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Sword of Damocles is an allusion to a legend of Greek origin, wherein the ruler Dionysius II allows his courtier, Damocles, to experience life as a king for a day. Damocles enjoys a great banquet being waited upon by servants, only at the end noticing a sharp sword had been hanging by a single hair above his head the whole while. "Sword of Damocles" has since become a term to describe an imminent threat or danger, particularly one likely to be brought about by chance or a relatively minor event.
Federation President Nanietta Bacco referenced the Sword of Damocles in her commencement address to the Starfleet Academy graduating class of 2380, refering to the threat of imminent war. Several non-human cadets failed to understand the allusion. (ST novel: Articles of the Federation)
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