Drachm [Noun.]

A denomination of coinage in ancient Greece; later a unit of weight in the apothecaries’ system of measure (1/8 ounce apoth. or 3.89 gram.) From the Ancient Greek δραχμή ‎’a weight and coin‘.

Ivy, privy, famous; clamour
Has the a of drachm and hammer.
– Gerard Nolst Trenité, The Chaos

Protasis and Apodosis

In grammar, conditional sentences are “If …, then …” statements. They make a statement that if something happens, then something else will happen.

The ‘if’ clause is referred to as the protasis by grammarians. It comes from the Greek words ‘pro’ (meaning before) and ‘stasis’ (meaning ‘stand’). So, the protasis means ‘what stands before’ or ‘comes first’ as far as these two clauses are concerned. The ‘then’ clause is termed the apodosis; it is what ‘comes after’ the protasis.


In Ancient Greece, the boustrophedon, meaning literally “to turn like oxen”, was the writing of alternate lines in opposite directions, one line from left to right and the next from right to left, like the oxen would do when ploughing a field.

Common styles of boustrophedon writing include:

  • Inversion of every other line, but not the words themselves.

E.g. So again we have learned something,
Greek the about joke cheap a making of instead
civilisation upon which everything around us depends

  • Inversion of every other line, as well as the words themselves, but not each individual letter.

E.g. gnihtemos denrael evah ew niaga oS
daetsni fo gnikam a paehc ekoj tuoba eht keerG
sdneped su dnuora gnihtyreve hcihw nopu noitasilivic

  • Inversion of every other line, the words themselves as well as each individual letter.

Some Etruscan texts have also been written in boustrophedon style, as have some early Hungarian and Polynesian scriptures.

Ancient Greek You Know (δ)

Learning about the Classics can enrich one’s life enormously. Indeed, for some, understanding Greek is a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί, a “possession for eternity”. Interestingly, people tend to be more familiar with Ancient Greek than they know. Consider the following words:

ἄξιος – axios meaning ‘worthy’; axiom, an assumption whose worth is evident.

ἀρχή – arkhe meaning ‘beginning’, ‘rule’ or ’empire’; anarchy, the absence of rule.

διδάκω – didako meaning ‘to teach’; didactics, the art of teaching.

δίκη – dike meaning ‘justice’; theodicy, a vindication of divine justice.

ἡμέρα – hemera meaning ‘day’; ephemeral, lasting only for a day.

θάλαττα – thalatta meaning ‘sea’; thalassocracy, the rule over the sea.

θάπτω – thapto meaning ‘to bury’; epitath, inscription where someone is buried.

κακός – kakos meaning ‘bad’, ‘evil’; cacophony, discordant sounds.

καλός – kalos meaning ‘beautiful’, ‘noble’ or ‘good’; callisthenics, healthy exercises.

μετά – meta meaning ‘with’, ‘after’; metaphysics, things beyond the physical realm.

μοῖρα – moira meaning ‘fate’; merit, the portion with one deserves.

Μοῦσα – mousa meaning ‘Muse’; music, an art which the muses superintended.

ὅπλον – hoplon meaning ‘tool’, ‘weapons’; panoply, an array of weapons.

πάλαι – palai meaning ‘long ago’; Palaeolithic, the old Stone Age.

ποιητής – poietes meaning ‘poet’; a person who writes poems.

πολίτης – polites meaning ‘citizen’; politics, certain manoeuvres between people.

συν – syn meaning ‘plus’; synchronize, to time things together with another.

τάττω – tatto meaning ‘station’, ‘appoint’; syntax, the way words are drawn up.

See other: Ancient Greek You Know


Ever been caught between the devil and the deep blue sea? Or maybe you have been told to show a leg, been taken aback or have been made to run the gauntlet?

If so, you have been using just a few of the thousands of slang words and phrases coined or adopted by the Royal Navy – the world’s oldest organised fighting service – over the course of more than 400 years.

Over the centuries, the jargon of the Royal Navy, known as Jackspeak, has contributed to the everyday English vocabulary.

