Ob·fus·cate [ˌɒbfʌsˈkeɪt] — verb
- to make so confused or opaque as to be difficult to perceive or understand.
- to render indistinct or dim; darken: The fog obfuscated the shore.
Obfuscate derives from Latin obfuscre meaning to “darken”, from fuscus
“Sedulously eschew obfuscatory hyperverbosity and prolixity.” — Roedy Green.
Qui·e·tus [kwaɪˈiːtəs] — Noun
- A finishing stroke; anything that effectually ends or settles.
- A period of retirement or inactivity.
- Removal from activity; rest; death.
- Something that serves to suppress or quiet.
From Latin quietus “at rest”.
Vi·cis·si·tude [vɪˈsɪsɪˌtjuːd] — Noun
- change or variation occurring in the course of something.
- interchange or alternation, as of states or things.
- successive, alternating, or changing phases or conditions, as of life or fortune.
- regular change or succession of one state or thing to another.
- change, mutation, mutability.
From Latin vicissitudo, from vicis “change, alternation”.
Po·tence [ˈpəʊtəns] also (potency) — Noun
- the state or quality of being potent
- latent or inherent capacity for growth or development
From Latin potentia “power” (from posse “to be able”)
Pres·ence [ˈprɛzəns] — noun
- the state of being present.
- the immediate proximity of a person or thing.
- dignified manner or conduct.
- personal appearance or bearing, especially of a dignified nature.
From Latin praesentia, “being at hand” (from the verb praeesse).
Aus·pex [ˈɔːspɪˌsiːz] — noun (plural aus·pi·ces)
- an augur of ancient Rome, that is “one who observes flights of birds for the purpose of taking omens“. From Latin: observer of birds, from avis (“bird”) and specere (“to look”).
Dom·i·nate [ˈdɒmɪˌneɪt] — verb
- to control, rule, or govern (someone or something)
- to overlook from a height
- to have or exert strong authority or mastery.
Dominate derives from Latin dominari meaning “to be lord over”, from dominus “lord”.
Cel·er·i·ty [sɪˈlɛrɪtɪ] — Noun
Celerity from Old French celerite, from Latin celeritas, that is from ‘celer’ meaning ‘swift’.
For·ti·tude [ˈfɔːtɪˌtjuːd] — noun
- Strength and firmness of mind
- Resolute endurance
Fortitude derives from Latin fortitūdō, meaning courage.
De·men·ta·tion [krey-zee] — Noun
- The act of depriving of reason
Dementation derives from Late Latin dementare, to drive mad, from Latin de- + mens mind.
The Moirae, Moerae or Moirai (in Greek Μοῖραι – the “apportioners”, often called The Fates), in Greek mythology, were the white-robed personifications of destiny (Roman equivalent: Parcae, euphemistically the “sparing ones”, or Fata; also equivalent to the Germanic Norns). Their number became fixed at three, the three Moirae were:
- Clotho (English pronunciation: /ˈkloʊθoʊ/, Greek Κλωθώ [klɔːˈtʰɔː] – “spinner”) spun the thread of life from her distaff onto her spindle. Her Roman equivalent was Nona, (the ‘Ninth’), who was originally a goddess called upon in the ninth month of pregnancy.
- Lachesis (/ˈlækɨsɪs/, Greek Λάχεσις [ˈlakʰesis] – “allotter” or drawer of lots) measured the thread of life allotted to each person with her measuring rod. Her Roman equivalent was Decima (the ‘Tenth’).
- Atropos (/ˈætrəpɒs/, Greek Ἄτροπος [ˈatropos] – “inexorable” or “inevitable”, literally “unturning”, sometimes called Aisa) was the cutter of the thread of life. She chose the manner of each person’s death; and when their time was come, she cut their life-thread with “her abhorred shears”. Her Roman equivalent was Morta (‘Death’).
Read the whole article on the Moirae on Wikipedia.
- “to sing” or “the one that is melodious”
- Initially the Muse of Singing, Melpomene then became the Muse of Tragedy, for which she is best known now.
Melpomene (Greek Μελπομένη) is derived from the Greek verb melpô or melpomai meaning “to celebrate with dance and song.”
Nec·ro·man·cy [ˈnɛkrəʊˌmænsɪ] — noun
- A form of magic in which the practitioner seeks to summon the spirit of a dead person, either as an apparition or ghost, or to raise them bodily, for the purpose of divination.
- Black magic; Sorcery.
The word necromancy derives from the Greek νεκρός (nekrós), “dead body”, and μαντεία (manteía), “prophecy, divination”. The compound νεκρομαντεία itself is post-classical, first used by Origen in the 3rd century. The classical Greek term is nekyia (ἡ νέκυια), in Hellenistic Greek also νεκυιομαντεία, rendered in Latin as necyomantia and in 17th century English as necyomancy.
thau·ma·tur·gy [thȯ-mə-tər-jē] — noun
- the performance of miracles
- magic; witchcraft, wizardry
The word thaumaturgy originates from Greek “θαῦμα” (thaûma) meaning “miracle” or “marvel” and ἔργον (érgon), meaning “work”.
pro·te·an [prō-tē-ən] — adjective
- displaying great diversity or variety
Quote: “The protean nature of the computer is such, that it can act like a machine or like a language to be shaped and exploited.” — Alan Kay (American computer scientist)
ob·tene·bra·tion – noun
- The act of darkening
- the state of being darkened
The word obtenebration originates from Latin “obumbratus” meaning darken, conceal or defend.
