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CATS & DOGS EGYPT STYLE
BOOK OF POSSIBILITIES

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book of possibilitesCATS & DOGS EGYPT STYLE
BOOK OF POSSIBILITIES

by Jen Frankel

The Book of Possibilities is about the wonders of the world we live in. Come explore it with me!

Ancient Egyptians loved their animals. Not only are they depicted in wall paintings and sculptures, they were sometimes found mummified as lovingly as a favorite child.

There was even a cat goddess, Bast, who graduated from her status as a local god to become the war goddess and protectress of all Lower Egypt (the area nearest the Delta of the Nile river at the north of the country).

Cats were revered in Egypt like no other animal. Bast may owe her heritage to the Egyptian desert cat, a relative of the wildcat that is commonly considered the ancestor of the domestic cat.

As intriguing is the Egyptian god of the dead, Anubis, who was long considered to have the head of a jackal.

Recent studies have lead many Egyptologists to believe instead, however, that Anubis is actually a far more familiar creature -- a dog.

To be precise, the Pharaoh hound, a leggy, pointy-eared elegant breed that survives to this day.

For your comparison, I offer you the god Anubis, in both his animal and semi-human forms: and the modern Pharaoh hound:

What's interesting is the characterization of the dog as a god of death -- which makes more sense when you understand the role of the dog in Egyptian society was more as a hunting companion than its role later and otherwise as a herder and domestic pet.

Egypt's pantheon of gods was in constant flux, depending on the ascendancy of different regions and their individual cults and patrons.

Bast went through a change of role as Lower Egypt's power faded. She began as a lioness, and war goddess, and became a housecat, and patron of perfumes.

Most curiously, as Bast became the goddess of perfumes and ointments, and Anubis took on the role of the god of embalming, for a while, the cat was the mother of a dog!

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