The Universe of Discourse

Sat, 14 May 2022

Cathedrals of various sorts

A while back I wrote a shitpost about octahedral cathedrals and in reply Daniel Wagner sent me this shitpost of a cat-hedron:

computer graphics drawing of a roughly cat-shaped polyhedron with a
glowing blue crucifix stuck on its head.

But that got me thinking: the ‘hedr-’ in “octahedron” (and other -hedrons) is actually the Greek word ἕδρα (/hédra/) for “seat”, and an octahedron is a solid with eight “seats”. The ἕδρα (/hédra/) is akin to Latin sedēs (like in “sedentary”, or “sedate”) by the same process that turned Greek ἡμι- (/hémi/, like in “hemisphere”) into Latin semi- (like in “semicircle”) and Greek ἕξ (/héx/, like in “hexagon”) into Latin sex (like in “sextet”).

So a cat-hedron should be a seat for cats. Such seats do of course exist:

combination “cat tree” and scratching post sits on the floor of a
living room in front of the sofa.  The object is about two feed high
and has a carpeted platform atop a column wrapped in sisal rope.
Hanging from the platform is a cat toy, and  on
the platform resides a black and white domestic housecat.  A second
cat investigates the carpeter base of the cat tree.

But I couldn't stop there because the ‘hedr-’ in “cathedral” is the same word as the one in “octahedron”. A “cathedral” is literally a bishop's throne, and cathedral churches are named metonymically for the literal throne they contain or the metaphorical one represent. A cathedral is where a bishop has his “seat” of power.

So a true cathedral should look like this:

same picture as before, but the cat has been digitally erased from the
platform, and replaced with a gorgeously uniformed cardinal of the
Catholic Church, wearing white and gold robes and miter.

[Other articles in category /lang/etym] permanent link