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What did Cainites call Vitae before Rome existed?

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  • What did Cainites call Vitae before Rome existed?

    I don't think there's a canonical answer (but I've read maybe 2/3 of all VTM books so I might be wrong) but I'm looking for ideas.

    It's probably not the best to search for ancient languages' words for "life" as it's easy to get the context wrong, but it may be a good starting point.

  • #2
    Before rome conquered most of the west, vampires probably called the blood a million names, as there were so many languages and local variations and the world was pretty disconnected. . Greek was a language of importance before Roman, but you wouldn't hear it at all in many places.

    Even now, some of the world wouldn't use Vitae. Those places unconquered by europeans, or those places where the conquering was relatively short, probably still use their older terms for Vitae. I very loosely recall (let's say i'm probably wrong) Prana being used in the east, and Prana stems from an Indian language. Indian terms are influentual beyond india into the east, as their religious ideas did spread that way.

    Edit:
    I think it's an odd point. I personally don't like using foreign words in a context in which -all words are foreign-. A Ravnos explaining some indian concepts to an American neonate has a decent context for using words like Dharma. A Ravnos in India...
    Basically, the Prince is the Prince to me, even if we were in a land where we would be calling him Emir or something. It would take a very different viewpoint on Vitae for me to start calling it something else.
    Last edited by MyWifeIsScary; 11-24-2020, 08:49 AM.

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    • #3
      I'm not looking for a singular answer, just some ideas. Like I doubt Cainites in Iberia would necessarily use a Sumerian word, but there are a lot of cultures to choose from.

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      • #4
        Well since Vitae is simply the latin word for "Life" via from what I got from a google search, I'd assume other cultures would likewise call the lifeforce they draw sustenance from mortals to some form of the regional language that also means "Life"'; or maybe instead of "Life," a moniker would be given for blood in general too in their native language instead.
        Last edited by Shakanaka; 11-24-2020, 09:23 AM.


        Jade Kingdom Warrior

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        • #5
          Yeah, I was thinking about that and came up with several. Although calling it "Ankh" seems strange. I wonder if perhaps there'd be other words to work with whether based on blood or ichor or whatever.

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          • #6
            I get the feeling that even Roman vampires didn't call it vitae, especially those not exactly feeding off the senatorial class. Like, Kindred in the modern days don't go 'I'm gonna go drain some Life out of that kine over there' unless they're feeling poetic, pretentious, and/or in denial about what they really are.

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            • #7
              Sumerian you have namtil, Akkadian napishtum/napshat

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              • #8
                Was there ever a single shared vampire culture? You have to go back a long ways to find it, though the Caine origin myth (or reality) seems prominent among vampires and predates Rome. If that origin is true, or even just very widespread, then maybe Semitic languages is where to look, since vampires have a Semitic origin.

                We could have "dam" which is Hebrew for blood. There is also "nephesh" which could mean soul or lifeforce. Other prominent Semitic languages, like Aramaic and Phoenician are similar I believe.

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                • #9
                  The term vitae was simply popularized because of Rome's influence in the ancient world and even after it fell. It's the same reason why universities and some organizations have slogans in latin despite it being a dead language.

                  Prior to Rome? Whatever word for blood or life force existed in those cultures I imagine.

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                  • #10
                    I would use "ichor" myself - the Greek term for the ethereal substance that acted as the blood of the gods. It's mentioned in Homer so its quite ancient. It would provide a distinction between the blood of mortals and animals, and the special substance that animates vampires.

                    I don't know if older languages had similar concepts, but it is possible. If so, then something in Akkadian/Babylonian was probably used. Akkadian was the dominant language of the Mesopotamian civilizations, and acted as the common trade language for the Bronze Age civilizations until it was replaced by Old Aramaic which lasted until Ancient Greek became heavily used after the conquests of Alexander the Great.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Ideon View Post
                      I get the feeling that even Roman vampires didn't call it vitae, especially those not exactly feeding off the senatorial class. Like, Kindred in the modern days don't go 'I'm gonna go drain some Life out of that kine over there' unless they're feeling poetic, pretentious, and/or in denial about what they really are.
                      The point of making Rome the cutoff is that Vitae is the Latin, not nailing down when Vitae became common parlance.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by PJ123 View Post
                        Sumerian you have namtil, Akkadian napishtum/napshat
                        Yes, I really like this for that part of the world.

                        Originally posted by Sergeant Brother View Post
                        Was there ever a single shared vampire culture? You have to go back a long ways to find it, though the Caine origin myth (or reality) seems prominent among vampires and predates Rome. If that origin is true, or even just very widespread, then maybe Semitic languages is where to look, since vampires have a Semitic origin.

                        We could have "dam" which is Hebrew for blood. There is also "nephesh" which could mean soul or lifeforce. Other prominent Semitic languages, like Aramaic and Phoenician are similar I believe.
                        Yeah, I wasn't clear in my original post, but I was just more asking about terminology that might be used, not a one true pre-Roman term. Thank you, btw - love nephesh.

                        Originally posted by KarlB View Post
                        The term vitae was simply popularized because of Rome's influence in the ancient world and even after it fell. It's the same reason why universities and some organizations have slogans in latin despite it being a dead language.

                        Prior to Rome? Whatever word for blood or life force existed in those cultures I imagine.
                        Definitely! I found some words but when I got to Egyptian "ankh" for life I decided I was possibly looking at the wrong stuff. I should have included what I did find, but I felt like I was taking words out of context, and would rather not do that.

                        Originally posted by Black Fox View Post
                        I would use "ichor" myself - the Greek term for the ethereal substance that acted as the blood of the gods. It's mentioned in Homer so its quite ancient. It would provide a distinction between the blood of mortals and animals, and the special substance that animates vampires.

                        I don't know if older languages had similar concepts, but it is possible. If so, then something in Akkadian/Babylonian was probably used. Akkadian was the dominant language of the Mesopotamian civilizations, and acted as the common trade language for the Bronze Age civilizations until it was replaced by Old Aramaic which lasted until Ancient Greek became heavily used after the conquests of Alexander the Great.
                        Ichor is definitely one of my favorites. It'd also be appropriately hubristic for Cainites to refer to their blood as such, but also not entirely wrong necessarily.

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                        • #13
                          Maybe Ambrosia or Manna (as in what the Jews at after escaping Egypt). Various translations of the words milk and honey might also work, since Sumerian and Persian gods drank that. Drinking magical milk or white drops was associated with elixirs of immortality in a lot of ancient cultures.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by DrHappyAngry View Post
                            Maybe Ambrosia or Manna (as in what the Jews at after escaping Egypt). Various translations of the words milk and honey might also work, since Sumerian and Persian gods drank that. Drinking magical milk or white drops was associated with elixirs of immortality in a lot of ancient cultures.
                            This is really good. Thank you.

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                            • #15
                              I find myself more interested in the cool/joke euphemisms anarch neonates will use. Stuff like "Slurpee" or "wine" or "Juice" or "Red" or "Beast Fuel" or... any ideas?

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