ALEXANDRIA (Ancient city) EGYPT
Serapis or Sarapis (Sarapis; Egyptian, Asarhapi=Osiris-Apis). The Egyptian god Osiris, in the character of god of the lower world; his corresponding incarnation as the god of the upper world was the bull Apis. His worship was first independently developed in the time of the Ptolemies in Alexandria, the most beautiful ornament of which city was the magnificent temple of Serapis, the Serapeum. By the elimination of foreign elements, the conception of the god was so widely extended as to include the Egyptian Osiris, the Greek Pluto, the Greek god of healing, Asclepius, and Zeus-Iupiter. This new worship (together with the cult of Isis) rapidly spread from Egypt over the Asiatic coast, the Greek islands, and Greece itself, and found a firm footing even in Rome and Italy, in spite of repeated interference on the part of the State. Under the Empire, particularly in the time of Hadrian, it extended throughout the Roman world. There was a fine temple to Serapis at Puteoli, of which remains still exist. Serapis was especially worshipped as a god of healing, and with his temples were connected dream-oracles that were much resorted to. He was represented, like Pluto, with an animal by his side, having the head of a dog, lion, or wolf, and a serpent coiled round its body. As Zeus-Serapis he is to be seen in the colossal bust in the Vatican, with a modius, or corn-measure, the symbol of the lower world, upon his head.
Receive our daily Newsletter with all the latest updates on the Greek Travel industry.Subscribe now!