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Anubis facts for kids

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Anubis standing
Anubis with head of jackal holding ankh

Anubis is the Protector of the gates to the underworld, Osiris replaced him as the god of the dead. He looks like a man with the head of a jackal (a jackal is a scavenging and hunting animal, native to Africa, that is closely related to wolves). Anubis is the God of the dead.

Anubis's Purpose

Anubis, as the god of the death, was closely associated with mummification and burial rites. Egyptian jackals had an association with the dead, as well. The priests who mummified the dead kings (called pharaohs) wore costumes to make them appear like jackals.

The Egyptian people believed that Anubis helped decide the fate of the dead in the afterlife. The heart of the dead was weighed against the feather of truth (representing the goddess Ma'at), to see if the deceased was worthy of entering the afterlife. If the person had lived a bad life, his or her heart would weigh heavy, and he or she would be eaten by Ammit (the Devourer). If a person was kind and good, the heart weighed light, and he did not have sins, he or she could continue on to the afterlife safe and sound to meet Osiris.

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.

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 the underworld.

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