Home >> Encyclopedia-britannica-volume-01-a-anno >> Abhidhamma to Acanthocephala >> Abraxas or Abrasax

Abraxas or Abrasax


ABRAXAS or ABRASAX, a word probably first used by the Basilidians and engraved on certain antique stones, called on that account Abraxas stones. The letters of af3paVcs in the Greek notation make up the number 365, and the Basilidians gave the name to the 365 orders of spirits which emanated in succession from the Supreme Being. These orders were supposed to occupy 365 heavens, each fashioned like but inferior to that above it, the lowest being the abode of the spirits who formed the earth and its inhabitants, to whom was committed the administration of its affairs. In addition to the word Abraxas the stones often have cabalistic figures engraved on them.