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Warsurge
22-09-2009, 03:47
I was looking through the original 18 known Legions and was wondering, what cultures are they individually tied to? Example: Space Wolves have cultural references to Germanic and Scandinavian culture while the Thousands Sons have a sort of Egyptian reference.

Argastes
22-09-2009, 03:56
Blood Angels draw some inspiration from renaissance Italy, though it's pretty loose and not as much of an "obvious" part of their style as the Viking-SW connection or many others. Ultramarines take some stylistic influence from Republican and early Imperial Rome. White Scars have an obvious Mongol overtone. Dark Angels draw somewhat on the imagery of Christian monasticism (although again, it's not as pronounced as influences on some other chapters... except for the robes which have been popping up on so many DA models recently).

Those are the ones that I can think of as having a clear connection to real-life cultures or groups. Seems like aside from the Thousand Sons, none of the Traitor legions have a very strong stylistic connection to a particular real-world culture.

Lothlanathorian
22-09-2009, 05:32
I think the Space Wolves and Ultramarines have pretty strong stylistic connections to their real world components. Any of them you can just look at and know. It is 1K Sons, Smurfs and the Sons of Russ.


The Dark Angels, from the imagery of their important characters, give off the monastic vibe. Also, their secretive behaviours and insular attitudes come off as very much like a 'cult'. And there are several Christian based 'cults' that also act in a similar manner (but I doubt they all betrayed Space Jesus and feel bad about, they just like to keep to themselves :D)

w00tm0ng3r
22-09-2009, 07:12
Weren't the Imperial Fists supposed to be based on the Holy Roman Empire?

Blood Angels are vaguely Renaissance Italy but it's only really apparent in the names of their special characters.

And then of course there's the obvious ones so I won't bother listing them out.

AndrewGPaul
22-09-2009, 07:29
The Imperial Fists are faintly Prussian.

Reflex
22-09-2009, 07:30
Marines are not so much based on cultures, but rather traits of humans.


The Imperial Fists are faintly Prussian.
go on...

Condottiere
22-09-2009, 09:15
Black Templars are the easiest to identify, since they seem the achetype of what you assume a Space marine should be - an Order of Warrior Monks completely devoted to their mission.

Nakor
22-09-2009, 10:59
ultra marines too me seem more greek than roman, the 'Ultra' symbol should have been a dead give away.alot of roman stuff was ripped straight off the greek. itd be fair to say that they were both.

Imperialis_Dominatus
22-09-2009, 13:02
Thousand Sons are based on the Aztecs.

It's true, Dan Abnett told me so.

:angel:


Blood Angels are vaguely Renaissance Italy but it's only really apparent in the names of their special characters.

And in their idealism- that things can be changed for the better, in contrast to everyone else's 'AH THRONE DAMMIT WE'RE DOOMED TAKE AS MANY OF THEM WITH US AS WE CAN!' schtick. And in their focus on the arts. And in their appreciation for the aesthetics.

Disregard me, I'm a fanboy.

Condottiere
22-09-2009, 14:12
Blood Angels - Renaissance/Enlightenment Vampires, the Latino kind, as compared to the Balkans kind.

DarkMatter2
22-09-2009, 15:06
The Black Templars, with their black and white coloring and vaguely Germanic names, draw from the Teutonic Knights specifically but medieval Crusaders generally.

DuskRaider
22-09-2009, 15:45
See, perhaps with imagery the Black Templar are inspired by Knights Templar, but organization and way of life, I'd think Grey Knights are closer to the real life Templar. In any case, Black Templar are second founding, not first founding... And thus not relevant to this topic.

I think some of the obvious ones have been named, but there's others that I think pull from cultures. I believe World Eaters also pull from Germanic, Nordic and Celtic cultures. In particular, Berserkers are taken from the Nordic shock troop Berserkergang, who were said to be mad with blood lust in battle. Of course, it's also been said they're purely made up for stories, but who knows for sure?

Night Lords... This is a difficult one. I don't think they pull from any particular culture, but more the aspects of some. Terror tactics have been around for as long as mankind have been warring. Mongols used catapults to throw the corpses of their enemies, and even their own, over village walls and onto a besieged opposition, which sowed terror and disease throughout a population. Celts hung headless corpses on totems and fences to show their superiority in battle, while the heads were kept to harness the fallen enemy's bravery and souls for themselves. Romans crucified mass enemies on high traffic roads to show their domination and power over lesser people. Hell, the Vatican was known to display their power through acts of terrorism and violence.

