Pindar on Custom, “King of All”

Shakespeare calls “custom” a tyrant in Othello, when Othello says:

The tyrant custom, most grave senators,
Hath made the flinty and steel couch of war
My thrice-driven bed of down.

Custom is a tyrant and we have discussed it at length here and here and here and here and here  and elsewhere.

Imagine my delight in coming across this beautiful fragment of the fifth century BC  Greek poet Pindar:

Custom, the king of all / of mortals and immortals / leads, justifying that which is most violent / by its very powerful hand.

Of course the main reason why custom is so powerful is that it is difficult to separate the things that we hold by custom from those things which are in fact natural or self evident principles in our understanding.

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About marklangley

Academic Dean at The Lyceum (a school he founded in 2003, see theLyceum.org) Mark loves sacred music and Gregorian Chant and singing with his lovely wife, Stephanie, and their twelve children.
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