There is a fantasy novel "Last Argument of Kings" by Joe Abercrombie. As far as I know, the title can be interpreted (and therefore translated) in at least two ways, since the existance of two major definitions of world "argument".

According to Wiktionary the world "argument" means:

  1. A fact or statement used to support a proposition; a reason.
  2. A verbal dispute; a quarrel.

In the Polish language the two meanings are two distinct words. In the Polish translation the title is interpreted as "Last Reason of Kings". That fact is surprising to me, since after reading the book I though the title was meant to mean "Last Quarrel of Kings".

What is the meaning of the word "argument" in the novel's title?

1 Answer 1


As the Wikia explains:

The title refers to the words Louis XIV ordered cast on every cannons of his armies, Ultima Ratio Regum, which is Latin for "The last argument of kings" i.e. the act of declaring war.

So this Polish translation is correct, since it refers to the original meaning:

the final argument of kings (a resort to arms): motto engraved on the cannon of Louis XIV.

  • 1
    This is also extremely heavily implied by the author's website. Also perhaps worth noting that the Latin "ratio" means "reason" or "method", supporting the first definition provided in the question Nov 2, 2016 at 18:37
  • In "Snowcrash" there's a rail gun with the same inscription, by the way.
    – Andrew
    Feb 25, 2022 at 13:51

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