Word Nerd Wednesday – Draconian

word-nerd-wednesday

Happy Reformation Day, and welcome to all my word nerd friends. Last week I did a Top Ten Tuesday post focusing on villains, which mentioned “the Draconian Mr. Murdstone”—David Copperfield’s step-father. And that lead to the inevitable question: where did the word Draconian come from?

The word is used to describe someone or something that is cruel or harsh, and it turns out there’s a reason why it’s often used specifically in relation to law and punishment. Draco (sometimes written as Dracon) was the first recorded legislator of Athens during the 7th Century BC, and—you guessed it! He became known for his particularly harsh laws.

Up until his appointment, the Athenian legal system relied on oral law and blood feud to exact justice. I’m sure you can imagine what that looked like! So the Athenian people elected Draco to be their law-giver—and probably rued their choice ever after. He made liberal use of the death penalty, even for minor offenses such as stealing a cabbage. The Greek biographer Plutarch wrote:

“It is said that Drakon himself, when asked why he had fixed the punishment of death for most offences, answered that he considered these lesser crimes to deserve it, and he had no greater punishment for more important ones”.

I sure hope he wasn’t a parent . . .

Not surprisingly, he was eventually driven out of Athens, but I get the feeling he would be particularly gratified by the knowledge that his name has lived on for more than two and a half millennia.

It’s not what I’d want to be remembered for, but to each his own!

If you had the choice, what would you like to be remembered for throughout history?

About Fiction Aficionado

Homeschooling mum, word lover, reader extraordinaire, and follower of Christ
Image | This entry was posted in Word Nerd Wednesday and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Word Nerd Wednesday – Draconian

  1. Janet W. Ferguson says:

    I was so curious when I saw that word! Thanks for the explanation!

    Like

  2. Winnie Thomas says:

    Wow! Interesting information, Katie! Thanks!

    Like

  3. bellesmoma16 says:

    Poor Draco Malfoy…being saddled with that name!

    Like

  4. Pingback: Weekend Book Buzz – 3/4 November 2018 | Fiction Aficionado

  5. gpavants says:

    Hello,

    To inspire others to do what are called to do. That is what I want to be remembered for doing.

    Thanks,

    Gary

    On Wed, Oct 31, 2018 at 12:15 AM Fiction Aficionado wrote:

    > Fiction Aficionado posted: ” Happy Reformation Day, and welcome to all my > word nerd friends. Last week I did a Top Ten Tuesday post focusing on > villains, which mentioned “the Draconian Mr. Murdstone”—David Copperfield’s > step-father. And that lead to the inevitable question: where d” >

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.