"To Become God"

It is a simple and asinine request, but google translate is apparently notoriously untrustworthy.

Anyone with real knowledge and a quick translation to Latin would make my day! Thanks!

2 Answers 2


Well, that is easy, because we have the famous example of Emperor Vespasian (9-79), who is often said to have uttered on his deathbed: "Woe me, I am becoming a god" (or something to that effect). In fact this anecdote is relayed by Suetonius in his biography of Vespasian, and it turns out it was not on the deathbed but at the first onset of illness. But he said it, and there it is in chapter 23 in plain Latin:

Ac ne in metu quidem ac periculo mortis extremo abstinuit iocis. [...] prima quoque morbi accessione: Vae, inquit, puto, deus fio.

And not even in fear and utter danger of death did he refrain from jokes. [...] Also, on the first onset of illness, he said: Woe, I think I'm becoming a god.

And there you have it: "to become God" is Deum fieri.

  • He used Deus as nominative so maybe Deus/Dea fieri, methinks. Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 21:06
  • 3
    @Jacqueline: The use of nominative vs. accusative depends completely on the grammatical context. "Cupio deus/dea fieri" = "I desire to become (a) god", " "Cupio te deum/deam fieri", "I desire for you to become (a) god". See latin.stackexchange.com/a/16250/9
    – Asteroides
    Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 21:26
  • 2
    @Jacqueline like Asteroides said, it depends on context; I chose the accusative because that's what you can use when talking about "becoming God" abstractively, e.g. haud facile est deum fieri. Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 21:47
  • 2
    Mister Vespasian's grammar is the canonical context where deus works, namely when this is the subject of the main clause. putō is interjectional here and doesn't govern, just like in English "I guess, I think". When an actual object clause is present, the nominative can only appear with certain experiential verbs when it's raised out of the object-clause to become the subject of the main clause in the first person singular, that is ego: ego volō [mē deum fierī] > ego deus fierī volō. See the wiki article for English examples. Commented Feb 18, 2022 at 23:50
  • 3
    You have the same phrase in Seneca's Apocolocyntosis: "Olim" inquit "magna res erat deum fieri."
    – cmw
    Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 17:41

The Romans believed that their emperors were gods, or at least became gods when they died. Vespasian’s “deus fio” is just a playful manner of saying “I am about to die”. In a Christian, or other monotheistic, context “deus fio” could mean “I am becoming God” in the sense of merging into the essence of the one God, if this is really what you want to say.

  • 1
    Must be intended to be a comment on the other answer... Commented Feb 19, 2022 at 21:19

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.