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About the Pontes Books Blog

Salve! This inaugural blog post is really an introduction to things that are to come! Here at Pontes Books we are passionate about the Classics, but are even more passionate about making them understandable and relevant in a modern world. Though the primary purpose of our bridge and parallel versions of Classic novels is to help with understanding, what about relevance? Here’s where the blog comes in!

Each post will focus on one of four major categories, with a few wildcards thrown in every once in a while. Each chapter will have four dedicated posts before moving on to the next. Here are the categories:

Vocabulary

For each novel, we analyze all of the words in the original version. First, we track the number of times each word is used. Then we go through the words that are used ten or more times in the book and pull out the ones that fit into the following categories: tier 2 words, tier 3 words, and Classical words.

Tier 2: Words that are not used in every-day speech, but that will often be seen in other texts.

Tier 3: Words that are specific to that topic (e.g. words dealing with royal life in The Prince and the Pauper.

Classical words: These words a really like a combination of tier 2 and tier 3 words. They are generally specific to Classic texts only (tier 3), but can be seen across multiple Classic texts (tier 3).

Photo credit: https://prakovic.edublogs.org/2015/07/14/building-vocabulary-tier-by-tier/

Each vocabulary-related post will focus on one word from one of these categories (or a group of similar words). We will examine the basics like definition, part of speech, etc., but we will also dive into the etymology and also modern uses.

One caveat related to these posts is that not all Pontes Books versions may contain the words selected. Since the vocabulary has been simplified in most bridge versions of the book, certain vocabulary terms will not appear in those versions. If you are reading the Red, Orange, Purple, or Pink versions, you will be guaranteed to find the selected words.

Relevant Current Event

Though many of the events of Classic novels are certainly outdated, the themes and conflicts are universal and eternal. For each of these posts we will scour the internet for modern (or mostly modern) news articles that relate to some of the characters, events, and themes in the most recent novel.

Historical Tidbit

Many Classical authors include locations, names, events, etc. that were familiar to people at the time the books were written. However, now some of those references have become outdated and the general public are no longer familiar with them. This type of post will focus in on the relevant historical facts that help to understand the references and allusions that may go over our heads due to time.

Fun Fact

Last but not least, these posts will pull out random fun facts that can be related to the corresponding chapters. These could really come in many different shapes in forms and help to bring the FUN and increase your random knowledge for future trivia nights.

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Six – Historical Tidbit

Our Historical Tidbit for today focuses on an important detail from Chapter 26. Though the detail in the story is fictional, we can still make some comparisons to real life. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…

LETTERS FROM EDWARD VI

Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

In this chapter, Edward realizes that no one has come looking for him, which he finds extremely odd. To remedy this situation, he decides to send a letter in three languages to prove who he is:

“ ‘But I have a plan that shall right us both—I will write a paper, in three tongues—Latin, Greek and English—and thou shalt haste away with it to London in the morning. Give it to none but my uncle, the Lord Hertford; when he shall see it, he will know and say I wrote it. Then he will send for me.’ ” (p. 157)

Edward’s Letter to the dean and chapter of Exeter

‘Edward

Trustie and welbiloved we grete youe well. And whereas the right reverend father in god our right trusty and welbiloved the bishop of Excetre hath passed a certaine graunte under his seale unto our right trustie and welbiloved comisineor Sir Willm paget knight of our ordre and comptroller of our household w[hi]ch we send unto you herewith. Nothing doubting of your conformitie to do us gratuitie and pleasour we desire and praye you to conforme the said graunte under yor chapiter seale and send the same unto us by this bearer whereby you shall do us pleasure w[hi]ch we will consider accordingly. Geven under our Signet at our pallaice of Westmr the xth of February the secound yere of our regne.

E. Somerset’

Edward’s Letter to Queen Katharine Parr

(translated from original Latin)

As I was so near to you, and saw you, or expected to see you every day, I wrote no letter to you, since letters are tokens of remembrance and kindness between those who are at a great distance.  But being urged by your request, I would not abstain longer from writing; first, that I may do what is acceptable to you, and then to answer the letter you wrote to me when you were at St. James’s, in which, first, you set before my eyes the great love you bear my father the king, of most noble memory, then your good will towards me, and lastly, your godliness and knowledge, and learning in the Scriptures. Proceed, therefore, in your virtuous course; continue to love my father, and to show the same great kindness to me which I have ever perceived in you. Cease not to love and read the Scriptures, but persevere in always reading them; for in the first you show the duty of a good wife and a good subject, and in the second, the warmth of your friendship, and in the third, your piety to God.

