Domestic sheep

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A flock of sheep
A flock of sheep

Sheep are often associated with obedience due to the widespread perception that they lack intelligence and their undoubted herd mentality, hence the pejorative connotation of the adjective 'ovine'. In George Orwell's satirical novel Animal Farm, sheep are used to represent the ignorant and uneducated masses of revolutionary Russia. The sheep are unable to be taught the subtleties of revolutionary ideology and can only be taught repetitive slogans such as "Four legs good, two legs bad" which they bleat in unison at rallies. The rock group Pink Floyd wrote a song using sheep as a symbol for ordinary people, that is, everyone who isn't a pig or dog.
People who accept overbearing governments have been pejoratively referred to as "sheeple".

Sheep have had associations with many cultures. A wide symbology relates to sheep in ancient art, traditions and culture. Judaism uses many sheep references including the Passover lamb. Christianity uses sheep-related images, such as: Christ as the good shepherd, or as the sacrificed Lamb of God;
the bishop's Pastoral; . Greek Easter celebrations traditionally feature a meal of Paschal lamb.
Sheep also have considerable importance in Arab culture; Eid ul-Adha is a major annual festival in Islam in which a sheep is sacrificed.

Domestication

Evidence of early domesticated sheep have been found in PPNB Jericho and Zawi Chemi Shanidar. The fleece-bearing sheep are only found since the Bronze Age.
Some breeds of sheep exhibit a strong flocking behaviour. Flocking behaviour is advantageous to non-predatory animals; the strongest animals fight their way to the center of the flock which offers them great protection from predators.

 

 

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