How would the title "A Dance among Devils" be translated into Classical Latin?

Saltatus apud Larvas

Saltatus inter Larvas

I'm trying to stay classical with a noun for "Devil", although I wouldn't rule out something post classical. Noun/adjective pairs are also fine, like animas malas or umbras malas (assuming the meaning is suitable and my declensions are correct).

Edit for additional context:

The dancer in this case is singular, but I'm open to any kind of actual dancing. Devil can be taken to mean something more literal (as in demons), but also spirits of the dead, living people who are just wicked, etc. The title was inspired by woodcuts created during the bubonic plague that have dancing skeletons.

  • How about "chorea sub malis avibus" = "a dance under bad birds (evil spirits)". In Latin "sub malis avibus" = "to be under the influence of evil (under bad birds)".
    – tony
    Apr 5, 2021 at 8:50
  • Is sub malis avibus a common idiom to imply that? I'm not actually trying to directly imply anything with the original English so people can draw whatever meaning from it they want.
    – Adam
    Apr 5, 2021 at 13:56
  • 1
    To give a proper translation, more context is needed: what kind of "dance" is it, i.e. who dances (an individual, a couple, a group)? in what sense is it "among" devils (are they participants, spectators, surroundings)? in what sense are they "devils" (denizens of the underworld, the epitome of evil, harmful spirits, tempters)?
    – gmvh
    Apr 5, 2021 at 17:46
  • Thanks for questions - I'll update the post to add more context.
    – Adam
    Apr 5, 2021 at 18:15
  • 1
    @Adam: Would the Romans have said it in this way? I don't know. It seemed to fit the requirement. Joonas's answer may be a better bet; the trouble is the dancer would have to have gone down into the underworld ("ad infernos"), to find potential partners for a waltz. Such a journey was prohibited--Cerberus-the-Dog would have made this plain.
    – tony
    Apr 6, 2021 at 11:38

2 Answers 2


There are many ways to go about this, but I'd suggest:

Tripudium apud inferos.

Different kinds of dances, and I chose tripudium because refers also to religious dances. I suppose some kind of religious tone is to be understood here.

For "devils" I chose inferi, which is more "the dead" or "inhabitants of the underworld". You can also read apud inferos as "in the underworld".

With this I am trying to paint a picture of a fatal religious dance while avoiding what might feel like a calque of the English wording. Whether this works for you depends on context, but at least it's a starting point.

  • I added some additional context per @gmvh's comment, but this actual fits in fairly nicely with that.
    – Adam
    Apr 5, 2021 at 18:18
  • @Adam That seems to fit surprisingly well!
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Apr 5, 2021 at 18:28

Saltatio diabolos inter.

Saltatio = ‘dance’; diabolus = ‘devil’, admittedly not ‘classical‘ in the narrow sense, but ‘devil’ as a concept strikes me as decidedly Christian.

(I like inter postpositive for some reason.)

The slight assonance between saltatio and diabolos is coincidence (I think), but in any case perhaps an added benefit.

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