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Friday, April 11, 2003
Who says philology isn't fun? The latin root for "terror" and "territory" are the same: "terreo = to frighten." Why, you ask? The answer is in Bouvier's Law Dictionary:
TERRITORY. Apart of a country, separated from the rest, and subject to a particular jurisdiction. The word is derived from terreo, and is so called because the magistrate within his jurisdiction has the power of inspiring a salutary fear. Dictum cat ab eo quod magistratus intra fines ejus terrendi jus habet. Henrion de Pansy, Auth. Judiciare, 98. In speaking of the ecclesiastical jurisdictions, Francis Duaren observes, that the ecclesiastics are said not to have territory, nor the power of arrest or removal, and are not unlike the Roman magistrates of whom Gellius says vocationem habebant non prehen-sionem. De Sacris Eccles. Minist. lib. 1, cap. 4. In the sense it is used in the constitution of the United States, it signifies a portion of the country subject to and belonging to the United States, which is not within the boundary of any of them.
Now, does that mean that administrators who inspire fear to dominate a physical region are terrorists? Interesting derivation, because it lodges the existance of terrorism and territory within the agent who acts to create fear, not in the object of their terrorism. That is, it seems that anyone who provokes fear to rule is a terrorist, not just those who direct their terror at innocents?
Particularly, ahem, frightening is the usage of the term in the United States. A territory is a piece of land held by the government that is not an independent democratic state, but essentially a vassalage of the king kept together through fear.
By the way, the latin "timeo" is the response to terreo: "to fear." But it can (it seems) also mean to be guarded or aware. For instance, Virgil: Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes.(Vergil, Aeneid II.49) Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks, even bearing gifts.
For my Classics nerds friends: the conjugations of terreo. Come on' folks, I need to gut-punched on this, because I don't even know Latin.
Otherwise, a lot more on the many words and usages of the concept of fear in the Bible, with a heavy pro-Christian slant.