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THE ANCIENT MYTH OF
PROCRUSTES

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Procrustes - Greek Mythology

A “Procrustean effort” is a term that is used when one tries to make evidence fit into a theory that just doesn’t seem to work. The term comes from the myth of Procrustes, who would force his guests to fit into the beds he gave them.

Procrustes was an ancient Greek hero who built a house by the side of the road to offer food and shelter to those that were passing through. Procrustes boasted to the passers-by that the bed in the house was very special and it’s length would adjust to whoever lied down in it.

Procrustes did not mention to these visitors that the bed did not have magical powers of any sort but that he himself was responsible for adjusting the length, and it was the length of the visitors, not the bed, that he adjusted. As soon as the visitor had lain in the bed, Procrustes would stretch them out on a rack if they were too short. Should the visitor be too tall, Procrustes would chop off a portion of his legs.

It was Theseus who finally put a stop to Procrustes actions by fitting Procrustes into his own bed. Theseus was aware of exactly what he was doing when he gave Procrustes a fatal chop that was the cause of Procrustes’ death.


Procrustes mythology.

 The myth of Procrustes.

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