Chapel of Serapis (Luxor)

By the Editors of the Madain Project

Chapel of Serapis, built by Hadrian in the court of Nectanebo I. Built using burnt brick and was dedicated to the god Serapis, is the only one remaining of all Roman structures.

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Overview

The small chapel in the northwest corner built by Hadrian and dedicated to Sarapis early in the second century CE and was reconstructed by Gaius Julius Antoninus, a former soldier and neokoro (temple attendant) of Serapis. Dedicated to Hadrian on his birthday in 126 CE, the chapel was recently restored. The platform on which the temple is built measures 12 by 8 meters. Several niches for statues were cut in the outer temple walls.

Architecture

circa 100 CE

Exterior Construction
Serapeum was built in a Peripteros-temple style (a type of ancient Greek or Roman temple surrounded by a portico with columns), unlike most Roman sanctuaries of Sarapis and Isis, which are prostyle, with columns in front. At one time there were several Roman-era structures and monuments that stood in the court, of which only this small chapel dedicated to Serapis remains.

circa 100 CE

Cellar Interior
The only remaining statue, it was one the several statues that were placed on a brick bench, originally almost a meter high, in the back of the inner sanctuary cellar. The small shrine chapel was built out of baked mud-bricks. The back of the cella is occupied by a brick bench originally almost a meter high, which supported a series of statues. Serapis is a Graeco-Egyptian deity whose cult, was introduced during the third century BCE on the orders of Pharaoh Ptolemy I Soter of the Ptolemaic Kingdom as a means to unify the Greeks and Egyptians in his realm.

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