Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Croesus, Badgers Bums, Kate and Willy


Twice in the last week I have heard each of the expressions “as rich as Croesus” and “rough as a badger’s arse” used. Now it doesn’t take an anvil to fall on my head for me to realise that the universe is telling me to look at those expressions in Bytes. So here we go.


“As rich as Croesus”

Who was Croesus and how rich was he?

Croesus (595 BC – c. 546 BC) was the king of Sardis (Lydia), a region of modern Turkey. According to Greek historian Herodotus (c. 484–c. 425 BC), Croesus reigned for 14 years: from 560 BC until his defeat by the Persian king Cyrus the Great in 546 BC.

Not only was Croesus extremely wealthy, he is also credited with issuing the first gold and silver coins. Sardis had rich mineral resources during the time of Croesus, including gold and silver, with evidence of a gold refinery near Sardis. According to Herodotus, ‘They [the Lydians] were the first men whom we know who coined and used gold and silver currency; and they were the first to sell by retail.’

The earliest coins were made from electrum, an alloy of gold and silver, found naturally in the rivers of Lydia (a region in Anatolia, modern Turkey). However, the actual value of an electrum coin could vary, due to its composition, and led to problems when trading. Croesus minted gold and silver coins Some of the first gold and silver coins (known as staters), some of which have been found at Delphi, having been used as offerings. The staters had the head of a lion and a bull on one side and a punched indentation on the rear to show that they were gold and silver throughout, not lead plated in gold or silver.

An example of a gold stater, simply beautiful.

Croesus came to be regarded as the richest man on Earth, the expression “as rich as Croesus” first being used in 1577.

Croesus funded construction of the Great Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, one of the sevenb winders of the world.

Model of the Temple of Artemis, at Miniatürk Park, Istanbul, Turkey. It attempts to recreate the probable appearance of the temple.


“Rough as a badger’s arse”:

I wrote about this expression back in 2013, the following being a reprint:

I have a friend who uses the expression “rough as a badger’s arse” to denote how that friend sometimes feels in the morning. According to the Urban Dictionary, its meaning is “very rough, either literally, as in an unshaven gentleman's chin, or figuratively, as in uncivilised of things or behaviour.” It is often used in the context of a hangover.

It is in the same vein as expressions relating to appearance such as “ugly as a hat full/box full/bucket of arseholes”, “hit with the ugly stick too many times” and “fell out of the ugly tree and hit all the branches on the way down.”

Not having any experience with badgers, much less with their arses, I am unable to say whether the expression is correct, although my readings indicate that:
  • badgers are particularly clean animals;
  • they dig and use latrines;
  • the hair on their backsides can be rough.
It has been suggested that the original phrase was “as rough as a badger’s bum” and that badger was selected because of the alliteration with “bum”, the word “arse” being a later substitution. It has also been mooted that, on that reasoning, the phrase “as rough as an aardvark’s arse” might be more appropriate.

Some badger’s bum items:


And, in honour of Kate and William’s news that Kate has another bun in the oven, being number 3 after the heir and the spare (or, as Oz Treasurer Peter Costello urged the nation in 2002, one for Mum, one for Dad and one for the country), here are some Kate and William (and related) memes . . . 

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