Quote: “In every megrim or vertigo, there is an obtenebration joined with a semblance of turning round.” — Francis Bacon.
Since I am a non-native English speaker, I was curious what the different VtES disciplines actually mean. Some are easy to interpret like Presence or Dominate, but the meanings of others are quite hard to grasp. Starting with this post I will post on the meaning and origins of the various discipline words, starting with Vicissitude, which among other things means:
vi·cis·si·tude [vi-sis-i-tood, -tyood] – noun
- a condition of constant change or alternation
- change; mutation; mutability
- regular change or succession of one state or thing to another
The word vicissitude originates from Latin “vicissitudo” meaning change or alteration.
A lot of words in the World of Darkness (and often in VtES as well) stem from greek or roman mythology or biblical references. Here’s list of words that are used in VtES and a short explanation of their meaning and origin. The texts for the explanations are taken from Wikipedia.
- “Anathema” — Anathema (Greek) meaning originally something lifted up as an offering to the gods; later, with evolving meanings, it came to mean:
1. to be formally set apart,
2. banished, exiled, excommunicated or
3. denounced, sometimes accursed.
- “Alastor” — In Greek mythology, Alastor (English translation: “avenger”) was the personification of familial feuds. He was also associated with sins that pass down from parent to child. As a genius, or spirit of the household in Roman mythology, he incited people to murder and other sins.
- “Archon” — Archon is a Greek word that means “ruler”, frequently used as the title of a specific public office. It is the masculine present participle of the verb stem a??-, meaning “to rule”, derived from the same root as monarch and hierarchy.
- “Antediluvian Awakening” — The word antediluvian (syn.Prediluvian) (Latin for “before the deluge”) is used to describe a period of time that preceded the Great Flood of Noah as related in the Book of Genesis in the Bible.
- “Auto-Da-Fe” — The phrase auto de fé refers to the ritual of public penance of condemned heretics and apostates that took place when the Spanish Inquisition or the Portuguese Inquisition had decided their punishment (that is, after the trial). Auto de fé in medieval Spanish means “act of faith”. The phrase also commonly occurs in English in its Portuguese form auto-da-fé.
- “Camarilla” — A camarilla is a group of courtiers or favorites which surround a king or ruler. Usually, they do not hold any office or have any official authority but influence their ruler behind the scenes. Consequently, they also escape having to bear responsibility for the effects of their advice. The term derives from the Spanish word, “camarilla”, meaning “little chamber” or private cabinet of the king. The term also entered the German language and is used in the sense given above.
- “Cunctator Motion” — Quintus Fabius Maximus Verrucosus (ca. 280 BC-203 BC), called Cunctator (the Delayer), was a Roman politician and General, born in Rome around 280 BC and died in Rome in 203 BC. He was consul five times (233 BC, 228 BC, 215 BC, 214 BC and 209 BC) and was twice dictator in 221 and again in 217 BC. He reached the office of censor in 230 BC. His epithet Cunctator (akin to the English noun cunctation) means “delayer” in Latin, and refers to his tactics in deploying the troops during the Second Punic War. His cognomen Verrucosus means warty, a reference to the wart above his upper lip.
- “Curse of Nitocris” — Nitocris (Greek ??t?????) has been claimed to have been the last pharaoh of the Sixth Dynasty. Her name is found in the Histories of Herodotus and writings of Manetho but her historicity is questionable.
- “Gehenna” — Gehenna (hebrew) is the Jewish hell or purgatory. In Judaism hell is a place of purification and fire for the wicked, most being punished there up to a year but some for eternity.
- “Herald of Topheth” — Topheth (to´feth; ?????; ha-topheth; etymology uncertain) most probably is connected with a root word meaning “burning” – the “place of burning”; the King James Version, Tophet, except in 2 Kings 23:10. The references are to such a place: “They have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire” (Jeremiah 7:31). On account of this abomination Topheth and the Valley of Hinnom should be called “The Valley of Slaughter: for they shall bury in Topheth, till there be no place to bury,” the Revised Version margin “because there shall be no place else” (Jeremiah 7:32); see also Jeremiah 19:6, Jeremiah 19:12, Jeremiah 19:13, Jeremiah 19:14. Josiah is said to have “defiled Topheth” as part of his great religious reforms (2 Kings 23:10). The site of this shameful place would seem to have been either at the lower end of the Valley Of Hinnom, near where Akeldama is now pointed out, or in the open ground where this valley joins the Kidron Valley.
Also see this website which explains how this valley was renamed Gehenna, meaning hell. “Then it became the place of abomination, the very gate or pit of hell.”
