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 Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN

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Cromulus The Destroyer
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 24 Dec - 22:40

I nearly have no clue as to why a Norseman is using a Roman Standard:



I assume Milius fancied King Osric as some kinda lost Varangian Guardsman that served in the Eastern Roman Empire that now took a throne of some oriental kingdom, or alternatively some Kievian Rus king.

Here's some images of the Roman Standards:






Crescent again;

_________________-

The Roman's also used wooden fence called a "Palisade". From the Latin words palos (literally “stake”) or palorum referred to a stake, prop, stay, or pale sharpened at one end and stuck in the ground .

Quote :
A fort would be set up with a large ditch around the outer edge. Dirt from the ditch was used to build a rampart. On the top of the rampart, a wooden wall would be built. If the Romans planned to make the fort permanent, a stone wall would be built to replace the wood. The gates would have guard towers on both sides. The Romans also dug deep holes and put in sharpened wooden stakes. They also would put sharp branches and timbers in a shallow ditch to make it difficult for infantry to approach the walls.

http://www.historylink102.com/Rome/roman-army-forts.htm

http://www.thearma.org/essays/pell/pellhistory.htm


This method of warfare was reintroduced in the Middle Ages.



Milius' battle of the Mounds:

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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Tue 25 Dec - 12:03

Cromulus The Destroyer wrote:
Interestingly enough, I remember Cobb mentioning in a magazine how he originally wanted two interconnecting triangles for Conan and/or the Cimmerians.

That would be the April 82 Cinefantastique issue (and the symbol was for Crom):

COBB: "I also tried to work out a symbol for Crom [the god of the Cimmerians], two interlocking triangles, but I had to change my first design because it was almost identical to the sign of Ming from FLASH GORDON. The symbol is still on the sword. We now have a simpler symbol for Crom."

The final version of the symbol can be seen engraved on the blade of the Father's sword, right after the word "Crom":



The same symbol is also on the elk's head:

http://img141.imageshack.us/img141/5404/epedupereae9mb8.jpg

That is exactly what the Father is sculpting during the opening credits:



The Crom symbol can also be spotted here and there in William Stout's unfinished storyboards:

on Young Conan's belt buckle


on a Cimmerian hut


also on Conan's father shield...

_________________
.[img][/img]
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Tue 25 Dec - 19:19

Here's the Freemason Symbol:


US $1 bill(For a thousand years I have watched you,lol)


___________

Thulsa Doom and Vlad the Impaler(ie Dracula):


(really only shot we know that Doom staked people)
Staked Cimmerians


Staked victims from the Mounds(novel and comic book)
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Sat 29 Dec - 22:16


Quote :
"This ornament features a turquoise mosaic on a carved wooden base, with red and white shells used for the mouths. Probably worn across the chest, this ornament measures 20 cm by 43 cm (8 in by 17 in). It was likely created by Mixtec artisans from an Aztec tributary state. 1400-1521, from the British Museum."

http://www.answers.com/topic/aztec

Here's a reproduction of an original:


___________________________________
Caduceus, the symbol of medicine today. The staff of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, had one serpent entwine his staff. His daughters included Hygeia, the goddess of health and Panacea, the goddess of healing.



_________________

Here's an interesting Islamic piece I came across



http://www.sonic.net/~tallen/palmtree/ayyarch/ch5.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Sat 29 Dec - 22:58

You guys should also check out this Greco-Roman Alexandrian Egyptian Catacombs named, The Catacombs of Kom el-Shuqafa, or the "Mound of Shards."


http://www.touregypt.net/featurestories/komelshuqafa2.htm

Found this same style coiled Serpent on Roman coins, its also used by modern day Gnostic's:

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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Sun 30 Dec - 17:03

I've been reading some shit lately, and I founded some interesting things about the "Primitive Man", a very symbolic image of the masculine unconcious. It is depicted as a Troll, or a Neanderthal -tall, hairy, brute but deeply intelligent-. It is closely related with the character of the Yeti or the Bigfoot.

Is described as a man with "a Will of Iron".

This "Primitive Man" is the instictive side of the men. It's not the machism -the part that wants to posses, and conquer-, and it's not the sensitive "femenine" side that we all men also have. No, it's a third part that is has been very underrated by our culture.

The example is the way the Neanderthal men are seen today: "retards, cruel, disgusting gorillas".


The "Primitive Man" is apparently the part of men where real strength lies. We are trying to find the "Secret of Steel" everywhere: in the woman we love, in teachers, in God, wahtever. But as Thulsa Doom founded, that Secret is not in weapons or masters, is inside ourselves.

I can see more of the machism in Thulsa Doom than in Conan. Doom is the one who wants to posses things, and persons, and conquer the world -even though he sells himself as a "saviour"-. Meanwhile Conan is far more instinctive and moves by passions like survival -when he is a gladiator- or desire of revenge.

Even though Conan as Arnold is not too "neanderthal-like", it's clear he is a primitive man in essence. Has long hair and wear leather clothes -when not wolf skins-.


Another interesting description of the "primitive man" was associated with Greek myths, and is in Apollo. (It's interesting that we actually talked about this in previous posts, Cromulus). Apparently, Apollo was depicted as a Gold Man who is standing over the top of a mountain of dark and eerie energy called Dionisus. He feeds from that energy, and is strong because of it.

Somehow i thought about this image:






There are also some diferences between "savage" and "primitive man", what made me think about the conflict in Howardian tales about "savage vs civilized men".

Apparently, "savage man" and "primitive man" is not the same.

"Savage" is more like an old civilized man who has been hurted by his own civilization, so he comes back to the primitive in order to fight against the civilization. He is moved by hate and cruelty, and in nature he is still a civilized man, because he never really was born in the nature.

"Primitive Man" by change was born in nature and is not driven by cruelty, even though he could smash your brains with one hand.

I think lot of Howardian characters are more related to the "Savage Man" than to the "Primitive Man", and I think Howard could be called himself a "savage", a man hurted by his own civilization and culture, who turned himself into an outsider. A lot of his characters share this soul and his hate for the civilization.

