The Power of the Bull
Everyone has heard of the Minotaur in the labyrinth on Crete and many know that the Greek gods would adopt the guise of a bull to seduce mortal women. But what lies behind these legends?
The Power of the Bull discusses mankind's enduring obsession with bulls. The bull is an almost universal symbol throughout Indo-European cultures. Bull cults proliferated in the Middle East and in many parts of North Africa, and one cult, Mithraism, was the greatest rival to Christianity in the Roman Empire. The Cults are divergent yet have certain core elements in common.
Michael Rice argues that the ancient bulls were the supreme sacrificial animal. An examination of evidence from earliest prehistory onwards reveals the bull to be a symbol of political authority, sexual potency, economic wealth and vast subterranean powers. In some areas representations of the bull have varied little from earliest times, in others it has changed vastly over centuries. This volume provides a well-illustrated and accessible analysis of the exceptionally rich artistic inheritance associated with the bull.
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The Bullcult in the Ancient World
The Nature of the Cult
The Mind of Man
The Bull as Sacrificial Victim
THE REALM OF THE BULL
Settlement Domestication and Urbanization
Catal Hiiyiik and the Bull in Anatolia
The Bull in Mesopotamia
Arabia and the Islands of the Bulls
Crete and the Bullgames
The Bull and Europa
The Bull in Cyprus
The Bull and the Boys
The Bull in Splendour and in Shame
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Aegean altar amongst Anatolia Anemospilia animals antiquity appears Arabian Gulf archaeological archetype architecture Artemis associated aurochs Bahrain boys bucranium bull-cult bull-games bull-headed bull-leaping bull-men bull's Catal Hiiyiik cattle caves centre ceremonies constellation context creatures Cretan Crete cult cultures Cyprus depicted Dilmun Dionysos divinity domestication earlier earliest early East Egypt Egyptian Elamite Enkidu Epic of Gilgamesh especially Europe evidence example excavated Failaka Failaka island Figure fourth millennium frequently Gilgamesh goddess gods Greece Greek Gulf seals herds Hierakonpolis horns human hunters hunting Ibid identified important influences island killing king Kjaerum Knossos lands late later Mediterranean Mellaart Mesopotamia millennia millennium BC Minoan Minotaur Mithra myth Neolithic paintings particular perhaps period probably region representations represented ritual sacred sacrifice sacrificed Saqqara scenes second millennium seems settlements shown shrine societies sometimes south-western suggest Sumer Sumerian survival symbol temple third millennium tombs Upper Palaeolithic walls wild bull Zagreus Zeus
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