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Encyclopedia > Alexander of Abonutichus

Alexander of Abonutichus (d. c. 170 CE) was a Greek mystic and the founder of the Glycon cult that briefly achieved wide popularity in the Roman world. He was reported by Lucian to be an utter fraud - the god Glycon was supposedly constructed out of a glove puppet. He is sometimes known as the False Prophet Alexander. Late second-century statue of Glycon. ... Lucian Lucian of Samosata (Greek, Λουκιανὸς Σαμοσατεύς, Latin, Lucianus; c. ...

Early life

Not much is known about the early life of Alexander. He apparently worked in travelling medicine shows around Greece and might have been a prophet of the goddess Soi or a follower of Apollonius of Tyana. In Lucian, his partner in fraud is given as one Cocconas of Byzantium. Apollonius of Tyana (13 March 2 – 98?) was a Neo-Pythagorean philosopher and teacher of Greek origin. ... Byzantium was an ancient Greek city-state, founded by Greek colonists from Megara in 667 BC and named after their king Byzas. ...

Glycon cult

Sometime before 160 CE Alexander formed a cult around the worship of a new snake-god, Glycon, and headquartered it in his hometown of Ionopolis. Scandal soon attached itself to his office at the head of the cult: Glycon was a fertility god, and Alexander reportedly had more mundane methods of causing pregnancy among his female followers. Through the cult Alexander acheived a certain level of political influence - his daughter married the governor of the Roman provence of Asia.


  • Lendering, Jona, Glycon



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