In response to the question about the word "cinnercuak," I read The Columbia County News-Times, The Augusta Chronicle and the National Enquire as I have an inquisitive mind.
Kudos must go to Gary Swint, director of the East Central Georgia Regional Library System, and Dottie Demarest, a research librarian at the main Augusta-Richmond library.
In Barry Paschal's Jan. 9 column, he said a friend had inquired about the word "cinnercauk," as used with "alcohol, bars and cinnercuak businesses" in a 1922 land deed.
The answer is in ClassicNotes: Inferno Cantos XXI-XXIV by Dante:
"The next valley held a pool of boiling tar, which reminded Dante of the pitch the Venetians used to patch up their ships. While Dante was watching the tar, Virgil warned him to look out. Turning around, he saw a black demon racing up, carrying a sinner which he cast into the pool, calling out to the other demons, the Malebranche, that it was an elder of Saint Zita. He said he was going back for more, and that there were plenty of grafters in that city.
"The sinner tried to get out of the pitch, but other demons thrust him down with long hooks, taunting him all the while. Virgil told Dante not to be afraid of the demons, and went over to speak with them. At first they looked menacing, but when Virgil told them that they were there by divine will, the head demon, Malacoda, gave them an escort made up of the demons Alichino, Calcabrina, Cagnazzo, Barbaniccia, Libicocco, Draghignazzo, Circiatto, Graffiacane, Farafrello and Rubicante.
"Dante was not pleased to have an escort, but Virgil again told him not to be frightened: the demons growling faces were meant to scare the sinners. As a signal to begin, the leader, Barbariccia, "made a trumpet of his [rear]."
In light of the fact that the demons were after all the grafters (beer and alcohol drinkers), that the smoking ban was targeted towards bars, taverns and restaurants that permitted smoking, could there be a correlation between the Demon Barbaniccia from Dante and Tom Mercer, the architect of the local indoor smoking ban of the Columbia County commissioners?
The word "cinnercuak" is in actually "Sinner's Caulk" which was used to patch up the ships.
I hope that this explanation helps answer the burning question, "What is cinnercuak?"
David G. Edmiston Sr.
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