Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Annotated Les Miserables: Week 4 & 5

Last year I tried to complete "Les Miserables" as part of a year-long read. I had barely started the book before life got in the way and I wasn't able to finish the story. This year I am determined to get through the entire thing. Below are notes to catalogue my read. At the moment it's mostly diction and evetns and persons I'm unfamiliar with. As I read further I hope to make posts filled with questions and insights into characters and plot points. Do not read this if you don't want the book to be spoiled.

Start from the Beginning

Weeks 6 and 7

Expiation - Atonement

Poor Jean Val Jean! 19 years in prison for stealing a loaf of bread? It was easy to believe the despair he was feeling about the entire situation.

Iniquity - A grossly immoral act, a sin

"He is lost between the infinities of sea and sky, the one a tomb, the other a shroud."

Adroit - Dexterous

Turgid - Excessively ornate or complex in style; swollen or distended

Prie-dieu - A type of prayer desk intended for private devotional use.

Cochlearia - Scurvy grass
"You have promised me to become an honest man. I am buying your soul. I am rescuing it from the spirit of perversity and giving it to you."
"He saw dimly that this time he must either conquer or be conquered, and that the battle was now joined, a momentous and decisive battle between the evil in himself and the goodness in that other man."

Reagant - A starting material used in chemical reactions

"King Louis XVIII" Artist Unknown 1814 - 1824
Louis XVIII - (1755-1824)I wasn't aware that there was King of France after the French Revolution. He was the brother of King Louis XVI, who was king during the Revolution and who was executed via guillotine. Louis XVIII became king through a strange set of circumstances. Louis XVI was executed and upon his death was succeeded by his son who became Louis XVII. He also happened to be in prison and died June 1795, leaving the kingship to his uncle who became Louis XVIII. Louis himself lived in exile for a very long time, essentially 23 years from 1791 - 1814. He only actually ruled France for ten years until 1824, even though France had abolished the monarchy on September 21 1792. Things get even stranger after he dies. Those that succeeded him were known as 'King of the French' rather than 'King of France' which doesn't seem that different. This line was abolished when the Second French Republic was established. But there was also a line of pretender kings, called 'legitimist pretenders'. Following this down the line, the current King of Spain, Juan Carlos is of the House of Bourbon which means if France ever decided to bring the monarchy back (doubtful), he could possibly have some sort of wibbly wobbly claim on the throne of France.

St. Helena - A volcanic tropical island in the south Atlantic. in 1815 the British Government chose it as the place of detention for Napoleon Bonaparte. A small cadre of supporters came with him. They were forced to sign a guarantee that they would stay with him indefinitely. There were rumours of plots for his escape and rumours that he'd actually escaped but in reality no serious attempts were made. He died in 1821.

"Mme Bigottini as a Bacchante" Jacques Vallin 1817
Mme Bigottini - (1784 - 1858) Emilie Bogottini was a French dancer of Italian ancestry. Her father was Francesco Bigottini, a harlequin at Paris' Comedie-Italienne de Paris. Napoleon was reportedly a fan of hers. She had quite a few affairs but was never seen as immoral or looked down upon because of it.

Madame Saqui, Paul Ginisty 1907
Madame Saqui - (1786 - 1866) Marguerite-Antoinette Lalannewas a French tightrope walker who was mentioned in Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray.

Pleignier - (1781 - 1816) Tanner. Executed together with Tolleron and Carbonneau for the involvement in the conspiracy 'des patriotes'.

Tolleron - (1784 - 1816) Engraver. Executed after having his right hand cut off together with Pleignier and Carbonneau for the involvement in the conspiracy 'des patriotes'.

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord, Henry Dupray 1890
Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Perigord - (1754-1838) Known just as "Tallyrand", he supposedly betrayed the Ancien Regime, the French Revolution, Napoleon and Restoration, each in turn.  Napoleon said he could: "break him like a glass, but it's not worth the trouble" and that he was "a turd in a silk stocking". He seems like an opportunist to me, but smart. He survived the Revolution.

