This is an extremely long prelude to a talk about the origins of the word chancellor and its friends! Guys, so a chancellor is a lot like a fancy secretary now. Or sometimes Hitler.*** Or, like, an ambassador or other high-falutin' official representative. According to the venerable OED, "chancellor" originally comes to English from Latin (by way of French, as per usual), "in the Roman Empire, the cancellarius was a petty officer stationed at the bar (of lattice work) in a basilica or other law court, as usher of the court." This lattice work was known as the cancelli, which refers specifically to "the latticed screen between the choir and the body of the church." Who knew? Not me!
|Look at that sweet cancello. Photo by Giovanni Dall'Orto, via Wikimedia Commons.|
*In case you wondered, that synopsis says the Han family moved to Canada. This is false, they live in Sydney, though the daughters do sound American or Canadian when they speak English, not Australian.)
**Regular Jesus, not Sexy Gay Jesus, unfortunately. Not so into the gays here. At least not officially.
***I'm trying to be more like the History channels and the Military channel and a lot of cable by talking about Hitler as often as possible on this blog now.
****In Chancery is also the title of the second book in Galsworthy's Forsyte Saga, which I own but haven't read--though I do recommend the 2002 miniseries, obvs, if you like depressing shit in fabulous early twentieth-century costume, and I know you do because you probably also watch Downton Abbey.
*****You caught me, I just got a job welding metal latticeworks!