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Ian Harbottle
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More Latin Help

Post by Ian Harbottle »

Hi All,

I'm appealing to all you learned sorts. I've recently acquired three books which seem old and shabby but certainly not antique or ancient. They seem to be written in some kind of modern cipher which luckily someone has scribbled a partial key for, inside one of the front covers. When we first deciphered some text it made no sense until I realised it was probably in Latin. So I have some dusty books written in a modern cipher that translates to Latin. Now I'm not getting all da Vinci Code on you as I think these things are the literary equivalents of follies and are designed to entertain and challenge educated guests. Which kind of rules me out. What I'd like to know is if the titles of these books are genuine Latin or made up stuff from Warhammer and what they translate as.

The titles I've translated from the cipher are.

Codex Arcanum
Codex Lex Custos
Codex Humanitas Salus.

Any help would be most appreciated.

Here is an example of the cipher I’ve yet to translate from the front of one of the other books. Very modern looking to me, and yes, every bloomin page is filled with this stuff.

                     

Cheers,

Ian.
Only the dead have seen the end of war!

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Brother Ranulf
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Post by Brother Ranulf »

You have to wonder if people responsible for such as this don't have altogether far too much time on their hands, which they could be using for more constructive/productive purposes.

Do the books not have publishing dates in the front? This would give some idea of when they were compiled - ciphers like this, although they may look modern, have a very long history and could be surprisingly old.

As to the titles, they point to the occult - which may help to explain why the books are encoded and aimed at a restricted audience.

Codex Arcanum
Codex Lex Custos
Codex Humanitas Salus.

"Codex" is the Latin term used from about the 12th century onwards for a bound book as opposed to a series of manuscripts stitched together in a roll.
"Arcanum" is the neuter noun meaning secret, mystery (hence "arcane")

"Lex" is law , "custos" is keeper, guardian, watchman


"Humanitas" is human nature, civilisation, culture, "salus" is health, wellbeing.

In the titles of books such as these, it would be usual practice to follow "codex" with terms in the genitive case ("The Book OF Proverbs" for example), whereas all of the words used in these titles are in the nominative - Codex Arcanum instead of Codex Arcanorum (The Book of Secrets). In strict Latin usage this presents grammatical conflicts -

for example "Codex Lex Custos" ought to be "The Book of the Guardian of the Law", but it actually means "The Book the Guardian the Law", which is gibberish in any language. Similarly the final one - "The Book the Humankind the Health".

It is as if someone has simply looked up the dictionary entry for each word without understanding any Latin grammar.
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

Marcus Woodhouse
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Post by Marcus Woodhouse »

This is like some medieval work though where the individual clearly wants to seem impressive , or has to, knows some Latin but writes it as they would write their mother tongue. Which means that if they are English they get it all *rse about backwards.
OSTENDE MIHI PECUNIAM!

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Brother Ranulf
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Post by Brother Ranulf »

Marcus, in my long trek through 12th century manuscripts I have seen something of what you mean - although it is most often a case of changing the word order from strict Latin to more closely follow the English grammar of the time. Ignoring conjugations altogether is something else.


:wink:
Brother Ranulf

"Patres nostri et nos hanc insulam in brevi edomuimus in brevi nostris subdidimus legibus, nostris obsequiis mancipavimus" - Walter Espec 1138

guthrie
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Post by guthrie »

If you can, some close up photos would be interesting.

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Ian Harbottle
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Post by Ian Harbottle »

Thanks guys, this is very insightful.

So it looks like someone has constructed the text in English, and then did a direct translation to Latin, ignoring the correct grammatical translation, and then converted the whole thing into cipher. This must have taken ages but why go to the effort if it’s incorrect?

I've checked the books over. They remind me of old school books, hardback bound, stitched and glued, no dust covers. The have been neglected and a bit battered but no worse than books I've found in my attic after a few years of storage. They are definitely printed and the print quality is good. Which got me to thinking they may be artificially aged. There are no signs of a credit to an author, publisher, printer or anyone. Not even catalogue or ISBN numbers. I suppose they could be copies of something older but in which case I would have expected the Latin to be correct.

I'll decipher some more text and get some photos together when I get time.

Funny you should mention occult Brother Ranulf because I bought them at a spiritual fair. My partner was looking for the latest coloured rock that cures all ails. I got bored, wandered off and came across these on another stall. I bought them purely because they looked interesting and would look suitably impressive in the study. The one entitled Codex Arcanum also has pictures of bodies and hands in what looks like Buddhist poses. I haven't translated the text for them yet (even if I had I wouldn't be able to understand the Latin).
Only the dead have seen the end of war!

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