Wondrous Words Wednesday: Steven Pressfield

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme where we share new (to us) and interesting (to us, again) words we encountered in our readings. See this week round-up at BermudaOnion’s blog!

My words for this week come from the first pages of Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield, and although they are quite understandable from context I thought I would share them all the same.


The first preamble ends like this:

Inscribed as submitted this sixteenth day of Ululu, Fifth Year of His Majesty’s Accession.

And then, the first chapter begins:

Third day of Tashritu, Fifth Year of His Majesty’s Accession.

So what are Ululu and Tashritu? Clearly, they are months names, and I found out they are from the Babylonian calendar. There are equivalences to Hebrew month names too.


In those two sentences there is another interesting word:

Accession: n. 1 the attainment of a position of rank 2 the formal acceptance of a treaty or joining of an association 3 a new item added to a collection of books or artefacts.


And finally, one more:

The captive was brought in upon a litter, eyes cloth-bound so as to dissanction sight of His Majesty.

I wasn’t able to find a definition, but clearly to dissanction means something like to forbid, to prohibit.


(All definitions are taken from the Concise Oxford English Dictionary © 2008 via WordReference.com unless otherwise stated.)


6 comments on “Wondrous Words Wednesday: Steven Pressfield

  1. Thank you all for visiting. I guess Joy is right and “dissanction” was invented by Pressfield, but it works wonderfully in the context and it rings so true…

  2. The shorter OED has several definitions for the prefix dis such as,”to undo or reverse the quality expressed”,or,” to strip of, free of and rid of”. So dis-sanction could be read as, to be free of the penalty enacted in order to enforce obedience to the law which in this case could be looking at the soverign directly.

  3. @ Ken: well, dis- does have a negative meaning, but on the whole I disagree: it would be a bit convoluted to say that he had his eyes covered so that he was free of the penalty… I think it means that he had his eyes covered so that he would not be able to look at the king. (Although, it is true that the style in this chapter *is* convoluted.)

Ditelo con parole vostre/Let your words be heard

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