Yep, pour a drink and read the whole thing.
Science fiction author Dan Simmons received a visit from a time traveler. From the year 2106 or thereabouts, the Traveler is battle scarred, weary, and not very patient. Relating the ancient Peloponnesian War to our Current Mess, the Traveler warns:“Listen to me,” the Time Traveler said softly. It was not a request. There was steel in that soft, rasping voice. “Nicias, the Athenian general who ended up leading the invasion [of Syracuse], warned against it in 415 B.C. He said – ‘We must not disguise from ourselves that we go to found a city among strangers and enemies, and that he who undertakes such an enterprise should be prepared to become master of the country the first day he lands, or failing in this to find everything hostile to him’. Nicias, along with the Athenian poet and general Demosthenes, would see their armies destroyed at Syracuse and then they would both be captured and put to death by the Syracusans. Sparta won big in that two-year debacle for Athens. The war went on for seven more years, but Athens never recovered from that overreaching at Syracuse, and in the end . . . Sparta destroyed it. Conquered the Athenian empire and its allies, destroyed Athens’ democracy, ruined the entire balance of power and Greek hegemony over the known world at the time . . . ruined everything. All because of a miscalculation about Syracuse.”
Friday, April 07, 2006
Like short stories? Like the lessons of history? I'm going to steal Steve's opening: