ALEXANDER THE FALSE


ALEXANDER THE FALSE
ALEXANDER THE FALSE, impostor who pretended to be the son of Herod and Mariamne. According to Josephus, after Herod's death in 4 B.C.E., there appeared "a young man, Jewish by birth but brought up in the city of Sidon by a Roman freedman" who "on the strength of a certain physical resemblance passed himself off as the Prince Alexander, whom Herod had put to death." He successfully deceived several Jewish communities on his way to Rome, but when he arrived there, he was unmasked by the emperor Augustus; Celadus, a freedman who had known the real Alexander, informed the emperor of the deception. The impostor's life was spared, however, and he became an oarsman in the imperial galleys. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Jos., Wars, 2:101–10; Jos., Ant., 17:324–38; Klausner, Bayit Sheni, 4 (19502), 177–8. (Isaiah Gafni)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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