In golden Greece the Periclean playgoer knew by heart the Pride & Fall theme of classic tragedy. Hubris (νβρis) was the offense of the honest but haughty mortal who thumbed his nose at the gods and arrogantly defied fate. Certain as death, Nemesis followed to wreak the wrathful gods' retribution upon such a presumptuous creature. The hubris-nemesis pattern of drama unconsciously taught the Hellenic lesson of moden agan or moderation in all things. An Attic axiom: "Too much prosperity brings ruin."

In his great trilogy, Aeschylus made...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!