Serapis, his origins and sources

It is often said that Serapis was a fake god, invented by Ptolemy Soter in order to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm.   This has led me to wonder what the sources are for this statement.

A look at the Wikipedia article gives very little information. 

Gibbon tells us that Macrobius, book 1, chapter 7, gives us some info; also   Tacitus, Hist. iv., 83.  From Plutarch, De Iside et Osiride 28 we learn of the importation of the cult from Pontus by Ptolemy Soter.

But nowhere do I find “Ptolemy invented this.”  Hum.

While looking for information, I came across some other interesting translations online at Google Books: Pausanias, Description of Greece, tr. Thomas Taylor (1824), online vol.1, vol.2, vol.3. Also there is Arrian’s Voyage around the Euxine sea (1805)

One thought on “Serapis, his origins and sources

  1. I commented on this, giving the “Ptolemy invented this” passage in Bevan, with links, but apparently my comment was eaten up. I’m not reposting — it was a few minutes work — but if this comes thru, e-mail me…

Leave a Reply