An author friend recently asked me for help with a Latin name: in his book, a group calls itself the "order of protection and conservation", but in Latin to be pretentious (altum videtur…).

My immediate thought was ōrdō prōtectiōnis cōnservātiōnisque:

  • ōrdō for this sort of "order" is well-attested, both classically and in modern times
  • prōtegō is a fine word for "protect" but dēfendō and tūtor work just as well, I'll ask which he likes the best
  • cōnservō is straightforwardly "conserve" and I can't think of any other Latin verb for that

However, I'm not at all certain about using a verbal noun in the genitive for this. Latin generally likes participles and gerunds and the like where English would use a verbal noun. Is there a better grammatical construction for this sort of thing, attested either classically or later?

1 Answer 1


Classical Latin sometimes uses a gerundive dative to express the purpose of an administrative unit, such as various kinds of decemviri. The linked Italian Wikipedia article lists decemviri legibus scribundis consulari imperio, decemviri stlitibus iudicandis, (quin)decemviri sacris faciundis, and decemviri agris dandis adsignandis. I read this dative as "a committee appointed for the purpose of".

If you use something like this, then you need an object: What are they protecting and conserving? Assuming it's the republic, I would suggest ordo rei publicae defendendae et conservandae. If the group happens to consist of fixed number of men, then decemviri with some number is a possible choice.

If you don't want to go with datives, then I would suggest adjectives. Somehow ordo protectivus conservativusque sounds better to me than the genitives of verbal nouns. Such use of adjectives is attested in triumviri monetales and praetor peregrinus. I also came across a genitive, but more in the spirit of my earlier dative examples than your construction: quattuorviri viarum curandarum.

I recommend using gerundives or adjectives. Perhaps the gerundives are more free of English connotations, as conservativus might make people think of "conservative" instead of "conservation". The two concepts are obviously related, but they have a different tone.

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