(urth) Questions . . .

brunians at brunians.org brunians at brunians.org
Tue Nov 27 01:26:59 PST 2007

Interesting and cool.


> On 11/26/07 9:02 PM, "brunians at brunians.org" <brunians at brunians.org>
> wrote:
>>> Argosy was, I thought, a reference to the myth of Jason and the
>>> Golden Fleece, a fleece said to give one the ability to fly. It would
>>> seem to fit with some of the other Greek allusions that Mr. Wolfe is
>>> fond of.
>> No, the Argo was Jason's ship. An argosy is a voyage generically similar
>> to Jason's, would be my first guess.
> Not a voyage, but a ship.  The OED says:
> Hist. and poet. A merchant-vessel of the largest size and burden; esp.
> those
> of Ragusa and Venice.
> As for the etymology, the word surprisingly has naught to do with the
> Argo:
> [App. ad. It. Ragusea, pl. Ragusee, i.e. una (nave or caracca) Ragusea, a
> Ragusan (vessel or carack), best repr. by the earliest form ragusye; the
> transposition in argosea, arguze, argozee, etc., is no doubt connected
> with
> the fact that Ragusa (in Venetian, Ragusi) itself appears in 16th c.
> English
> as Aragouse, Arragouese, Arragosa. Cf. also the prec. word, in which
> Argosine seems to represent It. Ragusino, synonym of Raguseo.]
> That argosies were reputed to take their name from Ragusa, is stated by
> several writers of 17th c.; and the derivation is made inductively certain
> by investigations made for us by Mr. A. J. Evans, showing the extent of
> Ragusan trade with England, and the familiarity of Englishmen with the
> Ragusee or large and richly-freighted merchant ships of Ragusa, ŒArgosies
> with portly saile, Like Signiors and rich Burgers on the flood [which]
> ouer-peere the pettie Traffiquers That curtsie to them, do them reuerence,
> As they flye by them with their wouen wings.¹ (SHAKES. Merch. V. I. i. 9.)
> No reference to the ship Argo is traceable in the early use of the word.]
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