Thursday, July 21, 2011


Ozymandian \ah-zee-man-dee-uhn\ or \aw-zuh-man-dee-uhn\ , adjective;
1. Immense, colossal; staggering, awe-inspiring

This word is first attested in 1960 and is based on the name Ozymanidas, which was the name of a poem by Percy Bysshe Shelley published in 1818:

I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: 'Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them, on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lib, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal those words appear --
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.'

The poem is supposed to be about the inevitable decline of all leaders and their empires, but it appears to point to Egypt more specifically because Ozymandias is another name for the Pharaoh Ramesses the Great. It's a transliteration of Ramesses' throne name, User-maat-re Setep-en-re, into Greek.

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