Friday, 1 April 2016

Long time no screed

See what I did there?

I was thinking last week about Maundy Money, and of course its derivation – the derivation not just of the word Maundy but of the ceremony itself (the distribution of largesse [well, not that LARGE]). What was given  out at the ur-ceremony was not so much largesse as a service.

The One True Church commemorates this in The Washing of the Feet.
    <autobiographical_note theme="Been there, done that">
    At the service on Maundy Thurday
    : must look up the other day names: I can do Easter Sunday, Holy Saturday, Good Friday, Maundy Thursday OK, and I think it's Spy Wednesday (ridiculous, really, as if Judas was a Fifth Columnist rather than a flawed bloke – as was Peter in the same story); but I have a feeling there are epithets for Monday and Tuesday too.
    The celebrant (priest numero uno, in my case Father Abbot) re-enacts Christ‘s emblematic washing of the apostles' feet – except that they were really dirty after a typical dusty Palestinian...
Always with the dust,  already. In Saturday‘s concert we sing, in Laudate Pueri, about the Lord de stercore erigens pauperem, "translated" as "raising up the poor from the dust". But dust was the least of your worries in ancient Palestine; stercus means something a lot more organic than dust: dung, says Etymonline under scatology. (And if you think you've detected metathesis there – see Letters playing leapfrog [and elsewhere] – you're learning)
    ... day in sandals, rather than still smarting from Auntie Katy‘s attentions with nail brush and pumice stone (as the part of the apostles was played by a dozen altar boys).<autobiographical_note> 

Mandatum novum do vobis, ("I give you a new commandment...") said Christ (according to the Vulgate).

French made this order mandé, and that nasalized a became in English aun.* At least, that was the story we were given at the time. In later years I have to admit that I suspected a trace of pious folk etymology – as with the Doomsday Book (which I long believed came from Domus Dei, an inventory of newly Christianized Britain (not that Christianity hadn't been around for several centuries – it's just that William was a True Believer): the House of God. Plausible, but rubbish).

So I did a bit of checking, and found that Maundy is related to  mandé:
          Maundy Thursday Look up Maundy Thursday at
Thursday before Easter, mid-15c., from Middle English maunde "the Last Supper," also "ceremony of washing the feet," from Old French mandé, from Latin mandatum "commandment" (see mandate)...
(Courtesy of Etymonline as usual, with no apology for recourse to the usual source; I can't afford an OED subscription. But in case you want another reference, they're easy enough to find. Here's one, for example or  here, or ...)
And while we're on the subject of the etymology of Easter words, try this. Fancy simnel cake being related to semolina (spot the phonological change process: hint – look at the consonants in simnel/semolina).

But I must go and prepare for the Big Day. –


PS: a couple more clues:
  • Nothing but going over the same ground again and againdull as ditch-water,
    for example.
  • Onset of season after climate change makes a climber. (8)
Update 2016.04.04.17:35 – Added link to review.

PPS – And here's a review of last Saturday's concert.

Update 2016.04.19.11:00 – Added footnote:

* Looking for something else (as ever) I just saw this confirmation of the "French -an => English -aun" spelling oDavid Crystal's blog:
 ...France is usually spelled France in the First Folio, but it is spelled Fraunce when the French are speaking (suggesting a pronunciation of 'frawnce'). Henry is also given this spelling when he is trying to speak French to Kate - and he has it just once when he is speaking English. 

Update 2016.05.16.10:25 – Crossword answers: ALLITERATION and CLEMATIS

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