     Wherefore, since you love my father, I cannot but much esteem you; since you love me, I cannot but love you in return; and since you love the word of God, I do love and admire you with my whole heart. Wherefore, if there be anything wherein I may do you a kindness, either in word or deed, I will do it willingly.

Farewell, this 30th of May.


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References

http://www.luminarium.org/encyclopedia/edwardtoparr1548.htm

https://www.manuscripts.co.uk/stock/20863.HTM

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Six – Vocabulary

Our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 26 focuses on a commonly-used verb. The vocab word is…

PROCEEDED

Keep reading or watch the video below see how the word ‘proceeded’ is used in The Prince and the Pauper.

PROCEEDED

DEFINITION

(v.) went in an orderly, regulated way
FACTS/CHARACTERISTICS

often after a pause or interruption
EXAMPLES

progressed
advanced
came along
NON-EXAMPLES

remained
stayed
stopped

Etymology

  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • procedere = “pro” (forward) + “cedere” (to go)

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: After a brief stop at the station, the train proceeded on its way.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “…she dropped her eyes to the floor; but her voice betrayed no emotion when she proceeded…” (p. 160)
  • Other forms: proceeding (adj., n.), proceeder (n.)

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References

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mutter

https://www.geeksforgeeks.org/continue-statement-in-java/

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-five – Current Event

In Chapter 25 of The Prince and the Pauper, Miles Hendon returns home after being gone for a very long time. There are numerous examples of similar situations in the real world, one of which we will focus on today. In the Chapter 25 Current Event, we explore…

Guo Gangtang

Keep reading or watch the video below to find out more.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“ ‘What! thou art not jesting? can the dead come to life?  God be praised if it be so!  Our poor lost boy restored to our arms after all these cruel years!  Ah, it seems too good to be true, it is too good to be true—I charge thee, have pity, do not trifle with me!  Quick—come to the light—let me scan thee well!’

‘Go on, brother, go on, and fear not; thou’lt find nor limb nor feature that cannot bide the test.  Scour and scan me to thy content, my good old Hugh—I am indeed thy old Miles, thy same old Miles, thy lost brother, is’t not so?  Ah, ’tis a great day—I said ’twas a great day!  Give me thy hand, give me thy cheek—lord, I am like to die of very joy!’ ” (p. 153) 

Here we see Miles bringing Edward back through his own village with a final destination of Hendon Hall.

Who is Guo Gangtang?

  • A man living in China with his wife
  • 24 years ago, their 2 year old son was kidnapped
  • Guo traveled more than 300,000 miles on his motorcycle to search for his son
  • He handed out fliers since 1997
  • He went through 10 motorcycles searching

What happened?

  • On July 11, 2021 he and his wife were reunited with their son, Guo Zinzhen (now mid-20s)
  • A DNA test proved that this was the boy Guo had been looking for
  • Two people have been arrested in connection with his kidnapping

An Ongoing Issue in China

  • Hundreds of thousands of children may have gone missing in the last 40 years
  • Government officials in China are increasing efforts to track down victims and their captors
  • Chinese government set up a missing child alert system

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References

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/07/14/world/asia/guo-gangtang-china.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/07/14/chinese-father-guo-gangtang-finds-kidnapped-son/

https://www.cnn.com/videos/world/2021/07/14/guo-gangtang-son-lost-and-love-lon-orig-na.cnn

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Five – Historical Tidbit

Our Historical Tidbit for today focuses on a concept already covered in one of our previous Vocabulary Focus blogs. It deals with a group that was very important to The Prince and the Pauper, so it’s worth taking a second look! Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…

NOBLES IN TUDOR ENGLAND

Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

Miles comes from a family of lesser-known nobles. Still, his home is the first glimpse we get as readers to the lives and homes of nobles at the time.

“The end of the village was soon reached; then the travellers struck into a crooked, narrow road, walled in with tall hedges, and hurried briskly along it for half a mile, then passed into a vast flower garden through an imposing gateway, whose huge stone pillars bore sculptured armorial devices. A noble mansion was before them.
‘Welcome to Hendon Hall, my King!’ exclaimed Miles. ” (p. 152)

Who are the Nobles?

  • Those ranked below the monarch but above common people
  • Duke, Marquess, Earl, Viscount, Baron, Knight
  • About 1,500 members total
  • Generally hereditary (to a male heir)

What Did the Nobility Do?

