Gold statuette of Zeus Serapis

Period: Mid-Imperial

Date: 2nd century A.D.

Culture: Roman

Medium: Gold

Dimensions: H.: 1 1/8 in. (2.9 cm)

Classification: Gold and Silver

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Frank Knox, 1953

Accession Number: 53.191.2


Serapis was essentially a construct of the Ptolemaic Greek rulers of Egypt, a conflation of the local gods Osiris and Apis. Although gradually subsumed into the all-pervading cult of Isis, Serapis was worshipped throughout the Roman world in the guise of Zeus, ruler of the heavens, or that of Hades, god of the Underworld. This small figure wears the Egyptian modius (grain measure) headdress and carries a cornucopia (horn of plenty) to symbolize a plentiful food supply.