The Role of Dogs In Ancient Civilizations

Dogs have been lived alongside humans for more than 18,000 years. Let's explore how important dogs were in serval ancient cultures. 
The Role of Dogs In Ancient Civilizations

Last update: 17 October, 2018

Everyone knows that pets have been a part of the lives of mankind for years. However, this may be truer than you think. Dogs in ancient civilizations played an important role alongside humans. Experts believe that they lived with us for more than 18,000 years.

The Role of Dogs in Ancient Civilizations

Initially, mankind used dogs to guard their homes. Later, dogs became hunters and participated in wars as soldier dogs. They were used for defensive and attacking purposes or even as messengers.

Unfortunately, during ancient times, when dogs were used as messengers, they usually died. Their job was to swallow and carry a copper tube with a message inside. The only way to recover the message was to open the dog to get it out.

Ancient hieroglyphics of dogs

How can you know that dogs have been with humans for so many years? Here are some findings that prove it:

  • Temple of Gobekli Tepe. This temple in Turkey contains findings that date back for more than 12,000 years. There was clear evidence in these findings that domesticated dogs already existed.
  • The tomb of Natufian. Also from 12,000 years ago, this tomb was discovered in Israel. Inside, archaeologists found the remains of an old man buried with a puppy.
  • Epopey of Gilgamesh. On cuneiform tablets that appear to have been made between 2000 and 2500 B.C., reference is made to seven hunting dogs owned by the goddess Innana.
  • The descent of Innana. This is a famous text, also related to this goddess, which shows the clear image of a goddess going down to hell to meet her husband Dumuzi. He waits for her with his domesticated pet dog.
  • Mahabharata. This is a mythological text that tells the story of King Yudisthira, who goes on a journey with a dog. He was so fond of the animal that when his dog was forbidden entrance into heaven, the king decided to stay on earth in order not be separated from his faithful companion.

The Role of Dogs in Ancient Egyptian Civilizations

In ancient Egypt, the dog was related to the god Anubis. This god was in charge of bringing the souls of the dead to their final judgment. Well-prepared took place during the burial of these dogs in the temple of Anubis. These ceremonies were intended to allow the animals to pass easily into the afterlife. It also shows the great love that these people felt for dogs.

Archaeologists have found numerous remains that reveal the important role that dogs in ancient civilizations, For example, in Egypt when a dog died, the family mummified it like any other member of the family.

The tomb of the great Pharaoh Ramses also shows paintings of him with his hunting dogs. Likewise, there is also evidence that many dogs were buried with their masters so they could continue being their companions in the afterlife.

In Ancient Egypt, the names given to dogs showed signs of affection or abilities. Therefore, this can show us the important these people placed on dogs. Some names translate to Brave, Reliable, Good Shepherd, etc.

Three headed dog painting

Although dogs played important roles in Egypt, they were also important in Greece and Rome. Dogs in ancient Greece and Rome were symbols of religion and mythology. In fact, in Greek mythology, a three-headed dog guarded the entrance to Hell.

Dogs are a man’s best friend. While you’ve heard this phrase a hundred times it’s even truer than you think due to their role in ancient civilizations.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.