Wepwawet “God of War & Hunting” was originally a deity of funerary rites, war, and royalty association, 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. One inscription from the Sinai states that Wepwawet “opens the way” to king Sekhemkhet’s victory.Wepwawet originally was seen as wolf deity, with his cult center being at the Lycopolis, (meaning city of wolves in Greek). He is one of the earliest Egyptian Gods on record. Wepwawet was heavily seen in association with royalty and the Pharaoh (My face is that of Upwawet, Pyramid Texts), symbolizing and protecting their rise to power, accompanying them on hunts (in which capacity he was titled [one with] sharp arrows more powerful than the gods alone) or in the pharaoh’s ascent to the Duat, or afterlife.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 brother.
Origin While we don’t know for certain the exact species of animal represented by the Ancient Egyptian sꜢb / sAb animal (Jackal/wolf), the African wolf (Canis lupaster) was one species thought to depict and the template of numerous Ancient Egyptian deities, including Wepwawet. Other species theorized include the Black-backed Jackal also called the Silver-backed Jackal (C.mesomelas, Lupulella mesomelas) and Golden Jackal or Asiatic Jackal (Canis aureus). The Egyptian jackal was 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.