From the Sublime to the Romantic

This week’s video is on “sublime”, a word important to the romantic poets, but that also has deep roots in the ancient world and the middle ages:

It was the surprising etymology of sublime that kicked this one off, though the script is drawn in large part from my classroom teaching explaining the sublime and romanticism, as well as the importance of the medieval tradition to the 19th century. And working through this for the video, it seemed to me that there was a useful metaphorical connection to the idea of looking up, in both the sublime and in the gothic cathedrals of the high middle ages. Another important theme here is the drive to differentiate oneself from what went before. Most cultural movements do this sort of thing one way or another, and again there were various parallels there. Also, the ongoing language peeving today is useful to keep in mind in this context. Language is constantly changing, and current language trends are no different from the transformation from Latin into the romance languages. And finally, since this video was coming out close to Valentine’s Day, it seemed appropriate to look at the later development of the word “romantic” and examine what it also owes to the medieval courtly love tradition. This too involves a kind of “looking up”, with the male lover putting his beloved up on a pedestal and worshipping her in a quasi-religious/feudal way. This is of course profoundly misogynistic as it doesn’t leave her the capacity to be human, but forces a divine status on her which no human can live up to, but perhaps that’s another story. But in any case, this too also owes a debt to the classical world, as this model of love comes not only from the medieval troubadours from the South of France, but also from the Roman poet Ovid, whose works the Ars Amatoria and Amores (themselves, ironically, to a large extent parodying earlier cliches about love!) were very influential to the courtly love tradition. So in a sense, I guess, this counts as my Valentine’s Day video for the year! (You can see last year's Valentine's Day video "Cuckold" here.)

Perhaps the most common way people today hear this word is in the phrase “from the sublime to the ridiculous”. The full expression is “from the sublime to the ridiculous is but one step”. The expression seems to derive from The Age of Reason by Thomas Paine, the great 18th century English-American thinker and revolutionary (who certainly had an antagonistic relationship with Edmund Burke): “The sublime and the ridiculous are often so nearly related that it is difficult to class them separately. One step above the sublime makes the ridiculous, and one step above the ridiculous makes the sublime again.” Napoleon, one time great hero of the Romantics (until they became disillusioned with him), picked up on Paine and said “Du sublime au ridicule il n’y a qu’un pas” giving us our modern phrase. Again, it’s a question of high and low. 

And in addition to the psychological term subliminal, there are the scientific terms sublimate and sublimation, which are formed from the same Latin sources. Sublimate in chemistry means to change state from a solid directly to a gas, and comes from medieval and early modern alchemical terminology. Sublimation is used in (Freudian) psychological sense to refer to the process of converting an impulse into a more socially acceptable activity. Both of these have the metaphorical sense of raising something up.

In the video I indicated on screen (without going into it in detail) that the word lintel actually has two etymons, limen meaning “threshold, lintel, entrance” and limes meaning “boundary, path” (and also giving us the word “limit”). This is a case of the two similar sounding words coming together to produce the derived word. Interestingly both words seem to come ultimately from the same Latin source, limus “sidelong, askew, askance”, with the idea that limes refers to a cross path bounding two fields. But also interesting is that limen in Latin seems to refer indiscriminately to both the lintel at the top and the sill or threshold at the bottom of a window or door respectively. I already covered the etymology of the word “sill” in the video, but also from a Germanic source is threshold, related to the word thresh and from the Old English verb þrescan “to thresh, beat”, the idea being that a threshold is something you tread on. It comes ultimately from the Proto-Indo-European root ‌‌*terə- “to rub, turn”, which has a great many English derivatives.

Jane Austen makes a only brief appearance in this video, but in a lot of ways she touches on a number of the different connections presented in the video. Her novel Northanger Abbey, in addition to satirizing the sentimental and gothic novels, also contains a discussion about aesthetics in which her heroine Catherine Morland learns about the categories of the beautiful, the sublime, and the picturesque from her love interest Henry Tilney. And the title of Sense and Sensibility makes a pun on the different meanings — sense as in having good sense, and sensibility as in having a strong emotional reaction. And in Pride and Prejudice, when Charlotte Lucas agrees to the obsequious Mr Collins, she explains to the surprised Elizabeth Bennet that “I am not romantic, you know; I never was”, though probably in the broader sense of romantic meaning fanciful, sentimental, or idealistic. And it’s important to remember that Jane Austen was writing at the same time as many of those Romantic poets.

