Astria Porta written in the Ancient alphabet.

Ancient alpahabet

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 (SG1: "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 Rush, Eli Wallace, Dr. Adam Brody, Dr. Dale Volker, Dr. Lisa Park, Dr. Amanda Perry, Dr. Lindsay and several other. (SG1: "The Fifth Race", "Full Circle", "Fallen", "Avalon, Part 1", SGA: "Hide and Seek", "The Gift", SGU: "Air, Part 1", "Darkness")

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 (SG1, "The Fifth Race", "Lost City, Part 1", "Lost City, Part 2", "New Order, Part 2"). 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 (SG1: "Window of Opportunity").

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. (SG1: "Fallen", "Prototype")

The Asgard have a significant understanding of Alteran, and have provided some translations of early Alteran to the SGC. (SG1: "Fallen")

Some of the Athosians have displayed knowledge of Alteran, and some give prayers in Alteran. (SGA: "Hide and Seek")

The Wraith language is derived from Alteran. (SGA: "The Gift")

Words upside down can have different meanings. Letters that can be turned into another while upside down are j and r. (SG1: "Reckoning, Part 2")


Latin Ancient Pronunciation English Episode
deficere abiceerum ah-bih-seh-eh-rum give up (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
adventus adventus ad-ven-tus approaching, coming (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
alii (mpl), alteri (mpl) NN (unknown in Alteran; only known in English as "Alteran") NN Alterans, the Others

(SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")

amicus (m) amacus ah-mah-kus friend (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
Antiquitas (f) Anquietas ang-kwih-eh-tas The Ancients (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
armarium (n), arca (f) armeria ar-meh-rih-ah ark (SG1: "The Ark of Truth")
Armarium Veritatis Armeria Verimas ar-meh-rih-ah veh-rih-mas Ark of Truth (SG1: "The Ark of Truth")
adiumentum (n), ordo (m) asordo ah-sor-doh help (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Porta Stellarum (gen. pl. of stella (f), "star"; synonym astrum (n)) Astria Porta as-trih-ah por-tah Stargate (SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")
Atlantis (f) Atlantus at-lan-tus Atlantis (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
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 (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
clavis (f) clavia klah-vih-ah key (SG1: "The Quest, Part 1")
clementia (f) clementia kleh-men-tih-ah mercy (SG1: "The Ark of Truth")
colonia (f) colonian coh-loh-nih-an colony (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
quaeso (adv), amabo te, commodus (adj) comdo com-doh please (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
contagio (f), contagium (n; pl contagia) contagia con-tah-gih-ah disease, contagion (SG1: "The Quest, Part 1")
crura (pl of crus, n) cozars koh-zars legs (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
vitiosus, curvus cruvus krooh-vus wrong (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
deductus (m), -a (f), -um (n), deducatus (m), -a (f), -um (n) deductavum deh-duk-tah-vum (to have been) taken away (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
demens derentis deh-ren-tis crazy, insane (SG1: "Lost City, Part 1")
desiderare deserdi deh-ser-dih to desire, to seek, to wish (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Di/Dei,[1] orti (pl of ortus)[1] Ori oh-rih Ori, in English "gods" and/or "god" (SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")
discere disce dis-keh to learn (SG1: "Flesh and Blood")
dominus (m), magister (m) domivaitus doh-mih-vy-tus master (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
dormire, dormitare dormata dor-mah-tah sleep (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
egeo ("I need"; infinitive egere), indigeo ("I need", infinitive indigere) indeo in-deh-oh (I) need (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
ego ego eh-goh I (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
aeternus eteri eh-teh-rih eternal (SGA: "Hide and Seek")
bene (adv of bonus, "good"), eugae (adv, "bravo"), euge (adv, "bravo") euge ev-geh good (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
facultas (f) fallatus fal-lah-tus ability (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
finit (v; "he/she/it is finished/done"), facit (v; "he/she/it does") fargit far-git (to be) finished, done (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
frons (f) fron fron (fore)head (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
glacies (f) glacius glah-kih-ooh-seh ice (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
hic hic hik place, here (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
illac (adv.), via (f) illac il-lak path, way (SG1: "Talion")
impetus (m), incursus (m) incursus ing-kur-sus attack, invasion (SGA: "Echoes")
infinitas (f) infinitas in-fih-nih-tas infinite (SG1: "Memento Mori")
celatus, latens lacun lah-kun lost, hidden (SG1: "Fallen")
locus (m) locas loh-kas location (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
lux (f), lumen (n) lume looh-meh light (SGA: "Hide and Seek")
Merlinus Moros moh-ros Merlin (SG1: "The Pegasus Project")
Morgan Le Fay (no Latin name) Ganos Lal gah-nos lal Morgan Le Fay (SG1: "The Quest, Part 2")
mundus (m) mundus mun-dus world (SGU: "Common Descent")
novus navo,
new (SG1: "The Fifth Race"),
(SGU: "Common Descent")
necessarius (adj; adv necesse) netario neh-tah-ri-oh necessary (SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")
nos nou noh-ooh we (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
omnes (pl of omnis) omnes om-nes all (SG1: "Flesh and Blood")
patres (pl of pater) pare pah-reh fathers (SGA: "Hide and Seek")
Perditus Igne Praclarush Taonas proh-clah-rush tah-oh-nas Lost in Fire (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
putare puta pooh-tah believe, think (SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")
regnum (n) renin reh-nin kingdom (SG1: "Talion")
sanctus sanctus sank-tus hallowed, sacred (SG1: "Beachhead")
ita, sic, etiam etium eh-tih-um yes (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Sol Sau sao Sun (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
sub subo soo-boh under, below (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
esse, anima (f) ani ah-nih to be (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
tempus (n) tempus tem-pus time (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
templum (n) tempo tem-poh temple (SGA: "Hide and Seek")
Terra Tener Tenara teh-nah-rah The Land of the Young or The Land of Young (SGU: "Common Descent")
Tellus (f), Terra (f) Terra ter-rah Earth, Tau'ri homeworld. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
thesaurus (m) thessara tes-sah-rah treasure (SG1: "Memento Mori")
universum (n) avernakis ah-ver-nah-kis universe (SG1: "The Fourth Horseman, Part 2")
unus (m), una (f), unum (n) uno ooh-noh one (1) (SG1: "Flesh and Blood")
Vis Urbs (vis is in; "energy"; urbs, "city") Vis Uban vis oo-ban Place of Great Power (SG1: "Fallen")
ventus (m) ventio ven-tih-oh wind (SG1: "The Quest, Part 1")
veritas (f) verimas veh-rih-mas truth (SG1: "The Ark of Truth")
Via Lactea Avalon ah-vah-lon Milky Way (SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")
videmur (v.),[2] videre,[2] visio (f),[2] visus[2] videum vih-deh-um legacy (SG1: "The Fifth Race")