  • Listened to petitions from people in their area
  • Social status was measured by…
    • How fancy/large is their home?
    • How many servants/attendants do they have?
  • People who successfully ran their household might be asked to go to London


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References

https://www.alison-morton.com/2014/04/03/victoria-lamb-amo-amas-amat-latin-in-tudor-england/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Latin

https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/vowels.html#:~:text=Old%20and%20Middle%20English%20were,to%20the%20sounds%20in%20Latin.&text=The%20Great%20Vowels%20Shift%20changed,%22%20%5BIPA%20%2Fi%2F%5D.

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Five – Vocabulary

Have you ever been upset with someone and so you say something negative about them under your breath? Our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 25 identifies a specific word for that action. The vocab word is…

MUTTERING

Keep reading or watch the video below see how the word ‘muttering’ is used in The Prince and the Pauper.

MUTTERING

DEFINITION

(v.) to utter sounds/words with a low voice through partially-closed lips
FACTS/CHARACTERISTICS

often portraying a negative message
EXAMPLES

whispering
mumbling
complaining
NON-EXAMPLES

yelling
speaking clearly
screaming

Etymology

  • Language of Origin: Middle English (and German)
  • muteren = “to mutter”

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: The girl began muttering as she walked away from her brother who ate the last cookie.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “He continued walking back and forth, muttering to himself; he had forgotten the King entirely.” (p. 154)
  • Other forms: muttered (adj), mutteringly (adv)

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References

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/mutter

https://www.vecteezy.com/free-vector/cartoon-mouth-talking

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Four – Fun Fact

You know how when you were younger (or if you are around young kids) you would close your eyes and count to 20 while playing hide and go seek? Or maybe to 10? What about 100? Today’s Fun Fact for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 24 focuses on…

COUNTING TO 100,000

Keep reading or watch the video below for more information.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“ ‘Only that thou be blind and dumb and paralytic whilst one may count a hundred thousand—counting slowly,’ said Hendon, with the expression of a man who asks but a reasonable favour, and that a very little one.” (p. 148) 

Counting to 100,000

  • Amount of time to count to 100 (slowly)
    • 132 seconds (2 minutes 12 seconds)
  •  Amount of time to count to 1,000
    • 132 x 10 = 1320 seconds (22 minutes) 
  • Amount of time to count to 10,000 
    • 1320 x 10 = 13,200 seconds (220 minutes) (3 hours 40 minutes)
  • Amount of time to count to 100,000
    • 13,200 x 10 = 132,000 seconds (2,200 minutes) (36 hours, 40 minutes)

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References

https://www.mathsisfun.com/activity/count-billion.html

https://komodomath.com/us/blog/how-children-learn-counting-a-parents-guide

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Four – Historical Tidbit

Do you speak more than one language? Have you ever taken advantage of the fact that others around you might not speak that language? Miles Hendon does exactly that in order to help free Edward. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…

LATIN IN TUDOR ENGLAND

Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

Miles makes a judgement about the constable in this chapter and assumes he doesn’t know Latin. Then he uses this to his advantage to use gibberish Latin to make it sound like he had committed a terrible crime (it roughly translates to “the law of retaliation is not in control of the mind, so the glory of the world passes away”).

“ ‘Yes, it hath a name. In the law this crime is called Non compos mentis lex talionis sic transit gloria mundi.’
‘Ah, my God!’
‘And the penalty is death!’
‘God be merciful to me a sinner!’ ” (p. 149)

Latin in Tudor England

  • Language of the church
  • Used in many legal and state documents
  • After the Reformation, was no longer used in church (except for during Mary’s brief reign)
  • Replaced by the Book of Common Prayer and English translations of the Bible
  • Boys learned it in grammar school (ages 7-14) for families who could afford it
  • Studied Rudimenta Grammatices by William Lily (referenced in several Shakespeare plays)
  • Great vowel shift took place (led to modern English)


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References

https://www.alison-morton.com/2014/04/03/victoria-lamb-amo-amas-amat-latin-in-tudor-england/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Latin

https://sites.fas.harvard.edu/~chaucer/vowels.html#:~:text=Old%20and%20Middle%20English%20were,to%20the%20sounds%20in%20Latin.&text=The%20Great%20Vowels%20Shift%20changed,%22%20%5BIPA%20%2Fi%2F%5D.

