The translation problem

Yes, English has a word to translate the Greek poine (“money for blood spilt”): it’s “weregeld.”

Lowry Heussler, in her defense of Ajax, commented that the Greek word poine was hard to translate. She now reports that Liddel and Scott translate it as “money for blood spilt,” which seems right.

Another reader points out that English (or at least Middle English) has a perfectly good word to translate poine: “weregeld.”

To which Lowry replies, “Nonsense! Weregeld is what you pay to neuter your werewolf. Everybody knows that.”

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: