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Are the Warhammer Elves inspired by Greece?

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  • TheFatTheFat Registered Users Posts: 28
    As a ten-year-old in the GW store, I loved the High Elves because of the connection their look had to the Grecian and Homeric stories I had grown up reading. The place names, the Corinthian helms, etc. I didn't make the Dark Elf connection to Sparta until much later, but as others have pointed out, there are plenty of problems with the analogy. Looking for consistency in GW writing staff, who did everything tongue in cheek (not to mention the many hands through which the lore has passed, in a largely negative way I might add, since the departure of some of the foundational types), is fraught.

    Worth mentioning that many prominent Athenians (Socrates, Xenophon, Aristotle) all thought the Spartan system superior to the Athenian one. Most had a dim view of democracy, and this was largely shared by Thucydides, who wrote the History of the Peloponnesian War (and participated in it). Sparta maintained a continuous and stable system whereas the Athenian one was rocked by conflict for power, from Draco to Solon onwards - though Pericles was represented well, as the anti-democratic democrat, whilst Cleon, the demogogue, gets served hard by ancient commentators.
  • FalaxardFalaxard Registered Users Posts: 1
    It's a mishmash of Hellenic greek, Byzantine and English and the obvious Antlantean. Their military is based on the Phalanx and longbows with a smattering of elite auxilla.
    Province names are mostly derivatives of Hellenic states or Byzantine regions with some England thrown in. The city of Lothern (London) in the province of Eataine (Athens) Chrace (Thrace) Ellyrion (Illyria) etc
  • GZOFSPARTAGZOFSPARTA Registered Users Posts: 1
    edited February 1
    Ulthuan island is EXACTLY like the Santorini island of greece (google map it to check it). The name "ulthuan" comes from "Athenian", (Athens was the capital of Telian League). Many or Ulthuans cities/ places come from greek places. 1) Eataine (the capital)= Athinai (athens, the capital). 2) Ellyrion= either Illyria, or Hellia. The first is modern day albania, the second is southern greece. 3) cothique= Corinth. 4) chrace= Thrace 5) Nagarythe= Marathon. 6) Yvresse= epirus. And so one. These names do not only sound identical, but the places look alike too ( and their position on the map too, for example Chrace is northern, exactly like greek Thrace too. Yvresse is mountainous with few residents, just like greek Epirus. And so on) .

    To be honest, i wouldn't say HE and DE are athens- sparta civil war. Its more like greeks-persians wars, or Mycenaian- trojans. Another theory is "romans vs greeks". The sure thing is that High Elves are the greeks, and the Dark elves are Historical attackers from the sea (persians/romans). But because the lore says civil war, possibly it could be the Minoan- Mycenaian fights. Mycenaians are the DE, and the so called "sea people" that was roaming the region after the great volcano eruption of 1600 BCE, and the Minoans are the HE , as the best seafarers of the time, with many colonies around.

    If i had to bet my money, i would say "greeks vs persians" has the most similarities. Cuz DA have many of Persian traits (one man to rule them all but divided in satrapes, infighting, many many slaves, big ships, "magic", attacked a lot of times and every time returned home defeated, had to use ships to cross to the attacking destination, units with gold armor and so on).
    Post edited by GZOFSPARTA on
  • Arknav555Arknav555 Registered Users Posts: 127
    Your observations are quite acute, but next time don't necromance a thread that is a year old. I still get notifications!
  • PraiseSigmawPraiseSigmaw Registered Users Posts: 1,611
    Arknav555 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?

    Greece, Atlantis and the melniboneans from Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion stories.
    Warhammer Fantasy is less grimdark than 40k.
    Ogre Kingdoms when CA?
    Dogs of War need Ogres and halflings.
  • PraiseSigmawPraiseSigmaw Registered Users Posts: 1,611
    ArneSo said:

    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.

    I think Moorcock's influence is bigger than Tolkien. Especially when it comes to Chaos.
    Warhammer Fantasy is less grimdark than 40k.
    Ogre Kingdoms when CA?
    Dogs of War need Ogres and halflings.
  • PraiseSigmawPraiseSigmaw Registered Users Posts: 1,611

    The asur are deeply influenced by the works of Tolkien, particularly their aesthetic, architecture and choice of armor, down to their pointy winged helmets. Even some of the names are borrowed.

