Simon Magus, a magician of the time of the apostles, who by his skill had attained such influence as to be called "the great power of God." While Philip the Evangelist preached in Samaria, in A. D. 36, Simon's followers were converted, and he himself believed and was baptized. Soon after, when Peter and John came to Samaria, to impart to the new converts by means of prayer and the imposition of hands the gifts of the Spirit, Simon, seeing that through the laying on of hands the Holy Ghost was given, offered money to the apostles to impart to him this power. He was sternly rebuked by Peter, and appears no longer in connection with the rising Christian church. The statements of the ecclesiastical writers respecting his further life are contradictory; but it seems certain that he travelled through many countries to give exhibitions of his magic power, and that finally he settled at Rome, where, according to the testimony of Eusebius (with which a statement of Suetonius agrees), he met his death in an aeronautic attempt. About the middle of the 2d century his followers were still very numerous, and Eusebius in the 4th century represents the Si-monians as a powerful sect.

They early split into several parties, of which the Menandrians and the Dositheans were the most important. (See Dositheans.) Simon wrote several works, the remaining fragments of which are contained in Grabe's Spicilegium, vol. i.