Apis is a Greek rendering of Hapi. As the 'Bull Apis' he's to-day the very best identified of the sacred animals. Very well-liked and honoured all through Egypt, he was tended and worshipped at Memphis, the place he was referred to as 'the Renewal of Ptah's life.’ He was Ptah's sacred animal and believed to be his reincarnation. Ptah within the type of a celestial hearth, it was taught, inseminated a virgin heifer and from her was himself born once more within the type of a black bull which the monks might recognise by sure mystic marks. On his brow there had to be a white triangle, on his again the determine of a vulture with outstretched wings, on his proper flank a crescent moon, on his tongue the picture of a scarab and, lastly, the hairs of his tail have to be double.
As lengthy as he lived Apis was daintily fed within the temple which the kings had had constructed for him in Memphis reverse the temple of Ptah. Every day at a set hour he was let unfastened within the courtyard connected to his temple, and the spectacle of his frolics attracted crowds of the religious. It additionally drew the merely curious; for a go to to the sacred animals was a terrific attraction for the vacationers who have been so quite a few in Egypt throughout the Graeco-Roman period.
Each of his actions was interpreted as foretelling the longer term; and when Germanicus died it was remembered that the bull, shortly earlier than this, had refused to eat the delicacies which Germanicus had provided him.
Normally Apis was allowed to die of outdated age. Ammianus Marcel-linus, nevertheless, tells us that if he lived past a sure age he was drowned in a fountain. During the Persian tyearanny the sacred bull was twice assassinated, by Cambyses and by Ochus. Space is missing to describe how the Egyptians mourned the loss of life of Apis, and their transports of pleasure on the announcement that his successor had been discovered. We also needs to have appreciated to describe the huge subterranean chambers found in 1850 at Saqqarah the place the mummified our bodies of the sacred bulls have been, after splendid funeral companies, buried in immense monolithic sarcophagi of sandstone or pink granite.
Above these underground galleries arose a terrific temple of which to-day nothing stays. In Latin it was referred to as the Serapeum. Here the funeral cult of the useless bull was celebrated. He had change into, like all of the useless, an 'Osiris' and was worshipped beneath the identify Osiris Apis. This in Greek was Osorapis, which induced him shortly to be confused with the international God Serapis, who was worshipped in accordance to a purely Greek ritual within the nice Serapeum at Alexandria. A God of the underworld, Serapis was confused at Memphis with Osorapis and was worshipped with Osorapis in his funerary temple. Due to this confusion the temple was thenceforth referred to as Serapeum.