The real "Primitive Man" is the true man in his deeper state.

Meanwhile REH's characters can't tolerate civilization, and are allways fighting against it, the true "Primitive Man" has no real conflict with civilization. It's not his home, but it doesn't mean he can't live there. He does NOT want to destroy it. And he does NOT want to conquer it, either.


I remember you made a very goo interpretation in some old post, Cromulus, about how REH changed the character of Conan from being a wanderer, more close to the real "Primitive Man", and then he turned out into the ruler of the first nation of the world. You said, if i remember right, that you think that was Howard's ambition and betrayed somehow the true spirit of Conan. I think that could be true. I prefer the Conan in the movie, where he refuses to become king with Yasmela, and goes away trying to find his own destiny.

We must remember that Conan in the first movie is driven by a very deep search of himself.

In psychological terms, he is looking for his own father energy, metaforically symbiolized by his father's sword.

But when he finally gets the sword, it is broken. (HE, himself, breaks it! So, he is stronger than his own father steel!)

So, he finds the Secret is not in the tool, but in his own arm. Remembering who his real father is, he finds strenght enough to decapitate his "false father" with a broken sword.

Anyway, Doom plays a very important role in the way of Conan, as he teaches him the intellectual answer to the Riddle of Steel. I mean, maybe Conan already knew what the asnwer was, but Doom gives him the words. I think that is important, and somehow Doom is a teacher for Conan.

He also gave him "the gift of Fury", a gift of pain and sadness that later becomes into incredible strength.

That is why Doom say "I made you as you are". Well, he is right in some way, but he is not his real father. That is the lie.

Conan won't find his strenght in Doom. He will find his strength in his real father, as he felt with the vision of the broken sword. That strenght he felt was the strenght of the "Primitive Man".



Now this is a very hard topic to talk about, at least for me, as I am only an amaterur in psychology and it's mostly because i'm a method actor so I need to know some psychological terms to work, but the "search for the father's energy" is apparently a very common topic in ancient myths.

The "Primitive Man" shares the same energy that our fathers had when they created us -when they got our mothers pregnant-.

In the actual world, this search for the "father's energy" is forgotten. In primitive cultures, the young boys had a ritual of manhood, where they were took by the ancient men of the tribe, and they touched him "what to be a man is". For example, in African cultures, they took the boy away from his mother for weeks, even months. The boy was left without food for a long time. Then, in a ritual they took a knife, and they all cut their arms, and put the blood of all of them in bowl.

Then the boy drank that blood.

So he learned two very important things: one, a knife is not only a weapon, is a tool and can be used for several things like being generous.

Two, the food not only comes from the mother. The males can also give food.


In ancient Greece, the males who teached this to the boys where priest of Dionisos.

Thulsa Doom is a false Dionissian priest, who says that he will teach people, but what he really wants is to eat them. Razz He is a "false father".


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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Sun 30 Dec - 17:41

Cromulus The Destroyer wrote:
In the 13th Warrior, instead of Neanderthals, they too look like inbred American Indians.shifty

Yep, it's true. In the 13th warrior they are not exactly neanderthals as they painted the walls of the cave. Cave painting belongs only to Homo Sapiens, but it's unknown if some other human species like the Neanderthals could have had some other kind of art, that was made for the specific moment and was not preserved: like singing, dancing, acting... I believe they had.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Sun 30 Dec - 20:38

What we have to take into consideration is that the problem with Howard, was of course that he was odd character, compiled with his own personal feelings about certain ethnicities/races/racism and no doubt the type of audience he was writing too.

Lovecraft was a notorious racist, mainly out've xenophobia and nativism, who hated immigration, so he disliked Italians, Spanish, Greeks, Russians, Jews ect..in fact I read somewhere that much to his own dismay, he found out he may of had some "Celtic" ancestry. Lovecraft was a typical Anglo-Saxon(ie English) supremacists, they didnt even like Scottish or Irish people very often too. Though Lovecraft wound up marrying Ukrainian Jewish woman..so go figure.

Howard himself always liked throwing out anti-Latin remarks, possibly to sound hip, or make himself sound like he was a rogue, as the anti-establishment or like a backwater out law type from the Wild West as he fancied himself. Rome also represented Law, Order, Civilization, Colonialism, Slavery, Military Power and even Catholicism/Christianity. The USA, Britain and even Nazi's modeled themselves on the Roman Empire and the whole Colonial thing, its often nice to be anti-Roman, if your attempting to be Anti-Government or even some folk hero writer.

Interestingly the Roman General Agricola also used some Irish allies in his conquest of Britain, a man named Tuathal Teachtmhar, a legendary High King of Ireland(Hibernia).


But Howard often boasted of his supposed Gaelic/Celtic(Irish) idealism, despite that fact he(as well as Lovecraft) culled through and rehashed mostly everything he(they) could from ancient Greece, Italy, Philistine as well as Babylonia, Sumeria, Persia and even some Meso-American lore as well as some Norse. They liked putting a Northern spin on things, by inserting the cliche indomitable Northern European or North Western European as the hero and victor over the lower races. In the end CONAN was Civilized and "Latinized", in fact its Conan's first appearance as an essentially Romanized Barbarian King.

In my own opinion about Howard, was that he was full of shit, I never bought into his views, but thats not to say I didnt like reading some of his stories, which I did.

At the time, the "Noble Savage was very popular in the "intellectual" circles of the late 18th-early 20th century in both parts of Europe and USA. Mainly because of the works of the Roman author Tacitus were being widely distributed, as he wrote his (mixed positive and negative)views on the Barbarian tribes, mainly the Germanics. So this would later go into the construction of Aryanism, Nordicism and eventually early Nazism along with various ethno-Nationalist ideas .

Howard himself played with Aryanism of course. As he was more a Celtist and not as blatant with his own brand of racism which seemed to be more loose, mental and culture based, while Lovecraft was totally infatuated with the physical "Nordic-Teutonic Aryan" types and more vocal(in his early years, later on his views changed somewhat).

