Pietro da Cortona ~ The Iron Age

Iron Age – Hesiod finds himself in the Iron Age. During this age, humans live an existence of toil and misery. Children dishonour their parents, brother fights with brother and the social contract between guest and host (xenia) is forgotten. During this age might make right,  and bad men use lies to be thought good. At the height of this age, humans no longer feel shame or indignation at wrongdoing; babies will be born with grey hair and the gods will have completely forsaken humanity: “there will be no help against evil.”

Vetinari peered at a small heap of bent and twisted metal.
“What was it, Leonard?” he said.
“An experimental device for turning chemical energy into rotary motion,” said Leonard. “The problem, you see, is getting the little pellets of black powder into the combustion chamber at exactly the right speed and one at a time. If two ignite together, well, what we have is the external combustion engine.”
“And, er, what would be the purpose of it?” said the Patrician.
“I believe it could replace the horse,” said Leonard proudly.
They looked at the stricken thing.
“One of the advantages of horses that people often point out,” said Vetinari, after some thought, “is that they very seldom explode.”

– the external combustion engine | Terry Pratchett, Jingo

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