Curiosities about the sword of Damocles


The expression "having a sword of Damocles on your head" was born in Syracuse, at the court of the famous Dionysius the Elder.
It is said that Damocles was part of the court of Dionysius, which reigned from 430 to 367 BC, and that he often flattered the sovereign, emphasizing how lucky he was to have power and wealth.
Then Dionysius, to show him his actual condition, invited Damocles to a dinner full of food and delights, making him sit on his throne. Shortly before, however, he had tied a sword over that chair, which was tied only to a thin horsehair. The sword was unsheathed, and could fall over Damocles's head at any moment. Dinner was almost over when Damocles realized he had the sword hanging over him. Thus it was that Damocles begged the sovereign to make him go away and to be able to return to his duties as a modest jester.

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