Skip to content

Anubis: the Misunderstood Egyptian God of the Dead

Author: Vance Lassiter

The gods from Egypt may be among the most ancient deities recognized, and among those these Anubis may well be the earliest. Archaeologists discovered talk of Anubis among the earliest predynastic time period of Egyptian history, in excess of 5000 years in the past.

For the ancient Egyptians, the entire universe put into practice the model of the valley where people were located; dominated with the sun along with the Nile, each of those {capable of} bringing life in addition to death. Their world was very orderly. The waters flowed from North to South, while the sun rose in the East and set in the West.

Each and every year the Nile river would burst the riverbank, spread out across the fields after which it would recede, leaving behind fertile ground.  Existence, for the ancient Egyptians, possessed a definite rhythm which the people enshrined in mythology.

There were a great many other gods who in turn took numerous shapes and had various titles. Just about every region and village had it’s own gods and myths, however quite a few gods ended up being common to all regions of Egypt and due to this fact these are the best known today, namely Osiris, Isis, Anubis, Bes, Ma’at, Khum, Seth, Hathor, Bastet,Thoth, Sobek, Amun Ra, Mut and Khonsu.

It’s likely that Anubis was a principal deity of the very earliest Egyptians, the god appeared to be certainly the principle god of the 17th Upper Egyptian nome, a city the Greeks labeled ‘Cynopolis’ or City of the Dogs. His general function transformed because of the growth of the cult of Osiris.

Myth said that Anubis was a child of Osiris, not by way of Isis his wife, but by Nepthys (who had disguised herself as Isis) Worried concerning her own husbands wrath from her having a baby, Nepthys consequently asked Isis to become Anubis‘ foster mother.

In modern times Anubis is known chiefly as being the ‘God of the Dead’ nevertheless this has connotations that can be quite missing from his function in Egyptian religion. The afterlife was very serious to the Ancient Egyptians so they expended significant amounts of their existence preparing for this, believing that after they passed on they’d go to Duat, the underworld, to get judged. The voyage was considered believed to be arduous, so many spells along with incantations seemed to be essential to help them uncover their way.

Most of these were composed in the ‘Book of Coming Forth by Day’, often known as the ‘Book of the Dead’ that was positioned in the coffin.  Close to seventeen feet long these books associated with the rich would undoubtedly comprise their own personalized collection of spells and decoration, while those not so well-heeled would likely buy one ‘off the peg’ and simply fill in the title of the deceased.

It truly is apparent from the numerous types of books which have survived, that Anubis was not, subsequently to be dreaded or even feared,  he was instead the companion of the deceased; as ‘he who is upon his mountain’ Anubis was a protector, not simply of the dead, but also of their resting places.  This could be the major cause of his therianthropic manifestation, as a man with the head of the jackal; jackals were always to be observed in or surrounding a necropolis.

Anubis is always displayed colored black because that’s the color of a physical body after it has been mummified.  His zoomorphic form is apparently that of a jackal, even though some scholars claim that it’s actually a jackal/dog hybrid. Howard Carter, expounding on perhaps one of the most well known Anubis statue of all, the Anubis statue from the grave of Tutankhamen, mentions dog like ears as well as pointed muzzle, but the low slung tail of a jackal.

A Basenji, the dog breed which contains the nearest similarity to an Anubis statue, has a distinctive curly tail.  Regardless of whether this is a intentionally ambiguous depiction to be found in every Egyptian statue of Anubis is still to be discovered.

As the ancient Egyptians possessed a strong belief in the existence of a soul or spirit, they were equally certain that both human body as well as spirit were necessary in order to enjoy the afterlife; it was this perception that lead them towards invention of ever more advanced procedures of mummification in order to protect the entire body and to the making of tombs in order to house it.

It was the purpose of Anubis to protect the body as well as defend it during the entire mummification treatment while he would preside over the embalming of the body as well as the ‘opening of the way’, the service where the departed became able to speak and eat again in preparation for the afterlife. That is why an Anubis statue, more-so than almost every other Egyptian statue, has been  found in every burial place.

Anubis final, and probably most crucial function was to guide the deceased throughout the underworld to the Hall of Two Truths in which he (always shown as a heart) could be judged. The belief was that every person (which includes Pharaoh) would be required to weigh his soul against the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of justice.

As guardian of the dead Anubis examined that the scale was exactly horizontal prior to the judgement. In the event the soul was too heavy it was Anubis role to give the dead to Ammit, the terrifying demon who would eradicate the deceased permanently, but if the judgement was positive the deceased was seen as having lead an superior and honest existence and was made welcome by Osiris to the afterlife.

Regardless of whether as a jackal or perhaps a jackal headed man, an Egyptian god of the dead statue was an important part of every Egyptian household, reassuring the occupants that even demise they would possess true and just guard and protector to direct the way to immortality.

Article Source:

About the Author

Thinking of decorating your home with the perfect spot online to find a huge selection of ancient art?  Find a museum gift that’s sure to bring beauty and splendor to any home at Your Museum Store.

Posted in Africa, Animal Deities, Dogs & Canids, Egypt.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , .

0 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

You must be logged in to post a comment.