At Starbucks last night I cast on for a new shawl, Summer Flies, and I'm still slogging along on Lady MacBeth, but no pictures of either for the yarn-along. I've also tentatively chosen a pattern for my blue handpun Wensleydale, but I really shouldn't have more than 2 shawls going at once, don't you think?
The most recent chapter, "Conquest and Tyranny," features Greece, Sparta vs. Athens. In light of my recent blog posts, I was highly entertained the other night to read about the transition of the first kings in Athens (archons) into annually elected rulers. The practice was more of an aristocracy or oligarchy than democracy, though:
"The first annual archon," Eusebius writes, "was Creon, in the year of the 24th Olympiad" -- in other words, 684 B.C. ...
In 632, though, the seams of the semi-democratic practice gaped wide open. An Olympic champion named Cylon (he shows up in Eusebius's lists as the winner of the diaulos, or "double-race," the 400-metre foot race, in the Olympic Games eight years previously) made a bid to turn the archonship into something else.
"Cylon," Thucydides writes, "was inquiring at Delphi when he was told by the god to seize the Acropolis of Athens on the grand festival of Zeus." ...Cylon ... decided that the "grand festival of Zeus" must refer to the upcoming Olympic Games. What more appropriate time for an Olympic victor to seize power? And so he ... occupied the Acropolis, announcing "the intention of making himself tyrant."
...But Cylon had chosen the wrong "grand festival of Zeus." The oracle had apparently been talking about a later festival which took place well outside the city ... Rather than rolling over, the Athenians grew indignant."And it continues, describing yet another power-grab that did not end well for its instigator.
- The History of the Ancient World, Susan Wise Bauer, pp. 425-426