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(Redirected from Anup)

Anubis is the Greek name for the ancient god in Egyptian mythology whose hieroglyphic is more accurately spelt Anpu (also Anup, Anupu, Wip, Ienpw, Inepu, Yinepu, or Inpw). He is also known as Sekhem Em Pet. Prayers to Anubis have been found carved on the most ancient tombs in Egypt; indeed, the Unas text (line 70) associates him with the Eye of Horus. Anubis is the ruler of the Underworld.



His worship is very ancient, and there is no doubt that even the earliest times his cult was general in Egypt; it is probable that it is older than that of Osiris.

In the text of Unas he is associated with the Eye of Horus, and his duty as the guide of the dead in the Underworld on their way to Osiris was well defined, even at the remote period when this composition was written, from we read, Unas standeth with the Spirits, get thee onwards, Anubis, into "Amenti [the Underworld], onwards, onwards to Osiris."

He was said to have a wife, Anput (who was really just his female aspect, her name being his with an additional feminine suffix: the t), who was depicted exactly the same, though feminine.


Anubis is the god commonly depicted as having the head of either a jackal or a dog.

Etymology/Lord of the dead

Originally, in the Ogdoad system, he was god of the underworld, and his name is frequently thought to have reflected this, meaning something like putrefaction.

The 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 considered a lesser god in the underworld, giving way to the more popular Osiris. Indeed, when the legend of Osiris and Isis emerged, it was said that when Osiris had died, Anubis stood down from his position out of respect for him.

Since he had been more associated with beliefs about the weighing of the heart than had Osiris, Anubis retained this aspect, and became considered more the gatekeeper of the underworld, the Guardian of the veil (of death). As such, he was said to protect souls as they journeyed there, and thus be the patron of lost souls (and consequently orphans). Rather than god of death, he had become god of dying, and consequently funeral arrangements. It was as the god of dying that his identity merged with that of Wepwawet, a similar jackal-headed god, associated with funerary practice, who had been worshipped in Upper Egypt, whereas Anubis' cult had centred in Lower Egypt.

As one of the most important funerary rites in Egypt involved the process of embalming, so it was that Anubis became the god of embalming, in the process gaining titles such as He who belongs to the mummy wrappings, and He who is before the divine [embalming] booth. High priests often wore the Anubis mask to perform the ceremonial deeds of embalming. It also became said, frequently in the Book of the dead, that it had been Anubis who embalmed the dead body of Osiris, with the assistance of the other main funerary deities involved - Nepthys, and Isis.

Anubis’role in the Egyptian funerary rites

In the funerary ceremonies of Ancient Egyptians, a prayer/evocation to Anubis was recited. The face and voice of the deceased were likened to those of Anubis. Thus the true visage of the jackal-headed god was as a death-mask to behold; in some sense Anubis may be thought of as a speaker for the dead, a courier of last words and final wishes. It would seem that in this respect, his duties are not dissimilar to those of Djhewty's profession; but rather than acting as a messenger and scribe to the gods themselves, Anubis serves the dead as a recorder of their deeds and as a final spokesman on their behalf in the halls of Judgement.


Being known as God of Embalming, Anubis became strongly associated with the mysterious and ancient imiut fetish, present during funerary rites, and Bast, who by this time was goddess of ointment, initially became thought of as his mother.

However, as lesser of the two gods of the underworld, he gradually became considered the son of Osiris, but Osiris' wife, Isis, was not considered his mother, since she too inappropriately was associated with life. Instead, his mother became considered to be Nepthys, who had become strongly associated with funerary practice, indeed had in some ways become the personification of mourning, and was said to supply bandages to the deceased. Subsequently, this apparent infidelity of Osiris was explained in myth, in which it was said that a sexually frustrated Nepthys had disguised herself as Isis in order to appeal to her husband, Set, but he did not notice her as he was homosexual and infertile, whereas Isis' husband Osiris did, mistaking her for his wife, which resulted in Anubis' birth.

Some more homophobic versions of the myth depict Set as the father.

