Lycopolis, Canid-Symbolism, and Wepwawet
Originally posted here.
The photos within are beautiful. Truly an awesome resource for any devotee of Wepwawet (or lover of wolves in general).
That and really…the jackal-stereotype only goes so far. They didn’t call his cult center Lycopolis for nothing. And, as it turns out, the jackal that folk seem to love referencing in connection to him, the more popular black-backed jackal, probably wasn’t nearly as popular, prevalent and otherwise prominent to the Ancient Egyptians during that time as the golden jackal (also known as the “common” or “Asiatic” jackal, C. lupus aureus, var. lupaster in the Egyptian region). What is more appealing isn’t always what is the most accurate–although all jackals would technically fall under Wepwawet’s sphere as well, the common/Asiatic/golden jackal was generally more, well…common in that area–see here. And technically, as it turns out, genetic and cranial studies show that this animal is more related to the wolf, dog and coyote than either the black-backed or side-striped jackals.
However, when it comes to wolves, clearly the wolf common to that region was the Arabian wolf, which is taxonomically very similar to the golden or common jackal. Compare photos, and you can clearly see. Back then, one must realize too that the Ancient Egyptians didn’t have use of the Linnaean Classification System, so the common jackal and the Arabian wolf were probably not nearly as delineated in the human mind as they are today.
It would just be nice if people had some sort of basic understanding of the biology of these animals, and the interactions they had with humans during this time period. Especially those who claim to have a strong dedication to a specific deity associated with said animals. The display of disinformation and ignorance amongst those of a Egyptian/Kemetic path is a bit disconcerting at times (like one person I saw who used what she thought was a photo of a jackal as a Wepwawet icon, when the animal depicted was really…a bat-eared fox).