Golly, I feel like I’m being a complete snob just mentioning him. But come on, you come up with a letter X to write about?
So, no, I’m not some mad academic historian (with apologies to mad academic historians, some of whom are very good friends). I just happened to study Ancient History for my final exams in High School and let me just say as an aside to everyone who ever took an Ancient History class with Mr. Peter Crilley at Moriah College, aren’t you glad you did? Truthfully, he treated us like adults (even though we were in fact teenagers). He believed the best studying was done listening to opera, drinking red wine and eating excellent cheese. And he is the one who introduced me to Xerxes and the battle of Salamis et al. And he’s the one who taught me the meaning of hubris (courtesy of Xerxes’ colossal arrogance).
Xerxes of course, spectacularly lost the battle of Salamis in 480 BCE (Sorry. I went to a Jewish Day School, which is why we say BCE and NOT BC. But I digress). And, tying Persian/Greek wars into my Greek Tragedy drama school training (who knew at the time the paths would cross?), we learned that dear old Xerxes’ defeat was at the hands of his own hubris – very Greek tragedy. So much so, Aeschylus wrote a play entitled The Persians about the Persian attempt to invade Greece, which, as fate (very Greek) would have it, we did indeed study in drama school. What goes around, comes around, I guess.
Just think where Greece and/or Persia (Iran now) would be today if Xerxes didn’t have such a huge ego and could have won the battle of Salamis? And with a link back to my Ophelia theme, may explain why I’ve also never met anyone who named their kid Xerxes.