Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Io Sono Me

I notice I've been ranting for a little about some seemingly obscure topics without any real context involved. I study Mediaeval History. NOT "Medieval", NOT "Midevel", NOT "Medivel", nor any other ridiculous spelling someone might tell you is right. This is actually one of my most pointless pet-peeves, but if you're going to dedicate your life to the study of a particular subject, it should go without saying that you expect others to treat your pursuit with respect. Though my Latin is terrible I know 'medi' means middle, and 'aeval' or 'aevalus' means years. Thus, Middle Years or Middle Ages is spelt Mediaeval. Anything else is either incorrect, or some new form of the word that has taken root amongst the illiterate Plebs Maximus and then included in dictionaries because of its common-usage status.

Hmm...I've decided to go off on a tangent here, so bear with me. Though any scholar or historian worth the name knows that the historical time periods we study have all been invented by historians themselves in order to make examining the human past easier, the Middle Ages are an interesting exception. People in the Middle Ages were well aware that they were living in the Middle Ages. Dante even referred to his time as "media tempestus" or something like that, translating roughly as "middle times." How could they know this when people in Antiquity didn't know they were living in Antiquity, and people in the Renaissance were only dimly aware of the cultural rebirth for which their time would be labelled? It's actually quite simple if you think about it. In the Middle Ages, the inhabitants of the overwhelmingly Christian Europe clearly understood that they were living in the time between Jesus' death and his future coming. Thus, they knew they were Mediaeval long before we did.

Apart from that, there are countless arguments over when the Middle Ages begin and end, and what exactly makes a society Mediaeval. I'll probably discuss this debate in a later blog, but for now I just want to stress my desire for people to spell the damn word correctly. Please, don't give in to intellectual laziness (the English Department at my university actually spells it wrong...but I won't get into all of their countless deficiencies right now) or to common usages. Spell words properly and respect their origins.

Ok...so that seems like I've given you some context. I'm a student, I get angry alot, and I hate idiots and people who fail to think critically and intelligently about important issues...or about any issue for that matter. That's it for now, I've got to go study for an exam. Ciao.

P.S. This stupid blog thing is trying to tell me that the proper spelling of Mediaeval is incorrect. I need to find whoever designed this thing, sit them down, and have a VERY serious discussion with them about the proper way to do things...

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