*Howard had mixed & contradictory feelings about the Picts too for example. In his Pre-Hyborian Age incarnation, the Picts were like his typical portrayal of Celtic warriors, smart, brave, fearless ect, while his Hyborian Age incarnations they were blood enemies to his Cimmerians(ie Irish Celts) and completely Apish, and written up like Amerindian savages.

Historical Cimmerians are believed to be Thracians(modern day Romania), or a hyrbid mix of Thracian and Scythian from around the modern day Crimea. Scythians were an Iranian people, a far cry and far away for the Irish. But many British Celticists liked linking themselves to the Scythians and Cimmerians(hence Howard's fascination/creation).

( My bet is that you'll find that Howard based his CONAN and even Proto-Conan's on, one or more of these semi-flat out mythical or even semi-Historical "Conan" characters from history and mythology:


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conan


Howard also loved mixing up bits of pieces of various cultures, peoples and nations(Past or modern). He had the Middle Ages with Classical and Pre-Classical ancient Europe and Asia. He has Pointain(Pointiers, France) placed in a semi- Middle Ages France which he dubs, "Aquilonia", which is like a mix of the Kingdom of Aquintania and the Roman Italy/ Empire.

Sometimes this works, other times it doesn't. Its the same problem with the Conan movie, as both Howard's and Milius picture is more like alternate Earth world than straight up fantasy version of Pre-history.

*HG Wells was also into Aryanism and wrote about it as well.

Frederick Nietzche praised the Romans, and wasnt anti-Civilization at all, complete opposite of the glory of Barbarism which supposedly appealed to Howard or even Milius. Much of his work was corrupted by his Nazi Party sympathizing sister, who bastardized his works to appeal to German Racial-Nationalism at the time. Though its obvious Milius has a fondness for Rome too, perhaps more than his "Viking" love which he always talked about. His Conan is more like some kinda mix of Gothic-Hunnic(german?) with elements of greco-Roman heroes.

The dark Vanir warriors also serve as some kinda quasi reference to Romanized barbarians, with their use of the Rottweiler dogs(whom where bred by the Romans) and Gladiatorial Arenas, with the Thulsa Doom character being the Roman warlord..though his Teutonic Christian knight references to "Alexander Nevsky is still present, with Conan being the Tartar-Russian rather than German-Teuton.

*Of course the "Ben-Hur" inspirations and elements are present during the Column of Sadness/Wheel of Pain sequences.

Milius seemed to have deliberately wanted to make Thulsa Doom not as cardboard cut-out but rather multidimensional/Multifaceted . In one of the magazines he talks about this. This both duel father/teacher figure and Evil Tyant killer characteristics of Doom, seems to be a recurring theme in Milius mind. I remember an interview, where Milius talks about writing and Directing a Star Wars prequel. He wanted Anakin to be like Julius Caesar, and wanted a Gaius Marius teacher figure as either the Sith Lord or Ben Kenobi( I forget which). Also the character of Gaius Metalus from his CONAN III movie, was also another father/teacher figure as he was the main villain.




_________________________________


In the 13th Warrior, they should just made them Lapps or Sami folk, whom are like the Amerindians of Northern and North Eastern Europe, they're a semi-Mongoloid people that have lived their for many thousands of years.

*In the movie the 13th Warrior, the Neanderthals or mutants or whatever they are supposed to be, were using the Neolithic Venus statue, and riding on horses and lookign way to much like the American Wild West Indians. I have no idea, as these things are certainly not associated with Neanderthals, Sami's, and even Native American Indians(horses were introduced by Europeans). The Neolithic, is believed to be the time of the introduction of farming and Civilization along with the Indo-European speech.

PS


Flaming Turd wrote:
Yep, it's true. In the 13th warrior they are not exactly neanderthals as they painted the walls of the cave. Cave painting belongs only to Homo Sapiens, but it's unknown if some other human species like the Neanderthals could have had some other kind of art, that was made for the specific moment and was not preserved: like singing, dancing, acting... I believe they had.


Yes, your right Turd about the wall paintings. Those are only associated with Cromagnons(early Homo-sapiens whom co-existed alongside the Neanderhtals in Europe and Asia and out lived them).

One also gets the impression that rather than Neanderthals in the movie they were some kinda Cromagnons, whom are popularly erroneously conflated with Neanderthals..even Anthropology often fucked up with them too. Some also liked thinking that Cromagnons looked like Amerindians,lol. Another misconception about the Cromagnons, was that they rode horses, they didnt, they ate them..they were very large consumers of horse meat.

So in this fair regard, I can understand the anachronism of the movie & Hollywood..and even the author and or director( or writer). One can never expect Hollyweird to ever get history right--sadly even when many in academia make moronic mistakes as well:mrgreen:

Anyway he's some of the images and versions of so-called Neolithic Venus Statues(found all over Europe):





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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Sun 30 Dec - 21:32

The Greek hero and demi-god, Cadmus. He slayed a Serpentine dragon. Famous for the story of sowing the Dragon's teeth into the earth and giving rise to the Spartan's.

He was also the grandfather of the god, Dionysus.




Jason and the Golden Fleece:



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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Sun 30 Dec - 23:10

Again the Teutonic Knights..represented by the "Grandmasters" of the Order, Rexor and Thulsa Doom:





The Soviet Propaganda movie, "Alexander Nevsky", the Grandmaster:



___________________

Near Eastern art:

Sumerian Snake-headed goddess-statue. Itsrather reminiscent of Thulsa Doom's transformation as seen in the Orgy Chamber:


Thulsa Doom:


*I am also reminded of Queen Taramis from Oliver Stones(and John Milius' ?) script:
Quote :
Yasmina glances at a mirror and, to her horror, it reveals Taramis' inhuman snake head and form. [4] Yasmina reaches for her dagger, but Taramis grabs her hand, and then makes Yasmina look at her hand, and the dagger turns into a snake that coils around her wrist.


