I am looking for a Latin phrase for

The new darkness

as in the arising of a negative political movement, a "new" darkness.

The best I can find is

tenebrae ex hodiernae

as if "born today" as in Christus nautus hodie.

2 Answers 2


Tenebrae is a good choice for “darkness.” The darkness is of course metaphorical here, presumably standing for unreason and injustice. The association of light and visibility with an agreeable state of affairs, and of darkness and clouded vision with the opposite, exists in Latin as well and is indeed expressed by tenebrae or caligo. For example, Cicero says: ex superioris anni caligine et tenebris – from the gloom and darkness of the previous year (Oratio post reditum in senatu, 5), or vide nunc caliginem temporum illorum – see now the darkness of those times (Pro Plancio, 96, talking about his exile, I think).

You can indeed say tenebrae hodiernae (no “ex”), it means “the present darkness, the darkness of our day.” (For this, you could also say: tenebrae huius aetatis, the darkness of our age. In fact, hodiernus and huius aetatis are expressions I have seen used to describe “modern Latin, the Latin of our day.”)

But in fact an even more literal translation might be just as good. For the “new darkness,” why not simply:

tenebrae novae
tenebrae recentes

… i.e., the new, the recent darkness. That is how Latin routinely expresses the idea that something appeared a short time ago, has not existed for a long time.


or, to include the political idea: offusa rei publicae nova/recens/his temporibus nox; caligo ac tenebrae, quae totam rem publicam nunc occupant

  • 2
    Very good point suggesting offundere, which seems to be a favourite companion of nox, caligo and tenebrae. Jun 30, 2020 at 18:52

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