Ancient Egyptian funerary practices
The ancient Egyptians had an elaborate set of funerary practices that they believed were necessary to ensure their immortality after death. These rituals and protocols included mummifying the body, casting magic spells, burial with specific grave goods thought to be needed in the Egyptian afterlife; the ancient Egyptian burial process evolved over time as old customs were discarded and new ones adopted, but several important elements of the process persisted. Although specific details changed over time, the preparation of the body, the magic rituals, grave goods were all essential parts of a proper Egyptian funeral. There were many different gods; the ancient Egyptians believed that each god would separately judge the deceased before he could enter the afterlife. Although no writing survives from Predynastic Egypt, scholars believe the importance of the physical body and its preservation originated there; this would explain why people of that time did not follow the common practice of cremation, but rather buried the dead.
Some believe they may have feared the bodies would rise again if mistreated after death. Early bodies were buried with a few burial goods. Sometimes multiple people and animals were placed in the same grave. Over time, graves became more complex, with the body placed in a wicker basket later in wooden or terracotta coffins; the latest tombs Egyptians made were sarcophagi. These graves contained burial goods like jewelry, food and sharpened splint; this demonstrates that this ancient period had a sense of the afterlife, though archaeological evidence may show the average person had little chance of getting into it. This may be; the pharaoh was allowed in because of his role in life, others needed to have some role there. Human sacrifices found in early royal tombs reinforce this view; these people were meant to serve the pharaoh during his eternal life. Figurines and wall paintings begin to replace human victims; some of these figurines may have been created to resemble certain people, so they could follow the pharaoh after their lives ended.
Note that not only the lower classes had to rely on the pharaoh's favor, but the noble classes. They believed that when he died, the pharaoh became a type of god, who could bestow upon certain individuals the ability to have an afterlife; this belief existed from the predynastic period through the Old Kingdom. Although many spells from the predeceasing texts were carried over, the new coffin texts had additional new spells added, along with slight changes made to make this new funerary text more relatable to the nobility. In the First Intermediate Period, the importance of the pharaoh declined. Funerary texts restricted to royal use, became more available; the pharaoh was no longer a god-king in the sense that only he was allowed in the next life due to his status here, now he was the ruler of the population who upon his death would be leveled down towards the plane of the mortals. The first funerals in Egypt are known from the villages of Maadi in the north; the people of these villages buried their dead in round graves with one pot.
The body was neither treated nor arranged in a regular way as would be the case in the historical period. Without any written evidence, there is little to provide information about contemporary beliefs concerning the afterlife except for the regular inclusion of a single pot in the grave. In view of customs, the pot was intended to hold food for the deceased. Funerary customs developed during the Predynastic period from those of the Prehistoric Period. At first people excavated round graves with one pot in the Badarian Period, continuing the tradition of Omari and Maadi cultures. By the end of the Predynastic period, there were increasing numbers of objects deposited with the body in rectangular graves, there is growing evidence of rituals practiced by Egyptians of the Naquada II Period. At this point, bodies were arranged in a crouched or fetal position with the face toward either the east the rising sun or the west. Artists painted jars with funeral processions and ritual dancing. Figures of bare breasted women with birdlike faces and their legs concealed under skirts appeared in some graves.
Some graves were much richer in goods than others, demonstrating the beginnings of social stratification. Gender differences in burial emerged with the inclusion of weapons in men's graves and cosmetics palettes in women's graves. By the First Dynasty, some Egyptians were wealthy enough to build tombs over their burials rather than placing their bodies in simple pit graves dug into the sand; the rectangular, mud-brick tomb with an underground burial chamber, called a mastaba, developed in this period. These tombs had niched walls, a style of building called the palace-façade motif because the walls imitated those surrounding the palace of the king. Since commoners as well as kings, had such tombs, the architecture suggests that in death, some wealthy people did achieve an elevated status. In the historical period, it is certain that the deceased was associated with the god of the dead, Osiris. Grave goods expanded to include furniture and games as well as the weapons, cosmetic palettes, food supplies in decorated jars known earlier, in the Predynastic period.
