Saturday, 5 August 2017

Miles

Poul and Karen Anderson's characters address Mithras as "...etiam miles...," "also a soldier," and SM Stirling's Father Ignaius is "'Miles of Christ,'" (Lord Of Mountains, Chapter Four, p. 82), "soldier of Christ."

"Miles," (meel-ez) is not an English plural but a Latin singular from which are derived the English words:

military;
militia;
militant
etc.

It occurred to me that readers unfamiliar with Latin might think that "miles" is pronounced like the English "miles."

Miles of smiles.

4 comments:

David Birr said...

Paul:
For the record, though I suspect you already know this part, the plural of *miles* is *milites*.

And Kipling used the same formulation as the Andersons in his poem "A Song to Mithras," every stanza including an invocation that "Mithras, also a soldier," aid or teach the human soldiers in ways that helped them perform their duty.

Mithras, God of the Morning, our trumpets waken the Wall!
"Rome is above the Nations, but Thou art over all!"
Now as the names are answered, and the guards are marched away,
Mithras, also a soldier, give us strength for the day!

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, DAVID and Paul!

Very nice, this bit you quoted from Kipling. And, in fact, I think the Andersons adapted this Kipling poem to be the prayer used by Gratillonius when he was still a Mithraist.

Paul, and "Miles" is also sometimes used as a masculine name. The example I thought of being how the late 17th Duke of Norfolk, MILES Francis Fitzalan-Howard, was given that name.

Sean

Paul Shackley said...

I should have mentioned that the root of "miles" is "milit-" just as the roots of "Mars," "Venus" and "Jupiter" are "Mart-," "Vener-" and "Jov-." I should also have noticed that the name "Miles" is the Latin for "soldier."
Chagrined.

Sean M. Brooks said...

Kaor, Paul!

And I looked up the 17th Duke of Norfolk. Miles Francis Stapleton-Fitzalan-Howard was a soldier as well. And a real soldier who saw actual combat in WW II. He reminded me of Sir Nigel Loring!

Sean