As for the Romantics themselves, they weren’t exactly a unified group. Though Goethe and Herder kicked it all off with their Sturm und Drang poetry, they wouldn’t really have thought of themselves as part of the Romantic movement, and in fact later on pulled back from some of their proto-Romantic ideas to what’s referred to as the Weimar classical school, a kind of compromise between Neoclassicism and Romanticism. And as for the English Romantic poets, the second generation (Shelley, Byron, Keats, etc.) though initially being inspired by the earlier (Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge), didn’t always look up to them (see what I did there?). Byron found Wordsworth’s use of everyday language and style to be facile and unsophisticated. That everyday language, by the way was part of Wordsworth’s definition of the ideal poet. He wanted to use the “plainer and more emphatic language” of the common man, but “purified indeed from what appear to be its real defects, from all lasting and rational causes of dislike or disgust” (Preface to the Lyrical Ballads). So though the ideal poet is “a man speaking to men”, he qualifies this as “a man, it is true, endued with more lively sensibility, more enthusiasm and tenderness, who has a greater knowledge of human nature, and a more comprehensive soul, than are supposed to be common among mankind”. Coleridge, who collaborated with Wordsworth on the Lyrical Ballads but had no hand in the Preface, which was added later, called Wordsworth out in his Biographia Literaria for these and other contradictions and inconsistencies, so they didn’t always see eye to eye either. And of course Romanticism doesn’t really end with the Romantic period. In British literature, we’re accustomed to think of the later part of the 19th century as the Victorian period, but many of the elements of Romanticism continue into the later period, such as drawing inspiration from the medieval (think Tennyson, William Morris, and the Pre-Raphaelites), and the distinction isn’t really made anyway in continental Europe.

Another of the elements of Romanticism that’s worth further discussion is their sense of history and time. In addition to the discovery and interest in ruins, as I mentioned in the video, there was an important literary component here. Macpherson began his Ossian forgery by collecting folktales from the Scottish Highlands, much as the Brothers Grimm would do in Germany some years later. And there was also a kind of cult of Shakespeare, a great reverence of the playwright, with such proponents as Johann Herder and August Schlegel (who translated Shakespeare into German), and the notion that one should go out into the English countryside to really read the Bard properly. Related to the Ossian poem, by the way, is the poetry of Thomas Chatterton — I used a painting of him in the video to  suggest the idea of emotion.

Though he wasn’t himself a Romantic — he was from the middle of the 18th century and committed suicide at the age of 17 — he was quite influential on the English Romantic poets. He is perhaps most remembered now for forging “medieval” romances under the pseudonym of Thomas Rowley, much like Macpherson did with the Ossian epic. No wonder then that Romantics liked him so much! Coleridge does something similar with “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” (perhaps his most famous contribution to the Lyrical Ballads), though he never claimed it was a genuine medieval poem, he just wrote it in that style.

As for medieval architecture, I emphasized the elongated proportions and verticality of the gothic architecture, but the other effect of this is on the light in gothic cathedrals. The advent of the flying buttress, which transferred the outward force of a wall downward to the ground, allowed for the gothic arches to be made very large, which meant they could put in large elongated stained-glass windows, and the gothic cathedrals would be constructed so that the high altar would be the brightest part of the church, while the nave, where the church-goers would sit, would be relatively dark. The symbolic implication of this is fairly obvious. Perhaps the most striking example of this sort of thing (though not actually a cathedral) is Sainte-Chapelle in Paris.

I mentioned gothic revival architecture, and used the example of the British Houses of Parliament, the Palace of Westminster, as an iconic example. Pugin by the way, was technically the assistant architect to chief architect Charles Barry, though there’s some controversy as to how much of the work was Barry’s and how much was Pugin’s — Pugin was known as a pioneer of gothic revival, whereas Barry was more known for neoclassical architecture, for what it’s worth. (Oh and for extra connection fans, Barry was assisted in the quarrying of the stone for the building by geologist William “Strata” Smith, who you may remember from my previous video “Fossil”). But it’s significant that gothic revival style was chosen for the rebuild after the earlier building was destroyed by fire in 1834,  as it could be seen as a reaffirmation of the monarchy, which traces its origins back to the middle ages. This was then a rejection of the neoclassical republicanism associated with, for instance, the United States of America, whose government buildings like the Capitol are built in the neoclassical style.

