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  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
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    Mm ... yes and no. Premodern steel depends a lot on the iron impurities found at a specific location to achieve specific properties. Japanese iron was uniquely well-suited to the types of blades the Japanese tended to favor - inflexible with a strong spine, soft core, and hard edge. You couldn't have used the iron found in Japan to make most European swords, but you also couldn't have used most of the iron found elsewhere to make Japanese swords. This is all somewhat complicated by the extended peace of the Edo period, during which the use and even the length of swords was regulated, and they became status symbols and weapons of the civilian duelist. As a result, Edo-period swords are generally shorter, lighter, and less robust than earlier Muromachi-period swords (not necessarily worse, to be clear, but suited to a different environment and style of use).

    That said, a Japanese longsword is pretty similar to a German longsword in actual practice - there's more voiding, more one-handed techniques (especially come the Edo period), slightly less sophistication in the bind due to the lack of a crossguard, and no false edge, but a lot of the stances and transitions are common to either weapon. The German longsword might have a slight edge in versatility, but it's debatable.
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    You know what I'd love to see more of in rpgs and fiction? Damascus steel - or some fantastical rip off of it. There's no need for adamantium when there's a real-life type of cool sword which WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE ANYMORE and which has all kinds of weird properties. In legend, Beowulf used a damascus steel blade to kill Grendel's mother (that one was explicitly magical) and damascus steel blades could apparently cut through rifle barrels like butter (probably not true but who cares). I mean, we've been trying to figure these things out and they just keep surprising us, like when researchers discovered there were nanowires and carbon nanotubes in there.I mean, just by virtue of awesome appearance, how are they not more common in fantasy?
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    It's a Chinese creation in the sense that the idea is first seen there, and the idea of animals becoming human through self-cultivation in general has Taoist roots, but myths have a way of taking on the attributes of the cultures that import them. Japan in particular had and has a tendency to absorb folklore and mythology (among other things) from every culture they come into contact with. That doesn't make it any less Japanese mythology. It just means that it has roots elsewhere.

    Japan, Korea and China all have their own versions of the multi-tailed fox-spirit myth, all with very different subtext and general tone (I think Malaysia might also have its own version, but I'm not sure). Japan's kitsune is more likely to be portrayed as sympathetic or even virtuous, owing in part to the association between foxes and the major deity Inari, and even in their malevolent aspects tend to be pretty keen on infiltrating human society. Korean kumiho are more decidedly monstrous, and stories about them tend to involve them killing and eating people - even in modern, Japanese-influenced portrayals where the kumiho are more humanized, the eating people thing is pretty common. China's huli jing are generally bad news, also get a pretty human portrayal in the manner of kitsune, and are more frequently tied into the larger Chinese cosmology as ascended beings.
    For what I have read, they are like this:

    -Chinese foxes tend to be more sexual, behaving more like succubi and incubi, enthralling humans and sucking their lifeforce or having them spend money for the fox, or just merely tricking them into having sex...
    -Japanese foxes tend to be pranksters and thieves. When they fall in love with human beings they tend to be benevolent, and some of them serve as messengers of the god Inari, but they can burn houses, steal food and possess human beings.
    -Korean foxes are murderous, human-eating monsters, period...

    Quote Originally Posted by halfeye View Post
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    Don't rapiers beat katana? I don't know so, but they have better reach, and seem capable of surviving being hit.
    My thoughts on it:

    If they start with the weapons in their sheaths, the japanese warrior unsheaths first and cuts the europena rapier wielder...

    If they start with the weapons in their hands, I'm sure most of the time the rapier wielder hits first, and there is little the japanese katane wielder can do to stop it, but unless the wound is intantly lethal, the katana wielder would cut him down in turn...

