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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Though many of the events of Classic novels are certainly outdated, the themes and conflicts are universal and eternal.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-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

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

Today’s vocab word is another one that is used to describe one of the main character’s in the chapter (similar to hermit from before). Our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 23 is…

CONSTABLE

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

CONSTABLE

DEFINITION

(n.) a police officer, usually with limited power
FACTS/CHARACTERISTICS

Duties may vary by state now in U.S.
EXAMPLES

cop
peace officer
patrol(wo)man
NON-EXAMPLES

civilian
criminal

Etymology

  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • comes stabuli, = “officer of the stable”

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: The kids quickly stopped fighting when they saw the constable walk around the corner.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “The crowd fell apart to admit a constable, who approached and was about to lay his hand upon the King’s shoulder” (p. 143)
  • Other forms: N/A

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References

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

https://www.met.police.uk/car/careers/met/police-officer-roles/police-constable/overview/

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

Have you ever faked an injury in order to gain sympathy from someone? In Chapter 22, we discover a trick the beggars used in order to get more money from passersby. Today’s Fun Fact for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 22 focuses on…

FAKE WOUNDS

Keep reading or watch the video below for more information.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“In pursuance of the first plan, he purposed to put a ‘clime’ upon the King’s leg…’Clime’ was the cant term for a sore, artificially created. To make a clime, the operator made a paste or poultice of unslaked lime, soap, and the rust of old iron, and spread it upon a piece of leather, which was then bound tightly upon the leg.This would presently fret off the skin, and make the flesh raw and angry-looking; blood was then rubbed upon the limb, which, being fully dried, took on a dark and repulsive colour.  Then a bandage of soiled rags was put on in a cleverly careless way which would allow the hideous ulcer to be seen, and move the compassion of the passer-by.” (p. 139)

Why fake a wound?

  • In Tudor England, these criminals were called ‘Counterfeit Cranks’
  • They would fake blindness or pretend to be mute
  • This gained sympathy and money from passersby
  • Nicholas Jennings
    • Caught with fake blood
    • He would paint on injuries
    • He would make about two-weeks’ worth of wages in a day

How to Make a Fake Wound

  1. Gather glue, skin tone makeup, colored eyeshadow, fak blood, toilet paper, and paint/makeup brushes
  2. Tear off toilet paper larger than the wound size you want.
  3. Paint glue onto the place where you want the wound.
  4. Put the toilet paper onto the glue. Allow to dry. Add glue on top of the toilet paper. Continue adding layers.
  5. Apply liquid foundation to blend the paper to your skin tone.
  6. Cut and tear the paper to create the opening in your wound.
  7. Apply red, purple, gray, or black eyeshadow around your “wound”
  8. Put fake blood in the wound.

How to Make a Fake Wound

  • Using Vaseline, eyeshadow, lip gloss, a makeup brush and a toothpick
  • Using stage makeup, and liquid latex

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References

https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Fake-Wound

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articles/15k01n1sGksfR1vsxyCkLVB/the-secret-world-of-tudor-crime

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

Have you every had an awkward experience where you challenge someone to an activity, assuming they wouldn’t be any good at it, only to find that their skills vastly outweigh yours? Hugo had the misfortune of finding himself in this exact same situation. Today’s Historical Tidbit for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 22 is about…

SWORD FIGHTING

Keep reading or watch the video below to learn about this ancient skill.

In Chapter 22, Edward has had just about enough of Hugo’s nonsense. Finally, Edward grabs a stick and he and Hugo face-off in a stick fight. Hugo, imagining his rival is a poor beggar boy, has complete confidence that he will win the fight at first. But that soon changes…

“But poor Hugo stood no chance whatever. His frantic and lubberly ’prentice-work found but a poor market for itself when pitted against an arm which had been trained by the first masters of Europe in single-stick, quarter-staff, and every art and trick of swordsmanship. ” (p. 137)

What fighting skills did Edward learn?

  • Horse riding
  • Handling weapons
  • Hunting
  • Archery
  • Jousting

Was Edward any good?

“On May 3rd, at Greenwich, they tilted at the buckler and joined in sword-play, and the King tried his skill five or six times with the other young lords. The French ambassador, who had been summoned, spoke in public with the King, and said his Majesty had borne himself right well, and shown great dexterity. “

What is singlestick?

  • Martial art using a wooden stick as a weapon
  • Began as a way of training soldiers to use swords
  • Usually 34 inches long; 1 inch in diameter

What is Quarterstaff?

  • Stick made of wood six to nine feet long
  • Often tipped with a metal spike
  • Often seen as better than walking around with an edged sword


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References

https://tudortimes.co.uk/people/10-things-you-might-not-know-about-edward-vi/budding-soldier

https://civilianmilitaryintelligencegroup.com/12132/quarterstaff-stick-fighting-created-in-the-middle-period-of-english-history

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

https://www.arms-n-armor.com/blogs/news/the-quarterstaff

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

Today’s vocab word is still commonly used in texts and conversation, which is different from a lot of the words we’ve featured throughout the book. Our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 22 is…

SOLEMN

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

SOLEMN

DEFINITION

(adj) formal, dignified, serious
FACTS/CHARACTERISTICS

Often related to religious ceremonies/traditions
EXAMPLES

a formal ceremony
funerals
formal oaths/promises
NON-EXAMPLES

parties
jokes/pranks
comedies

Etymology

  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • sollemnis = “regularly appointed, solemn”

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: The overall mood at the funeral was solemn, and the attendees rarely joked or laughed.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “…he was crowned King of the Game-Cocks; his meaner title being at the same time solemnly cancelled and annulled…” (p. 137-138)
  • Other forms: solemnities (n), solemnly (adv)

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References

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/solemn#synonyms

https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/obama-eulogize-late-rep-john-lewis-conscience-us/story?id=72055920

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

In Chapter 21, Edward finds himself in a tricky situation. He’s being held captive by the hermit, and appears to have no way of escaping. If only he had read this blog post, maybe he could have gotten free! Today’s Fun Fact for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 21 focuses on…

ESCAPING FROM BEING TIED UP

Keep reading or watch the video below for more information.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“He finished with a gasp; and at once fell to struggling so frantically with his bonds again, that he shook off the smothering sheepskin.” (p. 136)

At the end of Chapter 20, the hermit tied Edward up while he was sleeping with the intention of killing him before the morning comes (after realizing his father was responsible for crushing his life aspirations). Throughout Chapter 21, Edward struggles to free himself from the bonds, unsuccessfully.

How to Escape Ropes

  1. When getting tied up, make yourself as big as possible.
  2. Once the captors are gone, shrink yourself back down as much as possible.
  3. Work your hands to to loosen the rope/knots (stretch, push, move arms up and down, etc.)

Other Helpful Tips

  • Use a pointed object that sticks out (like a spike or hook) to help work the ropes loose.
  • Free your hands first.
  • If gagged, rub your face or head against a wall or furniture to slip it over your chin.

Video Demonstration

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References

https://www.istockphoto.com/photos/hands-tied-up

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-VI76QdvBo

https://www.artofmanliness.com/articles/how-to-escape-from-being-tied-up/

https://www.worstcasescenario.com/blog/how-to-escape-when-tied-up