I'm not an English speaker and I don't know many definitions and "big" words in that language, so forgive me for speaking like a barbarian.

I have no knowledge of Latin, but I want to make some Latin names (for worldbuilding reasons).

At the moment I came up with something like:

  • bibliotheca + hostis with intended meaning of something more or less like Library of Strangers or Library of Foes with second noun meaning not owners of the place, but group that would be depicted in works inside that library
  • liber + vulgus with intended meaning of Book of Common People or simply Book of people with Book having a more older and grander meaning (in Polish it would be Księga, not Książka), so maybe more of a Tome or Volume?

How do I create the final names? Do I just slap together words, or do I need to transform one of them? Which one? How?

I will most likely want more Latin names in the future, so I would like to know not only the answer, but also the process of getting the solution.

  • 2
    Thanks for your post and welcome to the Latin Stack Exchange. If you intend on using a lot of Latin for world-building, it might be in your best interests to try learning some Latin. You don't need to be fluent to do basic translations of place names. There should be books in Polish I would think. As for your question, are you looking for Classical Latin in specific, or any era of Latin?
    – Adam
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 2:20
  • @Adam I don't really know the difference, but I would guess classical :)
    – Forien
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 14:28

2 Answers 2


No, you should definitely not just slap the words together :)

Bibliotheca hostis would be the “library of the enemy.” You have to put hostis in the genetive plural, which is hostium, so the “library of (the) enemies” would be Bibliotheca hostium. It arguably sounds very much like the library belongs to the enemies (more so than in English, where the missing definitive article in “Library of Foes” suggests otherwise).

Instead I would suggest bibliotheca rerum hostilium, which means “Library of matters pertaining to the enemy/enemies.” This is, by the way, consistent with established usage like bibliotheca rerum militarium, metallicarum, historicarum, Germanicarum.

The “common people,” as opposed to patricians, nobility, etc., is plebs. The “people” would just be populus. Liber vulgi, liber plebis or liber populi seem viable choices. The terms volumen (scroll) and codex (stack of individual pages) refer to the physical shape of the book. I am not really aware of a more elevated term for “book” in Latin.

  • 2
    I had interpreted Book of Common People meaning it was about the common people, similar to the first item. Perhaps the OP could clarify. In an event, vulgus is probably a better translation than plebs, which is a culturally specific term (like the name of a caste) that the Romans would be unlikely to apply to cultural contexts other than their own.
    – C Monsour
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 11:46
  • Yes, as far as I researched the words, I believe vulgus to be more adequate than plebs, but populus could work as well, but I preffer sound of vulgus. And while I want latin names and maybe some Roman-inspired things, I'm not really carrying over Roman culture as a whole into the world I'm building
    – Forien
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 14:27
  • Despite marking this answer as accepted, for the book I went with @CMonsour answer below
    – Forien
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 0:33
  • Actually I think that absent the context of ancient Roman politics, the word plebs stands on its own and simply suggests a multitude of commoners as opposed to a smaller group of nobility of some sort - a dualism on which Rome certainly had no monopoly. Even in English, words like plebeian, patrician etc. are often used without any Roman connection. In any event, it's good to have choice. Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 17:48

You can express these ideas in Latin with de (which means "about" or "concerning", and which, unlike its descendants in modern Romance languages, does NOT indicate possession--possession in Latin is indicated by genitive or occasionally dative case). So bibliotheca de hostibus and liber de vulgo

  • Neither bibliotheca de hostibus nor liber de vulgo has the requested meaning. This is a bad answer.
    – fdb
    Commented Jun 7, 2020 at 22:29
  • Assuming that answer is right about de so liber de vulgo means something roughly like "Book about people" then it has the requested meaning :) Maybe I wasn't precise enough in my question, for what I'm sorry.
    – Forien
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 0:30
  • I will go with liber de vulgo for the book, however since I should mark some answer as accepted, I will mark the other one for it's take on bibliotheca.
    – Forien
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 0:32
  • 1
    @fdb I like Sebastian's version better than mine for the library, because it's more idiomatic, but mine also has the right meaning. Consider the titles of works like De Anima.
    – C Monsour
    Commented Jun 8, 2020 at 2:33

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