The Egyptian god Anubis of mummification as well as the life after death, and the patron god of the abandoned and powerless. He is one of Egypt’s earliest gods, descended from the earlier (and much older) jackal god Wepwawet, with whom he is frequently mistaken as the dog Anubis
Anubis’ picture can be found on royal tombs from Egypt’s First Kingdom (c. 3150-2890 BCE); however, it is likely that he had a cult following previous to this time in order to be summoned on the tomb’s walls for protection. He is considered to have evolved in response to wild dogs and jackals digging up newly buried corpses during Egypt’s Predynastic Period (c. 6000-3150 BCE); Also, the Egyptians believed that a powerful canine god would provide the best security against wild and uncontrolled canines.
Anubis God Depiction and Color
He’s shown as a black dog, a jackal-dog hybrid with pointed ears, or a powerful man with a jackal’s skull. Black was chosen for its symbolic value more than because Egyptian canines and jackals were black. The color black represented both the death of the body and the lush soil of the Nile River Valley, which symbolizes renewal and vitality. The mighty black canine was then the protector of the deceased; ensuring that they were properly buried and standing by them in the afterlife to aid their resurrection.
Prior to his rise to power in the Middle Kingdom (2040-1782 BCE), Osiris was regarded as “First of the Westerners,”; meaning that he was the king of the dead; the name “westerners” was the Egyptian title for souls of the dead in the hereafter who faced westward, toward sunset. He was connected with perpetual justice in this function, and this relationship persisted even after he was superseded by Osiris, who was granted the honorable name of “First of the Westerners.”
Anubis Family Tree
The Egyptian god Anubis dog was first thought to be the son of Ra and Hesat (connected with Hathor); but after his incorporation into the Osiris myth, he became the son of Osiris and his sister-in-law Nephthys. He is the first Egyptian deity depicted on tomb walls and invoked for the protection of the dead; he was usually depicted tending to the king’s corpse, presiding over mummification rituals and funerals; Similarly, he was standing with Osiris, Thoth, or other Egyptian gods in the afterlife’s Weighing of the Heart of the Soul in the Hall of Truth.
The standing or kneeling man with the jackal’s head carrying the golden scales on which the heart of the soul was weighed against the white feather of truth is a common picture of Anubis God. His daughter, Qebhet (also known as Kabechet), soothes the newly deceased and brings refreshing water to the departed souls in the Hall of Truth. The fact that the Egyptian god Anubis is linked to Nephthys (also known as “Friend of the Dead”) and Qebhet underscores his long-standing position as a guardian of the dead and a shepherd for souls in the hereafter is what is he famed for.
God Anubis Name and Role in Religion
The title “Anubis” is derived from the Greek form of the Egyptian Anpu (or Inpu), which meant “to decay,” implying his early ties to death. He was also called “Lord of the Sacred Land”; (referring to the area of the desert where necropolis was located);
“He Who is Upon His Sacred Mountain” (referring to the heights around a certain necropolis where wild dogs and jackals would congregate);
“Ruler of the Nine Bows which hints toward Egypt’s nine captives, traditional enemies, who bows in front of the Egyptian king.”;
“The Dog Who Swallows Millions” (simply referring to his role as a god of death and taking souls),;
“Master of Secrets” (since he knew what awaited him beyond death),
“He Who is in the Place of Embalming” (indicating his role in the mummification process),
“Foremost of the Divine Booth” (indicating his presence in the embalming booth and burial chamber),
“Foremost of the Divine Booth” (indicating his inclusion in the mummification process.
Importance of Anubis
The Egyptian god Anubis was important to every element of an individual’s death experience in the role of guardian and even stood with the soul beyond death as a just judge and guide, as his different epithets make apparent. “Anubis assisted to judge the dead; he and his army of messengers were responsible for punishing people who damaged tombs or insulted the Egyptian gods,” writes scholar Geraldine Pinch (104). He was particularly concerned with the tendencies of people who attempted to spread chaos or allied themselves with anarchy. Pinch explains:
According to a tale from the first millennium BCE, the evil god Set disguised himself as a leopard to approach Osiris’ body. The dog Anubis seized him and branded him with a hot iron all over his body. This is how the leopard received its spots, according to Egyptian legend. Seth was then flayed by Anubis God, and his crimson skin was worn as a warning to evildoers. God Anubis was thought to command an army of demon messengers who caused agony and death throughout this time period.
