Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Knot so fast

Tonight is a quickie about the Gordian knot. What was it? The Phrygians (now modern Turkey) had no King. The prophecy, or Oracle of Sabazios (syncretized to Zeus) decreed taht the first to show up to the temple in a cart would be the next King. Gordias, a local farmer, is the first one to show up in a cart. He ties it to the temple and poof- King. There it remained, tied securely. Apparently no one could undo the knot Gordias had tied. It was allegedly prophesied that the one to undo the knot would be "King of Asia" hence its fame as "The Gordian knot." It;s the Mesopotamian version of the sword in the stone. Nowadays it's defined as an extremely difficult problem or mystery.

If you don't know who the "King of Asia" eventually was, it happened to be Alexander the Great. He's the one who figured out how to undo the infamous Gordian knot. Know how? He cut the knot to pieces with his sword. For ages people tried to figure out how to untie the thing, and this kid comes along and slashes the fucker! This is why he was Alexander the Great, and not Alex, that dumb fuck. Of course, the actual story is disputed, but as the saying goes: "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend"

I've often wonder which godly hand was on Alexander's back as he conquered the known world. I've wondered if it was Zeus, with whom he claimed lineage. I thought perhaps it was Mercury for all of the fine words and travel and communication and commerce involved in Alexander's triumphs. Now I wonder, perhaps it was Mars. Alexander, man of action. Slashed through the problem. Maybe it was none of the above, maybe it was all of them. It's fun to speculate. It also reminds me of this, the perfect "Alexandrian Solution" to a Gordian Knot:

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