Egyptian god of the
dead, represented as a black jackal or dog, or as a man with the
head of a dog or jackal. His parents were usually given as Re in
combination with either Nephthys or Isis. After the early period of
the Old Kingdom, he was superseded by Osiris as god of the dead,
being relegated to a supporting role as a god of the funeral cult
and of the care of the dead. The black colour represented the colour
of human corpses after they had undergone the embalming process. In
the Book of the Dead, he was depicted as presiding over the weighing
of the heart of the deceased in the Hall of the Two Truths. In his
role as psychopomp he was referred to as the "conductor of souls".
The Greeks later identified him with their god Hermes, resulting in
the composite deity Hermanubis.
His principal sanctuary was at the necropolis in Memphis and in
other cities. Anubis was also known as Khenty- Imentiu - "chief of
the westerners" - a reference to the Egyptian belief that the realm
of the dead lay to the west in association with the setting sun, and
to their custom of building cemeteries on the west bank of the Nile.