which was dedicated to Zeus, was inseparably bound to
the yoke with divinely knotted cords—the famed Gordian
Knot. In this sense, the comparison with the artistic ribbonworm knot was not so very far from the truth.
As mentioned above, the ribbonworm was accidentally broken into two pieces during the siphoning process. A similar fate supposedly befell the original Gordian Knot: According to the legend, it was prophesied by
an oracle that whoever proved able to untie this magical knot would conquer Persia. One version has it that
Alexander the Great, who subsequently won himself an
enormous empire, solved the problem in 334 BC with a
well-aimed stroke of his sword.
While I’m on the topic of ancient Greece, I would
like to point out that Nemertini, the scientific name of
this phylum, is a Greek word signifying “the never missing.” This name derives from one of the daughters of
Probably the most unusual ribbonworms are found in the genus
Gorgono-rhynchos. Their weaponry has a bizarre
modification, with the proboscis being
subdivided into numerous smaller pro-