CHAT: duumvirate (was: congovernment)
|From:||Ray Brown <ray.brown@...>|
|Date:||Sunday, November 23, 2003, 17:49|
On Saturday, November 22, 2003, at 10:04 PM, Costentin Cornomorus wrote:
> --- Ray Brown <ray.brown@...> wrote:
>> On Saturday, November 22, 2003, at 02:21 AM,
>> Costentin Cornomorus wrote:
>>> --- John Cowan <cowan@...>
>>>> A dyarchy (not biarchy) is a governmental
>>>> with two equal supreme rulers.
>>> Sounds better than biumvirate, anyway! ;)
>> Yep - and is better formed :)
> Chosen because of it's consonance with
> "triumvirate". Also as a half pun with other bi-
> words like bicycle, bisexual, et r.,
I realized that - hence a smiley.
But "dyarchy" is still better formed in that both
elements are Greek. It also fits well with 'monarchy'.
'bicycle' is a Latino-Greek mongrel; but it's been around
a long while so we live with it, just as we live with Graeco-
Latin mongrels like "television", "hexadecimal", "homosexual"
'bisexual' is well formed, both parts being Latin, but the
meaning is misleading. As a classicist, when I first came upon
the word I assumed it meant "hermaphrodite", and I'm sure
that's what an ancient Roman would have understood by *bisexualis.
Indeed, my English dictionary does list that as one of the meanings
In view of the established usages of 'homosexual' and 'heterosexual',
I would have expected 'amphoterosexual' to denote someone with both
sexual orientations. But, we press 'bisexual' to have this meaning,
and create an ambiguity.
But the -um- in *biumvirate would be weird. It's the genitive plural
ending and fits badly onto bi- whereas 'duum' (of two) is very good
(Yes, I know the text books give _duarum_ (fem.) & _duorum_ (masc.
& neut.), but these are later analogical formations. The older 'duum'
is found in Cicero, Sallust, Livy and Pliny inter_alios.)
A 'triumuir' is actually 'trium uir' = "a man out of three [men]", i.e. one
of a board or tribunal of three. The plural can be _triumuiri_ but the
logical _tres uiri_ ('the three men [of the board]') was also used. But
office held by each _triumuir_ was known as a _triumuiratus_ (4th decl.),
hence English _triumvirate_.
Likewise a 'duum uir' or 'duumuir' was one of a board of two [men]. The
plural was either 'duumuiri' or 'duo uiri', and the office held be a
_duumuir_ was known in Latin as _duumuiratus_, hence the English word
_duumvirate_ (Any good dictionary should list it).
> since bi- is
> more recognised than duum-.
Yep - few people now-a-days would recognize a genitive plural even if
it stared them in the face :-)
O tempora! O mores!