polytheist extractions

Tag Archives: alexandria

Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon 5.2

“We were fortunate to arrive in time for the sacred festival of the great god whom the Greeks call Zeus, the Egyptians Serapis, and there was a procession of torches. It was the greatest spectacle I ever beheld, for it was late evening and the sun had gone down; but there was no sign of night — it was as though another sun had arisen, but distributed into small parts in every direction; I thought that on that occasion the city vied with the sky for beauty. I also visited the Gracious Zeus and his temple in his aspect as god of heaven; and then praying to the great god and humbly imploring him that our troubles might be at last at an end, we came back to the lodgings which Menelaus had hired for us.” – Achilles Tatius, Leucippe and Clitophon 5.2

IGPhilae 68

“He who worships Isis of Philae is fortunate, not only because he becomes wealthy, but because at the same time he enjoys a long life. I, who grew up near Isis of Pharos have come here to worship Isis of Philae. I am Serenus, assistant to the illustrious Ptolemaios, and I came along with Felix and Apollonios the painter. We have come in accordance with the oracles of the invincible lord Apollon, to offer libations and sacrifices, desiring also to share in these. We do this not only for ourselves but on behalf of our wives and children and the whole of our households. The year 31 of Emperor Commodus, 29th day of Phamenoth.” – IGPhilae 68

Harris Stela 8-10

“I went to the residence of the Greek kings, which is located on the shores of the Great Green [the Mediterranean], on the west side of the Canopic branch, and whose name is Rhakotis. The King of Upper and Lower Egypt, the god Philopator Philadelphos, the young Osiris, left his palace in life and vigor and went to the temple of Isis … He presented the goddess with with numerous and profuse offerings. As he left the temple of Isis in his chariot, the king himself stopped his chariot and placed on my head a diadem of gold and all sorts of genuine precious stones, bearing the effigy of the king. I thus became his priest, and he promulgated a royal decree for all the cities and nomes, saying ‘I have promoted Psenptais, the high priest of Ptah, to be priest of my cult, and I have accorded him revenues in the temples of Upper and Lower Egypt.'” – Harris Stela 8-10

Al-Qalqashandi, Subh 3.357

“In Alexandria there are two fallen pillars which are used to treat illnesses. They are known as the Pillars of Illness, and patients visit them, bringing seven pebbles along with them. The sick person lies down on one of the pillars, throws the seven pebbles behind himself and then leaves the site without looking backwards, cured of his ailment.” – Al-Qalqashandi, Subh 3.357

Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 7.276a

“In my Alexandria a festival called Lagunophoria was celebrated, concerning which Eratosthenes has some discussion in his book on Arsinoe. He says as follows: While Ptolemy was celebrating all sorts of festivals and sacrifices, especially ones for Dionysos, Arsinoe asked the one who was carrying branches what day he was celebrating and what the festival was. He replied, It is Lagunophoria and they feast on food brought to them as they recline on rustic couches and each drinks from his own flask or lagunos, which they all bring with them. When he had gone she looked at us and said, ‘These are dirty feasts, for it means that there is a gathering of an undifferentiated crowd, offering stale and unattractive food.’ If, however, the type of food had pleased her, the queen would not have become irritated, since they were doing the very same things as are done during the Khoes. For during that festival they feast in private and the one who invited them to the feast provides these things.” – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 7.276a

BGU 6.121

“By the Order of the King. Those in the country districts who impart initiation into the mysteries of Dionysos are to come down by river to Alexandria, those residing not farther than Naukratis within 10 days after the promulgation of this decree, those beyond Naukratis within 20 days, and register themselves before Aristobulus at the registry office within 3 days of the day of their arrival, and they shall immediately declare from whom they have received the rites for three generations back and give in the Sacred Discourse (Hieroi Logoi) sealed, each man writing upon his copy his own name.” – BGU 6.121