Now, however, in the richest tombs, grave goods numbered in the thousands. Only the newly invented coffins for the body were made for the tomb. There is some inconclusive evidence for mummification. Other objects in
Greek mythology is the body of myths told by the ancient Greeks. These stories concern the origin and the nature of the world, the lives and activities of deities and mythological creatures, the origins and significance of the ancient Greeks' own cult and ritual practices. Modern scholars study the myths in an attempt to shed light on the religious and political institutions of ancient Greece and its civilization, to gain understanding of the nature of myth-making itself; the Greek myths were propagated in an oral-poetic tradition most by Minoan and Mycenaean singers starting in the 18th century BC. Two poems by Homer's near contemporary Hesiod, the Theogony and the Works and Days, contain accounts of the genesis of the world, the succession of divine rulers, the succession of human ages, the origin of human woes, the origin of sacrificial practices. Myths are preserved in the Homeric Hymns, in fragments of epic poems of the Epic Cycle, in lyric poems, in the works of the tragedians and comedians of the fifth century BC, in writings of scholars and poets of the Hellenistic Age, in texts from the time of the Roman Empire by writers such as Plutarch and Pausanias.
Aside from this narrative deposit in ancient Greek literature, pictorial representations of gods and mythic episodes featured prominently in ancient vase-paintings and the decoration of votive gifts and many other artifacts. Geometric designs on pottery of the eighth century BC depict scenes from the Trojan cycle as well as the adventures of Heracles. In the succeeding Archaic and Hellenistic periods and various other mythological scenes appear, supplementing the existing literary evidence. Greek mythology has had an extensive influence on the culture and literature of Western civilization and remains part of Western heritage and language. Poets and artists from ancient times to the present have derived inspiration from Greek mythology and have discovered contemporary significance and relevance in the themes. Greek mythology is known today from Greek literature and representations on visual media dating from the Geometric period from c. 900 BC to c. 800 BC onward. In fact and archaeological sources integrate, sometimes mutually supportive and sometimes in conflict.
Mythical narration plays an important role in nearly every genre of Greek literature. The only general mythographical handbook to survive from Greek antiquity was the Library of Pseudo-Apollodorus; this work attempts to reconcile the contradictory tales of the poets and provides a grand summary of traditional Greek mythology and heroic legends. Apollodorus of Athens wrote on many of these topics, his writings may have formed the basis for the collection. Among the earliest literary sources are the Iliad and the Odyssey. Other poets completed the "epic cycle", but these and lesser poems now are lost entirely. Despite their traditional name, the "Homeric Hymns" have no direct connection with Homer, they are choral hymns from the earlier part of the so-called Lyric age. Hesiod, a possible contemporary with Homer, offers in his Theogony the fullest account of the earliest Greek myths, dealing with the creation of the world. Hesiod's Works and Days, a didactic poem about farming life includes the myths of Prometheus and the Five Ages.
The poet gives advice on the best way to succeed in a dangerous world, rendered yet more dangerous by its gods. Lyrical poets took their subjects from myth, but their treatment became less narrative and more allusive. Greek lyric poets, including Pindar and Simonides, bucolic poets such as Theocritus and Bion, relate individual mythological incidents. Additionally, myth was central to classical Athenian drama; the tragic playwrights Aeschylus and Euripides took most of their plots from myths of the age of heroes and the Trojan War. Many of the great tragic stories took on their classic form in these tragedies; the comic playwright Aristophanes used myths, in The Birds and The Frogs. Historians Herodotus and Diodorus Siculus, geographers Pausanias and Strabo, who traveled throughout the Greek world and noted the stories they heard, supplied numerous local myths and legends giving little-known alternative versions. Herodotus in particular, searched the various traditions presented him and found the historical or mythological roots in the confrontation between Greece and the East.