    So there are three possible outcomes:

    1.-The rapier wielder hits the katana wielder in the face, lodging his point into his brain, or manages to stab through his heart, winning the fight.
    2.-The rapier wielder hits the katana wielder in a non-lethal point, and is cut down afterwards, losing the fight.
    3.-The rapier wielder hits the katana wielder in the gut, stomach, liver or lungs, inflicting a lethal wound but the katana wielder cuts him down before dying. Both lose.
    Last edited by Clistenes; 2018-10-14 at 09:28 AM.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by GaelofDarkness View Post
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    You know what I'd love to see more of in rpgs and fiction? Damascus steel - or some fantastical rip off of it. There's no need for adamantium when there's a real-life type of cool sword which WE DON'T KNOW HOW TO MAKE ANYMORE and which has all kinds of weird properties. In legend, Beowulf used a damascus steel blade to kill Grendel's mother (that one was explicitly magical) and damascus steel blades could apparently cut through rifle barrels like butter (probably not true but who cares). I mean, we've been trying to figure these things out and they just keep surprising us, like when researchers discovered there were nanowires and carbon nanotubes in there.I mean, just by virtue of awesome appearance, how are they not more common in fantasy?
    That basically is what adamantine things are in fantasy. I actually think that reflavoring it to a weird ancient smithing technique would be cool.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    Ogres. In some of the fairy-tales I remember, they're intelligent and often magical - a far cry from D&D's moronic brutes. They did still eat people, though.

    Goblins. A synonym for 'fairies'.

    In D&D, dragons. Most (European) dragons of legend were exceptionally dangerous beasts tearing up the countryside, not intelligent spellcasting treasure-hoarding masterminds. (Well, Fafnir hoarded treasure, but I don't think he could talk.)
    Not only goblins, imps were also a kind of fairy.

    Pixies were possibly the souls of kids, and don't get along well with fairies.

    Sucubbus/Incubbus are just the old term for vampires, werewolves were like the vampire's first stage.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xania View Post
    Sucubbus/Incubbus are just the old term for vampires, werewolves were like the vampire's first stage.
    IIRC succubi and incubi were related to night terrors and sleep paralysis, and therefore would be more closely related to space aliens and witches than to vampires

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    IIRC succubi and incubi were related to night terrors and sleep paralysis, and therefore would be more closely related to space aliens and witches than to vampires
    Maybe, that information comes from a book wich says that vampires are a recent creation, being actually an amalgahm of several entities including succubi/inccubi, could be wrong though.

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    What is and is not a vampire in folklore is not always readily apparent. The modern vampire is definitely a modern construction, but its evolution is convoluted and includes a wide variety of disparate influences.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    And for that matter what is a succubus and what they did was not static over time and location. And, as is often the case for mythologies, some creatures got translated to their closest equivalent in the local language, even if that rolls over some places where they don't fit.

    For example oni vs ogre. They have a lot of overlap (large, from the wilderness, strong), so it's tempting to just translate the term, but oni were more brightly colored, and often (but not commonly) to be friendly in a way ogres arent.
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    What is and is not a vampire in folklore is not always readily apparent. The modern vampire is definitely a modern construction, but its evolution is convoluted and includes a wide variety of disparate influences.
    The idea of human shaped supernatural creatures that feed on human blood has been popular in various parts of the world for at least half a millenium, and the idea of the undead has been around since the dawn of civilization

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The idea of human shaped supernatural creatures that feed on human blood has been popular in various parts of the world for at least half a millenium, and the idea of the undead has been around since the dawn of civilization
    The term "undead" is fairly new, a couple centuries I think, but the concept of undead actually predates civilisation. Civilisation is settling down and building cities. People started burying their dead because they worried about them rising again in the stone age.

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    I always figured that legends about the dead spirits returning as a threat to the living were to reinforce the idea that the cycle of life and death was natural and necessary. If the dead were better off not being in the realm of the living, death was probably easier to accept. It probably also encouraged people to use more sanitary burial practices and keep distance from corpses. Not universally of course, just as a general trend.
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    I find the idea that there was a fixed, culture-wide (or wider!) concept of these creatures (or many things) puzzling. One bad habit of modern times is that we look back and compress the weird, wild variety of the past into these nice little boxes. We obliterate the wide array of micro-cultures by lumping them together into ahistorical countries.

