Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Kalends of March - We Got Nones and Ides Coming Up!

One of the mythical founders of Rome - Romulus (he and his brother Remus were raised by wolves and went all Cain and Abel on one another) - devised the first Roman Calendar ( Kalend - has the prosaic meaning of 'account book, or ledger after all The Rent is Due and The Rent Is Too High!). Julius Caesar revised the Roman Calendar that was used all up to St. Gregory which took into account the liturgical year.

As an English teacher, one of my favorite duties was to teach sophomores the great Shakspearean Tragedy/Historical play Julius Caesar. "Beware the Ides of March!" Bad happens on the Ides! And it do! The audience in Shaspeare's time understood the terms Kalends, Nones and Ides. Our times things get far to goofy and oh, so delicate with language.

The Roman calender was set up like this - Kalends was the first day then the subsequent days were counted back from the Nones and the Ides.

March 1: Kalends; March 2: VI Nones; March 3: V Nones; March 4: IV Nones; March 5: III Nones; March 6: Pridie Nones (Latin for "on the day before"); March 7: Nones; March 15: Ides Rent Due, Hickey!

The Romans were great organizers - roads, governments, book-keeping, grain futures, and census taking. Romans became high minded only after crucifying and slaughtering any and all opposition. The Roman Army was a marvel of organization and discipline and that pretty much kept the Calendar going well beyond the Renaisance. Our Bic shaver and pen toss-it-away attitude shapes what passes for culture, and goof-ball academics and lazy teachers have dumbed down our kids to this current point in history where language does everything it can to become void of shared meaning. Really? Words have meaning and reference actions and their results.

Facta Non Verba -Deeds Not Words! Nothing could be more true, than that - unless Noam Chomsky and his army of his "Yes-Butters" gets the say-so.

Last night, I helped my daughter Clare with her notes on literature and concentarted on the disctinction between metaphor and simile - Simile uses 'like' or 'as' in refernce to something - in order to makes sense of a teenage boy's gluttony we might say, "Conor eats, like he's going to the Chair." That requires and understanding of Metaphor or implies comnparison - The Chair used to mean execution and a condemned man was give a 'last meal' and thus, he ate with gusto.

'What's gusto,Dad?" Gusto, my dear comes from the Latin word for 'taste' -'gustus past particple. De Gustibus Non Est Disputandum There is no accounting for taste.

"My test is tomorrow, Dad, dial it back! I just got to know simile and metaphor."

Yes, the rent is Due!

"What are you talking about? God!!!!!"

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