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The Value of Heroes

The saying, "The sun never sets on the British Empire" was true as recently as 1937 when tiny England did, in fact, still have possessions in each of the world's 24 time zones. It's widely known that the British explored, conquered and ruled much of the world for a number of years, but what isn't as widely known is what made them believe they could do it.

For the first 1000 years after Christ, Greece and Rome were the only nations telling stories of heroes and champions. England was just a dreary little island of rejects, castoffs, barbarians and losers. So who inspired tiny, foggy England to rise up and take over the world?

Hoping to instill in his countrymen a sense of pride, a simple Welsh monk named Geoffrey assembled a complete history of England that gave his people a grand and glorious pedigree. Published in 1136, Geoffrey's "History of the Kings of Britain," was a detailed, written account of the deeds of the English people for each of the 17 centuries prior to 689 AD... and not a single word of it was true. Yet in creating Merlyn, Guinevere, Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table from the fabric of imagination, Geoffrey of Monmouth convinced a sad little island of rejects, castoffs, barbarians and losers to see themselves as a just and magnificent nation.

And not long after they began to see themselves that way in their minds, they began seeing themselves that way in the mirror.

Most people assume that legends, myths and stories of heroes are simply the byproducts of great civilizations, but I'm convinced that they are the cause of them. Throughout history, the mightiest civilizations have been the ones with stories of heroes; larger-than-life role models that inspired ordinary citizens to rise up and do amazing things.

It's no secret that people will usually do in reality what they have seen themselves do in their minds.

In your mind, what do you see yourself doing?

Roy H. Williams

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"Heroes are created by popular demand, sometimes out of the scantiest materials." Gerald W. Johnson

Did you, like most people, think that Thomas Malory's LeMorte D'Arthur was the origin of Arthurian legend? Nope, Malory's work, published in 1485, was based on Geoffrey's "history" which had been published and widely circulated 349 years earlier. RHW

See a 1937 map of British possessions in the world's 24 time zones at www.friesian.com/british.htm

~ Roy H. Williams

To view the archives click here.

Invisible Heroes is a collection of more than 100 biographical stories written by Roy H. Williams, the Wizard of Ads. You can read a few of these stories in the archives of this web page, but most of them are inaccessible because they're soon to be published in a book.

We create our heroes from our hopes and dreams. And then they create us in their own image.Heroes raise the bar we jump and hold high the standards we live by. They're the embodiment of all we're striving to be.

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