    I thought the pointy helmets came from Elric of Melnibone.
    Warhammer Fantasy is less grimdark than 40k.
    Ogre Kingdoms when CA?
    Dogs of War need Ogres and halflings.
  • PraiseSigmawPraiseSigmaw Registered Users Posts: 1,611
    Draxynnic said:


    Draxynnic said:

    I would note that there's little if any Tolkein in the Dark Elves. While Tolkein had the "Dark Elf" term, it didn't mean an evil Elf - a Dark Elf was an Elf where neither they nor any of their ancestors had been to Valinor. Most of the elves of Mirkwood, for instance, were Dark Elves by Tolkein's definitions.

    The actual evil Elves were Orcs, and a few individuals who went off the rails (but there were no entire cultural groups of Elves that were outright evil).

    Well, the dark elves are fantasy elves, and pretty much all modern fantasy elves are from Tolkien. They are long-lived, beautiful, agile, pointy-eared, graceful and generally skilled people. They are disciplined(most of them anyway) and highly trained in battle, and especially good at using ranged weapons. They are also expert craftsmen and make good weapons, armour, and have good architecture. They also have a superiority complex towards "lesser" races like humans and dwarfs. They are skilled at handling animals(although for dark elves it is manifested in a very cruel way, unlike the high/wood ones). They are also great seafarers. Their leaders are ancient and powerful, and possess great amounts of knowledge and magical power. All of this is part of the warhammer elves, dark elves included, and it is all from Tolkien elves.
    If you're going to go through several layers, you'll end up at the Finnish and Scandinavian mythology that Tolkein started from.

    Regular elves do come pretty much straight out of Tolkein (with whichever twist the world-builder in question chooses to apply) but the concept of "dark elves" in current fantasy is not something that came out of Tolkein directly. It's a later invention, probably growing out of the idea of applying the Seelie/Unseelie or the liosalfar/svartalfar division to Tolkein elves, but without the subtlety of those divisions in actual mythology.

    Once you get to the likes of druchii or drow, you're generally not looking at Tolkein except as a caricatured (both the Games Workshop and WOTC have admitted that neither would realistically retain their societies for long given how backstabby they are) inversion of the more directly Tolkein-inspired elves in the setting.
    The druchii and Drow are based on melniboneans i think.
    Warhammer Fantasy is less grimdark than 40k.
    Ogre Kingdoms when CA?
    Dogs of War need Ogres and halflings.
  • LennoxPoodleLennoxPoodle Registered Users Posts: 510

    If i had to bet my money, i would say "greeks vs persians" has the most similarities. Cuz DA have many of Persian traits (one man to rule them all but divided in satrapes, infighting, many many slaves, big ships, "magic", attacked a lot of times and every time returned home defeated, had to use ships to cross to the attacking destination, units with gold armor and so on).

    Not to sure about that, it is a civil war after all. Also there are significant helenic and specifically spartan elements in the portrayal. Their entire economy depends on slaves for onstance, in a hyperbolic version of the spartan Helot based system. The blood night to feels like a play on the Krypteia. Many of their monsters are greek in origin too (but so are many others in Warhammer): Hydra, Kharybdis, Medusae and Harpies (Manticore is persian though). The biggest parralel is their emphasis on martial culture and the fact that every citizen is more less valued on their ability as a warrior, together with everyone (meaning every dark elf, not slave) actually being one. I maintain my notion that both have significant hellenic influences with one side portraying the negative and the other the positive (to us) aspects. One contrast to Sparta for instance is the Druchii's extremely hierarchical system, which pretty much runs against Sparta's extremely egalitarian (for citizens!!!) culture.
    Similarly one side portraying Athens and the other Sparta seems to be to simple. Again it seems to be more about aspects than specific poleis.
  • brago90brago90 Registered Users Posts: 784
    To begin we have to emphasize that every elf begins by drinking from Norse mythology (dwarfs too), in Norse mythology there are both elves of light and elves of darkness who live in different worlds (one full of life and another desolate ). Note that in Norse mythology neither the elves of light nor those of darkness were bad.

    Wood elves meanwhile I have no idea where they come from but tree hugging elves are common in literature and I suppose that at some point the myth of the elf was merged with the myth of forest spirits and that's where they were born.

    Aesthetically they are pure tolkien (wood elves a little less)

    Historically all elves drink from England, the Wood are Celts, the High are the British Empire and the Dark are the United States. Wood live in peace in balance with nature, High are manipulative bastards who think they own the world and Dark are the bad guys for not tolerating the corruption of the High and then end up being almost worse.

    Culturally like all races they drink from many different cultures.
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