From the earth, our secrets

BeatrizMirefount

New Member
Hello all, I am a writer planning to use a few Latin phrases in a novel.

I saw somewhere the following Latin phrase: A terra nostra absconsa. It was translated as "from the Earth, our secrets." I have been trying to verify the accuracy of this phrase but I can't find it anywhere. Perhaps I made it up? :) If anyone on this forum can confirm the accuracy of the translation, I would be grateful. The correct Latin translation for "from the Earth, our secrets" is what I'm after. Thanks for any help you can offer.
 

Aurifex

Aedilis
Staff member
I don't understand the relationship between the two halves of this. What is "from the earth"' (our secrets or something else?) and "from" in what sense?
 

BeatrizMirefount

New Member
Good question! Thanks for your response. I interpreted the phrase as follows: our secrets (our past, our history) are buried in the earth over time. With a bit of searching, we can uncover these buried secrets.

My story is about teasing out the silenced or forgotten stories in history, and some of the action takes place in ancient ruins, so I liked the thematic connection.

I hope this is helpful.
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
E terra, secreta nostra would be a better translation than what you now have. E could also be written ex; and secreta could be changed to arcana, according to which you like most.

There is however something that bugs me a bit about his translation: it's that (due to things I'm not going to explain in detail because I'd need to give you a Latin course), if you only removed the comma, it would become very ambiguous and could also mean "from our secret earth". Now, I suppose that with the very handy modern trick called comma, the ambiguity is removed. But I can't help thinking about how it would have been written in Roman times; that is, without comma, because Romans had no comma, and how ambiguous it would have been. Now, maybe it doesn't matter now, and it's just me and my anachronic fancy. ;)
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
E terra, secreta nostra would be a better translation than what you now have. E could also be written ex; and secreta could be changed to arcana, according to which you like most.

There is however something that bugs me a bit about his translation: it's that (due to things I'm not going to explain in detail because I'd need to give you a Latin course), if you only removed the comma, it would become very ambiguous and could also mean "from our secret earth". Now, I suppose that with the very handy modern trick called comma, the ambiguity is removed. But I can't help thinking about how it would have been written in Roman times; that is, without comma, because Romans had no comma, and how ambiguous it would have been. Now, maybe it doesn't matter now, and it's just me and my anachronic fancy. ;)
Wouldn't a Roman have been more likely to include a verb or participle with the prepositional phrase anyway, which would make it (less) ambiguous?
 

Pacifica

grammaticissima
Staff member
I don't know. I suppose we could add a verb, like, e terra, secreta nostra proferuntur, "from the earth, our secrets are fetched out/made known". It would remove the ambiguity, but add something that wasn't in the original request (though it was implied).

P.S. the prepositional phrase here wasn't used adjectivally, but it was modifying an implied verb. That's ok in Latin too.
 

Absurdism

Member
I personally like the idea of ex humo, secreta nostra [produntur] better than e terra. Sounds more natural, especially for English speakers ("our secrets are exhumed").
 

Callaina

Feles Curiosissima
I suppose it depends on the sort of secrets, and how they got into the earth (or Earth) in the first place. :D
 
Top