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Damŏcles

Δαμοκλῆς). A Syracusan, one of the companions and flatterers of the elder Dionysius. Damocles having extolled the great felicity of Dionysius on account of his wealth and power, the tyrant invited him to try what his happiness really was, and placed him at a magnificent banquet, in the midst of which Damocles saw a naked sword suspended over his head by a single horse hair—a sight which quickly dispelled all his visions of happiness. The story is alluded to by Horace ( Carm. iii. 1.17) and by Persius (ii. 40).

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