    We forget that, unlike today, they didn't have fast, broad-spectrum communication and homogenization of information and cultural artifacts. Now memes can go viral and spread world-wide in hours; then you'd have much more heterogeneous cultures, often at the group-of-villages level. In some areas information and customs spread fast; others much slower. And not always in the way we think they would. Two areas far apart might have been linked by a river path and so be in sync; two other areas much closer might have been separated by political or natural barriers to the point that their practices may be alien. And these practices weren't static, either.

    </rant>
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhoenixPhyre View Post
    We forget that, unlike today, they didn't have fast, broad-spectrum communication and homogenization of information and cultural artifacts.
    Not everything is verbally transmitted. A lot of these widespread or universal ideas weren't transmitted at all. They just arose independently everywhere because everyone was looking at the same "source material". Dead bodies decompose the same way regardless of what language you use to describe it, so everybody has similar stories of the undead based on things dead bodies do. Flesh contracts so it looks like hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. Rigor mortis makes dead bodies appear obviously inanimate, but then it goes away and the bodies are loose and limber again like they are coming back to life. Fluids leaking out of orifices can make it look like a previously clean dead body suddenly has blood on its lips. These things all give rise to very similar "just so" stories around the world about dead bodies getting back up to feed on the living. We know stone age people worried about it because they didn't just bury their dead: they tied them up before burial.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Xuc Xac View Post
    Not everything is verbally transmitted. A lot of these widespread or universal ideas weren't transmitted at all. They just arose independently everywhere because everyone was looking at the same "source material". Dead bodies decompose the same way regardless of what language you use to describe it, so everybody has similar stories of the undead based on things dead bodies do. Flesh contracts so it looks like hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. Rigor mortis makes dead bodies appear obviously inanimate, but then it goes away and the bodies are loose and limber again like they are coming back to life. Fluids leaking out of orifices can make it look like a previously clean dead body suddenly has blood on its lips. These things all give rise to very similar "just so" stories around the world about dead bodies getting back up to feed on the living. We know stone age people worried about it because they didn't just bury their dead: they tied them up before burial.
    But the resulting legends had substantial variations from village to village. We can try to find similarities, but trying to say "THIS is what a vampire was in the legends (and not THAT)" is imposing a regularity and a structure that may never have existed.

    I was more directing my rant to the "but ogre meant X, Y, and Z" or "chinese X's were Y" comments. Consistency isn't all it's cracked up to be--the legends were legion. Embrace the variations.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    The idea of human shaped supernatural creatures that feed on human blood has been popular in various parts of the world for at least half a millenium, and the idea of the undead has been around since the dawn of civilization
    Definitely. But the modern vampire, even given all its variation, is a lot more specific than just, "blood drinking demon that looks like a person," and while we can identify early instances in Gothic literature prior to Bram Stoker, it's not clear what in particular inspired those authors. Romanian legends are definitely in there somewhere, but like most folklore, there's no clear lineage.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eldan View Post
    What I find interesting is how much Tolkien's depiction of dwarves has taken over from mythological accounts. I'm not too familiar with what the norse dwarves actually looked like (is that ever actually described), but the dwarves I'm familiar with from alpine myths are:

    Tiny, from about two hands tall to maybe waist-high on a human.
    Mostly old and wrinkled, almost always described as wizened, thin.
    Mean and vengeful.
    The professor might have covered your Alpine dwarves as well. Mim and the so-called petty dwarves generally match much of your description. Mim shows up in the tales from the First Age a couple of times and really wishes larger folk (Elves and men) would leave him and his rocky home alone. I think he even curses Turin or Beleg. But I’d have to reread to confirm.

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Oh, true. I forgot about Mim. He fits pretty well.

