I want to say 'the City of God is established by the existence of (aggresive) pagans. What would be the grammatical and elegant (in the style of St. Augustine) way of saying this in Latin?

I am editing this to clarify that I want to say 'The pro pagan City is the City of God' in Latin, hopefully using words similar to the title of St. Augustine's 'De Civitate dei contra pagonos'. Thank you!

  • Are you looking for a sentence or a title?
    – Draconis
    Jun 14 '19 at 21:39
  • A sentence meaning 'The pro Pagan city is the City of God. Many thanks.
    – Vivek Iyer
    Jun 15 '19 at 21:09
  • Would you mind editing that into your question? That's a somewhat different meaning than what you'd originally asked (though it's also answerable)
    – Draconis
    Jun 15 '19 at 21:10

Civitatem Dei ξ firmant pagani saevi. (ξ =caesura)

or alternatively,

Cívitátem Dei pagáni sævi fírmant.

firmant is the word used for God establishing the world; found, create, establish.
sævus cruel, describing wild beasts and savage tribes (from the Roman point of view).
I have tried to keep the trochaic rhythm.

"Cruel pagans are-the-foundation-of the City of God."

In a more abstract form. "From cruel pagans, the City of God's foundation." ( firmitas in Perseus/Lewis&Short)

E paganis saevis, Dei Civitatis firmitas.
E paganis saevis, firmitas Civitatis Dei.

  • 1
    Many thanks! Could one write E paganis saevis, firmitas Civitatis Dei ?
    – Vivek Iyer
    Jun 16 '19 at 1:53
  • @VivekIyer that word order would be fine.
    – Hugh
    Jun 16 '19 at 3:49
  • Thank you so much, Hugh. Could I ask, is 'Contra paganos, hic peregrinatur civitas Dei' permissible? What would it convey?
    – Vivek Iyer
    Jun 17 '19 at 16:55

As you know, Augustine's most famous work is titled:

Dē cīvitāte Deī contrā pāgānōs

Literally, "regarding the city of God; against the pagans".

Starting a title with ("regarding") was a long-standing tradition, and we still see its remnants nowadays in works like On the Origin of Species; back before titles were really a thing, it was a way of saying what a text was about. The noun following is then in the ablative case: cīvitāte instead of cīvitas.

So if you're going for a title, you'd start with the same Dē cīvitāte Deī. The change would come after that.

To put it concisely, I'd use a passive participle next: …aedificātā ā pāgānīs "…established by [the existence of] the pagans". The verb here is a standard one for "to establish": it's the same one used in 1 Corinthians 8:1 and 14:4.

All together, that would be:

Dē cīvitāte Deī aedificātā ā pāgānīs
Regarding the city of God, established by the pagans

  • This is very promising, but you don't seem to get all the way to translating "the City of God is established by the existence of (aggresive) pagans". Was this intentional?
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Jun 14 '19 at 20:50
  • @JoonasIlmavirta Looking back, it's not clear if OP wants a title or a sentence; if they want a sentence I can rephrase for that.
    – Draconis
    Jun 14 '19 at 21:10
  • Thank you so much! I was writing a poem which ended 'Prince! Manichaeus explains what Machiavel explains away/ Pro paganos civitate est civitate dei but realized this must be grammatically wrong. What I want to say is 'A pro-pagan City is the City of God'. Your erudite guidance is highly appreciated.
    – Vivek Iyer
    Jun 15 '19 at 21:08
  • No, the title of Augustine's most famous work is Confessiones.
    – C Monsour
    Jun 17 '19 at 0:58

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