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 In most nations the imperial measures have been replaced by metric measures.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 Mania – Fighting Words

Having introduced you to my interest in words I now offer a rather over-the-top collection of verbal bric-a-brac. The only purpose is to put a few lesser known words into a sentence of two in the hope of getting something of a grip on the terms themselves.

For the sport of it, see how many words you would not need to look up to be sure to use them correctly.

Here ’tis:
“Though I am a crapulous dilettante and ignorant parvenu with no virtu, I will with alacrity provide munificent titivation to this apothegm (or is it a pablum?) with some salutary simulacrum of the ululation of an aubade.

Though this is outside my métier please do not be a hortatory martinet but show benignant acceptance of my rebarbative panoply of fustian. If you, as a cognoscente, deny me fulsome acclaim and force me to rusticate in the desuetude of my métier I will seek equipoise through aspersions cast at your turgid and otiose persona. I will attack your cupidity with every appurtenance at my disposal. I will not derogate from this execrable objective until I remove every patina around you and expose you as a harridan, and defenestrate your reputation with edacious cupidity.”

Logophile – Nehemiah Story

A logophile is a lover of words – so posts with this label will involve discussion of vocabulary, word meanings and the like. I guess I’m a logophile, as part of my modest poetic inclinations. I like evocative words and turns of phrase which convey much in a short phrase. I like catchy titles, alliteration and fancy permutations of well-known expressions.

My friend, Ray, in Dallas, put me on to Dictionary.com and I have received their daily word definitions for several years. What I found missing, however, was the opportunity to apply the words I was being presented with. I find it easier to learn and remember things in packages, than as discrete pieces of information. So I created the occasional bizarre collection of words to have an excuse for applying them.

Now, Nehemiah, a 500BC leader of the Jews as they resettled in their homeland after 70 years of exile, was not known as a word lover. But I decided to create a short summary of the situation he faced as an excuse to bring a few less frequently used words into a package. There is nothing particularly intimidating about my word choice here, so I am using it simply to tune you in to my logophile activities. You may like to reply to this post, with your own extensions and expansions on the starter text I now present.

Here ‘tis:
“Under what aegis and whose imprimatur did Nehemiah defy the concatenations of Sanballat and Tobiah who lambasted his ambitions? It was not that of the Persian kings, Cyrus, Darius and Artaxerxes, who are but mere mortal minions to him in whose tutelage he stood.

The chimera of obstruction stayed him not, much to his nettlesome opponents’ chagrin.

His own amanuensis, he recounts the duel, his perdurable spirit and his ultimate triumph.

Audaciously he declares that God, Himself, blessed all he did and gave the copasetic outcome.”

Now, if you are so inclined, send me a reply with your own obtuse choices inserted.