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Egyptian Dog God

Egyptian Dog God: Egyptian God with a Dog Head “Anubis”

Anubis” Egyptian Dog God “ is not typically depicted with a dog head; rather, he is often represented with the head of a jackal or a wild dog. Anubis is an ancient Egyptian deity associated with mummification and the afterlife. He is usually depicted as a black or black-and-golden jackal or dog-headed figure, and he played a crucial role in the funerary practices of ancient Egypt.

Anubis was believed to guide and protect the souls of the deceased during their journey through the afterlife. He was also associated with the weighing of the heart ceremony, where a person’s heart was weighed against the feather of Ma’at to determine their worthiness for entry into the afterlife.

It’s important to note that there are other gods in Egyptian mythology with animal heads, each carrying specific symbolism and attributes.

Read our Fully Top 30 Ancient Egyptian Symbols and Meanings & Top 40 Ancient Egyptian Gods and Goddesses and Their Powers

The Origins of the Egyptian Dog God “Anubis”

Egyptian Dog God

Anubis is one of the most iconic and recognizable deities in ancient Egyptian mythology, often depicted with the head of a jackal or a dog. The origins of Anubis can be traced back to the early periods of ancient Egyptian civilization. Here are some key points about the origins of Anubis:

  • Role in the Afterlife: Anubis was primarily associated with death and the afterlife. He played a crucial role in mummification and the weighing of the heart ceremony. The ancient Egyptians believed that Anubis guided the souls of the deceased through the afterlife journey.
  • Evolution of Anubis: The worship of Anubis likely predates recorded history, and his role evolved. Some theories suggest he may have originated as a deity associated with protecting graves and cemeteries. As the Egyptian civilization developed, so did the complexity of their religious beliefs, leading to the incorporation of Anubis into the pantheon.
  • Iconography: Anubis is commonly depicted as a black canine, a jackal, or a dog. The black color symbolizes fertility and rebirth, as well as the color of the decaying flesh, linking Anubis with death and the afterlife.
  • Associations with Other Deities: Anubis is often linked with other deities associated with death and the afterlife, such as Osiris. In some myths, Anubis is regarded as the son of Osiris and Nephthys or Bastet.
  • Cult Centers: Different regions of Egypt had specific gods and cults, and Anubis was no exception. The city of Hardai (Cynopolis in Greek) was particularly associated with the worship of Anubis. Various temples and shrines dedicated to him existed throughout Egypt.
  • Transition in Popularity: Anubis became popular during the Early Dynastic Period (c. 3100–2686 BCE) and the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2181 BCE). However, his significance endured throughout ancient Egyptian history, and he continued to be revered well into the Greco-Roman period.
  • Later Mythological Roles: In later myths and religious developments, Anubis was sometimes merged or associated with other deities, such as Wepwawet or Khentamentiu, further illustrating the fluidity and complexity of ancient Egyptian religious beliefs.

Egyptian Dog God”Anubis” In Egyptian Mythology

Egyptian Dog God

In Egyptian mythology, Anubis held a significant and distinctive role associated with death, mummification, and the afterlife. Here are key aspects of Anubis in Egyptian mythology:

  • God of Embalming and Mummification: Anubis was closely associated with the mummification process. He was believed to be the one who invented the art of embalming and, therefore, was considered the patron deity of embalmers. The ancient Egyptians believed proper body preservation was essential for a successful journey to the afterlife.
  • Weighing of the Heart Ceremony: One of the most famous scenes in Egyptian mythology involving Anubis is the “Weighing of the Heart” ceremony. This judgment occurred in the afterlife, where the deceased’s heart was weighed against the feather of Ma’at, the goddess of truth and justice. Anubis played a crucial role in this ceremony, overseeing the process and ensuring that the heart was not heavier than the feather.
  • Guardian of the Necropolis: Anubis was also considered a guardian and protector of the necropolis, the city of the dead. His role included watching over tombs and ensuring the deceased’s safety in the afterlife.
  • Parentage and Relationships: In various myths, Anubis is described as the son of Osiris and Nephthys, or sometimes as the son of Osiris and Isis. His parentage can vary in different sources. Despite the uncertainty in his parentage, Anubis maintained a close association with the Osirian cycle, which involved the death and resurrection of Osiris.
  • Iconography: Anubis is typically depicted with the head of a jackal or a dog, emphasizing his association with the canine. Sometimes, he is shown as a full jackal or as a man with the head of a jackal. The black color of the jackal symbolized death and decay, but the fertile soil of the Nile also connected Anubis with the cycle of life and death.
  • Cult Centers: Anubis had several cult centers throughout Egypt, with the city of Hardai being one of the most prominent. Worshippers offered prayers and performed rituals dedicated to Anubis in these centers, seeking his guidance and protection in matters related to death and the afterlife.
  • Enduring Influence: The worship of Anubis endured for centuries, and he remained a prominent deity throughout various periods of Egyptian history. Even during the Greco-Roman period, Anubis was revered, and his imagery persisted in funerary contexts.

