Again, when Alexander, king of the Macedonians, passed over into Asia, the Amphictyons courted his favor, and the Pythoness uttered this oracle:
'To Zeus supreme among the gods, and Athene Tritogenia pay homage, and to the king divine concealed in mortal form, him Zeus begot in honor to be the protector and dispenser of justice among mortals, Alexander the king.'
These are the words of the demon at Delphi, who when he wished to flatter potentates, did not scruple to assign them a place among the gods. The motive here was perhaps to conciliate by adulation: but what could one say of the case of Cleomedes the pugilist, whom they ranked among the gods in this oracle?
'The last of the heroes is Cleomedes, the Astypalian. Him honor with sacrifices; for he is no longer a mortal.'
Because of this oracle Diogenes the cynic, and Oënomaus the philosopher, strongly condemned Apollo. The inhabitants of Cyzicus declared Hadrian to be the thirteenth god; and Adrian himself deified his own catamite Antinoüs. Libanius does not term these 'ridiculous and contemptible absurdities,' although he was familiar with these oracles, as well as with the work of Adrias on the life of Alexander (the pseudo-prophet of Paphlagonia): nor does he himself hesitate to dignify Porphyry in a similar manner, when after having preferred Julian's books to his, he says, 'May the Syrian be propitious to me.' This digression will suffice to repel the scoffs of the sophist, without following him farther in what he has advanced; for to enter into a complete refutation would require an express work. We shall therefore proceed with our history.
Source. Translated by A.C. Zenos. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 2. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1890.)