Alpha Legion is another example of an army based on a way of force instead of an actual culture. In this case, you could base them on modern Special Forces, along with, and this may be a stretch, but the Hashshashin of ancient Islamic culture. Hashshashin were a sect in Muslim culture that were devoted to using sabotage, assassination (the word actually derives from these folks), and espionage. I think these things fit the Alpha Legion to a T.

That's all I can think of right now.

DarkMatter2
22-09-2009, 16:28
In any case, Black Templar are second founding, not first founding... And thus not relevant to this topic.


I don't think the distinction is terribly relevant for this thread except as a sort of lame "Gotcha!".

DuskRaider
22-09-2009, 16:40
I don't think the distinction is terribly relevant for this thread except as a sort of lame "Gotcha!".

Except that the OP asked about the First Founding 18 Legions... So it would be relevant :rolleyes:

DarkMatter2
22-09-2009, 16:41
Except that the OP asked about the First Founding 18 Legions... So it would be relevant :rolleyes:

I'm aware of that, but I don't see what the point in bringing it up was when the discussion had already taken place. I wasn't the first one to bring up the Black Templars.

Therefore, my conclusion was that you were just being needlessly legalistic and annoying. Roll your eyes all you want.

Argastes
22-09-2009, 16:46
go on...

Read the novel "Space Marine", the inspiration is apparent there. In the totality of Imperial Fists fluff, though, it doesn't come through nearly as strongly as the cultural influences in many other SM chapters.

totgeboren
22-09-2009, 17:00
I think the Word Bearers might be based on Mohammed, and how he broke with the current religion of the time and lead a war of faith (not really hard when you can make the tenets up as you go along, but whatever) against the unbelivers, forging a mighty kingdom and so on.

The fluff about how the legion is currently organised mirrors the way many islamic countries work right now too.

Condottiere
22-09-2009, 17:23
I thought the Nightlords were based on DC and Marvel Comics.

Argastes
22-09-2009, 17:43
I think the Word Bearers might be based on Mohammed, and how he broke with the current religion of the time and lead a war of faith (not really hard when you can make the tenets up as you go along, but whatever) against the unbelivers, forging a mighty kingdom and so on.

The fluff about how the legion is currently organised mirrors the way many islamic countries work right now too.

??? None of this really strikes me as very accurate. The Word Bearers legion is divided into "Hosts", which are led by Dark Apostles (corrupted chaplains, apparently). Other than the fact that it has religious leaders in positions of power (which is true of all theocratic states, not just Islamic ones, and was also true in many instances in Christian Europe's history), this doesn't bear any particular resemblance to the political organization of any Islamic countries, either today or in the past. And Muhammad was certainly not the only religious prophet in human history who overturned old religious practices and installed new ones, and led his followers in military activity. As for "making up the tenets as he went along"... from a rational viewpoint that rules out the supernatural, that is what ALL religious prophets do (perhaps not deliberately in all cases; there is a difference between "hearing voices" and just deciding to fake it).

I'm curious as to why you choose him as the religious prophet that the Word Bearers are styled after, since they don't seem to have any Arabic or Islamic influence in terms of their names, visual style, and all the other aspects in which SM chapters normally reflect the culture(s) they draw influence from.

DarkMatter2
22-09-2009, 17:45
I think with the Nightlords GW was going with a space marine chapter built around the stealth/guerrilla idiom rather than any analogous culture. Konrad Curze is a reference to Conrad's Heart of Darkness, and his death story is a reference to Apocalypse Now (which is itself based upon Heart of Darkness).

totgeboren
22-09-2009, 19:50
I'm curious as to why you choose him as the religious prophet that the Word Bearers are styled after, since they don't seem to have any Arabic or Islamic influence in terms of their names, visual style, and all the other aspects in which SM chapters normally reflect the culture(s) they draw influence from.

Well, thats just the impression I got, and I like it. It might be right, it might be wrong, but I like it.

I mean, I think the Night Lords are a cross between Batman and Col. Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. I really like that image too, but it might be wrong.

About the Word Bearers, it might the thing about Lorgar with his "golden skin", the thing about a prophet leading a religious war (I don´t know all about religion, but most founders of current religion tended to be quite pacifistic in personality), a military organization lead by a religious council (Hizbolah for example), and their religious extremism gave me the impression that the fluff-makes took alot of inspiration from some aspects of the middle east. I mean, just about every other culture has got caricature chapter (vikings = Space Wolves, White Scars = the Huns, Old Rome = Ultramarines and so on.)
It just makes sense that some chapter is based on the middle east.

