If St Augustine, who lived 1,600 years ago, were to read my last post (put into Latin and Roman numerals, of course), what would he have trouble understanding?
At the very least he would get stuck on the following terms, here explained in terms that he did know. I put them in chronological order (year of first known use in parentheses):
1892 (525) – most numbers over 500 that have no units are years, counted from the birth of Christ. So, for example, “1892″ means the 1,892nd year after the birth of Christ. Not used till 525.
sergeant (c. 1200) – army rank for someone who leads, say, four to nine soldiers.
America (1507) – one of the main parts of the world, like Africa, Europe or Asia. It is west of Europe and Africa, across the ocean.
Hindu (by 1670) – someone from India, especially a follower of its main religion.
white person (by 1680) - someone who seems to be pure European by blood.
race (1774) – one of three to seven breeds of mankind as determined by physical differences in skin colour, hair, eyes, nose and shape of the head.
United States or US (1777) – a country in America, west across the ocean from Gaul, Spain and Mauretania.
American (1777) – of or from the US, even though the US is just one part of America!
Sikh (1781) – a follower of the religion of Nanak Shah in India.
Congress (1787) – the part of the US government that makes laws.
New York (1788) – an eastern state (province) of the US.
Supreme Court (1789) – the nine judges who are the last word on the meaning of laws in the US.
Caucasian (1795) – the race of mankind whose homeland stretches from Spain to India, from Egypt to Germany. Not all Caucasians are “white”.
PhD (1805) – a piece of paper from a university (a high seat of learning) stating that a person is among the most learned in his field.
Aryan (1819) – an ancient people whose language spread to northern India, Scythia, Persia and Europe, giving rise to most of the languages found in those places, such as Latin and Greek.
scientist (1834) – someone who studies natural science.
racial differences (1846) – physical differences between races, like skin colour.
California (1850) – a western state (province) of the US.
Emerson, Thoreau and Walt Whitman (1855) – famous US writers.
University of California, Berkeley (1868) – one of the highest seats of learning in California.
early 1900s (1886) – the period in history from 1900 to 1950.
shut off immigration (1901) – stop the flow of people coming into a country to live.
British-ruled India (1915) – Britain once had a sea empire that ruled a fourth of the world. India was a big part of it. The US was a colony of that empire.
United States v Bhagat Singh Thind (1923) – the name of the case heard by the Supreme Court in the year 1923 where it decided that people born in India could not become US citizens because they were not white.
Immigration and Naturalization Service (1933) – the part of the US government that controlled people entering the country. In 1920 it was called the Bureau of Immigration.