Haloed Bane

Translation Choices

This page houses descriptions (defenses even) of certain translation choices made when going from Horgothic to English (and back again.)

Kanvior, Empire, Anvil, Incudea

The dominant species in Sinduin's universe is called throughout these pages the Inculae (sg. Incula). Their polity is called Incudea (adj. Incudean). These are all translations of one basic term, kanvior, and related terms (kanviora, kanviorden.)

The most obvious way to translate the Horgothic word kanvior is as "empire." To understand why this is not the translation used in these documents, it is best to give a bit of historical background.

From time immemorial the Inculae understood the word kanvior to mean a particular impulse toward imposing an order on as wide an expanse as possible, and the organizational structure necessary to make this impulse bear fruit. What isolated the concept from all others was its universality. Inculae adopted this impulse as their banner, a national obsession. Alone of all the races in the universe of Belklaun, they simply called themselves kanviorans, the people of kanvior.

The understanding of the term, though not the attitude it expressed, was profoundly altered by Incudean contact with the Merciless Myriad of Dolentis. The Dolens were the greatest empire at the time, and yet, they treated the word kanvior as taboo and would not refer to their domains by that word. Dolentian scholars taught Inculae that the basic meaning of the word kanvior was “anvil.” The revelation came as a shock to Inculae, who heretofore had called the implement in question a forge-rock (lurronhatau). However, the Incudean view was not at all incorrect. A true empire is like a great anvil, the Dolens argued. All action is directed toward it, all force becomes what it must become by pushing against it, by striking down on it. Lights emanate from the anvil in the process, and the anvil never breaks. The Myriad believed that they would only deserve to be called a kanvior, the kanvior, when they accomplished universal supremacy.

But it was Incudea’s destiny to become the Empire and to fulfil her chosen name. The reader can now see why using the word “empire” would not suffice. “Anvil” would be even less satisfactory, since it lacks in English the all-important spiritual element. Looking over at the possibilities, we thought it best to derive our translation from the Latin word for anvil: “incus.” The positioning of Latin within Earth's languages and the significance of its speakers for the earthly concept of empire are undeniable. “incus” originally derives from a stem “incud,” from which we derive our translation for kanvior, Incudea, playing on the resonances with Earth nations and cities (Chaldea, Arimathea, etc.) and also pointing to another Latin concept, “dea” or goddess, which is key in the development of Incudean civilization (specifically in reference to Tarte, our Magna Mater). The species term "incula" (plural "inculae") is an admittedly dubious derivation from "incus" on the basis of the Latin diminutive “culus, cula, culum.” It expresses the idea that every competent kanviora is a small instance of the universal anvil and that she is thus exposed to attacks that, far from breaking her, will bring lights to all the worlds.

For other nations bent on control beyond their own civilizations, the word kanvior has been translated as "empire." We include in this category such states as the Myriad itself, the Glassic Empire and that of the Martuta.

Before concluding it is worth noting that the Myriad seemed to fear achieving their universal empire. If all comers eventually broke at the anvil, so that only it was left, then according to their own metaphors there would no longer be lights. Stasis would ensue. Thankfully, we Inculae are a practical race not given to such idle speculations. Metaphors should always aid, never hinder.

Duchesses, Baronesses, Ladies...and Princesses

The noble houses of Incudea have played an important role in the nation's history. The translation of Incudea noble titles is rather liberal, because the intention is -above all- to convey the meaning and power of the words. Below are the three basic titles in Horgothic, followed by a literal English translation and then our own translation.

gloralba greatness of the glor duchess
flauchamir named one baroness
grukenir esquire lady

Each noble house in Incudea is called a glor. The original meaning of the term is obscure. Tarteists claim that it's actually the name of a planet, a promised land for the nobility, but that seems like a myth created to explain the term. In any case, the head of each house is literally the greatness of the glor, which doesn't exactly roll of the tongue in English. Duchess works best, coming as it does from dux or leader, while avoiding the connotation of totalitarian (and often hereditary) rule that the word queen has. Incudea has no queens.

In the original English scheme, there were dukes and barons, and nothing in between. Our next group of nobles is therefore called baronesses. The Horgothic term flauchamir (named one) refers to the fact that these nobles have set names according to their place in the (ducal) house. For example, the 175th-ranked baroness in many houses is called Sengam, followed by the name of the house, e.g. Sengam Karhalaun. Say, then, that Sengam Karhalaun came to Earth for a visit and expected the treatment owed her. It would be far easier to prepare humans for the proper protocol if she was instead dubbed Baroness Sengam Karhalaun.

Sometimes translations need to be more precise than the original terms, to make up for the loss of context. An important distinction among the named ones is that some of them have the right, by virtue of their place in the house, to sit in the ducal council. The propor term for these is sonflauchameth (sitting named ones). The term is often extended incorrectly however to any member of the council, including members appointed by the duchess, who may not even be baronesses at all, but mere ladies. For our translations here, we keep the distinction straight by dubbing those baroness who have a right to sit in the ducal council (even if the duchess would rather not have them there!) as archbaronesses. If necessary, a baroness siting on the council through appointment rather than archbaronial right could be termed a seated baroness.