Ammianus Marcellinus, The History 12.1-19

“Yet in the midst of these anxieties, as if it were prescribed by some ancient custom, in place of civil wars the trumpets sounded for alleged cases of high treason; and to investigate and punish these there was sent that notorious state-secretary Paulus, often called Tartareus. He was skilled in the work of bloodshed, and just as a trainer of gladiators seeks profit and emolument from the traffic in funerals and festivals, so did he from the rack or the executioner. Therefore, as his determination to do harm was fixed and obstinate, he did not refrain from secret fraud, devising fatal charges against innocent persons, provided only he might continue his pernicious traffic. Moreover, a slight and trivial occasion gave opportunity to extend his inquisitions indefinitely. There is a town called Abydos, situated in the remotest part of the Thebaid; here the oracle of a god called in that place Besa in days of old revealed the future and was wont to be honoured in the ancient ceremonials of the adjacent regions. And since some in person, a part through others, by sending a written list of their desires, inquired the will of the deities after definitely stating their requests, the papers or parchments containing their petitions sometimes remained in the shrine even after the replies had been given. Some of these were with malicious intent sent to the emperor who (being very narrow-minded), although deaf to other serious matters, on this point was softer than an earlobe, as the proverb has it; and being suspicious and petty, he grew furiously angry. At once he admonished Paulus to proceed quickly to the Orient, conferring on him, as a leader renowned for his experience, the power of conducting trials according to his good pleasure. A commission was also given to Modestus (at that very time count in the Orient) a man fitted for these and similar affairs. For Hermogenes of Pontus, at that time praetorian prefect, was rejected as being of too mild a temper. Off went Paulus (as he was ordered) in panting haste and teeming with deadly fury, and since free rein was given to general calumny, men were brought in from almost the whole world, noble and obscure alike; and some of them were bowed down with the weight of chains, others wasted away from the agony of imprisonment. As the theatre of torture and death Scythopolis was chosen, a city of Palestine which for two reasons seemed more suitable than any other: because it is more secluded, and because it is midway between Antioch and Alexandria, from which cities the greater number were brought to meet charges. Among the first, then, to be summoned was Simplicius, son of Philippus, a former prefect and consul, who was indicted for the reason that he had (as was said) inquired about gaining imperial power; and by a note of the emperor, who in such cases never condoned a fault or an error because of loyal service, he was ordered to be tortured but, protected by some fate, he was banished to a stated place, but with a whole skin. Then Parnasius (ex-prefect of Egypt), a man of simple character, was brought into such peril that he was tried for his life, but he likewise was sent into exile; he had often been heard to say long before this, that when, for the purpose of gaining a certain office, he left Patrae, a town of Achaia where he was born and had his home, he had dreamt that many shadowy figures in tragic garb escorted him. Later Andronicus, known for his liberal studies and the fame of his poems, was haled into court; but since he had a clear conscience, was under no suspicion, and most confidently asserted his innocence, he was acquitted. Also Demetrius, surnamed Cythras, a philosopher of advanced years, it is true, but hardy of body and mind, being charged with offering sacrifice several times, could not deny it; he declared, however, that he had done so from early youth for the purpose of propitiating the deity, not of trying to reach a higher station by his investigations; for he did not know of anyone who had such aspirations. Therefore, after being long kept upon the rack, supported by his firm confidence he fearlessly made the same plea without variation; whereupon he was allowed to go without further harm to his native city of Alexandria. These and a few others a just fate in alliance with truth saved from imminent danger. But as these charges made their way further by entangling snares extended endlessly, some died from the mangling of their bodies, others were condemned to further punishment and had their goods seized, while Paulus was the prompter of these scenes of cruelty, supplying as if from a storehouse many kinds of deception and cruelty; and on his nod (I might almost say) depended the life of all who walk the earth. For if anyone wore on his neck an amulet against the quartan ague or any other complaint, or was accused by the testimony of the evil-disposed of passing by a grave in the evening, on the ground that he was a dealer in poisons, or a gatherer of the horrors of tombs and the vain illusions of the ghosts that walk there, he was condemned to capital punishment and so perished. In fact, the matter was handled exactly as if many men had importuned Claros, the oaks of Dodona, and the once famous oracles of Delphi with regard to the death of the emperor. Therefore the palace band of courtiers, ingeniously fabricating shameful devices of flattery, declared that he would be immune to ordinary ills, loudly exclaiming that his destiny had appeared at all times powerful and effective in destroying those who made attempts against him. And that into such doings strict investigation was made no man of good sense will find fault. For we do not deny that the safety of a lawful prince, the protector and defender of good men, on whom depends the safety of others, ought to be safeguarded by the united diligence of all men; and in order to uphold him the more strongly when his violated majesty is defended, the Cornelian laws exempted no one of whatever estate from examination by torture, even with the shedding of blood. But it is not seemly for a prince to rejoice beyond measure in such sorrowful events, lest his subjects should seem to be ruled by despotism rather than by lawful power. And the example of Tully ought to be followed, who, when it was in his power to spare or to harm, as he himself tells us, sought excuses for pardoning rather than opportunities for punishing; and that is the province of a mild and considerate official. At that same time in Daphne, that charming and magnificent suburb of Antioch, a portent was born, horrible to see and to report: an infant, namely, with two heads, two sets of teeth, a beard, four eyes and two very small ears; and this misshapen birth foretold that the state was turning into a deformed condition. Portents of this kind often see the light, as indications of the outcome of various affairs; but as they are not expiated by public rites, as they were in the time of our forefathers, they pass by unheard of and unknown.” – Ammianus Marcellinus, The History 12.1-19

