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The Time Traveler's Handbook: Ancient Insults

→ by Danieru
Your scientific theory has been proven. A monolithic, almost incorporeal time-machine sits in your lab awaiting further attention. Trembling with the tension of 13 billion temporal years yet to travel you dial in your exact time coordinates, pack your tuna sandwiches and reach for your trusty Time Travelers' Handbook!

Space and time just wouldn't be the same without it...

Chapter I - Ancient Insults

  1. Destination: The Fertile Crescent, 2,350 - 1,000 BCE
    Insult: YHWH (Yahweh)
    Origin: The Tetragrammaton, or Jewish name for God, has long been proclaimed a taboo. Its utterance is one of the highest forms of insult, mainly to God himself:

    - "You shall not take the name of YHWH your God in vain." (Exodus 20:7)

    - "And in all things that I have said unto you take ye heed: and make no mention of the name of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." (Exodus 23:13)

  2. Destination: Europe, The Middle Ages
    Insult: 'I bite my thumb at thee!'
    Origins: Often misquoted from the Shakespeare (the actual quote, from Romeo and Juliet is 'Do you bite your thumb at us, sir?'), the myth has arisen that this Middle Ages slur relates to wars ravaging Southern Europe at the time. Prisoners taken by local armies would be offered the chance to earn their freedom by eating a fig from a mule's anus. As the captors taunted their captive, offering them this degrading method of escape, they would bite their thumbs.

  3. Destination: Easter Island, 1,700AD - Present Day
    Insult: 'Your Grandmother's flesh sticks between my teeth'
    Origins: An ancient Easter Island (Rapa Nui) insult which came to symbolise much of the island's tragic history. When the resources of Rapa Nui had been utterly exhausted the warring Chiefdoms resorted to cannibalism to survive. The insult still wields clout today, a remnant of Rapa Nui's ancient, grisly downfall.

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Blogger Jennyology said...

I remember reading an ethnography about a rural part of Kerala in India during the 1930s where people commonly referred to each other as "cholera-infested corpses." Good, smelly, insulty times.

February 01, 2006 2:46 PM    

Blogger Danieru said...

Now that is one I'd relish using...

February 02, 2006 8:13 AM    

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