Sylvan Hollow

Gimme shelter in this world gone wild. A loner's dream of moon dust that's wild on the run. Just live and breathe, keep your eyes on the wheel in the sky, and bear the winds of March.

Archive for the 'history' Category

What they said to me…

Posted in history on February 8th, 2007

Looking back on the Greeks, I concede that they may be quite intelligent people. But their current football team is awful and inconsistent and I suggest the rape of every single player.

 A Greek proverb goes, “Have the Frank for your friend, but not for your neighbour.” Now, Frank, that doesn’t mean we hate you, or that you stink or something, but if you do, we advise you to stay away, anyway.

What the Greeks meant, of course, was the French king Charlemagne. And to be honest, who really wants France for their neighbour? They whine too much/think too highly of their football team. Yes, Zidane’s a good player, yes, we know he headbutted Materazzi, but no, he’s not a hero.

I digress. The Frankish noble Einhard, close personal friend of Charlemagne the Great, wrote in his The Life of Charlemagne, that “…the power of the Franks was always viewed by the Greeks and Romans with a jealous eye, whence the Greek proverb, ‘Have the Frank for your friend, but not for your neighbour’…” Basically, he meant that Charlemagne was a man everyone respected. Period. You gave him what he wanted when he wanted it. When he ruled the Roman Empire, the Greeks got skittish and were afeared he would try to take their quaint little empire. He already had Gaul between the Rhine and Loire, the Ocean and the Balaeric Sea, and part of Germany. But he went ahead and decided he wanted Aquitania, Gascony, the Pyrenees, all of Italy, and Saxony as well. Aaron (Harun?), King of Persia, got wise fast and formed a deep friendship with this Charlemagne.

That’s why Greece wanted him for their friend, but not their neighbour. And now I’ve forgotten my original point here, so you’ll have to give me a minute…

So what really constitutes a friendship? I thought friendship was based on trust, and even though Greece allied themselves with Charlemagne, they obviously didn’t trust him. But let’s be fair – who would trust a tall, handsome, war hero with fifty titles, King of this, Emperor of that, who could smush you between his thumb and forefinger? Then who were Char (I’m getting tired of typing out his whole name…) ‘s real friends? Do all powerful entities lose this sacrosanct edifice of friendship when, even though they may vow never to take another inch of land that they didn’t already have, they ascend their throne? Who would trust them? How lonely kings must have been in their hearts, how utterly estranged. All those rules, all those structures to follow in their presence! It’s everything they wanted, but it probably tore them apart.

Too east of Eden, just marionettes that dance to a tune no one else wants to play. It must be a terrible sacrifice, friendship, for a crown and some land. Sure, there’s a piece of paper from Greece that says, ‘We love you. Please don’t kill us.’ But words are words. People will say anything to survive. Who would extend his hand to Charlemagne and mean it? Did Harun mean it? What motives do we have for friendship? In the film Almost Famous, the ‘Band Aides’ – NOT to be confused with groupies – claim that groupies only sleep with stars to be close to someone famous. Boasting rights. They’re proud of it. Were the Greeks proud of their allegiance with Char? Or just scared? Their motives were probably more human, less base – they did it to survive. But Char probably knew. They knew. Who is not afeared of power? But alas, there must be something greater than survival. Isn’t there?