Menandrians one of the most ancient branches of the Gnostics, received their name from their leader, Menander. He was a Samaritan by birth, and is said to have received instruction from Simon Magus. This supposition is not well founded, however, and has arisen, no doubt, from the similarity which existed, to some extent, between his teachings and those of Simon, as well as from the erroneous idea that all the Gnostic sects sprung from the Simonians. Menander aspired to the honor of being a Messiah, and, according to the testimonies of Irenseus, Justin, and Tertullian, he pretended to be one of the aeons sent from the pleroma, or celestial regions, to succor the souls that lay groaning under bodily oppression' and servitude, and to maintain them against the violence and stratagems of the daemons that hold the reins of empire in this sublunary world. One of the conditions of salvation was baptism in his name, according to a peculiar form instituted by him. He claimed also the power to make his followers immortal. His daring pretensions and fanatical teachings should cause him to be ranked as a lunatic rather than the founder of a heretical sect. The influence of the Menandrians continued through several minor sects until some time in the 6th century. They were often confounded, by those not well informed on the subject, with the orthodox followers of Christ. See Eusebius, Hist. Ecclesiastes 3:26,; 4:22; Irenaeus, Adv. haeres. 1:21; Justin M., Apolog. 1:26; Schaff, Ch. Hist. 1:235; Gieseler, Ecclesiastes Hist. 1:56; Mosheim, Commentary on Ecclesiastes Hist.; Wetzer und Welte, Kirchen-Lexikon, vol. vi, s.v.; Walch, Hist. der Ketzereien, 1:185 sq., 276, 284; Schrockh, Kirchen-Gesch. 2:244. SEE ALSO GNOSTICS; SEE MAGUS, SIMON.