One useful tidbit of knowledge for the modern citizen to consider, is the degree to which the words we use today have changed, since their inception. Take for instance the word “clever.”
In modern English society, “clever” is typically defined as:
1A: skillful or adroit in using the hands or body; 1B: mentally quick and resourceful;
2: marked by wit or ingenuity;
Yes, typically in today’s contemporary society, clever is a positive description representing above average intelligence, wit, or resourcefulness. A clever individual is considered an asset, a benefit, a worthy and useful associate. To be sure I am not an outlier regarding the word clever, I suggest you ask your peers to define clever- or to ask them to describe the first thing that comes to their mind regarding the state of being clever.
However, in ancient Greece, “clever” represented a sinister evil; a trickster. It was a word used only to describe the most despotic individuals in society- even used to describe evil entities; yes, in ancient Greece, to be “clever” was to be considered evil. A detriment to the social good of society. Thugs, thiefs, robbers, murders, sinister gods, and only the worst of the worst, were describe as clever.
This is useful, because it is a good indication of how the meaning of words have been warped over time. So the next time you are reading along, and you come across “clever” in the text, consider the ancient meaning, and see if it has lost it’s footing.
Furthermore, consider the meaning of clever as you read ancient Greek literature- and do not stop at just clever, for the English language has warped the meaning of many words. As you come to realize this, you should begin searching for the etymology of words appearing today, that also appeared then. It is of great use to realize that the very meaning of words, has prevented us from understanding our past.