Alruy (or Alroy), David (ca. 1147– )
A Jewish false Messiah, born in Kurdistan ca. 1147. Alruy
boasted that he was a descendant of King David. Educated in
Baghdad, he received instruction in the magic arts and came
to be more proficient than his masters. His false miracles
gained so much popularity for him that many Jews believed
him to be the Messiah who was to restore their nation to Jerusalem.
According to legends, the king of Persia imprisoned him,
but no bolts and bars could hold so formidable a magician. He
escaped from his prison and appeared before the eyes of the
astonished king, though the courtiers saw nothing. In vain the
king called angrily for someone to arrest the imposter. While
they groped in search of him, Alruy slipped from the palace
with the king in pursuit and all the courtiers running after him.
They reached the sea shore, and Alruy turned and showed himself
to all the people. Spreading a scarf on the surface of the
water, he walked over it lightly, before the boats which were to
pursue him were ready. This tale confirmed his reputation as
the greatest magician within the memory of man.
It is said that a Turkish prince, a subject of the Persian king,
bribed the father-in-law of the sorcerer to kill him, and one
night, when Alruy was sleeping peacefully in his bed, a dagger
thrust put an end to his existence.
Alruy was the subject of a novel by the politician-author Benjamin
Disraeli (1804–1881) Alroy A Romance (1846).

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