This paper examines the Egyptian god Osiris and his Hellenized counterpart Serapis in ca. 2nd-century Rome. Written in this period were two of the most important texts utilized by modern scholars to elucidate the Egyptian cults: Plutarch’s De Iside et Osiride and Apuleius’s Metamorphoses (“The Golden Ass”). In both texts, Osiris appears as the more important deity of the two. This situation is at odds with what we find in the epigraphic record from this same period, where Osiris rarely appears. The author suggests that this possible discrepancy can be explicated by adopting as heuristic whereby the evidence is seen as reflecting various levels of “interiority” within the cult.
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