Herodotus attempted to reconcile the blending of differing cultural concepts. The poetry of the Hellenistic and Roman ages was composed as a literary rather than cultic exercise, it contains many important details that would otherwise be lost. This category includes the works of: The Roman poets Ovid, Valerius Flaccus and Virgil with Servius's commentary; the Greek poets of the Late Antique period: Nonnus, Antoninus Liberalis, Quintus Smyrnaeus. The Greek poets of the Hellenistic period: Apollonius of Rhodes, Pseudo-Eratosthenes, Parthenius. Prose writers from the same periods who make reference to myths includ
Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs
Ancient Egyptian afterlife beliefs were centered around a variety of complex rituals, that were influenced by many aspects of Egyptian culture. Religion was a major contributor, since it was an important social practice that bound all Egyptians together. For instance, many of the Egyptian gods played roles in guiding the souls of the dead through the afterlife. With the evolution of writing, religious ideals were recorded and spread throughout the Egyptian community; the solidification and commencement of these doctrines were formed in the creation of afterlife texts which illustrated and explained what the dead would need to know in order to complete the journey safely. Egyptian religious doctrines included three basic afterlife ideologies; the underworld known as the Duat had only one entrance that could be reached by travelling through the tomb of the deceased. The initial image a soul would be presented with upon entering this realm was a corridor lined with an array of fascinating statues, including a variation of the famous hawk-headed god, Horus.
It must be noted that the path taken to the underworld may have varied between kings and common people. After entry, spirits were presented to Osiris. Osiris would determine the virtue of the deceased's soul and grant those deemed deserving a peaceful afterlife; the Egyptian concept of'eternal life' was seen as being reborn indefinitely. Therefore, the souls who had were guided to Osiris to be born again. In order to achieve the ideal afterlife, many practices must be performed during one's life; this may have included following the beliefs of Egyptian creed. Additionally, the Egyptians stressed. In other words, it was the responsibility of the living to carry out the final traditions required so the dead could promptly meet their final fate. Maintaining high religious morals by both the living and the dead, as well as complying to a variety of traditions guaranteed the deceased a smoother transition into the underworld. There were many challenges the dead had to face before they were able to enter into the final stages of the afterlife.
However, through the support of the living, the dead had access to the protection and knowledge they would need to be reborn in the netherworld. The design and scale of Egyptian burial tombs varied from period to period though their function remained the same. While most tombs were built during the lifetime of the person it was meant for, Egyptian tombs were constructed to house the body of the dead, but functioned to transmit the soul to the underworld. Most of the what was found in a tomb depended on the status of the person buried within it. However, in order to assist the dead, most tombs were decorated with afterlife texts meant to help guide the deceased's soul to the afterlife, something, attainable to all. Throughout the centuries, the Egyptian people decorated their tombs and coffins with religious spells and texts hoping to help the dead in the afterlife; as Egyptian culture developed these texts, evolved, becoming more complex and extensive in nature. The Pyramid Texts were the first religious spells to be carved into the walls of royal ancient Egyptian pyramids.
Beginning in the Old Kingdom period, these texts were used by the Egyptian pharaohs to decorate the walls of their tombs. However, Egyptian Queens and high-ranking government officials soon began to use Pyramid Texts in their burial tombs as well; the purpose of these texts were to help the pharaoh complete his journey through the afterlife, by conveying knowledge to the deceased about the paths he should take and the dangers he might face along the way. In the Middle Kingdom period the Pyramid texts were replaced by the Coffin Texts; the Coffin Texts were spells. They were meant to protect the deceased in the afterlife and provide them with the transformation magic they would need along their journey; these Coffin Texts were more attainable, providing the common people of Egypt the opportunity to attain a proper afterlife. It is important to note that the collection of Coffin Texts known as The Book of Two Ways functioned as the earliest manual to the afterlife; the Book of the Dead was an extensive collection of spells that included material from both the Pyramid Texts and the Coffin Texts.
In the New Kingdom period, papyrus was what the Book of the Dead was recorded on. However, it could be found on the tomb walls and the wrappings of mummies. Like the Coffin Texts, the spells illustrated within the Book of the Dead were used by everyone; these spells offered advice and knowledge to the dead as they journeyed through the netherworld. The Books of the Netherworld contained multiple texts that provided the deceased with a description of the underworld and served as a guide to help the dead during their final journey. Since the deceased were seen replicating the rebirth cycle of Ra as they travelled through the afterlife, these texts focused on the second half of the sun god's journey, which took him through the underworld at night; the earlier Books of the Netherworld, which include the Amduat and the Book of Gates, divided their narratives into twelve parts, symbolizing the twelve hours the sun god spent in the underworld. Books such as the Book of Caverns and the Book of the Earth used a more sectionalized approach when presenting their narratives.
