In Egyptian mythology, was a highly venerated god of Alexandria, whose origin was rather Grecian, however, than Egyptian. He was the Greek god of the underworld — Pluto, the giver of blessings on whose head was placed a bushel, to denote that the ruler of the underworld causes man's nourishment to spring from the earth. He was transferred to Alexandria in the time of the Ptolemies, and unwillingly accepted by the inhabitants; but eventually forty-two temples of Serapis were enumerated in Egypt. The following fable in relation to his importation was in circulation: A beautiful youth appeared to Ptolemy I in a dream, and commanded the king to bring his statue from Sinope, revealing, at the same time, that he was Serapis, the god who gives blessings or curses. After the surmounting of many difficulties, the enterprise was at length accomplished — the god contributing to that result by going from his temple to the ship. The city of Alexandria erected to him a temple in the place Rhacotis. Political reasons may have determined this transfer from Asia to Egypt — e.g. the importance of making the new capital the central seat of religion; and this latter end was completely realized, inasmuch as Serapis took the place of Osiris, with the exception that he was never conceived of as suffering and dying. He was regarded as consort to Isis, as the sun and Nile god, and as the supreme god. The sick, also, invoked his aid, with the result that he was, in the end, confounded with AEsculapius. A marble bust in the Vatican represents him as a bearded, earnest man, with rays surrounding, and a grain measure surmounting, his head.

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