AndrewGPaul
22-09-2009, 23:27
Marines are not so much based on cultures, but rather traits of humans.


go on...

Most of it's in Space Marine, but that was all rewritten in the Index Astartes article. The reputation for extensive pre-mission planning, the drinking beer from steins and the penchant for duelling resulting in facial scarring. Like I said, faintly. And oh so painfully homoerotic. :)

Oldguny
22-09-2009, 23:40
The Black Templars, with their black and white coloring and vaguely Germanic names, draw from the Teutonic Knights specifically but medieval Crusaders generally.

Yes but Teutonic Knights were RED and WHITE. The Hospitalar Knights were black and white, GW just switched it so it had no ties with the real world. But their actions such as(crusades and the like) work because both Teutonic Knights and Hospitalar Knights did it too.

Argastes
23-09-2009, 01:40
Well, thats just the impression I got, and I like it. It might be right, it might be wrong, but I like it.

I mean, I think the Night Lords are a cross between Batman and Col. Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. I really like that image too, but it might be wrong.

About the Word Bearers, it might the thing about Lorgar with his "golden skin", the thing about a prophet leading a religious war (I don´t know all about religion, but most founders of current religion tended to be quite pacifistic in personality), a military organization lead by a religious council (Hizbolah for example), and their religious extremism gave me the impression that the fluff-makes took alot of inspiration from some aspects of the middle east. I mean, just about every other culture has got caricature chapter (vikings = Space Wolves, White Scars = the Huns, Old Rome = Ultramarines and so on.)
It just makes sense that some chapter is based on the middle east.

Well, like you say, I suppose it's all open to interpretation. As a Middle Eastern affairs geek (I majored in it, actually) I don't see anything Middle Eastern or Islamic in the Word Bearers but all this stuff is in the eye of the beholder.

Btw, I followed the link in your sig to your Word Bearers log, and they're gorgeous! If that's the sort of models that your image of the Word Bearers leads to, I can't argue with it.

DarkMatter2
23-09-2009, 02:03
Yes but Teutonic Knights were RED and WHITE. The Hospitalar Knights were black and white, GW just switched it so it had no ties with the real world. But their actions such as(crusades and the like) work because both Teutonic Knights and Hospitalar Knights did it too.


I think you have it backwards. The Knights of Saint John were red and white, the Teutonic Knights were indeed Black and White, although the TK were white background with black whereas the BT are black background with white.

The cross symbol that the BT have on their shoulder pads - the Maltese Cross - is indeed the symbol of the KoSJ, but the coloring comes from standard TK heraldry.

TheSanityAssassin
23-09-2009, 03:50
From my interpretation of "Golden Skinned" Lorgar, they were going for a Babylonian/Sumerian kind of feel. Case in point the Dark Apostle series of books, with the main character, Marduk. This is the name not just of a black metal band, but of the Babylonian father God.

Ancient Mesopotamian names also (though not exclusively) enjoy the multi-part feeling, such as Kor Phaeron (ad in a joining dash and you're good to go).

That culture was also notoriously superstitious, religious and big on written works.

Man I'm too sleepy to give a good explanation of this....will do it later.

LexxBomb
23-09-2009, 11:31
im suprised no one has mentioned the Dark Angels with their American Indian imagery aswell which is still carried on... The Deathwing still to today have feathers on their wargear and wear the bone white (which really should be ash white). This was a native indian custom for warriors who didn't expect to come back from a hunting/warparty party.

as for islamic imagry in the Word Bearers I can see it too... firstly we have the Book of Lorgar which can be interpreted to be the Qur'an (not literaly I mean that as a religious book written by Lorgar/Muhummad) and if you look at how the warbands are now formed it does resemble some Islamic countries... just look at Iran - you have the President (would be a Chaos Lord) and you have the Supreme Leader (the Dark Apostle).

Argastes
23-09-2009, 12:10
and if you look at how the warbands are now formed it does resemble some Islamic countries... just look at Iran - you have the President (would be a Chaos Lord) and you have the Supreme Leader (the Dark Apostle).

:eyebrows: I think this is far too vague and loose to be meaningful.

EDIT: WB warbands have a military commander and a spiritual leader, although as far as I can tell, some warbands actually lack a Chaos Lord and are led by their Dark Apostle alone. Conversely, most theocratic states (including but not limited to Islamic ones such as Iran) have spiritual leaders at the top, with a political administrative structure subordinate to their dictates. I don't really see a meaningful parallel. Both arrangements include both a religious and non-religious leader somewhere in the mix (though again, in the WBs, there isn't even always a non-religious leader), but that definitely isn't enough to say the WB structure resembles the "Islamic Republic" governmental form used by Iran.

