Lucian of Samosata°

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LUCIAN OF SAMOSATA ° (c. 120–c. 180), greatest Greek satirist, whose mother tongue was probably Aramaic. In a satiric essay, "Alexander the False Prophet" (13), Lucian tells how a charlatan Alexander of Abonoteichus (in Asia Minor) pronounced some meaningless words, which, he says, could be either Hebrew or Phoenician, thus dazzling his audience in his native city, who had not understood what he was saying except that he was somehow involved in the cult of the gods Apollo and Aselepius. In a mock-tragedy, Podagra (line 173), he speaks of a fool who allows himself to be taken in by the spells of a Jew.

[Louis Harry Feldman]