The Mysterious God Serapis
The Romans thought that the Christians were only one of the many sects of Galilee, subversive, but tolerated if they respected the imperial idea, but it is curious that the worshipers of Serapis were assimilated to them, if they even killed St. Mark came to preach in Egypt, according to De Rachewiltz.
The depictions of the god Serapis seem to remember Jesus, by the hair of the Nazarene, and could be imagined as an unclear face of Christ, on the type of the Zeus Infero or the Black Osiris, then assimilated, in Ptolemaic Egypt, precisely to the god Serapis, and that would have frightened the first Christians.
Where does the idea of long hair come from in the images of Serapis? Perhaps they were seen as the sunrays of pagan haloes? If fast, however, it had very little solar.
On p. 73 of “From fetish to God in ancient Egypt” by E. A. Wallis Budge (Oxford University Press, London 1934, then
Dover), there is an illustration of the god Searapide (Asar-Hap) from a relief of Meroe.
No taurine head, human face, osiric headgear, no hair, short or long, and instead a beard and a ‘serious air, perhaps for this will be then identified with an inferior Zeus, with Ade or Asclepius. Hap or Hep, however, is also the god of the Nile and therefore Serapis could be a “subservient” god of underground waters or of the Celestial Nile. Not everyone agrees on the identification Serapide = User (Osiris) + Apis; some claim that it was originally an Asian marine god imported from Ptolemy I, Shar-Apshu, analogous to Ea.
In fact, it seems that at the time of the Christian assault on the Serapeum of Alexandria and the relative destruction of men and books,
commanded by the archbishop Teofilo (391 dec.), the place was, yes, frequented by Christians, but of Gnostic doctrine (Francis Law, Forerunners and Rivals of Christianity, From 330 B.C. to 330 A.D., 1914); therefore they can not be assimilated exactly to the ideas that will flow into Catholic Christianity.
In the Serapeum of Alexandria, copies of the texts in the famous library, inside the Museum, were built around 280 BC. The scrolls of parchment of the Serapeo, unlike those of the Museum, were accessible to the
public, not just for specialists. The library works were cataloged, around 250 d. C., from Callimaco
of Cyrene: these are the “Catalogs of the eminent persons in every field of knowledge”, in 120 rolls of papyrus (it is estimated that the Museion contained about 500 thousand rolls, 40-50 thousand in the Serapeum). It must be said, however, that after the 3rd century AD There was very little of the original library of Alexandria: the Museion suffered numerous fires, above all
during the raids by Julius Caesar and Aureliano. There are those who claim that the coup de grace was inflicted at the end of the 4th century AD.
The little that has remained is due to the care of some benefactor, who had the rolls transported to Constantinople or to Harran, near the ancient Edessa, today Urfa (and from there a part passed, in the following centuries, to the Islamic world) .
As E. Zolla writes in “Archetypes” (Marsilio, Venice 2002): “Septimius Severus and Caracalla presented themselves as emanations of Serapis-Sun, whose temple was built on the Quirinal One day Caracalla notified the Senate that he had entered his body Alexander Great “…
It is no coincidence that Alexander the Great, Zolla always writes, “had obtained the imperial, Egyptian and Iranian consecration
perhaps interested in the Vedic one. He had turned into a cuckold son of Ammon in Egypt, with rituals that seemed inexplicable to his Greek laymen. He took over the sacred fire of Darius, and he married his daughter and killed the murderer, thus assuming the Iranian charisma. In the figure of a drunken Dionysus, now a gentle murderous hour, he invaded India, but the rajasuya, the Vedic consecration that transforms a king into an embryo and the first of the cosmos and therefore into the Emperor, he was unable to grasp “.
Zeus Ammone was the Greek correspondent of the cryocephalus god Amon, hence the horns in the usual iconography
of Alexander, initiated by that god in the Siwa oasis, in the middle of the desert.
A different curiosity: in the lost library of Alessandria there was the gigantic “History of the world” of Beroso,
which we now know only from the fragments of Eusebius from Caesarea and others. They tell of strange amphibious creatures, the Apkallus, who would visit the earth from other worlds, bringing their science to them. Even the Dogon, the tribe of Mali, has similar legends concerning amphibious creatures from Sirius. Reality or legend, all this is gone
lost in the fire of 646 d.C.
It is very probable that the port of Canòpo, where the Serapeum was, was linked to the appearance of the homonym star, the brightest of the sky after Sirius, that is to its heliacal rise on the local horizon in the Ptolemaic period. Canòpo, as we know, was the pilot of the Menelao ship, who died of a cobra bite in that area.
Curiously, in the Greco-Roman Alexandria, there were two perpendicular streets that crossed, the Canopic way and that of Serapis.
As far as we know, the Serapeum of Alexandria and the statue of Serapis, already visited by the admirable Hadrian, then made a bad end by the patriarch Teofilo, as mentioned. After the pagans, with Cyril, it was the turn of the Jews to be persecuted by the Christians, as if to favor a second exodus. Despite this, in Cairo, near the church of St. Sergius (Abu Sarga) there is still a synagogue that houses the oldest Torah in history … (see JL Bernard, “Histoire secrète de L ‘Egypte”, Albin Michel , Paris 1983).
This church of S. Sergius has a crypt where according to tradition the Holy Family would stop in his
mysterious escape to Egypt; today, however, it is mostly submerged by the waters of the Nile. As for the most famous Serapeum, that of Saqqara, with a sarcophagus of the modest weight of seventy tons, is a solitary underground
worthy of being visited, precisely because tourists snub it completely.
We have approached the beginning of Serapis to the Black Osiris; these had a cult that was celebrated in Denderah, in a crypt, more precisely under the eighth chapel of the southern crypt, a very narrow black stone casing where the ages of humanity are described. A gigantic cosmic man raises a closed lotus that contains the serpent of sacred time. We note the axis of the world, or pillar Ded, equipped with arms, to indicate that human consciousness was
still in tune with the cosmic processes. In a subsequent graffiti the arms are gone, the human consciousness having darkened, and only four floors remain. The lotus has now opened, and the serpent of time, profane and no longer sacred, now begins to develop its coils.
Fulvio Mocco and Phileas Gage