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Author Topic: The archeology of magic  (Read 845 times)

Offline Skip

The archeology of magic
« on: August 27, 2017, 07:48:39 PM »
I want to invent a word, or at least use a good one invented by someone else. In my world, magic has been around a long time, and naturally things change over time, so there will eventually be people who study the history of magic, even before there were written records.

That's the archeology of magic. The terms I've cobbled together are awfully clunky
thaumatology
archeothaumatry
archeomagica

I found this one from a book title, "materia magica" which is more elegant, but which does not quite imply "study of." Ideally, the word could change gracefully, the way archeology can become archeologist.

All ideas welcome!
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Offline The Gem Cutter

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Re: The archeology of magic
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2017, 11:58:26 PM »
Your approach and terms seem fine to me, but I enjoy brainstorming, and your ideas are not very different from many I've considered in my own WIP, so here's another thought or two to play with or dismiss:

1. Instead of the Aristotle/University approach, using the "-ology / -ologist" suffixes on latin terms, you might try the "alternate" approach, the way we see in some fiction of late, where we see terms that harken back to earlier times, like "The Alienist" and "The Mentalist" and the like.

2. Instead of looking at these people and their endeavors the way that we look at scholars in our world, you might look at them in the context of what they do, what they produce, etc., and why they do it. Not knowing your work, I am tossing darts in the dark here, but if I imagine that why they do what they do is to identify errors - identify faulty research - and therefore discover dead-ends that might not really be dead, you might name them accordingly in any number of ways. "Fault-finders" is uninspiring, but "Perfectionist" "Perfecter" "Validator" and other terms might lead to an idea with the right glint. I like (for whatever linguistic reason) words that end in "ian" and "ion" - so I would call someone who questions history and validates a "Contrarian" - which might allude to the obsessive attention to detail such research would require, and the ornery nature of those who might be drawn to such an occupation.

3. People who set the record straight have a great, but subtle power. And deciding whose research is valid and sound and who discovered what first and best is a heady authority to have. These are the ingredients of strong characters - for all power corrupts, and who validates the validators?
The Gem Cutter
"Each time, there is the same problem: do I dare? And then if you do dare, the dangers are there, and the help also, and the fulfillment or the fiasco. There's always the possibility of a fiasco. But there's also the possibility of bliss." - Joseph Campbell

Offline JRTroughton

Re: The archeology of magic
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2017, 01:45:08 PM »
I'm quite taken by thaumatology. I like the term thaumaturge and the riff on it is a pleasing one.

Offline Skip

Re: The archeology of magic
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2017, 05:13:19 PM »
I've had a couple votes for thaumatology. I like the word, too, but the archaic element is missing from it. It's really closer to anthropology in its scope than it is to archeology. I suppose I could construct archeo-thaumatology, but that's rather a horror.

What's your mom do?
Oh, she's an archeothaumatologist.
She's a what, now?

I just can't bring myself to call an Indiana Jones character an archeothaumatologist. :)
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