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Date: Wed, 22 Jan 2003 11:14:42 +1000 (EST)
From: David Duffy 
Subject: (urth) Re: Digest from  urth@urth.net

Fernando Q. Gouvea wrote:                     
>> What is "Malicapata"? An Otherworld disease, or something else?
> Hmmm... a "capon" is a castrated male chicken, from a Latin root that means
> "to cut", I think. So "badly cut"?

Of course, he could have just meant a headache ;) or depression.

Googling gave:


  The method of striking or crushing is apparent in such words as the 
  Latin capo, 'capon,' from the Greek kopto, 'strike,' and the Greek       
  thlasiae, thlibiae, 'eunuch,' from thlao, 'crush,' and the Sanskrit
  vadhri, 'eunuch,' from vadh, 'strike.' Cutting is shown in the     
  Latin castro, 'castrate,' from root kes, in the Sanskrit sas, 

  In classical times the varieties of eunuchs were as follows: (1)
  Castrati, clean-cut--both penis and testicles. (2) Spadones, whose
  testicles only are removed by a process of dragging. (3) Thlibiae,
  whose testicles are bruised and crushed, the seminal glands being 
  thus permanently injured--chiefly applied in the case of the very

  [Priests of Cybele are 2 IIRC]

and rather resonantly, 

Kuefler, Mathew The Manly Eunuch: Masculinity, Gender Ambiguity, and  
Christian Ideology in Late Antiquity.

"The question of masculinity formed a key part of the intellectual life
of late antiquity and was crucial to the development of Christian     
society. This idea is at the heart of Mathew Kuefler's new book, which
revisits the Roman Empire during the third and fifth centuries of the 
common era. Kuefler argues that the collapse of the Roman army, an   
increasingly autocratic government, and growing restrictions on the
traditional rights of men within marriage and sexuality all led to an
endemic crisis in masculinity: men of Roman aristocracy, who had     
always felt themselves to be soldiers, statesmen, and the heads of
households, became, by their own definition, unmanly.             

"The cultural and demographic success of Christianity during this epoch
lay in the ability of its leaders to recognize and respond to this    
crisis. Drawing on the tradition of gender ambiguity in early     
Christian teachings, which included Jesus's exhortation that his
followers "make themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of
heaven," Christian writers and thinkers crafted a new masculine ideal,
one that took advantage of the changing social realities in Rome,     
inverted the Roman model of manliness, and helped solidify Christian  
ideology by reinstating the masculinity of its adherents."          

while Nutria declaimed:
> I, Nutria, will tell you. It's the scene at the end of the book, which 
> hints that the helots were massacred by their Spartan owners, immediately 
> after the Spartans freed them for helping fight in the battle. Which they 
> were. But it's far from clear in the book what is going on. There are even 
> missing pages!
> Bet I'm right. Anyway, that's the one that stumped me the most.

I could tell you, but then I'd have to kill you (a smiley is probably in

Does anyone feel like comparing and contrasting Latro with the hero
Leonard of the movie _Memento_?  One might be the latter's interest in
emotional (via Pavlovian conditioning) unconscious memory (FWIW the
story idea is said to come from _One Hundred Years of Solitude_)

David Duffy.


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