Tuesday, 26 April 2011

₪ Minus

  The topic was already on the table,
and the conversation about our finances concluded to one word my wife said: ¨mindre¨. 

¨Mindre must be norwegian for less , minor¨ 
 I thought´ and immediately a flashback hit my mind:

   ¨ No matter what you will do, you have to do it perfect. To excel. 
But most important of all, is to do everything as humanly possible you can, never to become a Minus Human ¨
 said he and passed me my sack. 
I looked up, there was a huge sign:
 ¨Ελεύθερον το έμψυχον¨  (eléftheron to émpsihon - Free is the (brave) soul
and suddenly the words of Pericles demolished at once any Marxistic leftovers from my youth rebellions. An explosion of patriotism occurred in my soul and I crossed proudly the gate. Perhaps the peak of a father - son relationship is that exact moment, the moment the boy becomes a man and goes to serve his country, perhaps the highest honor a man can have in his life. Perhaps.

 Since then the phrase ¨Minus Human¨ and my mind developed a lifetime relationship ` and as the best companion a human could have, it has escorted me always everywhere I´ve been reminding to myself the dos and don´ts a man needs to be kept in mental order. The importance of such a special word in my life led me to analyze it and search deep into it. And by that allow me to take the initiative and share it with you.
  The word mindre has done a long trip from Hellas to the Scandinavian countries, but as always, I will develop the analysis backwards, so we will able to understand better it´s journey. The word was introduced to the tribes that later were about to become the Saxons from the tribes that dominated the area south of today´s Denmark. The Lombardic tribe was enjoying the control of the area by that time, and the situation among the ¨barbarians¨ was bloodier than ever before. All against each other and altogether against the arrogant Romans, were exchanging beside blades, cultures as well. And that is how the Lombardic had taken it´s share from the Frankish one.  Until the first half of the fourth century, the Franks, a western germanic tribe were interacting quite... friendly for these times towards the Gaulish people and the Romans. Result to that was the word Minder where the scandinavian Mindre owes it´s root at. 
  Going ever more back in time and currently around 50 B.C , the Gaulish tribes were the key to the word´s trip, because of their geographical disposal on map. The Gauls by that time controlled north Italy up to the Adriatic coast and they were interacting directly with the Romans and the Greeks. In most of the Gaulish tribes, which by that time did not have a common language, the word Minir was used as a de facto word needed for their merchants´s transactions with the Romans, from whose the word actually originates from, before they loan it to the Franks as Minder.
  The original word in Latium was Minus, and comes from the Aeólic Hellenic Minús (el. Μινύς ,
pron. Minís) which literally meant ¨ Small ¨ , but never had any other variant in the hellenic language except a couple occasions, as the word ¨Mikró¨ (pron. mikró - eng. small) prevailed.
  The loan though to the latin language from the hellenic one, is of huge importance ` as the word varied after in hundreds of alternations which if we include the grammar tenses, then we should talk for thousands in all languages. Characteristic examples on our modern day use of the word´s derivatives, are the terms minimum, miniature, minimalism etc.

  Historic Tip: 

  The ancient Greeks and Romans were notorius for their culinary interests. The Greeks mostly about the art of cooking Γαστρονομία ( pron. gastronomía - eng. gastronomy   {from the terms  Γαστήρ + Νόμος  - pron. Gastêêr + Nómos - eng. Stomach + Law (art) } ) while the Romans were even more famous than the Greeks for their legendary dinners where... all pleasures where being enjoyed. In their official dinners though, the Romans always used to read a small and quick letter about what the dinner would include, as the Romans where the very firsts to enjoy exotic and ¨international¨ tastes. This quick synopsis was called by the Greeks ¨ Μινύθες Γραμμάτιον ¨ (pron. Menúthes Grammáteon - eng. Small Letter) and by that, what we call and ask on the restaurants as  ¨ Menu ¨ has taken it´s name off.