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Serapis or Sarapis was a Graeco-Egyptian god. He was invented during the 3rd century BC on the orders of Ptolemy I of Egypt as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm. The god was depicted as Greek in appearance, but with Egyptian trappings, and combined iconography from a great many cults, signifying both abundance and resurrection. His cultus was spread as a matter of deliberate policy by the Ptolemaic kings, who also built a splendid Serapeum in Alexandria. Serapis continued to increase in popularity during the Roman period, often replacing Osiris as the consort of Isis in non-Egyptian temples. The destruction of the Serapeum by a mob led by the Patriarch Theophilus of Alexandria in 389 is one of the key events in the downfall of ancient paganism, and the cult ceased to exist with the abolition of paganism in 391 AD.

About the god

Both spellings Serapis and Sarapis are recorded. "Serapis" is used in Latin, but both appear in Greek, e.g. ().

His most renowned temple was the Serapeum of Alexandria."Of the Egyptian sanctuaries of Serapis the most famous is at Alexandria", Pausanias noted (Description of Greece, 1.18.4, second century AD), in describing the Serapeion at Athens erected by Ptolemy on the steep slope of the Acropolis: "As you descend from here to the lower part of the city, is a sanctuary of Serapis, whose worship the Athenians introduced from Ptolemy." Under Ptolemy Soter, efforts were...
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