A Conversation for Dice

To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 21

Gnomon - time to move on

To lower it even further, I thought they were hung like that all exposed to keep them cool!


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 22

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

But the fur helps keep them from getting too cool... smiley - biggrin


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 23

James Casey

'anerriphthô kubos' is what Plutarch has, Suetonius says 'iacta alea est'.

Can I suggest Caesar said it in latin? For two reasons.

1. Plutarch doesn't, so far as I am aware, ever include latin. So if Caesar had spoken in latin, Plutarch would've put it in greek.

2. The line in Suetonius, if a quote from Menander, is a misquote. The direct translation is, as said earlier, 'iacta alea esto'.

So I suspect Caesar spoke in latin, and either he, Suetonius or some scribe along the line made a mistake.


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 24

manolan


Agree about the misquote.

However, on the subject of language, why would Plutarch specifically say "in Greek", or is that something that Dryden has introduced? '... he merely uttered to those near him in Greek the words, "Anerriphtho kubos," (let the die be cast,) and led his army through it.'

That's why I want to get my hands on the original text and have a look. I find it interesting that the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations takes Plutarch's Pompey as the most reliable source and I tend to trust the OUP. Also, Caesar was an educated man of the patrician order, so I would have thought he would quote Menander in the original Greek.


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 25

James Casey

Is it possible that Plutarch's 'in greek' means merely 'this is the greek translation of what he said'?

Agreed, the text needs to be found! If it isn't done before this weekend I might be able to find a copy. Busy at the moment. The online Plutarch resources on his roman biogs are pretty sparse.


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 26

James Casey

Exeter University Don Peter Wiseman notes that the greek phrase is a proverb as well as a quote. He reckons that Suetonius therefore may have been quoting from a play about Caesar's crossing of the Rubicon.


Diceing with death

Post 27

Livzy

It's actually a well known fact that Julius Caesar was a fictional character made up by the heirarchy of Rome at the time to instill fear into the rest of the world. Basically it worked along the same lines as Lassie out of Lassie or "Ace" Rimmer out of Red Dwarf. Once the current Julius was dead/too old/knackered they simply substituted him with a younger, fresher, stronger version.

It's true!

Honest!

The bloke down the pub told me and as everyone knows the bloke down the pub is always factually and historically accurate.


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 28

manolan


Interesting thought, but I'd like to understand his evidence. We already know that Caesar was quoting or misquoting (depending on which version is correct) from Menander. Or perhaps he really did say "the die is cast" as a play on Menander's words "let the die be cast". Will we ever know? I still intend to look out the original Plutarch, but it may be some time before I'm near a sufficiently good book shop or a library.


Ask the bloke down the pub..

Post 29

Livzy

...I bet he knows


Ask the bloke down the pub..

Post 30

James Casey

Manolan - If you can find Appian, he also has Caesar speaking in greek.

Failing that, I can only suggest you get in touch with the bloke Livzy met down the pub.


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 31

ShadeTheif

Just to confuse this a little more...

It has been said to me that in the phrase, "The die has been cast." the use of "die" is not the die which means - "a small cube, as of ivory, bone, or plastic, marked differently on each of its sides, and rolled to randomly determine a result from the side that lands up." but rather - "an engraved metal piece used for impressing a design upon a softer metal" (like die-cast models). Therefore "The die has been cast." means the die (mould) has been cast (made) and now we have to use it and can't make a whole new mould.

- At least it was explained to me something like that. I don't agree with it, the standard explanation makes more sense to me.smiley - smiley


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 32

Peet (the Pedantic Punctuation Policeman, Muse of Lateral Programming Ideas, Eggcups-Spurtle-and-Spoonswinner, BBC Cheese Namer & Zaphodista)

Er... Isn't it only in English that that word has those two meanings...? smiley - erm


To the annoyance of 'die' pedants everywhere...

Post 33

manolan


Indeed.

Both alea and kubos are unquestionably a die as in a small 6 faced object used in games of chance (actually, in Latin, it may also mean 4 faced, but not in Greek, I believe).

I never did get a chance to look up Plutarch. Must do that sometime.


Good point about the multiple meanings of die in English...

Post 34

ShadeTheif

Hey, I did say I disagreed with it, didn't I?


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