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The Gordian Knot

On a frosty winter morning at Waterperry Gardens, this parterre reminded me of the legendary Gordian Knot.

The underlying tale involves oracles, an ox-cart, Alexander the Great and, of course, a knot.

The intricate knot secured the ox-cart, whose owner (Gordias) had become king of the Phrygians as a result of a prophesy.

An oracle suggested that the future ruler of all Asia would untie it - which Alexander duly did, thus legitimising his dominion and ostensibly fulfilling his destiny.

There are competing accounts of how Alexander went about untying the knot. One version has him cutting through it with a sword, another has him removing the linchpin to which the knot was tied.

Either way, the cart is freed and destiny fulfilled but the message is subtly different: 'might is right', or best seek out a smart solution.

In the context of mediation, and in dispute resolution more generally, I tend to favour the smart solution over brute force - waving around a large sharp implement can have unintended and unwelcome consequences...

Further information

Previous articles on mediating civil and commercial disputes can be found here.

Further information on my background and experience can be found here.

If you would like to discuss how I may assist by mediating a civil or commercial dispute, please email or call.


This article is for general guidance only, it must not be relied on as legal or other professional advice. Anyone engaged in a civil dispute should obtain their own legal and other advice specific to their circumstances and the applicable law at the relevant time.

© Duncan Crine Mediation Limited 09.12.2022


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