A large tame snake with a false human head, wound round Alexander's body as he sat in a shrine in the temple, gave " autophones " or oracles unasked, but the usual methods practised were those of the numerous oracle-mongers of the time, of which Lucian gives a detailed account, the opening of sealed inquiries by heated needles, a neat plan of forging broken seals, and the giving of vague or meaningless replies to difficult questions, coupled with a lucrative blackmailing of those whose inquiries were compromising.
In their hurry to obtain wealth, this crowd of office-mongers from the provinces lent themselves to all kinds of bribery and corruption.
This was probably the reason why their marriage was annulled by mutual consent in 1151, but contemporary scandal-mongers attributed the separation to the king's jealousy.
In these last the ballad-mongers, not to let their native hero be outdone by the Amadises, the Esplandians, and the Felixmartes, engage him in the most extravagant adventures - making war upon the king of France and upon the emperor, receiving embassies from the soldan of Persia, bearding the pope at Rome, and performing other feats not mentioned even in the Poem or the Chronicle.
The Gnostic ideas of salvation were in the later schools and sects transferred to these persons whom we must consider as rather obscure charlatans and miracle-mongers, just as in other cases they were transferred to the person of Christ.
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