What's all this fuss about?

Latin lyrics in Heavy Metal music are a common phenomenon. The darker the music, the more evil the band wanna be. What's better than using an old, mysterious, hardly understandable, cryptic, medieval and therefore almost satanic language? Unfortunately bands seldom know how to use this language properly. So, instead of evoking the demons of the realm of evil, they just evoke a hop-frog. Clatu verata nicto! - The most of you know what happened after this wrongly spoken spell.

Normally, two questions are the result of the fact that you've just read a latin phrase:
- What does it mean? (almost everybody)
- Is it correct? (just a few latin aficionados)

This page doesn't want to make fun of mistakes in latin lyrics. I wanna answer the first question to everybody who is interested. The second question is just for myself or for the two or three weird guys out there or for bands which are thinking about using a latin phrase as well. You can contact me if you want.

Freitag, 23. Oktober 2009

Ensiferum - band name

I think the most fans of Ensiferum know that the name means "sword bearer".

But I like the name very much, I like the logo and I like the band, so I want to explain the structure of the word to honour them in a way I can.

The latin word "ensis" means "sword", but it's a very poetic and sophisticated word, mostly used in epics. E.g. it's often found in Vergil's "Aeneis", the most popular latin epic telling the story of Aeneas, the founding father of Roman civilisation.

But back to Ensiferum. All of you know the "normal" latin word for "sword": it's gladius, and he who needed it was called the "gladiator".

The ending -fer always means "bringer of...", "bearer of...". Actually, the male form would be "ensifer" (with the stress on the first "e"), and "ensiferum" (with the stress on the "i") is the neutral form, but for reasons of symmetry the band used that one.

The best known "bringer" is the "bringer of light", better known as "lucifer", but that's another story...

1 Kommentar:

Ligandil hat gesagt…

I started with Latin studies this year, and at first I looked up the word Ensiferum in my dictionary, and of course, only Ensifer appeared, and I though Ensiferum was like the Acc case or something (that was after my very first lesson). Now, some months, later, I began curious again, gladly found your blog, and checked again in my dictionary, and behold: it's crystal clear! It's EnsIferum and it's the neutral form, just as you said! :D

Btw, Rhapsody of Fire, in their song Reign of Terror, has some latin in it!