#11 Agasicles, It Could Take One Stubborn Man to Change the Life of A City

It could take a stubborn man to withdraw a whole city from an important socializing framework.

Just as the Dorians of what is now the country of the “Five Cities” — formerly the country of the “Six Cities” — forbid admitting any of the neighboring Dorians to the Triopian temple, and even barred from using it those of their own group who had broken the temple law.
For long ago, in the games in honor of Triopian Apollo, they offered certain bronze tripods to the victors; and those who won these were not to carry them away from the temple but dedicate them there to the god.
Now when a man of Halicarnassus called Agasicles won, he disregarded this law, and, carrying the tripod away, nailed it to the wall of his own house. For this offense the five cities — Lindus, Ialysus, Camirus, Cos, and Cnidus — forbade the sixth city — Halicarnassus — to share in the use of the temple. Such was the penalty imposed on the Halicarnassians.
Herodotus, with an English translation by A. D. Godley. Cambridge

What was the tradition about? The temple could just keep the property rights of the cauldron, but they chose to give it, and let the winner to give the cauldron back with his free will, to show his goodwill to the temple.

Looks like nobody thought of the case that the peer pressure could be broken by a stubborn contestant and create a huge crisis in the history of the event.

What does this story tell? Apparently in Halicarnassus, the individualism could let somebody to do something that could have devastating results for a city.

So it‘s a good sign at one hand, because this is the kind of environment that people can produce ideas freely, but at the other hand, looks the city was banned from using the temple because somebody got lost in the depths of selfism and there was no means of changing his behavior, nothing that he cares about. For Halicarnassus, socializing with rest of the cities could prove quite a utility in such an age that alliances are most needed. If you accidentally become an outsider, you could get sacked.

Skimming through other stories, we see something similar, but not as a sign of individualism since the author of the behavior was of aristocratic descend, when Paris brings Helen to Troy with him and causes a devastating effect for the city. Of course, in the case we are to believe what was told in the story as the only reason of the war.



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