The Mythologies Of GoldThe Mythologies Of Gold

Volumes of literature have been written about a precious metal known as gold. Since the first man's eyes were draw to the its glitter, stories have been made. In the ancient times, kings and emperors based their power and wealth on its possession. Gold has even pervaded its presence in religion, influencing art and artistry in its direction. This pursuit of gold has even entered the annals of science, with the mystic quest of turning lead into gold. In each culture, each empire and age, behind it is a story of gold.

The Golden Touch
Midas was a cautionary tale of this fool's quest for gold. In Greek mythology, his desire to turn all that he touched into gold was granted by Bacchus. But upon realising that even the food he ate turned to gold before his eyes, he prayed to Bacchus to take away his gift that turned into a curse. Bacchus relented, and took back what Midas had asked of him.

Eureka!
The story of Archimedes relates how revelation cannot be taken for granted, even in the field of science. The king had ordered Archimedes to prove with certainty that a crown the king had made was pure gold. The story goes that Archimedes pondered and pondered over the problem, until one day, as he slipped into his bath, the water overflowed.
In his revelation he shouted "Eureka!", and the world discovered the difference between mass and density. And until today, the Archimedes principle is still a dependable measure of gold.

The Man of Gold

The story of El Dorado began as a man who clothed himself in gold, then jumped into a lake. Then it became a statue of gold thrown into a river. The story kept changing and changing until it became the Lost City of Gold buried deep within a river, which later enthralled especially the Spanish explorers into venturing deeper and deeper into the South Americas.

An ending to the legend of El Dorado is when the two Spanish explorers Orellana and Pizarro formed an expedition to find the Lost City of Gold in the region. The expedition yielded no gold, but Orellana was later known as the first Spanish explorer to explore the Amazon River.

The Father and Three Sons
An old story goes that as a father lay dying, he tells his sons of the secret of the gold buried in his farm. Upon his death, the eldest son promptly digs over the farm to find the gold but fails in his attempt. The second son tries again in his turn, this time digging a little deeper. However, the second son still finds no gold.

The third son looks at the farm, and sees the soil turned over and over again by the digging. Instead of looking further for the gold, he begins planting again, and the land yields a crop so rich it might has well be the gold his father had revealed.

Most of the stories on gold reveal a desire for gold that is always turned into the lesson that there are more important things than gold. "Acrius appetimus nova, quam iam parta tenemus," goes a Latin saying, meaning in so many words, that there is always something better, and we should always strive for more. As well we should, although not necessarily with the precious metal, gold.
by John Schofield
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