Tuesday, 27 October 2009


The question: in what ways do I resemble the Cimbri? The answer, in two parts: (a) that tea and coffee are of such importance to my days that we might as well say I hold the kettle sacred; and (b) that I too am enormously and perhaps disproportionately impressed by tidal motion ("... see! see! the whole ocean is coming for us, creeping wetly over the ground like a slug the size of God!..."). And here's Strabo [Geographica 7.2.1, trans. H.L. Jones]:
As for the Cimbri, some things that are told about them are incorrect and others are extremely improbable. For instance, one could not accept such a reason for their having become a wandering and piratical folk as this that while they were dwelling on a Peninsula they were driven out of their habitations by a great flood-tide; for in fact they still hold the country which they held in earlier times; and they sent as a present to Augustus the most sacred kettle in their country, with a plea for his friendship and for an amnesty of their earlier offences, and when their petition was granted they set sail for home; and it is ridiculous to suppose that they departed from their homes because they were incensed on account of a phenomenon that is natural and eternal, occurring twice every day. And the assertion that an excessive flood-tide once occurred looks like a fabrication, for when the ocean is affected in this way it is subject to increases and diminutions, but these are regulated and periodical.

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