Study Guide

Anubis

  • Profile

    You know how they say a dog is man's best friend? That started in ancient Egypt, when new mummies met Anubis, in his jackal form, at death. Without Anubis's help, nobody makes it to the afterlife. This jackal god (okay, more like a black dog on two legs) keeps the dead and the living separated with his zombie control powers. And that's not all: in addition to being the underworld's chief ghost wrangler, Anubis is good with maps. He knows where every road in the universe goes, so if you ever get lost, you can always ask him how to get there.

    Basic Information

    Name

    Anubis

    Nickname

    Foremost of Westerners (they call Osiris this too—but I was first!), Guardian of the Scales, Jackal of All Trades, He Who Is Upon His Mountain, Opener of the Way, Nice Doggie (I hate that one. Hate.)

    Sex

    Male

    Current city

    The Duat (the place the sun goes when it sets)

    Work & Education

    Occupation

    Guide of the dead, protector of mummies and cemeteries, Goth

    Education

    Funeral school

    Beliefs

    Political views

    Horus the Younger is king of the living, and Osiris is king of the dead. That's just the way it is.

    Family & Friends (& Enemies)

    Parents

    Osiris (father), Nephthys (mother), Isis (stepmother). Some myths say Seth was my father instead of Osiris, but he's never been very nice to me.

    Siblings

    Horus the Younger (half-brother)

    Children

    Qebhet (Kebechet), goddess of cool water

    Friends

    The Four Sons of Horus (we're BFFs in the Halls of Judgment)
    Horus the Younger
    Thoth
    All the jackal spirits of the afterlife (Rawr!)
    Dead people everywhere

    Enemies

    Pretty sure everybody gets along with me. You kind of have to, if you expect to get anywhere once you're dead.

    Relationships

    Relationship status

    Single. Some myths say I have a wife named Anput, but that's really just my own name written in a female form.

    Interested in

    I don't have time for dating. Too many dead people to collect.

    Favorites

    TV Shows

    Are You Afraid of the Dark? (Bet I could really scare them!) 
    Ghost Hunters (I wonder what they'd think of the Duat.) 
    House of Anubis (Can't wait to see how it turns out.) 
    The Walking Dead (They could ask me for help…) 

    Quotations

    "A dying man needs to die, as a sleepy man needs to sleep, and there comes a time when it is wrong, as well as useless, to resist."
    – Stewart Alsop

    "Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new."
    – Steve Jobs

    "You never know how much time you'll have."
    – Stephenie Meyer

    "To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure."
    – J.K. Rowling

    Books

    The Ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead, translated by R.O. Faulkner (Not only is this my favorite book, it's the test book for your final exam! If you don't pass this one, no afterlife for you.) 
    The Anubis Gates by Tim Powers (Look at that great picture of me on the cover!) 
    As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner (All the Brundens had to do was ask me to help bury Addie, sheesh.) 
    The Call of The Wild by Jack London (Be wild like Buck. You know you can.) 
    The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (All about my favorite hangout.) 
    Jackals (Animal Scavengers) by Sandra Markle (Bros for life!)
    Murder in the Place of Anubis by Lynda Robinson (How DARE they murder someone in my house?!) 
    The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe (I love reading how Dupin finds the killer, no matter how many times I read this.) 
    The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe (Scary stories are the best, and Edgar's one of my favorite dead people.) 
    Will Shortz Presents Ferocious Sudoku: 200 Hard Puzzles edited by Will Shortz (Gotta have something to do between funerals….) 

    Music

    Another One Bites the Dust by Queen (And another one's gone… )  
    Anything by The Grateful Dead  
    Anything by Snoop Dogg (when my mom's not in the room, anyway…) 
    Black Dog by Led Zeppelin (I was rocking long before your parents were listening to this song.) 
    Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson (I like crossroads almost as much as cemeteries: they're places where various worlds interact.) 
    Go West by Pet Shop Boys (In ancient Egyptian, to "go west" means to be dead. I get to go West to work every day.) 
    It's the End of the World As We Know It (And I feel Fine) by R.E.M. (The dog's a great actor.)  
    The Tell-Tale Heart by the Alan Parsons Project (I really like Edgar Allan Poe, and these guys did, too.) 

    Movies

    Beetlejuice (Glad I never had to deal with this guy in the judgment halls.) 
    The Corpse Bride (Even after you're dead, you can still fall in love.) 
    Ghostbusters (I ain't afraid of no ghost!) 
    The Mummy (Don't listen to Osiris. Those warriors are mine. See those jackal heads?) 
    The Sixth Sense (I see dead people every day. Big deal.) 
    Underworld (Why do vampires hate werewolves so much? I think they're kinda cool.)
    Watchmen (I watch the Watchmen. Just like I watch everybody.) 

