With the collapse of the old sacral kingship all around the Mediterranean in the middle of the first millennium B.C., men were everywhere asking themselves what forever after remained the golden question of the civilized world: "Who's in charge around here?" By way of answer, a breed of ambitious and often capable men, the tyrants, moved in and took over in the name of law and order; the fatal weakness of their position was that their authority, resting neither on birth nor election, could be legitimately challenged at any time by anybody that was strong enough to stand up to them. So the world shouted paeans of gratitude and joy when hard on the heels of the tyrants another and a very different kind of task-force appeared, a saintly band of prophets, a generation of wandering wisemen, the Sophoi, best represented by the immortal Seven Sages. These men of matchless intellect and sublime compassion, after correcting the political and moral disorders of their own societies, wandered through the world free of earthly passions and attachments, seeking only wisdom and imparting freely of their vast knowledge and perception to distraught and disorganized communities throughout the ancient world. It was their selfless activity that put the Greek world on its feet after the Dark Ages, or so it was believed.