Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Serapis was an Hellenistic-Egyptian god in Antiquity. Under Ptolemy Soter, efforts were made to integrate Egyptian religion with that of their hellenic rulers. Ptolemy's policy was to find a deity that should win the reverence alike of both groups, despite the curses of the Egyptian priests against the gods of the previous foreign rulers (i.e Set who was lauded by the Hyksos). Alexander had attempted to use Amun for this purpose, but he was more prominent in Upper Egypt, which was not so popular with those in Lower Egypt, where the Greeks had stronger influence. Nethertheless, the Greeks had little respect for animal-headed figures, and so a Greek statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as anthropomorphic equivalent of the highly popular Apis. It was named Aser-hapi (i.e. Osiris-Apis), which became Serapis, and was said to be Osiris in full, rather than just his Ka.