In this connexion the name Abraxas and the Abraxas gems must be remembered.
ABRAXAS, or Abrasax, a word engraved on certain antique stones, called on that account Abraxas stones, which were used as amulets or charms. The Basilidians, a Gnostic sect, attached importance to the word, if, indeed, they did not bring it into use.
Speculations about the Perso-Hellenistic Mithras appear to have been transferred to the Gnostic Abraxas.
Thus it occurs in a magical book of Moses, w hich has been edited from a Leiden papyrus of the 3rd or 4th century by Dieterich (Abraxas, 109).
A more satisfactory explanation has been offered by Dieterich (Abraxas, 117 sqq.), who finds in this chapter an adaptation of the birth of Apollo and the attempt of the dragon Pytho to kill his mother Schopfung and Chaos § 3, Religionsgesch.