Expositio Totius Mundi Et Gentium 35

“Alexandria is a very great city, famous for her arrangement, abounding in all advantages and rich in food; she eats three kinds of fish, something which no other province has – river fish, lake fish and sea fish. All kinds either of perfume or any other barbarian merchandise can be found in the city. All sorts of people flock her streets, including those from beyond the extreme part of Thebais and the people of India, and receiving everything Alexandria stands above all. But what makes Alexandria so exceptional is the devout way that the Alexandrians worship the gods. Here is the temple of Serapis, the most unique and wonderful spectacle to be found in the whole world. Nowhere on earth can you see another temple with such beauty and symmetry, nor the extraordinary rites of worship celebrated there. Egypt is granted first place among all the countries on account of this single temple alone.” – Expositio Totius Mundi Et Gentium 35

Suidas s.v. Serapis

“Archbishop Theophilus destroyed his statue in Alexandria at the time of emperor Theodosius the Great. Some said this depicted Zeus, some said it was the Nile because it had on its head the bushel and the cubit, that is to say the measure of water; others said that it was Joseph, others said that it was Apis, a rich man and king in the Egyptian city Memphis. When a famine had occurred he provided food for the Alexandrians out of his own stores, and after his death they built in honour of him a temple, in which a bull was bred, bearing a sign distinctive of the farmer and having some marks on the skin; the bull was also named after him and called Apis. The coffin of this Apis, in which his body lay, was transferred to Alexandria and they created a composite name out of the coffin (soros) and Apis and they called him Sorapis, but those afterwards called him Sarapis. An immense and brilliant temple for him was built by Alexander.” – Suidas s.v. Serapis

Suidas s.v. Magnêtis

“There is a certain stone so-called, which has a natural power to draw iron to itself. In Egyptian Alexandria in the Serapeion there was a mechanism of deceit and wickedness of this kind: having made a statue of bronze and nailing iron inside the head, they fixed this stone above in the coffers of the ceiling opposite. The statue being drawn by the natural force of the stone, for it was hung up in the air, by great mechanism and skill was held between the floor and the ceiling, causing great amazement and not at all pulled down.” – Suidas s.v. Magnêtis

Strabo, Geography 17.16

“Canopos is a city situated at a distance of one hundred and twenty stadia from Alexandria if one goes on foot, and was named after Canopos, the pilot of Menelaüs, who died there. It contains the temple of Sarapis which is honored with great reverence and effects such cures that even the most reputable men believe in it and sleep in it — themselves on their own behalf or others for them. Some writers go on to record the cures, and others the virtues of the oracles there. But to balance all this is the crowd of revelers who go down from Alexandria by the canal to the public festivals; for every day and every night is crowded with people on the boats who play the flute and dance without restraint and with extreme licentiousness, both men and women, and also with the people of Canopos itself, who have resorts situated close to the canal and adapted to relaxation and merry-making of this kind.” – Strabo, Geography 17.16

