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2017-05-18

Glycon the Muppet God


May I introduce myself? My name is Glycon and I'm a god. Or so it was said about me. Once I've dwelt in a fishing village at the Black Sea; Abonuteichos it was called at that time, under the Romans. And it turned into a veritable tourist attraction when my prophet, Alexandros, and I set up our abodes there. After all, we have issued oracles pretty much like our mates over in Delphi - that name is known to you, I take it? In such a business you could really make a fortune at that time, because, you see, everybody wants to know what the future will bring, yes, everyone from the Emperor down to the kitchen-slave.
   In pharmacy we were engaged as well. That's because my father is Asclepios, the god of healing, therefore it seemed reasonable that we would get into the drug business. Alexandros has always claimed, by the way, that he was the son of Podalirios, my brother. He should have called me Uncle then, wouldn't you agree? But he always addressed me as his Sweetie - well, Glycon, he said, because he was talking Ancient Greek, of course.
   It was some hell of a business that we've been running at that time. Until this smartarse came along, Lucian of Samosata. Now here was a really innovative mate, one who wanted to be "scientific". He didn't believe at all in gods and miracles and prophecies, and he claimed that I was a Muppet - a kind of Miss Piggy for ancient Romans, can you imagine! Yes, a doll with threads attached, he claimed, that my prophet were using to make fools out of his devout believers, even including provincial governors and commanders of the legions whom we advised in the best strategy against the Parthians or the Marcomanni!
   I say, I should expect a little more trust, shouldn't I? Are you still surprised that my Alexandros planned to drown this rascal in the deepest sea? Already when he first received that mate quite well-mannered and granted him a kiss on the hand, this fellow Lucian bit him right into the palm so that you could count the impressions of his teeth! Really! You don't believe me? But Lucian is confessing to that in his own report in which he designated my friend Alexandros the greatest villain since Alexander the Great! Read it yourself, you will find many a conjurer's trick described that your ... "gurus", is that the proper word? ... use even today to entice superstitious idiots. By which I don't want to suggest that you be one of them; not at all, you are rather thinking like this Lucian who always wanted to counter everything with reason and logical deduction, aren't you? And that he did 1850 years ago!
   Fortunately, you see, hardly anyone listened to him back them. Those who want to be cheated will be cheated, as the saying goes, and people have still been praying to me when Lucian had already descended into the Hades in which he didn't believe, either. But how he has uncovered the business which my Alexandros and me have set up together, that's really a comedy worth reading.
  
The annotated new translation of "Lucian vs. the False Prophet" is available in print or as ebook. Which of the two was the actual liar - Alexandros or Lucian -is a decision that I will gladly leave to you.
Visit me once in Ankara, Turkey! You will find me in the Museum for Anatolian Cultures just as I am posing in the image above for you. I am looking forward to meeting you!
Kind regards,

your sweetie Glycon