Teaching Students About Serapis
Serapis, the god of the ancient Egyptians, was an intriguing deity with a rich history that would be valuable for students to learn about. Teaching students about Serapis can be an excellent way for children to become familiar with ancient Egyptian mythology as a whole, as Serapis was a god that represented many ideas and concepts.
Serapis was a composite deity that was created in the third century BC during the Greco-Egyptian period. He was a combination of the Egyptian gods Osiris and Apis, and the Greek gods Zeus and Hades. His cult became established in Egypt, particularly in Alexandria.
The god, who was often depicted with a long beard and wearing a robe, was seen as the giver of life and fertility. He was also known as a god of healing and was frequently invoked during periods of illness. In ancient times, people visited Serapis’ temples in droves in the hope of receiving healing and other blessings from the god.
Teaching students about Serapis can help them understand how ancient Egyptian religion and culture assimilated with Greek influences. Furthermore, it can encourage them to examine the significance of the Serapeum, which was the largest temple dedicated to Serapis in Egypt, as an important site of religious worship in its time.
Another reason why students should be taught about Serapis is that his cult was a major challenge to emerging Christianity. In the late third century, some Christians in Alexandria were accused of attempting to destroy the Serapeum. Old legal treatises attest to the severity with which authorities treated these Christian blasphemy cases. Such accounts serve as a reminder of the impact and interplay of different religions in ancient times.
In conclusion, teaching students about Serapis offers an opportunity to learn about an extraordinary deity whose cult drew in diverse groups of worshippers from the ancient world. By exploring Serapis’ location within Greco-Egyptian cultural traditions, students can better understand the composite and evolving characteristic of ancient Egyptian religion and its influence on Christianity. Serapis provides an excellent case study into how different religions intertwine and are impacted by one another, as well as the broader social, economic, and political factors that shaped our world. Therefore, it is essential to consider introducing Serapis to students as part of their educational journey.