[FOUNTAIN]Styx and Aegis

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[FOUNTAIN]Styx and Aegis

Styx, in Greek mythology, is the goddess personifying a river that coiled nine times around the underworld. She was not an ordinary goddess; she was the guardian of the sacred oaths that bound the gods. Other gods and goddesses feared her; she punished those who breached their oaths.

Styx was given that power following the war between the gods of Mount Olympus and the Titans. She took the side of Zeus, playing a determining role in bringing victory to the gods. As a reward, Zeus decreed that every dead soul must cross Styx's river before reaching the land of the dead, and that gods and goddesses must swear their oaths to her. When gods or goddesses did not live up to their oaths, they were banned from ambrosia and nectar for one "great year" and prohibited from seeing other gods or goddesses for nine years.

Styx flowed between myth and the history of humanity at the time of the death of Alexander the Great. There are many suggestions made by historians to explain his death, such as theories that he was poisoned or addicted to alcohol. Most Middle East people believe that he was poisoned to death after drinking water from the Styx river when he reached Arcadia at the end of his military expedition in Central Asia.

In 1959, Styx came finally down to the human earth. Then Soviet Union developed a sea-to-sea missile named Styx. The missile Styx lived up to the reputation of the goddess Styx, who had had firm links with war. In 1969, in the third Middle East war, Egyptian marines surprised the world by sinking an Israeli destroyer with a Styx missile.

The Styx again came to our attention last month, this time on the Korean Peninsula. In the exchange of fire between North and South Korean ships, the North had such missiles for use against our corvettes.

The best way known to strip missiles like Styx of their effectiveness is to set up an Aegis system, which provides a tremendous anti-air and anti-missile defense for naval forces.

Aegis was the name of an omnipotent shield that Zeus gave to his daughter Athena.

Although the United States is planning to send a cruiser equipped with Aegis system to the East Sea (Sea of Japan), Japan is the only country that is now shielded with the system in Northeast Asia. China will also import a similar system from Russia.

Zeus's women are suddenly up in arms in the sea surrounding the Korean Peninsula. Tension flows around the peninsula with the appearance of their names and mythology.

The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.

by Kim Seok-hwan

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