All of these books contained complex illustrations of the netherworld, which could be seen etched into coffins and the walls of burial tombs. The Books of Sky consisted of three afte
Amunet is a primordial goddess in ancient Egyptian religion. Her name, jmnt, is a feminine noun that means "The Hidden One", she is a member of the Ogdoad of Hermopolis, who represented aspects of the primeval existence before the creation: Amunet was paired with Amun — whose name means "The Hidden One" too, with a masculine ending — within this divine group, from the earliest known documentation. Such pairing of deities is characteristic of the religious concepts of the ancient Egyptians, being the Ogdoad itself composed by four balanced couples of deities or deified primeval concepts, it seems that Amunet may have been artificially conceived by theologians as a complement to Amun, rather than being an independent deity. The Pyramid Texts mention the beneficent shadow of Amun and Amunet: O Amun and Amunet! You pair of the gods. By at least the 12th dynasty, Amaunet was superseded as Amun's partner by Mut as cults evolved or were merged following Mentuhotep II's reunification of Egypt — but she remained locally important in the region of Thebes, where Amun was worshipped.
There she was seen as a protector of the pharaoh, playing a preeminent role in rituals associed with the coronation of the pharaoh and Sed festivals. In the Festival Hall of Thutmose III, Amaunet is shown with the fertility-god Min while leading a row of deities to visit the Pharaoh in the anniversary celebration. In spite of Amaunet's stable position as a local goddess of Egypt's most important city, her cult had little widespread following outside the Theban region. At Karnak, Amun's cult center, priests were dedicated to Amaunet's service. Amaunet was depicted as a woman wearing the Deshret "Red Crown of Lower Egypt" — as in her colossal statue placed in the Record Hall of Thutmose III at Karnak during the reign of Tutankhamun — and carrying a staff of papyrus; the exact reason for this iconography is uncertain. In some late texts from Karnak she was syncretized with Neith, although she remained a distinct deity as late as the Ptolemaic Kingdom: she is carved on the exterior wall of the Festival Hall of Thutmose III in Karnak suckling pharaoh Philip III of Macedon, who appears after his own enthronement, as a divine child.
Hart, George, A Dictionary of Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, Routledge, 1986, ISBN 0-415-05909-7. Wilkinson, Richard H; the Complete Gods and Goddesses of Ancient Egypt, Thames & Hudson, 2003, ISBN 0-500-05120-8
Amun is a major ancient Egyptian deity who appears as a member of the Hermopolitan Ogdoad. Amun was attested from the Old Kingdom together with his wife Amaunet. With the 11th dynasty, Amun rose to the position of patron deity of Thebes by replacing Montu. After the rebellion of Thebes against the Hyksos and with the rule of Ahmose I, Amun acquired national importance, expressed in his fusion with the Sun god, Ra, as Amun-Ra or Amun-Re. Amun-Ra retained chief importance in the Egyptian pantheon throughout the New Kingdom. Amun-Ra in this period held the position of transcendental, self-created creator deity "par excellence", his position as King of Gods developed to the point of virtual monotheism where other gods became manifestations of him. With Osiris, Amun-Ra is the most recorded of the Egyptian gods; as the chief deity of the Egyptian Empire, Amun-Ra came to be worshipped outside Egypt, according to the testimony of ancient Greek historiographers in Libya and Nubia. As Zeus Ammon, he came to be identified with Zeus in Greece.
Amun and Amaunet are mentioned in the Old Egyptian Pyramid Texts. The name Amun meant something like "the hidden one" or "invisible". Amun rose to the position of tutelary deity of Thebes after the end of the First Intermediate Period, under the 11th dynasty; as the patron of Thebes, his spouse was Mut. In Thebes, Amun as father, Mut as mother and the Moon god Khonsu formed a divine family or "Theban Triad"; the history of Amun as the patron god of Thebes begins in the 20th century BC, with the construction of the Precinct of Amun-Re at Karnak under Senusret I. The city of Thebes does not appear to have been of great significance before the 11th dynasty. Major construction work in the Precinct of Amun-Re took place during the 18th dynasty when Thebes became the capital of the unified ancient Egypt. Construction of the Hypostyle Hall may have begun during the 18th dynasty, though most building was undertaken under Seti I and Ramesses II. Merenptah commemorated his victories over the Sea Peoples on the walls of the Cachette Court, the start of the processional route to the Luxor Temple.
