By Hannah Velten
If you are attracted to the background and evolution of the bovine race, this is often your booklet!
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Extra resources for Cow (Reaktion Books - Animal)
40 During the festival, the devotees or maenads (‘frenzied ones’) would congregate at night in a secluded area and drink wine, dance, scream, shout and take part in orgies. The climax of the event would be the introduction of a young live bull to the proceedings, which the maenads would tear apart with their bare hands and teeth. By eating the sacriﬁcial bull, the devotees could obtain mystical union with the god, which would bring them renewed life, fertility and increased strength. The ritual of sacriﬁce was not unique to Crete, as it was also practiced by the Sumerians, Egyptians and the peoples of the Levant.
It is an image associated with Heracles and Theseus subduing the Cretan Bull. The man, on foot, grasps the bull by the muzzle and by the horns, twists its head around and tries to throw it to the ground. This feat was replicated by cowboys in the Wild West shows of 1880s America; jumping from their horses on to the bull’s back. In today’s rodeo, the spectacle has been turned into an event known as bull- or steer-dogging. The other bull-related event from the early days of rodeo is bull-riding, which ﬁnally 50 Matt Morgan, ‘Cowboy Life Riding a Yearling’, 1888, wood engraving (from a photograph by C.
In legend it was Enlil and Ninlil, the cow or Mother goddess, whose marital union caused the rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates to rise and flood the land, giving fertility to the soil. Enlil was praised as the 31 Gilgamesh (left) and Enkidu (right) fighting the Bull of Heaven and another beast; cylinder-seal impression, c. 2340–2150 bc. ‘Overpowering Ox’ and was the father of Nannar, the moon-god who was also depicted as a bull, with particular emphasis on his horns. The association of the crescent-shaped horns of the bull and the waxing and waning of the moon was a powerful symbol of regeneration and rebirth.