Bivouac - A temporary camp

Champ de Mays - (The Hundred Days) This marked the time between when Napoleon return from exile on Elba to Paris (March 20 1815) and the second restoration of King Louis XVIII (July 8 1815) a period which lasted exactly 111 days.

Champ de Mars - Aka the Field of Mars. A large public greenspace in Paris, France between the Eiffel Tower and the Ecole Militaire. It witnessed the spectacle and pageantry of some of the most well-remembered festivals of the French Revolution. On July 14 1790, the first "Federation Day" now known as Bastille Day took place one year after the storming of the castle. July 17 1791, the massacre on the Champ de Mars took place. Jean Sylvain BAilly, the first mayor of Paris, became a victim of his own revolution and was guillotined on November 12 1793. 

Voltaire - (1694 - 1778) Francois-Marie Arouet. A French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, attacks on the Catholic Church and advocacy for freedom of religion, expression and separation of church and state.

Charles Dautun - Killed his brother and hid his remains all over France, throwing his head into the pool at the Marche-aux-Fleurs. Sentenced to death July 25, 1815. Gross!

"The Raft of the Medusa" Theodore Gericault 1818-1819
Frigate Meduse - Launched in 1810 she was a 40 gun ship. She beached on the Bank of Arguin and a raft 20 metres long was constructed and nicknamed 'la Machine' to help offload cargo, lighten the ship and possibly get her out into open water. A storm rose and threatened to rip apart the ship, causing around 150 people boarded the raft while the rest went into longboats and began to tow the raft towards shore. Before they could reach land the raft was cut loose though as the men in the longboats worried about how desperate those on the raft might get. With no way to steer or or row, the 'raftees' were in big trouble. Fights broke out and on the first night 20 men were killed or committed suicide. Many were swept overboard and as supplies shrank, some resorted to cannibalism. At the end of the fourth day, only 67 were left alive. Men began to throw the weak and wounded overboard until only 15 were left and they were the ones who were rescued. The plight of those on the raft was preserved by painter Theodore Gericault who painted "Raft of the Medusa" which helped to make the ship was of the more famous shipwrecks of the time.

Colonel Seve, aka Soliman Pasha, photographer unknown pre-1860
Colonel Seve - (1788 - 1860) He was born Joseph Seve and served as an officer in Napoleon's army. He converted to Islam and changed his name to Soliman Pasha. He was sent to help build the Egyptian army on the European model. Many of his descendants still live in Egypt and in fact, some were royalty such as Queen Nazli and King Faroud.

N's removed from the Louvre - After Napoleon's campaign in Egypt, he brought back all sorts of stolen treasure and renamed the Louvre the Musee Napoleon to store all of his loot. As a result, the Louvre was covered in N's. After Napoleon was defeated and Louis XVIII took power, he tried to remove traces of Napoleon, including the N's on the Louvre.

Mathurin Bruneau, Artist unknown 1818
Mathurin Bruneau - (1784-1822) The son of a cobbler, at the age of 11, successfully passed himself off as a nobleman's son. Next he would claim he was the Duke of Normandy. His final move was to denounce Louis XVIII and claim to be the son of Louis XVI and the heir to the throne. He was eventually caught and sentenced and ended up dying in prison.

Claire d'Albe - A french novel published anonymously in 1799 by Sophie Cottin and was a bestseller.

Duc d'Angouleme - (1757 - 1836) Aka Charles X of France. For most of his life he was known as the Count of Artois. He was the uncle of the uncrowned Louis XVII and younger brother to both Louis XVI and XVIII. He was the last of the French rulers from the senior branch of the House of Bourbon. 

"Portrait of Madame de Stael" Francois Gerard circa 1810
Germaine de Stael - (1766 - 1817) She attended regular salons (gatherings) held by her mother and met many influential people including Voltaire and Rousseau, growing interested in politics and government as a result. Apparently Napoleon Bonaparte disliked and perhaps even hated her. She discussed her ideas on government and politics with him and eventually ended up banished. This made her supposedly famous throughout Europe.

