'laconic'

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'laconic'

Post by Archived Topic » Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:25 am

Came across this today in my ESL class. Legend has it that Philip of Macedon, at war with the 'Laconians', sent word to them that if he were to reach their capital (Sparta), that he would not leave a stone standing. The Laconians replied to this threat with a message of one word: "If."
Submitted by matthew taglang (Philadelphia, pa - U.S.A.)
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'laconic'

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:39 am

This word is a very popular PSAT/SAT. Students have trouble remembering the definition so this is a good beginning.
Reply from Gail Gallagher (Coral springs - U.S.A.)
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'laconic'

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 23, 2004 3:53 am

this word is completely unknown to any wiz
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'laconic'

Post by Archived Reply » Fri Jan 23, 2004 4:08 am

not so(-) refers to a denizen of laconia NH hells angels
have a rally there every summer.
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Re: 'laconic'

Post by dante » Mon Jun 14, 2010 7:47 pm

Interesting etimology of the word.It reminded me of the book by Carl Popper "The open society and its enemies" I read as a student (it was required reading if it's any excuse :) which deals with the matter of inception of democracy in Athens and the relation between Sparta and Athens through the critics of Plato's philosophy.The author in the foreword explains his motives for writing the book and his disgust with authoritarian regimes which existed throughout the history.I remember that he noted that it would be degrading to even discuss ideas of people like Hitler and similar dictators so he chose Plato as the ancient predecessor and a paradigm of all the antidemocratic ideas (at least it's how I remember the main idea of the book).


Although born Athenian,Plato supported Laconians (Spartans) since the whole his philosophy lined up with,or was even influenced by the Sparta's political ideas.Popper's severely criticizes Plato for siding with Laconians in the war that broke between Athens and Sparta. He considers Plato a traitor of his own city (again,if I remember well) for the fact that he was against the democratic majority that ruled the city he was born and lived in.Aside the particular ideas in question,and what was progressive and what not,I think that such view is not in the accord with the idea of an open society of free individuals that Popper,I guess,proposed in his book.I mean the argument that living in some city should automatically mean that one is required to follow the political mainstream whatever happens,or otherwise one is a traitor of something,is in itself an invalid argument.

Incidentally,the reasons that set off the division between Athens and Sparta were rather typical of human motives in any conflict that ever broke out in the world.It always starts and ends up with money:).The thriving overseas trade made some people in Athens rich,and the rising class of tradesmen found the established political philosophy of the time an unneccessary burden,and,most importantly,an obstacle to their business.It's only a conjecture of mine since I haven't read on the history of Athens any further than this book goes,but I think that they must have paid some duties to the state they didn't like :) It was similar I guess to American revolution which was basically the insurgence against paying taxes imposed by British rule,later probably wrapped in high ideals flags and things.As I understand the history of American revolution,Brits had gradually removed all the duties to British Crown on all the products produced in America and retained only the tax on tea,but even that wasn't acceptable to Americans and they took to arms to oust hateful British imperialist.American nation is developed subsequently to make a distinction between the Brits from this side of the pond to the Brits on the other side of the pond so people would know who fights who in all the mess:)

Anyway,who would think that so big empire as the United States is today will start out by so unlikely reason as tea is:) What kind of tea was that? Was there only one kind of tea? Maybe mint tea? Indian tea? Black tea, green tea? Tea for constipation prevention and relief? I don't think they had so much information about herbal remedies at that time:)
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