In which I regret to inform the Internet that Prompto Argentum does not in fact mean “quicksilver.”
It’s an understandable mistake, especially when “quicksilver” seems pretty fitting for the gun-slinging, camera-toting, chocobo-riding gleam of light that is our dear Prompto. Alas, it is not so, because prompto doesn’t mean “quick.” More on that in a moment.
The good news is that pretty much everybody has gotten it at least half right: argentum = “silver.” Many of us learned that from the periodic table in chemistry class. Argentum may refer to the metal silver, or it can refer to money, as silver coins.
So, what’s the deal with prompto? It can indeed be a form of the adjective that means “quick ; ready ; eager.” But in order to be modifying argentum, it would need to be in the nominative neuter form, which would be promptum. In order to be referring to Prompto himself, it would need to be the masculine nominative form, which would be promptus. See the difference? It’s all about those pesky endings!
As it is, prompto is the dative or ablative form. I think dative makes sense: “to or for the quick/ready/eager (man/thing).” But there’s a different, perhaps more compelling meaning. Prompto is from the passive perfect form of the verb that means “to bring forth ; to reveal ; to manifest.” So, Prompto can be translated as “to or for the (man/thing that has been) brought forth ; revealed ; manifested.”
A man who has been brought forth, revealed, manifested… does that not sound like a certain Chosen King? And is there anything or anyone who Prompto is more “to or for” than Noctis? His relationship with Noctis is different than Ignis’s or Gladio’s, as it lacks any degree of professional obligation. Unlike the elder chocobros, Prompto is there for Noctis out of pure, freely-given, self-chosen friendship. Noctis is his best friend, pure and simple.
And despite Prompto’s doubts and insecurities, the feeling is mutual: he is Noctis’s best friend too, in a way that nobody else is. He is probably the only person Noctis can be himself around, without having to meet any kind of lofty expectations or fill any agenda. For Noctis, Prompto and his friendship definitely deserve the name Argentum.
So by now, you may be wondering: what is the Latin for “quicksilver”? The phrase is argentum vivum, which literally means “living silver”!
In which I was totally convinced that Ignis Scientia was going to be a bad guy
The tall, bespectacled, sharply dressed, finely-sculpted Ignis Scientia was one of the first characters who really grabbed my interest in the days (lol, years) before FFXV was released. And his name was part of the fascination.
Ignis = “fire.” Scientia = “knowledge.” “Fire Knowledge.” But wait–Ignis can be genitive as well as nominative, in which case his whole name could be translated “knowledge of fire” or “fire’s knowledge.”
Honestly, this name made me really uneasy. Taking each word separately, we know that fire and knowledge are powerful things that can be used both for good and evil. But put them together, and I find there’s something dangerous, ruthless, or at the very least suspicious about it. It evokes a Promethean, even Luciferian kind of imagery. The fact that Ignis is so outwardly attractive added to that. It left me thinking, “Who is this man? Who is he really? And what is he going to be up to? There’s no way I’m gonna trust him.”
…And then I played the game and got to know him and boy was I ever wrong. And relieved. And I love him to death. 😅
But actually, Latin-wise, the most interesting part of Ignis’s name (sadly later omitted) is Stupeo, which is one of those weird Latin verbs that looks active but has a passive meaning. If it were a normal active voice verb, we might translate it as “I astonish.” But the actual meaning is “I am astonished.”
If we take Stupeo Scientia as a compound surname, we can read it as “I am astonished by knowledge.” (Scientia can be ablative as well as nominative, so I think it fits.) Perhaps it could even have originated as a statement of praise for the family, as in “Boy howdy, I sure am astonished by (his/her/their) knowledge!” This is assuming that the whole family is as renowned for their intellects as Ignis is… which, who knows?
(Also, my dork self kept wanting to translate it as “blinded with science.” But my Latin nerd self kept saying shut up. And yet… as it happens… it would have fit a bit too well… 😢)
In every RPG character party, there’s one character who is sheer strength. They’re usually physically big and wield big, heavy weapons. In FFXV, that character is the tall, dark, buff, tattooed, greatsword-wielding Gladiolus Amicitia.
Right away, Gladiolus made me laugh. You see, it literally means “little sword": gladius = “sword,” -ol- is a diminutive particle. For a big man with a big sword, it comes across as a sarcastic nickname, like calling a really huge guy Tiny. Or perhaps a childhood nickname that got stuck. The thing is, it’s treated like a serious name, and the other characters never make anything of it. Which is unfortunate, because wouldn’t it be natural to make some sort of “little sword” comeback whenever Gladio makes fun of Noctis for being “puny”? Alas, it never happens, except in my brain.
Of course, Gladiolus is more commonly known as the name of a flower, so called because its linear shape is reminiscent of a sword or spear. Given that his sister’s name is Iris, maybe that meaning fits better. Though it’s still an odd name for a King’s Shield. Did Clarus Amicitia have a love for flowers or something? Was he away on business when his son was born and named? (Bonus: Clarus = “bright ; clear ; famous”)
Moving on: Amicitia is a beautiful word that means “friendship ; alliance.” It may be a very personal relationship between persons or a more practical kind of bond between persons or corporate bodies. It is a very fitting surname for the family who is bound (by duty if not personal liking) to serve as the monarchs’ shields.
ronan and adam going to the pound to adopt a puppy (✿◠‿◠)
ronan waking up early to walk the new dog (✿◠‿◠)
adam spoiling the puppy at every chance he can get because he can’t refuse those big brown eyes (✿◠‿◠)
ronan naming him fido because he’s a latin nerd (✿◠‿◠)
ronan and adam taking walks through cabeswater and giggling when the puppy rolls around in the grass, ronan apologizing to cabeswater before they leave because fido peed on almost every tree he saw (✿◠‿◠)
Happy holidays, escapism-artist! I have interpreted “literature” and “artifact hunting” and “AU” extremely broadly here (“S5 never happened” is, however, the literal truth)… also, it’s not the shortest of stories. If you prefer more-succinct holiday madness, you might check out yesterday’s Visit. Or I will happily write you something else; just ask. Anyway, without further ado, let the merriment, or whatever, commence!
Myka was finding it extremely difficult to concentrate on her book, for pieces of her hair were being wrapped around a finger (not her own) and tugged with some energy. “You are annoying me,” she said to her traveling companion.
“No, I’m attempting to determine the tensile strength of each curl in your hair.”
“I’m pretty sure you’re annoying me.”
“Then I’m multitasking,” Helena announced.
“I don’t think you understand what that word means. Didn’t you bring a book?”
“Of course I did. But reading seems far less interesting right now than attempting to determine the tensile strength of each curl in your hair.” As if to emphasize her interest, she began using both hands.
And so Myka was, at least momentarily, pleased when her phone rang.
Helena admonished, “I told you to turn that off. We are Christmas-vacationing in the tropics.”
“We are not Christmas-vacationing in the tropics yet. We are sitting in the airport in Sioux Falls, I am trying to read, and you are annoying the living daylights out of me.” She answered the phone. “What’s up, Steve?”
In response, she heard a slightly panicked, “Are you on the plane yet? Please tell me you’re not actually on the plane yet.”
“Well…” And what tumbled out was a difficult-to-follow tale—made even more difficult to follow by the fact that Helena plastered her face next to Myka’s so she could hear too, and that was extremely distracting—about Pete and Claudia having seemingly disappeared from their snag-and-bag mission, and Mrs. Frederic having done a similar vanishing act. “She was standing right here talking to me about shelving artifacts, and then she looked around and said, ‘Tomorrow is Christmas! It’s practically here!’ And then, poof!”