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After the early period of the Old Kingdom, he was superseded by Osiris as god of the dead, being relegated to a supporting role as a god of the funeral cult and of the care of the dead.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.