The US specifically modelled themselves in that respect on the Roman Republic, with their Latinate terms like Senate and Congress. Canada too built its parliament in the gothic revival style as an explicit alignment with medieval monarchy and their British rulers.

The original Canadian Parliament Buildings were built in the mid 18th century in a highly ornate gothic style. After the original Centre Block burned down in 1916 (one hundred years ago to the day as I write this), it was replaced with a slightly less ornate but still gothic revival style building.

And finally, as for the period preceding Romanticism, I was playing a bit fast and loose, consistently using the term Neoclassical for simplicity’s sake, but in fact the 18th century is co-occurrence of a number of interconnected trends. Other terms used to refer to the period include the Age of Enlightenment and the Age of Reason. I suppose at their heart what they all have in common was an appeal to reason and rationality over pure emotion, a rejection of medieval religiosity in favour of human centred concerns, and an alignment with ancient Greece and Rome which were thought to embody these notions. In the video I used the images of Denis Diderot and his Encyclopédie to represent the rationality of the Enlightenment, a good iconic example. Diderot himself argued, as many at the time did, that reason was necessary to keep emotion in check, but of course there are many other figures and works reflective of Enlightenment thinking. I could no more cover this complex topic than I could give anything more than the cursory thumbnail sketch of Romanticism that I did through the lens of etymology, but hopefully this gives a new perspective (looking up or otherwise), to these complex periods.

Battle of the Latin Dictionaries

A very short blog, today, to go with the Latin Dictionary review videos–-mostly written by Aven.

When we filmed these videos, we both included a lot of background on the dictionaries, and talked about the personalities involved with editing and publishing them. When we started editing the videos, we realised that they were going to be way too long if we included everything. So we decided to focus on the differences between the two dictionaries, and who would find each one most useful; and in the case of the OLD, I also wanted to include information about how to read and use it, to show people why they would want to bother consulting it instead of just sticking to the cheap and easy pocket dictionaries all the time.

What that meant was we had to cut out most of the history from both videos, and also cut out Mark looking up some words. But we both think that the information that we cut out is interesting, especially if you’re interested in the history of Classics as a field or the history of lexicography. So we’ve posted longer versions of both reviews, as unlisted videos, for anyone who wants to watch them (Lewis & Short Extended, and OLD Extended). They include stories about people involved with the deciphering of Linear B, a pioneer in women’s education, and a writer and scholar’s worst nightmare: a lost manuscript!

I also didn’t include some things I now wish I had–-specifically, a few ways that the new edition has updated the language from the first edition. After all, what does any sensible person do as soon as they open a dictionary? Why, look up rude words, of course! And that’s one place that there do seem to be a few changes in the new edition, to update the language for modern readers. Here, for example, are the entries for “irrumatio” and “irrumator” in the first edition*:

And here’s the new edition:

Not a huge change, but definitely clearer! 

And just for the sake of comparison, here’s the same word in the Lewis & Short:

Now that I'm reading this entry over, it occurs to me that I think the OLD definition for this term is, in fact, wrong! My understanding of irrumo, and the way I've usually seen it translated, is that it describes the action of forcing another person to perform oral sex on the irrumator (or perhaps something more violent than that). That certainly is how it seems to be meant in Catullus 16. But that's not what the OLD says--it suggests the opposite role, in fact. Which doesn't make any sense in my reading of Catullus, for instance. I think I'm going to have to investigate further; but this definitely demonstrates the importance of clear definitions and careful lexicography, since the Lewis & Short definition is certainly not helpful at all!

You can access the Lewis & Short dictionary (and a number of other useful Latin and Greek dictionaries) online at Logeion. If you want to read more about the history of these dictionaries, Francis Jacques Sypher's article "A History of Harpers' Latin Dictionary" (Harvard Library Bulletin 20.4 (1972): 349–66 or online here) gives a detailed history of the Lewis & Short, and there's a short blog post on the history of the OLD here. Finally, if you want to read the preface to the 2nd edition of the OLD that I mention in the video, it’s here.


*No, I didn’t realise how topical those words would be when I took the pictures! I was just thinking of Catullus, as always (poem 16).