Ps.-Nicolaus, Ecphrasis of the Tychaion 8.2-9

“A sacred precinct is established in the middle of Alexandria, composed of many more gods, but the whole precinct is named after Tyche. And those who gave the area its name seem to me to do so out of necessity. For as to those from whom everything is hidden by Tyche, for them the name of the gods had been hidden because of Tyche. The area is decorated somewhat as follows. It is completely adorned from floor to ceiling. The decoration is divided into semicircles, and varied columns are placed in front of each. The semicircles, in turn, are made to serve as receptacles for statues, and it is possible to measure the semicircles in terms of their statues; columns are set up alongside the statues. Gods are placed standing— not all but only twelve in number. And a column capital holds the Founder out apart from the two end ones and middle ones, and he stands, himself bearing a token of the Soter, but being borne up by the things by which the city is customarily nourished. And the nature of the earth is represented by Charis; half the stated number of gods surround her in their middle. And in the very middle stands a statue of Tyche, making clear by a crown the victories of Alexander; and Earth is being crowned by Tyche, and Earth herself is crowning the victor. Victories stand on either side of Tyche, with the craftsman admirably showing the power of Tyche, that Tyche knows how to be victorious over all. The decoration of the area is completed with a crown of laurel made from a statue. And one man philosophizes on a chair at one end, while another stands naked at the other end, holding an image of heaven in his left hand, while holding his right hand ready for everything, and he stands bare of covering. And bronze stelae stand in the middle of the floor, engraved with the laws of the city. And in the middle are the doors leading to the precinct of the Muses. Bronze kings stand in the middle, not all that time has brought, but those it has brought who were most revered. These things were a wonder to see, a benefit to learn of, and a crime to hide away in silence.” – Ps.-Nicolaus, Ecphrasis of the Tychaion 8.2-9

Pseudo-Kallisthenes, Alexander Romance 31

“And they began to build the city of Alexandria in the middle of the plain. First the place was given a name so as to begin from there the building of the city. And a serpent used to come to those who were busy working, and it frightened the workers and put a stop to the work. Because of the serpent’s raids, Alexander came and said, ‘Let it be captured by the workmen wherever it is found tomorrow.’ And upon receiving the order, they subdued and slew the beast when it came to the place which is now called Yark. [“Place of habitation.”] And Alexander asked that a shrine be built for it there, and they buried the serpent in it. And he declared that the excavation for the foundations be made nowhere else but on that same spot, where to this day the high mountain called the Albiwrk [“mound”] appears. And when he had laid the foundation for most of the city, he wrote upon it the five letters: A, B, C, D, E; A, Alexander; B, the greatest king; C, of the greatest nations; D, in the place of Aramazd; E, descended and built a unique city. And there were donkeys and mules at work there. And when the shrine had been built for this divinity, he set it upon the pillar. And many serpents came out of it and slithered into the houses that were now there. For Alexander was still there on the twenty-fifth of Tybi, building the city and that very shrine for the serpent. Thus, when these snakes came into the houses, the gatekeepers worship them as kindly spirits, for they are not poisonous, like wild animals, but rather, drive out poisonous beasts. And sacrifices are made to him as being of the family of serpents. And they wreathed all the beasts of burden and let them rest on that day; for, by bearing burdens, they had done their share in the building of the splendid city. And the king ordered that grain be given the guards. And when they had ground the grain and made bread, this was given to the inhabitants as in time of great rejoicing. On account of this, to this day these customs are kept among the Alexandrians on the twenty-fifth of Tybi. They garland all beasts of burden, and offer sacrifices to the god, and render homage to the serpents who safeguard the home, and make a distribution of bread.” – Pseudo-Kallisthenes, Alexander Romance 31

