Birch, Samuel   [Hrsg.]
Catalogue of the collection of Egyptian antiquities at Alnwick Castle — London, 1880

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Secondary to the worship of the gods was that of the sacred animals, which
seems to have comprised all the principal animals of Egypt, a few reptiles,
and one or two insects. All animals, in fact, were either sacred or profane
according to their local distribution, certain animals being consecrated to the
deities of the site, name, or district. The origin of this worship is unknown,
but it is referred to the age of the second dynasty, one of whose monarchs is
said to have introduced it into Egypt. Some light indeed is thrown upon the
obscurity of the reason of animal worship by the discoveries of the Serapeum,
which call the bull Apis, the avatar, the second or repeated life of the god
Ptah, the local deity of Memphis, and that he was a kind of incarnation of
that demiurgos. The same principle may have applied to the other sacred
animals, who were supposed to contain the soul or portion of the efflatus of the
different deities they represented. Mystically, physical ideas were also connected
with these animals, which, although not proved by observation, attributed to
them certain powers analogous to the acts of the deity and the operations
of nature, or made them predict the future or act in accordance with the
solar, lunar, and terrestrial phenomena. They were also oracular, and as such
their actions were taken as prognostics by. those who consulted the Egyptian
shrines. The sacred animals lived either in the courts of the temples, or
were in the adytum, and the care of them was confided to certain prophets or
priests. They also had a special support derived from lands or other revenues
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