Wednesday, 27 April 2016


Marcus tells his son:

"'Sink or swim, you're a Roman!'" (Roma Mater, p. 59)

Usage extends the meanings of words. Gratillonius is not from Rome but is a Romanised Briton. Marcus acknowledges this distinction with his next thought:

"And how many such are left? he did not ask. Men who have hardly a drop of blood in them from Mother Rome, and who will never see her whom they serve. Can she hold their faith, today when new Gods beckon?" (ibid.)

I am not sure which "new Gods" he means. Although Marcus himself is a Mithraist, the Roman Empire has already been Christianised. Thus, the new God of the Piscean Age has already conquered the Empire without deRomanising it. Indeed, many Christians to this day are identified as "Roman" - another extension of the word.

Our uses of words are extremely creative:

one parable extended the meaning of the word "neighbour";
another changed the meaning of the word "Samaritan";
homosexuals, objecting to the word "queer," appropriated the word "gay";
there is a chain of "New York Italian" restaurants in Britain, including some in Old York;
and, of course, - back to where we started - Italians are usually Roman Catholics - all roads lead there etc.


Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

I've never liked how the word "gay" was misappropriated by homosexuals to mean this sad vice. Before about 1965 it meant ONLY "cheerful, merry, happy," etc. To use "gay" to mean homosexual corrupted and debased a once useful word.


David Birr said...

"My father's father saw it not,
And I, belike, shall never come
To look on that so-holy spot--
The very Rome--"
Rudyard Kipling, first stanza of "A British-Roman Song (A.D. 406)"

The poem appears in *Puck of Pook's Hill* ... immediately after the children meet the spirit of a Mithraist centurion of the late 4th Century.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Hi, David!

Yes, I knew of how many, many people regarded Rome with near religious reverence. And we can see how some regarded Terra in the days of the Terran Empire with similar views in Poul Anderson's "A Message In Secret." See, in particular, the "armed and burning" reverence the people of the Tebtengri Shamanate had for Terra in Section VII of that story.