An Illustrated Sword of Damocles
Cicero tells the story of the Sword of Damocles in his Tusculan Disputations. The story is based on a legend about the Syracusan tyrant Dionysius II and the fawning Damocles, who called Dionysius the most fortunate person ever. Dionysius offered him the opportunity to try out his lucky life, and Damocles readily agreed. Amid all the gold and luxuries that Damocles could enjoy, there was a sharp sword hanging from a slender thread (and in imminent danger of dropping) above Damocles' head. Damocles quickly wished to go back to his less fortunate life.
Damocles Explanation With the Cicero Passage (in Latin)
The Sword of Damocles Basics