Simon Magus in popular culture

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The stories of the rogue sorcerer Simon Magus and his consort Helen, which showcased the early battles between religion and magic, have often captured the imagination of artists and writers.

Folklore[edit]

  • In Irish mythology, Mug Ruith is said to have been a student of Simon Magus, who taught him his magic skills and helped him build the flying machine roth rámach. Mug Ruith's daughter Tlachtga was raped by the three sons of Simon Magus and returned to Ireland where she gave birth to triplets on the hill that would bear her name.

Theatre and poetry[edit]

Faust[edit]

  • Many aspects of the life of Simon Magus are echoed in the later Faust legend of Christopher Marlowe and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Hans Jonas writes, "surely few admirers of Marlowe's and Goethe's plays have an inkling that their hero is the descendant of a gnostic sectary, and that the beautiful Helen called up by his art was once the fallen Thought of God through whose raising mankind was to be saved."[1]
    • The presence of Helen of Troy.[2]
    • The name "Faustus" ("the favored one"), both as a possible appellation of Simon in Rome, and with a person by that name appearing in the Clementine literature. Later, Augustine of Hippo became a fierce opponent of a certain Faustus the Manichean.
    • The homunculus.
    • Faust is employed by the Emperor, just as Simon is employed by Nero.
    • The ascent of Gretchen and Faust past the demons of Mephistopheles in Faust Part One and Faust Part Two, respectively, can be seen as mirroring the descent of the Ennoia and Simon past the world-creating angels. Additionally, the passage wherein Mephistopheles is distracted by the allures of seductive angels has its parallel in the Ennoia arousing desires in the world-creating angels who prevent her initial ascent.[3]

Film[edit]

  • Simon Magus is portrayed as a pivotal character, "Simon the Magician," played by Jack Palance, in the 1954 movie The Silver Chalice (which also debuted a young Paul Newman).
  • In the 1997 movie The Saint during the opening scene, the protagonist Simon Templar refers to himself as Simon Magus, the magician.
  • In the 1999 movie Simon Magus, the mystery of Simon Magus is set in contemporary Paris.

Books[edit]

  • Simon is the hero of a series of short stories and novels by Richard L. Tierney, set in the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • According to the book The Templar Revelation, Simon Magus (not Jesus Christ) was the true heir of John the Baptist.[4]
  • A character based on Simon Magus appears in Foucault's Pendulum by Umberto Eco.
  • Simon Magus appears in the 2001 Scott McBain novel The Coins of Judas.
  • Simon Magus was a villain in an early issue of DC Comics' original Justice League of America comic book series.
  • In his 1961 novel Stranger in a Strange Land, science fiction writer Robert A. Heinlein refers to a character named "Professor" Simon Magus, a carnival grifter and mentalist who is described as a "likable scoundrel."[5]
  • Simon Magus is one of the central figures in Robin Cook's latest book "Intervention"
  • In David Guterson's 2008 novel "The Other" John William Barry frequently signs his name as Simon Magus
  • In Book of Magic, a sourcebook for the Mutants & Masterminds role-playing game, Simon Magus was one of the "Master Mages" (skilled mages tasked with protecting the Earth dimension from mystical threats), and forged The Pact, a binding spell that altered/strengthened the dimensional barriers so much that the gods and other entities from outside Earth's dimension could no longer enter without being called upon by mortal power and permission.
  • The character of Simon Leclerc in Charles Williams's All Hallow's Eve is based on Simon Magus.
  • "The Illusionist", a novel by Anita Mason, is a fictionalised account of the life and death of Simon Magus.
  • In his 1991 novel Flicker, Theodore Roszak uses Simon Magus or Simon the Magician, in a fictionalized manner, as being the founder of The Cathars, which later become The Orphans Of The Storm in the book's storyline.

Painting and sculpture[edit]

The fall of Simon Magus has been a favorite subject of artists.

Video games[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jonas, Hans (1958). The Gnostic Religion. p. 111. 
  2. ^ Here and below: Headlam, A.C. (1898). "Simon Magus and the Faust Legend". In James Hastings. A Dictionary of the Bible IV. p. 527. 
  3. ^ See also: Palmer, Philip Mason; Robert Pattison More (1936). The Sources of the Faust Tradition: From Simon Magus to Lessing.  ; Fradon, Ramona (2007). The Gnostic Faustus: The Secret Teachings behind the Classic Text. 
  4. ^ As in the Clementine Homilies
  5. ^ Robert A. Heinlein, Stranger in a Strange Land (New York: Ace Books, 1991), p. 312 (softcover edition)