History Main / SwordOfDamocles

29th Aug '16 7:25:59 AM dresdor
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** He partially succeeded. A smaller percentage of soldiers died from disease.
27th Aug '16 10:05:03 AM gemmabeta2
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* The trope is also deployed a more metaphorical sense during the annual state opening of Parliament in the United Kingdom. At Westminster, the British Monarch puts on his royal regalia in a room where the execution warrant of Charles I is prominently displayed--just to remind His or Her Majesty who's the boss around here.
16th Aug '16 12:12:12 PM UmbrellasWereAwesome
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* In ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', it turns out this is the exact purpose of the titular [[AntagonistTitle Guardians]], massive Forerunner war machines. A single Guardian has enough firepower to keep an entire solar system under control. At the end of the game, we see one of their weapons is an EMP burst strong enough to overwhelm an entire planet.

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* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'': In ''VideoGame/Halo5Guardians'', it turns out this is the exact purpose of the titular [[AntagonistTitle Guardians]], massive Forerunner war machines. A single Guardian has enough firepower to keep an entire solar system under control. At the end of the game, we see one of their weapons is an EMP burst strong enough to overwhelm an entire planet.
26th Jul '16 6:05:41 AM Onomateopoetic
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* The TropeNamer is the myth of Damocles and King Dionysios from ancient Greece. Damocles, a low commoner, held his king, Dionysios, in extremely high regard and was very supportive of his rule and life, thinking his life as a king and ruler must be the grandest of all. Hearing about this, Dionysios [[ATasteOfPower invited Damocles to dine with him]], but when Damocles arrived, Dionysios had installed a sword just above Damocles' place in the room, hanging by a hair of a horse' mane. Despite being with his idol as an equal, Damocles couldn't enjoy the feast at all, being so nervous about the sword that he couldn't eat, drink or talk. Dionysios asked him if he enjoyed their meal, and Damocles answered that, in truth, it had been horrible and paranoia-inducing. To that, the king had one answer:
--> [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatResponsibility ''Now you know how a king and tyrant feels every second of his life. Go home, and cherish your freedom.]]
15th Jul '16 7:11:42 PM direguy
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* ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' villain Kang the Conquerer travels from the future in his ship, which, in his bid to conquer present-day Earth, is referred to as Damocles Base.

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* ''WesternAnimation/TheAvengersEarthsMightiestHeroes'' villain Kang the Conquerer travels from the future in his ship, which, in his bid to conquer present-day Earth, is referred to as Damocles Base.Base which is shaped like a giant sword.
26th Jun '16 7:56:04 PM nombretomado
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* Referred to in ''TheDresdenFiles'' as the "Doom of Damocles." The "Doom" is applied to those the White Council believes to be ''just'' shy of irredeemable, and can summed up as "One strike and you're out." With "out" meaning, "beheaded by the Wardens." Note that this usage has little to do with this trope and is based on the original meaning of the term (see the Other folder for explanation).
** ''Ghost Story'' reveals that Harry himself served as this for Chicago with a lot of the supernatural community. They found him so terrifying that most just ''didn't bother showing up.''

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* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
**
Referred to in ''TheDresdenFiles'' overall as the "Doom of Damocles." The "Doom" is applied to those the White Council believes to be ''just'' shy of irredeemable, and can summed up as "One strike and you're out." With "out" meaning, "beheaded by the Wardens." Note that this usage has little to do with this trope and is based on the original meaning of the term (see the Other folder for explanation).
** ''Ghost Story'' ''Literature/GhostStory'' reveals that Harry himself served as this for Chicago with a lot of the supernatural community. They found him so terrifying that most just ''didn't bother showing up.''
5th Jun '16 12:21:09 PM lavendermintrose
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* Literal example -- the first episode of ''{{Anime/K}}'' has two massive swords hanging in mid-air, one of which is referred to as the "Sword of Damocles". [[spoiler: The swords are a manifestation of a King's power. If a King loses complete control, it falls, and everything in the immediate area is destroyed. This has happened at least once with the Red King.]]

