Damon and Pythias Are Friends

My mom told me before that she had wanted to name me Damon, but decided not to because of The Omen, which had come out in the year before I was born. The name of the Antichrist in that movie was actually Damien, but I guess that was close enough. Anyway, Damon is a Greek name, and is most famously associated with the tale of Damon and Pythias. I suppose this story can be considered Greek mythology, although there’s nothing supernatural about it. Basically, Damon and Pythias were followers of Pythagoras who came to Sparta, where Damon committed, or at least was accused of, an unknown crime and was sentenced by the tyrant Dionysius to be executed. He wanted to leave to get his affairs in order, but was rejected until Pythias agreed to die in his place if Damon did not return. Eventually, Damon did come back, and Dionysius was touched by their true friendship. Some versions of the tale say that they were both pardoned because of this, which just goes to show how fickle tyrants can be. When I first heard of the story, I thought “Damon Pythias” would make a good pseudonym, so I used it on some of my stories. Later on, however, I grew tired of it, and I think I saw that it had already been used anyway. Oh, well.

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