Once upon a time, in the late great Assyrian empire, there was a king whose library contained all the knowledge of the world below and the heavens above. The king's unsurpassed wisdom was in no way diminished by the trivial fact that he had not read the contents of his library. After all, should he wish to hear the eleventh book of Gilgamesh, a report on his latest victory, or the meaning of the position of the stars, he could at any moment (say, tomorrow) dispatch a servant to fetch and read aloud the relevant tablet. Tonight he preferred to watch the sun set over Nineveh from the comfort of his palace, and tomorrow he would do whatever it is that kings do with their time, which is none of your business anyway.

© 2009–2024, Martijn Wallage