In the Chronicles of Darkness role-playing game, one of the major antagonists is called "the God-Machine": a machine so powerful it seems similar to a god.

I know Latin generally prefers not to stick nouns together like that. So how would you translate this epithet into Latin (or Greek, for that matter)? Using an adjective like divīnus seems to indicate that the machine was made by the gods, rather than that it's pretending to be a god itself.

2 Answers 2


On the other hand, Greek does not have the problems with compounding that Latin does, and θεομηχανή would be fine. (It neatly matches θεάνθρωπος "God-Man", the theological epithet of Christ, or for something older, θεόταυρος "God-Bull" used by Moschus to refer to Zeus.)

In Modern Greek, θεο- has become a colloquial augmentative, mainly for adjectives but also for nouns; so θεοβάρελο "God-barrel" = "ginormous barrel". Which means θεομηχανή could be misconstrued by Modern Greek speakers as "ginormous machine". But that's likely not your concern. :)


I would prefer machina diva over machina divina but it still comes across as "machine of god(s)" rather than "a god-like machine". I am not aware of a good Latin adjective for "god-like", so some kind of workaround seems to be needed. I can see a couple of ways to go:

  1. Use an auxiliary adjective for comparison: machina deo par/similis.
  2. Use a particle for comparison: machina quasi dea.
  3. Form a compound word in Greek and transliterate to Latin. (And ask someone other than me how to most naturally do that.)
  4. Use another adjective. The choice depends on the desired nuance. Perhaps machina caelestis?
  5. Deal with the possibility of misinterpretation and go with the simple and elegant machina diva.
  • 1
    Insread of par, the form "Vir quasi rex" suggests "Machina quasi deus."
    – Hugh
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 8:10
  • 1
    @Hugh Good idea! I added that in. As machina is feminine, I chose dea instead.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 15:09

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.