Anubis, the Ancient Egyptian god of mummification and the afterlife. He did hold the title as god of the dead before Osiris was given the title.
Anubis is part of my canine creature list for a few reasons. The most important reason is he is what inspired me to read and research Egypt in my free time, which inspired me to investigate other cultures. In school, we were constantly taught about the ancient cultures of Europe and…well, that’s about it. It started with the Greeks, shifted to the Romans, traveled to Britain, sailed to the Americas and never came back. We spent only a few days on Africa and Asia. Some of my teachers tried to avoid them. One teacher told me it was because he couldn’t pronounce the names. *sigh*
So, during the Romans Conquering Everyone lesson, we briefly touched on Egypt and one of the pictures in the book depicted Anubis standing beside a scale, weighing a heart against a feather with an unusual beast sitting on the other side with the face of a crocodile, mane and upper body of a lion and lower body of a hippo. I remember thinking, “This is what I want to hear about.” So, I went home and began researching. I visited the library. My parents bought me books. It was the first culture I spent my free time heavily reading about.
I started with Anubis. I thought all of the gods and goddesses were pretty interesting and I loved the artwork of Ancient Egypt the most. It’s captivating. But, Anubis was my favorite. I felt like he was a just, calm, well-mannered type. His duty was to watch over the mummification processes, making sure they were done right. He would lead the dead souls through the afterlife and then he was in charge of weighing the person’s heart against the feather of Ma’at, who was the goddess of truth. If the person’s heart was judged truthful or pure, they were allowed to journey further and eventually find immortality. However, if they were judged unworthy or impure, their heart was fed to Ammit, the crocodile-headed creature, and they were doomed to be restless and forever tormented. Ammit, from what I found, was not something the Egyptians worshiped. They feared her. She was their demon.
It always bothered me when I saw Anubis being depicted as an evil deity in movies and stories. I think people equate him with evil simply because people don’t like death or they fear it. From any myths or portrayals of him in Ancient Egypt that I found, Anubis was not portrayed as an angry or evil god.
Haha, I remember in one of the Yu-Gi-Oh movies, Anubis was evil and I do not remember them stating why he was or what his motivation was. He was just the run-of-the-mill bad guy who wanted world domination and destruction. It was….something.
Anyway, I’ve plenty of amazing illustrations of Anubis, but I find myself favoring the simpler designs. I think he has his own presence, seeing as he’s a jackal-headed humanoid. He does not need fancy additions, although, I appreciate great artwork regardless.
I think the Pokemon, Riolu and Lucario, are based off Anubis, or jackals, at least. They just look cool and powerful to me.
Picture of Anubis doing his duty with Ammit in the background found here: http://meluran.deviantart.com/art/Classic-Mythology-Anubis-298405728