Gudea(Mesopotamia)-base relief
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 13:13

Back to Howard and Lovecraft fascination toward celtic culture and religion : let's not forget the wave of occultism that came from the 19th century up to our days, with the revival of druid stuff and famous magician figures like Aleister Crowley ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleister_Crowley ). Occultism was also a construction in opposition to our completely modernized and overscientist world and to christian society. HPL and REH works are seen by some scholars partly like heirs of 19th century occultism.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 13:53

No, actually Nietzsche was not anti-civilization, but anything that he believed was anti-life. That means every stablished idea that could not be changed by actual circunstances, and forced humanity "to be" in a certain way all the time. He believed in contradiction as a right. In fact, he said contradictory things depending of the moment. Rolling Eyes

But actually the Conan of REH is not exactly a Nietzschean superhuman, as it was described by Nietzsche as a man "without a ruler, and is not the ruler of any man". When Conan becomes the ruler of the first nation of the world, then we have no nietzschean superhuman anymore.

The actual true literary superhuman I know is Buck, the dog.





The concept of the "Noble savage" was also used by Jack London, who REH admired so much (and in my humble opinion, a much better and mature writter than Howard). One of his books was an all time favourite of mine: "The call of the wild" wrotte by 1930. I also love "White fang" but the first one worked even better for me. It's the tale of Buck, a great family dog that is kidnapped and forced to fight as a "gladiator" . He scapes and soon he becomes the ruler of a dog sled, to finally join a wild wolfs pack. It's a very simple tale about survival, without complicated and too abstract words. But its simplicity is so powerful and full of poetry that I don't get tired of read it from time to time. (There was a nice movie with Rutger Hauer as the master of Buck).


"Steppenwolf" by Herman Hesse is another novel about a man who desires to become a nietzschean superhuman, but is allways tortured because he feels that his will is not strong enough, and he allways sucumbs to his dark desires. He doesn't fit in the bourgueous civilization, but he can't live without it.



There was a movie were the "Steppenwolf" was played by the King Osric himself. But I actually haven't watched it, as I was told is not a very good one.

I think this novel is superb as the description of how Nietzsche's dream of the superman is actually an uthopy that can't be conquered, as Nietzsche himself was so far away of being a true superhuman. He was weak and ill, and all that real weakness was transformed into the dream about his superhuman.

Some phylosopher said about Nietzsche that his problem was that "he didn't wanted to be a teacher, he wanted to be a superhero". Mr. Green


The "Primitive Man" I was talking about in the previous post is not that romantic "Noble Savage", it's not the same. And actually is not either a "Nietzschean superhuman".

The "Primitive Man" is an archetype of the psyche.

Quote :

"Archetypes have been present in mythology and literature for thousands of years and appear to be present in prehistoric artwork. The value in using archetypal characters in fiction derives from the fact that a large group of people are able to unconsciously recognize the archetype, and thus the motivations, behind the character's behavior".

The concept of psychological archetypes was advanced by the Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, c. 1919. In In Jung's psychological framework archetypes are innate, universal prototypes for ideas and may be used to interpret observations.

Jung outlined four main archetypes:

  • The Self, the regulating center of the psyche and facilitator of individuation
  • The Shadow, the opposite of the ego image, often containing qualities that the ego does not identify with but possesses nonetheless
  • The Anima, the feminine image in a man's psyche
  • The Animus, the masculine image in a woman's psyche

Although the number of archetypes is limitless, there are a few particularly notable, recurring archetypal images:

  • The Syzygy
  • The Child
  • The Hero
  • The Great Mother
  • The Wise old man
  • The Trickster or Ape
  • The Puer Aeternus (Latin for "eternal boy")
  • The Cosmic Man
  • The artist-scientist




It's amazing how all these archetypes are presented in the humans psyche since prehistoric times, see the example of the Great Mother that you posted earlier:





(By the way, the venus, the fat nude woman, is from the paleolithic. But the cult of the Great Mother continued in the Neolithic and was also presented in the Iron Age and so. Even the romans had some incarnations of the Great Mother. It is believed to be the oldest cult in the history, and... surprise! It's related with the cult of the snakes -specially in Meso-America).

It was believed -apparently- that the Earth itself was a living female creature and the caves were paths to her womb. The use of blood and brown colours in the cave paintings could be associated with that idea, and the holiest places in the deeper parts of prehistoric caves are full of symbols of genitalia, masculine and femenine, related to the idea of fecundation.




That is a Neolithic european sculpture of the Great Mother. And below there's an oureboros, reptilian Thulsa Doom-like figure that is related to the Great Mother cult.




I remember in the movie "Excalibur" that Merlin talked about the energy of the Great Mother Earth as "The Dragon". And it was an energy that could be positive and negative, depending of the use.

After Christianism "The Dragon" was changed into the energy of Satan, a masculine entity, and losed all the positive side becoming just evil.


Even though Cristianism reduced the archeype of the Great Mother to an inferior place, actually no one can deny the power this image has today. The Virgin Mary is actually venered with high intensity in the country side, at least here in Spain, specially in towns with agricultural activities. That veneration has its roots in the neolithic.




The archetypes are presented in almost every culture, in its mythology. Comparing mythos from different parts of the world is very interesting as you finally start to see similarities that makes you think we as humans are not so different in our insides. These amazing similarities makes a lot of people believe the ancient cultures should have had some kind of connection, or even were "teached" by aliens. In my opinion that belief is crap and I personally hate all that kind of pseudo-mongoloid sci-fiction that a lot of people likes to take as possible.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 14:14

Some have said that similarities in old cultures may simply come from common situations : fighting the elements, acknowledgment of women giving birth, finding food and hunting, etc. (I think for example about Leroy Gourhan who explains the possibility of melting the snake and the eagle to create a dragon, and many other things).
One very interesting question is to decide when can we consider that man has lived in society. Because ethlogists found that many animals have society sometimes in very complicated ways.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 14:51

Chrysagon wrote:

One very interesting question is to decide when can we consider that man has lived in society. Because ethlogists found that many animals have society sometimes in very complicated ways.

Well, that is true. See the wolves, or apes. They have codes and rules, and every member of the pack has a place.

It's the same even in some insects.

