Logophile of Kings and Monarchs

It’s been a while since I discussed words with you and so I thought I’d bring up another regal topic. This time I want to discuss the idea of being Imperial in an Empire.

Imperial & Empire

While these words appear quite different in English they actually come from the same Latin root. They both come from the Latin concept of ‘command’, in the word ‘imperare’. By Middle Latin the word had morphed into ‘imperium’. In Middle English the word had become ‘emperial’. Both of our English words imperial and empire spring from that original Latin root.

Hence it is true that imperial things belong to the empire. What is done by the monarch’s command is that which is deemed imperial and impacts his empire.

Of Kings and Monarchs

Consider these various meanings for the term ‘imperial’.

1. Pertaining to an empire

2. Pertaining to an emperor or empress

3. Characterizing the rule or authority of a sovereign state over its dependencies

4. Of the nature or rank of an emperor or supreme ruler

Both our words Imperial and Empire are intrinsically linked to Kings and Monarchs. Since much of the world has been under some form of monarchical rule – including all former British colonies, much of Europe, Russia, many Asian nations, African countries and South American cultures – the idea of Imperial things and Empires is relevant to most people on the planet.

Things Imperial

We have an interesting collection of things designated as ‘imperial’ due to their monarchical origins.

There is a coin called an ‘imperial’. It is a Russian Coin used from 1897 – 1917. It is so called because of the same Latin root as our word imperial, which became ‘imperialis’, meaning a coin, as something authorised by the monarch. A Roman coin bearing the monarch’s image, then, was in imperialis. The coin which was shown to Jesus Christ, with Caesar’s image on it, was an imperialis – an imperial coin.

Imperial Measures are those measures that were used in Britain and British colonies. In most nations the imperial measures have been replaced by metric measures. Imperial measures were ‘imperial’ because they were the ones approved by the monarch. Standardisation enabled the authorities to regulate against false measurements and fraudulent dealings. As the monarchs determined the set weights and measures their officers could then enforce accuracy and punish those who used unjust methods.

Imperial Law is that body of law which comes down to us as law enacted through the centuries by various monarchs. In their imperial capacity monarchs are able to impose law and regulations which all in their empire must follow. What is particularly significant about Imperial Law is that much of the freedom which western societies take for granted have come to us by rulings of various monarchs down through the past 1,000 years.

Imperial Law

Not all laws enacted by monarchs were so enacted with the enthusiastic support of the monarch. The Magna Carta, for example, is a law that was forced on King John. Yet, by his action of ratifying that law it comes to us as ‘imperial law’.

In Australia the original national constitution is built upon the pre-existing Imperial Law. Subsequently the various states of the Commonwealth have enacted legislation ratifying that pre-existing Imperial Law as continuing its validity for the benefit of Australian citizens.

So Imperial Law is not as out of date or irrelevant as the idea might suggest to our modern minds. We are indebted to imperial laws for many of the freedoms we have taken for granted all our lives.

Logophile Lunacy Two

As if ‘one’ wasn’t enough, here we go again with another dose of Logophile Lunacy.

The object of the game is for you to crack the sentence, decipher the basic message and re-compose some syllables that say the same thing, but expose us to vocab we may not regularly use.

So, have a go. You’ll have to check your own or on-line dictionary for the meanings and they you can thesaurus up a new way to say the same thing.

I’m building this passage up as we go along – so you will get the first sentence repeated from an earlier past. That’s deliberate – it’s called “Repetition and Recall”, my favourite 2 R’s of Learning.

Oh, and you can actually post your replies on the Forum, under Mind Zone.

“It is germane to note that this robustious habitué is under the aegis of a denizen of this place, an avuncular eremite, who will expiate his fatuous arrogation of title.

Though others inveigh the grandiloquent concatenation by which he avoids each contretemps, he manages to exculpate himself from mordant limn and continue in his bon ton.”

Chili con Carne for Logophiles

If I labelled this post as ‘incarnation’ you probably would have skipped over it, but if I aimed at your stomach there’s a higher chance you’ll give this post a look – so “I got you!”

I’m doing another word thing, so I put Logophiles in the title line. Let me lead you through a review of Chili con Carne and other words, to get to something worth keeping in mind.

Chili con carne is the name of a meat dish, coming to us from the Spanish. Chili refers to chilli – duh! ‘con carne’ means ‘with meat’. The Spanish word ‘carne’ originates from the Latin and means flesh or meat.

The same Latin root is used in English words. A carnivore is a creature that eats meat. So, a crow is a carnivorous bird.

The word Carnival originated with reference to meat, since the original event was a festival that took place in the Lenten season, where meat is not eaten. So the ‘carn’ was lifted, giving us ‘carnival’.

To ‘incarnate’ means to make something into flesh. Thus to ‘re-incarnate’ means to make something into meat once again. The concept of reincarnation involves a person losing their ‘meat’ and being put back into a flesh body at a later time.

So that leads me to a closer look at ‘incarnation’. Incarnation is the process of something that is not flesh taking on human form. This is what happened with Jesus Christ. He has always existed as God. We know that God is spirit, so Christ was a spirit being, without fleshly body, from before the beginning of time. The incarnation is a miracle, because God stepped into the natural realm, which He is not bound by, and endured its impositions and limitations, so he could take upon Himself a human body.

