This guide provides some ground rules to write specific names for 0 A.D.
Specific names are in the native language, not in English. Every language has its own orthography (conventions to write down a language). To avoid unnecessary confusion, be consistent and stick to the rules listed below. When in doubt, consult a dictionary (sound advice for any language).
Gaulish is the language used for the Britons and Gauls.
- It has one unique character, the so-called tau gallicum, which is typically transliterated as an eth Ð ð, and was probably pronounced /t͡s/.
Ancient Greek is the language used for the Athenians, Macedonians, Ptolemies, Seleucids, and Spartans.
There exist numerous systems to transcribe Greek; one is not intrinsically better than any other. However, consistency matters, so please stick to the system listed below:
- β, π, φ, ψ → b, p, ph, ps
- γ → n (before γ, κ, χ, ξ), g (elsewhere)
- κ, χ, ξ → k, ch, x
- δ, τ, θ → d, t, th
- σ/ϲ/ς, ζ → s, z
- λ, μ, ν → l, m, n
- ρ → r, but initial ῥ → rh
- α, ε, η, ι, ο, ω → a, e, ē, i, o, ō
- ᾳ, ῃ, ῳ → ai, ēi, ōi
- υ → u (after vowels and before ι), y (elsewhere)
- accents and vowel length are ignored
Other things to take care of:
- names are in the nominative; genitive is the case for combining nouns; also check the number (singular, dual, plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, neuter); adjectives should match the nouns they belong to
(See https://wildfiregames.com/forum/index.php?/topic/25202-transliteration-of-ancient-greek-into-english/ for the choice made.)
Classical Latin is the language used for the Romans.
Writing Latin is easy, because, well, it uses the Latin alphabet. However, check to ensure:
- dictionaries indicate vowel length, so do we; thus: hastātus, not hastatus
- write ae and oe, not æ and œ, nor e; thus Caesar, not Cæsar or Cesar
- differentiate between u and v
- do not differentiate between i and j, both are written i
- names are in the nominative; genitive is the case for combining nouns; also check the number (singular, plural) and gender (masculine, feminine, neuter); adjectives should match the nouns they belong to
- sometimes words are plural only, e.g. insidiae “ambush”; check the whole string has the proper number
Meroitic is the language used for the Kushites.
Old Persian is the language used for the Persians.
When writing Persian, ensure:
- check your strings are in the nominative
- indicate vowel length (ā as opposed to a)
- use x, not kh
- use š, not sh
- use ç, not ch
- use θ, not th
E.g. Artaxšaçā (Artaxerxes), not Artakhshacha.
(Vedic or Classical?) Sanskrit is the language used for the Mauryas; specific names ought to use the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration (IAST).
- R. S. P. Beekes Comparative Indo-European Linguistics / An Introduction / Second edition [revised and corrected by Michiel de Vaan] (Amsterdam / Philadelphia 2011)
- P. T. Daniels, W. Bright (eds.) The World's Writing Systems (Oxford 1996)
- P. G. W. Glare (ed.) Oxford Latin Dictionary / Second edition (Oxford 2012)
- H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, H. Stuart Jones, R. McKenzie A Greek–English Lexicon / Ninth edition / With a Revised Supplement (Oxford 1940; 1996)
- P. O. Skjærvø An Introduction to Old Persian (Cambridge, MA 2016) pdf