Moral Anecdote: The Sword Of Damaceles

Posted by r. a.      Sun., Night, Mar.12, 2017

The famed “sword of Damocles” dates back to an ancient moral parable popularized by the Roman philosopher Cicero in his 45 B.C. book “Tusculan Disputations.” Cicero’s version of the tale centers on Dionysius II, a tyrannical king who once ruled over the Sicilian city of Syracuse during the fourth and fifth centuries B.C.

Though rich and powerful, Dionysius was supremely unhappy. His iron-fisted rule had made him many enemies, and he was tormented by fears of assassination—so much so that he slept in a bedchamber surrounded by a moat and only trusted his daughters to shave his beard with a razor.

As Cicero tells it, the king’s dissatisfaction came to a head one day after a court flatterer named Damocles showered him with compliments and remarked how blissful his life must be.

“Since this life delights you,” an annoyed Dionysius replied, “do you wish to taste it yourself and make a trial of my good fortune?” When Damocles agreed, Dionysius seated him on a golden couch and ordered a host of servants wait on him.

 He was treated to succulent cuts of meat and lavished with scented perfumes and ointments. Damocles couldn’t believe his luck, but just as he was starting to enjoy the life of a king, he noticed that Dionysius had also hung a razor-sharp sword from the ceiling.

It was positioned over Damocles’ head, suspended only by a single strand of horsehair.

From then on, the courtier’s fear for his life made it impossible for him to savor the opulence of the feast or enjoy the servants. After casting several nervous glances at the blade dangling above him, he asked to be excused, saying he no longer wished to be so fortunate.

For Cicero, the tale of Dionysius and Damocles represented the idea that those in power always labor under the specter of anxiety and death, and that “there can be no happiness for one who is under constant apprehensions.”

The parable later became a common motif in medieval literature, and the phrase “sword of Damocles” is now commonly used as a catchall term to describe a looming danger. Likewise, the saying “hanging by a thread” has become shorthand for a fraught or precarious situation.

One of its more famous uses came in 1961 during the Cold War, when President John F. Kennedy gave a speech before the United Nations in which he said that “Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness.”

Source:   http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/what-was-the-sword-of-damocles/print

About ron abbass

Because of my last name, there are some who might think I'm a Muslim. I'm an older student of the bible and I regard myself as Christian-other. That is, I was baptized in a Torah-keeping assembly. I'm one who tries his best to follow Yayshua, the Messiah (Christ) by keeping the commandments, the dietary laws, the weekly Sabbath and the annual Sabbaths (Holy Days) instituted and ordained by the great I AM, the Creator-God of Israel. I reject the holidays and festivals invented by the Roman church. Truth-seeking is my present passion. Presently, I do a lot of research into the World Wars, the mass media, the Holocaust, Zionism, Health Issues, 9/11 and the power brokers who are behind the New World Order that is gradually being established mainly in the Western Nations. Many prognosticators (prophets) both secular and religious are warning us that we are living "On the Eve of Destruction" - the last days. There's a very good chance a nuclear tsunami will eventually visit many nations. Peace and blessings to all who love the truth and hate the lies.
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