Anubis’s role in Egyptian mythology reflects the ancient Egyptians’ profound significance on death, the afterlife, and preserving the physical body for the journey to eternity. His enduring presence in Egyptian religious beliefs and practices highlights his crucial role in ancient cosmology’s complex and rich tapestry.

Anubis Egyptian God Symbol

Egyptian Dog God

Anubis, the ancient Egyptian god associated with death, mummification, and the afterlife, is typically represented by specific symbols and iconography. The primary symbols associated with Anubis include:

  • Jackal or Dog Head: Anubis is commonly depicted with the head of a jackal or a dog. The choice of a jackal as a symbol is significant because jackals were scavengers often seen in cemeteries and burial grounds. The jackal head is a distinctive feature in representations of Anubis.
  • Ceremonial Flail: In some depictions, Anubis holds a ceremonial flail, symbolizing authority and divine power. The flail was a symbolic instrument used by deities and pharaohs to assert their dominion.
  • Ankh: Occasionally, Anubis may be depicted holding the ankh, a symbol of life. The inclusion of the ankh emphasizes the connection between life, death, and the afterlife.
  • Was Scepter: Another symbol associated with Anubis is the was scepter. The scepter is a staff topped with an animal head, often that of a canine or a jackal, reinforcing Anubis’s role as a divine guide in the afterlife.
  • Black or Dark Color: Anubis is often portrayed with a black or dark-colored coat, representing the color of decaying flesh and the fertile soil of the Nile. This color symbolism ties Anubis to death, rebirth, and the agricultural cycle.
  • Embalmers’ Tools: Given Anubis’s association with mummification, sometimes he is depicted with embalmers’ tools or standing near mummification equipment, underscoring his role in preserving the deceased.

Weighing of the Heart Scene: In scenes depicting the “Weighing of the Heart” ceremony, Anubis is shown overseeing the scales on which the deceased’s heart is weighed against the feather of Ma’at. This scene is a prominent representation of Anubis’s role in judgment and the afterlife.

Where Does the Name Anubis Come From?

Egyptian Dog God

The name “Anubis” is believed to have ancient Egyptian origins. It is derived from the Egyptian language and has its roots in the Coptic language, which is the final stage of the Egyptian language and is still used as a liturgical language by the Egyptian Christian community.

The original Egyptian name for Anubis is thought to be “Inpu” or “Anpu.” The Greek name “Anubis” is a later Hellenized form that became more widely known in the Western world. This adaptation occurred during the Hellenistic period when the Greeks came into contact with ancient Egyptian culture and incorporated elements of Egyptian religion and mythology into their own belief systems.

The Greek name “Anubis” is the one that has been commonly used in Western literature and discussions about ancient Egyptian mythology. However, it’s essential to recognize that the original name used by the ancient Egyptians for this deity was likely “Inpu” or “Anpu,” and this name is still recognized and used by scholars when discussing the deity in the context of ancient Egyptian culture and language.

