View Full Version : What exactly is "The Sign of the Aquila"

30-06-2005, 16:38
I'm well into "The Traitor's Hand" (3rd in the Ciaphas Cain Novels ~ which I recommend highly!) and everyone is making the sign of the Aquila.

Now, I know what it is, but I don't know what it looks like...

Does anyone know?


30-06-2005, 16:46
I think it is made by placing your hands crossed on your chest. Your fingers will be the Aquila's wings and your thumbs represent it's twin heads.

I hope you can make it out, my explanation is kind of vague ;)

30-06-2005, 16:47
If I remeber right it is "the shadow bird" you make on walls with your hands but only using your first two fingers. When held near chest it looks like a two headed eagle.

Inquisitor Samos
30-06-2005, 16:51
The most common method I've seen described:

1.) Open both hands widely, fingers and thumbs spread fully, & leave 'em that way;

2.) Turn palms toward you;

3.) Cross arms at wrists, palms still toward you, fingers still spread;

4.) Adjust position of arms & hands (fingers stay spread, arms stay crossed) until the thumbs cross over each other, looking like two birds' heads pointing in opposite directions, with the palms & fingers looking like wings;

5, optional) Place the above configuration against your chest.

See how the whole thing with your hands looks like a two-headed Aquila? There you go!

30-06-2005, 17:02
Not much to add here. I always did it (!) with the fingers and thumbs together, but now that I think of it might make sense to have them apart... I'd say Step 5 is something close to mandatory though. To me it was always a means of "impersonating" the aquilla breastplate of the Space Marines.

30-06-2005, 17:14
The problem I have with that symbol is that it require two hands. How do you hold your gun if you have to use both hands to ward against the abominations the common guardsmen face daily... :eyebrows:

Random Guardsman: 'A daemon!'
*All guardsmen drop their lasguns to make the sign of the Aquila to ward off against monstrosities from the Warp*
Commissar: 'Get you guns you freaking idiots'
Daemon: 'Roar!'
*Guardsmen are hacked to pieces without even firing a shot.*

See what I mean...
Personally I would rather wear a pendant with an Aquila around my neck (wait I already do :eek: ) and kiss it rather than make the sign of the Aquila

30-06-2005, 17:25
Yeah that struck me as odd as well... My guess it's more of a ceremonial thing, to be used in situations where it is safe to put your weapons away.

And every guardsman knows that making the sign of the Aquila doesn't ward of Daemons! Prayer and tin foil hats on the other hand...

30-06-2005, 17:30
The ceremonial argument does make sense.
As to fighting against daemons prayers are fine and dandy but give me a fragging heavy bolter to shred those daemonettes to piece! :evilgrin:

Inquisitor Samos
30-06-2005, 17:31
Well, of course, my Lord Commisssar, one wouldn't want to go around dropping one's weapons in the midst of combat to make the prescribed Sign of the Aquila! That'd be tantamount to surrender or desertion, and should rightly get one shot by the nearest Commissar!

(Besides, I doubt the daemon would be much impressed, anyway, with a bunch of Guardsmen making hand-signs and yelling, "By the Emperor, get thee hence, foul abomination!" or whatever.....)

I'd think that standard doctrine would be to teach Guardsmen that the time for the Sign is during prayer, while the correct invocation in combat is to aim and pull the trigger while shouting one of the Emperor's Abrogations Against the Warp, the Litany of Faith, or something along those lines, eh? ;)

30-06-2005, 17:41
Yes, the Commissariat recommands the following prayers when faced with the agents of the Ruinous Powers :
- Oath of obedience
- Fear Incantation
- Litany of Protection (highly recommanded)
- Litany of the Lasgun (highly recommanded)

Please refer to your Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer for full text.
If you have lost your Primer, please report to the nearest agent of the Commissariat for your punishment (death).

30-06-2005, 17:53
I've noticed a couple differant posters talking about the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer, does anyone know if it is still available?

