4

I play a scifi game where you build your own pieces and the language in the game is a derivative of Latin. I want to write a couple battle cries/prayers on the sides of one of my game pieces. The phrases in English are:

"Blood for the Blood God" and "Skulls for the Skull Throne"

I modelled my translation off the Catholic hymn "Gloria in Excelsis Deo".

My attempted translations are as follows: "Cruor pro Cruori Deo" and "Crania pro Craniis Throno"

I have questions about my conjugation, diction, and word order.

  1. Declension. The subject should be nominative and the object and its modifier should be dative, right? Blood is always singular? Can I use a plural dative to modify a singular dative? If not, how do I write "Throne of Skulls"?

  2. Diction. This is scifi Space Latin, so the nouns used don't have to belong to a specific era of latin. I chose Cruor instead of Sanguis because it connotes violence. "Gore for the Gore God" translates more idiomatically IMO than "IV for the IV God". Cicero used Cruor to specifically mean spilled blood from violence in the Philippics. Also, within the context of the game, Sanguis applies to a different faction (Space Vampires) than the faction I play and I don't want the casual Latin reader to look at my game piece and think Space Vampires.

I know Cranium and Thronus are Greek derivatives from medieval Latin, although Pliny did use Thronus Caesaris in the first century to describe a constellation in Natural History. However, I like the way it looks on a game piece because both words are English cognates unlike calvus or sedis.

I'm happy for suggestions for nouns and I certainly don't want to discourage good advice. The diction question I had the most was the preposition. I've had people make good arguments for pro, ad, and in and I can't make up my mind. The consensus says pro, but an archeologist friend of mine suggested ad for idiomatic reason (he did make specific note to say he was not a linguist), and my priest suggested in because prayers typically use in when referring to God because God is everywhere. Both of these battlecries double as prayers to a specific god, who isn't omnipresent, in my space game.

  1. Word Order. I have absolutely no idea. I modelled my phrases after the word order in "Gloria in excelsis Deo".

Thanks in advance for any help you can give!

  • 4
    Welcome to our site! – Sam K Sep 8 '18 at 16:27
1

There are several issues which I can see here; your choice of words, cruor, cranium, and thronus, is fine. However:

  • The preposition prō does not take a dative; it takes an ablative.
  • The preposition prō may not be appropriate for this scenario; it generally encompasses the meaning "on behalf of". If your intended meaning was that the blood and skulls are offerings for the "blood god" and the "throne of skulls", I definitely wouldn't use it. Instead, I would use ad or simply a dative to convey that the blood and skulls are being offered as a sacrifice; my preference here is ad, simply because these are such short phrases, but in larger clauses, I would generally prefer the dative.
  • Latin does not construct noun phrases in the same manner as English; you cannot simply write cruorī deō or craniīs thronō with the intent of conveying "blood god" or "throne of skulls"; either cruor and cranium must be in the genitive, modifying deō and thronō respectively, or use adjectives which mean of or pertaining to blood and of or pertaining to skulls, of which there are many. My personal preference would simply be to use the genitive.

With all that said, I would use the following phrases:

Cruor ad cruōris deum
Gore to the god of gore

Crania ad craniōrum thronum
Skulls to the throne of skulls

You can rearrange the orders of the genitive noun phrases and the orders of the subject and prepositional phrases in either phrase to whatever might suit you; Latin word order is relatively free.

2

Ethan's answer is okay as far as diction, but there is more nuance with what cases should be used.

First off, ad + accusative indicates motion toward or facing in the direction of, rather than the receiver of a gift or a favor.

In that case, the receiver of a gift or tribute is the indirect object with the direct object being the gift, itself. Think of it as "[we (must) give] blood/gore to the god of blood/gore.

Now, indirect objects take the dative (you have no idea how many times we were drilled and grilled over that), while the tributes, or direct objects, are in the accusative.

Therefore:

Cruōrem deō cruōris
[I/we give, have, or offer] blood/gore to/for the god of Blood/gore

I suggest you look up the scene in Life of Brian where Brian was caught painting "Romans go home!" on the wall and nearly gets his throat sliced for confusing the two cases. You can find it on the YouTube link here.

  • That scene always annoyed me because the Roman gets the cases wrong too! – Draconis May 3 at 1:16

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

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