sovay: (Morell: quizzical)
sovay ([personal profile] sovay) wrote2009-10-30 01:06 am

Quem tamen esse deum te dicam, Iane biformis?

There was no Babylon 5 last night, as two of the regulars were in New Hampshire, quite reasonably celebrating their kid's birthday, so in honor of the impending holiday, Eric showed me "Halloween" from the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It was very fun. [ profile] hans_the_bold had screened a handful of episodes for me in New Haven and I remembered a fondness for Ethan Rayne, but I do not think I had seen this particular bit of diablerie. Masks, faces; the fusion or exchange of the two. Joss Whedon wins no points with me for referring to Janus as "a Roman mythical god" (as opposed to the other kinds of Roman god?) and the Latin in Ethan's invocation is more than a little hinky, but I do give Robin Sachs credit for pronouncing it like Cicero, not like the Church.

—That's as far as I got with this post before I decided to track down the episode online and transcribe the invocation, just to see whether I was being unfair to Buffy's mad classics skills. Thank God, I think, for the WBTV website; the answer is, not really, no.

Janus, evoco vester animum. Exaudi meam causam. Carpe noctem pro consilium vestrem. Vene! Appare! Et nobis monstra quod est infinita potestas. Persona intra corpem et sanguem commutandum est. Vestra sancta praesentia concrescit visceram. Janus! Sume noctem!

(Seriously, Whedon, had you no Latinists on-site? They aren't very hard to find. Or a textbook.) Going strictly on vocabulary, this means:

Janus, I call forth your spirit. Hear my suit. Seize the night for your purposes. Come! Appear! And show us what infinite power is. The mask must be changed for the flesh and blood within. Your sacred presence curdles the insides. Janus! Take up the night!

It is, however, terrible grammar. And while I am willing to accept the possessive adjective in the second person plural, because Janus is after all the double-faced god, bifrons, biceps, then the imperatives should not be in the singular—and either way, that's the vocative case you want for the god's name. Also, corpem is not a word. Neither is sanguem. And if persona is the subject of the passive periphrastic, someone should please have remembered it's a first-declension noun. Viscera is not. Oh, damn—

Animam tuam, Iane, evoco. Exaudi causam meam. Pro consilio tuo carpe noctem. Veni! Appare! Et quod est potestas infinita nobis monstra. Persona intra corpore et sanguine commutanda est. Concrescit viscera praesentia sacra tua. Iane! Sume noctem!

It's not well, but it's better. I return to restocking the kitchen.

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 05:14 pm (UTC)(link)
Good on you!

I agree--it's ridiculous when they don't go to the minimal trouble of finding a Latinist for something like this.

But I'm glad you otherwise enjoyed the episode. Have fun restocking the kitchen!

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 10:46 pm (UTC)(link)
The first month of our year is still named after him, for Numa's sake.

True. Well, perhaps the vengeance of Janus has, as [ profile] nineweaving said, fallen upon Mr. Whedon.

(Now that all the shelves and cabinets are finally done, we can, you know, start keeping food in the kitchen as opposed to the sun porch or downstairs. The question is just where everything goes.)

Excellent. Good luck finding the answer to the question!

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 05:16 pm (UTC)(link)

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 05:19 pm (UTC)(link)
I love it when you fix their puny Latin...


[identity profile] 2009-10-30 06:02 pm (UTC)(link)
Truly. Maybe his vengeance is Dollhouse...

Edited 2009-10-30 18:03 (UTC)

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 06:20 pm (UTC)(link)
Hear my suit

this ot me giggling like no tomorrow... its a Disco Suit, like from the movies... all shiny and ...uh.. mesmerizing.. shiny... shiny...

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 07:07 pm (UTC)(link)
I know that suit meant more than clothes, it just struck me as so very bad and so very funny. To "hear" ... snort, snort... yeah, I can hear you coming from a mile away in that outfit...

ahhh, its good to have a twisted brain... hours of amusement.

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 07:41 pm (UTC)(link)
*patpatpatpat* Here. Put down the duckie. Look at this. Don't be disturbed by mean Mr. Whedon.

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 09:56 pm (UTC)(link)
Splendiferous! So when's the DVD?



[identity profile] 2009-10-30 10:57 pm (UTC)(link)
Dude, if I didn't correct strangers' Latin, you wouldn't love me.

Somehow I'm getting a mental image of you dressed as a Roman centurion.

[identity profile] 2009-10-30 08:06 pm (UTC)(link)
I'm not familiar with the show, but that sort of open-ended invocation doesn't usually go well for the summoner...

[identity profile] 2009-10-31 05:57 am (UTC)(link)
Well, of course he gets beaten up by a librarian. His Latin alone could cause that.

[identity profile] 2009-10-31 01:34 am (UTC)(link)
Romanis eunt domin!

Or better...

Babilayyu ana bitim alka!

[identity profile] 2009-11-01 05:43 am (UTC)(link)
Have you ever seen the West Wing episode "18th and Potomac"?

[identity profile] 2009-11-02 03:01 am (UTC)(link)
It does. I'm told the Latin is good, and anyway it's much more dramatically useful in that context than in the Buffy episode.

[identity profile] 2009-11-03 05:45 am (UTC)(link)
I correct myself: the episode in question is "Two Cathedrals," but "18th and Potomac" gives it context.


[identity profile] 2009-11-05 12:15 pm (UTC)(link)
I loved this entry so much. Just this morning, I ended up mentioning it to Little Springtime, who's been studying Latin in high school since freshman year and is now starting Greek (it's just a token Greek class but it's better than nothing--she's a junior now). We were talking about the vagaries of translation, and she was asking why in the world they left "exit" and "exeunt" in plays as stage directions when everything else was translated into English. "And furthermore," she said, "It's a Greek play we're reading!" (in translation)

At the very least, we thought, they ought to use Greek to tell us that people (plural) have left the stage.

Anyway, I'm going to have to have her read this. I meant to tell you sooner. Especially the part about needing to use the vocative :D