Scholion to Theokritos

“The title of this idyll is Syracusan women or Women at the festival of Adonis. The subject is some women from Syracuse who are staying at Alexandria; they arrange to go to watch the procession of Adonis, which has been furnished by Arsinoe, the wife of Philadelphos. Gorgo visits Praxinoa, and together they go out to watch. Theokritos modelled the poem on the Spectators at the Isthmia by Sophron, and it is different from his usual style of poetry. At the festival of Adonis, the inhabitants of Alexandria used to adorn the statues of Adonis and escort them in traditional fashion down to the sea. When the Syracusan women leave their house, they are astonished by the crowd and by what is happening in the crowd. Theokritos wrote this poem while he was staying at Alexandria, to please the queen. He describes the violent commotion of the men, and the singer who in her song extols the lavishness of Arsinoe.” – Scholion to Theokritos

Acta Alexandrinorum CPJ 2.157

“While Hermaiskos was saying this, the bust of Serapis which the ambassadors had carried in suddenly broke into a sweat. Trajan was amazed at the sight. And soon crowds gathered in Rome, numerous shouts rang forth, and everyone began to flee to the highest parts of the hills ….”  Acta Alexandrinorum (CPJ 2.157)

Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.73

“And Ptolemy the seventh king of Egypt was a man of this sort, the same who caused himself to be styled Euergetes (‘Benefactor’) but who was called Kakergetes (‘Malefactor’) by the Alexandrians. Accordingly, Poseidonios the Stoic, who went with Scipio Africanus when he was sent to Alexandria, and who there saw this Ptolemy, writes thus, in the seventh book of his History (Fr. 6) ‘But owing to his luxury his whole body was eaten up with fat, and with the greatness of his belly, which was so large that no one could put his arms all round it; and he wore over it a tunic which reached down to his feet, having sleeves which reached to his wrists, and he never by any chance walked out except on this occasion of Scipio’s visit.’ And that this king was not averse to luxury he tells us when he speaks of himself, relating in the eighth book of his Commentaries how he was priest of Apollon at Kyrene, and how he gave a banquet to those who had been priests before him; writing thus: ‘The Artemitia is the great festival of Kyrene, on which occasion the priest of Apollon (and that office is one which lasts a year) gives a banquet to all those who have been his predecessors in the office; and he sets before each of them a separate dish. And this dish is an earthenware vessel, holding about twenty artabae, in which there are many kinds of game elaborately dressed, and many kinds of bread, and of tame birds, and of sea-fish, and also many species of foreign preserved meats and pickled-fish. And very often some people also furnish them with a handsome youth as an attendant. But we ourselves omitted all this, and instead we furnished them with cups of solid silver, each being of as much value as all the things which we have just enumerated put together; and also we presented each man with a horse properly harnessed, and a groom, and gilt trappings; and we invited each man to mount his horse and ride him home.’ And his son Alexander also became exceedingly fat,  the one, I mean, who put his mother to death who had been his partner in the kingdom. Accordingly Poseidonios, in the forty-seventh book of his History (Fr. 26), mentions him in the following terms: ‘But the king of Egypt being detested by the multitude, but flattered by the people whom he had about him, and living in great luxury, was not able even to walk, unless he went leaning on two friends; but for all that he would, at his banquets, leap off from a high couch, and dance barefoot with more vigour than even those who made dancing their profession.’ – Athenaios, Deipnosophistai 12.73

Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers

“For on account of its temple of Serapis Alexandria was a world in itself, a world consecrated by religion: at any rate those who resorted to it from all parts were a multitude equal in number to its own citizens. But then the cult of the temples in Alexandria and at the shrine of Serapis were scattered to the winds, and not only the ceremonies of the cult but the buildings as well, and everything happened as in the myths of the poets when the Giants gained the upper hand. The temples at Canobus also suffered the same fate in the reign of Theodosius, when Theophilus presided over the abominable ones like a sort of Eurymedon who ruled over the proud Giants, and Evagrius was prefect of the city, and Romanus in command of the legions in Egypt. For these men, girding themselves in their wrath against our sacred places as though against stones and stone-masons, made a raid on the temples, and though they could not allege even a rumour of war to justify them, they demolished the temple of Serapis and made war against the temple offerings, whereby they won a victory without meeting a foe or fighting a battle. In this fashion they fought so strenuously against the statues and votive offerings that they not only conquered but stole them as well, and their only military tactics were to ensure that the thief should escape detection. Only the floor of the temple of Serapis they did not take, simply because of the weight of the stones which were not easy to move from their place. Then these warlike and honourable men, after they, had thrown everything into confusion and disorder and had thrust out hands, unstained indeed by blood but not pure from greed, boasted that they had overcome the gods, and reckoned their sacrilege and impiety a thing to glory in. Next, into the sacred places they imported monks, as they called them, who were men in appearance but led the lives of swine, and openly did and allowed countless unspeakable crimes. But this they accounted piety, to show contempt for things divine. For in those days every man who wore a black robe and consented to behave in unseemly fashion in public, possessed the power of a tyrant, to such a pitch of virtue had the human race advanced! All this however I have described in my Universal History. They settled these monks at Canobus also, and thus they fettered the human race to the worship of slaves, and those not even honest slaves, instead of the true gods. For they collected the bones and skulls of criminals who had been put to death for numerous crimes, men whom the law courts of the city had condemned to punishment, made them out to be gods, haunted their sepulchres, and thought that they became better by defiling themselves at their graves. ‘Martyrs’ the dead men were called, and ‘ministers’ of a sort, and ‘ambassadors’ from the gods to carry men’s prayers, these slaves in vilest servitude, who had been consumed by stripes and carried on their phantom forms the scars of their villainy.” – Eunapius, Lives of the Philosophers

John of Nikiû, The Chronicle 78.43-45

“Certain men took the remains of Saint John the Baptist and conveyed them to Alexandria, where they eventually came into the possession of the patriarch Theophilus, who destroyed the temple of Serapis and converted it into a massive and much decorated church. A tomb was built inside the church and the head of Saint John the Baptist was deposited there amid great rejoicings and a glorious feast. And the inhabitants of the city were uplifted because of him and made him notable with praise.” – John of Nikiû, The Chronicle 78.43-45

P. Tebt. 1.6

“King Ptolemy and Queen Kleopatra the sister and Queen Kleopatra the wife to the strategoi and the garrison commanders and the superintendents of police and chiefs of police and epimeletai and oikonomoi and basilikoi grammateis and the other royal functionaries, greeting. The priests of…  and of the Brother-and-Sister Gods and the Benefactor Gods and the Father-Loving Gods and the Manifest Gods and the God Eupator and the Mother-Loving Gods and the Benefactor Gods have written to us concerning the sacred land …  with that which has been dedicated by the cleruchs, and the profits from the honorable offices and posts as prophet or scribe and all the religious duties purchased for the temple and …  from properties and the sums paid in accordance with the decrees for …  and the several associations and the sacred slaves from trades and manufactures and salaries, and the sums collected by men and women at Alexandria and in the country for treasuries and bowls and cups, and the proceeds of the so-called aphrodisia and their revenues in general for … are registered, (stating that) certain persons who lease lands and other properties for a long period, and some who even take forcible possession without any contracts, fail to pay the rents due, and do not contribute the full amount of the profits of the honorable offices or posts as prophet or scribe, while others steal the sums paid and collected, and setting up aphrodisia without the authorization of the priests receive. . . for the sake of collecting the dues to the goddess, and other try to mix themselves up with the revenues and lay hands upon them and manage the temple contrary to custom. In accordance therefore with our previous ordinances concerning the dues which belong to the temples, so long as the aforesaid revenues of the goddess remain let them be (?) undisturbed, and permit no one under any circumstances to exact payment of any of the above-mentioned revenues or to drive away by force the agents of the priests engaged in collecting them; and compel those who disobey to pay all the sums regularly, in order that the priests may obtain all their receipts in full, and may be able without hindrance to pay the customary offerings to the gods on behalf of us and our children. Farewell. [Year] 31, Panemos 10 (?).” – P. Tebt. 1.6

Scholia on Kallimakhos’ Hymn to Demeter v. 1

“Ptolemy Philadelphos among other imitations of Athenian customs which he established in Alexandria, instituted the Procession of the Basket. For it was the custom in Athens that on a fixed day a basket should be borne upon a carriage in honor of Athene.” – Scholia on Kallimakhos’ Hymn to Demeter v. 1

