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Roman Republic: Res publica Romana • View topic - Latinizing Foreign Words

Latinizing Foreign Words

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Latinizing Foreign Words

Postby Appius Fabius Helenus » Fri Aug 05, 2016 10:42 pm

So I am trying to improve my understanding of the language by translating a text into Latin (a selection from Wagner's "Siegfried") and I'm having a hard time specifically with coming up with a reasonable adaptation of German words into Latin.

I have (the ones with question marks is where I need help):

Mime = Mimus
Wotan = Votanus
Alberich = Albericus
Nibelung = Nibelungus?
Nibelheim = Nibelhaimus? Nibelungia? Patria Nibelungi?
Riese (giant) = Gigas? I mean, this makes sense, except...
Riesenheim (home of the giants) = ?
Walhalla = Valhalla
Fafner = ?
Fassolt = ?
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Re: Latinizing Foreign Words

Postby Gaius Florius Lupus » Sat Aug 06, 2016 10:46 am

Salve Fabi Helene!

There is the possibility to translate some of the words according to the interpretatio germanica, as it was common in this time.
Wotan = Mercurius
Walhalla = Olympos
...
And accordingly replacing other Germanic terms with their Latin equivalent:
Nibelung = pumilio
Nibelheim = Civitas Pumilionum
Riesenheim = Civitas Gigantea
etc.

Vale!
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Re: Latinizing Foreign Words

Postby Appius Fabius Helenus » Sun Aug 07, 2016 12:45 pm

Mercury = Wotan? Really? That seems...odd. I mean, there's not really a Greco-Roman equivalent, but I think the closest would be Apollo.
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Re: Latinizing Foreign Words

Postby Gaius Florius Lupus » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:09 pm

The identification of Wotan with Mercurius is backed by Tacitus. He interprets the following Germanic-Roman counterparts:
- Wotan - Mercurius
- Tyr - Mars
- Thor - Hercules

You can also see the interpretation in the names of the weekdays:
Wednesday
Romance languages:
Spanish: miercoles
French: mercredi
originally: dies Mercurii
Germanic: Wōdanaz
The English Wednesday still reflects the name of Wotan in it. Wednesday-Wōdanaz-Day
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Re: Latinizing Foreign Words

Postby Appius Fabius Helenus » Tue Aug 09, 2016 10:28 pm

Well, I might break tradition there and Latinize the Germanic names rather than do the adaptation, especially seeing as Donner/Thor being Hercules makes no sense since Thor is a God and Hercules is not. And Wotan/Odinn is the head god (and a crashing bore too), god of wisdom, and god of law (with his mighty spear of contract law to boot), which doesn't necessarily jive well with Mercury being the messenger god and god of commerce.

I think the equating gods from different mythologies really breaks down. I mean, the only two that I think hold up at all between Germanic and Greco-Roman mythology are Frigg = Hera/Juno and Siegfried = Achilles. Freyja doesn't seem anywhere near as obsessed with playing matchmaker as Aphrodite/Venus, and Thor is basically the god of solving problems by hitting them super hard with a hammer (so...maybe Vulcan?).
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Re: Latinizing Foreign Words

Postby Appius Claudius Tuscus » Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:33 pm

Salvete, Romani -

I had a question and thought this might be the correct thread in which to ask it:

Is there an accepted convention for declining foreign nouns, especially ones from Hebrew, that the Vulgate (in my recollection) sometimes declines and sometimes treats as indeclinable?

What prompted this was the name Joachim (Ioachim). I thought it might be a forerunner of "James" (but was wrong, I find) and it made me wonder if there was any agreement on this among Latin scholars or Latin teachers.

Anyone have an idea?

Valete omnes.
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Re: Latinizing Foreign Words

Postby Gaius Curtius Philo » Sat Oct 08, 2016 7:04 pm

"Ignis aurum probat" - Seneca
C. Curtius L. f. Vot. Philo Aurelianus
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