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* Literal example -- Swords hang over the first episode of ''{{Anime/K}}'' has two massive swords hanging Kings' heads in mid-air, one of which is ''{{Anime/K}}'', referred to InUniverse as the "Sword "Swords of Damocles". [[spoiler: The swords They are a manifestation manifestations of a King's power. If power, and if Kings overextend their power and the Sword falls, large areas around them will be destroyed as well. When it gets close to this, the only way to prevent it is for the King to be slain - but it is difficult for one who is not a King loses complete control, it falls, to slay a King, and everything in the immediate area is destroyed. This has happened at least once with burden of killing a King puts a huge strain on a King's sword... leading to something of a cycle [[spoiler: that two generations of Red and Blue kings have found themselves in]]. Both seasons of the Red King.]]anime have the possibility of this situation as a plot point.
29th Apr '16 10:42:56 AM BeerBaron
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* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'': The Demigod Vivec saved his [[{{Egopolis}} (equally named)]] city from a moonlet tossed at it by an angry demon from space, by stopping it, frozen in time, about sixty feet aboveground. He then used it as one of these, by making sure his followers didn't stop worshipping: The rock would fall on them otherwise. However, [[{{VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind}} certain dead-God-heart powered incidents later]], Vivec was gone, and the rock had to be kept in place by [[PoweredByAForsakenChild a soul-burning machine]], which later got torn up by an elf trying to save his lover. And thus, we get to see the downside to the Sword of Damocles method: Eventually, the string gives away, and the sword must fall. In this case, with [[ColonyDrop continent-wrecking results]], as it resumed its fall like it had never stopped, turned the city into a boiling crater (and yes, it's still boiling centuries later), and set off the local supervolcano.

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* ''Franchise/TheElderScrolls'': The Demigod In the distant past, MadGod Sheogorath hurled a rogue moon at the newly built {{Egopolis}} of the Dunmeri [[PhysicalGod Tribunal Deity]] Vivec. Vivec saved his [[{{Egopolis}} (equally named)]] the city from a moonlet tossed at it by an angry demon from space, by stopping freezing the moon high above it, frozen in time, about sixty feet aboveground. He but then used it as one of these, by making sure invoked this trope. He told his followers didn't stop worshipping: The rock would fall on them otherwise. However, [[{{VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind}} certain dead-God-heart powered incidents later]], Vivec that the moon was gone, and the rock had to be kept held in place by their love for him, and that if they should stop loving him, it would fall. [[spoiler: Due in no small part to the player's actions in ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsIIIMorrowind Morrowind]]'', Vivec disappears early in the 4th era. Some temporary measures are enacted to keep the moon in place, including the use of a [[PoweredByAForsakenChild a soul-burning machine]], which later got torn up by an elf trying to save his lover. And thus, we get to see the downside to the Sword of Damocles method: Eventually, the string gives away, machine]]. However, those attempts prove futile, and the sword must fall. In this case, moon falls with it's original momentum, causing [[ColonyDrop continent-wrecking results]], as it resumed its fall like it had never stopped, turned province-wrecking]] results. Years later, the waters where the city into a boiling crater (and yes, it's once stood are still boiling centuries later), and set off the local supervolcano.boiling]].
23rd Apr '16 4:32:37 PM WillKeaton
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** International relations studies term this the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability-instability_paradox stability-instability paradox]]. The fact that both sides have the ability to utterly annihilate one other severely limits the plausbile range of actions both sides can do in international diplomacy. On one hand, it means no WorldWarThree because the big powers won't make moves with the intent to go to war (it is assumed that both sides value their own survival more than they do the destruction of the other). On the other hand, this same system means both sides find less direct ways to fight the other side (i.e., via proxy wars with third and fourth parties), in addition to all the smaller pre-existing grudges otherwise-irrelevant parties have with one another which neither superpower can fully stop because the amount of power needed to get one side or the other to heel cannot be used without threat from the other superpower, who by and large cannot risk letting the first have its way.