Suborned - To bribe or induce (someone) to commit an unlawful act

Jacques-Louis David - (1748-1825) An influential French painter. He later became an active supporter of the French Revolution and friend of Robespierre. He was a director of the arts under the French Republic. Imprisoned after Robespierre's fall from power, he aligned himself with Napoleon. Then after Napoleon fell he exiled himself to Brussels and then the Netherlands.   

Antoine-Vincent Arnault - (1766-1834) A French dramatist. He left France during the Reign of Terror but on his return he was arrested by the revolutionary authorities. He was freed through the intervention of Fabre D'Eglantine and others. In 1797 he was commissioned by Bonaparte with the organization of the Ionian islands. He was faithful to his patron through his misfortunes and after the Hundred Days remained in exile until 1819. 

Lazare Nicolas Marguerite, Comte Carnot - (1753-1823) A French politician, engineer, freemason and mathematician. Aka the Organizer of Victory. He met and studied with Benjamin Franklin, entering political life at the outbreak of the Revolution. The French Revolutionary Army was created largely due to his organization. He took no steps to oppose the Reign of Terror but he and some others turned on Robespierre and his allies during the Thermidorian Reaction. He was ousted during the Coup of 18 Fructidor (September 4 1797), taking refuge in Geneva. Then he was appointed as Napoleon's Minister of War in 1800. In 1804 he retired. Eventually he was exiled as a regicide because he voted for the death of Louis XVI though he was absent for the debates during the King's Trial.

Marshal General Jean-de-Dieu Soult - (1769-1851) One of only six officers in French history to receive the title Marshal General of France. He served as Prime Minister of France three times. While occupying Portugal he earned the nickname "King Nicolas". While he was the military governor of Andalusia he looted 1.5 million francs worth of art. One historian called him "a plunderer in the world class." Exiled in 1815 at the Second Restoration he was recalled four years later. 

Henry VI - (1421-1471) King of England and disputed King of France from 1422-1453. He succeeded to the French throne on the death of his grandfather Charles VI in accordance with the Treaty of Troyes (1420). It was signed after Henry V's successful military campaign in France and acknowledge Henry as regent of France and his heirs as successors to the French throne. Imagine if things had gone differently. If he'd been able to permanently secure France. Would the Revolution have still happened?

Duc Decazes - (1780-1860) Elie-Louis Decazes. A French statesman, he was a Royalist and remained faithful to the Bourbons after the fall of the Empire. He was rewarded with an appointment to the Prefect of Police. He success in that job got him appointed as Minister of Police. He was then elected as Deputy for the Seine. As both Deputy and Minister he was a key player among moderate Royalists. His plan was to "royalize France and to nationalize the monarchy." He was also very crafty, noticing that the moderates were a minority in government. In order to rectify this he persuaded the king to dissolve Parliament. The elections returned the moderates with a majority and Decazes himself would play a leading role in government. As Minister of Police he was required to suppress the insurrections provoked by ultra-Royalists. He pushed through legislation about the press, repealing censorship laws. Also, by reorganizing the nation's finances, the protection of industry and the carrying out of great public works, France regained economic prosperity and the government increased in popularity. In 1819 the king wanted to make electoral reform to prevent people like Abbe Jenri Gregoire from getting elected in the future. The Abbe was a revolutionary, a schismatic bishop and was hated by Royalists. General the Marquis Dessolles, PM of France and Baron Louis refused to along along with the reforms and resigned. This left Decazes as the new head of government. Unfortunately a lot of things were working against Decazes. There was a revolution in France. Decazes was denounced and when the Duke du Berry was assassinated, he was accused of being an accomplice. Decazes offered his resignation to the king. Louis refused at first but was then forced to accept. Decazes was raised to the rank of Duke and passed into honourable exile as Ambassador to Britain. 

