There is an island named Aigina facing the seas of Athens, Greece, which can be seen from the mountains in Athens. It takes 30-40 minutes by boat from Piraeus port. Aigina Island is not well-known to Korean tourists, but it is a favored picnic or vacation destination by the people of Athens.
Athens and Aigina competed each other to gain supremacy over sea trade in ancient times. Aigina was the first to gain power. According to Herodotus, the war between the two cities was caused by a statue that was made from olive wood from Athens. The Athenians argued that the statue belonged to them and tried to take it away, which sparked the battle. At that time, it was difficult to distinguish trade ships from pirate ships. Aigina’s three-tiered ships often attacked villages near Athens. Pirating and attacks in retaliation occurred countless times.
However, the stealing of the statue resulted in a completely unexpected result. Athens lost completely, and only one person survived. The wives of the victims surrounded him and poked him with sharp brooches to express their anger towards him for being the only survivor. The bronze brooches would have been larger than now and were like weapons. He eventually died from the poking by the brooches. The women’s fury was understandable but not justifiable. However, even the men of Athens, where men had more power over women, could not punish the women. They decided to prevent similar accidents going forward. They immediately discarded their traditional costume and adopted the Asian minor style, which was worn without brooches.
What lessons can be learned from this story? Many say tradition should be preserved and not changed. But what if traditional ways threaten lives of others? Perhaps those who advocate for traditional ways are not aware that brooches can be weapons.