Thursday, 10 January 2013

Glykon

Stage one of the reptile man head project involves making the armature.  In this case I've used no. 8 wire, part of an old Yellow Pages, and paper pulp.  The ball for the head will sit where the brain case would be if the thing were alive, and it's supported on a snakey tail. 



Initially I only intended to make a head, but somewhere along the way it turned into Glykon.  If you’re not familiar with Glykon, get yourself settled comfortably because it’s a great story.  If you enjoy the kind of content I typically post on here, I have a hunch you’ll enjoy this story too. 

Glykon was an ancient Greek snake god whose responsibilities included healing, prophesy, and fertility.  Glykon’s chief prophet was a guy named Alexander of Abonoteichus, a cult leader who foretold the god’s manifestation on earth and organised the worship of this new deity.  The story goes that Alexander cut open an egg and a tiny snake crawled out.  The snake grew to the size of a man, and developed human facial features.  It could speak, and foretell the future, and - most importantly - it was a very hands on type of god.  People could go to the temple and meet Glykon in real life.  Not just a statue of the god either; they could see the actual god slithering around the temple. 

Enter Lucian of Samosata: writer, skeptic, and in many ways the 2nd century equivalent of Mythbusters.  Lucian investigated the cult and didn’t take long to expose Alexander as a fraud.  Alexander was the kind of dodgy cult leader familiar to modern audiences from such disasters as Waco and the Children of God, while Glykon itself was simply a pet snake with a puppet on its head.  You can read Lucian’s expose here.  It’s not very long but it is very funny.

Alexander didn’t take this at all well and tried to have Lucian killed, but in the end he needn’t have bothered.  The Glykon scam continued to separate fools from their money long after Lucian had debunked it, because some people really will believe anything no matter how ridiculous it is or how often it's been disproved. 

Fun fact: Glykon still has worshippers today, apparently including Alan Moore (yes, that Alan Moore).  Go figure.