Hubris, they name is Zeus…and Poseidon. Such was the Thetis’ allure, the two Greek gods became rivals, vying for her heart. It’s a safe bet the sea nymph could have stolen any god’s heart, being able to stand out among the sea god Nereus’ 50 daughters. If only Themis had kept her mouth shut. Instead, the goddess of Justice laid bare Thetis’ destiny – to bear a son mightier than his father. With that, Thetis was cast off, gifted to the mortal Peleus, king of the Myrmidons of Thessaly. Insulted to the core, Thetis refused to be relegated. And so Peleus enlisted the wise centaur Chiron, who helped the king capture her despite the nymph’s shifting shapes becoming at once flame, water, a raging lioness and a serpent. Defeated, Thetis yielded herself. The wedding, attended by all gods save Eris, of discord fame, is the stuff of Greek legend.
Mythological history diverges from here. Thetis either sired seven children, all of whom she killed attempting to render immortal by fire. Or she bore one son, the unmatched Achilles. The latter tale captivates in its unfolding, so let’s go with it. Keen to the River Styx’s magical properties, Thetis clutched Achilles by his heel and dipped him into the waters making him invulnerable…with the exception of that one heel. You know how it ends. The consummate warrior of Iliad fame, who never met defeat on the battlefield, was ambushed by Paris as he entered Troy, slain by an arrow Apollo guided to that ankle.
In yet another historical contradiction, the Styx can render one immortal if immersed as a babe or mute for nine years if one drank from the river’s foul waters. It gets worse if you were hoping to rest in peace without proper compensation. Charon, the ferryman at the river’s bank, was happy to deliver souls to the underworld so long as the requisite coin was found in the mouth of the deceased. If one failed to pay, there would be no Hades; they would be left to drift on the shore for 100 years. Neither was a mere arrival to the underworld a guarantee of closure. Judgement as to how one would spend the afterlife awaited. Would it be the Elysian Fields or the depths of Tartarus?
With luck, Jerome Powell is studied up on his Greek mythology. Being spared the worst fate upon judgment, at least in the history of monetary policy, will mean holding what’s left of the high moral ground in the in the weeks and months to come.
Danielle DiMartino Booth is founder and Chief Strategist at Quill Intelligence
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