History of the Egyptian God Anubis
It’s no surprise that Anubis is one of the oldest gods in ancient Egyptian mythology, given his significance. He was credited with developing the method of mummification and teaching it to the Egyptians. Anubis dog is supposed to have been born during the Predynastic period when Egyptian civilization was still in its infancy.
Many archaeologists believe that the god Anubis was inspired by jackals who dug up bodies that had been buried too shallowly. According to one idea, a canine god was summoned in order to exert cosmic control over these canine scavengers. What we do know is that during Egypt’s First Dynasty, when Anubis appeared on royal tombs, he was already well-known.
Anubis VS Osiris
Despite the rise and fall of other religious cults, the Anubis dog remained one of Egypt’s most famous and powerful deities for centuries. This necessitated some time-consuming rethinking of his stories and origins. The Egyptian god Anubis was originally thought to be the son of Ra and Hesat. However, in the Middle Kingdom, a new god of the dead named Osiris became extremely popular. During this time, Anubis was reimagined as Osiris’ son. Anubis’ popularity grew as a result of this move, which puts him at the dominant wrist of one of Egypt’s most prominent gods.
Anubis god was the solitary Lord of the Dead and righteous judge of the soul during the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3150-2613 BCE) and Old Kingdom (c. 2613-2181 BCE), but as the Osiris myth grew in popularity, the latter god adopted more of Anubis’ qualities. Nevertheless, the dog Anubis had long been a popular god, and he was absorbed into the Osiris myth by erasing his earlier parentage and background and recasting him as the son of Osiris and Nephthys, the product of their relationship.
Who is Anubis’s dog Mother?
According to legend, Nephthys (Set’s wife) was drawn to Osiris (Seth’s brother) by his beauty and turned herself into Isis (Osiris’ wife). Osiris had an affair with Nephthys, and she became pregnant with Anubis; but she abandoned him soon after his birth for fear of Seth discovering the affair. When Isis know about the affair, she went on the hunt for the baby and adopted him; Set was also made aware of the situation, and this is cited as one of the reasons for his assassination of Osiris.
Anubis god was frequently shown as Osiris’ bodyguard and “right-hand man” after his incorporation into the Osiris myth, guarding the god’s body after death, overseeing mummification, and assisting Osiris in the judgment of the dead souls. The Egyptian god Anubis was frequently invoked for safety and retribution (as evidenced by amulets, tomb paintings, and written writings), particularly as a strong ally in imposing curses cast on others or protecting oneself from such spells.
Despite the fact that the god Anubis is well-represented in Egyptian art throughout history, he does not appear in many mythologies. Prior to his incorporation into the Osiris myth, his role as Lord of the Dead was static, as he merely fulfilled a single somber job that did not lend itself to elaboration. He appears to have been too busy as the protector of the dead, who developed mummification and hence the preservation of the human body, to be involved in the kinds of stories related to the other Egyptian gods. Geraldine Pinch tells a story about Anubis that is similar to the one she tells above.
Worship of Anubis as a God
Anubis priests were all male and performed rituals while wearing wooden masks of the god. The god’s cult center was in Upper Egypt, at Cynopolis (“the city of the dog”); but there were shrines to him all around the kingdom, and he was generally revered. Richard H. Wilkinson, a scholar, notes:
The chapel of Anubis god in the temple of Hatshepsut at Deir el-Bahri may have provided a continuation to a previous shrine of the deity in the region; It is an outstanding illustration of the god’s continued relevance even after his integration into Osiris’ worship. Because he was said to have geared up Osiris’ mummy, Anubis has become the king of the gods of mummification.
Cult of Anubis
An area associated with embalmers in the Memphis necropolis seems to have become something of a central focus for the cult of the Egyptian god Anubis in the Late Period and Ptolemaic occasions and has been dubbed ‘the Anubeion’ by contemporary Egyptologists. Priests portraying Anubis at the preparation of the mummy and the burial rites may have worn these jackal-headed masks to imitate the deity; undoubtedly, they were used for processional purposes since this is represented representationally and described in late writings. Anubis’ centrality in Egyptian religion is evidenced by the numerous two- and three-dimensional images of the god that have recovered from burial settings, as well as its charms of the god.
