Thousand Dog Burials in Mesopotamia and Egypt! (Post No.3642)

Picture of Anubis


Written by London swaminathan


Date: 16 FEBRUARY 2017


Time uploaded in London:- 10-59 am


Post No. 3642



Pictures are taken from various sources; thanks.






“What worse calamity can there be than that one runs around asking food from strangers like a dog? (yaacamaanah paraad annam paridhaavemahisvatat- (Mahabharata 1-147-17)


In my article “ VEDIC DOG AND CHURCH DOG”, posted on 18 January 2013, I have explained the oldest reference to dog Sarama in the Rig Veda. The Greeks borrowed it and changed it to Hermes.  In the same article, I wrote about the dog that followed Yudhisthira in the Mahabharata and the humorous dog story of Uttarakanda of Ramayana. In my article, ALEXANDER’S HORSE and DOG, posted 0n 24 November 2014, I have written about his faithful dog and horse.

Here are some stories about DOG BURIALS in Mesopotamia and Egypt!


In Hinduism we have dog as the vahana (vehicle) of Bhairava. In Egypt, they have dog faced Gods!

“Dogs are associated with healing in Mesopotamia (Iraq) and Anatolia (Turkey). Dogs were buried in the ramp of a temple to Gula at Isin in 1000 BCE. More than one thousand dog burials were found in Persian levels at Ashkelon.

Ashkelon is 60 kilometres from Tel Aviv, Israel. The city is mentioned in the Bible. The city of Isin is in Southern Mesopotamia”.

–from Dictionary of the Ancient Near East, British Museum


Dogs in Ancient Egypt

Pharaohs of Egypt used dos for hunting. The Egyptian hound was exceptionally fast.

When speaking of dogs, Egyptians said that the dog was ‘one with the Gods, more swift than the arrows’.

When W B Emery excavated Queen Herneith’s First Dynasty mastaba tomb at Saqqara in 1950s, he found a dog buried with the queen. It was an example of the slender, prick eared hound which is recorded in countless painted vases, wall reliefs and still more monumental sculptures.


Egyptian God Set is frequently represented in Egyptian hieroglyphs and iconography by a strange, ambiguous quadruped which has variously been described as composite imagery, an okapi, a wolf, a jackal, an ass and sometimes even a dog. There are many representations of Set from 4000 BCE. He fathered Anubis, a dog or jackal headed god.


Egyptian dogs were given elaborate names, often, like their human contemporaries. One owner of such a dog, Senbi the Governor of Cusae in Upper Egypt (2000 BCE), named his hound ‘Breath of Life of Senbi”. Another great prince, Serenput, the Keeper of the Southern Gate of Egypt, is shown with his hound sitting under his chair. Nefer of 3000 BCE is also shown with his hunting dog in Saqqara.

–from Egypt’s Making by Michel Rice


Tamils erected a tomb stone for a dog called Kovidan 1200 years ago (See my earlier post)


Dog is associated with after life in many cultures. Hindus believed Yama, God of Death, comes with his dogs. Greeks had Cerberus, three headed dog, guiding a person in the next world.


Dogs are believed to be able to see ghosts and thus warn us of invisible dangers. Before earth quakes or natural disasters dogs howl and warn us of impending dangers. Black dogs were thought of as demonic companions of witches or necromancers.


Biologists think that dog was the first domesticated animal; it was the best friend of human beings and praised for its vigilance and loyalty. It can easily learn new tricks.


Like Hindu God Dattatreya, in the Western World, Asclepius and Hermes were accompanied by dogs. St.Hubert, St Eustace and St Roch were also accompanied by dogs.


Anubis, Egyptian God of the dead, looked like a large wild dog. He led the souls after death.

In the Middle Ages, dogs appeared on tomb stones as an image of Feudal Loyalty or Marital Fidelity.


Picture of Hachiko in Tokyo, Japan

Aztec Calendar


in the 20 day calendar of the Aztecs, Dog, known as ITZCUINTLI, was the sign for the tenth day.

In Mexico, dogs were buried along with the dead as sacrifices to them and as guides for the afterlife.

In ancient China dog was the 11th sign in the Chinese zodiac.


In short, all ancient cultures gave importance to dog and they believed it was the one who led the souls after death.

There are thousands of stories and anecdotes ( including the Tokyo Dog Hachiko; see my earlier posts for the Story of Hachiko) about the loyalty of the dogs. Even today newspapers around the world publish latest incidents about dogs. Several dogs were given the highest awards for their service in police and military.
–with addtional inputs from Dictionary of Symbolism, Hans Biedermann





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