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Are the Warhammer Elves inspired by Greece?

Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
edited December 2019 in General Discussion
I was reading a little bit of greek history and I realized that the elves are pretty much based on Greece. Sparta is clearly the dark elves (e.g slaves, slaves, and more slaves), Athens is the high elves (culturally superior, arrogant) though I could see them as the Byzantine or Atlantis. Finally, the wood elves are those creatures that follow Pan, the nature god. What do you guys think?
Post edited by Arknav555 on
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Comments

  • DaruwindDaruwind Junior Member Registered Users Posts: 1,261
    Elves are easily based upon Tolkien and Atlantis. Tolkien is father of modern Elves and their branches (Wood, High...) and Ulthuan...Atlantis a lot similar traits. :)

    His Royal Highness, Phoenix King Finubar!

    "It has been too long since I drew a blade in anger, Tyrion. You have been my sword, and Teclis has been my shield. But now it is time I fought my own battles!"
  • dchip1dchip1 Registered Users Posts: 646
    Meroitic7 said:

    I was reading a little bit of greek history and I realized that the elves are pretty much based on Greece. Sparta is clearly the dark elves (e.g slaves, slaves, and more slaves), Athens is the high elves (culturally superior, arrogant) though I could see them as the Byzantine or Atlantis. Finally, the wood elves are those creatures that follow Pan, the nature god. What do you guys think?

    Athens had plenty of slaves too

    I think Dark Elves go back to Scandanavian myths
  • TayvarTayvar Registered Users Posts: 12,209
    The Dark Elves are mix of Sparta and Pirates, the Spartans has also worshiped a War God.
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    @Daruwind Atlantis is an Athenian myth
    @dchip1 The spartans were known for having quite a bit of helot slaves; more than 1/2 their pop.
    Also, the Athenians were a democracy, too
  • Sir_GodspeedSir_Godspeed Registered Users Posts: 3,051
    High elven armor designs are clearly inspired by Greek armors. Their spearmen are basically hoplites, and their helmets are Corinthian-styled.

    Their kingdoms are also mostly named after Greek regions. Ellyria is Illyria. Chrace is Thrace, etc. etc.

    The High Elf architecture is not Greek in most respects, however the usage of columns and sleek, restrained shapes does remind of classicism, or neo-classicism, which is Greek-inspired, although there is also some Japanese (curved roof gables, etc.) and pure fantasy in here and there, I think.

    Ulthuan and the Sundering are also obviously modeled on Atlantis, which is a Greek myth (or really a Greek parable - it never actually intended to be taken to be true, it's an allegory).

    Wood Elves might be inspired by Pan to some degree, however their general feel is a lot more Celtic-inspired, perhaps most specifically Welsh or Brythonic.

    Games Workshop clearly cribbed a lot from Tolkien (the existance of high and dark and wood elves to begin with), but one difference is that the Warhammer Elves don't have much in terms of a Germanic influence, which they do have in the Silmarillion.

    Dark Elves are a bit harder to clearly identify. Sparta and its slave economy and ruthless ruling class is there, however Dark Elf society is a lot more baroque and pleasure-oriented than the Spartiates ever were. An equally valid comparison would be European colonialists in the 15-18 centuries.

    Dark Elf architecture and armor is... not really based on anything historical. There might be a hint of Neo-Gothic in there, but honestly it's mostly 80s metal band covers.

    Oh, and Elric of Melnibone is also all over the Warhammer Elves. Especially Malus Darkblade and Teclis.
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,471
    High elves are pretty much Atlantis + England (navy and trade focus)

    Dark elves are reversed Canadians.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    edited December 2019
    @Sir_Godspeed Do you think that the High Elves were pretty Northern Greece (Macedonian like Epirus) or Southern (Athens)
  • MaksboMaksbo Registered Users Posts: 296
    edited December 2019
    Dark Elves are clearly a joke on the US Americans (no hostility intented). Its quite simple deducted from their location in the wh world compared to the real world, and they share their history of being a people leaving their homeland behind and immigrating to a new land. They have technologically advanced machineguns (repeater crowbows) and big hangar ships (black arks). And the slave thing too
  • ArneSoArneSo Hamburg, Germany Registered Users Posts: 20,121
    They have several influences.
    The main influence is of course Tolkien and LotR, but based on that, both HE and DE are also inspired by historic cultures.

    HE - British Empire, Athen
    DE - Sparta

    If we look at the war between Asur and Druchi, is pretty clear that GW used both the American independence war and the Peloponnensian War between Sparta and Athen as an inspiration.
    Nurgle is love, Nurgle is life
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,471
    I don't know If I can accept Sparta as inspiration for the DE.

