Tuesday, August 9, 2011

simulacrum



simulacrum [ˌsɪmyəˈleɪkrəm] n.

1.) A material image, made as a representation of some deity, person, or thing.
2.) Something having merely the form or appearance of a certain thing, without possessing its substance or proper qualities.
3.) A mere image, a specious imitation or likeness, of something (O.E.D. 2nd Ed.).

Etymology: Latin simulacrum, from simulare, to simulate + -crum, n. suffix.

"And yet after reading of him in scores of volumes, hunting him through old magazines and newspapers, having him here at a ball, there at a public dinner, there at races and so forth, you find you have nothing—nothing but a coat and a wig and a mask smiling below it—nothing but a great simulacrum" (The Four Georges, William Makepeace Thackeray, 1869).

(Bacco, Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio, 1595)
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Can't believe it has taken me this long to use a Caravaggio.

19 comments:

Hydriotaphia said...

A very early, if not the earliest usage of this word can be found in Browne's 1658 Discourse 'The Garden of Cyrus' chap.4

'The Sunne it self is but the dark simulachrum, and light but the shadow of God'.

Hydriotaphia said...

Browne must have liked this word ! It also occurs in Urn-Burial - How Hercules his soul is in hell, and yet in heaven, and Julius his soul in a Starre, yet seen by Æneas in hell, except the Ghosts were but Images and shadows of the soul, received in higher mansions, according to the ancient division of body, soul, and image or simulachrum of them both.

T Papar said...

this is an often-used word in the fantasy books i read :)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

Now I finally know how to pronounce this!

Bibi said...

I have no idea where you were going with the staring to each other's empty house, but thank God we live in different countries :p

Oi, you live in London, right? Don't know if the rioting is going on close to where you live, but stay safe, m'kay?

Inverse said...

Have to find a way to include this word in a conversation.

Zombie said...

Cant really tell if that is a girl or not. lol.

Diego Sousa said...

that painting is awesome!

D4 said...

I think I now know what a Wax Simulacra is. Right on.

JayJay said...

Like @T Paper I often see this word in the fantasy novels that I read.

Amazing painting.

GMSoccerPicks said...

The good ole Bacco, the party animal of the deities.

Chris Hashemi said...

Bacco's got a serious grape-crown going on, lol. That's a great piece of Italian art though, and 1595... that's very old!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I remember that word from art classes.

jos xx said...

re: really?! what the hell did you do to cause her shouting at you? yeah, i'm doing a masters, but it wasn't an easy choice to make. someday, maybe, i will tell you the story behind it.

jos xx

MRanthrope said...

this word takes me back to the Matrix and my first great head tripping experience in the movie theater that fateful day in the late 90's.

jos xx said...

re: lol, i had to search for the meaning of "whoop" - what kind of word is that? you should put it in this dictionary! anyway, i think that girl is a freak.

btw, once you said you were american. now i'm reading one of the comments above and it says you're in London?! if that's true, hope everything's fine...

jos xx

Henry said...

ha-HAA!! Another word I know thanks to online role playing games!

Mai Yang said...

sounds like in the "harry potter" movie. hehe

shari said...

I grew up believing that the moon was a simulacrum of the Goddess Diana. I wondered if she really had such a moony face how she could be a goddess. Now I think the moon is more lovely than any goddess ever could be.

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