The diference is that the rules and manners in these animals "tribes" are unconcious, they are written in their genetic code before they are born, meanwhile we must learn the codes and rules intellectually after being born, with the culture.

So, the first time that a mother or a father told a story to his child, using that tale -or song- to teach him "what is right and what is wrong", that's the first root of a culture. Later, the child as a father would tell the tale to his son, and so on and on and on.

Later that tale would be written -or painted- so we actually can say objetively that there was a culture there... Happens with the Cromagnons, the first culture that we have noticed, but it's very possible that older human species would have had oral storytellers, or singers, as a way to remember the tribe what the codes and the rules are.

Art (or culture) also could have been created as a joyful way to spend the cold cold nights. There's a teaching side in culture, but there's an entertaining part too, and that is related to a high level of intelligence. As more intelligent the animal is, more impractical things he would do -just for the pleasure of doing it-. For example, dolphins, they play a lot and make tons of unnecesary jumps and things, only because they feel pleasure.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 16:53

I don't agree with everything written here and don't have enough time right now to adress all points made. A lot of interestings things though, and very meaningfuls posts. But some misconceptions too.

The "Noble Savage": REH wasn't "Rousseauist". J.J. Rousseau (who didn't coined the term "NS") believed that humanity in his primal sate was pure of sin. REH didn't. He portrays dark barbarians, not unspoilt do-gooders.

(I already posted this somewhere else)

For those who want to read it, here's a link to Don Herron's Dark Barbarian essay.

He discussed -among other things- those three paragraphs from The Garden of Fear, I copy-paste the quote (and his comments) here:
REH wrote:
...But as I lie waiting for death to free me from my long disease, I see with a clear, sure sight the grand panorama of lives that trail out behind me. I see the men who have been me, and I see the beasts that have been me.

For my memory does not end at the coming of Man. How could it, when the beast so shades into Man that there is no clearly divided line to mark the boundaries of bestiality? At this instant I see a dim twilight vista, among the gigantic trees of a primordial forest that never knew the tread of a leather-shod foot. I see a vast, shaggy, shambling bulk that lumbers clumsily yet swiftly, sometimes upright, sometimes on all fours. He delves under rotten logs for grubs and insects, and his small ears twitch continually. He lifts his head and bares yellow fangs. He is primordial, bestial, anthropoid; yet I recognize his kinship with the entity now called James Allison. Kinship? Say rather oneness. I am he; he is I. My flesh is soft and white and hairless; his is dark and tough and shaggy. Yet we were one, and already in his feeble, shadowed brain are beginning to stir and tingle the man-thoughts and the man dreams, crude, chaotic, fleeting, yet the basis for all the high and lofty visions men have dreamed in all the following ages.

Nor does my knowledge cease there. It goes back, back, down immemorial vistas I dare not follow, to abysses too dark and awful for the human mind to plumb. Yet even there I am aware of my identity, my individuality. I tell you the individual is never lost, neither in the black pit from which we once crawled, blind, squalling and noisome, or in that eventual Nirvana in which we shall one day sink -- which I have glimpsed afar off, shining as a blue twilight lake among the mountains of the stars.


I don't subscribe to all DH's views, but I think he was absolutely right when he wrote after this quote:
Don Herron wrote:
This passage evokes a feeling very much like Smith's "Ubbo-Sathla," but shows Howard's clear sympathy with man, with the individual -- with an apprehensive note about man's darker urges, "the beast so shades into Man. . . . " Howard's great accomplishment in his fantasy stories was that he made a grim, shadowy wonderland out of human history and set his Dark Barbarian striding through the ages, sword drawn. This brutal presence sounds a warning knell about the dark side of humanity -- a sober note that is as true in today's violent world as it was in Howard's day -- and at the same time stands as a grand symbol of adventure, of human courage and determination.


In The Hyborian Age essay, after Gorm's invasion of the West:
REH wrote:
Conquest and the acquiring of wealth altered not the Pict ; out of the ruins of the crushed civilization no new culture arose phoenix-like. The dark hands which shattered the artistic glories of the conquered never vied to copy them. Though he sat among the glittering ruins of shattered palaces and clad his hard body in the silks of vanquished kings, the Pict remained the eternal barbarian, ferocious, elemental, interested only in the naked primal principles of life, unchanging, unerring in his instincts which were all for war and plunder, and in which arts and the cultured progress of humanity had no place.

In the "Exile of Atlantis" fragment, when Kull talked to the Atlantean barbarian members of the Sea-mountain tribe, he stated: "Animals are neither gods nor fiends, but men in their way without the lust and greed of the man"... Kull, who was raised by "tigers and wolves", IS closest to nature than Conan. He knows that even the barbarians of Atlantis are men driven by dark impulses.
From the top of my head, there was this other line of dialoque between two characters (I have to check but at least it's a paraphrase) "When will the bloodshed cease ? When the race ends." And the character wasn't specific, he talked of the human race as a whole. A really pessimistisc/misanthropist view of mankind.

No "Noble Savage" archetype. REH's barbarians prevail above other people because they're stronger, more "pure" (and I'm NOT denying some racist elements, he also talked a lot of some breeds superior to others), closer to their "bestiality" and not weakened/lessened like civilized are.
His barbarism vs civilization theme wasn't as simple as "good" barbarians vs "bad" civilized people. Humans weren't inherently good for him. He believed that barbarism was the natural state of mankind, but no one is innocent here...
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Cromulus The Destroyer
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 17:54

Flaming Turd wrote:
No, actually Nietzsche was not anti-civilization, but anything that he believed was anti-life. That means every stablished idea that could not be changed by actual circunstances, and forced humanity "to be" in a certain way all the time. He believed in contradiction as a right. In fact, he said contradictory things depending of the moment. Rolling Eyes

But actually the Conan of REH is not exactly a Nietzschean superhuman, as it was described by Nietzsche as a man "without a ruler, and is not the ruler of any man". When Conan becomes the ruler of the first nation of the world, then we have no nietzschean superhuman anymore.

The actual true literary superhuman I know is Buck, the dog.

