NOW ON VIEW in the Ancient Egyptian Art Galleries: The Head of Serapis is a beautiful example of the melding of cultures that took place during the Greco-Roman era.
Gods worshipped in the multicultural society of Greco-Roman Egypt have reunited in our Egyptian galleries. A stunning head of the god Serapis now appears next to an image of Isis-Fortuna. Serapis, a composite god, incorporated the Egyptian deities Osiris and Apis, and Greek gods Zeus, Helios, Dionysus, and others. Serapis appeared during the early days of Greek rule of Egypt, uniting Greek and Egyptian worshippers. By Roman times, he was associated with divine majesty, the sun, fertility, the underworld, the afterlife, and healing.
The Egyptian myth of Osiris and his wife Isis transferred to Serapis who in turn became the partner of the very popular Egyptian goddess, Isis. She appears here as Isis-Fortuna, a Greco-Roman goddess responsible for fertility and fortune who wears an elaborate crown of feathers, horns and a sun-disk.The human-like appearance of these gods was especially attractive to the Greeks and Romans who were not used to the animal imagery typical to Egyptian gods. Worship of both Serapis and Isis eventually spread as far as Europe.
Posted by Yekaterina Barbash