Excerpt From: Frank Herbert, Dune

“The wisdom of seeding the known universe with a prophecy pattern for the protection of B.G. personnel has long been appreciated, but never have we seen a condition-ut-extremis with more ideal mating of person and preparation.”

I think it's referring to Lady Jessica having Paul with Duke Leto—Paul to become some sort of "chosen one."

I derived a meaning from a few sources, and I am wondering if others would agree with it.


  • (dictionary) in extremis: in an extremely difficult situation; at the point of death
  • (dictionary) subjunctive: relating to or denoting a mood of verbs expressing what is imagined or wished possible (compare to "indicative": denoting a mood of verbs expressing a simple statement of fact)
  • (another post) ut: subjunctive: "in order to" (purpose), "to" (indirect command), or "that" (result/fear); indicative: "(just) as"

condition-ut-extremis: condition created in order to survive a deadly situation

  • As there is no subjunctive, I think it must be "ut" = as. As for "conditio" it has three entries in L&S. condĭtĭo, for condĭcĭo =stipulation, condition [perseus.uchicago.edu/cgi-bin/philologic/… ; condĭtĭo a creating, a work; ( condītĭo preserve, pickle, ) – Hugh Oct 13 '19 at 20:03
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    Oh hmm. Maybe the "condition" part is just English; I originally assumed it was Latin since the second and third parts looked Latin. I guess condition in the sense of "conditio"/"creation" or "work" makes the most sense, as in maybe Paul being a sort of polarizing creation. – user6187 Oct 13 '19 at 20:25
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    Like a person / creation / situation as extreme. – user6187 Oct 13 '19 at 20:26
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    I'm not sure we are justified in assuming that Frank Herbert got all his Latin correct and according to classical precedent. – Colin Fine Oct 13 '19 at 21:51

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