Presuming it means "song of death", do the cases match up? My latin is too rusty...posted by Sebmojo to Writing & Language (2 answers total)


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Best answer: A better word for "song" would be carmen. (The plural is carmina — you might know it as the first word of the title "Carmina Burana.") In Latin cantata would have been a participle, meaning something like "having been sung."Mortis is right — that"s the genitive singular, so yes, it means "of death"posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 2:12 PM on December 15, 2013 <1 favorite>
Best answer: Cantata is post-classical as a substantive. Proper classical Latin would use carmen for a song, or cantus for a song in the sense of something that is being sung now, or the melody of a song. Mortis is the genitive case. So carmen mortis would be literally "song of death," but it doesn"t strike me as idiomatic.* It would mean "song of a corpse" or "song of Death" (personified). "Carmen Mortis" was used as the title of a poem by George Allen England; in it, the speaker is dead.Carmen funebre is attested (Quintilian) as a funeral song, though he specifies that this is properly called a nenia (or naenia), a dirge or lamentation. I would expect a song about the death of someone to be carmen de morte Caesaris (in this case, Caesar"s death). A quick Google search confirms that medieval Christian literature included many carmina de morte of various people (mostly saints, it seems).A song about a dead person would be carmen de mortuo.A deadly song or spell would be a carmen letale.* I work mostly with sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Latin, often called "neo-Latin," which is based in classical usage but has its own peculiarities, so I don"t fully trust my intuitions.posted by brianogilvie at 2:30 PM on December 15, 2013 <8 favorites>
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