Nick Nicholas: What’s the most unforgettable food that you have eaten in a foreign country?

Why is “damn” considered a dirty word while “condemn” is not?

Because, for better or worse, damn is what God does, and condemn is what a judge does. So damn picked up the religious and then blasphemous connotations which condemn never had, which made it much more eligible as a profanity. Profanity is all about the current taboos in society.

Why do Greek textbooks and paradigm references disagree on pluperfect endings, and how do I determine which are more standard for Attic vs Hellenistic?

If you want to go digging about this kind of thing, go digging in a German grammar. Dig in something that spends 300 pages on the different variants of verb ending.

Kühner–Blass, §213.5.

The original Pluperfect Active endings in the singular were -ea, -eas, -ee(n), which contract in Attic regularly to –ē, -ēs, -ein.

The variants –ein, -eis, -ein involved remodelling of the 1sg and 2sg endings after the 3sg ending –ein, and the middle aorist –ēn, -ēs, -ē. This first shows up in Isocrates and Demosthenes—so during the Classical period in Attic; that’s why you’re seeing both taught in grammars. The –ei– diphthong spreads to the Plural in “later” authors (that is, in the Koine: Aristotle, Plutarch); those are the endings you hesitate to consider “dubious” in details.

It’s hard for me to say which should be considered standard. A historically-oriented approach will go with the older endings, so those with the etas. And grammars of Classical languages tend to be historically-oriented. That’s what Smyth lists in its summary table (§383); the variant endings in Demosthenes are mentioned in passing in §701. For that matter, I’d be surprised if the teaching of Koine features the plurals in –ei– prominently.

Who could show me an example of the ending -κειμεν?

Well, this is a “late” (i.e. Koine) variant of the 1pl pluperfect active ending -κεμεν, as in “we had untied, ἐλελύ-κεμεν”. So you won’t likely get a Classical form.

The earliest instance I find is in Aristotle, Metaphysica 1041a:

καίτοι κἂν εἰ μὴ ἑωράκειμεν τὰ ἄστρα, οὐδὲν ἂν ἧττον, οἶμαι, ἦσαν οὐσίαι ἀΐδιοι παρ’ ἃς ἡμεῖς ᾔδειμεν

However, I presume that even if we had never seen the stars, none the less there would be eternal substances besides those which we knew

After that, it’s Josephus, Philo, Plutarch and Appian.

When and how did modern Turkish become the majority in Anatolia?

I’ve put off answering this question for ages, and I’ve finally looked at the classic work on the topic, Vryonis: Decline of Medieval Hellinism in Asia Minor

Here’s the quick summary.

  • The Turks came from parts East, in several waves: first the Seljuk Empire, then the various emirates that ended up being incorporated into the Ottoman Empire.
  • There were two stages in the Turkification of Anatolia: 1071 (Battle of Manzikert) through ca. 1300, and 1300 through ca. 1500.
  • In the first stage, there was conquest, massacres, migration, economic disruption, and forced conversions. Yet in 1300, there were still enough Christians in the emirates in Anatolia, that the capital tax on Christians was their largest source of revenue.
  • The population of Christians in Western Anatolia plummeted over the next two centuries, so that by the early 16th century the proportion of Christian to Muslim households in the Anatolia Eyalet was 8000 to 520,000. (In the Rûm Eyalet by contrast, which had remained under Christian control up to 1461, Christian households were still 30%.)
  • The population of Christians plummeted, of course, because Greek-speaking Christians became Turkish-speaking Muslims. Greek clergy continually refer to their flock dwindling, and to Christians converting. The number of bishoprics in Anatolia dwindled from 54 to 17, with depopulated sees merged into their neighbours.
  • Not only was the Greek church much less empowered to retain the allegiance of Christians, with its property confiscated and its prestige diminished, but there was significant Islamic missionary activity as well (the Bektashi Order, the Mevlevi Order, the Futuwwa).

What is happening to Alexander Lee’s Quora account?

2017–05–27 by Nick Nicholas on Necrologue

My account has now been completely deleted. I don’t know why, and I don’t know how. All I know is that starting 2:04 pm 5/25/2017 (a few hours before my edit-block was supposed to be lifted), a mass deletion of my profile’s contents began. I couldn’t log in because my email wasn’t associated with my Quora profile anymore, apparently.

This morning, I could only watch as 2 years of my writing was being deleted in massive chunks. What’s more, I hadn’t received any emails from Quora notifying me of any changes to my Quora account. I’m not banned. Something isn’t right here.

I sent multiple emails to multiple Quora support emails. I sent Facebook messages to @Tatiana Estevez and @Jay Wacker as a last resort. I told my friends to contact anyone working at Quora. I searched all morning for a customer support number I could call.

No replies.

I don’t think I was hacked; the sheer speed at which my contents were being deleted is inhuman. This is the work of a bot. One of your bots have gone haywire. One of your bugs have crossed the line. Or, one of your employees is holding a grudge against me and locking me out of my profile/deleting my contents without notifying me.

I’m desperately pleading right now for someone to tell me what the fuck is going on. I’m already quite tempted to storm into Quora HQ and give a nice long lecture to the receptionist (whoever they may be).

Note: I have notified account services at Quora on Alexander’s behalf, at Jay Wacker’s suggestion.

What do popular Quoran’s voices sound like?

Were Eastern Romans insulted when called Greeks and/or the Greek Empire?

I think you’re thinking of Liutprand of Cremona, not-too-diplomatic diplomat to Constantinople, who spent a fair while under lock and key:

His reception at Constantinople was humiliating and ultimately futile after the subject of Otto’s claim to the title [Holy Roman] Emperor caused friction, triggered by a letter from Pope John XIII which offensively addressed Nicephorus as “the emperor of the Greeks”.

(Otto I had just launched or revived the Holy Roman Empire, depending on whether Charlemagne counts as the same empire.)

On his second mission to Constantinople, for instance, after his purple purchases are confiscated, he tells the imperial party that at home whores and conjurers wear purple.

As other answers have said, the Byzantines never ceased considering themselves the true Roman Empire, and they referred to themselves as Romans, not Greeks; they were careful to use the term rēx ‘king’ and not basileus ‘emperor’ for the rulers of the West.

The word Ἀρσένιος (Arsenios) is latinized to Arsenius. Does the word θηλυκός (thēlykós) have a latinized form other than femina?

Bit of a misunderstanding here. The proper name Arsenius, Greek Arsenios (as in Arsenio Hall) is derived from the Greek word for ‘man’, arsen. But it was not the normal word for “masculine”, and LSJ records arsenios meaning “masculine” only once in a third century AD papyrus. The normal word for masculine was arsenikos (seemingly as in arsenic; in fact arsenic is from the Arabic al-zarnīq, which Greeks noticed sounded just like the Greek for “masculine”).

OP wonders, if the word for ‘masculine’ in Greek ended up in Latin, did the Greek word for ‘feminine’, thēlykos, end up in Latin as well? The Greek word for ‘masculine’ didn’t really end up in Latin, though, except as a name, and Google returns no hits whatsoever for +thelycus. So I’d be surprised if it did.