The Bull Of Chrysame, And The Gold Of Pythopolis

The reckless pursuit of advantage and material gain inevitably leads the unwise to ruin.  It is a truth antique with age, yet fleeting in historical memory.  Two compelling tales buried in the forgotten pages of the historian Polyaenus (VIII.42—43) remind us of the lesson’s permanence.  We now resurrect them for our amusement and edification. 

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The Captives Of The “Starry Crown”

The Canadian explorer Vilhjalmur Stefansson, who lived from 1879 to 1962, changed his birth name when he was in college.  He was originally known as William Stephenson, and was born in Manitoba, Canada.  His biographers do not know exactly what prompted him to make such a startling reinvention of identity. 

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The Tale Of Firuz, A King Of Persia

The following story is told by the political theorist Ibn Zafar (1104–1172?) in his treatise on the art of government.  We have encountered him several times previously in these pages, and have discussed many of his ideas on leadership, governance, and the conduct of foreign affairs.  There are times when anecdotes can bring certain principles into sharp focus.

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Greed Is A Corruptor


Pyrrhus was a powerful king who ruled Epirus and Macedon for some years during the Hellenistic period. Plutarch tells a revealing story about him in his Parallel Lives (Life of Epirus, 14).

One of Pyrrhus’s valued advisors was a man named Cineas, who was entrusted on many foreign missions of great sensitivity.

[To read the rest of my article, click here.]

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