In later times, during the Ptolemaic period, as their functions were similar, Anubis was identified as the Greek god Hermes, becoming Hermanubis.

A version to Anubis’ background

In a myth, Anubis is the bastard child of Nephthys (Nebt-Het), born of her clandestine union with Osiris (Asar) but raised as the son of Set (Suti). As he grew to manhood it became obvious that Anubis was not of Set’s offspring, showing a streak of melancholic compassion that could only be attributed to the blood of his true and secret father. Anubis was cast out when his true nature was discovered, and left to his own solitary devices. Anubis, haunter of dark and lonely places, a wanderer through the shadow-realm between life and death, witnesses the darker side of mortality. He seeks for lost souls left without guidance after their death. All dead will eventually find themselves in the presence of this enigmatic god, who silently will lead them away from this world and to the gates of the next.


The localities in which Anubis was especially worshipped are Abt, the Papyrus Swamps, Sep, Re-au, Heru-ti, Ta-hetchet, Saint, {Lycopolis}, Sekhem, {Letopolis}.

The centre of this cult however 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.

Hermanubis also appears in the alchemical and hermetical literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.

Main Belief

Archaeologists found a papyrus in the burial of Nany (NAH-nee), a woman in her seventies. She was a chantress, or ritual singer, of the god Amun-Re and is referred to as "king's daughter" (probably meaning she was daughter of the high priest of Amun and titular king, Pinodjem I). As was customary during the Third Intermediate Period, her coffin and boxes of shawabtis (figures of substitute workers for the afterlife) were accompanied by a hollow wooden Osiris figure, which contained a papyrus scroll inscribed with a collection of texts that Egyptologists call the Book of the Dead. The ancient name was the Book of Coming Forth by Day. It is more than seventeen feet long when unrolled. The hieroglyphic inscriptions were written by a scribe, and the illustrations were drawn and painted by an artist. The scene depicted here shows the climax of the journey to the afterlife. Nany is in the Hall of Judgment. Holding her mouth and eyes in her hand, she stands to the left of a large scale. Her heart is being weighed against Maat, the goddess of justice and truth, who is represented as a tiny figure wearing her symbol, a single large feather, in her headband. On the right, Osiris, god of the underworld and rebirth, presides over the scene. He is identified by his tall crown with a knob at the top, by his long curving beard, his crook, and by his body, which appears to be wrapped like a mummy except for his hands. At his back hangs a menat as counterweight for his collar. In front of him is an offering of a joint of beef. Jackal-headed Anubis, overseer of mummification, adjusts the scales, while a baboon--symbolizing Thoth, the god of wisdom and writing - sits on the balance beam and prepares to write down the result. Behind Nany stands the goddess Isis, both wife and sister of Osiris. She is identified by the hieroglyph above her head.

Nany has been questioned by the tribunal of forty-two gods about her behavior in life. She has had to answer negatively to every question asked in this examination, often called the negative confession. Examples of her denials include: I have not done wrong. . . . I have not killed people. . . . I have not told lies. . . . I have not caused weeping. . . . I have not done what the gods detest. . . . I have not made anyone suffer. . . . I have not made false statements in the place of truth. In this scene Nany has been found truthful and therefore worthy of entering the afterlife. Her heart is not heavier than the image of the goddess of Truth. Anubis says to Osiris, Her heart is an accurate witness, and Osiris replies, Give her her eyes and her mouth, since her heart is an accurate witness.

In the horizontal register above the judgment scene, Nany appears in three episodes: worshiping the divine palette with which all is written, praising a statue of Horus, and standing by her own tomb. Nany had a second papyrus roll with texts entitled What Is in the Underworld (Amduat) wrapped into her mummy in the area across her knees.

The Book of the Dead

In the Theban Recesion of the Book of the Dead Anubis plays prominent parts, the most important of all being those which are connected with the judgment and the embalmed the body of Osiris and that he swathed it in the linen swathing which were woven by Isis and Nepthys, that it resisted the influences of time and decay.

