I only know Pig Latin, sorry.
September 9, 2007 10:21 AM   Subscribe

The weekly english-to-latin translation. Help me translate a couple of things, por favor.

A friend of mine knows that I hang out on AskMeFi, so this is from her:

- Can you translate "Rough Riders" into latin?

- Is the latin translation of War is Sweet "Dulce Bellum"?

(poster's note: i think these are for a play she's working on, or maybe she's just crazy. can you help please?)
posted by damnjezebel to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
I don't think you can just drop the verb in Latin. Probably something along the lines of: Bellum dulce est.
posted by RavinDave at 10:32 AM on September 9, 2007

Dulce bellum translates more to 'sweetness war'. War is sweet would be 'bellum est dulcis'.

Rough Rider would be something like 'durus viator' (hard traveler), or 'durus equus veho' if you want the sense of a horse rider. 'Durus' means hard in the sense of not soft, while 'arduus' means hard in the sense of difficult (arduous). I'm not positive about the 'veho' part. Maybe 'durus equitatus' (hard cavalry) would be better.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:37 AM on September 9, 2007

Yes, RavinDave has the more accepted placement of the verb ('bellum dulcis est'). Though both are correct, I think having the verb at the end signals "Latin!" to the listener or reader.
posted by cocoagirl at 10:42 AM on September 9, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, ya'll. Per her:

"I want to use the name Rough Riders for a street gang in a play I'm writing. But I would like the name in Latin so it has a different sort of flair. I know that sounds retarded, but work with me. =) "
posted by damnjezebel at 10:44 AM on September 9, 2007

Durus is great for "rough", since the connotations are almost exactly the same: enduring, but uncouth. I don't know that viator is really appropriate, since this is supposedly a street gang. Viator kind of implies a destination; I think you probably want Equites, which are horsemen... cocoagirl uses Equitati, which are cavalry, but that seems a bit too organized for me.

Anyway, the gang as a whole would be referred to as Duri Equites or in cocoagirl's, Duri Equitati. In the singular (i.e., an individual Rough Rider), Durus Eques or Durus Equitatus. Going on pure euphony, Duri Equitati is better.

Finally, you can easily drop the verb and still be understood in Latin, I wouldn't worry so much about that.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 12:03 PM on September 9, 2007

Equites were a little more than just horsemen. Go here and here for details.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:22 PM on September 9, 2007

Thanks for the links, IndigoJones; the phrase "equestrian elite" had completely slipped my mind. It's amazing how much I've forgotten about Roman history in only 5 years...
posted by synaesthetichaze at 7:29 PM on September 9, 2007

I would say "bellum dulce" or "bellum dulce est". I think with the adjective first the meaning is more like "sweet war" but with the noun first it's more like "war is sweet". The adjective ending needs to be -e because "bellum" is a neuter noun, and with no verb the "est" is implied.
posted by not me at 9:17 PM on September 9, 2007

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