Francois-Rene de Chateaubriand - 1768 - 1848 He is considered the founder of French Romanticism and had an impact on writers like Byron, Hugo and Stendhal. He also coined the name of dish made from a cut of tenderloin (Chateaubriand steak)

"Talma as Nero in Brittanicus" Eugene Delacroix

Francois-Joseph Talma - (1763 - 1826) He was an actor and a very important one at that. He advocated realism in scenery and costume, aided by his friend, painter Jacques-Louis David. He appeared in Voltaire's Brutus in a toga and Roman haircut. Before this, actors usually appeared in 18th century clothing, no matter what period of time the play was set in. He is also often credited with introducing the male Neoclassical hairstyle to the public.

"Portrait of Charles Nodied" Artist unknown 19th c

Charles Nodier - (1780 - 1844) He was an author who introduced young Romanticists to gothic stories, vampire tales and the 'importance of dreams as part of literary creation'. Vampire tales hmm? Can we blame our recent obsession about them on him then?

Duc d'Orleans - This is likely Ferdinand Philippe (1810-1842). Son of Louis Philippe and heir to the King of the French. He died young, being in an open carriage on the way to Saint-Omer when the horses got out of control. He lost his balance, fractured his skull and died. The accident is immortalized in the poem "La Treize Juillet" by Alfred de Musset. His wife died 16 years later but as she was a Protestant she couldn't be buried with him. Instead, at the Catholic Chapel at Dreux a room with a separate entrance was built attached to teh chapel and a window was opened between her tomb and her husband's. 

Duc du Berry - (1757-1836) Aka Charles X aka the Count of Artois. The title was specifically for created for junior members of French nobility.

Les Invalides - The National Residence of the Invalids. It's a complex of buildings containing museums and monuments related to the military history of France It's also a hospital and retirement home for war veterans. There is also a large church with a burial site for some of France's war heroes, including Bonaparte.

Louis-Benoit Picard - (1769-1828) A playwright, actor, novelist, poet and music director. He became head of the Oeon Theatre in 1816.

Moliere - (1622-1673) A French playwright and actor considered to be one of the greatest masters of comedy in Western literature. Through patronage to aristocrats he procured a performance before the King at the Louvre.

Charles Loyson - (1791-1820) He was a French poet, journalist and writer. During the 100 Days he fell into disgrace.

Saint-Simon Charles Baugniet 1848
Claude Henri de Rouvroy, comte de Saint-Simon - (17 October 1760 – 19 May 1825) He was an aristocrat who has been called the father of socialism as well as a 'prescient madman'. He thought that industrialization and scientific discovery would lead people to abandon their spiritual beliefs and completely change society. And you know what, he was right. His ideas spurred a movement called Saint-Simonianism and his ideas influenced such people as Karl Marx.

Pierre-Jean David aka David d'Angers - (1788 - 1856) A sculptor born at Angers who went into the army as a musketeer! Awesome! Like a typical starving artist, he left one career to take up in Paris with only 11 francs to his name. 'Of Reviving Greece, his monument to the Greek liberator Markos Botsaris, showing a Greek child reading his name, Victor Hugo said, "It is difficult to see anything more beautiful in the world; this statue joins the grandeur of Pheidias to the expressive manner of Puget."'

Steamboat on Seine - Early steam navigation was pioneered on the Seine River. For example, in 1783, the Marquis de Joyffray d'Abbans took his boat, the Pyroscaphe across the Seine. I never thought of the Seine as a large enough river to contain a steam ship but this book is expanding my horizons. Interestingly, Victor Hugo's favourite daughter was killed travelling in a boat across the bore on the Seine, a notoriously dangerous area with a strong tide.

