Tuesday, June 6, 2017


I was reading an article on the role of religion in the secular Turkish state and came across this statement:
It is possible -- such is the argument of Carter Findley in his Turks in World History -- that in doing so it drew on a long Turkish cultural tradition, born in Central Asia and predating conversion to Islam, that figured a sacralisation of the state, which has vested its modern signifier, devlet, with an aura of unusual potency.

You may be wondering what the heck a congenital variant of spinal segmentation has to do with religion. From the always-excellent Online Etymology Dictionary:

Bone at the base of the spine, 1753, from Late Latin os sacrum "sacred bone," from Latin os "bone" + sacrum, neuter of sacer "sacred" (see sacred). Said to be so called because the bone was the part of animals that was offered in sacrifices. Translation of Greek hieron osteon. Greek hieros also can mean "strong," and some sources suggest the Latin is a mistranslation of Galen, who was calling it "the strong bone."

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