This book deals with real stories and imaginary tales of founding heroes and their followers, leaders and peoples, despots and emancipators: Ulysses who defeats the wild and monstrous Cyclops; Christopher Columbus who invents cannibals; Romulus who founded Rome with the help of an Etruscan ritual and a copper ploughshare; Merlin the Wizard and Julian the Apostate, who teach us how to become kings and emperors. A leader's power is also determined by blood, deception, betrayals, and death, as shown by Flavius Josephus and the evil deeds of Shakespeare's Richard III. This power is also based on grandiose, ritual enactments, as exemplified by the Louis XIV, Napoleon, and Hitler, who resorted to monuments and memorial stones to testify their passion for millenary survival. Finally, the book's imaginary happy ending focuses on the greatness of Francis of Assisi, his utopia of a shepherdless flock, and that of Nelson Mandela, featuring love of life and responsibility.
Roberto Escobar teaches Political Philosophy at the University of Milan.