Cows, milk and religion : the use of dairy produce in early societies


en Anthropozoologica 47 (2) - Pages 99-111

Published on 28 December 2012

This article is a part of the thematic issue The development and specialisation of dairying practices

This review of documentary sources, particularly from Early Mesopotamia, Egypt, India and Europe seeks to show how the range of dairy products varied in different areas and to demonstrate that in many societies, cows and dairying played an important role in early religious practice. The range of dairy products consumed also varied greatly between different societies and the use of milk did not automatically imply that dairying technology was applied to its full potential. Also, in some cultures the consumption of milk was confined to certain sections of society.


milk, cow, early religious practice.

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