The legend of the Gordian knot | Solving puzzles

Have you ever felt the expression "undo the Gordian knot" ????? Normally, this curious expression refers to the fact that there is an extreme difficulty, which costs a lot to solve. What this saying seeks to convey is that the end justifies the means, that is, that no matter how a situation is resolved, the important thing is that it be resolved.

Even if you have already heard about the Gordian knot, it is more possible that you still wonder about the origin of this expression. As often happens with this type of construction, the Gordian knot is related to a story and legend, in this case related to Alexander the Great, who has remained in the unconscious of all the world and it has ended up becoming a phrase. Are you curious? Well, keep reading! You already know that in Supercurioso we always want to share with you The Best Curiosities .

The legend of the Gordian knot | The solution to the enigma

The Gordian Knot Alexander

1. Phrygia needs a king and finds it in Gordian

The legend of the Gordian knot originates Greek and it is related to the inhabitants of Phrygia, a small country in present-day Turkey. The inhabitants of the country needed a king, so they decided to consult the oracle of Telmeso, on the Mediterranean coast, who they should choose. The oracle answered as the oracles do, in a rather cryptic and unexpected way, since he told them that his next monarch would be the man who crossed the eastern gate of the capital with a cart with oxen and a crow perched on it.

The chosen one, to the surprise of everyone, was Gordias, a poor farmer who had no other property than his car and his two oxen. But since the inhabitants of Phrygia were pious, they decided to pay attention to the oracle and crowned the peasant king. Gordias then founded the city of Gordio (guess where it was inspired for the name) and, as thanks, donated to the temple of Zeus his car, with the peculiarity that the yoke was tied to a spear with a knot so complicated that no one could undo it . Then there was the legend that whoever could conquer all of Asia.

2. Alexander the Great and the Gordian knot

We invite you to delve into the Greek king par excellence with this compilation of Phrases of Alexander the Great .

Many years later, when Alexander the Great was on his way to conquer the Persian Empire, he passed through Phrygia and also conquered the region. The inhabitants thought that it was a good time to raise the enigma of the Gordian knot and they did so. They took Alexander to the temple of Zeus and the sovereign found himself in front of the knot, which some described as so complicated and intricate that it was impossible to know how he had tied himself.

Alejandro broke his head thinking how to solve the enigma and spent long hours in front of the knot without result. The rope was still as strong as when it arrived. Finally, after almost surrendering several times, he came to a surprising conclusion : it did not matter how the enigma was solved, the important thing was to undo the knot. So Alejandro picked up his sword and pronounced a few words of legend: "both mount undo and cut it" and, in one fell swoop, cut the rope and ended the knot that caught the car (there are other versions that claim that what he did was remove the spear attached to the yoke, but the version of the sword is more impressive, right?). It is said that, that same night, there was an electrical storm, the way Zeus showed that he agreed with the way to solve the enigma of Alexander.

The sword Gordian knot

And, as a culmination, Alexander left time later to fulfill the prophecy that predicted the knot : In effect, it would end up conquering Asia.

3. The Gordian knot and Fernando el Católico

Do you remember the famous words of Alexander the Great when cutting the knot, â € œso much mounts to undo it as well as cut itâ € ????? For many centuries later, King Ferdinand the Catholic would use them in his personal motto, â € œso much mountsâ €. It is said that it was the humanist Antonio de Nebrija who suggested to the king to adopt the Gordian knot as a symbol , not only because it referred to the meaning or moral of the legend, that is, it does not matter how to solve a problem while it is solved, but for other equally interesting reasons.

For example, the motto could recall the tradition of the empire of Aragon, of which King Ferdinand was, of expanding towards the East. In addition, the word yoke contains one and, with what could remind the monarch to his wife, Queen Elizabeth. In addition, on the shield of the kings were included the yoke and the rope in reference to the knot, and a bundle of arrows (the symbol of Isabel), which contained the letter efe, present in the name of Fernando.

4. In summary, what does the Gordian knot mean?

The engraved Gordian knot

So, as we said at the beginning of the article, "undo the Gordian knot" is based on this Greek legend, and comes to say something like that no matter what method we use, what matters is to solve the problem .

On the other hand, the expression also comes to say something darker: the end justifies the means. What can lead us to ask, is the option of Alexander the Great to solve the enigma sword through? Or should I have been more patient and come up with a solution in which to be involved, and not force?

In any case, the Gordian knot is a good example of what a legend can take root in the collective mind and survive years and years. Tell us, did you like this article of the Gordian knot? Did you know this legend? Do you think we've forgotten to tell something? Remember that you can tell us what you want in the comments!

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