Saturday, October 29, 2005

What comes before a fall?

The Romans had the tradition that a general who had won a great victory would be accorded a triumph, the right to a grand parade through Rome. He would ride a chariot in among the panoply of soldiers and captured treasures. In the chariot, behind him, rode a slave who would whisper into his ear, “Remember you are just a man.” The word ‘hubris’ is even older, coming from Ancient Greek – the word meaning that the person challenges the will of the Greek gods – with Greek tragedies often being stories of hubris. For some reason I find myself reminded of these things when I read the news coming out of the US these days. Perhaps the Americans will arrange for an Iraqi to sit behind the next President-elect during their Inauguration. Either that or start watching the Theban Plays again.


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