Will you tell the Gordian Knot story?
I WAS WAITING FOR SOMEONE TO ASK!
To get to the start of this story, we have to go back a bit before our boy Alex. The kingdom of Lycia was without a king, and people were starting to panic a bit. As one did in those days, the important people of the kingdom went to consult an oracle.
The oracle told them that the next man to enter the city of Telmessos (The capital of Lycia) driving an ox-cart would be the king they needed.
The next day, a farmer named Gordias drove his ox-cart into town, probably hoping that he’d get a good price for his produce and idly wondering what the weather would be like tomorrow. As soon as he arrived, he was set upon by a crowd gleefully and with much fanfare declaring him their King, sent by the gods and foretold by the oracle.
“What the fuck,” Gordias probably thought, but Gordias’ mama didn’t raise a fool, and when presented with the opportunity to be a goddamn king he took it. He tied up his ox cart in the square with a stupidly complicated and massive knot, and the knot was left there and dedicated to the gods in thanks. By all accounts Gordias was a pretty good king, which, I mean, kinda tracks. A peasant would know what was bothering the common folk and all that.
ANYway, time passed, Lycia became a saitrap (province) of the Persian Empire, and life went on. An oracle declared at some point that whoever managed to untie the stupidly complicated Gordian Knot (as it came to be known) would become Lord of Asia. Many people came and tried, but none of them could even find the ends of the knot, and all eventually gave up.
Now, this sort of puzzle was like catnip for Alex. Once he conquered his way through enough of the Persian Empire to get to Telmessos, he made a beeline for the knot.
He pondered it. He puzzled. He fiddled. He, like so many before him, couldn’t find where it begun or even begin to untangle it. The crowd gathered watched with bated breath, and whispers began to spread; Even Alexander could not solve this puzzle…..!
And then Alexander the Great, showing the outside-the-box thinking and highly honed sense of Drama that made him The Great, said ‘screw this, it’s never said how it must be untied’ and then drew his sword and just fuckin cut the thing in half.
And honestly solving problems by cutting them in half with a sword when they annoy you is one of the things that I can empathize with on a molecular level.