Royal Navy personnel feel that part of its charm comes from its exclusivity, because the terminology used is only understood by fellow naval comrades.

Also, it is believed that the humour of nautical slang is an essential coping strategy for people dealing with the multiple uncertainties and dangers of war.

“The world is a navy in an empty ocean.” – Dejan Stojanovic

The range of slang used by the Grey Funnel Line (the navy) is both instructive and amusing. Whether you serve in the Green Death (3rd Commando Brigade, Royal Marines), or are a snotty (midshipman) or a pickle jar officer (a university graduate who can tell you the square root of a pickle-jar lid to three decimal places but cannot get the blooming thing off), there is a special name for everything that matters.

In addition, the whole spectrum of naval life is covered, from a horse’s neck (brandy and dry ginger) to buckets of sunshine (nuclear weapons), the rather charming putting the Queen to bed (affectionate term for the formal lowering of the White Ensign each evening, at sunset), and helioproctosis (a condition where a person, usually a toffee-nosed officer, believes the sun shines from his backside – from the Ancient Greek ἥλιος meaning ‘sun’, and πρωκτός meaning ‘anus’).

“The sea, the snotgreen sea, the scrotumtightening sea.” – James Joyce, Ulysses

And at the end of a Naval career, one receives the Order of the Golden Toecap (redundancy), and swallows the anchor (retired from a career at sea).

Finally, to get out at Fratton is Royal Navy jargon for coitus interruptus. (Fratton is the last railway station before Portsmouth – home of one of Britain’s largest Naval Bases.)

Ancient Greek You Know (γ)

Learning about the Classics can enrich one’s life enormously. Indeed, for some, understanding Greek is a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί, a “possession for eternity”. Interestingly, people tend to know more Ancient Greek than they think. Consider the following words:

ἆθλον – athlon meaning ‘prize’; athlete.

ἀντί – anti meaning ‘instead of’; anti, a preposition indicating opposition.

γράφω – grapho meaning ‘I write’; graphic, e.g. descriptive.

δῆμος – demos meaning ‘people’; demo, an example of a product.

δημοκρατία – demokratia meaning ‘democracy’; democracy.

διά – dia meaning ‘through; on account of’; diagonal, joining two non-adjacent vertices.

εἰρήνη – eirehneh meaning ‘peace’; Irene, common European name.

ἐκκλησία – eklesia meaning ‘assembly’; ecclesiastical, pertaining to a church.

νίκη – nikeh meaning ‘victory’; Nike, a type of missile; well-known brand of sportswear.

ὀφθαλμός – ophthalmos meaning ‘eye’; ophthalmologist, eye doctor.

παύω – pauo meaning ‘I stop’; pause, to stop or interrupt.

περί – peri meaning ‘about; around’; perimeter, the outer limits of an area.

φυλάττω – phylatto meaning ‘I guard’; prophylactic, a preventive.

See other: Ancient Greek You Know

Ancient Greek You Know (β)

Learning about the Classics can enrich one’s life enormously. Indeed, for some, understanding Greek is a κτῆμα ἐς ἀεί, a “possession for eternity”. Interestingly, people tend to know more Ancient Greek than they think. Consider the following words:

ἄγγελος – angelos meaning ‘messenger’; angel, a metaphysical spirit.

ἀπό – apo meaning ‘away from’; apogee, farthest point from the Earth.

ἐΰ – eu meaning ‘well’; eugenics, science of well produced babies.

ζῷον – zóon meaning ‘animal’; zoology, biology of the animal kingdom.

ξένος – xenos meaning ‘foreigner’; xenophobia, the fear of foreigners.

οὐ – oe meaning ‘not’; utopia, an ideal and imaginary place.

παράpara meaning ‘from / at / to’; parallel, lines beside each other.

πόλεμος – polemos meaning ‘war’; polemic, a warlike saying.

στέφανος – stephanos meaning ‘crown’; Stephen, common European name.

φίλος – philos meaning ‘friend’; philosophy, the study of wisdom.

χρυσός  – krysos meaning ‘gold’; chrysanthemum, a golden flower.

See other: Ancient Greek You Know