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.

Samstag, 8. Mai 2010

Belphegor - Festum asinorum Chapter 2

Belphegor - Goatreich Fleshcult (2005)

This quoted song contains some interesting latin lines which go like this:

Festum Festorum
Festum Asinorum

Aurum de Arabia
Thus et Myrrham
Tulit in ecclesia
Virtus Asinaria
Orientis partibus
Adventavit Asinus
Pulcher et fortissimus
Virtus Asinaria

These lines are also the lyrics of "Chants for the devil" from the 2006 album "Pestapokalypse VI". These lines are interesting, because they imitate medieval latin lyrics - maybe you've heard from "Carmina Burana". The latin grammar has some little mistakes, but in general it's well done.

The translation is:
the feast of the feasts
the feast of the donkeys

gold from Arabia
frankincense and myrrh
brought into the church
the virtue of the donkey.

Form the regions of the orient
came the donkey
beautiful and strong,
Virtue of the Donkey.

I like the line "feast of the feasts". Even more I like the term of this grammatical phenomenon.
It's called a "paronomastic genitive of intensity". "Paronomastic" comes from the greek "par - same" and "onoma - name". So you take the genitive form from the same word to use it to intensify. The best-known example therefor is "the book of the books" as a synonym for the bible.
Grammatical aspects like this one turns me on... huuh!


Anonym hat gesagt…

Hey, thank you for taking my request to review Belphegor lyrics! Even though they have tons more, it was interesting to see a post on them. I might ask though, where did you learn your Latin? (And the comment submissions page is in German or some other European language by the way)

markheim hat gesagt…

Hi SubstantDisorder, I would have liked to have said that the dark Lord himself gave me the gift of being able to speak latin, but actually I had to walk the rocky way - per aspera ad astra - and spend a few years of my life at the university. best regards, Markheim