QUESTIONS ARISING FROM 73rd. MEETING – 16/12/16 (the record of earlier meetings can be downloaded from the main Circulus page)
Only three members attended because some regulars were out of Hong Kong or otherwise engaged. Because our usual haunts were fully booked, we held the meeting at a new venue, the Indian Spices Club, or Sociētās Aromatum Indicōrum, in Chung King Mansions (Sēdēs Celebrātiōnis Duplicis, 重慶大廈), a building famous for its Indian restaurants and South Asian and African traders and celebrated in Gordon Mathews book, The Ghetto at the Centre of the WorldOur restaurant was erlier known as the Pakistan Mess (abbreviated to P.M.) and the name was aparently made for fear potential customers might think the consumption of alcohol would be banned in accordance with Islamic rules. They do not actually stock alcohol but will buy beer from elsewhere on request and allow people to bring in their own drinks.
With a small party, we ordered a lesser range of dishes than usual, but the firm favourites chana masala (cicer aromāticum), lamb curry (carium agnīnum) and naan (pānis Persicus) were included and we supplied our own vīnum rubrum. We talked briefly about Chinese attitudes to Indian food and John recalled a friend from Beijing who dismissed curry as `various types of glue’ (varia genera glūtinis)
We discussed the connection between the Mongols and the Moghul dynasty which ruled India from the 16th to the 18th century. The two words are related, though the Moghuls were a Persianised, Turkic dynasty rather than a strictly Mongol one. Babur, the first Mughal emperor was descended from Genghis Khan through his own mother and through his paternal ancestor, Timur, who had also married a descendant of Genghis and who proclaimed himself heir to the Mongol legacy. See the article, and rather confusing family tree, at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mughal-Mongol_genealogy Babur was expelled from his father’s kingdom in the Ferghana Valley, which includes parts of modern Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, but then seized control of Kabul and the Delhi Sultunate. His successors eventually conquered all except the southern tip of India but their power weakened in the 18th century and from 1803 they were effectively under British control. The attempt of the last Moghul emperor to regain power duting the revolt of 1857 led to his deposition and the end of the dynasty.
We also touched on the linguistic divide in South Asia: north of the Vindhya Mountains, most people speak Indo-Aryan languages, which are a branch of the Indo-European family, whilst languages to the south are mostly Dravidian. Hindustani, a rther out-dated tem but still useful to denote the common, colloquial core of Hindi and Urdu, serves as a lingua franca across the north, but, in more formal speech and above all in written form, is divded into Hindi, written in the Devanagari script and borrowing from Sanskrit, and Urdu, using the Persi-Arabic script and borrowing from Persian and Arabic. At the time of Indian independence many in the north of India wanted to see Hindi as the main medium of communication across the country but resistance from the south resuled in a compromise under which individual states of the Indian Union can use thir own regional langage for internal purposes and communicate with other parts of the country either in Hindi or English as they wish.
An example of the identity of spoken Hindi and Urdu at the basic level is the translation of `What is your name?’: Aap kaa naam kya hai? (spoken Hindustani) = आपका नाम क्या है? (Hindi) = ے؟ کنام کا آپ (Urdu)
One theory is that despite now being largely confined to South India, the Dravidian language family originated further north, the evidence being the existence in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central India of Dravidian languages with small numbers of speakers, and a possible relationship between Dravidian and the Elamite language once spoken in Iran. However, the northern Dravidians themselves often have oral traditions claiming emigration from the south, whilst the Elamo-Dravidian hypothesis is disputed by many linguists (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elamo-Dravidian_languages) . There is also a theory of a remote relationship between the Indo-European languages and both the supposed Elamo-Dravidian family and Afro-Asiatic, the grouping which incudes Arabic as well as Hebrew, Aramaic and a number of North African languages, but this view has even less support among mainstream linguists (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostratic_languages ).
