The Gordian Knot is a legend of Phrygian Gordium associated with Alexander the Great. It is used as a metaphor for an intractable problem solved by finding an approach to the problem that renders the perceived constraints of the problem moot: The Phrygians were without a king, but an oracle at Telmissus decreed that the next man to enter the city driving an ox-cart should become their king. A peasant farmer named Gordias drove into town on an ox-cart and was declared king. Out of gratitude, his son Midas dedicated the ox-cart to the Phrygian god Sabazios and tied it to a post with an intricate knot of cornel bark; the knot was described by Roman historian Quintus Curtius Rufus as comprising “several knots all so entangled that it was impossible to see how they were fastened.”The ox-cart still stood in the palace of the former kings of Phrygia at Gordium in the fourth century BC when Alexander arrived, at which point Phrygia had been reduced to a satrapy, or province, of the Persian Empire.
An oracle had declared that any man who could unravel its elaborate knots was destined to become ruler of all of Asia. Alexander struggled to do so without success, he reasoned that it would make no difference how the knot was loosed, so he drew his sword and sliced it in half with a single stroke. In an alternative version of the story, Alexander loosed the knot by pulling the linchpin from the yoke. Sources from antiquity agree that Alexander was confronted with the challenge of the knot, but his solution is disputed. Both Plutarch and Arrian relate that, according to Aristobulus, Alexander pulled the knot out of its pole pin, exposing the two ends of the cord and allowing him to untie the knot without having to cut through it; some classical scholars regard this as more plausible than the popular account. Literary sources of the story include Alexander's propagandist Arrian, Quintus Curtius, Justin's epitome of Pompeius Trogus, Aelian's De Natura Animalium 13.1. Alexander went on to conquer Asia as far as the Indus and the Oxus, thus fulfilling the prophecy.
The knot may have been a religious knot-cipher guarded by Gordian/Midas' priestesses. Robert Graves suggested that it may have symbolised the ineffable name of Dionysus that, knotted like a cipher, would have been passed on through generations of priests and revealed only to the kings of Phrygia. Unlike fable, true myth has few arbitrary elements; this myth taken as a whole seems designed to confer legitimacy to dynastic change in this central Anatolian kingdom: thus Alexander's "brutal cutting of the knot... ended an ancient dispensation." The ox-cart suggests a longer voyage, rather than a local journey linking Gordias/Midas with an attested origin-myth in Macedon, of which Alexander is most to have been aware. Based on the myth, the new dynasty was not immemorially ancient, but had remembered origins in a local, but non-priestly "outsider" class, represented by Greek reports as an eponymous peasant "Gordias" or the locally attested, authentically Phrygian "Midas" in his ox-cart. Other Greek myths legitimize dynasties by right of conquest, but the legitimising oracle stressed in this myth suggests that the previous dynasty was a race of priest-kings allied to the unidentified oracle deity.
Archimedean point Egg of Columbus Endless knot Hellenic Army Kobayashi Maru Trefoil knot
Operation Gordian Knot
Operation Gordian Knot was the largest and most expensive Portuguese military campaign in the Portuguese overseas province of Mozambique, East Africa. It was performed during the Portuguese Colonial War; the objectives of the campaign were to seal off the independentist guerrillas' infiltration routes across the Tanzanian border and to destroy permanent guerrilla bases in Mozambique. Gordian Knot was a seven-month campaign employing thirty-five thousand men, was successful since it destroyed most guerrilla camps located in northern Mozambique's countryside and captured large numbers of rebels and armament, forcing the FRELIMO insurgents to retreat from their outposts in the territory; the communist-inspired independentist guerrilla, soon realized the difficulties they would encounter in militarily defeating the Portuguese forces on the battlefield and for this reason Frelimo's strategy took on an aspect, unique. With no real working class or Mozambican military to isolate from the Portuguese regime and from which to gain support as in the case of a typical Marxist-Leninist strategy, Frelimo leaders adopted a Maoist strategy.
The Maoist insurgency is three-staged: The First Stage was to create networks of guerrilla political/progaganda groups to win popular support and to train terrorist teams to intimidate sections of the population which may be hesitant to support the insurgency or which support the targeted government outright. The intent is to neutralize any area of the population which will not support the insurgency at the outset and to organize the areas of the population which will provide support; the Second Stage, began with armed resistance by small bands of guerrillas operating in rural areas where terrain is rugged and government control is weak. This stage is characterised by low level hit and run tactics designed to highlight the strength and organization of the insurgent movement and expose the weaknesses of the government; as more of the population is won over to the insurgency the magnitude of the armed resistance and guerrilla warfare is increased to include greater segments of the countryside and more lucrative targets.
The rate of increase in the guerrilla effort is dictated by the response of the government. If the government responds in a forceful, well-organized fashion, the insurgency may remain in an early stage two mode of operation for a prolonged period of time or may revert to stage one; the intent of stage two, however, is to continue to gather popular support and gain control of the countryside, isolating government forces in small areas urban, making them pay a heavy price when they venture into guerrilla controlled areas. The Third Stage of a Maoist insurgency is the evolution of the insurgency into an open civil war, where the guerrilla forces take on the appearance of a regular army and conventional warfare is more predominant; the intent here is to defeat and displace the existing government authority if it has not come apart from within. This was the strategy. Frelimo were never able to move to the third stage of the Maoist strategy; the Portuguese held military supremacy during the entire war and the majority of the native population those living in the urban centers and the littoral strip, were supportive of the centuries-long established ruling authority.
In March 1970, during the Portuguese Colonial War a new commander for Portuguese forces in the Portuguese Overseas Province of Mozambique was appointed. Brigadier General Kaúlza de Arriaga had studied the Mozambican theater from a position on the staff of the Institute of Higher Military Studies in Lisbon and had served as commander of ground forces in Mozambique for eight months prior to assignment as overall commander, he possessed definite ideas on the conduct of the war in Mozambique which were reinforced by a visit to the United States for consultations with General William Westmoreland concerning American tactics in Vietnam. Arriaga insisted on the deployment of aircraft to support ground operations helicopter gunships, he requested a further increase of troops and material. Bolstered with three thousand additional Portuguese soldiers, Arriaga launched the largest offensive campaign of the Portuguese Colonial War-Operation Gordian Knot; the objectives of the campaign were to seal off the infiltration routes across the Tanzanian border and to destroy permanent guerrilla bases.
"Gordian Knot" was a seven-month campaign employing thirty-five thousand men, was successful. The brunt of the effort was in the Cabo Delgado district, in the northernmost area of Mozambique, on the border with guerrilla sympathizer Tanzania. Tactics consisted of lightning quick airborne assaults on small camps. Continual artillery and aviation bombardment rained down on larger sites while bulldozer guided, motorized armies converged; these tactics were effective and Arriaga pursued the guerrillas relentlessly. The Portuguese had excellent coordination between light bombers and reinforced ground patrols, they utilised the American tactics of quick airborne assaults supported by heavy aerial bombardments of FRELIMO camps by the Portuguese Air Force to surround and eliminate the guerrillas. These bombardments were accompanied by the use of heavy artillery; the Portuguese used cavalry units to cover the flanks of patrols and where the terrain was too difficult to motor transport, units of captured or d