    Not only did Athens economy also rely on slaves, minus the supression of the Heloten, but I don't quite see the angle which suggest that the way the war started with DE vs He is similar to Athen vs Sparta.


    I mean it maybe works if you take a very black and white approach to both Sparta and Athen.
    Aka you assume Athen to be "good" because it is "democratic" and Sparta "evil" because it isn't.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • DraxynnicDraxynnic Registered Users Posts: 10,054
    Warhammer Elves are a grab-bag of influences. Greek is strong, especially in their armies, but there are plenty of others mixed in.
  • yolordmcswagyolordmcswag Registered Users Posts: 3,605
    They have a lot of different inspirations, but the ancient greeks are clearly among them. The Athens VS Sparta theme is pretty clear, the dark elves are incredibly militaristic, while the high elves are seen as the peak of culture and knowledge. The high elf strong maritime theme also fits Athens. GW did however make both extreme stereotypes, so while Athens, Sparta and the greeks all had a lot in common, GW split the tropes. So the bad things, like slavery, are mainly attributed to the dark elves, while the more good associations are given to the high elves.

    A lot is also taken directly or indirectly from Tolkien elves, the high elves mostly but all of them have a lot of it. Heck, elves as we know them are from Tolkien, even if some myths about elves existed before, all fantasy elves nowadays are straight from Tolkien's works, including warhammer.

    Also, a lot of minor inspirations are all over the place. Dark elves have a religion based on insane amounts of bloody sacrafice from the Aztecs. They are vicious coastal raiders from a frozen land like the vikings. Dark elf assassins have a lot of inspiration from ninjas. The drugged down and frenzied witch elves also fit with viking berserkers. High elf swordmasters are partially inspired by Samurai. Wood elves have some celtic inspiration as well, such as their tattoos for example.
  • TayvarTayvar Registered Users Posts: 12,209
    SiWI said:

    I don't know If I can accept Sparta as inspiration for the DE.

    Not only did Athens economy also rely on slaves, minus the supression of the Heloten, but I don't quite see the angle which suggest that the way the war started with DE vs He is similar to Athen vs Sparta.


    I mean it maybe works if you take a very black and white approach to both Sparta and Athen.
    Aka you assume Athen to be "good" because it is "democratic" and Sparta "evil" because it isn't.

    Sparta was commonly shown as "evil" or at least brutal/dark, and there is also inspiration from Pirates.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AthensAndSparta
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,471
    Tayvar said:

    SiWI said:

    I don't know If I can accept Sparta as inspiration for the DE.

    Not only did Athens economy also rely on slaves, minus the supression of the Heloten, but I don't quite see the angle which suggest that the way the war started with DE vs He is similar to Athen vs Sparta.


    I mean it maybe works if you take a very black and white approach to both Sparta and Athen.
    Aka you assume Athen to be "good" because it is "democratic" and Sparta "evil" because it isn't.

    Sparta was commonly shown as "evil" or at least brutal/dark, and there is also inspiration from Pirates.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AthensAndSparta
    sorry I boycott tvtropes.com, but what you say kinda reinforces me:
    its a common oversimplification which less does Spart vilify then white wash Athens.

    I mean I don't think I have to show too much of what Athens did in these forums, but lets just say that it would be really easy to paint Athens as nonredeemable villain.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • ErathilErathil Registered Users Posts: 1,019
    I'd say they have more of an Atlantis inspiration, but generally Atlantis is modeled off of Ancient Greece.

    There's some overlap there, especially with the high elf phalanxes, but it's nothing as direct as the Empire - Holy Roman Empire or Bretonnia - Arthurian Britain connections.
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    edited December 2019
    I still want to understand what city-state specifically you guys would regard the high elves as? Sorry, if I am coming off as bratty
    Post edited by Arknav555 on
  • yolordmcswagyolordmcswag Registered Users Posts: 3,605
    SiWI said:

    Tayvar said:

    SiWI said:

    I don't know If I can accept Sparta as inspiration for the DE.

    Not only did Athens economy also rely on slaves, minus the supression of the Heloten, but I don't quite see the angle which suggest that the way the war started with DE vs He is similar to Athen vs Sparta.


    I mean it maybe works if you take a very black and white approach to both Sparta and Athen.
    Aka you assume Athen to be "good" because it is "democratic" and Sparta "evil" because it isn't.

    Sparta was commonly shown as "evil" or at least brutal/dark, and there is also inspiration from Pirates.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AthensAndSparta
    sorry I boycott tvtropes.com, but what you say kinda reinforces me:
    its a common oversimplification which less does Spart vilify then white wash Athens.

