Monday, July 26, 2010


I was reading Lee Child's Gone Tomorrow and the term, and origins, of "parabellum" caught my attention. In the book, and Child's other books, it gives the idea that a parabellum is a kind of ammunition. When I asked my husband about it, he said he'd never heard of it, when I showed him the Wiki page though, he knew exactly what I was talking about. Here's what Wikipedia had to say..

The word Parabellum is a noun coined by German arms maker Deutsche Waffen und Munitionsfabriken and is derived from the Latin saying si vis pacem, para bellum, meaning If you wish for peace, prepare for war. The term has been used in the naming of a number of cartridges.

* 9x19mm Parabellum, the pistol cartridge adopted by NATO but the 9 mm NATO has different parameters than commercial makes (dimensions and pressure).

* 7.65x22mm Parabellum, also called .30 Luger in the USA, from which the 9x19mm cartridge was derived.

The term may be used to refer to one of these cartridges, or to a German, Austrian or Swiss pistol chambered for one of those cartridges. The 9x19mm Parabellum is one of the most widely used pistol cartridges in use. The phrase a Parabellum usually refers to the Luger P08 pistol. The term may also apply to the Parabellum MG14 machine gun.

What I thought was interesting was the saying "si vis pacem, para bellum" and the meaning "if you wish for peace, prepare for war". It seems a contradiction in terms, but I think it's probably somewhat accurate. We want peace to just fall in our laps, and have everyone "just get along", but that's not how the real works works, (as much as we wish it did). It seems the German arms makers figured that out.


seana said...

New word for me, Glenna. That phrase is interesting. I suspect Machiavelli would have liked it too, and I happen to think that Machiavelli was a pretty smart guy, if not exactly an idealist.

Glenna said...

From the (very) little I've read about Machiavelli, I think you're right, he would have liked the term. He had some interesting thoughts and ideas, and a bit of perspicacity that seems to be lacking today.

Glenna said...

Oh, and I started reading the first two chapters of The Beekeepers apprentice that are posted online. I'm enjoying King's humor quite a bit. It looks like a promising book.

seana said...

I've met a few people who don't like her books, but in general, she has a very enthusiastic fan base. She's a great person, as well.

I suspect if you like her humor, you'll like the series.

Glenna said...

So far I'm enjoying it. I've read the first hundred pages, (I was surprised to find it at the liberary today), and as much as I like it, I'm coming to see that it's not going to be the quick read that I've gotten so used to. I believe I've gotten a little spoiled.

seana said...

I think you'll adjust.