(urth) Fuligin?

DAVID STOCKHOFF dstockhoff at verizon.net
Wed Jul 16 08:56:49 PDT 2014

Perhaps, but you certainly wouldn't expect him to call it "mercury." Way too many conflicting associations there. And I doubt there would be a common term for it anyway---who would have it sitting around the house?

On Wednesday, July 16, 2014 11:47 AM, Jeffery Wilson clueland.com <jwilson at clueland.com> wrote:

>On 7/16/2014 8:59 AM, Mo Holkar wrote:
>> Hydrargyrum is the Latinized Greek name for mercury, hence its chemical
>> symbol Hg. The 'gyr' is just part of 'argyros', Greek for silver.
>> My understanding is that everything described about this liquid in the
>> text is satisfied by mercury, so there seems no reason to consider it to
>> be anything different.
>> It's not the same (it seems to me) as where he calls a riding beast by
>> the name of a prehistoric animal and so we must understand it's not that
>> animal and nor is it a horse. Hydrargyrum is not an ancient substance
>> predecessor to mercury; it's an archaic name for precisely contemporary
>> mercury.
>G.W. says, "Latin is once or twice employed to indicate that 
>inscriptions and the like are in a language Severian appears to consider 
>obsolete. What the actual language may have been, I cannot say."
>In 3.37, it is writ, "Whatever had occurred, the mace was gone, and I 
>held in my hands only the sword's hilt, from which protruded less than a 
>cubit of shattered metal. The hydrargyrum that had labored so long in 
>the darkness there ran from it now in silver tears."
>If this substance is mercury, as known to the ancient Greeks and 
>popularized in current science and left in dangerous quantities from the 
>mid 20th century peak of its production and use, and suitable for 
>Galilean vacuums, mercury switches, and driving hatters mad, it seems 
>odd that there would be no current word for it encountered by Severian.
>Jeff Wilson - < jwilson at clueland.com >
>A&M Texarkana Computational Intelligence Lab
>< http://www.tamut.edu/cil >
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