Silver bust of Serapis

Period: Mid-Imperial

Date: 2nd century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Silver

Dimensions: 6 1/8 x 3 3/4 in. (15.6 x 9.5 cm)

Classification: Gold and Silver

Credit Line: Gift of Jan Mitchell and sons, 1991

Accession Number: 1991.127


By the second century A.D., Serapis had become one of the most popular deities in the Roman Empire. Many images of the god took the form of portable busts, suitable for dedication or for private worship. Silver busts of Serapis are mentioned in an inscription found in Rome, but this is apparently the only extant example. The modius (grain basket) always shown on the god’s head is now missing.