Latin in Ars magica?

Hey everyone, I'm currently in the progress of reading through ars magica 5th ed and it seems latin seems to be the basic language and literature for the order. I'm not well versed in latin so I'm concerned how different the literature and language is compared to english. I know Ars magica means Art of Magic but thats all i know so far. How does the latin of mythic europe differ to english so I can write and roleplay more appropriately.

You dont need to learn latin, your character does, as well as you dont need to wield a sword or heal wounds :mrgreen: latin is the language of knowledge in mithic europe. Peasants dont know latin, some lords have spend some time learning while childs, and the church higher stratus know. Dont think everybody know latin.

But if you want feel free to learn latin! I did 1 course in university :wink:

Adding to what Messor said, the books contain pronunciation guides for most of the Latin terms used in the game if that's your concern. Unfortunately, I can't personally comment on how accurate they are.. :blush:

It's a good question. Ultimately, you don't need to learn any Latin, but we all like to invest a little more to get more out, right?

If you want to pick up appropriate sounding phrases, you could do worse than Google Translate:

I'm sure you could do better than that, but that might involve actually learning Latin.

We had a couple of guys in my old group who knew a little Latin, one from school and one through (I might be wrong) his archaeological interests. Actually, we didn't really use it that much. Still, they were useful reference resources.

What the others said :slight_smile: Just as an additional thing, if I recall correctly, Ars Magica is not "the art of magic", but "the magical art". not by much, but slightly different. :slight_smile:


If we really want to be nitpicky, in this context "Ars" is probably better translated as "craft" rather than "art" :slight_smile:

A good resource is this forum (and the Berklist). I did Latin at school, and was abysmal at it, so if I need a Latin phrase I just ask here people who are better than me to check I have it vaguely right. I am trying to learn a little more, but not really for Ars Magica. I would not bother about using Latin : I don't even bother to pronounce things properly, safe in the knowledge 13th century pronunciations varied wildly by region anyway, as people pronounced written words how they were used to forming the sounds in their native language often unless they were exceptionally well educated.

cj x

Correct. "The Art of Magic" would be "Ars de Magica."

That's because only a modern mindset makes a difference between an "art" and a "craft." To most older languages (including Latin), these terms are completely synonymous.

If you're thinking of art, as in "fine arts," the word is the same...Ars/ artis.
Fine arts= Artes elegantes
to study art = artes studere

Anyways, for the OP, you don't need to be a Latin scholar to play Ars Magica. The only thing you should really know are the Hermetic forms, how to pronounce them (AM5 is spot-on, by the way), and what they mean. Everything else is really not necessary.

I had the benefit of a preparatory high-school education that demanded Classical Latin in the curriculum, and my gaming group consists of two of my best friends, who graduated with me. We can carry on a conversation in Latin at the game table, much to the chagrin of my poor fiancee.

Trying to shoehorn Latin in might just slow down your game.

Also remember Hermetic Latin is the last bastion of Latin as a living language rather than a dead one (It's in regular use by many magi), and as such, slang and pronunciation shifts will occur comparative to Roman and Church latin.