Wednesday, April 22, 2009

'malignus interpres' redux

I have just put up an updated version of my paper on Martial's malignus interpres. The Scribd introduction below:
This paper undertakes an investigation of the oft-neglected 'malignus interpres' who inhabits the preface to Martial's first book of epigrams. The study attempts first to resolve the textual problem (inscribat/scribat) that plagues the line, and moves on to explore the 'interpres' using both diachronic and comparative synchronic methods. It ultimately attempts to formulate an answer to the question--Who is the interpres?--with regard to both identity and function.
I urge you lovers of Latin poetry--the majority of my readers for sure--to go check it out.

On an encomiastic note, Scribd is incredible! It offers free access to excellent, useful (and expensive!) books like J.N. Adams's Bilingualism and the Latin Language. Classicists take note--the future is here!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

hoc adfigere cunctabam...

I have been delaying posting this...for fear of it being adopted as a focal point in the ever-eloquent conservative argument against government stimulus.

The Fed's recent announcement (link with explanation by Krugman) of its new, nontraditional expansionary policy of "quantitative easing"--the functional equivalent of printing money--is an attempt to expand the monetary base with interest rates already hovering at the zero bound. Certainly conservatives have been less opposed to this measure than fiscal efforts (more often than not, on spurious grounds--the reemergence of the misguided 19th century British "Treasury View" has been the recent scourge of Brad DeLong among others); nevertheless, I though it prudent not to add ammunition, particularly as ludicrous arguments seem to dominate the discourse--even beyond Fox News.

The fact, however, illustrates an important lesson about etymology: historical context is important, at times to the extent that it is the only way of understanding a word's roots. The English words "money" and "mint" are derived from the Latin verb monere "to warn, to admonish"...

Hold the head-shaking.

"Money," in this case Roman coin, was originally "minted" at the temple of Iuno Moneta--Juno the Admonisher. The term is a transference by metonymy.

Let us hope, for the sake of an already pedantic national discourse, that I have not gravely erred.