Arabic as a Hermetic Magical Language

Although elsewhere in Mythic Europe Latin holds its primacy, in Andalusia Arabic was the preeminent scholarly language throughout the 8th to 12th centuries, eclipsing Latin almost entirely to the lament of such early Mozarab scholars as Peter Alvarus. Its firm grip on the minds of Andalusian Christians, Jews and Muslims only yields to Castilian in the mid thirteenth century through the translation efforts of Alfonso the Wise. The muwallad Muslim magi and mozarab magi that joined the fledgling Order of Hermes in the 9th century or protection brought with them the desire to maintain their distinct traditions and magical culture, which still permeate the Hermetic culture of southern Iberia in the 13th century.

At the Troupe’s discretion, the necessary Minor Breakthrough required for casting Hermetic magic in Arabic may have been achieved early in the history of the southern Iberian Tribunal. In such a scenario, Andalusian apprentices of Arabic speaking magi have been exposed to this achievement during their apprenticeship already and can cast and invent spells in Arabic without penalty.

All Iberian trained magi with the requisite score of 4 and more in Arabic and an Artes Liberales score sufficient to learn the Arabic as well as the Latin alphabet (a score of 2 or more) are considered to be able to cast their Hermetic magi using Arabic instead of or in addition to Latin due to cultural exposure during their apprenticeship. Many will be eligible for the Exotic Casting Minor Hermetic Virtue (Houses of Hermes: Societates, page 107), usually counterbalanced by the Hedge Wizard or Judged Unfairly Minor Flaws but this is not mandatory. Some of the more isolated Andalusian magi may even be unable to cast Hermetic magic in Latin, reflected by the Vernacular Magic Minor Flaw detailed below and/or have only a rudimentary knowledge of Latin compared to their northern counterparts (a score in Latin of only 3 or less).

In contrast, non-Andalusian magi with an Arabic score of at least 4 and knowledge of the Arabic alphabet through a sufficient Artes Liberales score can adopt this Breakthrough by reading a Lab text or tractatus written in Arabic by an Andalusian trained magus. Such texts abound in Mythic Iberia and have perhaps even begun to filter through into parts of Provencal but are extremely rare in the remainder of Mythic Europe.

Although there has been contact between Hermetic magi and Islamic wizards in the Levant since the early establishment of the first Tribunal of the East, the ongoing hostilities of the Crusades has not allowed this advance to develop despite the recent re-establishment of the Levant Tribunal.

Magic in Other Languages

See Ancient Magic, page 29 “Magic in Other Languages” sidebar for mechanics of integrating casting Hermetic magic in a language other than Latin. Although Arabic is perhaps the most likely candidate for a Hermetic casting language other than Latin, an interesting Story idea for an Iberian Saga running into the middle of the 13th century might involve a project attempting to integrate the use of Spanish (Castilian) for Hermetic spell casting, parallelling the development of the language in the court of Alfonso the Wise.
Vernacular Magic
Minor Flaw, Hermetic
You were trained in a peripheral Tribunal such as Iberia or the Levant. You not only use non-Hermetic methods to cast Hermetic spells but your whole understanding of Hermetic magic and Magic Theory has been taught in a vernacular language such as Arabic, Basque, Spanish (Castilian) or Greek rather than Latin.  Although you gain the benefits of the Exotic Casting Minor Virtue (Houses of Hermes: Societates, page 107), you similarly experiences difficulties in recognising the spells of other magi cast using Latin or a language other than the one he has been trained in. Any attempt to determine the form of another magus’s magical effect (ArM5, page 83) is made against an ease factor of 15 but the magnitude of effect is not subtracted from the Ease Factor if the opposing magus uses a magical language different to your own. As the magical language used by most magi of the Order is usually Latin, this is usually a significant disadvantage outside of the peripheral Tribunal or region you were trained in.
You may not begin with a score in Latin. You automatically gain the equivalent of the Hedge Wizard Flaw. This Flaw is compatible with the Incomprehensible Minor Hermetic Flaw.

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