There are, in fact, two Horgothic terms which may with some creativity match the terms archbaroness and baroness. They are prika and taraprika. Prika is used widely in Belklaun, and generally refers to a great lord or lady, but its specific usage varies from species to species. One of the most common usages is to denote an allodial lord who is not an actual king or monarch (that is, a powerful figure who is subject to the monarch, but whose property may not be alienated, not even by the monarch). In Incudean history, the term was most often used for influential named ones who earned (through wits or might) certain rights over other members of the house (other baronesses and/or ladies). The derived term taraprika (literally "small prika") came to be used for named ones who had certain rights over the lowborn living within part of a duchy. With time, however, it became the custom for duchess to be equally preponderant over all in her house, and then prika became more or less a synonym for flauchamir or named one. In a few cases, and even then inconsistently, the term taraprika remained in use to denote the less powerful named ones.

Students of history will be well aware of the thirty-six duchesses sacrificed by the Dolens on a grim day long ago. For puposes of our translation, we give their descendants honor by calling them archduchesses. This distinction does not exist at the linguistic level in Incudea, though the archbaronesses do have precedence in certain protocolary matters. Thus, Archduchess Karhalaun, Archduchess Hansamaun, Archduchess Jurmuin, etc.

Next, there is another distinction it's helpful to make. These are named ones that achieve hereditary succession for their ducal titles (in Horgothic we say they hold their titles are "through blood", tior vanja). In English we can speak of blood duchesses and blood baronesses. The origin of the two is different. In the case of the baronesses, some houses took it upon themselves to reward the lineages of named ones who had shown valor in the battlefield with hereditary possession of their titles for a prescribed number of generations (they, and their successors, except for the last one, would by us be termed “Blood Baroness”. The last successor in the line would simply be a “Baroness”. Since the great named ones of many houses avoid battle duty as a rule, there are very few historical instances of lineages qualifying for the title of “Blood Archbaroness”, but the term is there as needed. As for the blood duchesses, they tend to come into power after autocoups in their houses. There was an outright fad for blood duchess proclamations (often for a ridiculously high number of generations) in the time of the dictatorial Benefactresses, who promoted such behavior if nothing else by their example. Only four blood duchess lines exist currently, and two of them are not really recognized as such except by certain factions within their houses (e.g. the infamous Second Branch in the case of House Manlaun).

Now, we come to the masses of nobles out of which duchesses and baronesses emerge. Grukenir literally means a "shield-person", but the etymologically similar English esquire totally misses the mark, as what we translate here as ladies are not meant to assist the upper rank of the nobility as individuals (as an esquire does with a knight), but collectively as the shield of the house. Any lady seating on a ducal council could be termed a seated lady. (The by all measures odd ducal house of Ransain has a fully appointed council, and none of her members have an inherent right to be seated. Therefore for them and them alone, it would be easiest to define the council members as either archbaronesses or seated ladies, depending on whether they are flauchameth or grukeneth. An example is our own leader Archbaroness Durgaun Mafa Ransain.

There is a danger with all of these ladies walking about out our pages, that the reader might confuse Incudea for an aristocracy, instead of the meritocracy it truly is. To prevent this, we have opted to translate the most powerful title in the nation, the Incudean Council's glompu belbon (literally "prime leader"), as princess. Above all ladies, baronesses and duchesses is a princess. And the princess does not derive her title from the nobility, but from her role as guide of destinies. Such usage is more in keeping with the original sense of Latin princeps. Finally, ex-princesses may, provided they still hold positions of power, be called dantibel, where danti is akin to the English prefix meta-, and bel means "gryphon". We can call them metaprincesses because the two terms are actually closely linked. glompu belbon is very often abbreviated to just the two syllables glombel. By way of spurious etymology one can then argue the prime leader of Incudea is a sensing gryphon, from the verb glom and the noun bel. dantibel is then literally a metagryphon, which sounds fantastic (in both senses of the word), but if we adopted it then we should say sensing gryphon instead of princess, which doesn't roll off the tongue as nicely.

Here is a final table to avoid any confusion:

lady grukenir file-and-rank noble
seated lady lady appointed to the ducal council
baroness taraprika, flauchamir upper-rank noble
seated baroness baroness appointed to the ducal council
archbaroness prika, sonflauchamir baroness with an inherent right to a seat in the ducal council
(in the case of House Ransain, any baroness appointed to the ducal council)
duchess gloralba leader of a ducal house
archduchess duchess of one of the 36 houses whose leaders were executed by the Dolens
blood ... ... tior vanja hereditary title
princess glompu belbon, glombel leader of the Lead Committee of the Incudean Council
metaprincess dantibel princess emeritus
(must retain some powerful position)