We finished reading the chapters of Ciceronis Filius on Roman weddings, including mention of the words Ubi tū Gāius, ego Gāia, spoken by the bride when about to enter her husband’s house on her wedding night. The exact significance of the words was uncertain even in Cicero’s time (see the discussion below), but clearly the point was that the wife would be always at her husband’s side. This prompted Zhang Wei to cite the Chinese folk saying, 嫁雞隨雞，嫁狗隨狗 (`If you marry a chicken, stay with the chicken; if you marry a dog, stay with the dog’), which makes a similar point though rather less romantically!
We moved on to the book’s section on children’s games, which included riding on each other’s backs and whipping or kicking the `horses’ or striking a blindfolded playmate and retreating before he could catch you. This kind of activity is pretty standard across the world and Zhang Wei believed things were even rougher in Beijing where boys tried to pull those riding piggy-back from their mounts to fall on the hard pavement.
Finally, on the linguistic side, we discussed briefly the common verb cōnstō (-āre, cōnstitī, cōnstātum - literally stand together, stand with) whose figurative meanings include cost (the English word is a derivative), consist of, and be generally agreed/acknowledged (the sense found most often in Ciceronis Filius.)
CICERONIS FILIUS – pp.30-33
Nūptiālis pompa Tum dēmum Tulliola in viam prōdiit, quam utrimque puerī duō manū tenēbant; puer alius praecēdēbat, facem praeferēns ex spīnā albā, in ipsō M. Cicerōnis Larāriō accēnsam. Huius ardentis spīnae aliquid omnēs rapere cōnābantur, cum putārent illum ad extrēmam aetātem perventūrum, si quis vel minimā illīus spīnae particulā esset potītus. Nūptiālis pompa subsequēbātur; novum marītum omnēs convīciō ac maledictīs insectābantur, ut Rōmānōrum in nūptiīs mōs erat. Prisca haec cōnsuētūdō Fescennīna licentia dīcēbātur. Dum vērō nūptiālis pompa domuī Pīsōnis appropinquat, `Talassiō, Talassiō!’ illud frequentius clāmārī coeptum est. Id verbum quid significet nōn satis cōnstat. Ad Pīsōnis aedēs tandem perventum est.
`Ubi tū Gāius, ego Gāia’ Ubi prīmum Tulia ad Pīsōnis iānuam accessit, lāneīs vittīs ōrnāvit, līmen adipe suillā inūnxit, quod bonum opulentiae futūrae auspicium putābātur. Dum in eō officiō dētinētur, Pīsō, quī iam intus erat, ē patefactīs foribus caput prōtulit, rogāvitque: `Quisnam es, mulier? Quaenam vocāris?’; cui illa: `Ubi tū Gāius, ego Gāia’. Tum virōrum circumstantium, quī validiōribus vīribus erant, sublātam Tulliam, nē līmen tangeret, in ipsās aedēs intrōdūxērunt. Intrōeuntem uxōrem Pīsō ignī et aquā accēpit; obtulit enim illī aquam domī haustam ignemque in Larāriō accēnsum. Quō rītū illa marītī cōnsors facta est. In ātrium deinde est dēducta; quō postquam vēnit, iussit illam prōnuba ad lectum geniālem accēdere ibique novae familiae deōs ōrāre ut propitiī essent. Quibus rēbus perāctīs, discessērunt omnēs. At cum parvus Cicerō semel et iterum sorōrem ōsculātus dīgrederētur, neuter lacrimās continuit. Postrīdiē euis diē, Tullia mātrōnālī stolā indūta, in Pīsōnis ātriō Laribus sacrificāvit.