Wasnt Nietzche also going insane? I know he developed mental problems later in life. I remember something about the big falling out he had with his friend Wagner. Wagner was also into Racial thinking and Folk heroism, he was another influential person in those days too.

CONAN's first appearance is as a huge man in his late 40's, who still retains all of his youthful vigor and strength. There's also that Aquilonian mage Zoroastrian-like figure that chooses CONAN and gives him a magic sword.

We mustn't forget that the Aquilonian god Mitra, is based on Mithras, the Pre-Christian Roman God(adopted from Asia/ Persia), which was precursor to Christianity as the main religion of the Empire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithras

So Howard's CONAN does indeed have Demi-god and divine qualities, and is chosen as the earthly/physical hero(truth/good) to battle Set(lie/evil). This is pretty much all Zoroastrian and can find elements of occultism or Nietzschian thinking in Howard's writings.

Usually Howard's barbarians will always triumph, just for the shear fact alone that they are "Northern" and are built bigger and better than the "Southern Races of People". You have the wild Cimmerian with no real training at all, either cutting through or leading every organized and unorganized warrior of every nation and living well into his 60's. Conan best physical battle was not against any man, but against a Man-Ape named Thak,lol. Pretty much no matter how big any others were, its because of Conan's blood/ ethnicity is why he triumphs... Howard always reminds us of that in his stories. So Howard's Cimmerian was indeed a "Superman". In this regard, Stone's CONAN(the character itself) is closer to Howard's.

Turd, I am sure Sir Conan Doyle and HG Well also played a big role in Howard's mind.

*Check out this description by Doyle of his famous character, Professor Challenger

Quote :
His appearance made me gasp. I was prepared for something strange, but not for so overpowering a personality as this. It was his size, which took one's breath away-his size and his imposing presence. His head was enormous, the largest I have ever seen upon a human being. I am sure that his top hat, had I ventured to don it, would have slipped over me entirely and rested on my shoulders. He had the face and beard, which I associate with an Assyrian bull; the former florid, the latter so black as almost to have a suspicion of blue, spade-shaped and rippling down over his chest. The hair was peculiar, plastered down in front in a long, curving wisp over his massive forehead. The eyes were blue-grey under great black tufts, very clear, very critical, and very masterful. A huge spread of shoulders and a chest like a barrel were the other parts of him which appeared above the table, save for two enormous hands covered with long black hair. This and a bellowing, roaring, rumbling voice made up my first impression of the notorious Professor Challenger.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professor_Challenger
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 21:30

This unused Setian statue is very derivative of Gargoyle statuary, along with the typical representation of Satan and Demons in Christian art and even Occultic art:



(note the Thulsa Doom symbol on the waist)



http://altreligion.about.com/library/graphics/bl_satan2f.htm

_____________________________________

Cobb also used the Dragons here in this unused Thulsa Doom Greco-Roman amphitheater:



_________

Speaking of the "Excalibur" movie:



Emblem look familiar?
scratch Wink
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Mon 31 Dec - 23:06

While not directly CONAN movie related, this I thought this was interesting and reminiscent of "The Tower of the Elephant":

The Fountain of the Elephant




Quote :
An elephant of lavic stone adorns the monumental fountain in Duomo Square, master piece of the architect Gianbattista Vaccarini, realized in the year 1736. It is a real mix of different cultures. In fact the elephant is from Roman or Byzantine epoch and brings on its back an Egyptian obelisk with a singular hexagonal plan.



Some historians report that the elephant, elevated to symbol of the city, in origin was object of cult in a temple of oriental rituals in town. With the advent of the Christianity, turned upside down from its altar, it was carried outside the walls where it remained there for more centuries.



In the second half of VIII century, one of the most famous wizard, Eliodoro (who with its spells transformed the men in beasts and made to appear present the far things), tried to bring back the idol to the honors of a time. Sentenced to death Eliodoro, thanks to its diabolic powers, succeeded to escape from the hands of the executioner. He was made to carry by the Spirits to Costantinopoli and, with the same speed, to bring back to Catania. The people tricked from such prodigy, rendered almost divine honors to him.



The Eliodoro wizard, according the popular tradition, used that elephant for its fastest travels from Catania to Costantinopoli and viceversa, walking with it during the night. This ancient pachyderm, for the people magical instrument to the service of the Eliodoro wizard, "came led back in city by the fathers Benedictines of the Monastero di S. Agata and placed in order to adorn an ancient arc or door, said exactly of Liodoro".

In the year 1508, the elephant was placed on the high prospect of the old Palace of City. After the earthquake of 1693, the elephant lay down newly in abandonment until, in the year 1727, the Dutch Filippo d' Orville, finding itself of passage from Catania, sped up that it lifted up again, together with the Egyptian obelisk that now surmount it.

http://www.fromnorthtosouth.com/MySite2/CataniaEn/2CataniaEnglish.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Tue 1 Jan - 11:50

Flaming Turd wrote:
Now we find a picture of the movie that is closely related with tons of canibalism imagery from previous centuries.


I think there is no cannibalism implied in this photo : it comes from the tavern scene, not the Kitchen. Wink

By the way, where did you find those Kitchen lyrics? They don't sound exactly accurate to my ear... shifty
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Tue 1 Jan - 13:47

Flaming Turd wrote:
The diference is that the rules and manners in these animals "tribes" are unconcious, they are written in their genetic code before they are born, meanwhile we must learn the codes and rules intellectually after being born, with the culture.

Not exactly in fact. Mammals which have not grown up in the middle of their kind never adapt to savage life. So in fact you are not born wolf or whale, you become it. It is a pretty new concept.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Tue 1 Jan - 18:46

axerules wrote:

The "Noble Savage": REH wasn't "Rousseauist". J.J. Rousseau (who didn't coined the term "NS") believed that humanity in his primal sate was pure of sin. REH didn't. He portrays dark barbarians, not unspoilt do-gooders.

Actually I wasn't talking about the "Noble Savage" of Rousseau, I could not as I am not too familiar with the concept. Only know the concept because is mentioned in lot of places, but I'm really very ignorant about it.


