1. villafane55 New Member

    Hello forum members:
    I am translating an Italian manuscript written by a Roman Catholic priest. His preface ends with the phrase "Faxit Deus!"
    I have searched high and low and have found this translation: "God grant." I have no doubt about God (Deus). The problem is the verb form "faxit". This form is not included in conjugations of the verb "facio". Would this phrase mean "May God let it be so"?
    Perhaps it is a pseudo Latin phrase or a quote from somewhere? I found this also, attributed to Italian poet Torquato Tasso: Faxit Deus, ut calestia omnia tibi felicia ... No translation.
    I am grateful for any help.
    Diana
    Gregorius Textor likes this.
  2. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    It's an archaic subjunctive form. Here it functions as a wish: "God grant it!" or "May God make it so!".

    That such an ancient form would be used in an ecclesiastical setting is interesting. Perhaps because these sorts of archaisms were common in solemn rituals it was felt appropriate.
    Gregorius Textor likes this.
  3. villafane55 New Member

    Thank you very much Imber Ranae! My mother's uncle was born in 1900, so I'm not surprised he would use an archaism.
    Sincerely,
    Diana
  4. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    Er, I meant that it was an archaism already by the time of Cicero and Julius Caesar, more than two thousand years ago. That was the golden age of Latin literature and the period upon which the classical standard of the language was set. But in reference to today, or even 1900, all Latin is archaic.
  5. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    LOL a few years later.
  6. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    ...Except in an office setting under particular circumstances.

    "Boss, how should I send the document?"
    "Faxit!"

    (...Sorry, couldn't resist...) :D
    Pacis puella likes this.
  7. Pacifica grammaticissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Belgium
    Lol. Better than facit.
  8. Abbatiſſæ Scriptor Senex

    • Civis Illustris
    It looks a bit like a ſigmatic aorist/future formation.
  9. Callaina Feles Curiosissima

    • Civis Illustris
    Location:
    Canada
    Sounds interesting, but say more?
  10. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    It's a sigmatic future, not aorist.
    I talked about it in the first paragraph of this post.
  11. Abbatiſſæ Scriptor Senex

    • Civis Illustris
    Same ſtem.
  12. Imber Ranae Ranunculus Iracundus

    • Civis Illustris
    No, they're distinct.
  13. Blackfriar New Member

    As someone else has said, it is an archaic form of the Latin subjunctive: "May God grant..." However, it is one of those archaisms which endured. According to Lewis and Short, it is found in Cicero (Leg. 2.8.19), Livy and Plautus, among others. It is also common in Christian Latin - in Erasmus, for example, right down to Vatican II (at the end of the Declaration on Religious Freedom). A Vatican book of Gregorian chant, 'Jubilate Deo', published in 1974, has a preface ending, "Faxit Deus ut ..." And for what it's worth, I occasionally use it myself - in the expression 'Quod faxit Deus!' - in letters written otherwise in English to friends - if they know Latin, of course. It's not at all surprising to find it in your Italian priest's manuscript.

    It is not unlike the survival of a few archaisms in English, such as 'thee', 'thy', 'thine' etc, which exist mainly in a religious context, or in proverbs such as "to thine own self be true", or certain other words which tend to be used jocularly ('sweetmeat', 'potation', 'certes', 'rapscallion' etc.) or in specific professions like medicine (e.g. 'crepitus' for the scratching noise of broken bones) or law (e.g. 'demesne' for 'domain'). Every language has them, I think! I think immediately of " l'huis", the door, in French, which survives in the nursery rhyme "Un grand cerf", but is rarely encountered otherwise, as far as I know.

    In short, then, 'faxit' is a variant of the present subjunctive 3rd person singular, 'faciat'; it may be called 'archaic', but it remains in use even today amongst those - lamentably few - who write Latin.
    Gregorius Textor likes this.
  14. Etaoin Shrdlu Civis Illustris

    • Civis Illustris
    To be pedantic, that one's a quotation, and it's part of a set of platitudes that Shakespeare puts into the mouth of a rather dreary old buffoon, which tends to be forgotten when people quote it.
  15. Blackfriar New Member

    To be equally pedantic, who is to say that a quotation cannot become a proverb, that is, "a short, well-known pithy saying, stating a general truth or piece of advice"? I think that this line from Polonius - which has become enormously popular - is a case in point. If you must have another example, however, consider the maxim "Know thyself", which goes back to and inscription at Delphi, it seems, where (according to H. Parke and D. Wormell, The Delphic Oracle, (Basil Blackwell, 1956), vol. 1, p. 389) it was probably derived from an ancient proverb. In English, it generally retains the archaic "thyself" even when quoted today.
    Gregorius Textor likes this.

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