Anubis

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Anubis, whose hieroglyphic name more closely translates as Anpu or Inepu, is the Ancient Egyptian god of death and dying, and sometimes god of the Underworld. His mother is Hesat or Bastet with an unknown father, or Nephthys, and his father is variously said to be Set, Ra or Osiris. His daughter is Qeb-hwt, also known as Kebechet. In later times, Anubis was combined with the Greek god Hermes to form Hermanubis. The center of his cult was in Cynopolis.

He has the head of a jackal or some other kind of dog, and the jackal is his symbol. The jackal imagery is related to Anubis' role among the deities of Egypt, as the jackal is a scavenger and is strongly associated with death and dying. He was also know as the Guardian of the Dead. In art, he is depicted as a man with a canine head and alert ears, often wearing a ribbon and wielding a whip.

Roles in mythology

Anubis was originally the lord of the underworld, however following the rise of the cult of Osiris he becomes the gatekeeper. In the Horus story he stands down his position out of respect for Osiris in order to allow him to take over.

Anubis' role as gate keeper was primarily that of either holding or watching the scales with which the souls of the dead were weighted against the feather of Ma'at. If the soul was as light as the feather, Anubis led the soul to Osiris; otherwise, it was fed to Ammit. In this role, he is sometimes identified with a god known as Wep-wawet ("opener of the ways").

In his embalming role, Anubis is referred to by the epithet imy-ut ("he who is in the place where embalming occurs"). He guards the physical remains of bodies, as well as the tombs and necropoli.

Worship of Anubis is likely older even than that of Osiris. The Unas text (line 70) associates him with the Eye of Horus. In the Book of the Dead, he embalms the body of Osiris, wraps it in linens made by Isis and Nepthys, and protects the body by laying his bare hands on it.

The wife of Anubis is the goddess Anput, whose symbol is also a jackal. For many years Anput was thought to be just another name for Anubis — a strange idea when one considers that Egyptian names ending in t are usually feminine.

In Book xi of The Golden Ass by Apuleius, we find evidence that the worship of Anubis was maintained in Rome at least up to the 2nd century.

Other names

  • Ienpw
  • Khentamentiu
  • Yinepu

References

  • Wikipedia. (2005). Anubis. Retrieved on 02/28/2005.

Document Source

  • This page was originally sourced from Thelemapedia. Retrieved May 2009.