    I wasn't so much thinking about Tolkien though as about his followers. Tolkien's dwarves still move silently and have sharp ears, and they are quite cultured. They brought musical instruments, but not weapons. They have secret doors to their underground cities that can only be seen in moonlight.
    But then you filter that through fifty or so years of fantasy clichés, and the dwarves are stout scottish vikings who consider stealth dishonourable and instead charge shouting and axe-swinging.
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    I think it goes to different categorization impulses. Tolkein’s races were, to him, agglomerations of mythological archetypes, ethnic and regional stereotypes, particular interests, and embodied symbols. So Hobbits, to Tolkien, seem to have been stand-ins for the rural British common people, symbolic reflections of his views on childhood and innocence, and idealizations of a pre-industrial lifestyle. But to the rest of us, hobbits are short, sneaky, reluctant, lucky, and somewhat hedonistic; these are the most visible attributes of the ones we meet in the text. In the same way, Tolkein’s imitators drew dwarves not from the inspirations he did, but from the most prominent dwarves in his saga - Thorin and Gimli - both of whom are steadfast honorable tough guys, rather than secretive, vindictive misers as Tolkein’s dwarves sometimes were. And then there’s the need to understand things in contrast to one another - so even though Tolkein portrayed dwarves and Hobbits with a lot of shared attributes, those traits tended to get divided in half and apportioned evenly to either group.
    Quote Originally Posted by KKL
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post

    Speaking of ogres, IIRC "Orc" was originally just a variant or cognate of the word "ogre"
    And both are descendants of Latin Orcus, a god of the underworld.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paleomancer View Post
    Sometimes you can even get words for creatures that have nothing to do with the original legend at all. Take “Wights” for instance. That’s an Old English word originally used mostly to mean person, human, or man.
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

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    I don't know why this stuck with me, but it did. Basically, according to some myths, incubi and succubi are the same creature. The foocubus takes a female form, collects "seed" from a mortal man, takes a male form, deposits the demonic seed into a mortal woman, and leaves her pregnant with a cambion before heading off to...I dunno, go do whatever mythic demons do when they're not in the middle of a myth. (It probably involves the medieval equivalent of blackjack and hookers.)

    I heard once that vampires and werewolves were the same creature in some ethnic variation or another, with vampires basically being what happens after you kill a werewolf.


    Quote Originally Posted by Arbane View Post
    In D&D, dragons. Most (European) dragons of legend were exceptionally dangerous beasts tearing up the countryside, not intelligent spellcasting treasure-hoarding masterminds. (Well, Fafnir hoarded treasure, but I don't think he could talk.)
    D&D dragons seem to hoard traits from across European mythology (though, strangely, not their toxicity, which seems to be at least as prevalent as fire-breathing), and added in some traits from Eastern dragons as well (particularly their magic and intellect).
    More accurately, they took Smaug and played up the magical mastermind aspects while borrowing some miscellaneous elements from eastern dragons.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I'm considering turning goblins in my setting into evil stereotyped Englishmen just to mess with the word's origins. Your average goblin here drinks tea, is skilled in the longbow, has an accent strangely reminiscent of RP, have a few other quirks that only make sense if you're an Englishman stereotyping the English, and a pack of them is referred to as a 'club'.
    My thought process went something like: "So...if hobgoblins were originally just a subtype of goblins that became their own thing, I guess they'd be like Americans in this analogy. Which would mean hobgoblins would basically be Americans as stereotyped by Americans...Texans, I guess?"


    Quote Originally Posted by FathomsDeep View Post
    Unicorns are a favorite of mine. Pliny wrote that “The unicorn is the fiercest animal, and it is said that it is impossible to capture one alive. It has the body of a horse, the head of a stag, the feet of an elephant, the tail of a boar, and a single black horn three feet long in the middle of its forehead. Its cry is a deep bellow.” From which, it's not impossible to surmise, he was refering in fact to a rhinoceros.
    Even after it went through many generations of mythification, it still had elements that rarely make it to modern fantasy. As one of my teachers one put it: "It's a horse, with a giant horn, that's attracted to virgins."


