What is the Klingon word for "crusade"?

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Qapla' and well met, everyone!

I am currently researching for a paper on the topic of crusade and crusading in Sci-Fi and Fantasy and come to you in search of wisdom.

T'Kuvma is an unusual character of his own, but he takes his religiousness truly to another level. He picks up a theme not commonly heard of in Star Trek when he describes (ST:DSC, S01, Ep01: "The Vulcan Hello") the fallen Torchbearer as "machoq'eghmeH maghobtaHvIS HeghwI' wa'DIch ghaH." ("first to die in our crusade for self-preservation").

Hence my question: Which is the word translated as "crusade" here, and what root word does it derive from? I doubt it has anything to do with crosses – what is the Klingon idea behind holy wars?

(I was going to say "qatlho' in advance", but that does not sound like the True Klingon Way…)


That sentence literally translates:

machoq'eghmeH maghobtaHvIS HeghwI' wa'DIch ghaH
While we battle for the purpose of saving ourselves, he is the first death 

machoq'eghmeH maghobtaHvIS is the part that means "our crusade for self-preservation".

So that kinda means there isn't even a noun that could be directly translated as "crusade"? Whoa. That sure is taking some liberties with the subtitles.

There's a couple of things to consider here. Firstly, Klingon is a verb-centric language, unlike English which tends to be noun-centric. This means that things that are often covered by nouns in English are often covered by verbs in Klingon. This is one of those cases. Klingon often has to use a short phrase or whole sentence to describe things which English has nouns for.

Also, if we look at the dictionary definition of "crusade" we see it is:

1. a medieval military expedition, one of a series made by Europeans to recover the Holy Land from the Muslims in the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries.

2. a war instigated by the Church for alleged religious ends.

3. an organized campaign concerning a political, social, or religious issue, typically motivated by a fervent desire for change.

While the conflict tIquvma started obviously wasn't 1 or 2, it was most certainly 3. When he says {machoq'eghmeH maghobtaHvIS} "while we fight in order to preserve ourselves" he is describing what English speakers call a "crusade".


That's how I would interpret it.  However, since the Klingons killed their old gods and their current religion is based on the Way of the Warrior, perhaps "battle" is already culturally linked enough to religious fanaticism to have the connotation of a "crusade"?  Best of luck on the paper.

Honestly, it is hard to say what T'Kuvma definitely believes in. Dutifully preparing the bodies of fallen warriors certainly does not reflect Klingon beliefs like we've seen them on ST:ENT or TNG. (I was as surprised as anybody when I saw that, believe me) So it is hard to say which rituals or antiquated beliefs this self-anointed saviour might have dug up. Hence, I was hoping that the choice of words might reflect a more distinct ideology.

(And thanks!)


Interesting topic — I think the root word for crusade here is "ghob", which means "battle".


ma- is the prenominal prefix for "we".

choq'egh must be self-preservation.  (choq = preserve, -'egh means to oneself)

-meH is "for [the purpose of]"


ghob is "battle".

-taH is the suffix for an ongoing/continuing action.

-vIS is "while".


Hegh is death.

-wI' is the suffix for "one that does", so HeghwI' is the one that dies.


wa'Dich means first.


ghaH means he/she/it.


(Best guess, anyway.)

Hegh is "to die", actually, it's a verb. That was a typo.

So „maghobtaHvIS" would be "our ongoing battle"? Interesting, seeing as it entirely lacks the religious connotation of "crusade". Ironically, the translation would have been much more fitting for a religious fanatic like T'Kuvma.

(And thanks, of course!)

{maghobtaHvIS} means "While we battle", it doesn't mean "our ongoing battle".