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Lysimachus of Alexandria°


LYSIMACHUS OF ALEXANDRIA ° (of uncertain date), author of several mythographical works and a book on Egypt. In addition to the scurrilous versions of the Exodus given by *Manetho and *Chaeremon, Josephus adds the account of Lysimachus, who, he says, "surpasses both in the incredibility of his fictions" (Apion, 1:304–20). According to Lysimachus' version, in the reign of Bocchoris (perhaps a corruption of bekhor, in allusion to the plague of the first-born during which the Jews left Egypt), king of Egypt, the Jews (see also *Tacitus, Historiae, 5:3), afflicted with leprosy and scurvy, took refuge in the temples. A dearth ensued throughout Egypt, and an oracle of Ammon informed the king that the failure of the crops could be averted only by purging the temples of impure persons, driving them out into the wilderness and drowning those afflicted with leprosy. After the lepers had been drowned, the others, numbering 110,600 were exposed in the desert to perish. A certain Moses, however, advised them to proceed until they reached inhabited country, instructing them to show goodwill to no man, to offer not the best but the worst advice, and to overthrow any temples which they found. When they came to the country now called Judea, they built a town called Hierosyla ("town of temple-robbers"). At a later date they altered the name to avoid reproach and called the city Hierosolyma. Josephus attempts to refute the account, not by offering other evidence, but by showing its intrinsic improbability.


A. Gudeman, in: Pauly-Wissowa, 27 (1928), 32–39; Reinach, Textes, 117–20; Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (19094), 535f.

[David Winston]

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