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Astria Porta written in the Ancient alphabet.

File:Ancient alpahabet.png

The Alterans' alphabet and numbers.

Ancient language or Alteran language are the names given to the language spoken and written by the Alterans that consist of two factions: The Ancients/The Ancestors/Lanteans and the Ori. The language was given to Earth humans in the past where it eventually evolved into Latin. Both languages are little similar to each other.

The alphabet and numeral system used by the Alterans have interesting and special appearances: the symbols consist of squarish dots, and as a "full symbol" there are 24 squares with 8 on each diagonal row, except the letter k. Just like the Latin alphabet in English, the Alteran alphabet has all of its letters, while both f and u have the same symbol. Classical Latin did not have j and w, but came later and can be used for names.

In Atlantis, the letters and numbers of the Alteran alphabet appear both upright and upside down and variate in direction. This is likely an error in production - telling the correct way up is difficult if you don't know the language. From Reckoning, Part 2, it's clear that Ancient text upside-down would be recognized by the Ancients and would be fixed, hinting that it is simply a goof.


Several people at Stargate Command were successful in understanding written and spoken Alteran. Dr. Daniel Jackson was the one who unlocked the mysteries of the language, so that more could learn it, and gained an innate understanding after his Ascension and subsequent decension. Other people who are fluent in the language or at least understand it at a reasonable level are Jonas Quinn, Dr. Rodney McKay, Dr. Elizabeth Weir, Colonel Samantha Carter, Colonel Harold Maybourne, Dr. Nicholas RushEli Wallace, Dr. Adam Brody, Dr. Dale Volker, Dr. Lisa Park, Dr. Amanda Perry, Dr. Lindsay and several other. [citation needed] [citation needed] [citation needed]

Also, on two occasions, Lt. General Jack O'Neill was able to speak it after having the entire knowledge base of the Alterans downloaded into his mind through the Repository of knowledge; each time, the Asgard erased it to save his life [citation needed]. O'Neill and Teal'c may understand some Alteran as they were forced to learn and memorize it when they were stuck in a 10-hour time loop for several months [citation needed].

To protect his computer systems, Anubis used elaborate ciphers coded in the oldest known Alteran dialect. Despite the Goa'uld's long known history of acquiring Alteran relics, the Tok'ra were unable to translate them. [citation needed]

The Asgard have a significant understanding of Alteran, and have provided some translations of early Alteran to the SGC. [citation needed]

Some of the Athosians have displayed knowledge of Alteran, and some give prayers in Alteran. [citation needed]

The Wraith language is derived from Alteran. [citation needed]

Words upside down can have different meanings. Letters that can be turned into another while upside down are j and r. [citation needed]


Latin Ancient Pronunciation English Episode
adventus adventus ad-ven-tus approaching, coming [citation needed]
alii (mpl), alteri (mpl) NN (unknown in Alteran; only known in English as "Alteran") NN Alterans, the Others

[citation needed]