The Shocking Incarnation

Some religions are offended by the idea of the incarnation. In the late 1980’s I heard a Moslem speaker contend with the claim that Jesus Christ is God. The speaker, at that time a leading international orator on behalf of the Moslem faith, claimed that the Koran defined a god as a being that did not have an anus. A deity should not be subject to the physiological impositions of our human existence. The orator pointed out that one of the Australian Aboriginal tribes also had the same definition of a god, by which he effectively put Islam on the same footing as a tribal belief system.

By reference to the Koranic definition of a god, the orator declared that Jesus Christ could not be God, because the requisite anatomical qualification was not met.

Now, it is true that the Living God is not subject to the limitation of human flesh. Due biological process is not something that impacts Almighty God in the slightest. He is spirit and free of all the limitations and constraints impacting mankind.

So, God’s willingness to endure the ‘incarnation’ makes it all the more wonderful. It is a miracle that the God of the universe should so choose to identify with the beings He created that He would subject Himself to the indignity of human existence. But there’s more. God not only became human, including the necessary biological implications, but He allowed Himself to be falsely condemned to death and then butchered in a sacrificial carnage.

Oh, and there’s another ‘carne’ word. Carnage refers to the flesh of slain animals or men. Carnage involves death and dead bodies. Bodies cut open, bleeding and dismembered befit the concept of carnage.

Jesus Christ had his flesh torn open by cruel scourging. His hands and feet were torn open by the nails. His side was spear-pierced and His head punctured with thorns.

It is shocking that any God would allow such treatment, especially when He had the power and authority to do as He wills. The only way such an event could occur is with the willing co-operation of God, Himself.

So the Moslem orator was right in his desire to elevate the quality of deity, but wrong in his understanding of the incarnation. His god would never perform such an act of love. His god would not suffer indignity and pay an inconceivable price to save his followers.

Our God, the true and Living God, God Almighty, is the God of the incarnation. Jesus Christ is the ‘incarnate God’ – the God who became flesh.

Now, the thing that often stops people from loving and accepting the salvation available via our incarnate Saviour is man’s ‘carnal’ nature. Man is spirit, but he is ‘also flesh’ (Genesis 6:3). That ‘flesh’ is our ‘carnal’ dimension. When we live out of our fleshly desires we are living a carnal life. If we live after the flesh we will die. But if we, through the Spirit of God, put to death the deeds of our carnal body we will live.

Christians have crucified (died to) their fleshly inclinations and they present their body to God as a living sacrifice. And therein they find life that is far beyond the rewards of their fleshly existence.

Now, you just go right ahead and enjoy your Chili con carne. And as you do, spare a thought for the wonder of the incarnation and the challenges of your own carnality.

Logophile – Aplomb

Which substance is behind the word aplomb?
You may hear tell of someone who displays much aplomb. You may, as I always did, associate that with someone who spoke with a plum in their mouth. The notion of determined correctness could come to my mind. A person with aplomb was always imagined by me as being severe and unpleasant.
Certainly the word does speak of someone who is unflappable. It speaks of poise and self-control. It doesn’t require a sense of severity, but of being balance and well managed.
The word derives from the idea of a plumb-line. That’s a string with a weight on the end, which is suspended from a height so that gravity keeps it straight. Builders, bricklayers and other people involved in construction might use a plumb-line to ensure their vertical structures are truly ‘vertical’.
Now, my question was, Which substance is behind the word aplomb?
The answer is, lead. It comes from the Latin word for that soft, heavy metal, ‘plumbum’. If you studied chemistry in school you will know that the chemical symbol for lead is Pb. That’s because Pb is an abbreviation of ‘plumbum’.
So aplomb is a concept that developed from the use of lead weights on a string.
Which substance should come to mind? No, not String!!! But lead.
And, for you Biblophiles (or is it Bibliophiles? – I mean “Bible lovers”), the prophet Amos saw a vision of a plumbline and heard God say the people would be judged against God’s standard. The Apostle Peter then spoke about judgment beginning at the house of God – among God’s people. So, he asks, what hope do the heathen have? (See 1Peter 4:17).

Logophile – Xenophobia

Where is xenophobia normally directed?
Xenophobia, built on two Greek roots that trace back over 2,000 years, is yet a very young word dating back just 100 years or so. We all know that phobia is fear. All manner of things are deemed to be the objects of phobia (fear) today. I guess if you have logo-phobia you won’t be reading these logo-phile posts.
The key to the meaning of xenophobia is the ‘xeno’ prefix. This Greek root means foreigner or stranger. So xenophobia identifies an unreasonable fear of foreigners, strangers or people who are different.
Xenophobia is likely to be higher in communities where cultural homogeneity is strong. In multi-cultural societies, filled with diverse people, you would expect unreasonable fear of strangers to be reduced.
Another contributor to xenophobia is the loss of the notion of ‘one blood’. Biblical creation teaches that all people came from the same original family stock. We are all ‘one blood’. We are all related, even if as distant relatives. So we can be confident that people share much in common and don’t need to be feared and distrusted unreasonably.