Bull cults were highly popular since the First Dynasty (Early Dynastic Period). The virile and vigorous bull was back then associated with the pharaoh, who at times took the tag “strong bull of his mother”. As early as 3100 BC the king is illustrated in the form of a bull. A sacred bull was recognized by particulate sacred markings. Once the bull had been realized as the incarnation of a god, it was lodged in plush quarters, provided only the best food, and with a harem of the best cows. The lucky animal would live in the lap of luxury until its demise when it would be buried and mortified with full glory.
In the present times, bulls are also known to be more muscular than cows, with thicker bones, a very muscular neck, bony head, and larger feet with defensive ridges over the eyes.
A bull is an uncastrated (i.e. intact) adult male of the species Bos taurus (cattle). Beefier, huskier, and hostile than the female of the species, the bull has long been a significant symbol in many cultures. A bull plays a crucial role in both beef and dairy farming, and in a number of other cultural activities. Refer to the diagram below for the imagery of bull cult.
[Image will be uploaded soon]
Mediterranean Bull Cults
Emergence and Evolution of the Bull Cult in the Ancient Mediterranean.
Gods materialize in all forms in the ancient Mediterranean. Many were humanoid (human-like), or human-created, others manifested in animal form. The bull specifically was considered an angelic animal throughout antiquity and was a symbol of the moon, fertility/potency, reincarnation, and royal power. The earliest illustrations in Paleolithic cave art and the mysterious reverence of the bull in Anatolia would persuade a variety of religious cults in antiquity. From bull jumping in Minoan Crete to the idolization of the Apis bull in Egypt, to the sacrificial depiction in Roman Mithraism, the bull had been an integral part of many diverse and crucial religious traditions.
Worship of Bull Cults
Indication of bull worship has been discovered in areas as varied as India, Africa, and Europe. The bull was the essence of cult reverence starting 15,000 years ago in the late Upper Paleolithic era. One of the exceptional depictions of the bull from the Upper Paleolithic is the cave painting at Altamira in northern Spain. The ceiling of the cave is covered with splendid paintings representing a herd of extinct bison.
Bison Painting at Altamira Cave
Even though no evidence has been found illuminating the rituals centered on the bull that occurred at Altamira, it is amazing to note that initiation ceremonies from some later enigmatic religions in Asia Minor and Greece occurred in caves. It is feasible bull worship, which started with these cave paintings and advanced over thousands of years, prompted and persuaded the roots of religious ritual to occur in caves or darkened temples.
In the Ancient Near East, the earliest evidence of a bull cult had been discovered at Çatal Hüyük around 7000 BCE in Anatolia. Bull paintings are characterized on the northern walls of temples which are like reflections of caves. There are even early depictions of bull games, particularly bull-leaping. The paintings represent young acrobats hopping over the backs of bulls. Apart from paintings, the temples also include 3-dimensional model bullheads made from plaster. Some bulls are represented as being born of the Goddess designating a link between bull and Mother Goddess worship. Actual bull skulls and horns were used to adorn the temples as well.
Plaster Bull Heads from Çatal Hüyük
The anthropomorphic (imagery) of the Goddess and the bull, along with the vulture display the religious beliefs of the denizens of Çatal Hüyük that were concentrated on death and rebirth. Paintings of vast vultures depict the practice of mummification, where bodies were left for scavenging birds to pick clean. The first stamp seals, which may have been extensively used for the purpose of body and textile decoration, were found at Çatal Hüyük. Seals bearing the image of the bull were particularly common. Traders and immigrants from Çatal Hüyük may have brought their religious practices involving the bull to other areas over the next several thousand years.
What is the Difference Between the Bull and Cow
Bulls feature fighting for domination over a herd, rendering the winner superior access to cows for reproduction. The hair is usually shorter on the body, but on the head and neck, there is commonly a "mane" of curlier, wooly hair. Bulls are generally about the same height as cows or a little taller, but with the additional bone and muscle mass, they often weigh far more.
In horned cattle, the horns of bulls are inclined to be thicker and a bit shorter than those of cows, and in many breeds, they curve outwards in a flat arc instead of upwards in a lyre shape. It is not true, as is often believed, that bulls have horns and cows do not: the existence of horns depends on the breed, or in horned breeds on whether the horns have been pruned (on contrary, in many breeds of sheep it is certainly only the males which have horns).
Castrated Bulls (Male Cattle)
Castrated male cattle look similar in appearance to those of females with respect to build and horn shape, although if granted to reach maturity they may be sizably taller than either bulls or cows, with enormously muscled shoulders (but not necks).
However, always remember that Bulls are uncastrated adult male cattle that are most commonly employed for breeding and rodeo riding. There are a variety of breeds of cattle such as Angus and Hereford, which are bred particularly for meat, and Jerseys, which are bred particularly to produce milk. Bulls are kept on ranches all through the United States.
Bulls that are raised for the motive of riding obtain excellent care. They daily get 20 pounds of alfalfa and 25 to 30 pounds of mixed grain. Every 15days, riding bulls are given a B-12 complex vitamin injection. Health reviews are carried out each time they cross state lines and they are granted to travel for at most eight hours per day. During their carriage, they stand in 6-10 inches of sawdust shavings. Bulls are treated as if they are “one of the family.”
Physical Description of Bulls
Bulls literally weigh between 1700 and 1800 pounds. They eat components that are high in alfalfa hay and proteins, known to facilitate the nutrients needed for a healthy bull. Bulls are known to have 4-compartment stomachs and consume strictly vegetation. They swallow their food whole, and then later it is disgorged into their mouths for chewing. This is what is referred to as “chewing the cud.” Their lifespan is generally 20 to 25 years.
Behavior of Bulls
All bulls are distinct and any one of them has the capacity to be hazardous. The exhibit of threat is when the bull turns sideways to the threat, displaying the gigantic profile with the back arched. This may advance to lowering the head and shaking it swiftly and then strenuously from side to side. Direct threats from bulls are lowered head, slouched shoulders, and scratching of the ground with its front feet.
Safety of Bulls
It is very essential to understand the threat posture of bulls. When cornered, it is recommended not to move too quickly, but to back off slowly away, consistently watching the bull until reaching safety. Withdrawing about 20 feet can skip off the threatening behavior. Dairy bulls specifically should never be trusted. A bull should never be managed single-handedly. It may be helpful to carry a cane, stick, handle, or baseball bat to make yourself appear larger and mightier to the bull.
How to Handle Bull?
In order to prevent the rallying of ramming and antagonistic behavior, bull calves must be stroked under their chins rather than on top of the head. This is the way the Cattles groom each other. Calves must never be played with, mocked for, teased, handled roughly, rubbed briskly in the horn area.
For the purpose of ensuring that bulls are sexually mature and able to serve, bulls require to be well grown. By the time a bull reaches the age of 14–15 months, it should have attained 50% of its mature weight. This must increase to 85% by two the time they are two years old.
To maintain the health of bulls and other cattle, make sure that bulls are given the same vaccination regime as the cows and heifers. Develop a drenching activity under the guidance of a vet as well.