    Activities & Interests

    Likes

    Black clothing
    Cemeteries and funeral homes
    Horror novels
    Jackals
    Maps
    Puzzles and mazes
    Travel

    Interests

    Anatomy (I really love bones)
    Getting to know people (before I help Osiris judge them, of course)
    History and genealogy
    Paranormal investigation
    Snoopy

    Groups

    Ancient Egyptian Gods  
    Anubis  
    Death gods
    House of Anubis  
    World Goth Day 

    • Spotter's Guide

      You won't have any trouble spotting Anubis—he'll be covered in fur with the head of a jackal. Just one problem. If you run into him, it probably means you're dead.

      Sex: Male
      Age: Adult
      Build: Physically fit, wearing a jackal mask or actually having a jackal's head. Appears as a giant black jackal (not in human form) from time to time.
      Complexion: Tanned, like most Egyptian men
      Hair Color: Black
      Facial Hair: Covered in black fur
      Scars/marks/tattoos: None
      Jewelry and accessories: Usually wears a big golden collar and carries a staff with a jackal head or an ankh (the hieroglyph for "life") at the top.
      Clothing/Armor: Wears a shirt made of scale mail in human form; nothing in jackal form.
      Type of Weapon: Sometimes carries a khopesh (a long, curved sword).

      Typical Companions

      Nephthys
      Ammit
      Thoth
      Wepwawet
      The Four Sons of Horus
      Dead people

      Known Hangouts

      Death Valley
      The Duat (the afterlife/land of the hidden sun)
      The Hall of Two Truths (the hall of judgment in the afterlife)
      Nighttime
      Cemeteries, morgues, and funeral homes

    • Sightings

      Jan 1, 1970

      Foremost of Westerners (Khenti-Amentiu)

      Way back before Egypt was even Egypt, a jackal-headed god named Khenti-Amentiu ruled the land of the dead. At the city of Abydos, Khenti-Amentiu was Anubis's title, and he ruled the cemeteries there for almost 2,000 years. Every once in a while, Wepwawet, a jackal god from the next town over, used this title. Sometimes Wepwawet was Anubis's title (jackals get confusing after a while). A millennium later, Osiris came along, claimed Khenti-Amentiu as his own title, and took over. Anubis got to keep the cemetery, and serves King Osiris by bringing the dead to him. Anubis is very happy that he still gets to weigh their hearts.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Books of the Dead

      Anubis weighs the hearts of Egypt's dead, making sure they are good enough to live in Osiris's kingdom… or giving them to Ammit for lunch. He is a very popular god in funeral books called the Coming Forth By Day by the ancient Egyptians, and which we call Book of the Dead today. Almost every one contains an image of him doing his job.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Hermanubis of the Ptolemies

      During the reign of the Ptolemies (Macedonian Greek-speaking pharaohs), Anubis and Hermes were depicted together as a new god in a combined form. This "new" god, called Hermanubis (not very original), was actually Anubis in a toga, carrying the caduceus (snake staff) that Hermes usually has. Maybe it was just a Halloween costume. When you live in the land of the dead, every day is Halloween, right?

      Dec 20, 2019

      Legionnaire Days in Alexandria

      Down in the catacombs at Kom el Shoqafa, Anubis had to dress like a Roman soldier to get the Romans to take him seriously. He does look pretty good in Caesar's armor, though, and it probably helped him blend in with the Emperor Caracalla's soldiers a little better. Good thing—the crazy guy was killing lots of people and burying them in the catacomb.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      The Dog-Headed Saint (?)

      In the Byzantine Period, and in most of the Eastern Orthodox Church, Saint Christopher was shown with the head of a dog. Some people believe that this is because there never was a Saint Christopher, and that this is Anubis, sneaking into Catholic imagery.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Guarding the "Wonderful Things"

      A very large statue of Anubis as a full jackal, on top of a golden shrine, was situated in the doorway to the treasures of pharaoh Tutankhamun's tomb. When Egyptologist Howard Carter put a light into a hole drilled in its sealed doors, he saw this staring out at him from the dark! Others gathered around the hole asked what Carter could see, and according to history, he said "Wonderful things." We're thinking he probably said something else the reporters didn't want to write down, first.

      Dec 20, 2019

      Not a Jackal After All?

      DNA tests on the Egyptian jackal (Canis aureus lupaster), the animal associated with Anubis, seem to prove that it's not a jackal after all, but related to the grey wolf. Does this mean that centuries of Egyptologists teaching that "Anubis is a jackal god, and Wepwawet is a wolf god" are wrong? Only time and more testing will tell. Anubis isn't talking.

      Dec 20, 2019 - Dec 20, 2019

      Giant Anubis Statue: The World Tour

      A 25-foot-tall, 5-ton statue of Anubis (and a second statue that is 27 feet tall and weighs 7 tons) were designed to accompany two separate exhibitions of ancient Egyptian artifacts from the tomb of Tutankhamun. The Anubis statues have been wandering all over the world, protecting the funeral objects of King Tut.