Oath of the Night's Watch

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GJCaesar
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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by GJCaesar » Sun May 26, 2013 9:59 am

Your 2.0 version:
Nox colligitur, et vigilia mea nunc incipit.
Ea non finiet usque mortem meam.
Nullam uxorem ducam,
Nulla praedia obtinebo,
Nulla liberos gignam.
Ego nulla diademata geram,
Et nullas gloriam vincam.
Vivam et moriar in meam stationem.
Ego sum gladius in tenebris.
Ego sum custos super muro.
Ego sum scutum quid terras hominum custodit.
Promitto vitam honoremque meum in Vigilia Noctis
Pro hanc noctem et noctes omnes successuras


You left some mistakes here, not sure if you are aware..

Nox colligitur, et vigilia mea nunc incipit.
Ea non finiet usque mortem meam.
Nullam uxorem ducam,
Nulla praedia obtinebo,
Nullos liberos gignam.
Ego nulla diademata geram,
Et nullam gloriam vincam.
Vivam et moriar in mea statione.
Ego sum gladius in tenebris.
Ego sum custos super muro.
Ego sum scutum quod terras hominum custodit.
Promitto vitam honoremque meum in Vigilia Noctis
Pro hac nocte et noctibus omnibus successuris
vincatur oportet aut vincat

Craig_Thomas
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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by Craig_Thomas » Sun May 26, 2013 10:48 am

There are some pronouns and possessive adjectives there that are redundant in Latin. I would erase ea from the second line, mea from in mea statione, and every ego.

GJCaesar
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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by GJCaesar » Sun May 26, 2013 11:36 am

Craig_Thomas wrote:There are some pronouns and possessive adjectives there that are redundant in Latin. I would erase ea from the second line, mea from in mea statione, and every ego.
I do agree with ea and all the ego. Not sure about the in mea statione though, since you leave meam mortem as well, I think it gives a nice touch. Still a matter of stile I guess.
vincatur oportet aut vincat

Craig_Thomas
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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by Craig_Thomas » Sun May 26, 2013 2:41 pm

in statione is better because he could not reasonably be thought to be at anyone else's station; meam mortem remains because his watch could plausibly end upon another's death. That said, I share Scribo's suspicion about the construction usque meam mortem, and would prefer something with dum or donec.

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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by Qimmik » Tue May 28, 2013 3:29 pm

A few suggestions.

Nox colligitur This looks like a word for word translation of an English idiom that would probably sound strange or unintelligible to a native speaker of Latin who had never learned English. "Night is being collected? Huh?" Unless a parallel from a Roman author can be found (I haven't looked), why not use the expression with which the Sibyl impatiently hurries Aeneas along when he stops too long to chat in hell in the afternoon? Nox ruit, Aenea. Aen. 6.539. "Night is rushing on," conveying a sense of urgency.

Ea in the second line -- substitute quae. "Until my death" -- dum moriar.

For "lands" how about arva, which literally means "ploughed fields" but is used in poetry more broadly to mean "broad swatches of real estate"?

For "hold", potior with genitive or ablative: nullorum arvorum potiar or nullis arvis potiar.

"I am the sword in the darkness.
I am the watcher on the walls.
I am the shield that guards the realms of men."

Instead of deleting ego, delete sum, and put ego last in each clause. Also, the metaphors "sword" and "shield" are somewhat jarring in Latin. They would be interpreted literally, which would sound comical. They need quasi or velut, at the expense of the parallelism with "watcher on the walls" (but "I am the watcher on the walls" seems rather feeble, anyway.) For "walls," either plural muri or better moenia. "On" should be in, not super, which means "above".

Velut ensis in tenebris ego.
Custos in moenibus ego.
Velut scutum terras tuens hominum ego.


Somehow this all sounds too biblical and not nearly pagan enough, though.
Last edited by Qimmik on Tue May 28, 2013 10:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Scribo
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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by Scribo » Tue May 28, 2013 5:58 pm

I like the usage of potior but it always makes me think of making something one's dominions rather than being handed over. I definitely prefer dum moriar.

I feel the same as you in terms of the last metaphors and got something similiar in my own pass, the problem is much of the original piece is somewhat contra typical Roman thought. But then such is the perils of translation I guess. I mean whenever I think of "watchers in the night" I think of Rome's para military "fire fighters" you know?
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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by Qimmik » Tue May 28, 2013 6:57 pm

nullam gloriam vincam
Vinco means "to overcome," or "defeat", and can't be used with gloriam. Vinco means "to win" only in the sense of "to win a contest or battle," or "defeat an enemy," not "to gain something by winning." How about adipiscar? And I'm not sure that nullus can be used with a mass or innumerable noun. Unlike wives and kids, gloria doesn't come in discrete packages. gloriam non adipiscar would probably be preferable, but someone correct me if I'm wrong about that.

