I am translating the phrases "Before the Fire" and "After the Fire" into Classical Latin. These are used for dating in a fashion similar to how B.C.E./B.C. and C.E./A.D. are used for dates in the western world.

Ante Incendium and Post Incendium seem like the obvious choices, assuming that the noun makes sense, but is there something potentially more poetic sounding?

Edit: Per a comment from brianpck and a post I made before about translating "everything burns" into Latin, would something like ab Omnibus Incensis make sense, and how would that be abbreviated?

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    What kind of fire are you talking about? If it were something like the London fire, you could do a neat parallel with the usual Roman way of counting years: ab urbe incensa
    – brianpck
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 15:32
  • Atomic or nuclear fire, although I'm totally open to something more like the London fire for the parallel with Roman year counting. The "fire" in question isn't limited to one particular city, though.
    – Adam
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 16:13
  • I edited my post with an idea I just had based off your comment, @brianpck.
    – Adam
    Commented Apr 25, 2020 at 16:16
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    I fully agree with brianpck. The use of a so-called "dominant participle" construction (aka ab urbe condita construction; cf. latin.stackexchange.com/questions/9412/… ) is indeed quite idiomatic in Latin. E.g., cf. ante Capitolium incensum (Livy VI, 4).
    – Mitomino
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 3:05
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    Ab omnia incensa: Your instinct is right, but it needs to go into the ablative, ab omnibus incensis
    – Figulus
    Commented May 31, 2023 at 1:35

1 Answer 1


Incendium is a good word for a big, out-of-control fire, and you've used it correctly. But if you don't want to be that literal, how about ruīna? It's the source of English "ruin", but means something like "catastrophe, calamity, downfall, disaster"—Vergil uses it when talking about the fall of Troy.

If you go with this, you could mark your years ante ruīnam and post ruīnam: "before the destruction" and "since the destruction".

  • This is great! It would be very easy for an English-speaker to understand. Would abbreviating these as A.R. and P.R. be accurate?
    – Adam
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 2:01
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    @Adam Seems reasonable to me! (You'd also probably use a normal i without the long mark on top; I just use the long marks because it helps me keep in practice.)
    – Draconis
    Commented Apr 26, 2020 at 2:01

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