Alexander the Prophet

When Alexander the Prophet introduced Glycon the snake to the Abonoteichans, it displayed how the masses of antiquity were eager to worship some sort of God.Moreover, it really illustrated how easy it was to invent a god and watch the masses scurry to worship it.The people throughout the Roman world were so superstitious, ignorant and gullible that even a skeptic with convincing arguments and evidence had no practical effect on the credulous believers.
Alexander was indeed an intelligent and resourceful man and that was part of the reason he was so successful at his cons.The other reason for his success was due to the sheer ignorance of the masses and he used both of these factors to his advantage. He understood, according to Lucian's story, that hope and fear tyrannize every man's life and that anyone able to make use of either for his own good could become rich overnight.Alexander was so very good at working people in his favor, aside from swindling them for money, of course.Even when his prophesies went awry, he was quickly able to recover.He would prepare ex post facto oracles to help out the bad predictions, such as the one he gave Severianus about his march into Armenia.This was a rich and notable person, Severianus, and he trusted Glycon with his and his soldiers' lives, much to his detriment.His oracles were not only listened to and believed by the commoners.There was a very large patronage of emperors and provincial governors as well.Even Rutilianus, the governor of Moesia and Asia, was a devout follower, and married Alexander's daughter. Rutilianus also came to Alexander's defense when his own son had died after he asked Glycon where he should receive his education.Rutilianus simply came up with a possible positive interpretation of what the oracle may have meant. Alexander's god was so popular that people rushed all the way from Rome to consul