Alexander The Paphlagonian

Alexander The Paphlagonian

▪ ancient religious charlatan

born 2nd century AD

      celebrated impostor and worker of false oracles. The only account of his career occurs in an exposé by Lucian, whose investigations of Alexander's frauds led to a serious attempt on the writer's life.

      Alexander established an oracle of Asclepius (the Greek god of healing) at his native town by staging a “rebirth” of the god in the form of a snake, which he called Glycon. He instituted mystical “rites” from which his particular enemies, the Christians and Epicureans, were excluded. He went so far as to celebrate a marriage between himself and the Moon. Through blackmail and other abuses he was able to amass a fortune.

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