Jul 3, 2008

Rapid Rhetoric: DURBAR

Raphael's depiction of Plato defining the difference between true and false rhetoric This is an irregular feature - both in frequency and oddness - dedicated to a word I came across that I have never previously used.

durbar (DUHR-bahr) n. (Mughal India) a court or audience chamber, as well as a formal assembly of notable persons called together by the government; (British India) formal imperial assemblies called together to mark state occasions.

Derived from the Persian word دربار (darbār) the term durbar originally applied to the nobles of the Shah's court. Durbar later gained use as a general term in India and Nepal for the courts of the various provincial rulers.

I came across the word in a four-volume set of books I am editing for the publishing house Brill, which is celebrating its 325th anniversary this year. The pay is decent, but I really could not pass up the opportunity to stick my feet in the door of this academic publishing powerhouse, which does not possess a modern equivalent of a durbar by which aspiring authors might seek corporate benevolence.

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