    Quote Originally Posted by Clistenes View Post
    But the "species" that have been warped most by D&D are... gods. D&D has convinced the general public that gods need human faith in order to survive. You will find that idea in all kinds of modern pop culture. Ancient people did never believe that their gods needed faith to survive... at most, they believed that gods needed to eat, and fed them with sacrifices, but it was blood what fed the gods, not prayer...
    There are at least some mythic examples of gods at least losing divine powers if they aren't worshiped. For instance, once Ra went senile (which is something Egyptian gods did when this particular myth was written), he started acting like a senile old fool, losing the respect and worship of mortals. By the time he noticed, his divine strength had waned to the point that he couldn't do anything about it.
    ...Until his dad told him to pluck out his eye and turn it into a vengeful goddess, at least.


    Quote Originally Posted by The Jack View Post
    A think that annoys me a bit is that the Kitsune (and some others) are seen as Japanese mythology.
    It's a chinese creation. Japan as a distinctly seperate culture has only existed for a thousand years. But when we think of multi tailed fox demons now, it'll be wearing a kimono and'll have a katana somewhere...
    All else aside...one culture spent most of the latter half of the 20th century on the wrong side of the Iron Curtain while the other was swapping cool bits of culture with the West. It's not too surprising that the Japanese version of the kitsune is the one we got.


    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
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    Now as a very basic assumption we can say that a curved blade will be better at cutting, but even with that there are situations that will cause other styles of slashing swords to dominate.
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    ...though depending on the details, it's possible to create a sword just curved enough to ruin its ability to stab without significantly improving its cutting ability. I've heard it argued by people who know their stuff that katana fall into that category.



    Quote Originally Posted by Bohandas View Post
    IIRC succubi and incubi were related to night terrors and sleep paralysis, and therefore would be more closely related to space aliens and witches than to vampires
    Regardless of the real-world events which caused people to think they exist, mythic creatures have an essence which can pass to other creatures with completely different kinds of real-world inspirations. Even if foocubi, witches, and the Gray are all physiologically the result of the same phenomena, their mythic "DNA" is completely separate.
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    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    [spoiler=Tidbits I remember hearing once]

    My thought process went something like: "So...if hobgoblins were originally just a subtype of goblins that became their own thing, I guess they'd be like Americans in this analogy. Which would mean hobgoblins would basically be Americans as stereotyped by Americans...Texans, I guess?"
    That would explain why they are bigger.
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    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    Definitely. But the modern vampire, even given all its variation, is a lot more specific than just, "blood drinking demon that looks like a person," and while we can identify early instances in Gothic literature prior to Bram Stoker, it's not clear what in particular inspired those authors. Romanian legends are definitely in there somewhere, but like most folklore, there's no clear lineage.
    In fact the history of modern vampire is really well known, from the early XVIII century to Dracula.

    Of course, why some specifics would be lost and other would be upgraded to generic characteristics is subject to a lot of debate but the main sources, the pieces who would make the vampire a popular figure are known and well studied.

    It start around 1725 with two famous account, the case of Arnold Paole and the story of Peter Blagojevic (or Peter Plgojowitz according to some).

    Both are "real" cases, were a vampiric scare would overwhelm a town in the Balkans and the local would use the word "vampire" to describe the phenomenon.

    Both are important because they were studied by Austrians authorities, doctors or soldiers, and the report are easy to find today if you are interested in such things. The configuration of local superstitions with a kind of scientific description, as made by the Austrians, is really interesting.

    But the reports were also widely published across Europe, leading to the popularization of the concept who would be then taken by scholars, like Michael Ranft in 1728, or religious like Augustin Calmet around 1750, who would describe the vampire as a "revenant in body", unlike ghost for example.

    Also you have to put the last one in the general context of enlightenment, a time when the Catholic Church was trying at the same time to downplay popular traditions and keep asserting its authority upon the supernatural.

