The ambition of King Pyrrhus

Once, almost two and a half thousand years ago, there lived a king in Ancient Greece called Pyrrhus. His kingdom was large and his subjects loyal, but he was not content to remain at home and occupy himself with government; he dreamt of becoming the supreme ruler of the Mediterranean countries and, having already proved himself a brilliant general and an exceptional fighter, he felt confident in his own prowess.

At last an opportunity presented itself. The peoples of Italy wanted a general to fight for them against the Romans, and they entreated Pyrrhus to come to their aid. Full of excitement he began to prepare, confident that this was his chance to achieve everlasting fame.
    Seeing this, a friend and advisor to the king, called Cineas, resolved to dissuade him from this venture

“Your Highness,” Cineas said to Pyrrhus, “if God grants you victory over these Romans, how will you use this success?”
    “Why,” said Pyrrhus,” surely that is perfectly plain—once the Romans are defeated, there is not a city in Italy that can withstand us, and I shall make myself master of all that fertile and prosperous country.”
    “And having conquered Italy,” said Cineas, after a little pause, “what will you do then?”
    “Sicily is weakened at present by internal factions and dissent,” said Pyrrhus, “it will welcome a conqueror and will be easily overcome.”
    “Very true,” agreed Cineas, “and will the conquest of Sicily bring an end to the war?”
    “Oh no!” exclaimed Pyrrhus, “Libya and Carthage will then be within reach, and once these are mastered, will any dare to withstand me?”
    “No, indeed,” said Cineas, “we will then be mighty enough to make an absolute conquest of Greece, and when that is in our power, what shall we do then?”
    “We will live at ease, dear friend,” laughed Pyrrhus, “and drink all day and divert ourselves with pleasant conversation.”
    “And pray, Sire, why cannot we be merry and light-hearted here, without passing through those campaigns and dangers of which we were speaking?”

Pyrrhus was greatly disconcerted by this reasoning, and hurried away to continue with his preparations.

~Bethan Lewis~

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