[lit-ideas] Re: Gumnasia -- from Akanthos to Orsippos and Back

  • From: "Simon Ward" <sedward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: <lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Wed, 19 Dec 2007 11:45:19 -0000

          Where fearless of the hunt the deer securely stood 
          and trippling freely walked a burgess of the wood. 

                                          Risdon, Survey of Devonshire (1630)

--- this in entry for 'tripple', which the OED defines as "to trip". 

Not convincingly, I suspect. 

Assuming that 'tripple' has subsequently been shortened to trip - and perhaps 
one definition of the word - I suspect that the Burgess [citizen of the 
Borough] is merely 'taking a trip', partaking of a short journey, rather than 
losing his footing owing to some small impediment catching his feet (like a 
vole perhaps), or, as JL's postscript suggests, walking with an affecting gate.

In this respect, I might be said to have 'trippled' this morning, accompanied 
by a frenzied dog and a bitterly cold easterly that made looking up at Down Tor 
painful. Ordinarily, I would have climbed the bugger (pronounced buggr in Devon 
and denoting an object, perhaps of affection or note, rather than anything at 
all smutty), a twenty five minute climb that brings you to a series of peaks, 
each of which give the impression of being the top, only to see the next rise a 
few hundred yards ahead. But not today. I was poised to and parked the car (a 
five minute drive from home) accordingly, but as soon as the wind hit my ears I 
turned up the wimpy track that goes along the coomb below the Tor.


Said JL, "I am enchanted that you have the SOD, as I call'im, the Shorter 
Oxford Dictionary".

Shorter it might be, but it's still two volumes of weighty card and paper. A 
real beauty in fact, the 1969 reprint (with corrections) of the 1933 Edition 
prepared by Little, Fowler and Coulson revised and edited by CT Onions. 
Purchased from Oxfam bookshop for nary a tenner and in spanking condition, it 
now resides on the inside corner of my newly constituted desk (filling a handy 
space in what was our library and is now, partly at least, my second study - 
made necessary by a new contract, a new computer and the need for wireless 
broadband ). 

My SOD has words like ...random choice ... studding-sail, of obscure origin 
denoting 'a sail set beyond the leeches of any of the prinicpal sails during a 
fair wind'. Such a definition warrants a further foray (the other volume as it 
happens) to find that 'leech' in this context describes 'the perpendicular or 
sloping side of a sail', also attributed to 'leech-line', a rope attached to 
the leech to truss the sail close up to the yard and 'leech-rope', a name for 
that part of the bolt-rope to which the border or skirt of the sail is sewn.


All of which should be sufficient to justify the inclusion below of JL's post, 
one that didn't make it to the list, but one that he handily copied to me - 
perhaps with this intention - and which I now deidicate to the list.



  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx 
  To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Cc: sedward@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
  Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2007 11:36 PM
  Subject: Re: Gumnasia -- from Akanthos to Orsippos and Back 

  We are discussing the Loeb for the jockstrap. Is it genuine? Nah.

  Simon, I'm glad you found my second post of interest. It's only replies like 
yours that motivate me to do the research, did you know that? Well, now you do.

  In any case, I've just checked with the version of my post posted online at 

  and it boringly goes:

  de _tethaptai_ 

  and ditto for _each_ Greek word. I'm pleased that in the version you appended 
at the tail of your post made for more fluent reading.

  Incidentally, don't feel self-ridiculed, will you.

  I am enchanted that you have the SOD, as I call'im, the Shorter Oxford 
Dictionary. I'm currently with access to the OED and indeed, if you happen to 
be from Devon, should be familiar with this pretty rhyme -- that made its way 
to the OED (how, I don't know since one of the maxims of the OED was 'avoid 

            Where fearless of the hunt the deer securely stood 
            and trippling freely walked a burgess of the wood. 

                                            Risdon, Survey of Devonshire (1630)

  --- this in entry for 'tripple', which the OED defines as "to trip". 

  More in the ps, but I want your critical assessment too. You think Pausanias 
is to be believed? Or the scholia ad Iliad? Personally I think possibly 
Akanthos was the first, and I'd like to see the Lakedaimonians being the first, 
honouring the word of Thucydides; but you never know. The mysterious death of 
Orsippos is still unresolved. I cannot think he died during the race; how could 
he become a general and gain land from his neighbours if so?

  Greek history can be fascinating. 

  As a Devonian -- which I assume you are -- you must be familiar with the 
British or English movement for naturism or nudism. In Buenos Aires we all know 
that Dame Helen Mirren is _one_ (see her delightful, "Calendar Girls"). I 
thought, though, that she would practice on the Channel and the English Riviera 
(from Torquay to Torbay and back), and was slightly wounded in my non-English 
(but anglophile) pride when I learned that she rather does it where W. C. O. 
does it too, in Saint Tropez -- some gymnosophista.

  One thing to consider seriously is dates. Orsippos is 720 BC, but I haven't 
checked Akanthos. I suppose he ran some years _earlier_? Also we should check 
_where_ in Lakedaimonia he hailed from. Pretty large shire, if you axes me. As 
far as we have that stretch of Greek nudity covered and understood, I'm happy 
enough, and don't need to consider if Richard Coeur de Lion bathed naked with 
Blondel -- while they sing, "Hey day, lackaday... Hey day lackaday let the 
tears go free..." There's a beatiful graphic at 
http://www.kellscraft.com/richard.html that it's so beautiful that should make 
the story TRUE.

  Sorry to say my English is not so sophisticated to follow your turns of 
phrase, and I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the gatekeeping and the 
ridiculous protocols -- It's not clear if it's _me_ the ridiculous, or the God. 
In any case, this post is cc to you and lit-ideas. For it to get it to the 
list, I should have to wait for tomorrow, and resend it, since "God" will not 
be moved by your "I vote for one more post by J. L. today". Also, what's today 
in London is tomorrow in Frisco -- and midnight in Buenos Aires, so as the 
Americans say, 'go figure' ("what", I often wonder -- figurative imagination is 
hardly simple to be telling people to _go_ *and* do it, wouldn' t you agree?)


  J. L. Speranza
      Buenos Aires, Argentina.

               "He trippled, he danced, and he sung".

                                 W. Anderson, "Rhymes" (1867)

                   1899 G. H. RUSSELL Under the Sjambok iv. 49 
                    They [Boers]..getting into their saddles, slowly trippled 
away (a kind of run, neither gallop, canter, or trot). 

                    1903 Longm. Mag. Dec. 151 
                    That easy hand canter usual in such Free State horses as do 
not tripple.
                      1901 Field 9 Mar. 322/1 

                       The Boer never rides his horse at the trot, but at a 
quick walk or canter, and a step peculiar to the country and called 
‘trippling’, or, as we should style it, ambling. 

                         1905 Blackw. Mag. Oct. 526/1 He could still hear the 
trippling patter of the other rider. 

  1909 R. CULLUM Compact xi. 132 Can't I even persuade you to ride my ‘tripler’?

  1880 GILLMORE On Duty 296 A slow tripple a pace similar to what is designated 
‘racking’ in North America. 

  1887 RIDER HAGGARD Jess (1899) 4 He put the tired nag into a sort of 
‘tripple’ or ambling canter much affected by S. African horses. 

  1901 Field 9 Mar. 322/1 This ‘tripple’ is between a fast walk and slow trot.

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