Friday, 12 December 2014
"Requiescant In Pace"
"'Requiescant in pace...'"
-Poul Anderson, Dominic Flandry: The Last Knight Of Terra (New York, 2012), p. 327.
He even gets the plural form of the verb correct:
Requiescant: they sleep;
requiescat: he, she or it sleeps;
in pace: in peace.
I have previously catalogued a few instances of Latin in Poul Anderson's works as well as my own on-going struggles with the language of SPQR (Senatus Populusque Romanus) (see here).
Why does it matter that Flandry says, "Requiescant..."? First, it tells us that some Classical knowledge survives in the Terran Empire that bases itself on the Roman Empire. Secondly, these few phrases of Latin are the only times when we read the actual words spoken by Flandry. The rest of his dialogue has had to be translated from Anglic into English for our benefit.
Later in Anderson's History of Technic Civilization, Anglic joins Latin and English as an ancient language no longer spoken. That is how much time has passed by the end of this future history.