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Home :: Archive :: 2008 :: November ::
"bar"?
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 19.0644  Thursday, 13 November 2008

[1] From:   Tom Bishop <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 16:19:52 +1300
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[2] From:   JD Markel <
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     Date:   Sunday, 9 Nov 2008 19:22:06 -0800 (PST)
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[3] From:   Cheryl Newton <
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     Date:   Sunday, 09 Nov 2008 23:56:14 -0500
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[4] From:   David Crystal <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 08:53:18 +0000
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[5] From:   Connie Beane <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 09:12:01 -0500
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[6] From:   Peter Holland <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 09:49:00 -0500
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[7] From:   Nina Green <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 08:11:35 -0800
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[8] From:   David Evett <
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     Date:   Monday, 10 Nov 2008 11:15:50 -0500
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[9] From:   John W Kennedy <
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     Date:   Tuesday, 11 Nov 2008 00:06:50 -0500
     Subt:   Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

[10] From:  Joseph Egert <
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      Date:  Thursday, 13 Nov 2008 13:20:44 -0800 (PST)
      Subt:  Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Tom Bishop <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 16:19:52 +1300
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

 >I can't find an obvious OED meaning for "bar" in the following
 >sentence by Sir Thomas North, in his translation of Plutarch's
 >_Life of Julius Caesar_:
 >
 >But whilst he was preparing for this voyage, he attempted to cut
 >the bar of the strait of Peloponnesus, in the market-place where
 >the city of Corinth standeth.
 >
 >Any ideas?

What's the sentence in Amyot's French? It's talking about the plan of Caesar's 
to cut a shipping canal across from the Corinthian to the Saronic gulf, through 
the isthmus of Corinth, isn't it? The plan  Suetonius reports, and that Nero 
tried to do? "Bar" in the sense of spit of land preventing easy passage (as for 
Tennyson). Something like an extended version of OED 1: 15. a. A bank of sand, 
silt, etc., across the mouth of a river or harbour, which obstructs navigation" 
but also just picking up the general sense of an obstruction?

Tom

[2]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       JD Markel <
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Date:       Sunday, 9 Nov 2008 19:22:06 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

It's geomorphological, referring to the strip of land that barely makes the 
Peloponnesus classified a peninsula rather than an island. I have only seen 
"bar" used before for sand bars and moraines.

Here's a wiki link on the Corinth Canal

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corinth_Canal

[3]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Cheryl Newton <
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Date:       Sunday, 09 Nov 2008 23:56:14 -0500
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

hmm... as in sand bars?

Cheryl Newton

[4]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       David Crystal <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 08:53:18 +0000
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

Here's a definition: 1867 SMYTH Sailor's Word-bk., Bar, a boom formed of huge 
trees or spars lashed together, moored transversely across a port. It's in the 
online OED -- always a first port of call for such queries. This sense of bar is 
known from the 14th century.

[5]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Connie Beane <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 09:12:01 -0500
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

The "bar" of the strait of Peloponnesus is the isthmus of Corinth. It connects 
the Peloponnesus to the rest of Greece and separates the Saronic Gulf and the 
Gulf of Corinth. Julius Caesar, like Alexander the Great and Caligua, all wanted 
a canal across the "bar" so that ships didn't have to be dragged across (if they 
were small enough) or their cargos unloaded and carried across and reloaded onto 
other ships. The isthmus is only four miles wide, so cutting a canal was a 
viable option, although is wasn't actually accomplished until the last decade of 
the eighteenth century.

[6]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Peter Holland <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 09:49:00 -0500
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

Isn't it a sand bar as in OED n.1, 15. a. "A bank of sand, silt, etc., across 
the mouth of a river or harbour, which obstructs navigation."?

Peter

[7]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Nina Green <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 08:11:35 -0800
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

This would appear to be a reference to Julius Caesar's plan to construct what is 
now the Corinth canal.

See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corinth_Canal

Nina Green

[8]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       David Evett <
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Date:       Monday, 10 Nov 2008 11:15:50 -0500
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

I'd check the translation against the Greek, with an eye to seeing (a) what you 
can find that might correspond to "bar" and (b) whether something got omitted. I 
should say that I just tried doing that on Perseus, but the search engine failed 
to find either Corinth or Peloponessos, in either English or Greek, in their 
texts of the Lives, so I came up empty handed. But I had no idea where in the 
Life of Julius Caesar the passage occurs and so had to search the entire Lives; 
you have a clearer idea of exactly where to look and might have better luck.

Dave Evett

[9]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       John W Kennedy <
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Date:       Tuesday, 11 Nov 2008 00:06:50 -0500
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

John Cox <
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 >I can't find an obvious OED meaning for "bar" in the following
 >sentence by Sir Thomas North, in his translation of Plutarch's
 >_Life  of Julius Caesar_:
 >
 >But whilst he was preparing for this voyage, he attempted to cut the
 >bar of the strait of Peloponnesus, in the market-place where the
 >city of Corinth standeth.
 >
 >Any ideas?

The "speaker's meaning" (as C. S. Lewis puts it) is "isthmus", i.e.,  as many 
did before and after him, Caesar tried to build the Corinth  Canal. I can easily 
guess, but do not actually know what the original  Greek word is, which may well 
bear on North's choice. It could easily be a nonce use, if nothing else seems 
appealing, or a near-hit on "sandbar".

[10]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:       Joseph Egert <
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Date:       Thursday, 13 Nov 2008 13:20:44 -0800 (PST)
Subject: 19.0635 "bar"?
Comment:    Re: SHK 19.0635 "bar"?

Definition 15a of the OED's first 'bar (n)' entry may apply:
   ---"A bank of sand, silt, etc., across the mouth of a river, which obstructs 
navigation."

   North's original 1579 Plutarch translates the partial sentence as follows:
   ---"he attempted to cut the barre of the straight of PELOPONNESVS, in the 
place where the city of CORINTHE standeth."  (I could not find "market-place".)

   Amyot, North's French source (c. 1559 or possibly later) translates it as 
follows from his Latin and Greek sources (I've omitted the accents):
   ---"il essaya de couper l'encouleure du destroit du Peloponese a l'endroit ou 
est assise la ville de Corinthe,..."

   Later editors of Amyot sometimes gloss the word "encouleure" (a variant of 
'encolure'?) by the modern French "col" or "cou"  ("neck" in English).

   A Latin rendering (c. 1620) phrases it:
   ---"Isthmum Corinthium perfodere molitus est."

   Dryden (c.1683) translates it:
   ---"he proposed to dig through the isthmus on which Corinth stands;"

   Finally, Perrin in her bilingual Greek/English Loeb edition (1928) shortens 
it even further:
   ---"he intended to dig through the isthmus of Corinth,"

(I will spare you the Greek).

   Regards,
   Joe Egert

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