My cuckoo Valentine

As something of a corrective to the usual saccharine Valentine's Day fare, this week's video is on the word "cuckold":

The idea for this video came from my noticing that the first recorded instance of the word 'cuckold' was in the Middle English poem "The Owl and the Nightingale". Every year at Valentine's Day, medievalists like myself bring up the fact that Geoffrey Chaucer in his "Parliament of Fowls" invented the connection between the eponymous saint and the celebration of romantic love, but I knew I wanted to do something a little different, more surprising, and most importantly counter to the usual sentimentality of the season. So once I had the connection between the two medieval bird debate poems and of course the interesting etymology of the word "cuckold" (and the fact that the cuckoo plays a significant role in Chaucer's poem), I knew I had my subject. I had also been aware of the possible cuckold's horns background to the bunny-ears-in-photographs meme, so it was just a question of doing a bit more research into the history of the cuckold horns. And that's when I came across the wonderful capon theory!

The best source for this is Graber and Richter's article "The Capon Theory of the Cuckold's Horns" (see the the show notes for full bibliographic info). Amazingly, this regrafting of the spur to the head seems to be biologically possible. Graber and Richter tell of a 1929 article in the Journal of Heredity in which A.W. Kozelka performs and reports on just this procedure. Unfortunately I haven't been able to track down the original 1929 article (or the photograph it included) but if anyone has access to this I'd love to hear more about it. There are 16th century Italian references to this procedure as well, but unfortunately that's as far back as the evidence goes. However, there is a much earlier ram's horn reference to cuckolding in the late Greek Artemidorus (2nd century), so this would suggest that the theory that it's just a sarcastic reference to animal horns and virility is the real origin, which later perhaps inspired the practice of regrafting the spurs of the capon. As for the Actaeon story, Claire McEachern discusses this and the renaissance context for cuckoldry in her article "Why Do Cuckolds Have Horns?" It's probably not the original source for the association between horns and cuckoldry, but is a renaissance rationalization, and McEachern interestingly argues that cuckold humour and the various associations are a kind of comic defusing of the anxieties over the Protestant theology of election. No, really!

The main source for research on gesture in general (including the sign of the horns and the V sign) is Desmond Morris, who has published widely on the topic. I've listed a few of his books in the show notes, along with a few links to excerpts online. And if you want to read more about the Chaucer/Valentine's Day date question, I've listed a few articles and links in show notes. Suffice it to say there has been a certain amount of discussion of the topic. And though you may sometimes see it claimed that Valentine's Day has its roots in the Roman festival Lupercalia, sadly it doesn't appear to be true. It really is all down to Chaucer.

By the way, we've made a shareable, customizable, somewhat cheeky Valentine's Day e-card with the Horny Cock on it, which you can find at: -- feel free to share it in the spirit of Valentine's Day!

I mentioned that the "sumer" in "Sumer is icumen in" actually refers to spring. So says the excellent David Crystal as well (see the entry on "Cuckoo" in his book The Story of English in 100 Words, listed on the General Credits page). The term "spring" for the season in question isn't attested until 1547, with related terms appearing a little earlier: springing-time (1387), spring-time (1495), springing (1513), spring of the year (1530), spring tide (1530), spring of the leaf (1538). Before that the only other specific terms to refer to spring were references to Lent, part of the Church calendar, or forms of the Latin borrowing ver. Here's the relevant entries in the Historical Thesaurus if you want to look at more terms for spring.

For those keeping track, Oliver Cromwell was the repeat reference in this episode, last appearing in the Yule episode. Well, along with Chaucer and Shakespeare in the "Paddle Your Own Canoe" and "Loaf" episodes, I suppose.

I'd be interested to know how many people have heard the term "foolscap", and in particular if you knew it as the eggcorn "fullscap". When I was young I remember my teachers referring to long sheets of paper (legal?, A4?) as fullscap and short sheets of paper (smaller than letter size) as "halfscap". Please leave me a comment if you've heard of the word "halfscap". 

Finally, I'll leave you with another medieval cuckoo poem that I didn't mention in the video, the Old English cuckoo riddle, which revolves around brood parasitism. Here it is, first in Old English and then in a translation by Kevin Crossley-Holland:

Mec on þissum dagu     deadne ofgeafum
fæder ond modor;     ne wæs me feorh þa gen,
ealdor in innan.     Þa mec ongon,
welhold mege,     wedum þeccan,
heold ond freoþode,     hleosceorpe wrah
swa arlice     swa hire agen bearn,
oþþæt ic under sceate, ·     swa min gesceapu wæron
ungesibbum wearð     eacen gæste.
Mec seo friþemæg     fedde siþþan,
oþþæt ic aweox,     widdor meahte
siþas asettan.     Heo hæfde swæsra þy læs
suna ond dohtra,     þy heo swa dyde.

