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Men of learning: The cult of Paideia in Lucian's Alexander

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Chapter Summary

In his essay Alexander or the False Prophet, Lucian offers an exposé of the history of a prophet named Alexander who, sometime around 140 to 145 C.E., set up a new cult of Asclepius in Abonuteichus, a city on the south coast of the Black Sea. To be cynical about this cynical author Lucian, we can declare that this cult of paideia is promulgated by a narratological mummery that our credulous faith in erudition exhorts us to disavow. This chapter first offers a brief overview of the flow of the Alexander as a whole. Then it explores the ways in which the figure of Alexander represents an inverted double of the figure of the narrator himself. After that the chapter examines the ways in which this double contends against the narrator. It ends by looking at the movement between author, narrator and character taking place in and around the Alexander.

Keywords: Alexander or the False Prophet; Black Sea; cult of paideia; Lucian



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