30-06-2005, 17:59
It sure is :

the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (http://www.blacklibrary.com/backgroundbooks/iiup.html)

30-06-2005, 18:18
Wait? So performing the sign of the Aquila wards away daemons? Did I miss something?

30-06-2005, 18:35
Faith moves mountains in 40k. If enough people believe strongly enough in something, especially a concept they will shape that concept into a being in the warp, a god if you will.
And the prayers of agents of the Ecclesiarchy have a real effect against daemons.

30-06-2005, 18:36
Only on tuesdays, and only if combined with a tinfoil hat. Except when the moon is full, then you can leave your tinfoil hats at home... :cheese:

But seriously, I think making the sign of the Aquila doesn't matter much if a Guardsman is doing it. I think that, to ward off Daemons, someone whose faith in the Emperor is much greater is needed. Powerfull priests, Grey Knights and Inquisitors spring to mind.

30-06-2005, 18:47
Well, in a foxhole everyone believes in God, so transfer that into the Imperium where you'd better believe in the Emperor in peacetime lest the Ministorum purges you...

Imperial prayers do work against Chaos - check out the way Eisenhorn handles the Lith in Malleus, for example. Granted he amplifies it, but it's the same concept.

As for the Sign of the Aquilla, I always imagined it as more of a ceremonial thing - using it when meeting with senior members of the Ecclesiarchy, for example - than being done on the battlefield. Oaths and prayers seem to be the norm there, as Brusilov outlined, as well as focussing entirely on the firing and loading of your gun and less the nature of what it hits (perfect example being the Battle for Blayden in the Gothic War). Hard, yeah, but then again Daemons cause fear...;)

30-06-2005, 18:52
It sure is :

the Imperial Infantryman's Uplifting Primer (http://www.blacklibrary.com/backgroundbooks/iiup.html)

*twitches with excitement* Must.....buy.... ;)

Anyway, I'm *relatively* sure that somewhere in one of the Gaut's Ghosts novels they make the sign of the Aquilla qhile carrying guns. Of course, I may be wrong, or they may just let the gun hang from a strap....

So how do you make the Aquilla again? Cross your hands and spread the fingers.... *goes around making the sign of the Aquilla and getting funny looks from everyone* :D :cool:


The pestilent 1
30-06-2005, 19:44
So how do you make the Aquilla again? Cross your hands and spread the fingers.... *goes around making the sign of the Aquilla and getting funny looks from everyone* :D :cool:


the sign of the aquilla may get you odd looks, but screaming;
at the top of your voice gets a wide berth from the locals.
not that ive done it.
except in jest, cos everyone knows i worship nurgle. :p

30-06-2005, 19:54
Indeed, the IIUP does seem to imply the sign of the Aquila is done on ceremonial occasions.

To be repeated while kneeling and making the sign of the Aquila

30-06-2005, 19:57
Whenever I make the sign I always add a bow. I see it more like a "May the Force be with you" rather than making the sign of the cross, meself.

30-06-2005, 22:46
It does seem that making the sign of the Aquila might be more of salute to those of higher rank, but then again I could be wrong. And if I were an IG, I wouldn't be going around a battlefield doing that, that's just one way of getting yourself killed. Of course if it is a sign of saluting I am sure there are some guardsmen that wouldn't mind doing it to their superiors in a warzone, since a sniper would probably be watching :)

30-06-2005, 23:14
I don't think it's a salute to those of higher rank, I believe it may be part of the prayer rituals in formal occasions. You'd get the priests shot, not the officers doing that :p

Khaine's Messenger
01-07-2005, 02:19
The sign of the aquila can be done with your hands full...just not well (like the "tsk" or "cooties ward" of rubbing one index finger over another).

Perhaps Guardsmen should be indoctrinated like Space Marines...granting benedictions with every pull of the trigger. :)

01-07-2005, 06:17
Space Marines don't grant benediction with every pull of the trigger, they grant the Emperor's mercy at best and the Emperor's vengeance. And so do Guardsmen (see the prayers in the IIUP).