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Friday Morning Latin Lesson: Vol. XXXIII

July 24, 2009

Here we are, Friday again, or as the Romans called it, dies Veneris ("dee-ace Way-nair-eese"), which translates as "Day of Venus". The Romans tied the days of the week to the heavenly bodies they could see--it made sense, since there were seven days in a week and they could see seven heavenly bodies. Of the original seven names, we've kept three of them, Sunday, Monday and Saturday, and even those have been changed around a bit.

The other four days of the week were given names corresponding to the other heavenly bodies: dies Martis for Mars, dies Mercurii for Mercury, dies Iovis for Jupiter (whose name was Jove, remember) and then finally Venus' day. Incidentally, Saturday was dies Saturni, Sunday was dies Solis and Monday was dies Lunae.

When they were doing trade with the Germanic people, the Germans thought, "Hey, this is a spiffy idea." They happily adopted the seven days in a week notion, but when it came to adopting the Roman gods, they said "Fuck that. Your spiffiness only goes so far, you toga-wearing bastards." Even back then, religion was not a suitable topic of conversation at the dinner table.

So, the Germans adopted the seven day system and then changed the names of the days to reflect their gods and their names for the sun and moon. So, the days of the week turned into Sunday (Sunnandagr in Old Norse), Monday (Manandagr), Tuesday (Tysdagr, from Tiw/Tyr, the Norse god of War), Odensdagr (from Woden/Odin, the All-Father), Thorsdagr (from Thor, the dude with the hammer), Friadagr (from Frigg/Freya, Odin's wife and a lusty goddess of fertility and sex) and then finishing with Sunnundagr Laugardagr which is the Old Norse name. However, English went with the Anglo-Saxon name in this case, Saeternesdaeg--retained from Saturn. The Norse then lent them into Old English after the Danish invasions in the 9th century and the implementation of the Danelaw.

Whew, that was a lot of shit to wade through, but I'm glad I finally passed that along. I've been doing a lot of reading up on the history of the English language. Toss in some refamiliarization with the Norse pantheon for various book research, and I've had a simmering pile of useless information sitting around in my head that has been screaming to try and get out.

Now, if I were living in ancient Rome and feeling the need to reveal something like my vast knowledge of the name origins of the days of the week or ten things that I probably shouldn't reveal, afterward I could heave a hefty sigh and fire this little phrase your way:

Absolvi meam animam.

Pronounced: "Ahb-sole-wee may-ahm ahn-eem-ahm."

Translation is in the hovertext.

Ladies, should things get passionate and the above happens, feel free to use that phrase. Don't think for a second that your partner will be offended or start laughing at you. I mean, Latin is the basis for all the languages of Romance. *ahem* Like I've said before, Latin isn't just a dead language in the Jenks household, it's a means of foreplay.

And fellas, I'm not sure, but I think the appropriate phrase for us would be "absolvi tuam animam". You know how to use it. Preferably while swinging it around above your head in a circle.

24 comments:

Scope said...

If the opportunity arises tonight... :-)

otherworldlyone said...

Good to know.

Next time I'm in a position to use that phrase, I will. And if he, by some miracle, knows what it means...I suppose I'll have to give him a prize. But I'm not holding my breath.

Bev said...

Interesting stuff! Though I'm convinced that this is just a thinly-veiled excuse to get your female readers to take off their bras.

Also, if I uttered that phrase in bed, my husband would expect my head to start spinning around Exorcist-style, as I'd clearly be speaking in tongues. Yuk yuk!

Samsmama said...

Ah, I'm so glad you got that off your chest. But I'm with Bev on this one; you just want your female readers braless. And I just now noticed what it says under "leave a comment" and I'm giggling a bit too hard.

corticoWhat said...

Foreplay: Ad praesens ova cras pullis sunt meliora

Some Guy said...

"Bra"-vo! Every visit to A Crown Of Thistles is a learning experience.

mo.stoneskin said...

I'd like to correct you on point. The Germans actually said

"Jawohl, zees ees a speeefing idea."

Eric said...

What a great post, by Jove... or Jovis, or ...

I wonder if Windows has a Roman Regional Setting / Culture for calendar preferences, surely they have a Norse one?

Soda and Candy said...

It's the only way to win arguments.
; )

Frigg/Freya - Is that why we say frigging as a slightly more polite substitute for fucking?


PS - You have Sunnandagr in there twice, what is the real German/Norse word for Saturday?

Fancy Schmancy said...

I say that every day when I get home from work, how did you know?

red said...

We play pub trivia most weeks and a lot of the questions lately have been somehow Latin related. We do pretty okay on them (and always win trivia anyway), but you'd probably help us cream everyone...which is obviously the point.

Nej said...

Mot and I have some friends that named their only son Thor. When they first told me, I thought it was a nickname......

It's not.

Whiskey Girl said...

Ok - it's off. Now what?

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Scope: I had you in mind when I wrote that last part.

@ OtherWorldlyOne: I think having the bra off would be the prize. Perhaps I'm too easily pleased...

@ Bev: And what if it is a thinly-veiled excuse to get my female readers to take off their bras? Do you have a point in there, woman?

@ Samsmama: I assume, then, that's there's pictures?

@ CorticoWhat?: Remind me to share the story about why I dislike eggs so much.

@ Some guy: You didn't read yesterday's entry, did you?

@ Mo: Oh, I'm sorry. I was translating from the Old German. Silly Saxons.

@ Eric: Before or after the Romans introduced them to the Julian Calendar? Because the one before was kind of a messed of series of moon pieces.

@ Soda & Candy: You'll notice I fixed that. I think I got sidetracked trying to figure out how to handle the fact that Old Norse changed the name but Old English adopted the Anglo-Saxon name, which didn't change Saturn.

Anyway, thanks for the save.

@ Fancy: What? You don't know? Ah, good, that means that you haven't found the camera yet...

@ red: Well, I do have that kickass Yuengling shirt from my vast knowledge of how to say "bad air." Also, my wife was able to figure out the ASICS acronym just by knowing it means "Strong mind, strong body".

@ Nej: Does the kid have blond hair, at least? Keep bugging them until they buy him some goats as pets.

@ Courtney: I'll get back to you after I return from the bathroom.

Whiskey Girl said...

Back yet?

JennyMac said...

Latin as means of foreplay? Res ipsa loquitur.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

@ Courtney: Yeah, sorry. I had to go smoke after that.

@ JennyMac: Well, it doesn't really speak for itself...but it can do a little dance. And then puke after doing too many pushups.

Gwen said...

I gave it a try here in the office. Didn't go over so well with management but I've got a date for Saturday.

Cooper Green said...

I'm hoping to run into a girl who has a "stockphoto" tattoo in that key upper bumcrack region rather than another frickin' butterfly. Think that might happen?

LiLu said...

Pretty much any language is sexier than English.

Except Dutch.

Missy said...

I love the things you teach me! I will use this phrase tonight! And my DH will burp or something!

Unindicted Co-Conspirator said...

Can you please provide the Latin for "When I finally got that off my stomach" - which is what happens when I take off my bra.

Pearl said...

You always make me laugh.

:-p

Pearl

mike said...

I don't know why I would ever read a blog, if not to learn something as cool as this. I feel smarter just having you on my blogroll.