A living sacred bull worshiped at and around Hermonthis, the cult of Buchis is comparable to that of the Apis bull. The Buchis bull delivered oracles as did the Apis bull, but also participated in fights with other bulls, reflecting his association with the warrior God Montu. The criteria for selecting a bull to be Buchis do not seem to have been so tightly circumscribed as those for selecting the Apis bull, but he was said to be a bull with a white body and black face. Macrobius, in his Saturnalia (I. 21. 20-1), compares the Buchis bull to the sun, saying that, like the sun, his color seems to change from hour to hour, and that his hair grows in the opposite direction to that of ordinary bulls, just as the sun’s motion in the heavens is opposite to that of the stars. Underscoring these solar associations, the name Buchis was sometimes interpreted in Egyptian as bakhu, ‘the Eastern one’ (the rising sun), as well as ba-akh, ‘shining (or beneficent) soul (or manifestation)’. The name was also sometimes read as ba-hr-khat, ‘the soul (or manifestation) in the body’. Four bull-headed statues of Montu were found at Medamud representing Montu as incarnate in the Buchis bull, conceived as ideally present simultaneously at the four cities of Thebes, Armant, Medamud and Tod and constituting the magical defense of Thebes; the quadripartite Montu/Buchis also embodied the four male members of the primordial Hermopolitan Ogdoad, of whom the inscriptions say “They are united in effigy in their form of a bull,” (Drioton 1931-2, 266).

Drioton, E. 1931-2. “Les quatre Montou de Medamoud: Palladium de Thèbes.” Chronique d’Égypte 6-7.
Mond, Robert and Myers, Oliver. 1934. The Bucheum. 3 vols. London: Egypt Exploration Society.

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2 Responses to “Buchis”

  1. […] incarnate bull deities include Mnevis, worshiped in Heliopolis, and Buchis, worshiped in Hermonthis, who was associated with Montu. It’s interesting that all three bull […]

  2. Many native tribes across North America honor the White Buffalo, whose sacredness is found not only in being born with white fur, but its color changing as it matures, to yellow, red, brown, and or black. This is a parallel with (but certainly not the same as) the ancient Egyptian significance of special coloration of Buchis and Apis bulls.

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