This Great Inscription shows the king's campaigns and eventual return with items of potential value and prisoners. Next to this inscription is the Victory Stela, a copy of the more famous Israel Stela found in the funerary complex of Merenptah on the west bank of the Nile in Thebes. Merenptah's son Seti II added two small obelisks in front of the Second Pylon, a triple bark-shrine to the north of the processional avenue in the same area; this was constructed with a chapel to Amun flanked by those of Mut and Khonsu. The last major change to the Precinct of Amun-Re's layout was the addition of the first pylon and the massive enclosure walls that surrounded the whole Precinct, both constructed by Nectanebo I; when the army of the founder of the Eighteenth dynasty expelled the Hyksos rulers from Egypt, the victor's city of origin, became the most important city in Egypt, the capital of a new dynasty. The local patron deity of Thebes, therefore became nationally important; the pharaohs of that new dynasty attributed all their successful enterprises to Amun, they lavished much of their wealth and captured spoil on the construction of temples dedicated to Amun.
The victory accomplished by pharaohs who worshipped Amun against the "foreign rulers", brought him to be seen as a champion of the less fortunate, upholding the rights of justice for the poor. By aiding those who traveled in his name, he became the Protector of the road. Since he upheld Ma'at, those who prayed to Amun were required first to demonstrate that they were worthy by confessing their sins. Votive stelae from the artisans' village at Deir el-Medina record: who comes at the voice of the poor in distress, who gives breath to him, wretched.. You are the Lord of the silent, who comes at the voice of the poor. Though the servant was disposed to do evil, the Lord is disposed to forgive; the Lord of Thebes spends not a whole day in anger. His breath comes back to us in mercy... May your kꜣ be kind. Subsequently, when Egypt conquered Kush, they identified the chief deity of the Kushites as Amun; this Kush deity was depicted as ram-headed, more a woolly ram with curved horns. Amun thus became associated with the ram arising from the aged appearance of the Kush ram deity.
A solar deity in the form of a ram can be traced to the pre-literate Kerma culture in Nubia, contemporary to the Old Kingdom of Egypt. The name of Nubian Amun was Amani, attested in numerous personal names such as Tanwetamani and Amanitore. Since rams were considered a symbol of virility, Amun became thought of as a fertility deity, so started to absorb the identity of Min, becoming Amun-Min; this association with virility led to Amun-Min gaining the epithet Kamutef, meaning "Bull of his mother", in which form he was found depicted on the walls of Karnak and with a scourge, as Min was. As the cult of Amun grew in importance, Amun became identified with the chief deity, worshipped in other areas during that period, the sun god Ra; this identification led with Amun becoming Amun-Ra. In the Hymn to Amun-Ra he is described as Lord of truth, father of the gods, maker of m
The Osiris myth is the most elaborate and influential story in ancient Egyptian mythology. It concerns the murder of the god Osiris, a primeval king of Egypt, its consequences. Osiris's murderer, his brother Set, usurps his throne. Meanwhile, Osiris's wife Isis restores her husband's body, allowing him to posthumously conceive their son, Horus; the remainder of the story focuses on Horus, the product of the union of Isis and Osiris, at first a vulnerable child protected by his mother and becomes Set's rival for the throne. Their violent conflict ends with Horus's triumph, which restores Maat to Egypt after Set's unrighteous reign and completes the process of Osiris's resurrection; the myth, with its complex symbolism, is integral to ancient Egyptian conceptions of kingship and succession, conflict between order and disorder, death and the afterlife. It expresses the essential character of each of the four deities at its center, many elements of their worship in ancient Egyptian religion were derived from the myth.
