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View Full Version : Do people in the 41st millenium have records of Primarchs' appearances?



brother arkio
22-10-2010, 22:45
Hey everyone. so i've been thinking after reading the first heretic, i wonder what corax looked like and wishing gw made some images of him. this led to the thought "do people in the 41st millenium wether it be normal citizens, astartes, inquistiors or whatever know or have records of what the primarchs looked like?".

So what are peoples thoughts on if people know or not what they look like?

Grimbad
22-10-2010, 23:19
Hey everyone. so i've been thinking after reading the first heretic, i wonder what corax looked like and wishing gw made some images of him. this led to the thought "do people in the 41st millenium wether it be normal citizens, astartes, inquistiors or whatever know or have records of what the primarchs looked like?".

So what are peoples thoughts on if people know or not what they look like?

Mostly just painted icons I would guess (like this (http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/File:LemanRuss.jpg)), with basically no historical accuracy. Ten thousand years of copy by unskilled imitation, disrepair, local variation, and guesswork do that to an image. Look at depictions of saints. You can identify them by what they're carrying, not what they look like. You'd know Corax by his heraldry and pale skin, but the face would be different every depiction.
Though there's probably a TV channel in Ultramar with a 24/7 live feed of Guilliman's stasis chamber.

Inquisitor Engel
23-10-2010, 00:44
Were he a real man, Jesus' beard and hair trim, length and cut appears slightly different from Church to church (no matter that he would have have looked more like Faran Tahir with a beard than Jim Caviezel) and even the stigmata change across many portrayals.*

Given that we've only had 2000 years to forget/forge and fabricate Jesus' appearance and we have as much variation from the truth as we can possibly get I'd say that almost no image of the Primarch in the 41st Millennium is even close to accurate.

It's possible some First-founding Chapters have picts from the Great Crusade stored in their Librarium but I doubt many are allowed to view them. If one had an image of their Primarch in their head, how would it feel to find out how short he was? Or how ugly? Or how he had a weird nose?

Think how disappointed people are when they find out how short celebrities are, or when their favourite animation or comic heroes are transferred to the big screen. For motivation and mythology, sometimes the illusion is better than truth.




*Please no P&R, I am simply stating that Jesus the human being, were to he have existed, would look Persian, not white. I am not doubting his existence either, merely leaving the door open to interpretation on either side of the religious divide.

MagosHereticus
23-10-2010, 05:08
statues made in their image at the time of the great crusade carry their likenesses, if they still exist on ultramar (?) to name one then they should have been recorded and photographed countless times down the millennia as well as the statues being accessible

Obake123
23-10-2010, 08:52
I'd guess that the closer you are to the top of the power pyramid, the more realistic the images of the Primarchs would be.

Space marines, Planetary Governors and the elite of the church probably have the influence needed to get ahold of anchient artworks dating from the Hersey. Meanwhile, the ignorant masses get whatever watered down and drempt up garbage that comes their way.

Note that that would be for the Loyalist Primarchs. I doubt that anyone outside of the Inquisition and the Eye of Terror has any idea what the Traitors looked like.

Londinium
23-10-2010, 09:03
I'd guess that the closer you are to the top of the power pyramid, the more realistic the images of the Primarchs would be.

Space marines, Planetary Governors and the elite of the church probably have the influence needed to get ahold of anchient artworks dating from the Hersey. Meanwhile, the ignorant masses get whatever watered down and drempt up garbage that comes their way.

Note that that would be for the Loyalist Primarchs. I doubt that anyone outside of the Inquisition and the Eye of Terror has any idea what the Traitors looked like.

Theres probably still plenty of evidence of the traitor Primarches knocking around given the huge scale of the Imperium. It'd be impossible for the =I= to get rid of absolutely every piece of evidence about them. It really wouldn't surprise me to find some fringe world somewhere with statues of Fulgrim or whoever, who they revere as their saviour from the long night without realising what happened to said Primarch. With the =I= trying to cover up the Heresy so much, certain areas of the Imperium that weren't affected by it would never have realised 'their' Primarch was involved.

Likewise there are probably pictures and stories and legends about them all over the Imperium, it's just the case that the ignorant people of the Imperium don't realise what become of these heroic figures or who they actually were.

AndrewGPaul
23-10-2010, 10:04
I would imagine there are some pretty accurate images of Roboute Guilliman available in Ultramar. :)

ryng_sting
23-10-2010, 10:20
I imagine Russ, Sanguinius and Guilliman's images are relatively well known.

