What Does Adpragmalic Mean?

Mosaic black bath –attendant. From Timgad, northwestern baths (at entrance to room, between two tepidaria.) 82 x 70 cm. Timgad, Musée Archéologique

Mosaic black bath –attendant. From Timgad, northwestern baths (at entrance to room, between two tepidaria.) 82 x 70 cm. Timgad, Musée Archéologique

At the heart of my current research titled Forging “Christian Rome”: Cultural Shifts of Late Antiquity  is the treatment of the image of the black African or Aethiopes. In one section of this paper I begin by looking at the treatment of the image of the black African by Romans as apotropaic which other scholars such as John Clarke, Katherine Dunbabin and others have. To be apotropaic meant having the power to avert evil influences of the Evil Eye. As the ubiquitous mosaic images found in bathing complexes showed black Africans not sexualized but simply ithyphallic, having an erect phallus or macrophallic, having an obviously large phallus. This leads to the monastic images of the Ethiopian demon found in their writings that changed the representation from a defense against evil to one of fornication and sexual evil, a demon of tainted lust.
So in the course of writing I created a new word to describe this unique and ironic change taking place during this period. This constituted the apotropaic image of the black African changing into something that monastic writers considered to be evil. In short, I present this neologism adpragmalic here and has been defined below.

ad•prag•mal•ic |ədpragˈmalik|

adjective

an ironic change to something that is contrary to the previous attribute of an object

DERIVATIVES

adpragmalically |ədpragˈmali’k(ə)lēadverb

adpragmalism |ədpragˈmalizemnoun

In a sentence: The interpretation of the black african by monastic writers in the fourth century was adpragmalic.

ORIGIN: Late 20th cent.: from Latin malus ‘evil’ and Greek pragma ‘thing’, literally  “change to an evil thing.”

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2 comments on “What Does Adpragmalic Mean?

  1. I am currently completing a MAH – Masters in Architectural History at UVA. Afterwords I plan to continue on to a doctoral program. I have already decided on my dissertation topic: In a nutshell – the role of architecture – Markets and Slavery – in the urbanization of the British New World. Would it be possible for me to get a copy of your paper? If I find I can use it (it sounds remarkable) FULL citation would certainly be given.

    Thanks so much.

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