Anubis cult during Ancient Egyptian times
Anubis (Inpew, Yinepu, Anpu) was a deity of the underworld in ancient Egypt who directed and safeguarded the spirits of the deceased. He was known as the ‘Lord of the Hallowed Land’ (the necropolis); Also Khenty Amentiu, the ‘Foremost of the Westerners’ (the Land of the Dead was considered to be to the west, where Egyptians buried their dead). (A former canine deity, Khenty Amentiu, was dethroned by Anubis dog.) The Egyptian god Anubis was worshipped for a long time, maybe even longer than Osiris was worshipped. His position in the pyramid texts of Unas was indeed obvious – he was associated with the Eye of Horus and was supposed to be the afterlife guide who showed the dead the road to Osiris. “Unas standeth with the Spirits, fetch thee onwards, Anubis, into Amenti, onwards, onwards to Osiris,” the inscription says.
Anubis Cult after Ancient Egyptians
Even though he’s not mentioned in many tales, his fame was enormous; like many Egyptian gods, he lasted into later eras by associating with gods from other nations. According to the Egyptologist Salima Ikram, [Anubis] became identified with Charon in the Graeco-Roman period and St. Christopher in the early Christian period; The Greeks connected him with their deity Hermes, who led the dead to the afterlife. Instead of being merely a jackal or a dog, Anubis is most likely shown as a super-canid, integrating the best features of several different forms of canids.
This “super-canid” promised individuals that their bodies would be honored after death, that their souls would be safeguarded in the hereafter, and that their lives would be judged fairly. These are the same certainties that people want today; so it’s simple to see why the Egyptian god Anubis is such a popular and long-lasting god. His likeness is one of the most identifiable of all Egyptian gods; Also, copies of his statues and tomb paintings are still prevalent today, particularly among dog owners.
He was usually portrayed as a black jackal-headed guy or a black jackal. The Egyptians would have seen jackals roaming around graveyards and made the connection between the animal and the deceased in their imaginations. (Flinders Petrie observed that the jackal-trails are the finest guides to Egyptian tombs.) God Anubis was painted black to better associate him with the deceased, whose embalmed flesh had turned a pitch-black hue. Black was also the hue of fertility, therefore it was associated with death and rebirth after death. Anubis was also regarded as a god of the dead and a god of healing. Anubis was the Egyptian god of preservation and the keeper of both the mummies and the necropolis, burial places.
The Egyptian god Anubis was commonly referred to as a ‘jackal’ rather than a ‘dog’ (iwiw). Because the Egyptians didn’t see much of a distinction between the two canines, there is some disagreement over which animal Anubis was. Because it is uncertain which specific canine species Anubis was modeled on, the animal is frequently referred to as the ‘Anubis animal’.
Once the cult of Osiris gained power, Osiris assumed many of Anubis’ responsibilities as caregivers and protectors of the dead. Anubis became ‘He Who Is before the Divine Booth,’; As result, he became the god of embalming who presided over the burial rituals. During the mummification procedure, the funerary stm priests would wear a jackal god mask, symbolically becoming the god for the rites.
Anubis God and Mummification
The opening – or violation – of the body during the first phases of mummification was an activity that only Anubis himself would have been permitted to accomplish. The priest who assumed this responsibility was known as the ‘Overseer of the Mysteries’ (hery seshta). It was supposed that he would magically transform into the funeral god himself, allowing him to properly rip open the corpse for mummification.
He is known as the son of Nephthys and Set, as well as Nephthys and Osiris. According to one theory, Isis reared him since Set was afraid of murdering his wife’s illegitimate son, and he grew up to be an Osiris friend and follower. Kebechet (Kabechet, Kebehut) was assumed to be his daughter, who was represented as a snake or ostrich delivering water. She was the goddess of freshness and cleansing through water, and she cleansed the deceased’s entrails and provided the sacred water to Anubis for his duties. Kebechet was said to provide water to the departed souls while they awaited the completion of the mummification process. She was most likely associated with rituals of the dead; this is where she would protect the body from decay so that it could be reanimated by the deceased’s ka.