In former days my mother and father
forsook me for dead, for the fullness of life
was not yet within me. But another woman
graciously fitted me out in soft garments,
as kind to me as to her own children,
tended and took me under her wing;
until under shelter, unlike her kin,
I matured as a mighty bird (as was my fate).
My guardian then fed me until I could fly,
and could wander more widely on my
excursions; she had the less of her own
sons and daughters by what she did thus.

Don't have a cow with beef & don't have a beef with cow

In this week's video I have a look at the words "beef" and "cow":

This video was inspired by the standard example that everyone (myself included) uses to show how the Norman Conquest affected the history of the English language (watch this excellent summary of the history of English from The Ling Space). I often trot out these pairs of words, cow/beef, sheep/mutton, etc., when explaining the history of English literature during the middle ages. This reflects not only historical linguistics, but also another branch of linguistics called sociolinguistics, specifically how languages from two different groups (in this case with two very different levels of prestige and status) interact. What often happens in these instances of language contact between unbalanced groups is that a simplified language called a pidgin develops, to allow for communication between the two groups, which takes the structure from the lower-prestige language but imports much of its vocabulary from the higher-prestige language. The word "pidgin" itself probably has nothing to do with the similar sounding bird "pigeon" (unless it's a metaphorical reference to the brief messages carried by messenger pigeons, as has been suggested). Instead it's derived from the word "business" in the phrase "business English" which was used in the pidgin that developed from English and Chinese to allow those two groups to communicate for the purposes of commerce. If a pidgin language becomes the native language of a new generation of speakers, it develops a more complex structure and we call it a creole, and has the properties of any other fully formed language. Jamaican creole is a famous example of this process. This is what happened with the Old English spoken by the Anglo-Saxons and the Norman French of William the Conqueror and his fellow Normans. Initially a pidgin would have developed, which eventually became the creole that is Middle English and the Modern English we speak today. So a lot of French vocabulary came into English, leaving us in this case with these English-French pairs of words which reflect the social realities of life in England about a thousand years ago. The interesting twist here, of course, is that in the case of cow and beef, if you go back far enough all the way to Proto-Indo-European, the two words actually come from the same root, and that long history of the word inspired me to write what is essentially a story about war and conflict.

Since I've promised to point out in these blog posts some of the recurring nodes and connections that come up often in the videos, I'll draw attention to the Crimean War, which plays a more central role in my earlier video A Detective Story ( or click here for the specific reference in the video). A few other points to call attention to: Bulwer-Lytton was a wonderfully colourful figure, as his Wikipedia biography attests to. Have a look here and here for some more entertaining bits of trivia about him. According to the Wikipedia, Bovril is particularly associated with British football culture, since thermoses of the hot drink are a good way to keep warm while sitting in the stands watching a match, though apparently thermoses of Bovril are banned in Scotland due to their potential use as projectiles -- another link in the war and conflict associations with the word "beef"? And of course the Beefeaters, guards of the Tower of London who were apparently unusually well fed,  have become an icon of Britain as well, and it has been pointed out (see here and here for instance) that there is a similarity between the word "beefeater" and the Old English term hlaf-æta meaning "loaf-eater", which is an interesting parallel with the Old English hlaford or "loaf-warden" leading to our modern word "lord", which I discussed in my last video on the word "loaf". With videos on the words "loaf" and "beef", you can now make an etymological sandwich. You're welcome!

So I'll leave you with one last related etymology that I didn't use in the video. The Proto-Indo-European root that leads to beef and cow also leads to Greek βούς (or bous), which also means "cow". This is the first element in the compound boutyron which means literally "cow-cheese" and give English the word "butter". Butter is, of course, the first element of the word "butterfly". But why is a butterfly called a butterfly? It's been suggested that it comes from a folk belief that the insects or witches who have taken on the form of butterflies like to steal butter, which might also be supported by the German word for butterfly, milchdieb, which literally means "milk-thief". Or it might come from the supposed similarity in appearance between butter and the excrement of butterflies, a theory perhaps bolstered by the Dutch word for butterfly, boterschijte, which means literally (ahem) "butter-shit". And so I'll leave you with that appetizing thought!