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** International relations studies term this the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stability-instability_paradox stability-instability paradox]]. paradox.]] The fact that both sides have the ability to utterly annihilate one other severely limits the plausbile range of actions both sides can do in international diplomacy. On one hand, it means no WorldWarThree because the big powers won't make moves with the intent to go to war (it is assumed that both sides value their own survival more than they do the destruction of the other). On the other hand, this same system means both sides find less direct ways to fight the other side (i.e., via proxy wars with third and fourth parties), in addition to all the smaller pre-existing grudges otherwise-irrelevant parties have with one another which neither superpower can fully stop because the amount of power needed to get one side or the other to heel cannot be used without threat from the other superpower, who by and large cannot risk letting the first have its way.
23rd Apr '16 4:29:11 PM WillKeaton
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* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', this is what Tarkin intended the Death Star and its [[EarthShatteringKaboom superlaser]] to be used for: The threat of having your planet instantly destroyed would (presumably) curtail the ambitions of any seditious systems and work more efficiently than actually physically oppressing someone by force. The ExpandedUniverse gave this philosophy the name "The Tarkin Doctrine", and revealed that TheEmpire built an impractically large number of various planet-destroying devices in an attempt to implement it in practice. Since they all had a nasty tendency to get hijacked or blow up due to Rebel Scum, sabotage, or other unfortunate circumstances, the doctrine was a resounding failure.\\\
It wasn't just the implementation that was flawed: The Tarkin Doctrine [[MoralEventHorizon demolished whatever legitimacy the Empire might have had]], pushing systems and individuals who might otherwise have sat on the fence [[NeutralNoLonger into supporting the Rebels openly]]. The fact that the Death Star's first target was [[NeverHurtAnInnocent a civilian planet]] (and that it was destroyed [[KickTheDog even though Leia seemed to be cooperating]]) didn't help at all.

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* In ''Franchise/StarWars'', this is what Tarkin intended the Death Star and its [[EarthShatteringKaboom superlaser]] to be used for: The threat of having your planet instantly destroyed would (presumably) curtail the ambitions of any seditious systems and work more efficiently than actually physically oppressing someone by force. The ExpandedUniverse gave this philosophy the name "The Tarkin Doctrine", and revealed that TheEmpire built an impractically large number of various planet-destroying devices in an attempt to implement it in practice. Since they all had a nasty tendency to get hijacked or blow up due to Rebel Scum, sabotage, or other unfortunate circumstances, the doctrine was a resounding failure.\\\
failure.
**
It wasn't just the implementation that was flawed: The Tarkin Doctrine [[MoralEventHorizon demolished whatever legitimacy the Empire might have had]], pushing systems and individuals who might otherwise have sat on the fence [[NeutralNoLonger into supporting the Rebels openly]]. The fact that the Death Star's first target was [[NeverHurtAnInnocent a civilian planet]] (and that it was destroyed [[KickTheDog even though Leia seemed to be cooperating]]) didn't help at all.



* The OlderThanFeudalism [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles trope namer]], of course. As you know, he was a [[YesMan courtier]] at the court of the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse (Sicily, Italy). When he praised the tyrant for being so fortunate, Dionysius decided to give him a lesson and offered him his throne. Damocles accepted, but the tyrant hung a big sword above the throne, held only by a single hair (of a horse's tail). Soon, Damocles didn't think anymore that Dionysius was so fortunate...\\\
Of course, [[ValuesDissonance the moral has been somewhat skewed over time]]. Nowadays, the moral is that people can't live a happy life if they're in fear. Originally, the idea was a harsh lesson in TheChainsOfCommanding, and the titular sword shows that his reign could fall at a moment's notice, especially in the time it took place. It's also argued that the original moral of the story was simply, "be content with what you have", showing the above as stress of how being in power isn't all it's cracked up to be.

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* The OlderThanFeudalism [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles trope namer]], namer,]] of course. As you know, he was a [[YesMan courtier]] at the court of the tyrant Dionysius II of Syracuse (Sicily, Italy). When he praised the tyrant for being so fortunate, Dionysius decided to give him a lesson and offered him his throne. Damocles accepted, but the tyrant hung a big sword above the throne, held only by a single hair (of a horse's tail). Soon, Damocles didn't think anymore that Dionysius was so fortunate...\\\
Of
fortunate...
**Of
course, [[ValuesDissonance the moral has been somewhat skewed over time]]. Nowadays, the moral is that people can't live a happy life if they're in fear. Originally, the idea was a harsh lesson in TheChainsOfCommanding, and the titular sword shows that his reign could fall at a moment's notice, especially in the time it took place. It's also argued that the original moral of the story was simply, "be content with what you have", showing the above as stress of how being in power isn't all it's cracked up to be.
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