Anubis Duty in Mummification
The method of mummification was thought to have been developed by the Anubis. The Egyptian god Anubis assisted Isis in resurrecting her husband after Set had murdered him. He mummified the god’s body and wrapped it in linen linens woven by the twin goddesses Isis and Nephthys, ensuring that the body would never rot or decompose. Anubis was also said to be responsible for the reawakening of the dead. He’d come beside the mummy and reawaken its soul. When the mummy arrived at the tomb’s door, a priest wearing the Anubis mask; who was said to have become the deity himself, took it from the sarcophagus and set it upright against the wall. Following that, the ‘Opening of the Mouth’ ceremony took place. It was made up of a series of rites that transformed a mummy (or a statue of the dead) into a living receptacle for the deceased’s ka.
Purification, feeling, and anointing of the mummies, as well as incantations, were all part of the rituals. The mummy’s senses were restored by placing ritual artifacts on specific body parts; the spirit would then be able to see, hear, talk, and eat as a living human. Because several of the implements used in this ceremony have been discovered in predynastic Amratian burials, it’s likely that at least part of the rites involved in the ‘Opening of the Mouth’ date back to this period. God Anubis was considered to lead the departed to the afterlife, along with another god, Wepwawet; once they were placed in the tomb and sealed (Upuaut). Wepwawet was another ancient jackal or wolf god who appeared on the Narmer palette, and the two are quite similar.
Other Roles and Duties of The Dog Anubis
Anubis was more than simply a deity of the dead; he was also a warrior god who helped the pharaoh win. The ‘Opener of the Ways’ assisted Anubis in guiding the deceased to Ma’ati’s Halls. As ‘He Who Counts the Hearts,’ Anubis kept an eye on the weighing of the heart and the judging of the deceased from this location. It was his responsibility to ensure that the scales’ beam was in the proper position and that the weighing was done correctly. After that, he would then declare judgment on the dead, which God Thoth would document. The Egyptian god Anubis would protect the innocent from Ammut’s jaws but would deliver the guilty to her for execution.
Anubis shared the task of leading the deceased into the afterlife with another jackal-headed deity, according to E.A. Wallis Budge in The Gods of the Egyptians… “Opener of the Ways”). Both Anubis dog and Wapwawet “opened the paths,”; whereas Anubis opened the roads to the north while Wapwawet opened the roads to the south. Budge goes on to argue that the Egyptian god Anubis represented the summer solstice, whereas Wapwawet represented the winter solstice.
The Fetish Anubis
Anubis God was tied to a weird fetish known as the imiut fetish. It was a headless stuffed skin (typically of a huge animal) fastened to a pole put in a pot by its tail. They were known as the ‘Son of the Hesat-Cow; another title of Anubis dog (the cow that produced the Mnevis bull was tied to the cow deity Hesat); There is evidence of this fetish dating back to the 1st Dynasty.
They were tied to the burial cult, as portrayed in Hatshepsut’s mortuary temple’s Chapel of Anubis; genuine golden fetishes found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. At Tutankhamen’s tomb, these Anubis symbols were put at the western ends of the passageways, one on each side of the outermost shrine. The pots were constructed of Egyptian ‘alabaster,’ and the poles portrayed the water lily (lotus) stem and bud, with a papyrus blossom affixed to the tip of the skin’s tail, and the pole and fetish itself were gilded. Other fetishes have been discovered wrapped in bandages and constructed of real animal skin. Imiut, also known as ‘He Who is in His Wrappings’; It was a divinity who became a version of Anubis in ancient times. The fetish was most likely associated with mummy wrappings, although it may also have been linked to the royal jubilee feast.
Egyptian God Anubis in Modern Times
Death gods are frequently associated with evil in modern Western civilizations. This is primarily due to Christian comparisons of Hell and Satan to the underworld and the guards of the underworld. While this has generated a plethora of amusing and scary villains in Hollywood adaptations of Greek and Egyptian mythology; However, this is not how ancient peoples saw these gods.
Few things demonstrate this more than the ancient Egyptian deity Anubis. The Egyptian deity of the afterlife and mummification, Anubis, was immediately identifiable as an anthropomorphized jackal or hound. He assisted in the afterlife judgment of souls and escorted lost souls into the afterlife. Was he, in fact, evil? No, in fact, the reverse is true. Chaos was the ultimate evil in Egyptian mythology. Almost much of Egyptian mythology was concerned with keeping the cosmic order that kept anarchy at bay. The rituals that kept the cycle of life, death, and afterlife going were crucial to achieving this purpose. As a result, Anubis was not malevolent, but rather one of the most powerful gods in Egypt who pushed evil far away from the country.