Julius Caesar died on this date in 44 B.C. In his honor, a whole week of words related to Julius Caesar or the caesars generally.
Caesarism - govenment by imperial authority, recognizing no other law as a check upn the ruler’s will; political absolutism; dictatorship
"The Ides of March" was also a rock group from the early 1970s whose one hit was called "Vehicle." Shortly after this song hit the charts, the whole group was busted for drugs and given a choice by a judge - 4 years in prison or 4 years in the armed forces; they chose the latter. I was stationed with the bass player in 1972.
(just in case you were interested...)
In March, July, October, May
The Ides fall on the 15th day.
Just in case anyone is interested in the Roman calendar...
Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.
A brief check of National Geographic site confirms the Roman practice, that interest was due on the kalends. It seems that for most folks, the kalends were more dire than the ides.
By the way, might we say that Julius was the first holey Roman Emperor?
cognomen – 1. the family name of an of ancient Rome (the typical example is the "Caesar" in Gaius Julius Caesar); more generally, a surname 2. a descriptive nickname or epithet
It seems even the Romans "kept up with the Jones.."
(n.) An additional or fourth name given by the Romans, on account of some remarkable exploit or event; as, Publius Caius Scipio Africanus.
(n.) An additional name, or an epithet appended to a name; as, Aristides the Just.
Imagine a scold telling a spouse, "How come so-and-so has FOUR names, while we have to scrape by on just three?"
By default, the Romans had three names: prænomen, nomen, and cognomen. The prænomen was like our first name, except that it came from a limited set of prænomina (e.g., Caius, Lucius, Marcus, Publius). the nomen was the gentile name. The gens was an extended family or clan. Some nomina were patrician and others plebian. (Romans also had tribes (tribus) but this affiliation didn't really show up in the naming system.) In the earlier years of the Republic, these were also limited: (e.g., Claudius, Julius). The cognomen helped distinguish families within the gens. It was common to add an agnomen to distinguish two people whose three common names were the same. Sometimes agnomina were added because of something somebody had done, e.g., Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus, so-called because he defeated Hannibal (Phonoecian 'grace of Ba'al).
rubicon – a line which, one that when crossed, marks an irrevocabe commitment person to a dangerous enterprise
[Latin Rubicon-, Rubico, river of northern Italy forming part of the boundary between Cisalpine Gaul and Italy, whose crossing by Julius Caesar in 49 B.C. was regarded by the Senate as an act of war]
double comparative; double superlative – a construction like Your cooking is more tastier than my mother’s, with more or more intensifing an adjective/adverb that is already comparative or superlative. Eighteenth-century grammarians made this usage taboo, and today's Standard English allows only one comparison per adjective.
But before that time the construction was perfectly standard as an emphasis. Caesar's death gives an example.
Interesting note on double superlatives brings to mind a thought on "grade inflation" for adjectives. I believe the series "near, nearer, nearest" actually began once with "nigh." Thus our current inflated superlative is actually "nigher-er-est."
(Which only counts in horseshoes, grenades and bocce.)
wordcrafter: double comparative: Eighteenth-century grammarians made this usage taboo
Not quite. The word lesser is a double comparative. In verifying this I found that Johnson called it "a barbarous corruption of less, formed by the vulgar from the habit of terminating comparatives in -er."
princeps - chief, headman;
also, first edition of book (unusally in the phrase editio princeps)
Princeps (first citizen) was the original official title of a Roman Emperor. It was first given to the Emperor Augustus in 23 BC, to avoid the bad associations of the previous titles dictator or imperator.
facile princeps - easily the first; by far the first; admittedly best
primus inter pares - first among equals
[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Fri Mar %79, 2004 at 07:00.]
I'm reading Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. It uses "princeps" to comment on Carolus Linnaeus, who devised our system for classifying plants, animals, and other life.
caesar cipher – a cipher in which each letter is replaced by the one a fixed number of positions farther in the alphabet. (For example, one where A, B, C, D, etc. are respectively changed to J, K, L, M, etc.)
A cipher, in turn, is any a method of transforming the letters of a text to conceal its meaning, either by transposing the letters or substituting. (Contrast code, where the pre-arranged word-or-symbol stands for an entire word or phrase.)
A caesar cipher is a simple form of substitution cipher, where the letters of the text are replaced by substitute letters, without transposing them.
It is said that Julius Caesar use a caeser cipher, where the plaintext letter was replaced by the ciphertext three places down the alphabet. Thus each letter in the text (blue below) is changed to the corresponding letter in red under it.
A B C D E F G H I. J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
D E F G H I. J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z A B C
[This message was edited by wordcrafter on Fri Mar %79, 2004 at 22:13.]
triumvirate – a commission or ruling body of three persons (triumvir – a member of a triumvirate)
[L. trium virum, of three men]
Fits nicely with what I call our first 3 Brits to join Wordcraft: The British Triumvirate, consisting of arnie, Bob Hale, and Richard English!