Anubis, god of the dead
Anubis, god of the dead
 
 
Anubis weighing the heart of the dead
Anubis weighing the heart of the dead
 
 
The jackal, symbol of Anubis
The jackal, symbol of Anubis
 
 
Anubis embalming a pharoah
Anubis embalming a pharoah
 
 
The mask of a jackal found in an ancient tomb
The mask of a jackal found in an ancient tomb
 
Anubis <br>Ancient Egyptian god
Topic(s):   Ancient Egypt

In the early times of ancient Egypt, people buried their dead in the desert. These graves attracted jackals, dogs, and other canines. It is not surprising, then, that Egyptian gods of the dead looked like dogs. Anubis was one of these gods.

At first, Anubis was in charge of the underworld. Later, Osiris took over that job. Then Anubis became the one to guide souls to the underworld. He invented embalming. Anubis guarded the scales used to weigh the souls of the dead.

Anubis looks like a thin, black dog or jackal. He has a long muzzle and tall ears. He is often lying on a shrine with his legs out in front. Sometimes, he is shown as a man with the head and tail of this dog. In pictures, he is often taking care of a mummy or guiding a spirit to the underworld. Sometimes he is weighing the heart of the dead to see how good the person is.

Stories about Anubis changed over the years. In some stories, he was the son of Re, the sun god. In later stories, he was the son of Osiris. He was raised by Isis. When Osiris was killed, Anubis embalmed the body to protect it.

Anubis became the patron of embalmers. People prayed to him on behalf of the dead. They made offerings for Anubis to take to their dead. Priests sometimes wore masks of Anubis when preparing mummies.

Resource information

Bunson, M. (2002). The encyclopedia of ancient Egypt. New York, NY: Facts on File Publications.

Egyptian mythology. (1987). In New Larousse encyclopedia of mythology (p. 25). New York, NY: Crescent Books.

Anubis - Egyptian god. (2014). In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/29015/Anubis

Wilkinson, R. H. (2003). The catalogue of dieties. In The complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt (pp. 187-190). Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/doc/244639081/The-Complete-Gods-and-Goddesses-of-Ancient-Egypt#scribd

Citation information

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