tisdag 15 mars 2022

The Carps of March


Ok, in honor of the day (March 15), here’s my funny post on the Ides of March. And carps. And Swedish 90s tv. And Monty Python.

In order to understand this, we must go back to the mid-90s, a dark time before Monty Python started being reshown basically everywhere. The only channel in Sweden that showed Monty at that time was the rather fringy one called Z-TV. Z-TV bought up relatively (at the time) cheap old stuff and showed it over and over – and one such case was Monty Python. Me and dad – avowed Python fans for years – had the VHS recorder on high alert, recording every episode they broadcast (dad has the tapes to this day).
That is the scene. AND: there is a certain episode of Python in which (it makes sense in context!) Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is performed – on Aldis lamps. We get to see the scene in which the Etruscan soothsayer Spurinna warns Caesar to “Beware the Ides of March” (i.e., the 15th of March).
And here lies the problem. Z-TV was a “young and hip” channel, apparently with a distinct lack in classicists. So, when creating the Swedish closed captioning for the scene, they ran into trouble. They just didn’t know what “Ides” meant. So, they apparently ran for the dictionary. 
And what they found was the FISH called “ide”:
The name of that fish, btw, is originally from Swedish (in Swedish, it is “id”). Anyway, an “ide” is part of the family called Cyprinidae, the family of carps. The good folks at Z-TV seem to have thought that “id” was a rather obscure word even in Swedish (and yes, dear reader, it most certainly is). So they threw the audience a line, and we ended up with the immortal Shakespearian quotation:
So, now we know. Julius Caesar was, in fact, murdered… by a conspiracy of carp.
I recounted this story many years ago here on my blog (in Swedish), here.
But, yeah: carp.
LeuciscusIdusWindeIde56cm 21-4-2009 16-46-58.JPG 
(image from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ide_(fish)#/media/File:LeuciscusIdusWindeIde56cm_21-4-2009_16-46-58.JPG , by user Viridiflavus.

måndag 14 mars 2022

Go West!


Luwian word of the day:
ipatarmayan (probably meaning "westward").
Probably from the root *(h₃)ye-, which originally meant "enter" (here in reference to the sun, entering in the west) but received... a more specific (and sexual) meaning in the Indo-European branches outside Anatolian and Tocharian. This change in meaning is, btw, one of the arguments often adduced for Anatolian and Tocharian being the two earliest to leave the common IE fold (among numerous others).
Also, this happens to be a photo from West Road in Cambridge!
I guess that could be something like iparwaššiš ḫar(u)waš ("western road") in Cuneiform Luwian (in the nominative singular)!

söndag 13 mars 2022

Then Swänska rollspelshobbyn lefwer

 En sak som är väldigt kul för en gammal rollspelare från 80- och 90-talen är att den svenska rollspelsutgivningen under de senaste åren kommit in i ett slags tredje andning. Åter ges det ut mängder av rollspel, och hobbyn har fått kickstarter som ny finansiär, så att säga. Till och med KULT har återuppstått. Har själv just en spelgrupp som spelar den gamla klassikern Den svarta Madonnan (av Gunilla Jonsson och Michael Petersén), som nu nyutgivits i vacker engelsk utgåva, fast omstöpt till spelet Anima: Beyond Fantasy (alltså mer japanskt stuk än dystert Europa). Hur kul som helst, i alla fall. Har alltid älskat det äventyret. Mina egna fantastikböcker är starkt påverkade av min rollspelsuppväxt, om någon läsare nu skulle ha missat den saken.

Lefwe then Swänska rollspelshobbyn! Här är förresten en krönika om rollspelshobbyn jag skrev för ett antal år sedan.