A to Z Challenge 2013

Thursday, April 19, 2012

P is for Pharos

I've had to skip a day due to school stuff, but I'll catch up on Sunday.   In any event, today's word is Pharos which means:

A lighthouse or beacon

This is an interesting word to me because it obviously reminds me of Pharaoh, and the meaning isn't that far off either.   Okay, probably only the Pharaoh and his truly loyal subjects believed this meaning.  I'm sure the tons of slaves didn't exactly think of it the same way.   But what interests me is how a name for the office was picked that fits the agenda for that office.

It's interesting - and tragic sometimes - what words are chosen for certain things.  Whole political or religious structures are created and maintained by just the right words.  And those who never really know the origins of words never figure out they're being subjugated for no real reason other than whatever they're told.

Anyway, didn't mean to get all serious on everybody.  What imagery does this word evoke for you? 


Sarah McCabe said...

My understanding is that the words pharaoh and pharos are unrelated. pharaoh was a Hellenization of the Egyptian word meaning "great house", referring to the King's palace. Pharos was the name of the island on which the great lighthouse of Alexandria was built, and it seems the word meaning "lighthouse or beacon" came from this.

Also, I think you are characterizing Egyptian culture incorrectly if you think only the Pharaoh and his trusted few believed in the sanctity of his office. Furthermore, it seems that both of these words came from things, not the things from the words. Which is as it should be.

Rick Daley said...

It made me think of a satellite. I think Pharos is a Martian moon, isn't it?

Eric said...

Sarah - You are correct in that the words are unrelated. I was just trying to say they sound like they are from similar roots (and obviously didn't say it well enough). Then I went off on a tangent, which I probably shouldn't have. Thanks for taking me to school :)

Rick - I'm not sure but it sounds likely. I should probably look that up.

Sharkbytes said...

It always amazes me how some words that sound alike are unrelated, and others that sound different are, because of vowel or consonant shifts. I'm trying to visit all the A-Z Challenge Blogs this month. My alphabet is at myqualityday.blogspot.com

Eric said...

Sharkbytes - Exactly. Though I made myself look rather idiotic, that was what I was trying to say. Thanks for saying it so much better.

Sarah McCabe said...

Sorry for nitpicking, Eric. Ancient Egypt happens to be a passion of mine and I'm a bit of a perfectionist.