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Works and Days

The Imaginarium of Barack Obama

November 16th, 2011 - 8:44 am

In the imaginarium, community organizer Barack Obama never lived in a small mansion. John “two Americas” Edwards never lived in a big one. “Earth in the balance” Al Gore never lived in a few of them, and yacht owning John Kerry never lived in lots of them. You see in the imaginarium of Barack Obama you can be whatever you wish to be. Just wishing and saying something can wonderfully make it so.

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The End of Sparta

As the Thebans help the freed helots build their new city of Messenê, the Argive general Epitêles decides his men are no longer needed and will head home to Argos, leaving the Thebans and Messenians to their work:

Epitêles did not back down. “I and my Argives, we feel no better or
worse from freeing them, and hardly think their freedom is a gift. Sparta
is weak. Finished as we know it. She has no farmers to feed her phalanx,
and won’t march out of Lakonia, at least for a while. That is good enough
for me and mine. These helots can do what they like.” Epitêles laughed
and for the next few days kept patrolling with his guard to hunt down
more thieves who were stealing from the bread carts next to the scaffolds.
He knew men by nature to be bad. They would kill and worse if they were
not tired from work or scared of punishment. It was not in his nature to
build, so he did what he knew best, he punished and hoped he killed
more guilty than innocent—and worried little when he did not. “These
Thebans can free anyone they please. But then who can’t do that? But
they have no idea how to knock heads and keep these half-tamed on their
leashes. Zeus in heaven, I think these Boiotians want to be liked rather
than feared.”

That the helots slacked off from the walls was of no real concern
to Epitêles, other than as reason enough to kill those who were probably
stealing rather working. When enough were executed to discourage
the no-goods, Epitêles would head home to Argos and the hard life among
the murderous factions there. And so he did soon, and passed out of the
history of the Hellenes.

Epaminondas thought he had Epitêles right when he had said of
him, “Don’t wonder that he will leave us soon, but instead ask why this
man in fur has even come. He is a warrior, one who wakes up in the
morning promising to cut down Spartans and goes to bed each night in
lamentation that he has not killed enough of them. We won’t see his like
again in Hellas. He’s the good coin side to Lichas, though both are at
home killing and so more alike than we think. Maybe our Chiôn if he
lives, is a third who could join this cabal of Aiases. But for now thank our
One God that Epitêles was on our side.”

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