The Osiris myth reached its basic form in or before the 24th century BCE. Many of its elements originated in religious ideas, but the struggle between Horus and Set may have been inspired by a regional conflict in Egypt's Early Dynastic or Prehistoric Egypt. Scholars have tried to discern the exact nature of the events that gave rise to the story, but they have reached no definitive conclusions. Parts of the myth appear in a wide variety of Egyptian texts, from funerary texts and magical spells to short stories; the story is, more detailed and more cohesive than any other ancient Egyptian myth. Yet no Egyptian source gives a full account of the myth, the sources vary in their versions of events. Greek and Roman writings On Isis and Osiris by Plutarch, provide more information but may not always reflect Egyptian beliefs. Through these writings, the Osiris myth persisted after knowledge of most ancient Egyptian beliefs was lost, it is still well known today; the myth of Osiris was influential in ancient Egyptian religion and was popular among ordinary people.
One reason for this popularity is the myth's primary religious meaning, which implies that any dead person can reach a pleasant afterlife. Another reason is that the characters and their emotions are more reminiscent of the lives of real people than those in most Egyptian myths, making the story more appealing to the general populace. In particular, the myth conveys a "strong sense of family loyalty and devotion", as the Egyptologist J. Gwyn Griffiths put it, in the relationships between Osiris and Horus. With this widespread appeal, the myth appears in more ancient texts than any other myth and in an exceptionally broad range of Egyptian literary styles; these sources provide an unusual amount of detail. Ancient Egyptian myths are vague; each text that contains a myth, or a fragment of one, may adapt the myth to suit its particular purposes, so different texts can contain contradictory versions of events. Because the Osiris myth was used in such a variety of ways, versions conflict with each other.
The fragmentary versions, taken together, give it a greater resemblance to a cohesive story than most Egyptian myths. The earliest mentions of the Osiris myth are in the Pyramid Texts, the first Egyptian funerary texts, which appeared on the walls of burial chambers in pyramids at the end of the Fifth Dynasty, during the 24th century BCE; these texts, made up of disparate spells or "utterances", contain ideas that are presumed to date from still earlier times. The texts are concerned with the afterlife of the king buried in the pyramid, so they refer to the Osiris myth, involved with kingship and the afterlife. Major elements of the story, such as the death and restoration of Osiris and the strife between Horus and Set, appear in the utterances of the Pyramid Texts. Funerary texts written in times, such as the Coffin Texts from the Middle Kingdom and the Book of the Dead from the New Kingdom contain elements of the myth. Other types of religious texts give evidence for the myth, such as two Middle Kingdom texts: the Dramatic Ramesseum Papyrus and the Ikhernofret Stela.
The papyrus describes the coronation of Senusret I, whereas the stela alludes to events in the annual festival of Khoiak. Rituals in both these festivals reenacted elements of the Osiris myth; the most complete ancient Egyptian account of the myth is the Great Hymn to Osiris, an inscription from the Eighteenth Dynasty that gives the general outline of the entire story but includes little detail. Another important source is the Memphite Theology, a religious narrative that includes an account of Osiris's death as well as the resolution of the dispute between Horus and Set; this narrative associates the kingship that Osiris and Horus represent with Ptah, the creator deity of Memphis. The text was long thought to date back to the Old Kingdom and was treated as a source for information about the early stages in the development of the myth. Since the 1970s, Egyptologists have concluded that the text dates to the New Kingdom at the earliest. Rituals in honor of Osiris are another major source of information.
Some of these texts are found on the walls of temples that date from the New Kingdom, the Ptolemaic era, or the Roman era. Some of these late ritual texts, in which Isis and Nephthys lament their brother's death, were adapted into funerary texts. In these texts, the goddesses' pleas were meant to rouse Osiris—and thus the dece
Anubis is the Greek name of a god associated with mummification and the afterlife in ancient Egyptian religion depicted as a canine or a man with a canine head. Archeologists have identified Anubis's sacred animal as the African golden wolf. Like many ancient Egyptian deities, Anubis assumed different roles in various contexts. Depicted as a protector of graves as early as the First Dynasty, Anubis was an embalmer. By the Middle Kingdom he was replaced by Osiris in his role as lord of the underworld. One of his prominent roles was as a god, he attended the weighing scale during the "Weighing of the Heart," in which it was determined whether a soul would be allowed to enter the realm of the dead. Despite being one of the most ancient and "one of the most depicted and mentioned gods" in the Egyptian pantheon, Anubis played no role in Egyptian myths. Anubis was depicted in black, a color that symbolized regeneration, the soil of the Nile River, the discoloration of the corpse after embalming. Anubis is associated with Wepwawet, another Egyptian god portrayed with a dog's head or in canine form, but with grey or white fur.
