Anubis : God of the Dead
Anubis is the god of the afterlife and is often confused with the older Wepwawet. It is believed that before the First Dynasty of Egypt, he developed a cult following in order to be invoked on the walls of royal tombs in order to protect them from wild dogs and jackals who frequently dug up freshly buried bodies. The Egyptians believed a powerful canine god was the best protection against these wild canines.
Like other ancient Egyptian deities, he had various roles and was often depicted as a protector of graves during the First Dynasty. By the Middle Kingdom, he was replaced by the god of the underworld, who would be named Osiris. As a god, he was known to bring souls into the afterlife. He was also known to attend the weighing scale, which was used to determine if a soul could enter the realm of the dead.
Anubis was often depicted as a black canine, a jackal-dog hybrid, or a muscular man with pointed ears. The color black was chosen because it represented the decay of the body and the life-giving soil of the Nile River Valley. The powerful black canine, then, was the protector of the dead who made sure they received their due rights in burial and stood by them in the life after death to assist their resurrection.
An exceedingly rare depiction of him in full human form was found in a tomb of Ramesses II. He was also known for wearing a ribbon and holding a flail in his arm. In funerary contexts, he would also be depicted sitting on a deceased person’s tomb or guarding it.
A story from the First Dynasty states that Nephthys was attracted to the beauty of Osiris, and she transformed herself to look like his wife, Isis. She became pregnant and gave birth to Anubis but she abandoned him when he was only a few months old. Isis found out about the affair and went searching for the infant and, when she found him, adopted him as her own. Set also found out about the affair, and this is given as part of the reason for his murder of Osiris.
Before the Greeks arrived in Egypt, the god was known as Inpu or Anpu with the root of the name translating to “a royal child.” He was also known as “First of the Westerners,” “Lord of the Sacred Land,” “He Who is Upon his Sacred Mountain,” “Ruler of the Nine Bows,” “The Dog who Swallows Millions,” “Master of Secrets,” “He Who is in the Place of Embalming,” and “Foremost of the Divine Booth”.
Powers and Abilities
He was especially focused on the care of the dead and the funerary cult. He is believed to have invented the embalming process, which was first used on the corpse of Osiris. As a god of the afterlife, Anubis was deeply involved in every aspect of a person’s death experience. He served as a judge and guide after death.
During the Early Dynastic Period and Old Kingdom, he was the sole god of the dead who was righteous and righteous judge of the soul. As the popularity of the myth of Osiris grew, he was assimilated into it and became the child of the two deities.
After being integrated into the myth of Osiris, Anubis was often seen as the god’s protector and a right-hand man. He was also known to help oversee the rituals of the dead, and he would sometimes be called upon to protect and avenge the souls of the dead.
Although he is very well-represented in art throughout ancient Egypt, his role in many myths is static. He only performed one solemn function, which was to protect the body.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Anubis good or bad?
Neither angel nor demon, Anubis walked the line between life and death, protecting souls in their journey, ensuring fair judgment, and guarding their final rest. Though death’s shadow clung to him, he offered hope and rebirth, making him a complex deity, revered for his role in the grand dance of existence.
What was Anubis god of?
From embalming bodies to weighing hearts, Anubis wore many hats: protector of the dead, guide through the underworld, guardian of tombs, and judge in the afterlife. He wasn’t just the grim reaper, but a complex deity ensuring safe passage, fair judgment, and even potential rebirth, making him a key figure in the dance of life and death in ancient Egypt.
Does Anubis have a wife?
Anubis, jackal-headed lord of the dead, shares his underworld duties with his wife Anput, the goddess of embalming and protector of women and children. Together, this jackal-headed power couple guides souls, weighs hearts, and guard the living and dead, their love story woven into the very fabric of Egyptian beliefs about life, death, and the mysteries in between.
Is Anubis Seth's Son?
Anubis’ parentage is shrouded in mystery, with whispers of both Osiris and Seth swirling around him. The most accepted tale has him born to Nephthys, disguised as Isis, and Osiris, raised by Isis with a mother’s love, though some murmurings claim Seth as his father too. Regardless of his origins, Anubis carved his own path as the jackal-headed lord of the dead, guiding souls and weighing hearts in the grand dance of Egyptian mythology.
How Anubis died?
Anubis, protector of the departed, never felt death’s cold touch. He transcends mortals’ cycles, a constant guide in the underworld’s shadows. Some whisper of merging with Osiris, others of retreat, but all agree: his watchful gaze never fades, a beacon for souls on their endless journey.