Ptah in Memphis.23 Similarly exciting, while at the same time controversial, is the case of Caracalla. The emperor visited Alexandria for intellectual and religious reasons, staying at the Sarapeion and attending the temple’s sacrifices and cultural events24. Still, he must have been responsible for one of the bloodiest massacres in Alexandria during the Roman period. In 181 AD the Temple of Sarapis was burnt down, but in the 3rd century AD Sarapis obtained a new temple, larger and with a new Nilometer that is preserved until today. Another important addition to the site was the mistakenly called Pompey’s Pillar. This column was the 25 meters monumental base of Diocletian’s statue, and is the tallest in situ ancient column in the world. It was erected at the beginning of the 4th century AD, and has since become the trademark of the site (fig. 43). Sarapeion was finally destroyed during the Pagan-Christian conflict of 391 AD during the reign of the Roman Emperor Theodosius.25 The conflict ended with an imperial decree, according to which the cult of Sarapis was prohibited and its sanctuary closed. In the next stage it was converted to the church of St. John the Baptist, while the use continued in the Arab and Ottoman periods (Figs. 44-45).
Hölbl. 2001, 233-34. Ibid, 237-238. 25 For the destruction of Sarapeion see Socrates Scholasticos, Historia ecclesiastica 16; Haas, 1997, 161. 24