Using My Loaf

After a month off, it's back to posting new videos, and this week's word is "loaf":

This video is one of the earlier ones I made, but for various scheduling reasons I haven't released it until now. As a result, the structure and pacing of this one is a bit different from the style I'm settling into now, and my apologies if the pace is a bit too quick -- you can have a look at the transcript if anything went by too quickly to pick up on. This video was inspired by my teaching of Anglo-Saxon literature and explanation of the comitatus society that lies behind early Germanic culture, and of course the key point is the etymological connection with the words lord and lady. As I keep putting out more and more of these videos, the connections between the videos will inevitably pop up more and more often, so I'll try to point out some the interesting ones. Both this video and the Yule episode mention the 1815 eruption of Mt Tambora which led the Year Without a Summer in 1816, and both videos mention the Old English poem Beowulf and the Roman writer Tacitus, an important source on early Germanic culture.

"Loaf" and as it turns out "bread" are examples of words that have become more restricted in their meanings over time. "Loaf" used to be a general word for bread, and "bread" could refer to morsels of any food. Another example of this is the verb "starve", which in Old English meant simply "to die" and only later narrowed to mean "to die due to lack of food". In linguistics this type of change in meaning is referred to as "narrowing". Another similar example of this is the word "meat", which in Old English meant "piece of food" or simply "food", but now refers mainly to food that is the flesh of an animal. Interestingly, it either comes from a the Proto-Indo-European root *mad- meaning "wet, to drip", referring perhaps to "fat", or it comes from the Proto-Indo-European root *met- meaning "to measure" and gives us not only the word "measure" but also "meter" and "meal", in the sense of food measured out into portions. So perhaps "bread", "meat", and "meal" all reflect the communal action of sharing food. Oh, and the word "mate" comes from "meat", so a mate is someone you share food with, much like the word "companion" that I mention in the video. I guess that's why go out on a romantic date you often have a meal together! Well, if all this discussion of loaves, bread, meat, and meals is making you hungry, make sure you don't starve!

If it's occurred to you to wonder about the other meaning of the word "loaf", in the sense "to laze about, be idle", it's not related to the bread word. Instead, it seems to be a backformation from the word "loafer". Though there's some disagreement as to where "loafer" comes from, one suggestion is that it's an Anglicization of German landläufer meaning "vagabond", from land and the verb laufen meaning "to run". Or it might be related to Old English laf which means "what is left, the remainder", which is related to the verb "to leave", and is an element of the name of the character in Beowulf called Wiglaf (literally "the remainder of battle"), who unlike uncle Beowulf himself, survives the final battle with the dragon (sorry for the spoiler). Either way, this sense of "loaf" has nothing to do with bread, but it may still be connected to the poem Beowulf.

When writing the scripts, inevitably some material gets left out, so here are a few extra tidbits that were interesting but didn't make the cut. The word "companion" which I pointed out as a interesting parallel for "lord" is particularly significant as a reflection of Germanic culture as well. Though the word is Latin, it's probably a translation of an earlier Germanic one, as it first appears in a Frankish text, an early medieval Germanic tribe, and the Gothic language has a word related to "loaf" that means something like "messmate". The expression "to take bread and salt" means to swear an oath, and may be related to an old, possibly eastern, tradition of eating bread and salt once an oath was taken.  In Slavic cultures bread and salt is a sign of hospitality and is offered to guests. The expression "to take bread and salt" was a new one on me, but it's listed in Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase & Fable.

The use of loaf to mean "head" (or by extension brain) as I've done in the title of this blog post with the common expression "use your loaf" is probably from rhyming slang: loaf of bread = head. Interesting, this rhyming slang also gives us loaf of bread = dead. All the discussion of the different senses of "loaf" and "bread", particularly with metaphorical senses related to money, were inspired by playing around with the OED, and particularly the historical thesaurus feature (also available separately as The Historical Thesaurus of English). It's lots of fun looking through various terms and euphemisms for basic concepts like money that were used over the years. If you know of any other bread expressions that I didn't mention in the video, feel free to share in the comments.

One final note about the bubbles in beer: I've been unable to find a satisfactory answer to the question of whether or not beer historically would have been fizzy. Today beer is usually artificially carbonated, but historically beer could be made fizzy by allowing it to continue fermenting in the bottle (as homebrewers often still do), but this would require bottles that could be properly sealed to maintain the fizz. But I would speculate that even in barrels that weren't fully sealed, some amount of fizziness might remain, particularly if the beer was consumed relatively quickly after fermentation, rather than stored for a long time. But if there are any food historians out there who could shed some light on this in the comments below, I'd be very interested to hear.