Language fails but does not collapse

The Greek chroniclers struggled to convey what they saw, or even to find a vocabulary to describe the guns. “No ancient name exists for this device,” declared the classically minded Kritovoulos, “unless someone refers to it as a battering ram or a propeller. But in common speech everyone now calls it an apparatus.” Other names proliferated: bombards, skeves, helepoles— “takers of cities”—torments and teleboles. In the pressure of the moment, language was being shaped by a terrifying new reality — the infernal experience of artillery bombardment.

Roger Crowley, 1453

Kritovoulos, or Critobolos of Imbros, was a contemporary chronicler of the Ottoman expansion.