Monday, December 24, 2012

The Greek Lord of the rings

A representation of the ring of Gyges
Tolkien's ring of power as represented in the movies

Some days ago we had the global premiere of the prequel of the Lord of the rings called The Hobbit.On the occasion of the visualization of Tolkien's magnificent story, i decided to present the greek "Lord of the rings".
Plato in the second book of his work Politeia, wrote a myth about a ring with strange powers. The myth was called The ring of Gyges. Once upon a time there a was a shepherd in Lydia called Gyges. After two natural disasters that occurred in the area he found a ring.One day during the time that he was attending  his sheep a storm and an earthquake co-occurred  resulting the splitting of the earth surface in two.
Gyges' curiosity lead him to descend in to the chasm created by the earthquake and inside it he saw a huge horse made of copper. Gyges looked inside the horse from some holes and he saw a dead giant. The most extraordinary thing was a shining ring on the giant's finger.Gyges took the ring and got back on the surface.There he discovered that the ring had magical powers. Once he rubbed the little stone of the ring he was becoming invisible.
Gyges on the right watches the beautiful queen of Lydia.
The once  humble shepherd had now a mighty weapon in his hands.He could do now anything he wished without being seen.Thus he became possessor of a power that he could use for a good purpose but also for a bad one. Gyges became the lover of the queen and with her help he killed his master the king. Subsequently Gyges declared himself King of Lydia. 
The kingdom of Lydia in what is now Turkey.Historically Gyges was a king of Lydia and during his reign he lead the kingdom to the peak of its power
This myth was used by Plato to explain the human nature which uses any possible mean to seek glory and wealth. Glaucus who is the imaginary narrator in Plato's story concludes that human injustice is in the nature of man because he knows that he won't be punished afterwards for his deeds.Plato concludes that in fact there is no real justice in our world cause justice may be blocking someone's interest.Therefore he ends up with a notorious dilemma about whether someone should do wrong or suffer wrong.Plato adds that everyone of us in that question by conscience would answer to do wrong but to be non-punishable.
Just like Sauron in Tolkien's universe, who initially was a maiar(good spirit) but  later as an evil spirit  craving for power  created the notorious ring of power to rule middle earth, Gyges was corrupted by his ring of power and from a virtuous shepherd he became an evil king.
Sauron was formerly a Maiar but his ambition to dominate over all others turned  him into a  malicious creature
Plato's solution to this problem is that human must receive full education in order to be able to be as just as possible.

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