3 Maccabees 2.27-30

“King Ptolemy set up a stone on the tower in the courtyard with this inscription: ‘None of those who do not sacrifice shall enter their sanctuaries, and all Jews shall be subjected to a registration involving poll tax and to the status of slaves. Those who object to this are to be taken by force and put to death; those who are registered are also to be branded on their bodies by fire with the ivy-leaf symbol of Dionysos, and they shall also be reduced to their former limited status.’ In order that he might not appear to be an enemy of all, he inscribed below: ‘But if any of them prefer to join those who have been initiated into the mysteries, they shall have equal citizenship with the Alexandrians.'” – 3 Maccabees 2.27-30

SEG 1.366

“Resolved by the boule and the demos, proposal of the prytaneis, concerning [(the matters) which] Hippodamas son of Pantonaktides initially raised, (namely) that Boulagoras son of Alexis, having rendered many services to the demos as a whole and individually to many of the citizens, might be praised and crowned as the boule and demos may decide: whereas Boulagoras … supervised the good-conduct of the ephebes and the youths fairly and nobly; and in the present year, when it was time for the dispatch of the theoroi to Alexandria, knowing that the demos set the greatest importance by the honors of King Ptolemy and his sister Queen Berenike, since limited funds were available for their crowns and for the sacrifices, which the theoroi must needs perform in Alexandria, while for the travelling expenses of the architheoros and the theoroi, by whom the crown had to be delivered and the sacrifices performed, there was no (money) at all nor any place whence at the time it might be got, wishing that nothing be lacking from the honors previously decreed for the king and the queen and their parents and ancestors, he promised to advance the money required for these things from his own resources, (a sum) not much less than 6000 drachmas … and in all other matters he continues to show himself zealous and kind both to the demos in general and individually to each of the citizens, [giving] the best [counsel] and reconciling those with differences and lending without interest from his own resources to many of those who are in difficulties; in order, then, that we may be clear in honoring good men and in urging many of the citizens to the same attitude, be it resolved by the demos: to praise Boulagoras son of Alexis for his virtue and his good-will toward the citizens, and to crown him with a gold crown at the tragedies during the Dionysia, and for the agonothetes to look after the announcement; and for the exetastai to have this decree inscribed on a stone stele and set up in the sanctuary of Hera; and for the treasurer of the sacred funds to provide the expense from the money he has on hand from fines. Present were Hyblesios, Herodotos, Monimos, Demetrios.” – SEG I 366

Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 5.16

“At the solicitation of Theophilus bishop of Alexandria the emperor issued an order at this time for the demolition of the heathen temples in that city; commanding also that it should be put in execution under the direction of Theophilus. Seizing this opportunity, Theophilus exerted himself to the utmost to expose the pagan mysteries to contempt. And to begin with, he caused the Mithreum to be cleaned out, and exhibited to public view the tokens of its bloody mysteries. Then he destroyed the Serapeum, and the bloody rites of the Mithreum he publicly caricatured; the Serapeum also he showed full of extravagant superstitions, and he had the phalli of Dionysos carried through the midst of the forum. The pagans of Alexandria, and especially the professors of philosophy, were unable to repress their rage at this exposure, and exceeded in revengeful ferocity their outrages on a former occasion: for with one accord, at a preconcerted signal, they rushed impetuously upon the Christians, and murdered every one they could lay hands on. The Christians also made an attempt to resist the assailants, and so the mischief was the more augmented. This desperate affray was prolonged until satiety of bloodshed put an end to it. Then it was discovered that very few of the heathens had been killed, but a great number of Christians; while the number of wounded on each side was almost innumerable. Fear then possessed the pagans on account of what was done, as they considered the emperor’s displeasure. For having done what seemed good in their own eyes, and by their bloodshed having quenched their courage, some fled in one direction, some in another, and many quitting Alexandria, dispersed themselves in various cities. Among these were the two grammarians Helladius and Ammonius, whose pupil I was in my youth at Constantinople. Helladius was said to be the priest of Jupiter, and Ammonius of Simius. Thus this disturbance having been terminated, the governor of Alexandria, and the commander-in-chief of the troops in Egypt, assisted Theophilus in demolishing the heathen temples. These were therefore razed to the ground, and the images of their gods molten into pots and other convenient utensils for the use of the Alexandrian church; for the emperor had instructed Theophilus to distribute them for the relief of the poor. All the images were accordingly broken to pieces, except one statue of the god before mentioned, which Theophilus preserved and set up in a public place; ‘ Lest,’ said he, ‘at a future time the heathens should deny that they had ever worshiped such gods.’ This action gave great umbrage to Ammonius the grammarian in particular, who to my knowledge was accustomed to say that ‘the religion of the Gentiles was grossly abused in that that single statue was not also molten, but preserved, in order to render that religion ridiculous.’ Helladius however boasted in the presence of some that he had slain in that desperate onset nine men with his own hand. Such were the doings at Alexandria at that time.” – Socrates Scholasticus, Ecclesiastical History 5.16

