Tag Archives: Greek language

quotation: Homer about friends


The difficulty is not so great to die for a friend, as to find a friend worth dying for.

Homer (900 BC-800 BC) Discuss

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Word: ephemeral


ephemeral 

Definition: (adjective) Lasting a very short time.
Synonyms: fugacious, passing, short-lived, transitory, transient
Usage: Spare me in my ephemeral happiness, leave it to me for a few days, for a few minutes. Discuss.

word: apotheosis


apotheosis 

Definition: (noun) Exaltation to divine rank or stature.
Synonyms: deification, exaltation
Usage: How strange was this miracle of fame, I pondered, this strange apotheosis by which a mere private name becomes a public symbol. Discuss.

WORD: panacea


panacea 

Definition: (noun) A remedy for all diseases, evils, or difficulties.
Synonyms: cure-all
Usage: Here the glib politician crying his legislative panaceas, and here the peripatetic Cheap-Jack holding aloft his quack cures for human ills. Discuss.
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The Orchid


The Orchid

The unusually large orchid family consists of some 450 genera and at least 10,000 species. Orchids grow most abundantly in tropical and subtropical forests and are among the most highly prized ornamental plants. Since being imported from the Bahamas to Britain in the 18th century, these flowers have been cultivated for their commercial value and have been successfully hybridized and variegated. Their name comes from the Greek word orkhis—or “testicle”—after the appearance of what feature? More… Discuss

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ARTICLE: AMETHYST


Amethyst

February’s birthstone, amethyst, is the violet or purple

Amethyst

Amethyst (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

variety of quartz. The gemstone’s name comes from the Greek amethustos, meaning not intoxicated, a reference to the ancient belief that the stone could ward off drunkenness. The ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethysts and made drinking vessels of them for this reason. The stone is associated with a number of other superstitions as well, being regarded as a love charm, a potent sleep aid, and what else?More… Discuss

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Archimedes’ Secret (BBC Documentary)



This is the story of a book that could have changed the history of the World. To the untrained eye, it is nothing more than a small and unassuming Byzantine prayer book, yet it sold at Christies for over $2m. For faintly visible beneath the prayers on its pages are other, unique, writings – words that have been lost for nearly two thousand years.

The text is the only record of work by one of the world’s greatest minds – the ancient Greek, Archimedes – a mathematical genius centuries ahead of his time. Hidden for a millennium in a middle eastern library, it has been written over, broken up, painted on, cut up and re-glued. But in the nick of time scientists have saved the precious, fragile document, and for the first time it is revealing just how revolutionary Archimedes’ ideas were. If it had been available to scholars during the Renaissance, we might have reached the Moon over a hundred years ago.

The trail begins in the tenth century, when a scribe made a unique copy of the most important mathematics that Archimedes ever developed. For 200 years the document survived, but the mathematics in it was so complex that no one paid it any attention. So when one day a monk was looking for some new parchment – an expensive commodity at the time – to write a new prayer book, the answer seemed obvious. He used the Archimedes manuscript. He washed the Greek text off the pages, cut them in half, rebound them, and turned the Archimedes manuscript into an everyday prayer book. As he piously wrote out his prayers, he had no idea of the genius he was obliterating.

Several hundred years later, the Renaissance was under way. Scientists were beginning to grapple with new concepts, working out how mathematics could be used to explain the World around them. Little did they know that many of the problems they were just encountering Archimedes had already solved more than a thousand years before. So, tragically, they had to do that research all over again, setting back the development of science and technology immeasurably.

Then in 1906, in Constantinople, the document mysteriously turned up in a monastic library. An opportunistic scholar called Johan Ludwig Heiberg identified the text as Archimedes’ writings. Although the Greek text was very faint, Heiberg was able to decipher some of it. What he found astonished him, and made the front page of the New York Times. He revealed that Archimedes’ manuscript contained something called ‘The Method’, which showed not only Archimedes’ final proofs, but for the first time revealed the process of how he went about making his discoveries.