Bull or Taurus is the provisional name for a predynastic ruler, the existence of whom is highly controversial. He is considered a ruler of the late pottery neolithic Naqada III culture of southern Egypt.

If "Bull" actually represents a ruler's name, it is mainly known from ivory tablets from the Abydos tomb U-j of Umm El Qa'ab and from a rock carving on the Gebel Tjauti mountain.


Egyptologist Günter Dreyer deduced the existence of King "Taurus" from incisions on a statue of the god Min, which he interpreted as rulings. He suspected that the grave goods, which were intended for King Scorpion I, came from the state domain goods of King "Taurus" and thus the bull symbol originated from the name of the latter.[1][2]

Further confirmation of the existence of this ruler is the interpretation of a rock drawing discovered in 2003 on the Gebel Tjauti in the desert west of Thebes. It apparently represents a successful campaign by King Scorpion I against King Taurus. This battle was possibly part of the concentration of power in late prehistoric Egypt: Scorpion I, operating from Thinis, conquered Taurus' realm in the Naqada area.[2][3]


However, since the bull sign is never accompanied by a horus falcon or a gold rosette – indicators of rulers in the pre-dynastic period – some researchers doubt that it refers to a king. For example, the writing expert Ludwig David Morenz and the Egyptologist Jochem Kahl point out that Egyptian hieroglyphic writing was still in the early stages of development during the pre-dynastic period and that it was extremely unsafe to assign individual pictorial symbols. The reason for this is the fact that in this early writing development phase no fixed determinatives for "locality", "nomes" and "region" existed. A representation of a bull could represent the king as an attacking force, but it could also be part of a name for a certain place or district (e.g. for the mountain bull district). There were also depictions of bulls in connection with the archaic ceremony "Catching the wild bull" as a pre-form for the later Apis run. A bull representation therefore does not necessarily confirm a king's name.[2][4]


  1. ^ Günter Dreyer: Umm el-Qaab I .: the predynastic royal tomb U-j and its early documents (= Umm el-Qaab, 1st volume). von Zabern, Mainz 1998, ISBN 3-8053-2486-3., pp. 87 & 176.
  2. ^ a b c Ludwig David Morenz: picture letters and symbolic signs. The development of the writing of the high culture of ancient Egypt (= Orbis Biblicus et Orientalis 205). Friborg 2004, ISBN 3-7278-1486-1., pp. 130–134, 172, 190–193.
  3. ^ Gregory Phillip Gilbert: Weapons, warriors and warfare in early Egypt. 2004, (= BAR international series. Volume 1208). Archaeopress, 2004, ISBN 1-84171-571-9. pp. 93 & 94.
  4. ^ Wolfgang Helck: Studies on the Thinite period (= Egyptological treatises. (ÄA) Vol. 45). Harrassowitz, Wiesbaden 1987, ISBN 3-447-02677-4, (restricted online version), pp. 147 & 153.