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Beginner Question

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Beginner Question

Postby MetaMortician » Wed Oct 16, 2013 4:51 pm

I am a musician and have recently started a band. The drummer and I were discussing ideas for a name and wanted something similar to the concept of a "cabinet of curiosities" (collection in Renaissance Europe of types of objects whose categorial boundaries were yet to be defined).

I thought of looking it up in Latin. The lexicons I have had curiositas, and miraculum for curiosity and armarium, scrinium, and cistula for cabinet.

Those did not sound very appealing. I started thinking of synonyms and metaphors. I came up with arca (box, coffin) and arcanum (mystery).

Arca Arcanum has a nice alliteration to it and sounds mysterious. This seems to my limited learning to translate to "mysterious box". I wanted "box of mysteries".

I read that adjectives must agree in number, gender, and case with the noun they are modifying. I get case and gender but why number?

Arca is nominative singular feminine, but arcanum is neuter.

Arcanorum is the genitive masculine/neuter plural of arcanus and arcanarum is the feminine.

So if I said arca arcanarum the adjective does not agree in number. (I want to say box of mysteries - genitive)

Is there a way to use an adjective as a noun?

Could I still use Arca Arcanum in the vocative as in "O mystery box"? or does the gender absolutely have to agree?
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby bedwere » Wed Oct 16, 2013 6:29 pm

I'd say arca arcana, (from arcanus, a, um).
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby MetaMortician » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:13 pm

bedwere wrote:I'd say arca arcana, (from arcanus, a, um).


Wouldn't that translate to box mysteries? where is the genitive?
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby bedwere » Wed Oct 16, 2013 9:26 pm

MetaMortician wrote:
bedwere wrote:I'd say arca arcana, (from arcanus, a, um).


Wouldn't that translate to box mysteries? where is the genitive?


Arca is a substantive (box) and arcana is an an adjective (hidden, concealed, hence mysterious) agreeing with arca. No need for a genitive.
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby cb » Thu Oct 17, 2013 7:10 am

hi, i think the original poster was asking about a genitive because the "mysteriousness" is meant to apply to the contents, not the containing box itself, ie short for "arca rerum arcanarum plena".

as for a good band name i'm not the person, but on the original question of how to say "collection in Renaissance Europe of types of objects whose categorial boundaries were yet to be defined", my initial thought was not to try to simply translate word-for-word the english idiom "cabinet of curiosities", but instead translate the substance of the idea (this is a golden rule in many grk/latin composition books).

the best answer would be to think of where ancient authors may have described such a thing (it makes you think of heaps of unsorted treasure on carts in triumphs up the via sacra, or hordes of stuff on display in the atria of summer houses of rich guys down in baiae near naples), and so the place i would check would be livy or other historians on triumphs, or cicero's letters or his verres speeches on hordes of wealth. this may then get you an authentic analogy.

in the meantime i think the literal expression of the substance of the idea would be either:
- based on the idea "non descripta" (i.e. things not classified), or
- based on the idea "describenda" (i.e. things that need to be classified)

and so e.g. using the most general word "res", "res non descriptae" or "res describendae", or pulling in the idea of wealth/ornamental things, "ornamenta non descripta" or "divitiae non descriptae", or "ornamenta describenda" or "divitiae describendae".

but as i said none of these are actually based on real authors and so are of little worth. i'd check the authors for you but i'm a bit busy at the moment, sorry couldn't help more. cheers, chad
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby bedwere » Thu Oct 17, 2013 2:31 pm

I reread the question. Even if nobody said it before, you can say

arca arcanorum , because arcanum, i exists as a substantive and arcanorum is the genitive plural. It is perfectly good grammar, although I cannot vouch for Cicero's use! :D

I think you are a little confused on concordance.
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby MetaMortician » Fri Oct 18, 2013 12:38 am

Thank you both. I actually like Arca Arcana. But I think Arca Arcanorum fits better with the meaning I wanted. However -arum wold be feminine. Is it ok to use -orum with feminine nouns???
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby bedwere » Fri Oct 18, 2013 5:16 am

MetaMortician wrote:Thank you both. I actually like Arca Arcana. But I think Arca Arcanorum fits better with the meaning I wanted. However -arum wold be feminine. Is it ok to use -orum with feminine nouns???


No, it's not ok: the genitive plural of nouns of the first declension is arum. However, arcanum is 2nd declension neutral not feminine, hence its genive ends in orum, not arum.

Choose either arca arcana or arca arcanorum.

They're both grammatically correct, although they might raise a few classicists' eyebrows. :D
In the first case, arcana is an adjective from arcanus,a, um agreeing with arca (1st declension, feminine, singular). In the second case, arcanorum is a noun from arcanum, i (neutral, 2nd declension) in the genitive plural. Everything clear? :wink:
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Re: Beginner Question

Postby MetaMortician » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:42 pm

Thank you bedwere.
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