Sunday, February 21, 2010

Myths and Legends: Sword of Damocles

The Sword of Damocles. To find out more about the moral lesson taught by this legendary sword, see this Wikipedia article: link; for information about the image: image source.

The sword does not actually belong to Damocles; instead, it is an anecdote provoked by Damocles, a courtier who flattered King Dionysius II of Syracuse. Damocles told the king how fortunate he was to live a life of power and luxury. Dionysius explained that there was nothing to envy, and he then offered to trade places with Damocles. When Damocles took his seat upon the throne, Dionysius arranged to have a sword suspended over his thread, dangled on a single hair from a horse's tail. Damocles got the message: it might look like the king has an enviable position, but he lives a life of constant fear.

You can also find more myths and legends for the week of February 19-25 here. For more information and links to the actual javascript code, see the Myths & Legends Widget Reference Page.