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is idiomatic Greek for a journey inland from the sea. “Going up,” literally, because if you’re in Greece three thousand years ago the sea is always down.

So one ascends. The country is scrubby, hot and full of bees. No need to watch for wolves on the hilltops: agriculture has done its job and killed all predators but one. The only risk on this journey is sabotage.

The risk is greatest when alone.

Xenophon, Leonidas, Ulysses: each followed greatness into nothing. Thus always the furious Greek? Strip to your sandals; drop your spear and helmet. You need only carry your doom.


“Will you offer us fealty, Spartan?” grins the Persian emissary.

“‘Fraid not,” drawls Leonidas. “Those Athenian homos already said no, right? We do have a reputation.”

They throw the emissary in a well.

“The Athenian well was way deeper,” he calls up.

Leonidas frowns. “Oh. Okay, we’ll… look around for one. Somebody haul them up?”

“The Athenians actually wanted to resolve everything by dance-off!”

“We could do that,” says Leonidas. His generals mumble protests. “Dudes! We’re not going to be outdone by homos!” he shouts.

Leonidas’s boyfriend whispers in his ear.

“Oh,” says the king. “Th-that’s what homo means?”