    I mean I don't think I have to show too much of what Athens did in these forums, but lets just say that it would be really easy to paint Athens as nonredeemable villain.
    Well, dark elves and high elves are not Sparta and Athens 1 to 1, it's only inspiration for them. Obviously dark elves are more evil than any society of humans that have ever existed in real life, and high elves are made to be super shiny good guys. So while both Sparta and Athens had slaves, that trope is used mainly for dark elves since they are evil. Meanwhile high elves are given the good tropes of ancient Greece, like philosophy, culture, architecture etc.
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    So, the High Elves are inspired by Cultural Greece in General while Sparta is stereotypical Sparta
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,471

    SiWI said:

    Tayvar said:

    SiWI said:

    I don't know If I can accept Sparta as inspiration for the DE.

    Not only did Athens economy also rely on slaves, minus the supression of the Heloten, but I don't quite see the angle which suggest that the way the war started with DE vs He is similar to Athen vs Sparta.


    I mean it maybe works if you take a very black and white approach to both Sparta and Athen.
    Aka you assume Athen to be "good" because it is "democratic" and Sparta "evil" because it isn't.

    Sparta was commonly shown as "evil" or at least brutal/dark, and there is also inspiration from Pirates.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AthensAndSparta
    sorry I boycott tvtropes.com, but what you say kinda reinforces me:
    its a common oversimplification which less does Spart vilify then white wash Athens.

    I mean I don't think I have to show too much of what Athens did in these forums, but lets just say that it would be really easy to paint Athens as nonredeemable villain.
    Well, dark elves and high elves are not Sparta and Athens 1 to 1, it's only inspiration for them. Obviously dark elves are more evil than any society of humans that have ever existed in real life, and high elves are made to be super shiny good guys. So while both Sparta and Athens had slaves, that trope is used mainly for dark elves since they are evil. Meanwhile high elves are given the good tropes of ancient Greece, like philosophy, culture, architecture etc.
    the thing is... I see HE being Athen I don't see DE beign Sparta...

    nothing of the DE really screams Sparta to me.
    Elderly counsel? 2 Kings?
    Maybe I don't know enough DE lore but right now they kinda have nothing Spartan to them.
    I mean Spartan were famous for strict discipline and being well "spartan" in terms of food architecture ect.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    Militaristic society and slaves are what I really noticed.
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,471
    the thing with slavery is that is a very general thing in ancient times and nothing specific spartan.

    If the suppression of the helots was somehow mirrored then it would be more clear that De have spartan influences. But I don't see any of that in DE lore.


    Militaristic is also a very general and for me the DE are drastically different militaristic then sparta.

    Its a bit hard to completely formulate but the Spartan approach seems to be more focus on discipline while DE, for me, don*'t scream discipline because they have constant backstabbing and giving into they every petty passions.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • TayvarTayvar Registered Users Posts: 12,209
    Meroitic7 said:

    So, the High Elves are inspired by Cultural Greece in General while Sparta is stereotypical Sparta

    Yes basically, the Dark Elves also have some Roman stuff, as they have Gladiator Arenas.
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    But the HE are definitely traditional Northern greeks (Macedon) and some Athens
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,471
    edited December 2019
    Tayvar said:

    Meroitic7 said:

    So, the High Elves are inspired by Cultural Greece in General while Sparta is stereotypical Sparta

    Yes basically, the Dark Elves also have some Roman stuff, as they have Gladiator Arenas.
    I actually would propose that DE are more Roman then sparta...

    Decadence, cruelty, backstabbing ect...
    Romans are far more famous for that then Spartans and they often serve as mirror for the Greeks and vice versa.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • yolordmcswagyolordmcswag Registered Users Posts: 3,605
    SiWI said:

    SiWI said:

    Tayvar said:

    SiWI said:

    I don't know If I can accept Sparta as inspiration for the DE.

    Not only did Athens economy also rely on slaves, minus the supression of the Heloten, but I don't quite see the angle which suggest that the way the war started with DE vs He is similar to Athen vs Sparta.


    I mean it maybe works if you take a very black and white approach to both Sparta and Athen.
    Aka you assume Athen to be "good" because it is "democratic" and Sparta "evil" because it isn't.

    Sparta was commonly shown as "evil" or at least brutal/dark, and there is also inspiration from Pirates.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AthensAndSparta
    sorry I boycott tvtropes.com, but what you say kinda reinforces me:
    its a common oversimplification which less does Spart vilify then white wash Athens.