NOTES: dēmum, finally, at last; prōdeō, -īre, -iī, advance; utrimque, on/from both sides. praeferō (-ferre, -tulī, -lātum) can mean prefer but here has its literal sense of carry before; spīna, -ae f originally mean `thorn’ but could also be used for anything of similar shape, including the spine, a toothpick or the central barrier in the Circus Maximus! Here it is a long, thin branch; Larārum, -iī, n shrine to the Larēs (household gods). ardeō, -ēre, arsī, be on fire, be passionate; cōnor, -ārī, -ātussum, try. perventūrum: for future infinitive perventūrum esse (`to be going to reach’); potior, -īrī, potītus sum (with Abl.), take possession of (pluperfect subjunctive for the future perfect of direct speech), subsequor, -sequī, -secūtus sum, follow close behind; convīcium, -ī n, reproach, abuse; maledictum, -ī n insult; insector, -ārī, -ātus sum, attack verbally. priscus, -a, -um, old, ancient; cōnsuētūdō, cōnsuētūdinis f, custom; Fescennīna licentia, `Fescennian licence’, i.e. permission to use the kind of abusive verse especially connected with the small town of Fescennia on the Tiber north of Rome. coeptum est; the passive of coepī (began) is often used with a passive infinitice; nōn satis cōnstat, is not sufficiently established, not known for certain.  This formula is sometimes given as ubi tū Gāius, ibi egō Gāia but the shorter form is probably right as Plutarch, the only ancient author to quote the phrase rather than just discuss the meaning of the names, gives it in Greek as ὅπου σὺ Γάιος, ἐγὼ Γαΐα (Quaestiones Romanae 30, English text at http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Roman/Texts/Plutarch/Moralia/Roman_Questions*/B.html#30 ) Gāius and Gāia might simply stand for `Everyman’ and `Everywoman’ , though one ancient theory connected Gāia with Gaia Caecilia, the virtuous wife of Tarquinius Priscus, fifth king of Rome. The formula is most likely a promise by the bride to follow her husband anywhere but ὅπου/ubi can mean `when’ as well as `where’. See the discussion by Karen Hersch, The Roman Wedding: Ritual and Meaning in Antiquity (pp.187ff.), https://books.google.com.hk/books?id=TZEJQPjc4sIC lāneus, -a, -um, woollen; vitta, -ae f. woolen band, headband; adeps, adipis m/f, grease, lard; suillus, -a, -um, of a pig. inungo, -ere, -ūnxī, -ūnctum, smear, anoint; officium, -ī n task, duty patefaciō, -facere, -fēcī, -factum, open, reveal; forēs, forum f, double door’; prōferō, -ferre, -tulī, -lātum, carry forward, stick out, quisnam, quaenam, quidnam, who (tell me) sublātam: perfect participle from tollō, tollere, sutulī, sublātum, raise up. offerō, offerre, obtulī, oblātum, offer.  lectus geniālis: marriage bed peragō, -agere, -ēgī, -āctum, complete, finish ōsculor, osculārī, ōsculātus sum, kiss; dīgredior, -gredī, -gressus sum, depart stola,-ae f, dress; indūtus, -a, -um, dressed (in)
Dē prīmīs Cicerōnis lūdīs Tulliola, quamdiū apud patrem fuit, parvum Cicerōnem tantopere dīlēxerat, ut et saepe cum illō pueriliter lūderet, saepius vērō in frātre cūrandō mātris vicēs sustinēret; erat enim quattuordecim annīs maior nātū. Trīstior igitur puer post sorōris discessum factus est, multumque temporis in peristӯliō terēbat, casulās, ut puerī solent, areolārum humō aedificandō, vel in harundine equitandō; nec tamen āmissae sorōris maeror minuēbātur. Id M. Cicerōnem patrem nōn fūgit; quī ut illam aegritūdinem ā fīliolī animō abdūceret, iussit domum suam cōtīdiē aequālēs puerōs vōcārī, summō locō ortōs. Quod illī facillimum fuit, cōnsul cum esset.
Dē quibusdam puerōrum Rōmānōrum lūdīs Puer illī, cum simul essent, saepe certātim pilā lūdēbant, saepe turbinem vel orbem agēbant, Orbis (Graecō nōmine trochus vocābātur), cum tintinnābulīs ōrnātus esset, crebrum acūtumque sonum currēns ēmittēbat. Turbō flagellō agēbātur, orbis vērō exīli quādam ac recurvā rude cui clāvis nōmen erat. Magnam dēlectātiōnem omnēs ex lūdīs illīs percipiēbant. Neque eōs pudēbat, quī nātū paulō maiōrēs essent, equōrum mūnere fungī, aetāteque minōrēs humerīs vectāre; illī, ut equī adsolent calcitrābant, hinniēbant, capitibus perpetuō innuentēs; hī voce pedibus, verberibus etiam equōs suōs incitābant.