"Baron Geores Cuvier" Francois-Andre Vincent
Georges Cuvier (1769 - 1832) - He established that African and Indian elephant were different species as before they had been believed to be the same. He also established the idea that some species had gone extinct. It's hard to believe that before this, no one had established this idea. Unfortunately he also happened to be extremely racist, writing 'The white race, with oval face, straight hair and nose, to which the civilised people of Europe belong and which appear to us the most beautiful of all, is also superior to others by its genius, courage and activity.' If that wasn't bad enough he also wrote 'The Negro race... is marked by black complexion, crisped of woolly hair, compressed cranium and a flat nose, The projection of the lower parts of the face, and the thick lips, evidently approximate it to the monkey tribe: the hordes of which it consists have always remained in the most complete state of barbarism.'

There isn't by any chance an annotated version of "Les Miserables"? I find I need to look up almost every person mentioned as they've been lost to time. It's strange to think that living memory covers such a short span of time.

Grisettes - A French working class woman from the 17th century

Why does Fantine fall in love with a gap-toothed, wrinkled man with a bald patch!

Post-Chaise - A fast carriage for carrying passengers and mail in the 18th & 19th centuries.

St Cloud - A commune in the suburbs of Paris. The town is named after Clodoald, grandson of Clovis. He was canonized after his death and the village where his tomb was located was named Sanctus Clodoaldus. There is also a chateau called Saint-Cloud built in 1572 and burnt down by fire in 1870. It was the residence of several French rulers and more importantly, was the site of the coup d'etat led by Napoleon that overthrew the French Directory in 1799.

Quoits - A game involving throwing rings from a distance to land on or near a spike (Horseshoes?)

"Diogenes" John William Waterhouse 1882
Lantern of Diogenes 412BCE - 323BCE Diogenes was a philosopher and a founder of Cynic philosophy. He was exiled from his hometown after defacing money. He lived in poverty, slept in a large ceramic jar and carried a lamp in the daytime, claiming to look for an honest man. He supposedly embarrassed Plato, interrupted Socrates' lectures and mocked Alexander the Great. Unfortunately none of his writing survives but we know about his life from anecdotes.

Nankeen - A type of cloth originally made in Nanjing. Mostly used to make pants.

Rattan - The name for the 600 species of palm found in Africa, Asia and Australasia.

"Pygmalion and Galatea" Lagrenee 1781
Galatea - Means "she who is milk white". The story goes that Pygmalion of Cyprus carved a woman who came to life and he called her Galatea.

Erigone - Daughter of Icarius, hero of the Attic deme. Her father had been taught by Dionysus to make wine, and gave some to a group of shepards. They became drunk but instead believed they had been poisoned and killed Icarius, burying him under a tree. Erigone found his grave and hanged herself on the tree. Dionysus was pissed and sent a plague and caused all the maidens in Athens to hang themselves. Icarius and Erigone were set amongst the stars. 

Barege - A sheer fabric woven of silk or cotton and wool, used for women's apparel.

Canebiere - A historic street in Marseille. October 9 1934, Alexander I, King of Yugoslavia was assassinated.

Piquant - Having a pleasantly sharp taste or flavour.

"Psyche entering Cupid's garden" Waterhouse 1904
Psyche - Ancient Greek for 'life', 'soul' and 'butterfly'. She was portrayed as a goddess with butterfly wings.

Frederick Barbarossa
- (1122-1190) aka Frederick I aka the Holy Roman Emperor. Historians consider him to be among the greatest medieval emperors of the HRE. He combined qualities that made him appear almost superhuman to contemporaries. His longevity, his ambition, his extraordinary skills at organization, his battlefield acumen and his political perspicuity. Among his contributions to Central European culture and society was the restablishment of Corpus Juris Civilis or the Roman rule of law. He died on the Third Crusade, the same one Richard the Lionheart joined. He drowned in the Saleph river. Some historians believe that he may have had a heart attack. Frederick's men put him in a barrel of vinegar to preserve him.

Iconium - A city from Antiquity that survives to this day. The Battle of Iconium took place May 18 1190 during the Third Crusade. Frederick Barbarossa took part in this battle and as a result, the capital city of the Sultanate of Rum fell.

"Portrait of Antoine Watteau" Rosalba Carriera 1721
Antoine Watteau - (1684- 1721) A French painter who revived the Baroque styles and then moved into Rococo. He is also credited with inventing a style that depicts and celebrates rich people doing a variety of things.

