It's all Sanskrit to me

I read the other day that the French supposedly say "it's all Chinese to me" when they want to say that something is incomprehensible. The English version of the saying is "It's all Greek to me."

I started thinking that maybe this meant that the movement in the saying meant that orientalism was moving west, ever since the US became the new empire. As it turns out, extensive philological research into the dusty tomes of a quick Google/Wikipedia reveals that it came a little earlier than the US empire. Or, indeed, the US itself:

but those that understood him smiled at one another and
shook their heads; but, for mine own part, it was Greek to me
(William Shakespeare, The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, 1599)

Also, the saying probably has latin roots. Those crazy Romans.

Anyway, I was thinking about this because there's more on orientalism in the paper tomorrow. Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

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