    I mean I don't think I have to show too much of what Athens did in these forums, but lets just say that it would be really easy to paint Athens as nonredeemable villain.
    Well, dark elves and high elves are not Sparta and Athens 1 to 1, it's only inspiration for them. Obviously dark elves are more evil than any society of humans that have ever existed in real life, and high elves are made to be super shiny good guys. So while both Sparta and Athens had slaves, that trope is used mainly for dark elves since they are evil. Meanwhile high elves are given the good tropes of ancient Greece, like philosophy, culture, architecture etc.
    the thing is... I see HE being Athen I don't see DE beign Sparta...

    nothing of the DE really screams Sparta to me.
    Elderly counsel? 2 Kings?
    Maybe I don't know enough DE lore but right now they kinda have nothing Spartan to them.
    I mean Spartan were famous for strict discipline and being well "spartan" in terms of food architecture ect.
    It's more about the rivalry, aswell as the militaristic theme. Athens VS Sparta is a historical rivalry, two similiar yet very different societies. Athens is know for culture and academics, while Sparta is mainly known for it's strong military and militaristic society.

    This mirrors the high/dark elf rivalry, they are similiar yet very different. The high elves are known for culture and academics, while dark elves are known for being very militaristic. Of course there are many other inspirations for both of them, the rivalry is just a theme.
  • SiWISiWI Senior Member Registered Users Posts: 11,471

    SiWI said:

    SiWI said:

    Tayvar said:

    SiWI said:

    I don't know If I can accept Sparta as inspiration for the DE.

    Not only did Athens economy also rely on slaves, minus the supression of the Heloten, but I don't quite see the angle which suggest that the way the war started with DE vs He is similar to Athen vs Sparta.


    I mean it maybe works if you take a very black and white approach to both Sparta and Athen.
    Aka you assume Athen to be "good" because it is "democratic" and Sparta "evil" because it isn't.

    Sparta was commonly shown as "evil" or at least brutal/dark, and there is also inspiration from Pirates.

    https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AthensAndSparta
    sorry I boycott tvtropes.com, but what you say kinda reinforces me:
    its a common oversimplification which less does Spart vilify then white wash Athens.

    I mean I don't think I have to show too much of what Athens did in these forums, but lets just say that it would be really easy to paint Athens as nonredeemable villain.
    Well, dark elves and high elves are not Sparta and Athens 1 to 1, it's only inspiration for them. Obviously dark elves are more evil than any society of humans that have ever existed in real life, and high elves are made to be super shiny good guys. So while both Sparta and Athens had slaves, that trope is used mainly for dark elves since they are evil. Meanwhile high elves are given the good tropes of ancient Greece, like philosophy, culture, architecture etc.
    the thing is... I see HE being Athen I don't see DE beign Sparta...

    nothing of the DE really screams Sparta to me.
    Elderly counsel? 2 Kings?
    Maybe I don't know enough DE lore but right now they kinda have nothing Spartan to them.
    I mean Spartan were famous for strict discipline and being well "spartan" in terms of food architecture ect.
    It's more about the rivalry, aswell as the militaristic theme. Athens VS Sparta is a historical rivalry, two similiar yet very different societies. Athens is know for culture and academics, while Sparta is mainly known for it's strong military and militaristic society.

    This mirrors the high/dark elf rivalry, they are similiar yet very different. The high elves are known for culture and academics, while dark elves are known for being very militaristic. Of course there are many other inspirations for both of them, the rivalry is just a theme.
    Even here I think romans vs greek work better.

    Also the way HE vs De is setup, has little to do with "rivalry" but "I/we got betrayed by you!"

    Also, me being a cynic jerk, HE are being famous for having dragons.
    Ratling_Guns.gif?t=1554385892
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    I can see that!
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    How about the wood elves? And how would malus darkblade play into it
  • Sir_GodspeedSir_Godspeed Registered Users Posts: 3,051
    Meroitic7 said:

    @Sir_Godspeed Do you think that the High Elves were pretty Northern Greece (Macedonian like Epirus) or Southern (Athens)

    I don't think the Games Workshop writers made much difference between them.

    EDIT: Seems like others have pointed this out.
  • Sir_GodspeedSir_Godspeed Registered Users Posts: 3,051
    SiWI said:

    If the suppression of the helots was somehow mirrored then it would be more clear that De have spartan influences. But I don't see any of that in DE lore.

    The Death Night is not entirely different from the Krypteia. However, the Krypteia was a rite of passage and was focused on terrorizing the helots, while the Death Nights is a ritual of the Cult of Khaine and applies to basically everyone, so they don't overlap entirely.

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