The Classical Inspiration (Part 1)

The Classical Inspiration (Part 1)

Although most students do not study Greek, Roman and other classics today, classic tales have enriched the English language. A close look at some of the most popular classical allusions would encourage readers to appreciate their relevance to modern times. In fact, such allusions do not get outdated with the march of time.

When a head of State or his Ministers enjoy themselves while the country is devastated with economic and social problems, you will be reminded of the Roman Emperor Nero, who was fiddling (playing the violin).

The question arises whether Nero ever had a violin. According to historians, the violin had not been invented yet. However, the fact remains that Nero was fond of playing the harp while singing and acting. Contrary to popular opinion, Nero cared for his countrymen more than anybody else. He reportedly entertained homeless people in his own palaces, giving them food and shelter.

Despite such benevolent acts, Nero (AD 37-68) ordered the murder of his mother Agrippina in AD 59 and also executed some leading Romans who turned against him. The expression "To fiddle while Rome burns" passed into the language when he dressed himself in his tragedian's costume and sang "The Fall of Ilium after watching the fire that destroyed half of Rome in AD 64". A wave of uprising followed and Nero fled Rome and committed suicide,

Pandora's Box

Today, the investigation into the infamous Bond issue has opened a Pandora's Box. In other words, it has invited a lot of unexpected trouble for everybody. The Greek legend that gave rise to the expression is worth remembering. It says the Titan God Prometheus stole fire from heaven and gave it to mankind. Zeus, the King of the Gods was so infuriated that he ehained Prometheus to a rock and sent birds to eat his liver every day.

Thereafter, Zeus created Pandora, the first woman, and sent her to Proretheus' brother Epimetheus as a gift. Zeus also gave Pandora a closed box and asked her not to open it as it contained her dowry. However, Pandora innocently opened the box and hate, jealousy and other evils came out of it and filled the world. Fortunately, Pandora also let out hope so that mankind was not deemed to despair.

Pandora married Epimetheus against his brother's wishes. In another account, Pandora's Box contained all the blessings of Zeus which would have been preserved for the world had they not been allowed to escape.

In governing a country or running a business establishment, some people resort to Fabian tactics. This is a way of avoiding direct confrontation with the enemy and adopting strategies to wear him out. In a way,it is a kind of patient, long-term planning to achieve a difficult target.

The origin of the phrase "Fabian tactics" can be traced to Quintus Fabius Maximus, the Roman General who lived in the 3rd century BC. He knew that he would lose a straightforward battle against the better equipped Hannibal from Carthage. Fabius ordered his army to ambush Carthaginian soldiers and wear down Hannibal.

To be continued to next part...
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