Pope’s head overheats.
I’ve just seen this headline over on Google News UK:
Only in welcoming God can mankind find humanity and peace.
The European world did that some time ago. But look what happened – intolerance; schisms; Crusades; Reformations; Counter Reformations; Northern Ireland; Intelligent Design… The party never ends.
The Pope is right, of course, but not in a good way. I am reminded once again of the Borg from Star Trek.
The pain! The pain!
And then there’s this from The Scotsman newspaper (my italics; probably because it depends on how the theme renders quotations).
BRITAIN’S digital music revolution will be increasingly driven by the over-50s as the affluent “silver surfer” generation migrate their music collections onto MP3 players, industry experts said today.
I hope that’s a more-or-less direct quote from some semi-literate record company exec and not some sub-editor letting such an abomination pass through without comment.
The correct verb is transfer. Migrate is an intransitive verb, and thus ungrammatical in this sentence. But I predict that eventually in American English (which is the most likely source of such a usage), all verbs will be used transitively or intransitively without due care and attention, and there will be no passive voice because MS Word tells people not to use it.
A couple of theories about language.
About once every 500 years, the changes in the English language accumulate to a sufficient degree for the language to enter a new phase. In the early 21st century, we’re at the start of the new phase (not that we can see it, of course, since language change is an on-going process) because it’s 500 years since the start of the Modern English period. The 500 years before that was the Middle English period, and the 500 before that, Old English. Before that, we spoke various dialects of West Germanic and English didn’t exist.
Anyway, that’s my theory.
My other theory is that the Old English period is the period when the insular dialects of West Germanic (i.e., those spoken on the damp and fog-bound isle of Britain), became increasingly separate from their Continental cousins. In other words, the English language as a language (and not just a dialect of someone else’s language) didn’t really exist before about AD 1000.
Thinking man’s crumpet from late Antiquity.
I was doing some reading about Hypatia of Alexandria yesterday. I found a reference to her on a website about Epicurus, although she wasn’t an Epicurean. She was born in Alexandria some time in the second half of the 4th century (perhaps between 455 and 470). her father, Theon, was the last director of the museum in Alexandria. She herself was a mathematician and philosopher, and both popular and well-connected. She may have been married, but that’s uncertain.
She was murdered by Christian fanatics in 415. It was rumoured that she was preventing the city’s Prefect, Orestes, from being reconciled with Bishop Cyril. According to Socrates Scholasticus, she was taken to the church of Caesarion, stripped naked, and beaten to death with tiles. Her body was then removed to Cinaron and burnt. Although Socrates was a Christian, his account is basically sympathetic to Hypatia.
John, the Bishop of Nikiu, sensationalised the story somewhat. Hypatia is now a witch, and she was first taken to the church before being dragged through the streets until she died.
Socrates’ account may have been coloured by his attitude towards Cyril, and that may explain why Hypatia’s death has all the hallmarks of Christian martyrdom.
The account in The Suda follows the same sort of line. It mentions her beauty and chastity. It also adds a tale about one besotted admirer whom Hypatia “cured” by waving some used tampons in his face.
The version by the Bishop of Nikiu seems to be aimed at the groundlings. Hypatia is taken to the church before being dragged around the streets until she died. If she’d been murdered in the church, the church would’ve been despoiled by the blood of an unbeliever. It may also be being implied that Hypatia was given the chance to convert.
Hypatia’s death was never avenged. The emperor “was angry, and he would have avenged her had not Aedesius been bribed” (The Suda). Not long afterwards, Orestes left Alexandria and Cyril had won the day.
No one knows what part Cyril played in Hypatia’s death, but he’s unlikely to have been upset. There had been human rights violations on both sides. According to The Suda, Cyril was jealous of Hypatia’s popularity.
[H]e was so struck with envy that he immediately began plotting her murder and the most heinous form of murder at that.
But her death in this version is mere assassination. Well, it is The Suda after all.