Greek Tragedy & Ours: The Burning of Olympia & Its Symbology by Glitzqueen (aka The Other Katherine Harris)


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Dandelion Salad

by The Other Katherine Harris

glitzqueen’s blog post

Aug. 26, 2007

There are lessons for us, I suggest, in the present struggle to save the site that hosted the Olympic games of antiquity.

Of course the heatwave in southern Greece, responsible for parching nearby forests so severely that recent fires have assumed unprecedented scope, reminds us of our long inattention to climate change.

Beyond this, it’s believed arson is involved. There’s been a wave of that, as well as heat, occasioned by greed for development. Greece has laws to preserve its forested land, you see, so those keen to build have been clearing it by nefarious means.

No doubt destroying a tourist magnet like Olympia was the last thing intended by those who wanted to develop the surrounding area, but it seems Zeus has exacted his fine on them — just as was done in ancient days. Athletes who dared to violate their sworn oath of fair play were not only shamed and disqualified, but also charged (along with their trainers and cities) for the creation of more statues honoring the Great God. These bronzes, set along the tunnel that led into the stadium, served as final reminders to play by the rules.

This fire could be among our final reminders to do what’s right. We’ve allowed today’s political leaders and robber barons to scoff at it and call their evil good. Now their hubris may well be the ruin of us all. The gods, more than likely, won’t be mocked for much longer.