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Word for the Wise January 30, 2007 Broadcast Topic: A day of violence

Today is a day of violence and would-be violence among all sorts of leaders. England's King Charles the First was executed on January 30th, 1649. Twelve years later to the day, the body of Oliver Cromwell, the man who had signed the King's death warrant, was exhumed; the corpse was first hung in chains and then beheaded. (来源:英语杂志 http://www.EnglishCN.com)

Fast forward to the 19th century. On January 30th, 1835, a man attempted to shoot American President Andrew Jackson. Both pistols misfired, and President Jackson beat his would-be assassin with his cane.

Then, on January 30th, 1948, Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu fanatic.

We've told the story of the word assassinate before—it has its roots in the Crusades, when Hashshash, a secret order of Muslims named for their consumption of hashish, would secretly murder Christians while under the influence.

The coincidence of so many assassinations (and attempted assassinations) associated with the 30th reminds us of the phrase thirty pieces of silver. Judas Iscariot was paid that blood money for betraying Jesus; since then, thirty pieces of silver has developed the metaphoric meaning of anything paid or given for a treacherous act.

 
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