At the same time, both traditional Greek and Egyptian religious expressions were included in the Ptolemaic religious assemblage. Hence it seems clear that the Ptolemies attempted to offer a flexible socio-cultural background to the society of Hellenistic Alexandria in order to adapt aspects from both Greek and Egyptian traditions in the most suitable way. The earliest evidence from the Sarapis complex dates to the reign of Ptolemy II, while the main Hellenistic temple was built in the reign of Ptolemy III. The earliest aspect of the Ptolemaic complex was an underground corridor, the entrance to which was located on the west side, leading to another building to the south, and the underground galleries, which probably hosted mummified animals. An altar dedicated to Osiris and Isis and erected by Ptolemy II and Arsinoe II must have been built at the same stage. In addition, three sphinxes, two still in situ, and one in the GraecoRoman museum,16 date to the reign of the first two Ptolemies and were possibly part of the complex since this early stage (Figs. 34-36).
Fig. 34. Sphinxes of Sarapeion
Graeco-Roman Museum no. 350. See Bianchi and Savvopoulos, 2012, no. 1.