Your RDA of Irony

Sunday Sundry

September 17, 2006

Yesterday was the Fifth Anniversary of this website and its pulpit for my pedantics.  I know that you all intended to send me gifts.  For those who did, I won’t mention your names because I will no longer admit knowing you.  Those two raffle tickets for “a steambath with Marcus Bachmann”–you can be sure that I am regifting them to my least favorite in-law.  But I am almost touched by the effort one of you made, coloring a Fruit Loops cereal with a light blue dry mark to disguise it as a gift from Tiffanys.

You’d think after five years I might have run out of history.  Yes, I have nearly exhausted my Byzantine gossip.  But not quite…(You have yet to meet the Empress Zoe.)  And, even to my surprise, I am still learning history.

For instance, I thought that I was quite familiar with that remarkable scoundrel–and possible ancestor–Herod the Great.  He was a masterful tyrant of Judea, extorting and exploiting his subjects but never quite to the point of full-scale rebellion.  And he proved a brilliant contortionist in Roman politics, making himself indispensable first to Cassius, then Marc Antony and then Augustus.  If anyone could be on both sides of a civil war, it was Herod.  The man was such a consummate villain that his notoriety was “borrowed” by the New Testament, adding him to the Nativity for the extra drama.      “The massacre of the innocents” in Bethlehem never occurred; Herod did execute three of his sons but they were adults and well past the innocents phase. 

So, what didn’t I know about this fascinating monster?  His actual name!  I recently was talking with a visiting Israeli and–won’t you be surprised–the topic turned to history.  I was speaking of Herod and the fact that he built the Wailing Wall, which actually was just a support structure for the Temple complex.  However, she was looking at me with bewilderment.  (Yes, I should be used to that.)  But deciphering the historical context, she said, “Do you mean Hordoos?” 

This was a revelation.  Herod was the Greek pronunciation; perhaps he hired a p.r. firm to come up with it.  The Romans, shamelessly plagiarizing the Greeks, repeated the Hellenized Herod and passed on it to us.  But to his miserable subjects, their reigning fiend was Hordoos.  And with its grating and sordid sound, Hordoos really is much more appropriate.

Let’s not forget the historic events of this week:

September 18:  Eugene tells you about Hordoos.

September 19:  Sorry, I owe you one.

September 20:  http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2010/09/20/learning-discretion/ or http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2009/09/21/how-not-to-die-of-old-age-2/

September 21:  Couldn’t you read the September 20 musings slowly?

September 22:  http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2009/09/22/if-you-thought-the-reign-of-terror-was-excessive/ or http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2010/09/22/royal-fractions/

September 23:  http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2010/09/23/the-repulsive-shall-inherit-the-earth-at-least-one-did/

September 24:  http://finermanworks.com/your_rda_of_irony/2010/09/24/cardinal-sins/

 

 

 

 

  1. Bob Kincaid says:

    Happy Ironic Anniversary, Eugene! I might never have developed a fascination for Byzanitine history without you.

    Speaking of Marcus Bachmann, supra, I have to share this one-liner with you, as it’s a manifestation of wit worthy even of you.

    “If Marcus Bachmann was any deeper in the closet, he’d be riding a lion through Narnia.”

    Dandy, isn’t it?

  1. There are no trackbacks for this post yet.

Leave a Reply