P. Hor 14-20

“From Hor the scribe, the man of the town of Isis, lady of the cavern, the great goddess, in the nome of Sebennytos. The dream which told to me of the safety of Alexandria and the journeyings of Antiochos, namely that he would leave Egypt by year 2, Paoni, final day. I reported this to Irenaeus the strategos … Cleon, the agent of Antiochos, had not yet left Memphis. I gave it to the Pharaohs in the Great Serapeion which is in Alexandria. There came about the counsel of Isis, the great goddess, and Thoth the three times great, in every matter which concerned these things ….” – P. Hor 14-20

P. Tebt. 1.33

“Hermias to Horos, greeting. A copy of the letter to Asklepiades is appended. Take care that things take place accordingly. Farewell. Year 5, Xandikos 17, Mecheir 17.

“To Asklepiades. Lucius Memmius, a Roman senator, who occupies a position of great dignity and honor, is making the voyage from the city [Alexandria] to the Arsinoite Nome to see the sights. Let him be received with special magnificence, and take care that at the proper spots the guest-chambers be prepared and the landing-places to them be got ready with great care, and that the gifts of hospitality mentioned below be presented to him at the landing-place, and that the furniture of the chamber, the customary bites of food for Petesouchos and the crocodiles, the necessaries for the view of the labyrinth, and the victims to be offered and the supply for the sacrifices be properly managed; in general take the utmost pains in everything that the visitor may be satisfied, and display the utmost zeal.” – P. Tebt. 1.33

PEL 4.435

“To Apollonios, greetings from Zoilos of Aspendos …. Which the King’s cousins will deliver to you. As I was worshipping the god Serapis and interceding for your health and your favor with King Ptolemy, Serapis repeatedly, in dreams, laid upon me the duty of going to you and conveying to you the following directions: a Serapieion and a sacred area must be built for him in the Greek quarter beside the harbor; a priest must be appointed and offer sacrifices there for us. When I begged him to release me from this duty, he let me fall into a severe illness, so that I was even in danger of my life. Then I prayed to him and promised that, if he would make me well, I should undertake the mission and carry out his command. Just when I had recovered, someone came from Knidos and began building a Serapieion at the place, and had ordered the stone brought there. Later on, the god forbade him to build, and he went away. When I came to Alexandria and hesitated to go to you with my message until you at last granted me the opportunity, I had a relapse that lasted for four months, and so I could not come to you immediately. Please, Apollonios, carry out the command of the god, so that Serapis may be gracious to you and lead you to still greater influence with the King and grant you fame and physical health. You need not be alarmed over this commission and the large expenditure it entails; instead, it will be greatly to your advantage, for I will myself share in managing the whole undertaking. May all go well for you!” – PEL 4.435

Suidas s.v. Heraiskos

“Heraiskos actually had a natural talent for distinguishing between religious statues that were animated and those that were not. For as soon as he looked at one his heart was struck by a sensation of the divine and he gave a start in his body and his soul, as though seized by the god. If he was not moved in such a fashion then the statue was soulless and had no share of divine inspiration. In this way he distinguished the secret statue of Aion which the Alexandrians worshipped as being possessed by the god. There was also something in Heraiskos’ nature that rejected defilements of nature. For instance, if he heard any unclean woman speaking, no matter where or how, he immediately got a headache, and this was taken as a sign that she was menstruating.” – Suidas s.v. Hêraïskos