Historians assume that the two figures were combined. Anubis' female counterpart is Anput, his daughter is the serpent goddess Kebechet. Anubis' name jnpw was pronounced, based on Coptic Anoup and the Akkadian transcription <a-na-pa> in the name <ri-a-na-pa> "Reanapa" that appears in Amarna letter EA 315. However, this transcription may be interpreted as rˁ-nfr, a name similar to that of Prince Ranefer of the Fourth Dynasty. In Egypt's Early Dynastic period, Anubis was portrayed in full animal form, with a "jackal" head and body. A "jackal" god Anubis, is depicted in stone inscriptions from the reigns of Hor-Aha and other pharaohs of the First Dynasty. Since Predynastic Egypt, when the dead were buried in shallow graves, "jackals" had been associated with cemeteries because they were scavengers which uncovered human bodies and ate their flesh. In the spirit of "fighting like with like," a "jackal" was chosen to protect the dead, because "a common problem must have been the digging up of bodies, shortly after burial, by jackals and other wild dogs which lived on the margins of the cultivation."The oldest known textual mention of Anubis is in the Pyramid Texts of the Old Kingdom, where he is associated with the burial of the pharaoh.
In the Old Kingdom, Anubis was the most important god of the dead. He was replaced in that role by Osiris during the Middle Kingdom. In the Roman era, which started in 30 BC, tomb paintings depict him holding the hand of deceased persons to guide them to Osiris; the parentage of Anubis varied between myths and sources. In early mythology, he was portrayed as a son of Ra. In the Coffin Texts, which were written in the First Intermediate Period, Anubis is the son of either the cow goddess Hesat or the cat-headed Bastet. Another tradition depicted him as the son of Nephthys; the Greek Plutarch stated that Anubis was the illegitimate son of Nephthys and Osiris, but that he was adopted by Osiris's wife Isis: For when Isis found out that Osiris loved her sister and had relations with her in mistaking her sister for herself, when she saw a proof of it in the form of a garland of clover that he had left to Nephthys - she was looking for a baby, because Nephthys abandoned it at once after it had been born for fear of Seth.
George Hart sees this story as an "attempt to incorporate the independent deity Anubis into the Osirian pantheon." An Egyptian papyrus from the Roman period called Anubis the "son of Isis."In the Ptolemaic period, when Egypt became a Hellenistic kingdom ruled by Greek pharaohs, Anubis was merged with the Greek god Hermes, becoming Hermanubis. The two gods were considered similar; the center of this cult was in uten-ha/Sa-ka/ Cynopolis, a place whose Greek name means "city of dogs." In Book XI of The Golden Ass by Apuleius, there is evidence that the worship of this god was continued in Rome through at least the 2nd century. Indeed, Hermanubis appears in the alchemical and hermetical literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Although the Greeks and Romans scorned Egyptian animal-headed gods as bizarre and primitive, Anubis was sometimes associated with Sirius in the heavens and Cerberus and Hades in the underworld. In his dialogues, Plato has Socrates utter oaths "by the dog", "by the dog of Egypt", "by the dog, the god of the Egyptians", both for emphasis and to appeal to Anubis as an arbiter of truth in the underworld.
In contrast to real wolves, Anubis was a protector of cemeteries. Several epithets attached to his name in Egyptian texts and inscriptions referred to that role. Khenty-imentiu, which means "foremost of the westerners" and was the name of a different canine funerary god, alluded to his protecting function because the dead were buried on the west bank of the Nile, he took other names in connection with his funerary role, such as tpy-ḏw.f "He, upon his mountain" and nb-t3-ḏsr "Lord of the sacred land", which designates him as a god of the desert necropolis. The Jumilhac papyrus recounts an