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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@...> >> wrote: >>> >>>> A dyarchy (not biarchy) is a governmental >> form >>>> 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" etc. '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 of 'bisexual'. 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 Latin. (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 the 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! Ray =============================================== (home) (work) ===============================================


John Cowan <cowan@...>