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A 1988 Norwegian pop album has the title "Seculum Seculi". I have tried to figure out what it means, but Google Translate cannot really help. It translates it into "toung" (not to be confused with "tongue"), but I can't really find any definition of toung either.

Playing around, and translating back and forth, tweaking and prodding for another result, gives me the impression that the term is related to time and/or space.

Does anyone know what it means?

  • If 'a week of weeks' is 7 x 7 days, then 'an age of an age' is a very long time, 'Age squared.' – Hugh May 2 '18 at 11:25
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The classical spelling would be saeculum saeculi. The ae is pronounced like a long e, and it is not unusual to spell ae as e in post-classical Latin. I assume the album title is inspired by medieval Latin sources.

Saeculum is "century", so saeculum saeculi is literally "[the ]century of [the] century", but apparently actually means "forever".

Thanks for the comments, sumelic and brianpck!

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    "Singing in Latin" by Harold Copeman (1992) goes so far as to say that "ae" was "usually" written as "e" in Medieval Latin, although I don't particularly know what his basis is for that statement. – Asteroides May 1 '18 at 21:34
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    Yes, as someone who reads tons of medieval Latin, I can confirm it's usually spelled seculum in manuscripts. As for the offered translation: it's a painful calque of an ecclesiastical idiom that actually means "forever." – brianpck May 1 '18 at 21:49
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    In/per saeculum saeculi, in/per [omnia] saecula saeculorum, are common Catholic liturgical formulas to say forever. In Spanish they are translated more literally (centuries of centuries), but into English the translation is more prone to for ever and ever and the like – Rafael May 1 '18 at 22:44
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    If no one gets to it, I'll eventually add some more detail: it's in, for instance, Heb 1:8. I believe it is a calque of Greek "eis ton aiona tou aionos," which, in turn, is a Hebraeicism meant to convey the superlative, similar to "Lord of Lords." As Rafael notes, it's ubiquitous in the Catholic liturgy. – brianpck May 1 '18 at 23:38
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    @brianpck I would be happy to see you or anyone else post a more detailed answer. It does indeed fit well the common pattern of Hebraisms for superlatives. – Joonas Ilmavirta May 2 '18 at 0:01

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