In the Funeral Procession the mummy is received by Anubis, standing by the Book of the Dead. The god is portrayed at the mummy’s side and laying his protecting hands upon it. In his speech Anubis says, I have come to protect Osiris." In the text of Unas {line 219} the nose of the deceased declares, My lips are the lips of Anpu. From various passages it is clear that one part of Egypt at least Anubis was the great god of the Underworld, and his rank and importance seem to have been as great as those of Osiris.

In the 'Judgment Scene' Anubis appears to act for Osiris, with whom he is intimately connected, for it is he whose duty it is to examine the tongue of the Great Balance, and to take care that the beam is exactly horizontal.

Thoth acts on behalf of the Great company of the gods, and Anubis not only produces the heart of the deceased in the act of receiving a necklace and pectoral from Anubis, who stands by grasping his scepter; in the vignette of the Chapter on the Papyrus of Nebseni Anubis is seen presenting the heart itself to the deceased, and in the text below Nebseni prays, saying, "May Anubis make my thighs firm so that I may stand upon them."

In allusion to his connection with the embalmment of Osiris the god Anubis is called Am Ut, i.e., "Dweller in the chamber of embalmment;" as the watcher in the place of purification wherein rested the chest containing the remains of Osiris he was called Khent Sehet, i.e., Governor of the Hall of the god; and one of his names as the god of the funeral mountain was "Tep-Tu-f," i.e., he who is upon his hill.

In the Book of the Dead the deceased says, I have washed myself in the water wherein the god Anpu washed when he had performed the office of the embalmer and bandager;} and elsewhere the deceased is told that Anpu, who is upon his hill, hath set thee in order, and he hath fastened for thee thy swathings, thy throat is the throat of Anubis {clxxii. 22} and thy face is like that of Anubis {clxxxi. 9}.

Anubis’ duties

Anubis had to guide the souls of the dead round about the Underworld and into the kingdom of Osiris was shared by Anubis with another god whose type and symbol was a jackal, and whose name was Ap-uat, i.e., the Opener of the ways; formerly Anubis and Ap-uat were considered to be two names of one and the same god, but there is no longer any reason for holding this view. In the vignette to the cxxxviiith Chapter of the Book of the Dead we find represented the scene of setting up the standard which supports the box that held the head of Osiris at Abydos.

On each side of it are a standard with a figure of a jackal upon it and a pylon, on top of which lies a jackal; and as it is quite clear from the groups of objects on each side of the standard that we are dealing with symbols either of the South and North, or the East and the West, we are justified in thinking that one jackal represents Ap-uat and the other Anubis.

Anubis and Anpu

From the same book we learn that the 21st Pylon of the House of Osiris was presided over by seven gods, among whom were An-uat and Anpu, and as in the XXIII Chapter both gods are mentioned, and each is predicated in the form of a jackal-headed man, it may be concluded that each was a distinct god of the dead, although their identities are sometimes confused in the texts.

The function of each god was to "open the ways," and therefore each might be called Ap-uat, but, strictly speaking, Anubis was the opener of the roads of the North, and Ap-uat the opener of the roads of the South' in fact, Anubis was the personification of the Summer Solstice, and Ap-uat of the Winter Solstice.

Anubis, Sekhem Em Pet and Plutarch

Anubis is called in the texts Sekhem Em Pet, and is said to be the son of Osiris, and Ap-uat bore the title Sekhem Taui, and was a form of Osiris himself. When, therefore, we find the two jackals upon sepulchral stelae, we must understand that they appear there in character of openers of the ways of the deceased in the kingdom of Osiris, and that they assure to the deceased the services of guides in the northern and southern parts of heaven; when they appear with the two Utchats thus, they symbolize the four quarters of heaven and of earth, and the four seasons of the year.

On the subject of Anubis Plutarch reports {44, 61} some interesting beliefs. After referring to the view that Anubis was born of Nephthys, although Isis was his reputed mother, he goes on to say, By Anubis they understand the horizontal circle, which divides the invisible, to which they give the name of Isis; and this circle equally touches upon the confines of both light and darkness, it may be looked upon as common to them both - and from this circumstance arose that resemblance, which they imagine between Anubis and the Dog, it being observed of this animal, that he is equally watchful as well by day as night.

