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Author Topic: why latin?  (Read 2608 times)
no_leaf_clover
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« on: February 16, 2004, 17:59:13 »

My guess is because back in the darker ages, when the occult was in its infancy by its modern-day definition, not many people could read, and those that were taught to read were often taught Latin as well as whatever their native language was. Rather than having to learn French to read books in French, English to read books in English, etc., people would just learn to read and write in Latin for anything that might be published outside their native countries.

Isaac Newton wrote his famous Principia in Latin despite the fact that he was English, and medical and astronomical texts of the day were also often written in Latin. Shakespeare studied Latin in grade school and was greatly influenced by classical literature written in the language, as is apparent in his play Julius Caesar.

Occult texts written in Latin are probably in that language because either the text was written a good while ago, or the author wanted their work to be reminiscent of that era or stick to its tradition.
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Gandalf
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2004, 22:55:15 »

Agreed, although english became *the* language from the Elizabethan time onwards, especially in literature circles. ie Shakespeare, John Donne etc.

However, regarding books of learning, these were traditionally in Greek or Latin, dating back to the time when the Monastaries were the great learning centres and preservers of Classical knowledge (during the Early medieval period).

It therefore remained the tradition to continue writing books on 'philosophy' (which included the sciences) in Greek or Latin, even into the 17th 18th centuries onwards (even into the 20th century), even although all educated people read and wrote in English for other disiplines.

The reason for this was partly snobbery, if you can read Greek or Latin, it shows how educated you are.. this form of snobbery is still continued in some circles today.


Most occult tomes followed this tradition as well, partly since some forms of occultism had long Classical heritages, like Hermeticsm for example (originating around the 3rd century BCE), but sometimes it was to give a recent tome more of an ancient feel, sometimes even fooling people into thinking it had been written centuries before, when in fact it had'nt.

Good examples of this include the Key of Soloman, purporting to belong to the said King but most likely written around the 14th century, and the Lesser Key of Soloman, actually written around the 17th century!

Douglas
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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2004, 22:55:15 »

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Moonburn33
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« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2004, 07:12:19 »

i can definitely say that it adds an air of arcane... ness, that is, until you take a latin class in high school or college or whatever... then you drag a beautiful language through the mud and learn how to say "my name is such and such, i bring the water to my house every day"... sort of loses its allure after that.  my own personal hypothesis is that if you use a language for a specific purpose over a long period of time, it gathers energies around "it" that strengthen the language and add more power into the spell.  just like a magical weapon would be charged- or a monastery/cathedral
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lifebreath
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2004, 14:32:25 »

Probably for much the same reason that the Roman Catholic church still uses Latin for its "official" language. Name, Latin provide two advantages over using the vernacular:

1) it is universal (to those who are fluent in it), thus, a treatise written in Latin can be understood without translation by anyone esle who is fluent, and

2) Latin, due to its use as a philosophical and theological language for many centuries, developed a very precise metaphysical terminology, such that certain latin words have precise meanings and those meanings are well understood by anyone fluent in latin and well-versed in philosophy, metaphysics and theology.
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MJ-12
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2004, 19:24:36 »

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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2004, 19:24:36 »



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Gwathren
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« Reply #5 on: March 14, 2004, 16:51:10 »

Salvete,

i agree that latin itself carries energy, but the fact fact that it is dead even increases the magical energy carried by it. And the medieval latin and all the fighting between --> God vs Devil. It's kinda logical...

May shadows reach the light,
Gwathren
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"Everything returns as before, and there is nothing new under the Sun, and man never changes although his clothes change and also the words of his language change."
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Gwathren
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2004, 14:22:18 »

Is this not an interesting subject?
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"Everything returns as before, and there is nothing new under the Sun, and man never changes although his clothes change and also the words of his language change."
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Spider Circus
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« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2004, 18:12:21 »

Hey crazy cats, I'm new here but thought I'd drop a missive.  Personally, I think latin is a particualrily well suited language to magick.  Its gramatical structure makes it difficult to obscure meaning within incantations and its lilt and structure give it a real poetry.  I have been picking up scraps here and there while researching the Enochian system and some of the older gnostic excrement.

  I think developing a knack for languange is important for the modern Practioner of the Craft.  I have personally translated many of the older resources myself just to better understand the motivations of the writer.  I have found several purposeful errors in many of Waite's translations, especially in the Grande Grimoire, although these errors are known it is tremendously difficult to find a corrected translation that doesn't cost ya.  A Goetic treatise he translated from Parisian french and intentionally screwed the translation to make sure that anyone using this demonic manual would bonk up the workings.  Even though this book was one of the tomes responsible for his fortune.

Spider
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neo
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« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2004, 13:38:07 »

i have noticed that a lot of spells and stuff are written in latin.......... how comes? what si so special about latin?
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