William D.

asked • 06/05/20

'Ex Libris' usage

I'm putting 'Ex Libris' bookplates in all of my books, but want to order the bookplates by type. So far I have:

'Ex Libris Astronomicis' (from the astronomy books of)

'Ex Libris Computatris' (from the computing books of)

'Ex Musica' (from the music of)

I am also familiar with 'Ex Libris Eroticis' and 'Ex Libris Occultis' but I don't have any books like that yet.

So my question is, how would I say, in Latin please:

'From the music books of' (Ex Libris Musicalis?)

'From the science fiction books of' (Ex Libris Scientiarum Fictionalis??? guessing)

'From the history books of'

'From the children's books of'

'From the reference books of'

And what is the actual case used there with the ending -is please?

1 Expert Answer


Matija B. answered • 06/06/20

3 (1)

B.A. and post-baccalaureate certificate & high school teacher in Latin

William D.

Wow. Thank you very much for your explanation! That has been very helpful! \r \r My understanding is that the habit of placing book-plates in books began in Germany towards the end of the late Middle Ages, and the conventional usage then adopted for Latin inscriptions in book-plates was simply of the form: 'Ex libris - Your Name Here', omitting the possessive/genitive case which is merely implied by the non-Latin name, which usage has persisted ever since.\r \r As such I am quite happy to follow the conventional usage and use: 'Ex libris astronomicis - William R. D.', to mean: 'From the astronomical books - William R. D.', as long as it is correct Latin i.e. 'astronomicis' is declined correctly. Such usage fits the convention for book-plate inscriptions, and is acceptable to a post-postmodern Provincial like me, as it would have been to a Renaissance Man of the Germanic tribes. But it is still good to know what authentic Latin usage should be, and I might use that in more valuable books, for more elaborate bookplates than the standard nametag.\r \r With translating 'science fiction', I think the problem is more with the English definition of 'science' in the context of 'science fiction' being ambiguous, than with the concept of science fiction being undefined by Romans. I am quite happy to use Latin 'scientia' for 'science', even if I end up with Latin that translates as: 'knowledge fiction' or: 'knowledge stories'; such a translation is less ambiguous than 'wonderful stories', even if it is less romantic, so to say.\r \r To be honest I would feel pretentious if I used a Latinized name in my bookplates, even if that is the only way to make the Latin inscriptions translate fully. But I would be interested to learn what that Latinized name might be all the same. It would have to be my full name 'William R. (for Richard) D., which surname is itself already Anglicized from Old Irish 'Ó' Duibhfinn' meaning: 'Sons of "Dubhfionn"', meaning: "Darkly Fair". I'm not sure how that would work in Latin genitive case. Gulielmi Richardi Nigreflavi?


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