- “Hierophant” — The role of the Hierophant in religion is to bring the congregants into the presence of that which is deemed holy. The word comes from Ancient Greece, where it was constructed from the combination of ta hiera, “the holy”, and phainein, “to show.” In Attica it was the title of the chief priest at the Eleusinian Mysteries. A hierophant is an interpreter of sacred mysteries and arcane principles.
- “Kaymakli Barrier” — Kaymakli Underground City is contained within the citadel of Kaymakli. First opened to tourists in 1964, the village is about 19km from Nevsehir, on the Nevsehir-Nigde road. The ancient name was Enegup. The houses in the village are constructed around the nearly one hundred tunnels of the underground city. The tunnels are still used today as storage areas, stables, and cellars. The underground city at Kaymakli differs from Derinkuyu in terms of its structure and layout. The tunnels are lower, narrower, and more steeply inclined. Of the four floors open to tourists, each space is organized around ventilation shafts. This makes the design of each room or open space dependent on the availability of ventilation.
- “Tithings” — A tithe (from Old English teogoþa “tenth”) is a one-tenth part of something, paid as a (usually) voluntary contribution or as a tax or levy, usually to support a Jewish or Christian religious organization. Today, tithes (or tithing) are normally voluntary and paid in cash, cheques, or stocks, whereas historically tithes could be paid in kind, such as agricultural products. Several European countries operate a formal process linked to the tax system allowing some churches to assess tithes.
As a non-American, non-native English speaker I usually have to look up what the cultural background of VtES cards are. I have compiled a more or less short list of cards from the “Twilight Rebellion” expansion which background is not self-explanatory (at least from my point of view). The information below is my best guess what’s the explanation behind these cards, but since I have not asked LSJ himself about the cards’ background, I am not 100% sure.
Anarchist Manifesto is a work by Anselme Bellegarrigue, notable for being the first manifesto of anarchism. It was written in 1850, ten years after Pierre-Joseph Proudhon became history’s first self-proclaimed anarchist with the publication of his seminal “What Is Property?“.
- Anarch Manifesto on Wikipedia.
- Another Anarch Manifesto on “flag.blackend.net”.
- Another Anarch Manifesto on “anarchy.net”.
“CrimethInc.” is a decentralized anarchist collective composed of autonomous cells which act independently in pursuit of a freer and more joyous world. On of their mottos is “The Future is unwritten“.
“CrimethInc.” cells have variously published books, released records and organized large-scale national campaigns against globalization and representative democracy in favor of radical community organizing.
They say about themselves: “Crimethought is not any ideology or value system or lifestyle, but rather a way of challenging all ideologies and value systems and lifestyles – and, for the advanced agent, a way of making all ideologies, value systems, and lifestyles challenging.” — Crimethinc.com
More information: CrimethInc. website
A revolution (from the Latin word revolutio, “a turnaround”) is a fundamental change in power or organizational structures that takes place in a relatively short period of time. Some Marxists ideologists, especially Maoists, believe that it is not sufficient just to overturn capitalism and establish a new government, but that a further constant revolution is required: a continual process of self-criticism is needed to correct mistakes.
The “Garibaldi-Meucci Museum” is the historic home of the pioneer inventor, Antonio Meucci, and legendary hero, Giuseppe Garibaldi. The museum is located on Staten Island (New York). Antonio Meucci was an Italian-born inventor who developed a form of voice communication apparatus in 1857. Many people, especially the Italians, credit him with the invention of the telephone before Alexander Graham Bell. Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political leader. Garibaldi contributed much to the independence of Uruguay and the political unification of Italy in the 19th century. He is considered an Italian national hero.
More information: Garibaldi-Meucci Museum website
1. with all of one’s energy, will, etc.; with wholehearted or reckless determination
2. at full speed or with great speed a hell-for-leather chase
Robert L. Chapman’s “New Dictionary of American Slang” (Harper & Row, 1987, ISBN 0-06-181157-2) says: “hell-for-leather or hell-bent-for-leather” adv “from late 1800s British” Rapidly and energetically; all out, flat out. “You’re heading hell-for-leather to a crack-up” [origin unknown; perhaps related to British dialect phrases “go hell for ladder, hell falladerly, hell faleero“, and remaining mysterious even if so, although the “leather” would then be a very probable case of folk etymology with a vague sense of the “leather” involved in horse trappings.]”
The World’s a Canvas
“The World is my Canvas” is a promotion campaign initated by Nokia to promote the smartphone N82 in 2007. The concept of “The World is my Canvas” is to use GPS tracking devices to create positional art, i.e GPS drawings which are then made visible on maps or satellite photos. Stavros, self-proclaimed “Position Art Genius“, is the advertising character of the campaign.
For another/the correct explanation see the comment below.
More information: The World is my Canvas website
The monkey wrench is an adjustable wrench, which is rarely used today. Its use has generally been replaced by the adjustable-end wrench, which has a compact head and so is more easily used in confined places.
Again, for another/the correct explanation see the comment below.
More information: Monky Wrench on Wikipedia.