I am reading Robert K. Massie's Catherine the Great right now. First, let me tell you that it is masterfully written. The prose is interesting, the facts well-researched. He follows a chronological order in laying out the chapters, but throws unexpected and interesting facts in places that catch you off-guard and, at times, make you laugh. I highly recommend it.
|Ivan (IV) the Terrible|
The English word terrible is usually used to translate the Russian word grozny in Ivan's nickname, but the modern English usage of terrible, with a pejorative connotation of bad or evil, does not precisely represent the intended meaning. The meaning of grozny is closer to the original usage of terrible—inspiring fear or terror, dangerous (as in Old English in one's danger), formidable or threatening. Other translations were suggested, such as Ivan the Fearsome or Ivan the Formidable.It's not a major difference. He's either 'terrible' because he did terrible things, or 'terrible' because he was feared for doing terrible, or at least oppressive, things. But still, it made me think.
Do you think about the words you write? The words you read? Do you ponder over their meaning and strain over picking the appropriate verbage? If not, should you?
(For those interested, I came across some very ornate 'dolls,' for lack of a better word, fashioned after historical figures. Here is the link for Catherine the Great's.)