Sunday, July 29, 2007

AOLer Translator

I've just reacquainted myself with this hilarious little thing. You type in anything you want, and it translates it into the way a twelve-year-old AOL user would use it. (I've seen many, many reviews on FanFiction.Net that look as if they've been run through this several times.)

Anyway, here's the most recent victim I copy-pasted into it. If you want a clue as to what it was in its past life: linky.

WHEN3VER I CONSIEDR DA ORIGIN OF THES WAR AND DA NECESITEIS OF OUR POSITION I HAEV A SUR3 CONFIEDNC3 TAHT THES DAY AND THES UNION OF U WIL B DA BGINNG OF FREDOM 2 TEH WHOLE OF BRITANE!!1!!!111 WTF LOL 2 AL OF US SLAEVRY SI A THNG UNKNOWN THEIR R NO LANDS BYOND US AND AVAN DA S3A SI NOT SAEF M3NAECD AS WE R BY A ROMAN FLET!1!111 WTF LOL AND THUS IN WAR AND BATL3 IN WHICH TEH BRAEV FIND GLORY 3VAN TEH COWARD WIL FIND SAEFTY!1!!1 LOL FORMER CONTESTS IN WHICH WIT VARYNG FORTUNE DA ROMANS W3RE RASIST3D STIL LEFT IN US A LAST HOPE OF SUCOUR INASMUCH AS BNG DA MOST R3NOWNED NATION OF BRITANE DW3LNG IN TEH VARY H3ART OF TEH COUNTRY AND OUT OF SIGHT OF TEH SHOR3S OF TEH CONQU3RED W3 CUD KEP EV3N OUR EYES UNPOLUTED BY TEH CONTAGION OF SLAEVRY 2 US WHO DWEL ON DA UTERMOST CONFIENS OF TEH AARTH AND OF FREDOM THES REMOTE SANCTUARY OF BRITANES GLORY HAS UP 2 THES TIEM B3N A D3FENCE!!!11111! NOW HOWAVER DA FURTH3ST LIMITS OF BRITANE R THROWN OP3N AND DA UNKNOWN ALWAYS PASES FOR DA MARV3LOS!1111!! WTF BUT THEIR R NO TRIEBS BYOND US NOTHNG INDED BUT WAEVS AND ROX AND DA YAT MORE TERIBL3 ROMANS FROM WHOSE OPRASION ASCAEP SI VANELEY SOUGHT BY OBDEINC3 AND SUBMISION!11!!1! OMG WTF ROB3RS OF DA WORLD HAVNG BY THEYRE UNIEVRSAL PLUND3R AXHAUST3D TEH LAND THEY RIFLE DA DEP!1!111! IF DA 3NEMY B RICH TH3Y R RAPACIOS IF HA B POR TH3Y LUST FOR DOMINION N3ITHAR TEH 3AST NOR TEH W3ST HAS BEN ABLA 2 SATISFY THEM!!!!!! LOL ALONA MONG M3N TH3Y COV3T WIT 3QUAL 3AEGRNAS POVERTY AND RICHES!!11!1 LOL 2 ROBERY SLAUGHTER PLUNDAR THAY GIEV DA LYNG NME OF EMPIER THEY MAEK A SOLITUDE AND CAL IT P3AEC!!1!! OMG WTF LOL

That unearthly shriek you just heard was the ghost of Cornelius Tacitus.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Oh, my Goddess!

So the time has come. I knew I was eventually going to have to confront this particular issue at some point.

One of the protags, Gairea, is about to begin her Druidess training. Now, in my version of first century Scotland, the Druid order strives to maintain a balance between the sacred masculine and feminine, with the male Druids being caretakers of the male power, the yang (for want of a more accurate term), and the Druidesses taking care of the yin. That is, the focal points of their worship are a father god and a mother goddess. The "guise" these deities take is localised depending on the totems and/or religious practices I've assigned each tribe, and also to various reasons that probably only make sense in my head, but at their core they are these two all-encompassing deities: the "God" and the "Goddess".

Anyway, since Gairea's female, and my main PoV window into the druidic aspect of the story, the religious focus is likely to slant more to the "Goddess" side of things. I've got some characters who can even the odds a bit, but at the moment I'm having to work hard to make sure I don't end up mired in the clichés of so many feministly reimagined historical novels.

In other words, I don't want to come off as some hack Marion Zimmer Bradley wannabe. One of my pet peeves in fiction is blatant authorial messages, whether I agree with the author's stance or not, and another is PC stuff forced into novels set in decidedly un-PC times.

So far, after skimming the Rules for Feministly Reimagined Historical Fiction (linked to above), I think I've managed to avoid most of the most pertinent clichés. And I've even turned the menstruation rule on its head and ended up with a good wee bit of comic relief, one which I think all women will be able to relate to! :D

But I'll have to see how the rest of it goes. No doubt this will become more of an issue in the near future, when I really get into the thick of it...

Monday, July 2, 2007

Roman girls' names

I was lurking over at Michelle Styles' blog, and saw this post where she talks about the name of the heroine in her newest Roman historical. It got me thinking about the names of my own Roman characters, in particular the female ones.

The standard naming convention for Roman girls is famously unimaginative. Probably due in part to the fact that she "belonged" to her father, a girl wasn't usually given a personal praenomen, but instead was given a feminised form of her father's family name and cognomen. So the daughter of Caecilius Metellus would be Caecilia Metella, the daughter of Livius Ocellus would be Livia Ocella, etc. There were exceptions to the rule, obviously, but this was the standard way of doing it.

This caused me a bit of hassle when it came to naming the two sisters of one of my Roman characters. The father's name is M. Valerius Laevinus, so as far as I can tell, both girls should be called Valeria Laevina, with the added moniker Majora/Prima for the elder, and Minor/Secunda for the younger one. Of course, it would be too confusing to call them both Valeria, so I decided to just refer to the elder one as Valeria. This leaves the little one. I don't think calling her Secunda would be too bad, except it strikes me that the "number name" was simply for official purposes. Would parents simply call their daughters "One" and "Two"?

There is evidence that girls had nicknames, but I'm not sure these became official names like cognomina. "Claudia Trifosa" seems to indicate that they sometimes did, but I don't know whether she was an exceptional case or not.

It could come down to how the family, and the girl, thought of her as. Given the personality of the father of these two sisters, very conservative and authoritative, I could imagine he might call his elder daughter Valeria, to "link" her to the family, and Secunda - the second daughter. Of course, Secunda's mother, sister and brother might have another nickname for her, but I've not found a good one yet.

By the imperial period, as well, it seems girls, especially those of aristocratic birth, were given names that linked them to renowned ancestors, not necessarily their fathers. Some had their mother's name, and some had their mother's nomen along with their father's. In the Republic, it seems there was a tradition of a married woman taking the feminised form of her husband's cognomen, but it seems to have become obsolete by the imperial period, with the focus being on keeping the girl's link to her ancestors apparent.

It makes sense, therefore, for my Aurelia Cotta (the daughter of Q. Aurelius Cotta, a Senator), to keep her maiden name after her marriage to A. Lucilius Atellus, a tribune, since in my chronology her father is more renowned than her husband, and all my sources so far seem to indicate that by the first and second centuries AD, women didn't take their husband's name.

But I don't know. It's a bit of a mess, depending on period and class, and whether the parents wanted to stick to the rules. I will research it to death tomorrow and finally figure it out.