eldin raigmore wrote: ↑
26 Jun 2020 18:36
Salmoneus wrote: ↑
25 Jun 2020 21:51
Could you be more precise?
Sorry, probably not.
I’m lucky I remembered the author and the work; I usually don’t.
I don’t know where in the work his use (probably “uses” if memory serves) of “capitAl” to mean someplace other than the seat of government is (are).
That wasn't the bit I was questioning, it was the idea of a 'capitol city'. Naturally, before there was legal recognition of national capitals the meaning of 'capital' would have to be a bit broader.
But it probably contains more than one use of “capital city” to mean something other than “seat of government”, right?
There's 566 instances of 'capital' in the book; I've checked through the first 110 or so. There's a handful of cases where he's talking about punishment or architecture. Of the remainder, something like, just approximating anecdotally here I haven't actually counted, something like 80% of the uses of singular 'capital' refer to Rome. A couple are explicitly "capital of the empire", but most are just "the capital". A few, likewise, refer to Constantinople (coincidentally, 100 capitals takes us up to the foundation of Constantinople as the new capital, so I assume the balance shifts a bit beyond then). He never explicitly defines what makes Rome the capital; although as he talks about the empire becoming "distracted by the two capitals", it seems he expects there to be only one of them.
Notably, he never seems to refer to Alexandria as a capital of the empire, even though at times it was one of the biggest, or even arguably at some points the biggest, city.
Most of the other mentions of a "capital" are explicitly to the capital of a Roman province (Tarragona is named after its capital, "Sirmium, the capital of Illyricum", etc). A few are the capitals of enemy or rebellious polities.
There's also interestingly a couple of references to the capital, not of a province, but of a person. Zenobia, for instance, retreats to "her capital" (Palmyra), but when she surrenders she is taken to live out her days in "the capital" (Rome). Similarly, it talks of Nero being accused of setting fire to "his" own capital, though that may just be in the sense of everything in the emperor belonging to him.
In the whole book, there's only 25 instances of "capitals". The great majority of times it means Rome and Constantinople. A couple are to the capitals of multiple places ("the capitals of Syria and Egypt still held a superior rank"; a couple of times he refers collectively to the modern capitals of Europe). Sometimes multiple time periods (Ctesiphon succeeds Babylon as one of the great capitals of the east).
The weirdest instance is when he refers to the two capitals of Constantinople and Antioch. I don't know why. It may be because Antioch was rioting and had to be subdued, and hence it's effectively a rebel capital (though it was just a riot, I think, not a secession). It may be that Cosntantinople is capital of the empire, and Antioch of a province. Given that there's a religious dimension, it may be that he's momentarily speaking of the two cities (both the seats of Patriarchs) as metaphorically capitals of Christendom; or it may be its informal status as capital of the eastern empire at that time; or its historic status as former capital of Persia.
There's only a handful of references to multiple capitals in the same region. One is explicit in its meaning: Theodoric moves his court from Ravenna to Verona whenever there's a threat of war, and hence Gibbon speaks of "these two capitals" (notably, Theodoric also rules most of the rest of Italy, which has cities larger than these two). Similarly though less explicitly, Clodion is said to have three capitals - presumably he moved his court between them.
The only cases where the multiple capitals aren't clearly the 'capital' (i.e. place of court) of a ruler are all references to exotic climes: Kiow and Novgorod are paired as 'the two capitals' (of Russia); Seleucia and Ctesiphon are the two capitals of Pesia; Fez and Morocco are also both capitals (he doesn't say of where); and of course there are "the three great capitals of Khorasan" (Maru, Neisabour and Herat) destroyed by the armies of Zingis. In these cases it's unclear whether he means simultaneous or sequential capitals, or whether he means the seats of government or just the notable cities; it's quite likely that he didn't really know the details.
Oh, and the capitals needn't be big. There's reference to the "cities" in Gaul that specifies that these "cities" include not just the capitals but also the surrounding land, and there's a reference to the countless "rustic capitals" of the Mingrelian valleys.