amicus (m) amacus ah-mah-kus friend [citation needed]
Antiquitas (f) Anquietas ang-kwih-eh-tas The Ancients [citation needed]
armarium (n), arca (f) armeria ar-meh-rih-ah ark [citation needed]
Armarium Veritatis Armeria Verimas ar-meh-rih-ah veh-rih-mas Ark of Truth [citation needed]
adiumentum (n), ordo (m) asordo ah-sor-doh help [citation needed]
Porta Stellarum (gen. pl. of stella (f), "star"; synonym astrum (n)) Astria Porta as-trih-ah por-tah Stargate [citation needed]
Atlantis (f) Atlantus at-lan-tus Atlantis [citation needed]
ave (sg), avete (pl) (ave/avete means "greetings" and rarily "goodbye"), vale (sg), valete (pl) (vale/valete means "goodbye", "farewell") aveo ah-veh-oh goodbye, farewell [citation needed]
clavis (f) clavia klah-vih-ah key [citation needed]
clementia (f) clementia kleh-men-tih-ah mercy [citation needed]
colonia (f) colonian coh-loh-nih-an colony [citation needed]
quaeso (adv), amabo te, commodus (adj) comdo com-doh please [citation needed]
contagio (f), contagium (n; pl contagia) contagia con-tah-gih-ah disease, contagion [citation needed]
crura (pl of crus, n) cozars koh-zars legs [citation needed]
vitiosus, curvus cruvus krooh-vus wrong [citation needed]
deductus (m), -a (f), -um (n), deducatus (m), -a (f), -um (n) deductavum deh-duk-tah-vum (to have been) taken away [citation needed]
demens derentis deh-ren-tis crazy, insane [citation needed]
desiderare deserdi deh-ser-dih to desire, to seek, to wish [citation needed]
Di/Dei,[1] orti (pl of ortus)[1] Ori oh-rih Ori, in English "gods" and/or "god" [citation needed]
discere disce dis-keh to learn [citation needed]
dominus (m), magister (m) domivaitus doh-mih-vy-tus master [citation needed]
dormire, dormitare dormata dor-mah-tah sleep [citation needed]
egeo ("I need"; infinitive egere), indigeo ("I need", infinitive indigere) indeo in-deh-oh (I) need [citation needed]
ego ego eh-goh I [citation needed]
aeternus eteri eh-teh-rih eternal [citation needed]
bene (adv of bonus, "good"), eugae (adv, "bravo"), euge (adv, "bravo") euge ev-geh good [citation needed]
facultas (f) fallatus fal-lah-tus ability [citation needed]
finit (v; "he/she/it is finished/done"), facit (v; "he/she/it does") fargit far-git (to be) finished, done [citation needed]
frons (f) fron fron (fore)head [citation needed]
glacies (f) glacius glah-kih-ooh-seh ice [citation needed]
hic hic hik place, here [citation needed]
illac (adv.), via (f) illac il-lak path, way [citation needed]
impetus (m), incursus (m) incursus ing-kur-sus attack, invasion [citation needed]
infinitas (f) infinitas in-fih-nih-tas infinite [citation needed]
celatus, latens lacun lah-kun lost, hidden [citation needed]
locus (m) locas loh-kas location [citation needed]
lux (f), lumen (n) lume looh-meh light [citation needed]
Merlinus Moros moh-ros Merlin [citation needed]
Morgan Le Fay (no Latin name) Ganos Lal gah-nos lal Morgan Le Fay [citation needed]
mundus (m) mundus mun-dus world [citation needed]
novus navo,
new [citation needed],
[citation needed]
necessarius (adj; adv necesse) netario neh-tah-ri-oh necessary [citation needed]
nos nou noh-ooh we [citation needed]
omnes (pl of omnis) omnes om-nes all [citation needed]
patres (pl of pater) pare pah-reh fathers [citation needed]
Perditus Igne Proclarush Taonas proh-clah-rush tah-oh-nas Lost in Fire [citation needed]
putare puta pooh-tah believe, think [citation needed]
regnum (n) renin reh-nin kingdom [citation needed]
sanctus sanctus sank-tus hallowed, sacred [citation needed]
ita, sic, etiam etium eh-tih-um yes [citation needed]
Sol Sau sao Sun [citation needed]
sub subo soo-boh under, below [citation needed]
esse, anima (f) ani ah-nih to be [citation needed]
tempus (n) tempus tem-pus time [citation needed]
templum (n) tempo tem-poh temple [citation needed]
Terra Tener Tenara teh-nah-rah The Land of the Young or The Land of Young [citation needed]
Tellus (f), Terra (f) Terra ter-rah Earth, Tau'ri homeworld. [citation needed]
thesaurus (m) thessara tes-sah-rah treasure [citation needed]
universum (n) avernakis ah-ver-nah-kis universe [citation needed]
unus (m), una (f), unum (n) uno ooh-noh one (1) [citation needed]
Vis Urbs (vis is in; "energy"; urbs, "city") Vis Uban vis oo-ban Place of Great Power [citation needed]
ventus (m) ventio ven-tih-oh wind [citation needed]
veritas (f) verimas veh-rih-mas truth [citation needed]
Via Lactea Avalon ah-vah-lon Milky Way [citation needed]
videmur (v.),[2] videre,[2] visio (f),[2] visus[2] videum vih-deh-um legacy [citation needed]

