Today I learned that nobody has any idea where the word “dog” comes from. Nobody knows! It just turned up one day in the English language – docga in Old English to be exact – and just never checked out. Eventually it overtook “hound” as the preferred name for man’s best friend, and the rest is history. Inscrutable history. What a wonderful reminder that no matter how much we know, we still just…don’t know.
Speaking of dogs, the Canary Islands were named after dogs, not canaries (as in canine – Canariae Insulae in Latin). They have been known as the Canary Islands since ancient times, and in fact canary birds are named after the islands.
Speaking of the Canary Islands, Pliny the Elder claimed that they were named by a guy called Juba II, who was king of the Roman province of Mauretania (modern-day northern Morocco). He was seemingly a pretty cool dude. Originally from Libya, he came to Rome after his father’s kingdom was conquered, and he became a very learned and respected man, publishing many works and acting as personal confidante to both Julius Caesar and Augustus. He then became the king of Mauretania.
Speaking of Juba II, his first wife was Cleopatra Selene II, daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. His second wife was…an interesting character. Glaphyra was from the eastern province of Cappadocia (Anatolia, in Turkey), and was apparently, as they say, all about Eve. Her first husband was Alexander, son of Herod the Great (yes, that Herod from the Bible). They had a happy, if not entirely uncontroversial marriage that Glaphyra spent indulging in her favourite pastimes, which included acting above her station, throwing shade at other women, and generally being a dick. Things ended abruptly when Herod suspected Alex of plotting against him (not an unusual occurrence on Herod’s part, he was quite the paranoid murderous bastard) and promptly had his son executed and shipped ol’ Glaphy back to where she came from.
This is not the end of Glaphyra however. She then met and married our mate Juba II, and was queen of Mauretania for about a cup of coffee. Her problem was that she was powerless to resist the endless charms of those Herodian studs; upon this marriage she fell almost immediately in love with another one of Herod’s sons, Herod Archelaus, and left poor ol’ Jubes to hook up with her former brother-in-law. Needless to say, this raised a fair few eyebrows in his home province of Judea, as he was a Jew and the Jews were known to frown upon things like marrying your dead husband’s bro.
Apparently they weren’t the only unhappy ones. Alexander, the dead husband in question, was said to be non too pleased with this turn of events, and had decided to show his displeasure from beyond the grave. Ol’ Alex appeared to Glaphy in a dream to tell her that not only would his attorney be in touch, but that he was going to see her personally very soon and give her what for. Unlikely as that seemed, he clearly knew something we didn’t, because two days later Glazza dropped dead. Presumably resulting in the mother of all rows when she reached him in the afterlife.
As always, my source is good old Wikipedia.