In the whole book, there's only one instance of "capital cities" (and none of "capital city") - "should assemble in the capital cities of their respective provinces".
So overall, he appears to use "capital" to mean the politically chief city of an area (usually the Empire). When he talks of the capital of a ruler, he means where their government is based; but Rome remains the capital even when the Imperial court is based outside the capital, so it's not quite synonymous with 'seat of government' (as it still isn't) (although of course Rome was still legally the seat of the legislature, even if in practice it was a rubber stamp).
Also interestingly, there's 77 uses of "metropolis"; some of these are religious, but others seem synonymous with 'capital' and have no apparent religious sense (the metropolises of each province); there's a reference to Antioch as the Metropolis of the East, but I don't know if that's a poetic expression or a religious technicality...
Are you able to search the work online for the word “capital”?
I don’t know where that software is nor how to use it!
Can you point me to a URL?
Just search online. Gutenberg has it. You can search the document in your browser.
Anyway English is only one language.
As I understand it we’re interested in how to say this in other languages; particularly conlangs.
Is that correct?
South Africa has three seats of government in three different cities;
an executive capitol, a judicial capitol, and a legislative capitol, IIANM.
Or is only one of those a “capitol” building or compound or campus or complex?
At any rate, all three cities might be called “capitAl cities”; are they?
Yes, South Africa has three capitals.
None of them contain an American legislature, so there are no capitol buildings. You could metaphorically extend the sense to the building the South African legislature sits in if you wanted, I suppose.
Several countries —— India among them when I lived there —— have a summer capitol or capital and a winter capitol or capital.
That is, the seat of the national or federal government is(was?) in one or the other of two distinct cities, depending on the season.
Would the building, or buildings, or campuses or complexes or compounds, where the government is HQed in those two cities, count as capitOls? Or only the ones with the legislative chambers?
Only those buildings containing the US Congress, or, by metaphorical extension, the legislature of a US state or other territorial subentity.
[more general, places with moving bodies may either designate both buildings with equal official status, or may designate one as the true home of the body and the other as a temporary residence. This is not common with legislatures these days, because moving them is expensive, but it's not uncommon with courts.
India had two capitals - a summer capital and a winter capital - until 1947. The Philippines had two capitals until 1976, but while one was the summer capital, the other was just the capital. I believe the only places to still have summer/winter capitals are Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh, and Himachal Pradesh.
It is my understanding that Texas, at least when I lived there had three capitAl cities —— viz Houston and Dallas and San Antonio — none of which were its capitOl city, which is Austin. Austin is even more laid back than San Antonio, which is pretty laid back!
The capital of Texas is Austin. Its metrorail system is called "Capital MetroRail". The other places you mention are what are technically known as big
cities. That doesn't make them capitals.
The Texas State Capitol is a building in Austin. Austin is therefore the city that contains the (Texas State) Capitol. However, I'm skeptical whether many people would intentionally call it the 'capitol city' as a result.
(But Tyler is “the Rose capitAl”, since more roses are grown in its county than anywhere else in Texas, or the US, or North America. Or so it is said, or used to be said.)
This is a metaphorical sense of the term.
So, maybe I’m wrong, but I’m proposing that “the capital of the Empire” is, or perhaps rather was, polysemous in English.
Should we try to translate more than one of its meanings?
Most populous city?
City with tallest buildings?
City with most land-area?
City where Imperial government is HQed?
It's not polysemous, it's just potentially ambiguous. It means the chief, head, principal, first, primate or metropolitan city of the Empire. In the great majority of cases, this will be the biggest and richest city and the headquarters of the government (although the government may often be just outside the city proper). Obviously, a few empires will have some ambiguity in this respect, particularly when a city is no longer the richest and biggest, but continues to be thought of as the capital. But the OP is not asking you to identify the capital city of every imaginary country, they're just asking you to translate the concept.