Wednesday, May 03, 2006
Dennis Mangan draws our attention to a neat musical aptronym, the name of Sir Simon Rattle, percussionist turned conductor.
E.J. Moncada writes:
Re: "Standing on one foot," cit. Hor. Sat. I.IV.9, Bennett and Rolfe remark: "Stans pede in uno: easily without effort, apparently proverbial though it does not occur elsewhere. Cf. the opposite expression in Quint. xii.9.18, in iis actionibus omni, ut agricolae dicunt, pede standum est." This last, Erasmus lists as a proverb (Adag. III.1.34) meaning 'with all one's might,' and notes that it is recorded by Suidas (O 190). I found it curious that the expression is (reportedly) not found elsewhere, since it seems not too farfetched a metaphorical application. I do recall that Strabo speaks of a sophist who would stand on one leg all day holding a heavy piece of wood (when one leg was fatigued he would support it with the other) but of course this was not meant to suggest an easy task; quite the opposite.Here is a translation of Quintilian 12.9.18, by H.E. Butler:
Therefore, in such pleadings we must, as the rustic adage says, "stand on all our feet."Suidas O 190 reads Ὅλῳ ποδί: ὅλῃ δυνάμει = with the whole foot: with all one's power. See also Apostolius 12.63 = Leutsch, Corpus Paroemiographorum Graecorum, vol. II, p. 557, with many parallels in the notes.
And here is the passage from Strabo (15.1.61, tr. Horace Leonard Jones):
Aristobulus says that he saw two of the sophists at Taxila, both Brachmanes; and that the elder had had his head shaved but that the younger had long hair, and that both were followed by disciples; and that when not otherwise engaged they spent their time in the market-place, being honoured as counsellors and being authorized to take as a gift any merchandise they wished; and that anyone whom they accosted poured over them sesame oil, in such profusion that it flowed down over their eyes; and that since quantities of honey and sesame were put out for sale, they made cakes of it and subsisted free of charge; and that they came up to the table of Alexander, ate dinner standing, and taught him a lesson in endurance by retiring to a place near by, where the elder fell to the ground on his back and endured the sun's rays and the rains (for it was now raining, since the spring of the year had begun); and that the younger stood on one leg holding aloft in both hands a log about three cubits in length, and when one leg tired he changed the support to the other and kept this up all day long; and that the younger showed a far greater self-mastery than the elder; for although the younger followed the king a short distance, he soon turned back again towards home, and when the king went after him, the man bade him to come himself if he wanted anything of him; but that the elder accompanied the king to the end, and when he was with him changed his dress and mode of life; and that he said, when reproached by some, that he had completed the forty years of discipline which he had promised to observe; and that Alexander gave his children a present.
Siris has a draft of a nice poem entitled Thalassa, based on the famous episode described by Xenophon, Anabasis 4.7.23-25 (tr. Carleton L. Brownson):
But as the shout became louder and nearer, as the successive ranks that came up all began to run at full speed toward the ranks ahead that were one after another joining in the shout, and as the shout kept growing far louder as the number of men grew steadily greater, it became quite clear to Xenophon that here was something of unusual importance; so he mounted a horse, took with him Lycius and the cavalry, and pushed ahead to lend aid; and in a moment they heard the soldiers shouting, "The Sea! The Sea!" and passing the word along. Then all the troops of the rearguard likewise broke into a run, and the pack animals began racing ahead and the horses. And when all had reached the summit, then indeed they fell to embracing one another, and generals and captains as well, with tears in their eyes.
From Matthew Gervais and David Sloan Wilson, "The Evolution and Functions of Laughter and Humor: A Synthetic Approach," The Quarterly Review of Biology 80.4 (December 2005) 395-430 (at 414):
The broadening of the laughter trigger thereby converted some stimuli — such as near accidents, flatulence and excretion, and sexual mischief — from potential sources of social stress to elicitors of social play and positive emotion.Some of us are apparently throwbacks to the early days of the species, when the laughter trigger was broadening.