Military Ranks in Latin

By kimtiu, in 'General Latin Chat (English)', May 4, 2008.

  1. kimtiu New Member

    Can anyone help translate US Military and Naval ranks? I don't think that Classical Latin ranks is bad, but I think this is insufficient.
  2. Iynx Consularis

    • Consularis
    It seems to me that the differences in organization between the old Roman armies and fleets and those of the US now are so extensive, and so fundamental, that any attempt to use the ancient terms to denote contemporary officers is risky.
  3. kimtiu New Member

    Yeah, so that is why it's imperative to use only the ancent Roman army ranks in discussions pertaining to the roman army.

    So, where do we start?

    Perhaps I could help to create one? There is still confusion in how MODERN military ranks should be rendered in Latin.
  4. Cato Consularis

    • Consularis
    Chicago, IL
    I would start by coordinating Roman ranks as best as possible with the broad category of US ranks. Imperator, for example, is an obvious choice for "general".

    From there I'd look at ways to qualify these ranks so that they match similar gradations in the US system. Imperator summus might be "five-star/four-star general", Imperator auxiliarus for "3-star general", etc.

    Some research into the origin of terms might be helpful, i.e. why was a colonel called "colonel"?
  5. kimtiu New Member

    I think the word Imperator is now regarded as a political office than as a Roman Army rank. It would confusion anyway to translators; they would always regard Imperator as Emperor.

    Why not check the ranks of the modern-day Romance armies?

    I found this site, and it might be helpful.
  6. kimtiu New Member

    Good day again.

    I will update with the military ranks. It is from the Recent Latin Lexicon.

    I think the translations needed to be more like akin to modern Romance language.

    For example, I think the Late/Medieval Latin word "Capitaneus" will work better than Centurion. It would also be recognizable in the Romance languages, and will not be partucularly out of touch.

    Similarly, Italian uses Generale, Spanish and French use General. I wonder what would be the equivalent in Latin, still using the word general.

    I also think that we should find out about naval ranks in Latin, too.
  7. Anonymous Guest

    "imperator" was a rank given to a general after having won a war, so the best equivalent are ranks such as "maréchal de france" or "maresciallo d'italia", there is no precise equivalent in the british system.
    Let's go ahead:
    1) High rank generals or field marshals could be called "magistri militum" as they were called in the late Roman empire. Lexicon Recentis Latinitatis has "marescallus", but it's horrible
    2) Generals. the Lexicon uses the word "praefectus" specifying Praefectus Leguionis or Cohortis, in my opinion the Legiuon corresponds in today army to a corps or division while the cohors corresponds to a regiment. I would suggest "legatus" for a lieutnant general ant "tribunus" for a colonel
    3) "Centurio" could be used for captain, as it was used in fascist militia in Italy

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