Thursday, March 29, 2007

Trophy monuments, trophy wives

You have to understand: once a philologist, always a philologist. I write on art, but curiosity about words has a very strong pull even two decades after I received my doctorate.

Last week's alluring appellation was "trophy." While researching the William Jenkins Worth Monument for an Amazon Short, I was reminded that "trophy" is the term for the assortment of weapons and flags on the Worth Monument. But where did the word come from? Why did it apply to weapons as well as to young and beautiful "trophy wives"?I spent several thoroughly enjoyable hours flipping through printed texts such as an 1897 handbook of classical antiquities, and digging up sound Internet resources - the sort that don't seem to have been written off the cuff at 2 a.m. and uploaded without editing. Now, to my immense satisfaction, I can tell you what the Worth Monument and Melania Trump have in common.

The essay on trophies is on the Forgotten Delights site, since formatting so many captioned illustrations in a blog seemed just too exhausting, after all that research.

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