AndrewGPaul
23-10-2010, 11:01
The Space Wolves' histories are mostly oral - if anything, that would suggest they're the least likely to remember their Primarch accurately. I suppose Bjorn still remembers, though.

The Blood angels might see Sanguinius in their visions. It depends on whether the visions are from Sanguinius' point of view or not.

MagosHereticus
23-10-2010, 11:43
I would imagine there are some pretty accurate images of Roboute Guilliman available in Ultramar. :)

unfortunately after 10,000 years of pilgrims touching the stasis tank has made it so dirty that no one can see through the glass any more

mob16151
23-10-2010, 11:48
In Helsreach, the Templar's chaplain is able to recognize the Primarchs statues without needing to read the base of them. And these statues (In one of the cathedrals of a titan) Are a little more "idealized" apparently then most of the Primarch imagery in 40k. Which would suggest to me that the Space Marines at least are familiar with the Primarchs appearance.Other groups that would probably know are heresy era Chaos Space Marines(Obviously),and possibly the High Lords of terra.

MEcorp
23-10-2010, 17:21
Actually the account from Helsreach sounds like more of an argument for Grimbalds idea. Its easy to recognize an 'idealized' picture if all your looking for is the type of sword and shoulderpad after all.

Certainly statues of the primarchs exist on many planets but in millennia since the Heresy its doubtful any of them have recognizable faces. IIRC in Horus' vision he sees an example of said statues, faces worn blank by the ages, HE can barely recognize them and he's one of them. I doubt most people would be able to recognize them beyond gear and maybe poses, though Sanguinius has an obvious lead in the department.

MvS
23-10-2010, 17:50
But I suppose there's a difference between recognising which statue represents Russ, for instance, and knowing what the Primarch really looked like.

As Engel touched upon, there are so many different depictions of Jesus throughout Christian iconography, sculpture and popular media that we would all likely recognise when something is supposed to depict him. This doesn't mean that the depiction looks anything like the man himself would have looked.

So we might know Jesus from the robes, the hair, the beard and possibly other things like a crown of thorns or whatever. An imperial might know Russ because of his hair, a wolf-pelt across his shoulders, his sword and possibly his fangs, but the exact depictions would change from place to place. As long as the 'big' identifiers are in place, people will recognise which Primarch is supposed to be represented.

What interests me is the idea of video and photographic (or even holographic) evidence of the Primarchs. I imagine some of these must exist somewhere in the Imperium. The number of times Primarchs and even the Emperor addressed crowds of people or were recorded in some way must have been huge. Just think how many times Obama get filmed or photographed in a week, and he has nowhere near the exposure, grandeur and absolutely massive cult following as the Primarchs had in their day.

So the records were there. The question is what might have happened to them? I'm guessing the Ecclesiarchy gathered together much of the Holy Records of the Emperor. So any photo, hologram or vid footage of him would be controlled by some senior Cardinal or even the Ecclesiarch. I imagine the Marine Chapters must have some decent visual depictions of their Primarchs (Guilliman in stasis notwithstanding).

Mostly though, I think the Inquisition would have gathered together all the hard documentary evidence of the Primarchs, loyal and otherwise. Knowledge is power and all that. The Inquisition wouldn't want the populace to see a vid-log of Lorgar preaching in all his glory or Horus praising the Emperor and the Imperium, but then neither would they want to destroy these important pieces of historical evidence.

Sandlemad
23-10-2010, 19:30
What interests me is the idea of video and photographic (or even holographic) evidence of the Primarchs. I imagine some of these must exist somewhere in the Imperium. The number of times Primarchs and even the Emperor addressed crowds of people or were recorded in some way must have been huge. Just think how many times Obama get filmed or photographed in a week, and he has nowhere near the exposure, grandeur and absolutely massive cult following as the Primarchs had in their day.

So the records were there. The question is what might have happened to them? I'm guessing the Ecclesiarchy gathered together much of the Holy Records of the Emperor. So any photo, hologram or vid footage of him would be controlled by some senior Cardinal or even the Ecclesiarch. I imagine the Marine Chapters must have some decent visual depictions of their Primarchs (Guilliman in stasis notwithstanding).

Mostly though, I think the Inquisition would have gathered together all the hard documentary evidence of the Primarchs, loyal and otherwise. Knowledge is power and all that. The Inquisition wouldn't want the populace to see a vid-log of Lorgar preaching in all his glory or Horus praising the Emperor and the Imperium, but then neither would they want to destroy these important pieces of historical evidence.