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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by Qimmik » Tue May 28, 2013 10:31 pm

"No crowns" -- nullos lauros

The laurel wreath (laurea) was worn by victorious generals, as well as those achieving distinction in other fields. Plural lauri -- "laurels" in English -- is a poetic way of expressing this concept.

First lines: Nox ruit; nunc vigilia incipit finem dum moriar nullum repertura.

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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by DWBrumbley » Wed May 29, 2013 2:35 am

Wow, lots of responses. This makes me very happy. In no apparently order -

Qimmik - You're absolutely right, I was trying to work the English idiom and it just wasn't working. I did the rest of the oath first and then went back to that phrase and didn't find anything that felt like it quite fit, but you are especially awesome for pointing out the passage from Vergil. It conveys everything the phrase should convey and is obviously attested. To use another English idiom that I'm sure doesn't translate well into Latin, rock on.

With the abundance of suggestions on here to get away from usque and go to dum moriar, I'll have to go with public and expert opinion on that, but if you could provide an example of why usque doesn't work and where usque would work better, it would help my beginner brain understand what's going on.

Arvum vs. Regnum vs. Praedium. If arva has that as its poetic usage, then that certainly is the sense I'm going for, but I'm not sure it's better than praedia, unless there's other baggage with one term over the other. I think of all the offered choices, arva feels like the simplest (since holding lands doesn't necessarily mean holding a kingdom or an estate, just lands and farms), so I like that about it, but I'm just not convinced of one word over the others in the context of the oath.

Adipiscar - Absolutely. Thank you for clarifying the nature of the transitive with Vincam. Much appreciated.

Not sure I'm completely with you on the diademata vs. lauros. The purpose of the oath in this section is to renounce any claim to current or future sovereignty or nobility. I'm not sure the 'victorious generals' is the essence of what's being said.

super vs. in. I had understood super to mean on top of something, which I thought was appropriate for a watcher on a wall. The plural was a stupid mistake, obviously that was my own dumb fault. Moenia I don't really agree with, since these are not city walls the Watch walks on. Much bigger walls. Well, wall, really. (any other George Martin fans out there reading this? Why would the word Walls in the oath be plural? There's only one wall they stand on. THE Wall. Kinda odd, isn't it?)

It's unfortunate that the metaphors don't translate well. I kinda liked the way they rolled off in the original translation. I understand the need for the change, though, and the repeated ego at the end has its own kind of death knell to it that's a nice fit here. I don't, however, understand what you did with the last bit. "Velut scutum terras tuens hominem ego." Why tuens instead of custodiens? In that same respect, why ensis instead of gladius?

If it all feels biblical instead of pagan, that's perfectly fine too. I'm fairly certain the Night's Watch is intended to satirize monastic oaths and priestly life in a variety of ways, so the echoes are appropriate.

Whew. Long reply.

v3.0 --

Nox ruit, et vigilia mea nunc incipit.
Non finiet dum moriar.
Nullam uxorem ducam,
Nulla arva obtinebo,
Nullos liberos gignam.
Nulla diademata geram,
Et nullam gloriam adipiscar.
Vivam et moriar in statione.
Velut ensis in tenebris ego.
Custos super muris ego.
Velut scutum terras hominum custodiens ego.
Promitto vitam honoremque meum in Vigilia Noctis,
Pro hac nocte et noctibus omnibus successuris.

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Re: Oath of the Night's Watch

Post by Qimmik » Wed May 29, 2013 3:46 am

why ensis instead of gladius?
Why not? Gladius is more pedestrian; the poets use ensis.
Why would the word Walls in the oath be plural?
Because murus is too specific. Plural is less pedestrian. Moenia aren't necessarily city walls; muri can also mean city walls, too.
Why tuens instead of custodiens?
Because you already used custos. Although Latin is not as averse to repeating words, tuens, which connotes "watching over," "guarding", "protecting" provides some variety.
scutum terras tuens hominum
Interlocking alliteration of u and t. The alliteration sounds a little like Ennius, i.e., archaic and ritual, and why not some hyperbaton, which is very Latin? But you could rearrange the words if you like--Latin word order is flexible.
The purpose of the oath in this section is to renounce any claim to current or future sovereignty or nobility.
Then maybe corona is the word you're looking for.

Praedium seems a little prosaic: a "farm" or a "manor". I think arva is less specific and more poetic.

Usque ad mortem might work. But you can work in the idea of "my death" using the finite verb better than usque ad meam mortem. Avoid possessive adjectives and personal pronouns in Latin wherever possible, especially where the sense is obvious. Do the same thing in French and Italian, too!
Nox ruit, et vigilia mea nunc incipit.
If you don't like my version (Latin prefers longer periods than English), at least leave out et. It doesn't do anything either in English or in Latin. nunc incipit mea vigilia seems more effective.

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