Tag: Downtime

Bread and Circuses

Cultural Offering’s Kurt Harden set me on an adventure in pursuit of bread and circuses, via this site, AmericanDigest.org.

The original phrase, panem et circenses, was coined by Roman poet, Juvenal (Decimus Junius Juvenalis, 1st – 2nd Century CE) in his Satire 10:

And what does the mob of Remus say? It follows fortune, as it always does, and rails against the condemned. That same rabble, if Nortia had smiled upon the Etruscan, if the aged Emperor had been struck down unawares, would in that very hour have conferred upon Sejanus the title of Augustus. Now that no one buys our votes, the public has long since cast off its cares; the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things—Bread and Circuses!

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Shires, counties, counts and sheriffs – @InkyFool

Now you know…

Once upon an Old English time there were shires: Hampshire, Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire etc. The Anglo-Saxons lived in these and kept the Hobbit population under control. 

Each shire was ruled for the king by a shire-official, or shire-reeve, or scir-gerefa, or sheriff

The Inky Fool explains all about shires, sheriffs, counties, counts, marches and marquises, here.

His book on rhetoric, The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth, is one of my favourite references for words, speech and writing.

Photo by Andy Newton on Unsplash

Alice: Curiouser and Curiouser

This looks interesting, a new exhibition at the V&A exploring the influence of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

The Times’ Ben Macintyre has some theories on the book’s inspirations, here.

Here are a couple of fine songs inspired by Alice…

… and, of course…

The books themselves – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass – are worth a read, too. It’s good to go straight to the source.

Image: John Tenniel’s illustration from the original publication (Source: British Library: https://www.bl.uk/alice-in-wonderland/articles/alice-at-150#)

A 373-year-old bond still paying interest

Yale holds a 1648 bond that still pays annual interest. It was issued by a Dutch water board to finance improvements to a local dike system and is still valid. Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library must make the trip to the Houten in the Netherlands every few years to claim the interest.

That’s a remarkable, long-term investment.

But, will it buy you a table at Milliways?

All you have to do is deposit one penny in a savings account in your own era, and when you arrive at the End of Time the operation of compound interest means that the fabulous cost of your meal has been paid for.

The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, Douglas Adams

Read the full story (about the bond), here.

Hat tip to Benedict Evans’ newsletter.

Photo by Emiel Molenaar on Unsplash