"Self portrait" Nicolas Lancret circa 1720
Nicolas Lancret - (1690 - 1743) A French painter who depicted light comedies. He was aquainted with and was an admirer of Watteau. His works decorate Versailles and were also popular with Frederick the Great

Denis Diderot - (1713-1784) A French philosopher, art critic and writer. He was a prominent figure of the Enlightenment. He was primarily known for his plays; his most famous works were only published after his death. 

Honore D'Urfe - (1568-1625) A French novelist. He died from injuries received by a fall from his horse at Villafranca during a campaign against Greece.

Turcaret - First produce in 1709, this play is a comedy by Alain-Rene Lesage and is considered one of his most important works. In the play, Turcaret is a bad financier. His wife is just about as bad. The play also includes a dumb marquis, a knight and a baroness, to whom Turcaret is attracted.

Priapus - In Greek mythology he is a minor fertility god. From his name comes the word priapism. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art.

Marley Horses Guillame le Coustou
Marley Horses - These are two large marble sculptures of horses being restrained by two naked groomsmen, created between 1743 & 1745. They were ordered from sculptor Guillame Coustou by King Louis XV to decorate the Chateau de Marly. Today the originals are now in the Louvre, with copies of the work at the Champs-Elysees, the Chateau de Marly and at Bouygues Construction. The statues are not a reference to any myth or story and even Victoria Hugo liked them, saying he admired "those neighing marlbes wheeling on a golden cloud."

"Danton" Constance-Marie Charpentier 1792
Georges Jacques Danton - (1759 – 1794) He was a leading figure during the French Revolution and was the first President of the Committee of Public Safety. He was eventually guillotined by the same group he once fought for after he was accused of being lenient to enemies of the Revolution.

The Battle of Caudine Forks - 321 BCE The name is a bit misleading as there was no fighting and no deaths. The Romans were trapped in a place without water by the Samnites and were forced to negotiate their surrender. The Samnites thought it would be more diplomatic to let the Romans go. This was a stupid idea because several years later the Samnites were defeated by the Romans.

Tocsin - An alarm bell or signal

Carmagnole - The name of a short jacket but also a French song made popular during the French Revolution.

Madame Veto has promised
Madame Veto has promised
To cut everyone's throat in Paris
To cut everyone's throat in Paris
But she failed to do this,
Thanks to our cannons.

Let us dance the Carmagnole
Long live the sound
Long live the sound
Let us dance the Carmagnole
Long live the sound of the cannons.

Mr. Veto had promised (repeat)
To be loyal to his country; (repeat)
But he failed to be,
Let's not do quarters.

Antoinette had decided (repeat)
To drop us on our asses; (repeat)
But the plan was foiled
And she fell on her face.

Her husband, believing himself a conqueror, (repeat)
Knowing little our value, (repeat)
Go, Louis, big crybaby,
From the the Temple into the tower.

The Swiss had promised, (repeat)
That they would fire our friends, (repeat)
But how they have jumped!
How they have all danced!


When Antoinette sees the tower, (repeat)
She wishes to make a half turn, (repeat)
She is sick at heart
To see herself without honor.


Le Marsellaise - The national anthem of France. IIt was written and composed by Claude Joseph rouget de Lisle in 1792 and was adopted as the Republic's anthem in 1795.

Arise children of the fatherland
The day of glory has arrived
Against us tyranny's
Bloody standard is raised
Listen to the sound in the fields
The howling of these fearsome soldiers
They are coming into our midst
To cut the throats of your sons and consorts

To arms citizens Form your battalions
March, march
Let impure blood
Water our furrows

What do they want this horde of slaves
Of traitors and conspiratorial kings?
For whom these vile chains
These long-prepared irons?
Frenchmen, for us, ah! What outrage
What methods must be taken?
It is us they dare plan
To return to the old slavery!

What! These foreign cohorts!
They would make laws in our courts!
What! These mercenary phalanxes
Would cut down our warrior sons
Good Lord! By chained hands
Our brow would yield under the yoke
The vile despots would have themselves be
The masters of destiny

Tremble, tyrants and traitors
The shame of all good men
Tremble! Your parricidal schemes
Will receive their just reward
Against you we are all soldiers
If they fall, our young heros
France will bear new ones
Ready to join the fight against you

Frenchmen, as magnanimous warriors
Bear or hold back your blows
Spare these sad victims
That they regret taking up arms against us
But not these bloody despots
These accomplices of Bouillé
All these tigers who pitilessly
Ripped out their mothers' wombs

We too shall enlist
When our elders' time has come
To add to the list of deeds
Inscribed upon their tombs
We are much less jealous of surviving them
Than of sharing their coffins
We shall have the sublime pride
Of avenging or joining them

Drive on sacred patriotism
Support our avenging arms
Liberty, cherished liberty
Join the struggle with your defenders
Under our flags, let victory
Hurry to your manly tone
So that in death your enemies
See your triumph and our glory!

Festina Lente - An oxymoron that means "to make haste slowly".

Alexandre (Balthazar) Laurent Grimod de la Reynier - (1758-1837) Trained as a lawyer and acquired fame during the reign of Napoleon for his sensual and public gastronomic lifestyle. He was born with deformed hands and kept out of sight, a circumstance that developed his biting wit and dark sense of humour. During his parents' absences he gave grand dinner parties. One party saw his father returning early to find a pig dressed up and presiding over the table. The story made the rounds in Paris and a breach in the familiar ensued which culminated in him being disinherited and confined to an Abbey. At the At the table of the Father Abbot he learned the art of good eating. He formed a liaison with actor Adele Feuchere who had their child in 1790. He opened up a grocery, having the idea of buying food directly from the producer and selling it in a store at a set price. When his father died in 1792, he regained his liberty and reconciled with his mother. He would eventually save her from the guillotine and began a series of mock-funeral dinners. When she died in 1812 he inherited the family fortune, married his mistress and gave his own funeral to see who would come and then retired from public life. 

Polynices - In Greek mythology he was the son of Oedipus and Jocasta. His wife was Argea. His father put a curse on him and his brother Eteocles, and died as a result by killing each other in a battle for the control of Thebes.

Pas de zele - Don't overdo it

Amphiaraus - "Doubly-cursed" or "twice Ares-like". He was a seer favoured by Zeus and Apollo and also one of the three kings of Argos. He was involved in the war mentioned in 'Seven Against Thebes'.

Modus in rebes - Proper measure in things

Quaestor - A type of public official who supervised the financial affairs of the state and conducted affairs. In the Roman Republic they were elected. In the Empire they were appointed. 

Sulla - (138BCE-78BCE) Aka Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix. A Roman general and statesman. Held the office of Consul twice, was awarded the grass crown during the Social War. He was very successful despite having grown up poor and having no significant military experience before his 30s.

Origen - (184/185BCE - 253/254BCE) Wrote about the early church. He believed in pre-existence and the transmigration of souls. His ideas were rejected as heretical and in 453 BCE the Council of Constantinople posthumously excommunicated him.

Tisane - A herbal infusion drunk which usually has mild medical effects.

Arroba - A Portugese and Spanish custom of weight, mass or volume

Cantaro - A musical instrument. It is a clay pot struck in its outer surface or mouth with a hand, creating different effects. Water can be used ot pitch the instrument to a desired amount.

Balearic Islands - An archipelago of Spain in the Western Meditarranean

Casus Belli - An act or event that provokes or is used to justify war. 

Flagrante Delictro - "In blazing offence". Usually used as a euphemism for those caught in the act of sexual intercourse.

Sabine Woman - 750 BCE The first generation of Roman men acquired wives by taking them from neighbouring families. These women were abducted and then raped. If you want to hear a PC song about the event, watch "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" which has a similar situation.

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