Saturday, June 9, 2012

Word of the Day: “hoplitocracy”

The following article just appeared in The Onion:

June 9, 12:01 PM
HOUSTON — When music at a neighbor’s evening party got too loud for his liking, Raul Rodriguez showed up to complain, carrying a gun and a video camera.
As a verbal confrontation unfolded, the retired Houston-area firefighter told a police dispatcher by phone that he feared for his life and was “standing his ground”…

No wait -- actually it was the Washington Post:

As often, the readers’ comments are more interesting -- certainly more literate -- than the WaPo prose.   The following, from noted gentleman and scholar Mr. Boa_Candelabrum,  was especially noteworthy:

If this trial does not convict the shooter then, even on their own private property, unarmed people will have no rights. In such places, we will become a “hoplitocracy” (rule of the armed – you saw it here first). In the plutocratic nation we are becoming, this will be the only way members of the Helot class can empower themselves.

The reference is to the hoplites (οπλίτης) -- “citizen-soldiers of the Ancient Greek city-states”.  Thus, a hoplitocracy (pronounce it hop-li-TOCK-ra-see) is rule by vigilantes.

A hoplite, Standing his Ground

For a Latin one, click here:

For further erudite arcana, simply tap with your quill pen  here:

You might also enjoy our classically-minded detective stories, written especially for scholarly gentlemen (and curvaceous dames):

For a sample of one of these, read by the author, and illustrated with classical paintings courtesy of that perfect gentleman (and scholar of Biblical languages) Dr. Massey, click here:

[Update]  Just happened upon another sociopolitical coinage:

…the creation of what is called plutonomy  in an upbeat analysis by Citigroup, a bank that is once again feeding at the public trough, as it has done regularly for thirty years, in a cycle of risky loans, huge profits, crash, bailout.  The bank’s analysts decribe a world that is dividing into two blocs:  the plutonomy  and the rest.  In plotonomies, they write, there are rich consumers, few in number, but disproportionate in the gigantic slice of income they take.
-- Noam Chomsky, Hopes and Prospects (2010), p. 94

Thus, what we are headed for as a nation is a hoplitocratic plutonomy (hop-LIT-o-CRAT-ik ploo-TAH-nom-ee).
You heard it here second.


  1. Thank you for the post! Most people wish I were more normal. By the way - I love your lead in to this using "The Onion."


    1. “Normal” people are a drug on the market -- dime a dozen -- ten for a nickel.
      Yet you and I are citizens of the latter Athens, and the larger Rome.
      Avete, quirites !

  2. So what caliber is that spear?