Of Ice and Fire I Sing

This text was discovered inside the hollow of a golden branch. On top was written, Pius Aeneas hoc scripsit (“Pious Aeneas wrote this”). On a separate document was a message written by one P.V.M. that said, carmen tam horribile est ut cum inhumata turba vagari malim.” (“This poem is so terrible that I prefer to wander with the unburied masses”). An earlier fragment seems obsessed with a certain Ioannes Nix.

It is thought that after Aeneas encountered Marcellus in the underworld, he received poetry lessons from Vergil himself. From a close reading of this text, we can also infer that Aeneas met the disembodied soul of George R.R. Martin and saw a performance of Game of Thrones. Edited by Dani Bostick.

“And just as constipated infants contort their miserable
Faces but cannot manage to liberate their bowels,
In this way, Jon Snow with a worried expression,
Miserable, looks on the overturned city and kills the
Mother of dragons in a sneaky way with his sword. Then, the
Unhappy monster carries her body on his toenail into the ether.
Snow speaks with these words: “Love is the death of duty.”
But Dido gave herself a wound voluntarily with a sword,
This queen is dead because of herself; it is not my fault,
For I am remarkable in piety, but Snow rules
In no kingdom.”

Ac veluti torquent ora infantes miseranda
Crudi sed nequeunt compressos solvere alvos.
Sic Nix sollicito vultu eversam miser urbem
Aspicit et matrem draconum ensi necat furtim.
Tum monstrum infelix corpus vehit ungula in aether.
Nix tali ore refert: “Amor est finis pietatis.”
At Dido vulnus dedit sponte sua sibi ferro,
Regina moritur propter se; non mihi culpa est.
Sum pietate insignis, et rex; Nix regit nullo
In loco.

« Messire Lancelot du Lac » de « GAULTIER MOAP ». « Messire Lancelot du Lac » de « GAULTIER MOAP ».
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Ridiculous Etymologies: New York Times Edition

Folk etymology is a long-lived tradition empowering writers to fabricate etymological explanations to suit their current interpretive and argumentative needs.

Procrastinate: To be In favor of Being Out of Control from the New York Times, March 25, 2019.

NYTimesProcrast

Here’s what those joyless pedants of the Oxford English Dictionary have to say about it:

Procras OED

Akrasia

Just in case you were wondering, the ancient Romans and Greeks did have the concept of procrastination. Here are some passages I collected about it.

But where would we be without hermeneutically adventurous lexicography? Plato makes it a centerpiece of his Cratylus! And we have dictionaries dedicated to it:

“Lipless Achilles” Kallierges, Etymologicum Magnum 182

“Akhilleus: [this name comes from] lessening grief, for Achilles was a doctor. Or it is because of the woe, which is pain, he brought to his mother and the Trojans. Or it is from not touching his lips to food [khilê]. For he had no serving of milk at all, but was fed with stag-marrow by Kheiron. This is why he was hailed by the Myrmidons in the following way, according to Euphoriôn:

He came to Phthia without ever tasting any food
This is why the Myrmidons named him Achilles.”

᾿Αχιλλεύς: Παρὰ τὸ ἄχος λύειν· ἰατρὸς γὰρ ἦν. ῍Η διὰ τὸ ἄχος (ὅ ἐστι λύπην) ἐπενεγκεῖν τῇ μητρὶ καὶ τοῖς ᾿Ιλιεῦσιν. ῍Η διὰ τὸ μὴ θίγειν χείλεσι χιλῆς, ὅ ἐστι τροφῆς· ὅλως γὰρ οὐ μετέσχε γάλακτος, ἀλλὰ μυελοῖς ἐλάφων ἐτράφη ὑπὸ Χείρωνος. ῞Οτι ὑπὸ Μυρμιδόνων ἐκλήθη, καθά φησιν Εὐφορίων,

᾿Ες Φθίην χιλοῖο κατήϊε πάμπαν ἄπαστος.
τοὔνεκα Μυρμιδόνες μιν ᾿Αχιλέα φημίξαντο.

Odysseus Was Born on the Road in the Rain: Kallierges, Etymologicum Magnum 615

“The name Odysseus has been explained through the following story. For they claim that when Antikleia, Odysseus’ mother, was pregnant she was travelling [hodeuousan] on Mt. Neritos in Ithaka, and it began to rain [husantos] terribly Because of her labor and fear she collapsed and gave birth to Odysseus there. So, he obtained is name in this way, since Zeus, on the road [hodon] rained [hûsen].”