In short, the Egyptian Anubis and the Dog, it being observed of this animal, that he is watchful as well by day as night. In short, the Egyptian Anubis seems to be of much the same power and nature as the Greek Hecate, a deity common both to the celestial and infernal regions.

Some scholars think that Anubis means Time, and that his denomination of Kuon does not so much allude to any likeness, which he has to the dog, though this be the general rendering of the word, as to that other signification of the term taken from breeding; because Time begets all things out of it self, bearing them within itself, as it were in a womb.

However it is certain that in ancient times the Egyptians paid the greatest reverence and honor to the Dog, though by reason of its devouring the Apis after Cambyses had slain him and thrown him out, when no animal would taste or so much as come near him, he then lost the first rank among the sacred animals which he had hitherto possessed."

Referring to Osiris as the "common Reason which pervades both the superior and the inferior regions of the universe," he says that it is, moreover, called "Anubis, and sometimes likewise Hermanubis {i.e., Heru-em-Anpu}; the first of these names expressing the relation it has to be superior, as the latter, to the inferior world.

And for this reason it is, they sacrifice to him two Cocks, the white one,as a proper emblem of the purity and brightness of things above, the other of a saffron color, expressive of that mixture and variety which is to be found in these lower regions."

Strictly speaking, Anubis should be reckoned as the last member of the Great Company of the gods of Heliopolis, but as a matter fact his place is usually taken by Horus, the son of Isis and of Osiris, who generally completes the divine part; it is probable that the fusion of Horus, with Anubis was a political expedient on the part of the priesthood who, finding no room in their system for the old god of the dead, identified him with a form of Horus, just as they had done with his father Set, and the double god possessed two district and opposite aspects; as the guide of heaven and the leader of souls to Osiris he was a beneficent god, but as the personification of death and deacy he was a being who inspired terror.

From an interesting passage in the "Golden Ass" of Apeleius {Book XI} the double character of Anubis was maintained by his votaries in Rome even in the second century of our era, and in describing the Procession of Isis he says, Immediately after these came the Deities, condescending to walk upon human feet, the foremost among them rearing terrifically on high his dog's head and neck - that messenger between heaven and hell displaying alternately a face black as night waving aloft the green palm branch.

His steps were closely followed by a cow, raised into an upright posture - the cow being the fruitful emblem of the Universal Parent, the goddess herself, which one of the happy train carried with majestic steps, supported on his shoulders. By another was borne the coffin containing the sacred things, and closely concealing the deep secrets of the holy religion."

This extract shows that even in the second century at Rome the principal actors in the old Egyptian Osiris ceremonial's were represented with scrupulous care, and that its chief characteristics were preserved. The cow was, of course, nothing less than the symbol of Isis, "the mother of the god," and the coffin containing the "sacred things" was the symbol of the sarcophagus of Osiris which contained his relics. Before these marched Anubis in his two-fold character, and thus we have types of Osiris and his mysteries, and of Isis who revivified him, and of Anubis who embalmed him. Had Apuleus understood the old Egyptian ceremonies connected with the Osiris legend and had he been able to identify all the characters who passed before him in the Isis procession, he would probably have seen that Nephthys and Horus and several other gods of the funeral company of Osiris were duly represented therein.

Anubis and his magick related info

  • Symbol: sarcophagus
  • Candle color: black
  • Holy day: the Day of Keeping Things', celebrated on January 1st

Popular culture

  • Anubis is popularized by furry culture, and has appeared in many artworks, comics and stories.
  • Anubis is worshipped by certain groups of Neopagans
  • Anubis is the name of a Greek publishing house (


  • Anubis is the name of a villain who turns good in the anime series Ronin Warriors


