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Anubis
the Egyptian god Anubis (a modern rendition inspired by New Kingdom tomb paintings).
the Egyptian god Anubis (a modern rendition inspired by New Kingdom tomb paintings).
God of judgment and the dead
Major cult center Lycopolis, Cynopolis
Symbol the fetish, the flail
Parents Nephthys and Osiris or Set
Siblings Horus (in some accounts)
Children Kebechet

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Anubis
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Anubis is the Greek name[1] for a jackal-headed god associated with mummification and the afterlife in Egyptian mythology. In the ancient Egyptian language, Anubis is known as Inpu, (variously spelled Anupu, Ienpw etc.)[2]. The oldest known mention of Anubis is in the Old Kingdom pyramid texts, where he is associated with the burial of the Pharaoh.[3] At this time, Anubis was the most important god of the Dead but he was replaced during the Middle Kingdom by Osiris.[4]

He takes names in connection with his funerary role, such as He who is upon his mountain, which underscores his importance as a protector of the deceased and their tombs, and the title He who is in the place of embalming, associating him with the process of mummification.[3] Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumes different roles in various contexts, and no public procession in Egypt would be conducted without an Anubis to march at the head.

Contents

Portrayal

Anubis was associated with the mummification and protection of the dead for their journey into the afterlife. He was usually portrayed as a half human, half jackal, or in full jackal form wearing a ribbon and holding a flail in the crook of its arm[5]. The jackal was strongly associated with cemeteries in ancient Egypt, since it was a scavenger which threatened to uncover human bodies and eat their flesh[6] The distinctive black color of Anubis "did not have to do with the jackal [per se] but with the color of rotting flesh and with the black soil of the Nile valley, symbolizing rebirth."[6]

Anubis is depicted in funerary contexts where he is shown attending to the mummies of the deceased or sitting atop a tomb protecting it. In fact, during embalming, the "head embalmer" wore an Anubis costume. The critical weighing of the heart scene in Book of the Dead also show Anubis performing the measurement that determined the worthiness of the deceased to enter the realm of the dead (the underworld). New Kingdom tomb-seals also depict Anubis atop nine bows that symbolize his domination over the foes of Egypt.[3]

Embalmer

Following the merging of the Ennead and Ogdoad belief systems, as a result of the identification of Atum with Ra, and their compatibility, Anubis became a lesser god in the underworld, giving way to the more popular Osiris during the Middle Kingdom. However, "Anubis was given a place in the family of gods as the...son of Osiris and Nephthys, and in this role he helped Isis mummify his dead father."[6] . Indeed, when the Myth of Osiris and Isis emerged, it was said that when Osiris had died, Osiris' organs were given to Anubis as a gift. With this connection, Anubis became the patron god of embalmers: during the funerary rites of mummification, illustrations from the Book of the Dead often show a priest wearing the jackal mask supporting the upright mummy.

Perceptions outside Egypt

In later times, during the Ptolemaic period, Anubis was merged with the Greek god Hermes, becoming Hermanubis[7][8]. The centre of this cult was in uten-ha/Sa-ka/ Cynopolis, a place whose Greek name simply means "city of dogs". In Book XI of "The Golden Ass" by Apuleius, we find evidence that the worship of this god was maintained in Rome at least up to the 2nd century. Indeed, Hermanubis also appears in the alchemical and hermetical literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Although the Greeks and Romans typically scorned Egypt's animal-headed gods as bizarre and primitive (Anubis was known to be mockingly called "Barker" by the Greeks), Anubis was sometimes associated with Sirius in the heavens, and Cerberus in Hades. In his dialogues (e.g. Republic 399e, 592a), Plato has Socrates utter, "by the dog" (kai me ton kuna), "by the dog of Egypt","by the dog, the god of the Egyptians" (Gorgias, 482b), for emphasis.

See also

References

  1. ^ Charles Russell Coulter, Patricia Turner, Encyclopedia of ancient deities,Sammy Northam Rocks 2000, ISBN 0786403179, p.58
  2. ^ The Gods of Ancient Egypt - Anubis
  3. ^ a b c Wilkinson, Richard H. (2003). The complete gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt. London: Thames & Hudson. pp. 188–190. ISBN 0-500-05120-8. 
  4. ^ Charles Freeman, The Legacy of Ancient Egypt, Facts on File, Inc. 1997. p.91
  5. ^ Ancient Egypt: the Mythology - Anubis
  6. ^ a b c Freeman, op. cit., p.91
  7. ^ Hermanubis
  8. ^ Hermanubis | English | Dictionary & Translation by Babylon

External links


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

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Wikipedia

English

Proper noun

Singular
Anubis

Plural
-

Anubis

  1. (Egyptian mythology) In the mythology of ancient Egypt, the god of the dead and tombs, commonly depicted with the head of a jackal.
Anubis


Translations


Simple English

Anubis
in hieroglyphs
i-n:p-w-E16

Anubis is the Greek name for the ancient god in Egyptian mythology who looks like a man with the head of a jackal. Jackals are predators that look like dogs and live in Africa.

Anubis's Purpose

People did not like jackals in ancient Egypt, because the animals messed up graves. The Egyptian people wanted to end this by deifying them.[needs proof] Deifying means in this case, that they created a god that was a jackal as well. Therefore, the god of the dead Anubis looked like a dog or jackal. Anubis was the god of the dead because the jackals were often in graveyards at night. This made the people think that the jackals protected the dead people in the graves. The priests who mummified the dead kings (these kings are called pharaohs) were also dressed up as jackals. Now that the jackal had become a holy animal, dogs and jackals were kept as pets in the temples. After their death, they were mummified and placed in the temples. Anubis was the protector of the mummies against the challenges in the netherworld. After a while Anubis became solely the god of mummification because he invented mummification by using it to preserve Osiris. Because Osiris was the first mummy and the first to go to the netherworld, he became king of it. The Egyptian people believed that Anubis helped with the ceremony that was performed with people once they arrived in the netherworld. In this ceremony, the heart of the dead was weighed against the feather of truth to see if the deceased had been a good person in life. If they had been a bad person in life, then they would go to a place where there would be food floating above their heads, just out of reach. If they ever got close to reaching it, then demons would dig holes at their feet that they would fall into, so that they could never get their hands on the food.

In Greece and Rome

In later times, during the Ptolemaic period, as their functions were similar, Anubis came to be identified as the Greek god Hermes, becoming Hermanubis[1][2]. The centre of this cult was in uten-ha/Sa-ka/ Cynopolis, a place whose Greek name simply means "city of dogs". In Book XI of "The Golden Ass" by Apuleius, we find evidence that the worship of this god was maintained in Rome at least up to the 2nd century. Indeed, Hermanubis also appears in the alchemical and hermetical literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Although the Greeks and Romans typically scorned Egypt's animal-headed gods as bizarre and primitive (they mockingly called Anubis the "Barker"), Anubis was sometimes associated with Sirius in heaven, and Cerberus in hell.

References








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