How would one best combine the Latin “sidereus” and the Greek “σίδηρος” in an otherwise-English-language text to refer to meteoric iron? Ideally in a manner that would be authentic to ancient Roman usage, albeit embedded in a language they obviously never knew.
The best answer here would be a citation of a time a Roman author him-or-her- (optimistic, I know) -self used the words in such a fashion, and then a discussion of how it would be used within English—though of course I doubt such a citation exists. Failing that, knowing how the Romans and/or Greeks referred to meteoric iron would be valuable. This might be combined with information on how the Romans used Greek words within their own text—particularly in a case where the Greek word might be mistaken for a similar-sounding Roman word of a separate meaning—and a synthetic Latin–Greek phrase for meteoric iron using these words could be determined.
My own best guess for this would be just be literally “sideros sidereus,” “stellar iron,” but I don’t know if this is really an authentic way of writing things.
As background, today I learned that the Latin “sidereus,” meaning stellar, of the stars, is strangely similar to the Greek “σίδηρος,” meaning iron. Having studied Latin some in high school, I was aware of sidereus but not of σίδηρος. My understanding is that it is not known whether the two words are etymologically related—and if they are, what the history there is—or if they are just similar by considerable coincidence.
Obviously, one possible connection between the two might be in the notion of “meteoric iron,” as meteorites are occasionally composed substantially of iron, and before the invention of smelting and the Iron Age, would have been one of humanity’s only sources of usable iron. Iron meteorites are even sometimes known as “siderites,” a word that Wikipedia links to σίδηρος rather than sidereus, but seems like it could have gone either way. (“Siderite” is also used for ferrous carbonate, FeCO3, but this compound is not found in meteorites and so clearly must derive from σίδηρος.)
Today, meteoric iron is mostly a curiosity, used primarily just to say you did, for example in jewelry, or in the sword that Sir Terry Pratchett had made for his knighting. It has no practical advantages over the iron we can smelt ourselves. Nonetheless, as Sir Terry noted, meteoric iron, or thunderbolt iron, or star metal, shows up quite a bit in folklore and fantasy, often imbued with potent magics from its travels among the stars. As I am a sometime fantasy writer, specifically in the realm of roleplaying game supplements, where meteoric iron can (and does, say, in Dungeons & Dragons) have special stats and properties, it interests me to think how these interestingly-related words could be combined to refer to this special material.