  • Anubismon is a Digimon in the Digimon collectible card game based on Anubis.
  • Anubis is a recurring battle chip in the MegaMan Battle Network series. It creates a black Jackal statue that poisons the enemy until destroyed.
  • Anubis appears as the scheming antagonist in Roger Zelazny's Creatures of Light and Darkness.
  • Anubis appears in the Dungeons and Dragons supplement Deities and Demigods. Though divorced from his city of worship, it is maintained that he is the son of Osiris and Nepthys. Anubis notably disdains the creation of undead, with the exception of mummy temple guardians.
  • In the MMORPG RuneScape the God Icthlarin is similar to Anubis
  • Anubis is mentioned several times within the Mummy films. In The Mummy Returns, the Scorpion King swore an oath to Anubis, who in turn spared his life. Thereafter, the Scorpion King and an army of Anubis-like soldiers decimated most of the populace of Thebes.
  • Anubis appears in several computer games such as War Gods, Zone of the Enders, Broken Sword 3 and Gex 3.
  • Anubis is the name of a spaceship in the Microsoft PC Freelancer game.
  • Anubis is the main character of Unreal Championship 2, and is a high-ranking member of the Desert Legion. He enters the Liandri-hosted Ascension Rites to stop Selket's plan.
  • A Petpet on the virtual pet website Neopets is called the Anubis, and resembles a small version of the god.
  • Anubis "Doggie" Cruger is a dog-like blue humanoid alien is commander of Space Patrol Delta in Power Rangers S.P.D., and also serves as the S.P.D. Shadow Ranger.
  • Doggy "Boss" Kruger is the Japanese counterpart of Anubis Cruger in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. He serves as commander of SPD and fights as Dekamaster.
  • Anubis is one of the possible minor gods to worship in the Age of Mythology PC games
  • The Anubashi are a force of enormous animated statues that feature prominently as enemies inside Ahn'Qiraj, an Egypt-themed location in the popular MMORPG World Of Warcraft. All Anubashi but one closely resemble Anubis. The exception is Ossirian the Unscarred who resembles Horus.
  • Anubis is the name of a song in the arcade dance game series In the Groove.
  • The decadent passenger ship that carries Slothrop and Margherita from Berlin to Peenemünde in Part 3 of Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow (1973) is called the Anubis.


  • Anubis appears as 'Mister Jacquel', who co-owns a funeral parlor in Cairo, Illinois with Thoth (as 'Mister Ibis') in Neil Gaiman's novel American Gods
  • Anubis is the name of the first book (and subsequent stealth-action video game--both currently in development) in a trilogy based on the concepts of genetic engineering, molecular and collective subconsciousness.
  • Anubis is the virtual persona of John "Dread" Wulgaru, the sadistic psychopath of Tad Williams' Otherland books.
  • Anubis, together with Bastet, was the main villain of the Nikopol trilogy of graphic novels by cartoonist Enki Bilal


  • Anubis is the main villain in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Movie. In that movie he was depicted as an evil entity wanting to take over the world, and he had the Pyramid of Light' the most powerful of the Millennium Items. He is also depicted on various cards in the 'Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game


  • Anubis: Jackal God Of Death is the name of a 1997 album by the band Ganesha
  • "Anubis the Jackal" is the name of a heavy rock song by White Skull
  • "Anubis" is a song by J-rock band Luna Sea in their Eden album.


  • Anubis appears in the TV show Stargate SG-1 as a highly powerful and hostile "Ascended" Goa'uld. He is deemed the most evil of them all, committing such atrocities that even the Goa’uld could not tolerate.
  • Anubis appears in the episode "Grief" of the animated TV series Gargoyles.
  • Anubis is a primary character in Stephen King's made-for-TV adaptation of Lars von Trier's series Kingdom Hospital.
  • The Pokémon named Lucario is visually based on the image of Anubis.
  • Anubis appears in the episode "The Mommy's Hand" of the animated TV series Mighty Max.
  • In an episode of Disney's Kim Possible, wrestling promoter Jackie Oaks uses an amulet formerly belonging to a high priest of Anubis to transform himself into The Jackal, a being with god-like powers.
  • Anubis appears in the cartoon Tutenstein

See also

External links

Part of this article consists of modified text from Wikipedia, and the article is therefore licensed under GFDL.