A Lesson in Democracy

Image result for timoleon

Timoleon

Once upon a time, the Greek settlers in Sicily were oppressed by tyrants, who had the backing of Carthage. They sent to their founding city, Corinth, to plead for help, but no one wanted to take on such a hopeless mission. Finally someone thought to nominate Timoleon to lead it–a man who had once been something of a civic hero, but who’d been so long in retirement that most people thought he’d died. Timoleon consented to his appointment as general, and set sail for Sicily with a token force that no one ever expected to see again: for the tyrants of Sicily were fierce and powerful, and the might of Carthage stood behind them.

To make a long story short, Timoleon performed military miracles, rid the island of the tyrants, defeated the Carthaginians, and restored democracy to the city of Syracuse.

For which he himself was accused of tyranny and put on trial for it: and to which he said that he had prayed that he would live to see the Syracusans given the right of free speech. As Plutarch said, every lark must grow a crest, “and every democracy a false accuser.” Some things never change. But in Timoleon’s case, his mild reply so shamed his accusers that they dropped their charges; and the city permitted him to grow old and die in peace, honored by all.

People do have short memories and are also short on gratitude. Those were two reasons why our country’s founders gave us a republic instead of a democracy.

To say nothing of our own modern variants of folly: “Alexa, who should I vote for?”

Study history, and learn what to expect.

And pray for better–to God who is sovereign over history. The ancient Greeks did not know that, but we do. Don’t we?

About leeduigon

I have lived in Metuchen, NJ, all my life. I have been married to my wife Patricia since 1977. I am a former newspaper editor and reporter. I was also the owner-operator of my own small business for several years. I wrote various novels and short stories published during 1980s and 1990s. I am a long-time student of judo and Japanese swordsmanship (kenjutsu). I also play chess, basketball, and military and sports simulations. View all posts by leeduigon

3 responses to “A Lesson in Democracy

  • marlene

    A yes, would be a “mild reply” that might save me from our tyrants. But a “no would be more honest. I don’t doubt that there are many things we can do to save ourselves from evil leaders today, but I doubt that we will do them, Thanks for the history lesson.

    PS: That picture of Timoleon resembles those of any number of men from the time of Jesus’ first appearance.

    Like

  • Unknowable

    He displayed humility almost unheard of in the political arena.

    Like

  • thewhiterabbit2016

    This reminds me of Ecc 9:15 “Now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man.” Too often when we do a very good turn for someone and they are so thankful, but then time passes and they grow cold and “forgetful.”

    Like

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