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Mysteries of vernacular:
Sarcophagus,
a stone coffin typically adorned
with decorative carvings or inscriptions.
The history of the word sarcophagus
is so skin-crawlingly grotesque,
it seems to come right out
of a low-budget horror film.
Rather than having a B-movie origin, however,
its roots can be traced back to the early Roman Empire
where the Greek word sarkophagus
was used to describe the limestone
that a coffin was made of,
not the coffin itself.
According to the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder,
citizens of the Empire believed
that limestone from a quarry near Troy
would dissolve flesh.
For this reason, it was quite desireable
in the construction of coffins.
Though it's unclear if the belief was widespread
or even accurately reported by Pliny,
what is certain is that sarkophagus
came from the Greek words sark,
meaning flesh,
and phagein,
a verb meaning to eat.
From flesh-eating stone
to stone coffin,
it's a fitting etymology
for the final resting place of the deceased.
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【TED-Ed】字源探祕:石棺 (Mysteries of vernacular: Sarcophagus - Jessica Oreck and Rachael Teel)

4314 分類 收藏
Bing-Je 發佈於 2013 年 12 月 13 日
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