Cost of Glory

Pyrrhus challenges the Romans.

History is full of examples of ambitious leaders who achieved great things. And conversely it features eminent leaders who dreamed big but failed to deliver. So, on which side of history will Pyrrhus, King of Epirus sit?

Key takeaways:
The cost of following your dreams
Showing respect for your adversary
Winning wars without resorting to violence (sometimes)
Letting your strengths guide your decisions

Show Notes

“Pyrrhus… saw clearly what great happiness he was leaving behind him. But he just couldn’t renounce his hopes of obtaining what he eagerly desired.”

We can think of many ambitious leaders or groups who made a big dent in the world by smashing through boundaries: The Mongols, The British East India Company, Moses and Joshua taking the promised land.  But many dreamed big and failed to deliver: Napoleon in Russia, Xerxes in Greece.

Which kind of leader will Pyrrhus be?

In this episode, the story of Pyrrhus' great challenge to the Romans; the first well-documented visit to Rome by a Greek; Pyrrhus' famous utterance,  “If we are victorious in one more battle with the Romans, we shall be utterly ruined.”

Some takeaways:
Fortune favors the bold: if you have your heart set on something, why not do everything within your power to achieve it?  Show compassion even when you don’t have to - Pyrrhus consistently showed respect for his enemy.  Also Pyrrhus is not famous for being a politician, but he was a competent negotiator who sought a peaceful resolution before resorting to violence. 

On today’s podcast:
  • The cost of following your dreams 
  • Showing respect for your adversary
  • Winning wars without resorting to violence (sometimes)
  • Letting your strengths guide your decisions


[Original music score based on Epirot and other Greek folk traditions, by Ilias Markantonis.

See Ilias' work on Facebook, or Instagram (@ilias_markantonis)]

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What is Cost of Glory?

The most influential biographies ever written, admired by leaders, creators, soldiers, and thinkers for nearly 2,000 years: Plutarch’s Parallel lives. Essential listening for anyone striving after greatness. Alex Petkas, former professor of ancient philosophy and history, revives and dramatically retells these unforgettable stories for modern audiences. The subjects are statesmen, generals, orators, and founders; pious and profane, stoics and hedonists. The stakes bear on the future of Western civilization. The cost of glory is always great. Visit to find out more.