ある魔術師のサクセスストーリー : ルキアノス『偽預言者アレクサンドロス』
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The Success Story of a Sorcerer: Lucian’s Alexander, the False Prophet
Ancient Mediterranean World
Literatures of other languages
Lucian’s Alexander, the False Prophet, written at the end of the 2nd century, illustrates the life of a sorcerer who lived during the same era as the author. According to this work, the protagonist, Alexander, was born in the city of Abonoteichus on the south coast of the Black Sea. As a child, he became an apprentice to a sorcerer who called himself a public physician and learned how to prepare medicine and poison, besides learning sorcery. When he grew into a young man, his master passed away. He then went on a journey to train himself to work independently, found a like-minded young man on his travels, and made plans to start an oracle. He established an oracle with Glycon−the God with a human head and a serpent’s body−as its chief God. The oracle gained instant popularity, with its fame spreading as far as Rome, thereby enabling Alexander to become acquainted with senior officials and emperors of the time.
The existence of this so-called newly revived religion has been archaeologically proven. Furthermore, Lucian, a satirist, has been reappraised as a historian in recent years. His work, Alexander, the False Prophet, is regarded as a primary historical record of the religious history of the eastern Roman empire at the time. It portrays how the revival of a traditional religion (worship of Glycon), Christianity (newly emerged then), and Epicureanism (the long-established principles of philosophers), had conflicted in a three-way competition for their survival. This work was mainly chosen for the type of sorcerer depicted in it. These type of sorcerers possibly manufactured and sold curse tablets, and presumably called themselves public physicians. Another reason is this work also presents the four steps required for a sorcerer to become successful: He must become (1) an apprentice, (2) a traveling sorcerer, (3) an oracle manager, and (4) a retainer sorcerer to an influential person. These could also be the four types of sorcerers. Using this record, this short essay aims to create coordinates to classify sorcerers. Graphically, the vertical y-axis coordinate is labeled the distance to power and the horizontal x-axis coordinate is labeled the degree of mobility. These classifying coordinates will be effective for future categorization of various types of sorcerers who had existed in the ancient Mediterranean world. They will also be helpful in positioning the type of sorcerers who had manufactured and sold curse tablets, a matter that remains unclear. A clearer understanding of this subject will contribute to a comprehensive understanding of religion in the ancient Mediterranean region.
The Hiroshima University studies, Graduate School of Letters
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Departmental Bulletin Paper
Departmental Bulletin Papers
Graduate School of Letters