Latin in Marathon 2

"Manus Celer Dei"

Latin is used in a number of places in the Marathon 2 Story. The following are approximate translations.

Manus Celer Dei
The Swift Hand of God

Fatum Iustum Stultorum
The Just Fate of the Foolish
The Just Fate of Fools

Ex Cathedra
Out of the Easy-chair (Arm-chair)

Michael Hanson <> writes:

ex cathedra adv or adj [NL, lit., from the chair] (1818): by virtue of or in the exercise of one's office or position <ex cathedra pronouncements>
etymology is "from the cathedral", as in a proclamation that is accepted without question.

While one meaning for "cathedra" is "an easy-chair or arm-chair (esp. for women)" Michael's translation is more appropriate for this level. Then again maybe Bungie are trying to tell us something. ;-)

Virtus Incertus
Uncertain Virtue
Doubtful Valour

Fatum Celer
Swift Fate
Swift Destiny

Vestrum Excrucibo
Your Torture (Torturer) (?)

Hamish Carr <umcarr@cc.UManitoba.CA> writes:

Vestrum Excrucibo: This appears to be a mistake for 'Vestrum Excruciabo': I shall torture your ... Vestrum is used for referring to s single object belonging to multiple people. Again, who else is being referred to? And what is being referred to?


Ernest Tomlinson <> writes:

As a double- major in computer science and classics with Latin emphasis (true!) at State, any fragments of Latin that turn up in books and movies and whatnot interest me greatly.

Anyway, considerable of the Latin in Marathon is munged; the "ingue [sic!] ferroque" error has already been noted. But another funny blunder is found in the Marathon II final screen. Durandal calls his Jjaro ship the "Manus Celer Dei", forgetting I suppose that "manus" is one of the only fourth-declension Latin nouns which is _feminine_ (hence the Spanish derivation "la mano"). So he should have called his ship the "Manus Celeris Dei". Oops.

It's possible though that "manus" can be of either gender, depending on context, something like the noun "dies" which is _usually_ feminine, but not always.

Mike Phillips <> writes:

Regarding Ernest Tomlinson's comment about the use of the feminine noun "Manus" in the name of Durandal's ship -- I'm no Latin major (nor do I have any knowledge of it other than what I've learned from the Marathon trilogy of games!), but I wanted to point out that ships, and many vehicles in general, tend to be christened with female names. I don't know why this is, but I'm sure there is some sort of old custom or superstition behind it, if anyone knows who would like to broaden our minds... ;)

Kieran Wheeler <> writes:

Ancient seagoers, like the Greco-Romans, originally named their vessels after their gods, as a sign of respect. Female deities in particular. Later on, regular feminine names were used. The reason? Women were seen to be epitomically nurturing, caring, and (above all) protecting. The tradition evolved from the view that female ships would be more likely to make it safe to port, based on the previously mentioned gender stereotype. Apparently they thought their constructions of wood and iron were in some way animate... reminiscent of the AI's? Maybe.

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Last updated Jan 22, 1998