A Note on Magna Carta – Not Signed, But Sealed

Magna Carta commands a semi-mythical status in the English-speaking world. There are still four surviving copies of this 13th-century document. These surviving copies bear the following date: 15 June 1215. Accordingly, articles have recently appeared, reminding us of Magna Carta’s significance.

At present, some statements, images and film scenes have given us the impression that Magna Carta was signed by the infamous King John. However, the copies of Magna Carta were sealed like other medieval charters. Thus, they had the king’s Great Seal.

 

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Quote By the French Writer Fougeret de Monbron about the English

Louis-Charles Fougeret de Monbron was an 18th-century French writer. Among his works was the anti-British pamphlet Préservatif contre l’anglomanie (1757). He made the following statement:

“We are the only nation in the universe that the English do not despise. They rather do us the honor of hating us with all the heartiness possible. Their aversion against us is a sentiment with which they are inculcated from the cradle. Before they know that there is a God to worship, they know that there are Frenchmen to be detested.”

St George’s Day

Happy St George’s Day !

Although we know little about Saint George, he arguably served as a soldier and was martyred on this day (i.e. 23 April) in 303 during a persecution of Christians under the Roman Emperor Diocletian because he presumably refused to recant his faith. In legends  and in iconography he is usually depicted as a dragon slayer.

St George has been the patron saint of England since the 14th century. King Edward III founded the prestigious Order of the Garter in 1348, choosing St George as its patron. For this reason, the cult of St George became immensely popular.

Source

Cannon, John. Ed. Dictionary of British History. Rev. ed. Oxford: OUP, 2009.  

 

We have to avoid these Unnecessary, Superfluous and Redundant Tautologies – A Short and Brief Definition :)

What is a tautology? Simply put, if we employ repetitive words or repeat a particular idea without adding clarity, we use tautologies. Typical examples are a new innovation, a dry desert, frozen ice or white milk. Tautologies also appear in phrases such as: In my view, I think he is right and correct.

For this reason, I myself, therefore, try or attempt to avoid using, utilizing or employing superfluous, redundant and unnecessary tautologies.:) Seriously, we should avoid using more words than necessary.

Source

Harmon, William, and C. Hugh Holman. Eds. A Handbook to Literature. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. 

Cold Fire, or What Is an Oxymoron?

Usually, we define an oxymoron as a juxtaposition of incongruous or contradictory words. Examples include cold fire (adjective-noun), bittersweet (adjective-adjective) or guest host (noun-noun). By the way, the term oxymoron is itself one since it comes from two Greek words that in English mean sharp (oxy) and dull (moron).

Well-known oxymorons have been created in the context of politics. Here we can point to “left conservative” (Norman Mailer) or “Tory anarchist” (George Orwell). Moreover, an exaggerated use of oxymorons can be seen in Romeo’s speech in Act 1, Scene I of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet:

“Alas, that love, whose view is muffled still,

Should, without eyes, see pathways to his will!

Where shall we dine? – O me! – What fray was here?

Yet tell me not, for I have heard it all.

Here’s much to do with hate, but more with love:-

Why then, O brawling love! O loving hate!

O any thing, of nothing first create!”

Apart from this, we can find, mention or create numerous more oxymorons.

Source

Harmon, William, and C. Hugh Holman. Eds. A Handbook to Literature. 8th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 1999. 

German as the Official Language of the U.S.A.? – A Brief Look at a Historical Myth

Nowadays, some people claim that the U.S. Congress had the intention of making German the official language of the newly founded U.S.A. at the end of the 18th century. According to these claims, the alleged proposal was eventually rejected by just one single vote. However, this is actually a historical myth. Those days an overwhelming majority (app. 90%) of the inhabitants of the U.S.A. spoke English.

The House of Representatives once suggested that all laws should be published in both English and German because there was a significant number of German citizens in some American states (esp. Pennsylvania). But this proposal was not popular at all and was rejected immediately.

Source

Marriott, Emma. Bad History: How We Got the Past Wrong. London: Michael O’Mara Books Limited, 2011. 

A Frenchman must always talking – A Quote by Samuel Johnson

In a quote the famous English writer Samuel Johnson (1709-84) – who was often referred to as Dr. Johnson – summed up his view on the difference between a Frenchman and an Englishman:

“A Frenchman must be always talking, whether he knows anything of the matter or not; an Englishman is content to say nothing when he has nothing to say.”

Source

Clarke, Stephen. 1000 Years of Annoying the French. London: Black Swan, 2010.