In The History, Book 2 Part 173, Herodotus describes Amasis, king of the Egyptians:

... the following is how he ordered his way of life: in the early morning, until when the market was full, he would zealously do all matters that were brought to him; but from then on he drank and joked with those who drank with him and was indeed an easygoing and sportive companion. Certain of his friends were aggrieved at this and chid him, saying, "My lord, you do not take due care for yourself in bringing yourself so low. You ought rather to sit solemnly all day on a solemn throne and conduct business, and so the Egyptians would know they were governed by a great man and you would have a fairer fame. What you are doing now is not the least royal." He answered them: "Those who have bows string them when there is need. If they were strung all the time, they would break, and so their owners would not have them to use when they needed them. A man is just like that. If he will be serious always and never let any part of him trifle, he will, without knowing it, become crazy or idiotic. I know that, and so I give each part its due." That was how he answered those friends of his.

(from the David Greene translation)

TopicLiterature - TopicRecreation - 2007-04-24

(correlates: HerodotusOnWarAndPeace, HerodotusOnThePersianPost, JustTheJob, ...)