᾿Οδυσσεύς: Εἴρηται ἀπὸ ἱστορίας. ᾿Αντίκλειαν γάρ φασι τὴν ᾿Οδυσσέως μητέρα ἐγκύμονα ὁδεύουσαν τὸ Νήριτον τῆς ᾿Ιθάκης ὄρος, ὕσαντος πολὺ τοῦ Διὸς, ὑπὸ ἀγωνίας τε καὶ φόβου καταπεσοῦσαν ἀποτεκεῖν τὸν ᾿Οδυσσέα. Οὕτω ταύτης τῆς ὀνομασίας ἔτυχεν, ἐπειδὴ κατὰ τὴν ὁδὸν ὗσεν ὁ Ζεύς.

It is more typical to derive Odysseus’ name from the verb odussomai, which means something like “being hateful, being hated”.  Autolykos, Odysseus’ maternal grandfather, is reported to have named him in the Odyssey (19.407–409).

“I have come to this point hated [odussamenos] by many—
Both men and women over the man-nourishing earth.
So let his name be Ody[s]seus…”

πολλοῖσιν γὰρ ἐγώ γε ὀδυσσάμενος τόδ’ ἱκάνω,
ἀνδράσιν ἠδὲ γυναιξὶν ἀνὰ χθόνα βωτιάνειραν·
τῷ δ’ ᾿Οδυσεὺς ὄνομ’ ἔστω ἐπώνυμον…

The Lost De Imaginibus Verendorum

A pamphlet was recently discovered along with the fragments of Bellum Incivile, a text tentatively attributed to Caesar. De Imaginibus Verendorum was almost certainly not written by Caesar, but was very possibly distributed to his troops.* Edited by Dani Bostick

“All people arrive into the world nude on the day of their birth, but many men as adults want to show off their unclothed private parts very often. They have a frightful custom of making images of their private parts, which can also be called dick pics, penis pictures, and members at mast, and sending them to women. These men are very different with respect to dignity and virtue from men who are in the habit of keeping their private parts covered unless someone says she wants to see them.

When the eyes of women are too far away or when there is a concern about breaking the law– for it is not OK to expose bystanders to penises when you are outside– inflamed by a desire to show his private parts, a man of this kind creates an image of them, which you would believe to be real, but would not in any way want to look at. He marvels at this, but it is not enough for him to see it. Even if women have already said they do not want to see any private parts, he thinks the image must be seen by as many women as possible.

For this reason the man sends this image to one woman, then to two women, then to five; then to another ten. “Careful,” he says to himself as he sends the picture through the ether. “Don’t send it to your mom or sisters by accident.” In this way, he believes he is operating with restraint and modesty.

At last, many women see the image of the private parts and seeing it, they are horrified, but the man, proud of his private parts and the picture of them, happily awaits the replies of the women. “How lucky these women are! How beautiful are my private parts!” But the women do not respond.

Although he is happy with himself, he lacks friends and dignity, but he does not want to change because he thinks he is the best.  Catullus once said, “Each of us has a flaw, but we cannot see what is in our own backpacks.”  

I will make this very clear to you. It is the greatest flaw to send pictures of your private parts to women who absolutely do not want to see them.

Men, having read these words, may you recognize this flaw and stop it!

Homines die natali nudi nati sunt, sed multi viri adulti verenda exerta saepissime ostendere volunt. His mos terribilis est imagines verendorum, quae appellari etiam pictura passeris, simulacrum siculae, vincens verpa possunt, facere ac ad feminas mittere.  Hi sunt dignitate et virtute disimiles viris qui verenda operire solent, nisi quis ea videre velle dicat.

Vir huius generis cum aut oculi feminarum longius absit aut leges violare timeat– nam verendis foris circumstantes obiecere est nefas– inflammato verendorum ostendendorum cupidine imaginem, quam vivere credas, sed haud spectare velis, facit. miratur, sed non est satis eam videre. etiamsi feminae se verenda videre nolle iam dixerunt, imaginem quam plurimis feminis videndam existimat.

Qua de causa vir hanc imaginem ad unam feminam mittit; deinde ad duas feminas; deinde ad quinque; dein ad decem alteras. “Cave,” mittenti per caelum imaginem sibi ait. “Noli ad matrem aut ad sorores peperam mittere.” ad hunc modum se caute et pudenter agere credit.

Tandem multae feminae imaginem verendam vident et videntes horrescunt; verum vir suis verendis ac imagine eorum superbiens responsa feminarum laete expectat. “Quam beatae hae feminae! Quam pulchra mea verenda!”  sed feminae nihil respondent.

quamvis se ipso contentus sit, amicae dignitasque ei desunt, sed mutari non vult, quia se optimum esse credit.  “Suus cuique attributus est error,” scripsit Catullus. “sed non videmus manticae quod in tergo est.”

Hoc vobis manifestissimum faciam. Est maximus error imagines verendorum ad feminas, quae ea videre minime velint, mittere.  

Viri, his verbis acceptis, videatis errorem et desinatis!

 

Caesar

[*N.B. This is satire. This Latin is not from antiquity]