I'm getting a custom wedding band made and I'd like to have a line of Ovid inscribed along the outside of the band. Specifically:

iunctaque semper erunt nomina nostra tuis.

If my Latin isn't terribly rusty, that translates to something like "And our names will be linked forever". Now, I don't quite understand what the "tuis" is doing there, is it just there for emphasis? Nomina nostra already gets across the notion that it's "our names", is it something about iuncta being a participle?

Regardless, this line is a bit too long to fit comfortably and legibly on a wedding band, so I thought to shorten it while preserving the underlying meaning.

What I came up with is:

iuncta nomina nostra sunt.

Which if I'm not mistaken, translates to "our names are linked". I also considered:

iuncta semper erunt nomina nostra

Which should be "Our names will be linked forever".

Have I missed any grammatical subtlety here, or otherwise botched these translations? Is there any shorter way to express the sentiment?

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The full sentence from Ovid goes like this:

Nōs qvoque per totum pariter cantābimur orbem,
juncta-qve semper erunt | nōmina nōstra tuīs.

My translation:

Songs will be sung about us, too, throughout the whole world,
and my name will always be joined to yours.

Nōstra "our" here is a poetic replacement for mea "my"; tuīs is in the dative, the thing Ovid's name is being joined to (treat it as nōminibus tuīs).

Nōmina is sometimes used in the singular and sometimes in the plural in Latin, even for just a single person's name, because the different parts of the name were sometimes treated as separate. For comparison, imagine if your first name and your middle name and your last name could be called "your names".

That all aside, I like your first translation! You can make it even shorter by leaving off sunt; forms of "to be" are often left out in Latin, especially in poetry and mottos.

juncta nōmina nōstra
our names have been joined together

Note that, when erunt is replaced by sunt, it becomes past tense instead of present. But that's what you want here, since the present tense (junguntur) would mean "our names are currently being joined together". In English the present tense can have a "perfective" meaning, but in Latin it can't.

You can also add semper to mean "forever", or move the words around however you like; Latin word order is quite free, and in this case moving words around won't change the meaning at all. So go with whatever sounds best.

P.S. The lines over certain vowels and the use of j and v (instead of i and u) are optional. Go with what looks best to you.

  • Stepping away from the text of the poem and focusing on the sentiment, does "Apantur semper nomina nostra" mean something like "May our names be forever joined"? I like the idea of using the passive subjunctive to express that this is my desire. – Some_Guy Mar 14 at 19:25
  • @Some_Guy Passive subjunctives are cool, but it took me a few minutes to figure out what apantur meant: I don't think I've ever seen it in the present tense. I would replace it with apta sint, "may they remain joined". – Draconis Mar 14 at 20:08

You can try using another passive verb, instead of using the verb "to be + [something]". For instance, something like

catenabuntur nomina nostra semper

Other verbs, perhaps shorter, could also do, like ligabuntur.

These are used in the future tense, "they will be joined". In present tense ("they are joined"), you can use catenantur or ligantur, respectively. Someone might know better what word is more poetically suited for the case (for instance, apantur?). You can see more verbs associated with "to join" here and here.

Regarding "forever", as far as I have learnt so far, semper seems to be the shortest (versus e.g. in sempiternum).

  • 1
    In this case, Ovid is using the periphrastic future perfect to apply perfective aspect with future tense. I would read the simple future as meaning "at some point, someone is going to join our names together", and the simple present as meaning "someone is currently joining our names together". – Draconis Mar 14 at 19:24

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