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.

Sonntag, 7. Februar 2010

Fides Inversa - Hanc aciem sola retundit virtus

Fides Inversa - Hanc aciem sola retundit virtus (2010)

Roman Black Metal using Latin! Sounds promising. The name of the bands means Inverse Faith, The title of the album something like: Just virtue lowers this acuteness.
Also the name of the songs are latin: 01 - decollatio - decollation/ decapitation; 02 - suicidium - suicide; 03 - homicidium - homicide; 04 - algolagnia divine - mmh, I'm not sure, but álgos means pain/ sorrow/ suffering in ancient greek and lagneía lust/ excess. Makes sense.
Unfortunately I don't have the lyrics, because the bands says (on their myspace profile) that there is a certain concept and idea behind the songs.

So there remains some play in the album's title: acies (accusative: aciem) means the sharpness of a sword, the acuteness of actions/ words or thoughts. Also virtus is an important word: during Roman times it stood for the features which a Roman needed to be a man: bravery as a soldier, efficiency and competence as a politician. In christian times virtue was of course something totally different, more the subjection to catholic rules and commandmends.


Nafthaly hat gesagt…

I am currently working on a tattoo and my client wants the latin translation of ''it's not who you are but who you know'' in his tattoo. On your blog you said you can give advice. Can you translate this quote for me please?

markheim hat gesagt…

@ Nafthaly:

I made two translations, hoping that I understood the english phrase right:

1 - non tam interest quis sis quam quem noveris.

It's not so important, who you are, but whom you know.
(instead of "interest" you can also use the form "valet")

2 - quis sis nihil
omnia quem noveris

A little more dramatic. Again "valet" can be repaced by "interest" - "it's important, it makes a difference, it has influence over..:"

Who you are means nothing -
everything, whom you know.

I like the second one, it has a strong "chiasmus" in it and the contrary words "nihil - omnia" - "nothing - everything" collide with each other.

Anonym hat gesagt…

Hello Markheim. I find your Latin blog fascinating. I myself am thinking of learning Latin. (:

Anyways, to the point: Belphegor is a rich source you haven't tapped into! It's a blackened death metal band which has hints of Latin in their works, and some songs consist verses and choruses of Latin.

I hope that helped. Keep up the good work!