Phrases and sentences[]

Ancient Latin
Latin equivalents of the English sentences
English Episode
Aveo amacus. Valete/Salvete amici mei. Goodbye/Farewell, my friends. (SG1: "Lost City, Part 2")
Clava Thessara Infinitas. Clavis Ad Thesaurum Infinitum. Key to infinite treasure. (SG1: "Memento Mori")
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. (SG1: "Flesh and Blood")
Domivaitus vestul motobilum Magister incertorum praeteritorum Master of uncertain past (SG1: "Window of Opportunity")
Comdo asordo. Quaeso adiuva. Please help. (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Ego deserde asordo. Adiumenti egeo. like the Alteran sentence: Ego desiderare adiumentum. I seek/desire help. (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Ego indeo navo locas. Locus novus egeo. I need a new location. (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
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. (SG1: "The Ark of Truth")
Ex uno disce omnes. Ex uno omnes discunt. From one, all learn. (SG1: "Flesh and Blood")
Hic qua videum. Locus hereditatis nostrae. like the Alteran sentence: Hic qua visus. The place of our legacy.[3] (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Illac Renin Regnum Viae like the Alteran sentence: Illac Regni Kingdom of the Path (SG1: "Talion")
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. (SG1: "The Ark of Truth")
Nou ani Anquietas. Antiqui sumus. like the Alteran sentence: Nos sumus Antiquitas. We are the Ancient Ones. (SG1: "The Fifth Race")
Onna matta netario. Hoc recte necesse non est. like the Alteran sentence: Non ocurrere necessitas. This is really unnecessary. (SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")
Pare lume tempo eteri. Patres lucis templi aeterni. like the Alteran sentence: Pater lux templo aeterni. Fathers of light of the everlasting temple. (SGA: "Hide and Seek")
Sanctus Ori. Sacrati sunt Orti. like the Alteran sentence: Sancti Orti. Hallowed are the Ori. (SG1: "Beachhead")
Tua puta ego. Tibi credo. like the Alteran sentence: Tu putare ego. I believe you. (SG1: "Avalon, Part 1")
Verus Gen Bree. Terra Veritatis Regalis. like the Alteran sentence: Vera Brevia Gentis. Land of royal truth. (SG1: "Morpheus")


  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 first person plural passive of the verb videre ("to see"). Other words to mention are its first person singular, video ("I see"), visio, "vision", and visus, "seen". The German word for Knowledge, Wissen, 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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