Tuesday, 20 May 2014

School - Holiday

School means holiday. Or, at least, it used to.

Back in Ancient Greece, the Ancient Greeks divided their ancient days between work and leisure. Work meant war-fighting, olive-oil-making, and pederasty. Leisure meant reading philosophy, discussing poetry, and pederasty. And the Ancient Greek word for leisure was skhole.

The Romans took up the word schola, which again meant a break from work, and again therefore implied a lecture or a bit of reading or something... well scholarly. And by the time the word had got into Old English as scol, it meant nothing else.

So school meant holiday.

A school of fish, by the way, is unrelated to the scholarly school, but closely related to shoal.

I shall be in Salisbury a week on Saturday (31st) talking to the wonderful David Marsh as part of the Salisbury Festival. More details and tickets are to be found here.

A plaice at a good school

1 comment:

  1. Ha! The joke's on me. After teaching 34 years, I'm looking forward to a skhole from skhole. Thanks for the fascinating bit of etymology.