of Egypt (Louvre)
Name in hieroglyphs
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Major cult centerMemphis

The Apis bull was an important sacred animal to the ancient Egyptians. As with the other sacred beasts, Apis' importance increased over the centuries. During colonization of the conquered Egypt, Greek and Roman authors had much to say about Apis, the markings by which the black calf was recognized, the manner of his conception by a ray from heaven, his house at Memphis (with a court for his deportment), the mode of prognostication from his actions, his death, the mourning at his death, his costly burial, and the rejoicings throughout the country when a new Apis was found. Auguste Mariette's excavation of the Serapeum of Saqqara revealed the tombs of more than sixty animals, ranging from the time of Amenhotep III to the end of the Ptolemaic dynasty. Originally, each animal was buried in a separate tomb with a chapel built above it. From Ramesses II onward, bulls were interred in interconnected underground galleries.[2][3]

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