Rock carvings, channels, stories, and the young age of the Nile delta, all point to the Sahara being wetter and greener in former times. And the windblown soil of the modern Sahara fertilizes the Amazon.
If a deep-time climate study finds that the Sahara is one of the ‘permanent’ deserts, then perhaps the Nile emptying into the Atlantic in prehistoric times wasn’t such a big affair (and where? Some old delta deposits might be waiting to be found). And the Nile-less Egyptian area would have been a western extension of the Arabian Desert. Perhaps the turning point was when the Old Kingdom first appeared.
And would a green Sahara have made a less jungley Amazon?
If Zeus were a volcano (or an eruption), the birth of Athena fully-formed from his brow would have been a spectacular sight and, for the survivors, a memorable one.
John of Salisbury is talking in the context of students going to university and then getting jobs in bakeries (today it would be pizzerias) and so Cornificius (today it would be Adjunct Professor Dough) therefore wanting the industrification of the curriculum.
The carping hasn’t stopped. Today it would be grumpy old men.
Steve Pinker has come across them in the linguistic sphere (Steven Pinker, The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century (Penguin, 2015)).
What the language purists do:
(pp 302–303): never look it up; have unsound arguments; confuse anecdote with the state of the world; use false dichotomies; base arguments on people, not reasons.
(p 300): misplaced emotion; the self-proclaimed defenders outdoing each other with tasteless invective; ‘The hyperbole often shades into misanthropy’, which tactic (p 192): ‘easily mixes with racism or class prejudice’
They present themselves as:
(p 298): unschooled or worse; their arguments are patently illogical; they reason ‘like Superman’s famous wardrobe malfunction’
Experts know; purists don’t know:
(p 195): purists are ignoramuses; ‘screwball reasons’
To declare that English should follow Latin, or that a word keeps its original meaning, is a
(p 200): ‘crackpot theory’
There is a choice phrase Pinker uses:
(p 219): neurologically intact
That will come in handy.
Language purists belong to the GOM Squad of Commentary and come up with (actually, copy-paste) half-baked ideas that they expect everyone else to swallow.
Legal purists are, and do, the same.
Pinker’s book is quite good, by the way. Deep, easy to follow. Well-written. (Allusions are not footnoted; just assumed to be part of the Zeitgeist.)
Language (and mind) is all about strings, trees, and webs (of meaningful sounds and their visual counterparts, information transfer containers, and concepts).
Even dogs do it.
And probably everything else, too, for that matter.