The two archetypes I was talking about were Jungian psychological concepts, as Carl Gustav Jung listed them studying mythology and popular literature from prehistory to today:


1- The "Primitive Man" - it is the insctintive part of every man (male). Is violent, impulsive, spontaneous, sexual... (As you see, nothing about a Saint). He looks like a Troll, lot of hair and bad smell. Everybody think about him that he is not evolutioned but that is a prejudge of his ape-like apparence. Actually he is very intelligent. He is very dangerous, but he is not a declared enemy of nobody. He kills just to defend himself or eating. But he has an incredible strenght capable of killing tons of men with only one arm. His strenght lies in his will, described as a "Will of Iron" -(wich make me relate him with the Nietzschean superhuman or even with Milius' Conan).


2- The "Savage". - (not the "Noble Savage", just the "Savage"). - This one I see it more related with REH barbarians. I think now about the Picts, and also the way american indians were protrayed in old western movies as psychos who hated white men. They want to destroy civilization, and the most important difference between the "Primitive Man" archetype and the "Savage" archetype is that the "Primitive Man" has no conflict with civilization. He doesn't fit there, but that's all. He prefers to run and hide in a cave, better than fight against it -see the Yeti myth for example-.

The "Savage" archetype is even less Saint than the "Primitive Man", as the Savage enjoys looting and raping, and uses cruelty with pleasure. - (Examples could be Vlad the Impaler or Genghis Khan... ).



Quote :
I see a vast, shaggy, shambling bulk that lumbers clumsily yet swiftly, sometimes upright, sometimes on all fours. He delves under rotten logs for grubs and insects, and his small ears twitch continually. He lifts his head and bares yellow fangs. He is primordial, bestial, anthropoid;


That is very interesting! IS THE DESCRIPTION OF THE "PRIMITIVE MAN" ARCHETYPE!

But REH allways turned this creature into a mindless killing ape, not giving it any kind of intelligence or soul. Only Thak is described as having some kind of intelligence and even a human soul, but in the end it was just another idiot brute monster Conan kills punching his skull till it breaks.

The concept of the "Primitive Man" has been deformed by our christian culture turning him into something that is not: for example, it is also related to the concept of the werewolf, the "hairy beast" inside the man. Today, a werewolf is a psycho. But wolves are not "rabid dogs" as every werewolf is depicted. In fact, men turning into wolves is a myth that comes from prehistory and is presented in tons of shamanic tales, and in these tales the werewolves can talk and be peacefull if they want to.


Don Herron wrote:
This brutal presence sounds a warning knell about the dark side of humanity -- and at the same time stands as a grand symbol of adventure, of human courage and determination.

This interpretation is very close to the "Primitive Man" archetype again, as it represents no doubt "courage and determination", in a creature who has a "Will of Iron", that is, action without doubt.


REH wrote:
the Pict remained the eternal barbarian, ferocious, elemental, interested only in the naked primal principles of life, unchanging, unerring in his instincts which were all for war and plunder.

But I think that, as you said, this is somehow a too depressive and misanthropic description of the "natural state" of man. I don't believe that WAR was so present in the head of every primitive man. Not more present than the importance of making a good wine or finding the better way to cure some illness. REH characters look like they only think about war, like an obssession.

axerules wrote:
No "Noble Savage" archetype. REH's barbarians prevail above other people because they're stronger, more "pure" closer to their "bestiality" and not weakened/lessened like civilized are.

I think the secret of this strengh lies in the connection of REH with his image of the "Primitive Man" as it was described in the text of him. But I think he didn't developed the idea as I said, he only wrotte about war conflicts, not about the real life of primitive people.


Quote :
His barbarism vs civilization theme wasn't as simple as "good" barbarians vs "bad" civilized people. Humans weren't inherently good for him. He believed that barbarism was the natural state of mankind, but no one is innocent here...

Wink Noone is innocent. We agree there very much, friend.



Cromulus The Destroyer wrote:

Wasnt Nietzche also going insane? I know he developed mental problems later in life. I remember something about the big falling out he had with his friend Wagner. Wagner was also into Racial thinking and Folk heroism, he was another influential person in those days too.


Well, yeah, Nietzsche went foufou .

Anyway there is a lot of value in his writtings, no matter he had mental problems he still was a genious. The thing is to know what are you reading. If you take Nietzsche too seriously, literary, like Hitler did, then you are nuts too. Razz

Nietzsche's writtings as Milius' "CTB" work in a insctintive level, it's a lenguaje more related to the unconcious than to the reason. It's not exactly intellectual lenguaje, even though it talks to a very deep part of us. Like Milius did, if you do it right, it is really powerful.


Einar wrote:

I think there is no cannibalism implied in this photo : it comes from the tavern scene, not the Kitchen.


Wha?¿?¿? Mad ohh shitfuckshiths


Rolling Eyes ... heh... ok... I KNEW IT, I post it to see if any of you would see the mistake... and... really... I knew it... Shit crap. Laughing



Quote :
By the way, where did you find those Kitchen lyrics? They don't sound exactly accurate to my ear...


They come from conan.com, but keep the secret. Wink


Chrysagon wrote:

Not exactly in fact. Mammals which have not grown up in the middle of their kind never adapt to savage life. So in fact you are not born wolf or whale, you become it.
It is a pretty new concept.




Mmm, that is interesting. Guess you are right, but I wonder how they "become" it. Are they "teached" by members of the pack? How?







Happy new year motherfuckers. rabbit</SPAN>
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Tue 1 Jan - 19:59

Turd that movie LEGEND has a kitchen scene which is similar to CONAN, the pig-men mutants even wear masks like out've CONAN. Interestingly both EXCALIBUR and LEGEND retain elements of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, thats because their directors, Ridley Scott and Boorman were semi-attached to the CONAN movie.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Tue 1 Jan - 21:03

Here's the young baby Hercules carrying out his destiny, by crushing the snakes of the earth.