    Why the vampire would evolve from a mindless devouring undead to a perverse seductor is subject to huge debate but I like to focus on the idea of contagion. The dead that you bind to the grave by fear it would invade society is old and predate the name of vampire.
    The idea of a fault is often central to those stories, somebody is badly buried, or he did something in his or her youth, or the child his special...

    The idea of a community attacked from the inside because of the failing of one of its members is still present in XIX century but the contagion is best presented by a moral contagion than a physical one. Thus Carmillia, from Sheridan Le Fanu, were the relationship between Laura and Carmilla is more than scandalous at the time, even if suggested.
    But the other pictures is still present, as a lot of scientific explanations of vampirism focus on biological questions, not only in scientific theories but also in the literature and movies (think about the Strain for example) and in my opinion are tied to the same folklore of contagion.

    Quote Originally Posted by Xania View Post

    Sucubbus/Incubbus are just the old term for vampires, werewolves were like the vampire's first stage.
    As the first known instance of werewolf is in Herodotus (Book IV chapter CV) I think it is quite unlikely.

    [QUOTE]The Neuri follow Scythian usages; but one generation before the coming of Darius' army it fell out that they were driven from their country by snakes; for their land brought forth great numbers of these, and yet more came down upon them out of the desert, till at last the Neuri were so hard pressed that they left their own country and dwelt among the Budini. It may be that they are wizards; for the Scythians, and the Greeks settled in Scythia, say that once a year every one of the Neuri is turned into a wolf, and after remaining so for a few days returns again to his former shape. For myself, I cannot believe this tale; but they tell it nevertheless, yea, and swear to its truth./QUOTE]

    You will note that the werewolves described here are clearly not undead. I don't think I can find any instance of a werewolf defined by his death, as is a vampire.

    The texts and sources about werewolves go back far earlier than those about vampire but, in a way, the werewolf evolved less than other creatures: the characteristics are more or less fixed early and what change the most are the reasons of lycanthropy, the early greeks instances, like the story of Lycaon, talk often of some savagery that is punished, mostly devouring some human flesh.

    But some depictions seem also tied to religious rites, as hinted by the existence of a Zeus Lycaeos.

    Also Virgil talk about a sorcerer one of his characters saw (in the eight eclogue)disappear in the wood. The greeks and romans werewolves are really numerous and diverses.

    So some speculate that the berserkers may be tied to the same kind of representations than the religious rituals of Greece, a type of possession by the spirit of an animal. Vargulfr are also present in nordic sagas.

    The popularity of the creature is huge in medieval time, particularly in France were most famously Marie de France wrote the Bisclarvet around 1200. As a powerful woman and an important writer, she was instrumental in developing the courtly love, and of course her story is tragic and about love.

    That's really interessant because by this point most of the depictions of the werewolves state his devotion to evil the devil and the status of lycanthropy as a malediction.

    Then you have of course the trials in lycanthropy.



    Incubi and succubi are also problematics because they tend to describe a particular kind of supernatural creatures but were also tied to the nightmare in a scientific description of a psychic phenomenon. The nightmare is funnily a kind of creature, a horse who acted a bit like the incubi, and a lot of creatures share those characteristics, a nocturnal demon (as in supernatural creature, not necessarily devilish but in this case often evil), manifesting in a room to a sleeping person and acting by pressing upon the body of the sleeper, be it or not in a sexual way.

    Their infernal characteristics are of course tied with the medieval period, like tin the work of Alphonso de Spina around 1450, and reinforced in the modern time by books like the "Dictionnaire Infernal" of Collin de Plancy.

  23. - Top - End - #83
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Actually, in the actual norse legends, it seems that Berserkrs (Or Ulfserkers) were mainly especially respected warriors among their tribes, who wore bear or wolf pelts, or helmets with animal imagery, in battle.



    References to actual Berserkrgang, going wild and fighting naked or just with pure bloodlust, seem to come from later sources like Snorri Sturluson.

