DAMOCLES, one of the courtiers of the elder Dionysius of Syracuse. When he spoke in extravagant terms of the happiness of his sovereign, Dionysius is said to have invited him to a sumptuous banquet, at which he found himself seated under a naked sword suspended by a single hair (Cicero, Tusc. v. 21; Horace, Odes, iii. i, 17; Persius iii. 40).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)