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Wepwawet

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For the Great Pyramid exploration project, see The Upuaut Project.
Wepwawet or Upuaut
God of War, Victory, Hunting, Lycopolis, Guardian of the Deceased, Opener of the
Ways and Protector of Pharaoh and Egyptian Army
AbydosSethosCh-191.jpg
Wepwawet giving scepters to Seti I found at Temple of Seti I Wepwawet is often
depicted as a bluish or grayish haired wolf or jackal to avoid confusion with
Anubis
Name in hieroglyphs
wp N31
t Z2ss E18
Major cult center Lycopolis
Symbol the mace, hunting arrows
Personal Information
Parents ambiguously either Set, Anubis or Isis
Siblings Anubis
In late Egyptian mythology, Wepwawet (hieroglyphic wp-w3w.t; also rendered Upuaut,
Wep-wawet, Wepawet, and Ophois) was originally a war deity, whose cult centre was
Asyut in Upper Egypt (Lycopolis in the Greco-Roman period). His name means opener
of the ways and he is often depicted as a wolf standing at the prow of a solar-
boat. Some interpret that Wepwawet was seen as a scout, going out to clear routes
for the army to proceed forward.[1] One inscription from the Sinai states that
Wepwawet opens the way to king Sekhemkhet's victory.[2]

Wepwawet originally was seen as a wolf deity, thus the Greek name of Lycopolis,
meaning city of wolves, and it is likely the case that Wepwawet was originally just
a symbol of the pharaoh, seeking to associate with wolf-like attributes, that later
became deified as a mascot to accompany the pharaoh. Likewise, Wepwawet was said to
accompany the pharaoh on hunts, in which capacity he was titled (one with) sharp
arrow more powerful than the gods alone.

Ivory label depicting the pharaoh Den, found at his tomb in Abydos, circa 3000 BC.
Originally attached to a pair of royal sandals, which is depicted on the reverse.
The side shown here depicts the pharaoh striking down an Asiatic tribesman along
with the inscription The first occasion of smiting the East. Wepwawet is at the
upper right.
Over time, the connection to war, and thus to death, led to Wepwawet also being
seen as one who opened the ways to, and through, Duat, for the spirits of the dead.
Through this, and the similarity of the jackal to the wolf, Wepwawet became
associated with Anubis, a deity that was worshiped in Asyut, eventually being
considered his son. Seen as a jackal, he also was said to be Set's son.
Consequently, Wepwawet often is confused with Anubis.[2] This deity appears in the
Temple of Seti I at Abydos.[2]

In later Egyptian art, Wepwawet was depicted as a wolf or a jackal, or as a man


with the head of a wolf or a jackal. Even when considered a jackal, Wepwawet
usually was shown with grey, or white fur, reflecting his lupine origins. He was
depicted dressed as a soldier, as well as carrying other military equipmenta mace
and a bow.

For what generally is considered to be lauding purposes of the pharaohs, a later


myth briefly was circulated claiming that Wepwawet was born at the sanctuary of
Wadjet, the sacred site for the oldest goddess of Lower Egypt that is located in
the heart of Lower Egypt. Consequently, Wepwawet, who had hitherto been the
standard of Upper Egypt alone, formed an integral part of royal rituals,
symbolizing the unification of Egypt.
In later pyramid texts, Wepwawet is called Ra who has gone up from the horizon,
perhaps as the opener of the sky.[2] In the later Egyptian funerary context,
Wepwawet assists at the Opening of the mouth ceremony and guides the deceased into
the netherworld.[2]

Animal origin[edit]

Wepwawet, 664332 BC, Brooklyn Museum


It would appear that a lack of comprehension of the animal species native to Egypt
led European Egyptologists to mistake the deity Wepwawet for a jackal even while
the Ancient Egyptians clearly identified it as a wolf.[citation needed]

The Egyptian jackal (Canis aureus lupaster) also known as the African wolf or wolf
jackal is currently listed as a subspecies of the golden jackal but molecular and
osteological data has established that it is a unique species in its own right. It
is native to Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, though its post-Pleistocene range once
encompassed the Palestine region.

Its closest relatives are the Abyssinian wolf, also known as the red wolf and the
king jackal, and the Indian wolf. The dogs of ancient Egypt were likely
domesticated subspecies of one or more of these enigmatic species.

References[edit]
Jump up ^ Pat Remler, Egyptian Mythology A to Z A Young Readers Companion, Facts on
File Inc., 2000. p. 170 Note Remler's reference only states that Wepwawet's name
means 'Opener of the ways'.
^ Jump up to a b c d e Remler, p.170
External links[edit]
Media related to Wepwawet at Wikimedia Commons
[show] v t e
Ancient Egyptian religion
Categories Death godsEgyptian godsHellenistic Egyptian deitiesWar godsUnderworld
godsAnimal godsMythological canines
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This page was last edited on 22 May 2017, at 1245.
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