`Par impar’; `capita et nāvia’ Saepe etiam vel par impar lūdēbant, vel capita et nāvia. Par impar lūdere id erat: quaerēbat alter utrum lapillī aliquot, quōs ipse manū clausōs tenēbat, pari numerō essent an imparī. Victor erat quī sīc respondisset ut rēs sē habēbat. Capita et nāvia hōc modō lūdēbātur: nummulō in altum iactātō, cuius in adversā parte caput īnsculptum erat, nāvis in āversā, prōvidendum erat utrum caput ostendēns nummulus cāsūrus esset, an nāvem.
Dē `muscā aeneā’ Magnus puerōrum clāmor erat et rīsus, cum illī id lūderent, quod Graecō nōmine muscam aeneam vocābant. Ūnus ex illīs, capite ante oculōs fasceola obligātō, vacuum āerem praetemptāns aliquem dēprehendere cōnābātur. `Captābō aeneam muscam’, cantitābat; at cēterī: `Captābis tū quidem, sed nōn dēprehendēs’.
NOTES: quamdiū, as long as; tantopere, so greatly, so much; dīligō, -ligere, -lēgī, -lēctum in frātre cūrandō: gerundive phrase, `in her brother being looked after’ (i.e. in looking after her brother); vicis, vicis f turn, part, role terō, terere, trīvī, trītum, use up (time), rub, polish; casula, -ae f, little house, areola, -ae f small garden; humus, -ī m, soil, earth, ground. harundō, harundinis f, red, cane; equitō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, ride on a horse; āmissus, -a, -um, lost aequālis, -e, of the same age; summō locō ortōs, from high-ranking families (literally `arisen from the highest place’). simul, together; certātim, competitively; pila, -ae f, ball; turbō, turbinis f, spinning top, whirlwind; orbis, orbis m, disc, wheel, hoop tintinnābulum, -ī n, little bell; creber, crebra, cerebrum, frequent acūtus, -a, -um, high-pitched, sharp; flagellum. –ī n, little whip; exīlis, -e, small, thin rudis, -is f, stick; clāvis, clāvis f, literally `door-key’ but here used in a different, technical sense pudet, pudēre, puduit, bring shame to; essent is subjunctive in a relative clause of purpose; mūnere fungor, fungī, functus sum, perform a job, task or function (h)umerus, -ī m, shoulder; vectō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, carry about; adsoleō (assoleō), -ēre, be accustomed to; calcitrō, -āre, -āvī, kick, strike with the heels (more usually used figuratively, cf. English recalcitrant); hinniō, hinnīre, neigh innuō, innuere, innuī, innūtum, nod, beckon (to); verber, verberis n, whip. pār, paris, even; impār, impāris, odd alter, -ra, -rum, the other, one of a pair; lapillus, -ī m, little stone, pebble respondisset: presumably the subjunctive is used here because the author feels the clause is ons or characteristic, but the indicative would probably be more usual here.ut rēs sē habēbat: `as the thing had itself’, i.e. as the reality was nummulus, -ī m, small coin; in adversā parte……in āversā: `on the front (literally `turned towards’) side…on the back (literally `turned away’) prōvideō, -ēre, -vīdī, -vīsum, foresee, predict; cāsūrus, going to fall (future participle from cadō, cadere, cecidī, cāsum). musca aenea: bronze fly. Both words are common Latin ones, though the first might possibly be a Greek loan word, so it is strange that the author calls the phrase a Greek one. fasceoloa, -ae f, small bandage; obligō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, bind, tie around praetemptō/praetentō, -āre, -āvī, -ātum, feel or group beforehand; dēprehendō, -prehendere, -prehendī, -prehēnsum, catch hold of,; captō,-āre, -āvī, -ātum, try to catch, cantitō,-āre, -āvī, -ātum, sing repeatedly.
Quam vōcem cum iterārent, caecam illam muscam parvulā virgā verberābant, cautē tamen appropinquantēs, nē ipsī caperentur. Dēprehēnsus musca aenea invicem fīēbat.