Monday, April 11, 2016

The Dog in Egyptian Mythology by E.A. Wallis Budge 1904



The Dog in Egyptian Mythology by Sir Ernest Alfred Wallis Budge 1904

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The Dog, though a very favourite animal of the Egyptians, appears never to have been regarded as a god, although great respect was paid to the animal in the city of Cynopolis; on the other hand Herodotus tells us (ii. 66) that in "whatsoever house a "cat dies of a natural death, all the family shave their eyebrows only; but if a dog die, they shave the whole body and head .... All persons bury their dogs in sacred vaults within their own city." If any wine, or corn, or any other necessary of life happened to be in a house when a dog died its use was prohibited: and when the body had been embalmed it was buried in a tomb amid the greatest manifestations of grief by those to whom it belonged. If we accept the statement of Diodorus (i. 85) that a dog was the guardian of the bodies of Osiris and Isis, and that dogs guided Isis in her search for the body of Osiris, and protected her from savage beasts, we should be obliged to admit that the dog played a part in Egyptian mythology; but there is no reason for doing so, because it is clear that Diodorus, like many modern writers, confounded the dog with the jackal. The dog, like the jackal, may have been sacred to Anubis, but the mythological and religious texts of all periods prove that it was the jackal-god who ministered to Osiris, and who acted as guide not only to him but to every other Osiris in the Underworld.

Like the dog, the Wolf enjoyed considerable respect in certain parts of Egypt, e.g., the Wolf-city, Lycopolis, but there is reason for thinking that ancient writers confounded the wolf with the jackal. Thus Herodotus tells us (ii. 122) of a festival which was celebrated in connexion with the descent of Rhampsinitus into the Underworld, and says that on a certain day "the priests having woven a cloak, blind the eyes of one of their number with a scarf and having conducted him with the cloak on him to the way that leads to the temple of Ceres, they then return; upon which, they say, this priest with his eyes bound is led bytwo wolves to the temple of Ceres, twenty stades distant from the city, and afterwards the wolves lead him back to the same place." The two wolves here referred to can be nothing but representatives of the jackal-gods Anpu and Ap-uat, who played very prominent parts in connexion with the dead. Another legend recorded by Diodorus (i. 88) declares that when Horus was making ready to do battle with Set, his father,s murderer, Osiris returned from the Underworld in the form of a wolf to assist him in the fight. It is important to note here the statement of Macrobius, who says (Saturn, i. 19) that Apollo, i.e., Horus, and the wolf were worshipped at Lycopolis with equal reverence, for it connects the wolf with Horus and Set, and indicates that these gods fought each other in the forms of wolves and not of bears. Legends of this kind prove that the Egyptians did not carefully distinguish between the wolf, jackal, and dog.

At a very early period the Jackal was associated with the dead and their tombs, because he lived in the mountains and deserts wherein the Egyptians loved to be buried. The principal jackal-gods were Anpu (Anubis) and Ap-uat; for accounts of these the reader is referred to the sections which describe their history and attributes.


From Egyptian Belief and Modern Thought by James Bonwick 1878

The Dog kind, with wolf and jackal, formed a leading feature of Egyptian worship. The reader is referred to the chapter on "Sirius Worship," and to the account of Anubis for an extension of this subject.

The wolf and jackal were honoured at Lycopolis. The jackal was the guardian of the north and south; this is, of the sun's paths. The dog-headed god, Anubis, the Barker, watched over souls, like the Cerberus of the Greeks at the portals of Hades. Anubis in this form is often noticed seated on the funeral chests. But this dog is thought not to be the domestic animal, but the brush-tailed, square-eared, Fenek of Abyssinia. On monuments the dog is sometimes called the "spotted sphinx." The dog-star, Sirius, is the chief illustration of the animal. Plutarch wrote: "The dog anciently received in Egypt the greatest honours." Sir Gardner Wilkinson contends that the Greeks were wrong in using the word dog, as the creature was a jackal; and he says, "The jackal is introduced at Beni Hassan with a wolf and other wild animals of Egypt, and that the dogs are never figured in the paintings of a form which could justify a similar conclusion." The simple reply to this is, that Sirius is clearly a dog, and must be a barker to suit the myth. The emblem of a sacred scribe was a jackal or the Apheru. We read of a red wolf-dog, having a long tail, and wandering at night.

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