Friday Fact: Aeschylus and His Unfortunate Bald Head

June, of Spatter, came up with a dandy idea the other day.  She thought it would be fun to have a weekly post with an interesting new fact we’d learned that week.  I agree.  She calls it Friday Fact.  So, for those of you out there with a certain lust of the mind (lust for knowledge, that is), here’s mine.

aeschylus.jpg

Aeschylus: When Bald is Bad

When Robert F. Kennedy was given the difficult task of announcing the assassination of the Reverend Martin Luther King, he drew from the dramatic poetry of an ancient Greek playwright, Aeschylus.  His words have a terrible beauty:

He who learns must suffer
And even in our sleep, pain that cannot forget
Falls drop by drop upon the heart.
And in our own despair, against our will
Comes wisdom to us by the awful grace of God.

Aeschylus also was the one who said, “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

He is known as the Father of Greek Tragedy, and his plays touched a great deal on the relationship between man and God, or in his case, gods.  So, it seems the ultimate bitter irony that Aeschylus died by such a cruel twist of fate.  His manner of death was undeniably tragic, to be sure.  But the first time I heard how he met his fate, I laughed incredulously.  Definitely a prime example of being in the wrong place at the wrong time.   I thought MY luck was bad….

An eagle, flying overhead, wanted to split open a turtle it was carrying.  It mistook Aeschylus’s bald head for a rock and dropped the turtle on it.  So, in a plot twist stranger, for certain, than anything in his tragic plays, Aeschylus died from a falling tortoise.

Advertisements

12 Responses to “Friday Fact: Aeschylus and His Unfortunate Bald Head”

  1. June Says:

    Good one Beth! I think we’re off to a fine start, don’t you?! I remember RFK’s quoting him…and I’ve often recalled the quote about truth being the first casualty of war. But I never knew about how his bald head got him killed. Very interesting.

  2. lucky pennies Says:

    Ahahahaha!! It’s sad that many centuries later, we get a laugh out of his death. It’s horrible, but hilarious.

    I just posted my first Friday Fact. It’s about suicidal dogs.

  3. colleen Says:

    I found this out just recently when I was researching strange deaths and included it in a 13 list because it is so out of this world!

    Ouch!

  4. Sara Says:

    Good to know!

  5. Shannon Hodgins Says:

    Oh my, I must put that quote on my quote list. Your post captured it all….drama, irony, tragedy and dark humor. Well done Beth!

    Um, my husband is from Athens. Just funny as he says that people always fall back and look at the Greeks! 🙂 I might not share this historical fact until I can bust it out at an apprprite time and look incredibly smart without even lifting a hair. Wonderful fact! Shannon

  6. CountryDew Says:

    Interesting fact, and I like the idea for blog entries. Sorry I missed it for this week. And that quote is so true…. truth is usually the first casualty, not just in war but in most things. (Did I just twist myself into a corner there?)

  7. ben (aka guitar maniac) Says:

    I just wanted to mention how … AAAH … sorry, just had to dodge a tortoise! I just wan… daggum it! No, really, I appreciate the biting wit and bitter irony, and I hope to see many more of these posts!

    Too bad it had to be such a wise man instead of, say, some knuckle-head dictator-general man. And imagine how the people would crack up if “Fearless Leader” were overtaken by a little tortoise!

  8. Τίτος Χριστοδούλου Says:

    Apolemos o d’ o polemos, apora porima: one can’t fight this war, there is no way out of it.. Aeschylus resignation words would cover the ironic fate of his death self-refrentially. Greeks were very interested in citing (or concocting) interesting deaths of their interesting people, Euripides having been mauled to death by dogs (having revealed the mysteries of Eleusis in the Bacchae, Epimenides falling into the volcano, Aristotle falling into the waters of Euripus straights while trying in vain to explain the precise turn of the tide every six hours, Puthagoras killed by the Romans chasing him when he stopped running because he could not tread on the field of broad beans etc. At least the great tragedian proved that some times a turtle can be quicker than swift thoughts!

  9. Τίτος Χριστοδούλου Says:

    – Apolemos o d’ o polemos, apora porima: one can’t fight this war, there is no way out of it.. Aeschylus resignation words would cover the ironic fate of his death self-refrentially. Greeks were very interested in citing (or concocting) interesting deaths of their interesting people, Euripides having been mauled to death by dogs (having revealed the mysteries of Eleusis in the Bacchae, Epimenides falling into the volcano, Aristotle falling into the waters of Euripus straights while trying in vain to explain the precise turn of the tide every six hours, Puthagoras killed by the Romans chasing him when he stopped running because he could not tread on the field of broad beans etc. At least the great tragedian proved that some times a turtle can be quicker than swift thoughts!

  10. Jane Says:

    I remember reading somewhere that this story is unlikely and was probably concocted later by one of the Greek comedy playwrights.

  11. Τίτος Χριστοδούλου Says:

    MATCHING a life with an appropriate death! A Greek passtime (haha, pun not intended!) But also remember, Oscar Wilde’s famous last dictum: “it’s this wall paper, either it goes or I do!”

  12. Internet: The Final Frontier | purdonk Says:

    […] portray false truths. Now, to my knowledge, no one was ever hurt from having a bald head (except for this guy), so aside from embarrassment from being duped, what’s the harm in fallacies and internet […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s