The Ancient Bull

The Wild Bull

In Mesopotamia, bulls were long venerated as symbols of majestic strength and potency. Savage wild bulls, called aurochs, once roamed the region, some weighing up to 3000 pounds, and colossal stone images of these beasts were set up to guard the entrances to the temples and palaces of Babylonia. In later years, the Assyrians adopted the bull-god as their guardian, often adding wings and a human face. When the Israelites reached the Promised Land in the 13th century B.C., the bull cult was already ancient there. Canaanite temples were sometimes built with images of bronze bulls in their foundations. It was perhaps for this reason that the Israelites in moments of doubt were tempted by bull cults. Young bulls were favored sacrificial animals, and bovine images appeared in shrines.

Note: Julius Caesar wrote about aurochs in Gallic War Chapter 6.28, "...those animals which are called uri. These are a little below the elephant in size, and of the appearance, color, and shape of a bull. Their strength and speed are extraordinary; they spare neither man nor wild beast which they have espied. These the Germans take with much pains in pits and kill them. The young men harden themselves with this exercise, and practice themselves in this sort of hunting, and those who have slain the greatest number of them, having produced the horns in public, to serve as evidence, receive great praise. But not even when taken very young can they be rendered familiar to men and tamed. The size, shape, and appearance of their horns differ much from the horns of our oxen. These they anxiously seek after, and bind at the tips with silver, and use as cups at their most sumptuous entertainments." Read More..