LexxBomb
23-09-2009, 12:23
I was mearly giving en example of how the World Bearers are similar to an Islamic Theocracy because previously someone else had tried to give an exmple and seemed to be unaccepted.

Imperialis_Dominatus
23-09-2009, 12:52
I think the Word Bearers have a similarity to many radical sects of various faiths in history. They convert or kill, and are utterly intolerant of other faiths.

I also believe LexxBomb's comparison has more value than it's being given a chance of. In the Dark Apostle series, the Dark Apostle is definitely the big cheese, with the Coryphaus acting as his voice to the troops- and said Coryphaus is a common rank in the Hosts, according to the books. Lorgar is the sole author of his Book; similarly, Muslims believe that the word of God was passed on to Mohammed and written down by his companions (but still basically a single mind involved). The act of converting or killing the conquered is reminiscent of both sides in the Crusade conflicts. On a related note, the act of using such converts and downtrodden cultists reminds me somewhat of how radical Islamic imams have been shown in various media to cause mujehadin (sp) to rise against the foes they point them against.

However, it's just as likely that this is due to the trends prevalent in religious fanaticism of any flavor. I would actually find it cool if GW grew a pair and made the similarity between Word Bearers and radical Islam a little more overt; it'd differentiate them a bit from the typical Christian bent Imperials and Word Bearers seem to take on their faith. However, as GW is a corporation, and corporations are ruled by the blandishments of political correctness, I don't see it happening any time soon.

I'd also like to note that I understand this skirts the boundaries of P&R, but since we're discussing GW's themes as taken from real life, I hope it's okay. Also note that I do not paint all of Islam with the same brush in this post, and nor does LexxBomb, so no need to bring that up (though that I should have to say that makes me feel cheap and used, as it is simply a rear-covering disclaimer the likes of which I have always despised).

w00tm0ng3r
23-09-2009, 14:24
Yes but Teutonic Knights were RED and WHITE. The Hospitalar Knights were black and white, GW just switched it so it had no ties with the real world. But their actions such as(crusades and the like) work because both Teutonic Knights and Hospitalar Knights did it too.

You're confusing the Knights Templar with the Teutonic Knights. Knights Templar (order involved in the crusades) were red and white, Teutonic Knights (germanic order that conquered quite a bit of eastern europe) were black and white. Don't worry, it's an extremely common mistake.

BrainFireBob
23-09-2009, 15:26
Night Lords... This is a difficult one. I don't think they pull from any particular culture, but more the aspects of some. Terror tactics have been around for as long as mankind have been warring. Mongols used catapults to throw the corpses of their enemies, and even their own, over village walls and onto a besieged opposition, which sowed terror and disease throughout a population. Celts hung headless corpses on totems and fences to show their superiority in battle, while the heads were kept to harness the fallen enemy's bravery and souls for themselves. Romans crucified mass enemies on high traffic roads to show their domination and power over lesser people. Hell, the Vatican was known to display their power through acts of terrorism and violence.

Joseph Conrad (Konrad) wrote Heart of Darkness, which was later the inspiration for a movie- Apocalypse Now- where a character played by Martin Sheen (M'Shen) assasinates another, a soldier who has created an empire based on terror.

Or something. It's not always a specific culture, it's not always an archetype, sometimes it's just a trope. Obligatory "Deathwing used to be Native American" reference.

MontytheMighty
23-09-2009, 18:15
umm...the White Scars are definitely influenced by Mongols?

Col. Tartleton
23-09-2009, 19:58
Let's begin shall we:

Imperial Fists: A combination of Prussian and Russian Influences
Space Wolves: Blantantly Scandanavian
Ultramarines: Greek and Roman Republic
Luna Wolves: Roman Legion
Word Bearers: Mesopotamian
Night Lords: Batman... (I'd try to say American but that's the Raven Guard)
Blood Angels: Renaissance Italy
World Eaters: Roman/Thracian (like Spartacus)
Dark Angels: Hebrew (Illuminati)
Raven Guard: American (woah seriously, shock and awe and Mr. Poe)
Thousand Sons: Hellenistic Egypt (Shocker)
Death Guard: Bavarian
Emperor's Children: Imperial Roman
Iron Warriors: German and Homeric Greek
Alpha Legion: Hashashin (and Spartacus...)
White Scars: Mongols and Huns
Iron Hands: Scottish and German
Salamanders: African (I still think so)

Oldguny
26-09-2009, 02:44
I think you have it backwards. The Knights of Saint John were red and white, the Teutonic Knights were indeed Black and White, although the TK were white background with black whereas the BT are black background with white.

