October 29, 2006 Leave a comment
From the Columbia History of the World:
Before 650 [BCE], the poet Archilochus of Paros sang of his escape from battle at the cost of abandoning his shield — by traditional standards the ultimate disgrace. His poems set a fashion among poets, if not soldiers. The Greeks are the first people to produce individuals who are not afraid of going counter to common opinion not because of some supposed revelation, but just because they want to, and of celebrating the fact.
Here is the poem, according to Wikipedia:
- Some Saian mountaineer
- Struts today with my shield.
- I threw it down by a bush and ran
- When the fighting got hot.
- Life seemed somehow more precious.
- It was a beautiful shield.
- I know where I can buy another
- Exactly like it, just as round.