Certainly, but figurative images degrade. You can count the number of Classical Greek wall-paintings surviving on one hand. And what about Roman tapestries, for example? The galaxy's such a big place that they must be there but even so, with the remembrancers and iterators it might not have been too hard to yank them from common currency by a central figure or body. Or edit them, of course.

The occasional mentions of direct sources from the Great Crusade and HH period seem, as you said, extremely restricted in access and almost relics in their own right. The Index Astartes mentions a few, the grainy pict record of the assassin who took down Night Haunter for example. Highly restricted, not spread around at all, probably because it lets him put his point across

spetswalshe
23-10-2010, 20:31
Mostly just painted icons I would guess (like this (http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/File:LemanRuss.jpg)), with basically no historical accuracy. Ten thousand years of copy by unskilled imitation, disrepair, local variation, and guesswork do that to an image. Look at depictions of saints. You can identify them by what they're carrying, not what they look like. You'd know Corax by his heraldry and pale skin, but the face would be different every depiction.
Though there's probably a TV channel in Ultramar with a 24/7 live feed of Guilliman's stasis chamber.

This, I imagine. Some Chapters might keep it alive, since they have a direct line of descent and a military tendency to keep things sensible (after a fashion). Many citizens though might claim that Abraxis Prime has the only true depiction of Sanguinus (for example), in order to draw the pilgrim crowds, and it's been so long that no one really knows for sure.

The saint-like depictions sound good for statues;

Sanguinus has wings and is youthful/pretty
Russ has massive 80s hair and fangs (and is never set next to the Lion)
Guilliman wears laurels
Ferrus Mannus has silver hands (and is possibly carrying his head, like a cephalophore?)

and so on.

intercepta
23-10-2010, 22:24
In one of the SW books when 'whatshisname' the now wolf lord is looking for the spear the 13th legion are taking the micky out of him because he has been told of for lossing it when in reality Russ hated the spear and through it away once in anger leaving his guard to go and find it :p

ryng_sting
24-10-2010, 11:30
The Space Wolves' histories are mostly oral - if anything, that would suggest they're the least likely to remember their Primarch accurately.

I think the SW's did manage to keep just a few images and videos to remind them of what their Primarch looked like.

The Sanguinala has probably helped to keep Sanguinius's image fresh.

Askil the Undecided
24-10-2010, 23:14
The interesting question I came up with once was what would the inquisition do if a devotional image featuring the Emperor "the man" and Horus "the first son" was found?

Could they destroy an image of the God-Emperor to destroy one of the arch heretic Horus?

Inquisitor Engel
25-10-2010, 04:02
Mostly though, I think the Inquisition would have gathered together all the hard documentary evidence of the Primarchs, loyal and otherwise. Knowledge is power and all that. The Inquisition wouldn't want the populace to see a vid-log of Lorgar preaching in all his glory or Horus praising the Emperor and the Imperium, but then neither would they want to destroy these important pieces of historical evidence.

This is a good point - Most footage of the Primarchs would likely include footage of the TRAITOR Primarchs given the number of "team ups" or fancy events that seem to occur in the Horus Heresy series. (Speaking of which, when are you writing one? :P)

It's likely that it's really all imagery. It doesn't matter what the Primarch (or the Emperor for that matter) really looked like merely that the drooling masses recognize them.


The interesting question I came up with once was what would the inquisition do if a devotional image featuring the Emperor "the man" and Horus "the first son" was found?

Could they destroy an image of the God-Emperor to destroy one of the arch heretic Horus?

I'm pretty sure there were no Remembrancers aboard The Vengeful Spirit...

eldargal
25-10-2010, 06:13
Given that the Imperium had means of mass production and distribution I think it highly likely that accurate representations of the Emperor and Primarchs are quite common. You really should compare it to the abundance of images of politicians nad celebrities today rather than two thousand years ago. A comparison to Jesus Christ/Saints/Apostles is not particularly valid. We may not know for sure what they looked like, but we do know what the Emperors Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius and Nero (the emperors roughly contemporanoues with Jesus and the Apostles) looked like, along with much of their immediate families.

Askil the Undecided
25-10-2010, 12:47
I'm pretty sure there were no Remembrancers aboard The Vengeful Spirit...

Would they need to be?

The image could have been produced when the Emperor made Horus warmaster. Or any time the two met, going right back to their first meeting. Even a reproduction, of a copy, of a poor facsimile of a really terrible picture could be morally hazardous if the finder realised what it was.