WTF does “Cada hormigón con su espigón” mean?

It’s in Pedro Vallés Libro de refranes (1549) along with Cada gorrión tiene su espigón, which I’d translate as “To each sparrow his ear of corn.” Contrary to general belief, concrete of various types was known after the Romans lost it and the British rediscovered it, so is this saying something like “Reinforce your concrete or your castle will not sustain cannonfire”, or “What’s the point in making concrete if you don’t make a jetty” – “chaque béton son utilité“, or am I missing something really obvious?

Update: I rather liked this image from Juan de Villanueva, Arte de albañilería (1827) showing use of boards/tapias to construct compacted earth walls in the way described by Pliny 1750 years earlier:

Maybe there’s an extra meaning for espigón floating out there, viz the mould into which you pour your lime concrete which serves as an outer crust for earthen walls, along the lines of Nebrija 1516 Hormigon de pared. = Latin crusta calcaria:

A los treinta y cinco capitulos dixeron que las casas que comunmente están edificadas, y se edifican en este lugar, son de tapia de hormigon por de fuera, y de su tierra, y rafas de ladrillo y piedra, y que los materiales donde es piedra y cal y yeso y madera, se traen de fuera parte de el dicho lugar, porque lo damas, que es teja y ladrillo, lo hay en el. (Relaciones histórico-geográficas-estadísticas de los pueblos de España, late C16th)

Hell, I dunno.

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Comments

  1. Llevar fuerte espigón is to have a bee in your bonnet. If hormigón = big hormiga, every big ant has a bee in its bonnet. Just trying to help.

  2. Nice. Every big ant has its sting. It’s about wood ants?

    So that would make it quite like the sparrow and its ear, and nothing at all to do with construction.

  3. MC and OCG politely point out that it is a variation on “Cada hormiga con su espiga”, hitherto unknown to Google, but here’s a lovely ditty: “Anda la hormiga sobre la espiga, coge un granito corre y se va”

    I was just on this concrete trip yesterday. Weird.

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