Anubis's Purpose [change]
People did not like jackals in ancient Egypt, because the animals messed up graves. The Egyptian people wanted to end this by deifying them.[source?] Deifying means in this case, that they created a god that was a jackal as well. Therefore, the god of the dead Anubis looked like a dog or jackal. Anubis was the god of the dead because the jackals were often in graveyards at night. This made the people think that the jackals protected the dead people in the graves. The priests who mummified the dead kings (these kings are called pharaohs) were also dressed up as jackals. Now that the jackal had become a holy animal, dogs and jackals were kept as pets in the temples. After their death, they were mummified and placed in the temples. Anubis was the protector of the mummies against the challenges in the underworld. After a while Anubis became solely the god of mummification because he invented mummification by using it to preserve Osiris. Because Osiris was the first mummy and the first to go to the underworld, he became king of it. The Egyptian people believed that Anubis helped with the ceremony that was performed with people once they arrived in the underworld. In this ceremony, the heart of the dead was weighed against the feather of truth to see if the deceased had been a good person in life. If they had been a bad person in life, then they would go to a place where there would be food floating above their heads, just out of reach. If they ever got close to reaching it, then demons would dig holes at their feet that they would fall into, so that they could never get their hands on the food.
In Greece and Rome [change]
In later times, during the Ptolemaic period, as their functions were similar, Anubis came to be identified as the Greek god Hermes, becoming Hermanubis. The centre of this cult was in uten-ha/Sa-ka/ Cynopolis, a place whose Greek name simply means "city of dogs". In Book XI of "The Golden Ass" by Apuleius, we find evidence that the worship of this god was maintained in Rome at least up to the 2nd century. Indeed, Hermanubis also appears in the alchemical and hermetical literature of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Although the Greeks and Romans typically scorned Egypt's animal-headed gods as bizarre and primitive (they mockingly called Anubis the "Barker"), Anubis was sometimes associated with Sirius in heaven, and Cerberus in hell.