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Inspirational Reads

Friday Morning Latin Lesson, Vol. LXXV

July 2, 2010

Well, good day to you all. For some strange reason, I decided to get up this morning, come into work and do a potentially explosive reaction, despite the fact that it has already been announced that the company is closing for a halfday right before the long weekend. Dedicated, me. Which is why I'm writing this Latin lesson from my computer at my desk...*shifty-eyed*

But we're not here to talk about my bad life decisions. That's what the other four days of the week are for.

Heh. Because, you know, I've been posting so often, five days a week lately.

Anyignoremylaziness, we're here to talk about dead languages. And boy howdy, are they dead.

Or, are they...

This week, DC (the comics people, not Uncle Sam's home) announced that they were changing the look of Wonder Woman, shifting her outfit from the star-spangled buttocks that we've known and loved for a while to a more "globalized" look for her outfit.

This has caused many a people to be terribly upset, going so far as to call it "Un'merican!" Why, that's an outrage! How can you take an American icon and change her up like that?

The truly--and deliciously--ironic thing is that...Wonder Woman isn't American. She's an Amazon, which most people think is a type of Ancient Greek warrior woman. However, the Amazons probably came from an area in what is now the Ukraine, near the ancient lands of Scythia or Sarmatia. There's also a notion that they lived somewhere in Turkey. They apparently at some point moved to the area known as Pontus, which is on the south side of the Black Sea (and the sight of the battle which Caesar later summed up with "Vini, vidi, vici").

However you slice it, they weren't Greek, and were often seen fighting the good guy Greeks in a lot of historical contexts. Most notable of those was the Iliad, wherein several hundred Amazonians showed up to help the Trojans defend their city. As you can see, there was an ancient precedent for USC handing out free housing to their players.


Sports jokes aside, stories continued on even into Roman times about the Amazons performing raids along the eastern edges of the Empire (and the Republic). The name "Amazon" itself most likely comes from Iranian/Persian "hamazan", which means "warriors". However, there is also the notion--especially among Classical Greeks--that "Amazon" means "without breast" (a-mazos), though this notion has never been seen in any Ancient Greek pottery or artwork. The legend had it that the Amazons cut or burnt off their right breast so that they could more easily use a bow or throw a spear without all that glorious, supple, beautiful, tasty flesh getting in the way.

Pardon me. I lost myself for a moment there.

Anyway, most works of art showed the Amazons with both breasts, though the right is normally covered (which would make sense if you're drawing a bowstring back across it, that might cause the flesh to become a might bit irritated). In any case, our favorite Amazon has both of her breasts, which have for decades now been lifted and separated by the gold eagle embossed bustier.

But no more! And really, the change isn't that bad. I've said before how ridiculous it is for female warriors to enter battle wearing what amounts to a bikini, and this new outfit is more covering. I'm not a fan of the jacket, a la the female X-Men characters from the 90s (surprise! They were designed by the same guy who is remaking Wonder Woman!), and the golden spurs on the boots are a bit...dumb. I'd have maybe gone with black knee-high boots and maybe a bit of red on the outside seams of the pants legs, like Han Solo's pants, but that's just me.

Since she's apparently been around for a while, I'm sure that she picked up some Latin, especially when the Romans had conquered the areas where the Amazons were supposed to have lived (lest we forget Caesar's vici). So, I'm sure that, at some point in the conversation down at the taverna or the public baths, she was forced to utter this upon revealing that she was an Amazon:

Non me specta! Duos mammas habeo! Congrue?

Pronounced "Noan may spake-tah! Doo-ose mah-mahs hob-aye-oh! Kohn-groo-aye?"

Double-speak translation in the hovertext!

Also, in case you missed it, this is Fourth of July weekend. Have a tasty meat product and enjoy some fireworks for me, would you? Oh, yeah, and I heard that someone's getting married this weekend. I guess the meat product and fireworks line is applicable in that situation, too.

Valete, omnes!


That Baldy Fella said...

I'm quite surprised this has become such a story and also that the reaction has been negative considering how much stick she's gotten over the years for having an unrealistic costume. You just can't please some people. (plus this is comics - she'll be back to the old costume in a year when she's "returned to her roots")

kate said...

I'm sorry, but I don't care if I was the WORST spear-throwing-Amazon-ever-in-the-history-of-the-world, but I would SO not chop off a boob. Especially the right one.

Bev said...

Excellent lesson, thank you! I love the translation.

I am down with WW's new duds. I i think the right actress will look fantastic in skin-tight leggings instead of spangled granny panties!

Have a nice weekend & congrats to the happy couple!

Pearl said...

Oh, I congrue all right!


Nej said...

(feeling a small sympathy pain in my right boob)


She looks younger.....almost "rebellious teenager-ish."

I'm with Bev...the new duds will be much more attractive on the big screen.

MJenks said...

@ Baldy: I'm just lost on the whole "she's an American icon" and comparisons to Superman's costume. Neither of which are American, but at least Superman's uniform is just blue and read, not covered with stars, stripes and a saluting George Patton.

@ kate: Not to be too internet pervy, but I think I safely speak for most of the male portion of the blogosphere that we're very thankful that you didn't cut, burn or mutilate off a breast, either.

@ Bev: Linda Carter WAS awesome in the tv roll. However, if you've got even a little junk in the trunk, the star-spangled granny panties makes it look like you're wearing a diaper.

@ Pearl: Of all the ways to say "Okay", I went with that one. It seemed to fit.

And I'm glad that you congrue.

@ Nej: Yeah, I can't imagine going through the pain of cutting a breast off. My thought is that they must have done it while they were younger, but then how'd they deal with the unevenness of development during puberty?

Scope said...

People got married over the 4th of July? I hear it was a SMASH!