I'm trying to translate a sentence "We are her sword". It's supposed to be a motto for a warriors' guild under leadership of a female elf warrior in our tabletop RPG game. Other than the obvious metaphorical meaning, it's also referring to the fact that the guild's symbol and name were based on said elf's divine sword.

It sounds like "Gladius eius nos sumus" might be what I'm looking for, but I'm not sure if my translation is correct. Can "nos" be in this sentence, or should I ditch it? Is "gladius" the right word to use for "sword" when it has a metaphorical rather than literal meaning? Also, I would very much like to put extra emphasis on the word "her" by putting it first, but I am not sure if "eius gladius" and "gladius eius" mean the same.

  • 1
    You could probably use gladius eius (literally "the sword of her"), but that does not convey femininity. Oct 11, 2020 at 17:47

2 Answers 2


Unless you use a noun, there isn't much choice for emphasing the feminine, since neither the genitive nor the dative pronouns are distinguished by gender. To fulfil the need, you must instead use a preposition with an ablative: pro illa, 'for her' (you might prefer hac or ea instead of illa — all three are demonstratives).

Gladius is certainly the usual word for a sword, though you might substitute the often-used ensis ('cutting edge') or ferrum (iron) to suggest the metaphor.

And for a motto — which should be brief and direct — you can probably omit the verb. This all leads me to prefer pro illa ferrum, or more fully pro illa sicut ferrum, 'for her [we are] as a sword'.


I think Tom Cotton's suggestions are completely reasonable, but I'll offer some alternatives:

1) Dominae ensis (nos) sumus

2) Ducatrici ensis (nos) sumus

Domina suggests someone to whom one owns loyalty to, so might not be quite what you want if you want to emphasize the idea of leadership, which is conveyed better by ducatrix, a feminine form of dux. (Note that dux itself can be applied to a woman, but that would not come out in this brief phrase.)

I prefer the word ensis to Tom Cotton's ferrum here as being more poetic and less likely to be misunderstood.

  • I would leave off the 'nos' or at least move it somewhere else in the sentence. The s'es may get combined and start sounding like "Ducatrici ensis non sumus" "We are not her sword."
    – Nickimite
    Oct 13, 2020 at 19:48

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