[Bards] Ansteorran History and trival

Jay Rudin rudin at ev1.net
Mon Jun 11 19:14:17 PDT 2007

Alden Drake wrote:

> To the best of my knowledge, "vivat" is incorrect.  Vivo, vivere, vixi,
> victum (live) looks to me like a third conjugation verb, with the present
> stem vive-.  So "he/she/it lives" would be vivet, not vivat.  Were that
> we were shouting "Vivet!", as "It lives", it could be in reference to
> "The dream of the SCA", which I find rather fitting, as anyone getting
> an award, or otherwise recognized or honored, is generally doing so
> for living the dream, and so we recognize the dream lives in that person.

This sounds reasonable, but very few verbs are completely regular.  I 
looked up the actual conjugation in *501 Latin Verbs, Fully Conjugated and 
in All the Tenses*, by Richard E. Prior and Joseph Wohlberg, Barron's 
Educational Series, Inc., Haupaugge, NY, 1995.  ISBN 780812-090505

"Vivet" is third person singular future -- "he/she/it will live".  "Vivit" 
is third person singular present - "he/she/it lives".  And both are equally 
incorrect for our purposes.  They are not grammatically correct, but more 
importantly, they aren't what was (and is) really used.

"Vivat", which we are using. is third person singular subjunctive.  "Vivat 
Rex" therefore literally means "The King should live."  It's usually 
translated as "Long live the King,"  and has been for hundreds of years.

There's an old Epicurean motto, used by the Porcellian Club (Pig Club) at 
Harvard and by Robert Heinlein in *Glory Road*: "Dum vivimus, vivamus", 
which means "While we live, let us live".

So when somebody gets an award, and we are shouting "Vivat!", we are 
actually expressing the desire that they should continue to live.  The only 
thing we do that is grammatically incorrect is that when we are cheering 
more than one person, we should say "Vivant!"  More importantly, we are 
following a period practice.

The earliest reference I can find to the phrase "Vivat Rex" is the Old 
Testament. 1 Kings Chapter 1, verse 34, ends "And you shall sound the 
trumpet and say God save King Solomon".  In the Vulgate, this is "et 
canetis buccina, atque dicetis: Vivat rex Salomon"

It's found in Coronation ceremonies in the second recension of England's 
Coronation Ordo (Order of Coronation).  It was also in the fourth 
recension, in 1308, for the Coronation of Edward II.  Manuscripts don't 
agree on the form used.  Some have "Vivat rex, vivat rex, vivat rex in 
eternum", but one has "Vivat rex, vivat rex in eternum. Alleluya".

As near as I can tell, it's been used in all coronations since, including 
Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.  As she entered the Quire, the Scholars of 
Westminster School shouted "Vivat Regina Elizabetha! Vivat! Vivat! Vivat!".

Under the canopy of state in the royal palace of Hampton Court are the 
words "Vivat Henricus Octavus" embroidered in pearl.

Sherborne School, which was refounded after the dissolution of the 
monasteries as King Edward's School, has the following words in its school 
song: " Vivat Rex Eduardus Sextus!  Vivat!"

A map of Mounster made not long after the rebellion was put down has a 
motto "Vivat Regina Elizabeth".

The phrase "Vivat Rex" was used as the title of sermon preached on the 
subject of treason in 1683 at St. James 's Church in Bristol.

The hymn "Non nobis Domine" has the following lines

Ergo clamamus in coelum, 
Therefore we shall shout to heaven:
Vivat Rex in aeternum!                                                 May 
the king live forever;
Vivat Rex et Regina! 
Long live the king and queen!

Moliere's *La Malade Imaginaire* ends with a verse that starts "Vivat, 
vivat, vivat, vivat", cheering for the doctor.

There's is nothing wrong with "Vivat Rex!  Vivat Regina!  Vivat Ansteorra!" 
There's nothing wrong with "Vivat! as a cheer for a single person.   They 
are both grammatical and a documented period usage.  We use it a lot more 
than they did, but there's no intent on our part to allocate our ceremonies 
in the same ratio that they did.  We have Coronations more often than they 
did.  And a *much* higher percentage of our people get titles.

Robin of Gilwell / Jay Rudin 

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