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Ready, aim, fire

Posted by RRC on September 23, 2009 at 16:55

In Reply to: Ready, aim, fire posted by David FG on September 23, 2009 at 10:34:

: : There is a scene in the movie Ben Hur in which two fleets of ships engage in battle. At one point, deck hands are loading catapults with flaming pitch and an officer shouts out: "READY! AIM! FIRE!" I've always assumed that the phrase related to the use of guns and rifles, so hearing it used in another context intrigued me. I've not been able to find any internet references to the origin of the phrase and was wondering if anyone here might be able the shed some light on the subject.

: There are a lot of stories about that film (many no doubt apocryphal: the red sports car, the wrist watches, the dying stuntman and so on) which cast some doubt on its historical veracity.

: Of one thing I think we can be sure; that whatever order was given in first century Roman galleys, it wasn't 'Ready, aim, fire!'.


Until Mel Gibson remakes the entire movie entirely in Latin, Greek, and Aramaic as he did for "The Passion of the Christ", the entire dialogue will be equally anachronistic. Sometime since "fire a gun" began to be used in 1530, we illogical human beings began to use fire to "fire a bullet" and then to "fire an arrow" even though no fire is involved. It became a synonym for merely "shoot".