18 November 2004


      Frankly, I don't know what to make of this story which sounds pretty fishy to me. RK, any thoughts?   (Asks the guy who is suddenly thanking his lucky stars he's not grading university papers that manage to spell the word "like" incorrectly.)

      URGENT LIFE-CHANGING UPDATE: Just as I found a site online with the word in question, I received this (far more thorough) explanation from RK, which I'll let stand on its own:

Here's the word -- but the site I got it from has misspelt a couple of letters, I think. It's a portmanteau word the medieval scribe almost certainly intended as funny (rather like Rabelais' famous library catalogue): it simply describes a prophetic polymath by listing all his various ways of scrining as adverbial copulatives (I think the term is, though it sounds rude). If one knows some Greek, it becomes limpidly clear. I just know enough to spot about 3/4 of them.

      [Doc J inserts: keep in mind, there would be no hyphens in here. I have to add them otherwise the page would go on and on and on....]

With that, I'll simply say to any of you reading this that were students of mine in a previous incarnation: And you thought *I* was a brutal sonuvabitch??? If this woman is dealing with nine-year-olds, imagine what she'd have done with you....  

      Here, by the way, is RK's translation:

So (speculatively): "a worthless so-called prophet claiming to interpret the flight of birds, oracles, magic books, spirits, crystals, ghosts, movements of the air, astrology, astronomy, the winds, the omens from sacrifices, morphology, the movements of fish, forms of fire, the stars, the calendar, the movements or entrails of mice, chickens and serpents, herbs, the patterns of running water, water; using magic wands, sacrificial barley grains, wheat meal and barley groats to sprinkle over sacrificial animals, salt, lead; interpreting rumour, lightning-flashes, the patterns made by axe-heads, divining with a sieve; reading precious stones, movements of the earth, stones, game-patterns, darkness, mirrors, ashes, dreams, random heaps of things, the forms of fingers, groups of numbers, patterns of milk-curds, entrails, rings, the horns of animals, honeycombs, libations of wine, and hunchbacks."
Let us never forget the hunchbacks. Or the patterns made by axe-heads.

No comments:

Blog Archive