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Cattle are still the primary measure of wealth for many people around the world and the male animal of the species, the bull, has been equated with kingly power and wealth in many cultures. The bull also represents divine power and strength and the association of virility and procreation in male fertility. Swift to anger, bulls are bred and prized for their temperament, particularly in the bullfighting arena. The bull is also a symbol for the ancient Greek Minoans because the wife of King Minos gave birth to a son who was half bull and half human. As punishment by the gods for loving the sacred white bull given by Poseidon to the King, the Minotaur was born. Persians, Irish, French, and other European cultures count the bull as magical and sacrificial and pay homage to its power, strength, and virility in a variety of ways on coat of arms and heraldic devices to represent kingly power.


The bull is a symbol of fertility -- particularly male fertility. In Egypt, the Apis cult worshipped the animal as an incarnation of Ptah, the creator god, who may have originally been a fertility god.


Bulls are strongly associated with kingly power. Greek mythology tells the story of Minos, a king of Crete who asked the sea god Poseidon to send him a victim for sacrifice to decide who should become king. When the god sent a bull from the sea, Minos took the throne. This bull fathered the famous Minotaur.


Bulls as sacrificial offerings date to the ancient world. Greek historian Herotodus reports how the "marked beast" is led to the altar, where a fire is lit; "they pour wine on the altar over the victim and call upon the god; then they cut its throat." The sport of bullfighting, during which one or more bulls are killed, continues this function of the bull as a sacrificial victim.