    This is an actual older source on them:


    I'll ask of the berserks, you tasters of blood,
    Those intrepid heroes, how are they treated,
    Those who wade out into battle?
    Wolf-skinned they are called. In battle
    They bear bloody shields.
    Red with blood are their spears when they come to fight.
    They form a closed group.
    The prince in his wisdom puts trust in such men
    Who hack through enemy shields.



    Which makes them powerful warriors, but does not seem to paint them as savages. They fight in formation, too.
    Last edited by Eldan; 2018-10-26 at 05:12 AM.
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Agreed, i may not have made clear my point about Zeus Lycaos and the initiation of warriors.

    One of the interpretations of the tale of Anthus , metamorphosed in Wolf for Nine years, is as a kind of initiation ritual linked to the warrior society. The fact that the character is transformed in wolf point to a special place for this beast.

    It was only around those terms that i pointed to similarites of representation with the Nordic warriors. The transitivity between human and wolves is very old and not always negative. The Wolf has a lot of ineresting qualities for symbolical thinking. ( think also of the Roman mother of Romulus and Remus).
    I intended mostly to state that there is very little surprise in seeing a chosen elite of warriors adopt the wolf as a kind of totem.

    More often than not the wolf is tied with violence in one way or another. Even Nordic warriors are warriors first.
    How the martial qualities, often linked with magical abilities or sacred responsabilities, would devolve in maledictions or evil bargains in the middle age is really interesting in the evolution not only of the wolf but of most occidental creatures.

    It involve of course a huge influence of the church, but also the early encyclopedic experience and the influence of courtly litterature in bringing together the religious sources with the tales and legends of the locals.

    So i thank you for the precision. As with most of those fantastic creatures, generalities are hard to come by and they always become more blury the closer you go...

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Epimethee View Post
    You will note that the werewolves described here are clearly not undead. I don't think I can find any instance of a werewolf defined by his death, as is a vampire.
    I remember reading that, in some tradition or another, slain werewolves would/could return as vampires. Maybe that's what Xania was talking about?
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Blade Wolf View Post
    Ah, thank you very much GreatWyrmGold, you obviously live up to that name with your intelligence and wisdom with that post.
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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    What someone said earlier about werewolves being the larval stage of vampires reminded me of the greek Vrykolakas (varcolac). The original representation of this monster was basically a werewolf, but the modern varcolac is basically a vampire

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by gkathellar View Post
    One common thread is the presentation of different supernatural beings as occupying distinct species, whereas in their source material they're often more like different political factions or tribes.
    Similarly, the tendancy to take what was in the original myths a unique individual creature and turning it into a species. Particularly notable with Greek mythology, which has lots of one-off weird, max-and-match creatures (typically created as the result of a specific curse, or being on of Echidna's numerous offspring)

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    I've found the changes to humans over the centuries to be quite bizarre. They used to be presented as little more than primitive cave dwellers. Now, it seems every time you turn around they're depicted in cities of metal and glass, moving around in plastic shells, and sometimes flying. Quite honestly, I think they've been allowed to spread too far out of their niche.

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by GreatWyrmGold View Post
    I remember reading that, in some tradition or another, slain werewolves would/could return as vampires. Maybe that's what Xania was talking about?
    Yes, it was exactly that.
    My memory was broken and i was unable to remember the werewolf becoming a vampire after death part.

    @Epimethee
    It was complete, thanks.
    Last edited by Xania; 2018-10-27 at 02:47 AM.

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    Default Re: What folklore inspired creatures have really changed from their original versions

    Quote Originally Posted by Xania View Post
    Yes, it was exactly that.
    My memory was broken and i was unable to remember the werewolf becoming a vampire after death part.

    @Epimethee
    It was complete, thanks.
    I think it's not so much werewolves are proto-vampires, but more like evil people could both learn to shapechange into wolves while alive and return as vampires after death...

    Like, both being a werewolf and being a vampire were sub-powers to being a warlock/witch...

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