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The sacred bull, held in high reverence by the Egyptians as possessing Divine powers, especially the gift of prophecy. As it was deemed essential the animal should be peculiarly marked by nature, much difficulty was experienced in procuring it. The bull was required to be black, with a white triangle on its forehead, a white crescent on its side, and a knotted growth, like a scarabaeus or sacred beetle, under the tongue. Such an animal being found, it was fed for four months in a building facing the East. At new moon it was embarked on a special vessel, prepared with exquisite care, and with solemn ceremony conveyed to Heliopolis, where for forty days it was fed by priests and women. In its sanctified condition it was taken to Memphis and housed in a temple with two chapels and a court wherein to exercise. The omen was good or evil in accordance with which chapel it entered from the court. At the age of twenty-five years it was led to its death, amid great mourning and lamentations. The bull or apis was an important religious factor in the Isian worship, and was continued as a creature of reverence during the Roman domination of Egypt.

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