The cross symbol that the BT have on their shoulder pads - the Maltese Cross - is indeed the symbol of the KoSJ, but the coloring comes from standard TK heraldry.

In "Kingdom of Heaven" the Templars had Red and white. And the assassians creed game. I know the entertainment example but both are right. Plus the Saint John might have also re and white, they two basic colors.

crap: w00tm0ng3r your right I, flipped the names.........dam lol. Thanks for the catch though.

StefDa
26-09-2009, 23:00
Thousand Sons are based on the Aztecs.

I don't know if tihs is a joke (due to the other text in your post), but Thousand Sons definately seem Eqyptian-inspired. This is very evident in the Horus Heresy series with the character Mhotep (Imhotep...) who basically lives in a pyramdi back on Prospero, and his scarab earring or what it was. Also, his force weapon seems to be inspired by the same source.


I believe World Eaters also pull from Germanic, Nordic and Celtic cultures. In particular, Berserkers are taken from the Nordic shock troop Berserkergang, who were said to be mad with blood lust in battle. Of course, it's also been said they're purely made up for stories, but who knows for sure?

"Bersærkergang" is the state of "going berzerk". I'm Danish and very interested in the asa belief. I suggest you check out the Danish folkmetal band Svartsot, I will gladly translate any songs from Danish to English for anybody if the PM me.

These Berzerkers consumed/smoked/whatever mushrooms to enter a state of battle madness (the act of war wasn't the cause for their state of mind). They would then cast off their mails to show they had no fear of death or harm whatsoever, and they would bite the rims of their shields in anticipation. I would like to quote Svartsot's song "Bersærkergang":


Vilde øjne, der glaner
Øjen, der raner mod
Skjoldets rand jeg bider
Tænder slider træ

Vrede griber mit sind
Galde æder min sjæl
Brynjen kaster jeg bort,
Blodtørst, besærkergang!

In English:


Wild eyes glaring
Eyes shining courage
The shield's rim I bite
Teeth grinding wood

Rage grips my mind
Bile eats my soul
The mail, I cast off
Bloodlust, berzerk!

This song describes pretty much how a Berzerker felt and acted. They sing about how the warrior feels like being "awakened" by this rage (possibly like a drug addict who doesn't feel right without his drug). They also tell of how the warrior knows that steel won't bite and fire won't burn, and that he doesn't know the voice of fear in his heart.

If you are interested, I will compile a translation of all of their songs for you. They are written in fairly old Danish, plus they concern a topic I like, so with my university-level English I would relish the challenge.

DuskRaider
27-09-2009, 05:15
Yeah, I was actually quite interested in the Berserkergang for a while, their history was very interesting. It's funny... they were so brutal in battle, that even their own people outlawed them! I do remember a study some scientists were doing to find out what put them in such a trance, but they still haven't figured it out.
The idea of going into battle with not much more then a shield, sword / axe, and an animal pelt is just really amazing. To believe so much that you have become an animal that you would ignore all pain and fear is inspiring... if a bit odd, lol.

BTW:
I actually have a few Svartsot albums, they're pretty good. I'm more into Celtic Metal, however... Eluveitie being my favorite.

darker4308
27-09-2009, 05:41
One of the things a lot of you guys need to realize is that ... the people write 40k ... are not historians or writers really ... they just take a couple of "cool" ideas and then fish a book for a name and slap them together with next to no thought. It's not really well done. I mean what you guys are reading into is pretty basic stuff.

Canis Wolfborn
27-09-2009, 05:59
Space Wolves cultural references would be that of Scandinavian and Germanic cultures.

Here are a few reasons of why Space Wolves culture is linked to the Germanic one:

The Jutes (a germanic tribe) inhabited the land mass known today as Denmark (or Jutland to them) of which is where Vikings originated (so technically they are vikings)

Jutes are related to Geats, who are vikings

All Scandinavian languages (except for Finnish) can be traced back to their mother language, German

Vesica
28-09-2009, 05:16
I think the Word Bearers might be based on Mohammed, and how he broke with the current religion of the time and lead a war of faith (not really hard when you can make the tenets up as you go along, but whatever) against the unbelivers, forging a mighty kingdom and so on.

The fluff about how the legion is currently organised mirrors the way many islamic countries work right now too.

I saw them more loosely on Christian and how the rejected the old faith to start the one true faith and try to destroy the old faith.

I think most of the other comparisons where mentioned.