Phrases and sentences[]

Ancient Latin
Latin equivalents of the English sentences
English Episode
Aveo amacus. Valete/Salvete amici mei. Goodbye/Farewell, my friends. [citation needed]
Clava Thessara Infinitas. Clavis Ad Thesaurum Infinitum. Key to infinite treasure. [citation needed]
Calium videre essit, et eraos ad sidera tollere vultus. Quando eam vides, caelum vides, et illis in Tellure facies ad stellas tollendae sunt. like the Alteran sentence: Caelum videre iussit, et erectos ad sidera tollere vultus. When you see her, you see the sky, and those on earth must lift their faces toward the stars. [citation needed]
Domivaitus vestul motobilum Magister incertorum praeteritorum Master of uncertain past [citation needed]
Comdo asordo. Quaeso adiuva. Please help. [citation needed]
Ego deserde asordo. Adiumenti egeo. like the Alteran sentence: Ego desiderare adiumentum. I seek/desire help. [citation needed]
Ego indeo navo locas. Locus novus egeo. I need a new location. [citation needed]
Enim lupin purnum pravus intus. Nam peccator corruptus expurgabitur. like the Alteran sentence: Enim lupus purum pravus intus. Verily, the corrupted sinner will be cleansed from within. [citation needed]
Ex uno disce omnes. Ex uno omnes discunt. From one, all learn. [citation needed]
Hic qua videum. Locus hereditatis nostrae. like the Alteran sentence: Hic qua visus. The place of our legacy.[3] [citation needed]
Illac Renin Regnum Viae like the Alteran sentence: Illac Regni Kingdom of the Path [citation needed]
Mia clementia, denar esto. Clementiam habe. Caecus eram, sed nunc video. like the Alteran sentence: Mea clementia, negare esto. Have mercy. I was blind, but now I see. [citation needed]
Nou ani Anquietas. Antiqui sumus. like the Alteran sentence: Nos sumus Antiquitas. We are the Ancient Ones. [citation needed]
Onna matta netario. Hoc recte necesse non est. like the Alteran sentence: Non ocurrere necessitas. This is really unnecessary. [citation needed]
Pare lume tempo eteri. Patres lucis templi aeterni. like the Alteran sentence: Pater lux templo aeterni. Fathers of light of the everlasting temple. [citation needed]
Sanctus Ori. Sacrati sunt Orti. like the Alteran sentence: Sancti Orti. Hallowed are the Ori. [citation needed]
Tua puta ego. Tibi credo. like the Alteran sentence: Tu putare ego. I believe you. [citation needed]
Verus Gen Bree. Terra Veritatis Regalis. like the Alteran sentence: Vera Brevia Gentis. Land of royal truth. [citation needed]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Not a direct translation.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Videum is not a direct translation. Videmur means we are seen, referring to the passing-on method of the Alterans' Repository of knowledge. Videmur is plural of first person of the verb videre, meaning "to see". Another words to mention can be visio, "vision", and visus, "seen". The German word for Knowledge, Wissen, "knowledge", is derived from the same root: the Proto-Indo-European word *wid- meaning to see, or metaphorically to know.
  3. Dr. Daniel Jackson offered a less likely translation: "A piece of our leg", but this was disregarded due to the former translation fitting more accurately given the context. "A piece of our leg" in Latin is "pars cruris nostri".

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