The wild card of ancient Greek military planning was the existence and randomness of divine intervention. You never knew which god was backing your enemy, or when or how they might suddenly rouse themselves in wrath and take destructive action against you. Hence, the anger of god-supported kings being ‘a big matter’. 

Generals and CEOs have it easy these days, they need only engage with human vagaries. Though soon they may have AI to contend with and we may find we have come full circle.  

God help us.  

See also the bestellar reviews, complete with rich quote-mosaics, of Adam Nicolson’s magnificent Why Homer Matters, and Christopher Logue’s War Musica muscular rendition of several books of the Iliad. 

‘May he not in anger do some harm to the sons of the Achaians!

For the anger of god-supported kings is a big matter,

to whom honour and love are given from Zeus of the counsels.’

 

Source: Homer, The Iliad of Homer, trans. Richmond Lattimore (Chicago: Chicago UP, 1961 (1951)), book II, p. 81

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