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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Wed 2 Jan - 1:44

Red Hair(known here as The Last Atlantean) had once gave me some link on the Kitchen lyrics, I think I passed it to MightymcT. Sadly I no longer have it myself, was deleted during a crash. The Lyrics though were somewhat accurate, though not all of it, some of it wasnt in Latin.. perhaps the dude that translated it was sloppy or used his native language as a substitute, I dunno.

Here's a link I once posted on CONAN.com back in 2003:

http://galeon.hispavista.com/pole_web/txtbso/textlyrics.htm

_______________________

With regards to the "Noble Savage" concept, it was also something used by Burroughs, his Tarzan character is a prime example.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tarzan

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_savage

Lots of times even Howard seemed like he was describing CONAN like a Amerindian, his whole romanticizing of "savages" is always ever present.
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PostSubject: Re: Historical Art and Symbolism inspiration in CONAN   Wed 2 Jan - 4:15

Cromulus The Destroyer wrote:
Turd that movie LEGEND has a kitchen scene which is similar to CONAN, the pig-men mutants even wear masks like out've CONAN. Interestingly both EXCALIBUR and LEGEND retain elements of CONAN THE BARBARIAN, thats because their directors, Ridley Scott and Boorman were semi-attached to the CONAN movie.

Yeah! I reminded that scene as I read your post. It had a creepy quality, the whole movie, being a fairy tale. The monsters where really scaring, specially that fucking goblin and his creepy voice, as I saw it when I was very young it gave me the creeps.





The art direction was superb. But I think the movie didn't actually work well for me. I remember a feeling of dissapointing. Specially in the end. I wished a much more tought Satan, as he looked. But his ass was finally too easy kicked by Tom Cruise. tristme Evil or Very Mad





I searched for some pics of that kitchen scene Wink :

















----------------------------------------------------------------------


Another similaritie that I could find is the scene of the Swamp Witch and the "Wolf-Witch" of Conan the barbarian.

Tommie is in his way to the castle of Satan, so he must cross a swamp -that is marked with Pazuzu sculptures. (Pazuzu was an old demon in Assyrian and Babylonian mythology. It's the sculpture related with Satan in the movie "The exorcist"). So, it's clear this swamp is not going to be a sweet one.

Suddenly, a lady emerges from the water. Her intention is eating Tom, but there is probably also some disgusting sexual meaning, as Tom seduce her, make her look her reflection in his golden shield, and then cuts her head with his sword.















It's similar to the way Perseus decapitated the Medusa, using the reflection of his shield.





Monster ladies who seduce innocent hot men are older than history. Mythos from all parts of the world share this archetype.

They are not ugly, at least in their superficial disguises. As they need to look attractive in order to make men forget their ditues. Then they took them to their houses, revealing their true apparence, and eating them.


This kind of aquatic cannibal women where very common in celtic tales, so it perfectly fits with the ambientation of the movie "Legend".

Naiads, for example, where pretty girls who lived underwater, and seduced travelers to join them. Then they embraced their male victims and took them to the deep, where they died, and then where devoured.

Art from 19th century (Pre-Raphalism):










So, as you see, it's pretty close to the concept of the Sirens from the Odyssey. Hot females who sing their lust to the ears of men, who, in savage desire, throw themselves to the sea and died, being eaten later by the bitches.











Same thing tried to do Circe with Ulysses, later. Circe was a sorcerer who turned the men of Ulysses into pigs (great methaphor, or what). Ulysses was not tranfromed because he was alerted by a God. Then Circe felt in love with him and proposed to spend a year of sex with her and then she will give back the human apparence to his men. He accepted but was seduced by her and he forgot his duty and his wife. Finally she left him go.









By the way, isn't this throne familiar?





Another test of the will of the hero against temptation is in the Arturic myth. Perceval arrives to a castle full of beautiful witches, who try to seduce him in order to make him forget the search for the Holy Grial.





There's a similar topic in the novel and movie "The last temptation of Christ". There is Magdalena the prostitute who desires Jesus, (they both are in love) but he refuses her sex in order to follow his own destiny.







The Devil tempts Jesus taking the form of a black cobra, and whispering words with the voice of Magdalena.





As Circe, or the Witches from the arturuc myth, or Maria Magdalena are not really "cannibal demons", actually there was a deep spiritual danger in succumbing to their beauty, as the hero would be defeated, because he would loose his destiny.


Another species of sexual she-demon were the Succubus, female demons of the european Middle Ages. These women where said to be the offspring of Lilith, the first woman of Adan who was expulsed of the Paradise before Eve was created.

Succubus make sex with men until they die. Nice way to die, if you ask me. Mr. Green











Succubus by Edward Munch:





This is another kind of the same whore: a Mantis. You know, you start fucking her, and when you wanna go then she eats you alive. Rolling Eyes








Of course we also have the Vampiress. Before the famous Brides of the count Dracule it was Clarimonda from Theóphile Gautier , and Carmilla of Sheridan Le Fanu.











And that next beauty is a Driad. Meanwhile Naiads where aquatic spirits, Driads lived in the forest, and celtic tradition made a spiritual relation with Driads and the soul of the trees.

As you see, another attractive disguise hiding a horrible cannibal grandma.




The Panther-Woman as depicted in the movie of Jacques Tourneur "Cat people" -(later there was a remake with much more explicit scenes and gore, and less quality in general) is a woman who can't make love to any man. If she do it, then she turns into a panther and devours his mate.



The interesting thing about this "Panther Bitch" is that painting of Frazetta, which could be without guessing too much the inspiration for the "Wolf-Witch" of the Milius' movie.







But I think the most probable nature of the "wolf-witch" would be a Lamia. Lamias where ancient greek female demons that took the apparence of extremely hot women, revealing their true serpent apparence while making sex with their victims, and devouring them. Thinking that in some earlier scripts this witch was associated with Thulsa-Doom (if I'm not wrong) and taking a close look to her claws, looks like she has scales, so she could be more reptilian than werewolf.



These are images of Lamias, from Pre-Raphaelist style -XIX century-.






This Lamia is not reptilian, but more like an Sphinx:



In Zamoraaahh... Mr. Green



.


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