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Four – Vocabulary

The sense of sight is a powerful thing. Do you have any powerful images from a long time ago that still stick in your mind? Our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 24 focuses on all the wonderful things we see. The vocab word is…

SPECTACLE

Keep reading or watch the video below see how the word ‘spectacle’ is used in The Prince and the Pauper.

SPECTACLE

DEFINITION

(n.) a public show/display
FACTS/CHARACTERISTICS

especially things that are impressive or large
EXAMPLES

fireworks show
parade
impressive skyline
NON-EXAMPLES

nap
ordinary scenes
ordinariness

Etymology

  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • spectaculum (from spectare) = “to watch”

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: The teachers put on quite a spectacle at the all-school assembly.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “Edward the Sixth wondered if the spectacle of a king on his way to jail had ever encountered such marvellous indifference before.” (p. 147)
  • Other forms: spectacles (n.), spectacular (adj.)

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References

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spectacle

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/macy-s-thanksgiving-day-parade-going-virtual-fall-due-coronavirus-n1240024

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-three – Current Event

There are some stories that you hear about that just make you feel good. Today’s Current Event is one of those stories. In the Chapter 23 Current Event, we explore…

Judge Frank Caprio

Keep reading or watch the video below to find out more.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“‘Oh, good lack, what have I done! God-a-mercy, I would not hang the poor thing for the whole world! Ah, save me from this, your worship—what shall I do, what can I do?’
The justice maintained his judicial composure, and simply said—
‘Doubtless it is allowable to revise the value, since it is not yet writ upon the record.’
‘Then in God’s name call the pig eightpence, and heaven bless the day that freed my conscience of this awesome thing!’

The woman went off crying: Hendon slipped back into the court room, and the constable presently followed, after hiding his prize in some convenient place. The justice wrote a while longer, then read the King a wise and kindly lecture, and sentenced him to a short imprisonment in the common jail, to be followed by a public flogging. ” (p. 144-145)

Here we see Hugo pretending to be sick/injured in order to gain pity (and money) from a stranger.

Who is Judge Caprio?

  • Municipal Court Judge in Providence, RI
  • Hundreds of millions of views on videos
  • Known for showing compassion for people in his courtroom
    • Drops tickets for high schoolers in return for them promising to attend college
    • Listens attentively to those having a hard time

What’s his background?

  • Learned compassion from father, an immigrant from Italy
  • Used to teach high school while he attended law school
  • His brother began filming his proceedings and called the show “Caught in Providence”

What’s happened as a result?

  • Clips of the show gained popularity on Facebook
  • Now there is a show called “The Caprios of Providence” with several of his family members

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References

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/frank-caprio-80-year-old-judge-becomes-internet-star-providence/

https://www.rimonthly.com/judge-frank-caprio/

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2019/12/23/metro/judge-caprio-just-came-out-with-another-show-this-time-his-family-

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Three – Historical Tidbit

Have you ever wished that your boss could spend a day in your shoes? For them to have to follow the same rules they impose upon you? Well the people of England got that chance in Chapter 23 (though they didn’t know it). Edward ends up being on the other side of the law after being accused of stealing a pig. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…

TUDOR PUNISHMENTS

Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

While Edward is on trial, we find out that the crime he has been accused of has an extremely harsh punishment, which shocks everyone in the room.

“‘ ’Tis a poor ignorant lad, and mayhap was driven hard by hunger, for these be grievous times for the unfortunate; mark you, he hath not an evil face—but when hunger driveth—Good woman! dost know that when one steals a thing above the value of thirteenpence ha’penny the law saith he shall hang for it?’” (p. 144)

Common Methods of Execution

  • Beheading- treason; more likely for rich people
  • Hanging- stealing, treason, rebellion
  • Burning- women accused of treason
  • Being ‘pressed’
  • Boiled Alive- murder

Common Methods of Punishment

  • Whipping- stealing
  • Branding with hot irons- murder, stealing
  • Pillory/stocks
  • Ducking stool- being accused of witchcraft
  • The Brank- gossiping

Why were the punishments so harsh?

  • Harsh punishments deter criminals from repeating the crime
    • Also others who see the punishment
  • Also a source of entertainment


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References

http://www.primaryhomeworkhelp.co.uk/tudors/other.htm

https://www.teachingideas.co.uk/sites/default/files/tudorcrimeandpunishment_0.pdf

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:TitusOates-pilloried_300dpi.jpg