Epithets and Names of the Egyptian Dog God of Anubis

Egyptian Dog God

Anubis, the Egyptian god associated with death, mummification, and the afterlife, has several epithets and alternative names that reflect different aspects of his nature and his various roles in Egyptian mythology. Here are some of the epithets and names associated with Anubis:

  • Anpu (or Inpu): This is one of the earliest names for Anubis and is of ancient Egyptian origin. It is believed to be the original name used by the Egyptians to refer to this god.
  • Wepwawet (Upuaut): Wepwawet is a deity closely associated with war and often depicted as a wolf or a jackal. In some traditions, Wepwawet and Anubis were merged or considered aspects of the same deity, emphasizing their connection to death and the afterlife.
  • Khenty-Imentiu: This epithet translates to “Foremost of the Westerners” or “Foremost of the Western Nomads.” It underscores Anubis’s role as a guide and protector of the deceased in the Western realm, which was associated with the land of the dead.
  • Imy-ut: This epithet translates to “He Who is in the Place of Embalming.” It highlights Anubis’s association with the mummification process and his role in preparing the deceased for the afterlife.
  • Anubis Epithets in Funerary Texts: In various funerary texts, Anubis is often referred to by additional titles that emphasize his protective and guiding roles, such as “He Who is Upon His Mountain,” “The Lord of the Sacred Land,” and “He Who is in the Place of Embalming.”
  • Anubis as the Son of Osiris: In some myths, Anubis is considered the son of Osiris and Isis. In this context, he is linked to the Osirian cycle, which involves the death and resurrection of Osiris.

These names and epithets highlight different aspects of Anubis’s character and functions in Egyptian mythology. The multiplicity of names and titles reflects the complexity of ancient Egyptian religious beliefs and the various roles that deities played in different contexts and traditions.

Anubis VS Osiris

Egyptian Dog God

Anubis and Osiris are two distinct deities in ancient Egyptian mythology, each with its own roles, characteristics, and significance in the Egyptian religious pantheon. Here are the key differences between Anubis and Osiris:

Roles

  • Anubis: Anubis is primarily associated with death, mummification, and the afterlife. He is often depicted as a jackal-headed or dog-headed deity and is responsible for guiding the souls of the deceased through the journey in the afterlife. Anubis is also linked to mummification and the protection of graves and tombs.
  • Osiris: Osiris is a major god in the Egyptian pantheon, primarily associated with the afterlife, resurrection, and fertility. He is often depicted as a mummified figure or as a king. Osiris plays a central role in the Osirian myth, which involves his death, dismemberment, and resurrection.

Mythology

  • Anubis: Anubis is not a central figure in the Osirian myth. Instead, he is often associated with other deities, such as Osiris, Isis, and Nephthys, in various mythological traditions. In some myths, Anubis is considered the son of Osiris and Nephthys or Osiris and Isis.
  • Osiris: Osiris is a central figure in Egyptian mythology, particularly in the myth of Osiris and Isis. According to the myth, Osiris was murdered by his brother Seth, but through the efforts of his wife Isis, Osiris was resurrected and became the ruler of the afterlife.

Association with Death

  • Anubis: Anubis is intimately connected with death and the rituals surrounding the deceased. He is often portrayed overseeing the “Weighing of the Heart” ceremony, where the hearts of the deceased are judged for their deeds in life.
  • Osiris: While Osiris is associated with death in the context of his myth, his primary role is as the ruler of the afterlife. He presides over the realm of the dead and symbolizes resurrection and eternal life.

Depictions

  • Anubis: Anubis is typically depicted with the head of a jackal or dog, emphasizing his connection to these animals and their association with death.
  • Osiris: Osiris is often depicted as a mummified figure holding the crook and flail, symbols of kingship and authority. He may also be shown with green or black skin, symbolizing fertility and rebirth.

Cult Centers

  • Anubis: Anubis had cult centers throughout Egypt, with Hardai (Cynopolis in Greek) being one of the most prominent centers.
  • Osiris: Osiris was widely revered throughout Egypt, and his cult had significant importance, especially in the context of funerary practices and beliefs in the afterlife.

While Anubis and Osiris share connections to death and the afterlife, their specific roles, mythological contexts, and attributes distinguish them within the intricate tapestry of ancient Egyptian religious beliefs.

About the author

Egypt Planners Team is a highly experienced travel agency specializing in memorable trips to Egypt. The team comprises expert travel planners and tour guides with a deep knowledge of Egypt's history, culture, and top tourist destinations.
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