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Heroes Community > Other Side of the Monitor > Thread: Artifacts of Might and Magic
Thread: Artifacts of Might and Magic
Vlaad
Vlaad


Admirable
Legendary Hero
ghost of the past
posted March 19, 2006 01:59 PM bonus applied.
Edited by Vlaad on 19 Mar 2006

Artifacts of Might and Magic

When you play Heroes of Might and Magic and pick up an artifact, each time you get to read a neat story. However, have you ever wondered what are the true origins of the artifacts we love in our favorite game? Sure, you know that the Horseshoe brings +1 luck, but why?

Well, no one is actually sure, but here are some pretty good ideas!


These stories are based on several online sources (copy/pasted and significantly edited), so some of them might not be 100% true.

Feel free to correct, add or comment anything!


Rabbit's Foot



The rabbit's foot is one of the oldest superstitious icons, having been used since before 600 B.C. Rabbits are said to be prolific breeders, so they are sometimes seen as symbols of fertility. They are thought to provide good luck, good crops, many children, and prosperity.

Besides being a symbol of fertility, rabbit's feet are also linked with darkness, witches, and the devil because rabbits live underground.

Although it's a bit difficult to follow, one of the more interesting stories claims that if a rabbit is killed during a full moon by a cross-eyed person, and then the rabbit's left hind foot is removed and carried in someone's left pocket, it is truly lucky. The foot is considered a powerful charm against evil because the rabbit's strong hind legs touch the ground before its front legs. The belief originates in the system of African-American folk magic known as hoodoo.

Be careful, though: First, not any old foot from a rabbit will do: it is the left hind foot of a rabbit that is useful as a charm. Second, not any left hind foot of a rabbit will do; the rabbit must have been shot or otherwise captured in a cemetery. Third, at least according to some sources, not any left hind foot of a rabbit shot in a cemetery will do: the phase of the moon is also important. Some authorities say that the rabbit must be taken in the full moon, while others hold instead that the rabbit must be taken in the new moon. Some sources say instead that the rabbit must be taken on a Friday, or a rainy Friday, or Friday the thirteenth. Some sources say that the rabbit should be shot with a silver bullet, while others say that the foot must be cut off while the rabbit is still alive.

Experiments to determine which is correct have so far been inconclusive.


Evil Eye



The Evil Eye is a widely distributed element of folklore or superstition: a belief that some people, often women seen as witches, can bestow a curse on victims by the malevolent gaze of their magical eye. The effects on victims vary; some have them afflicted with bad luck of various sorts. Others believe the evil eye has even more baleful powers, that it can cause disease, wasting away, and even death.

Nowadays, giving another person the "evil eye" usually means glaring at the person in anger or disgust.

Fortunately, there are means of protection:


All-Seeing Eye



It resembles a single human eye, but often surrounded by radiating beams of light. It is found in many eras and cultures. The All-Seeing Eye is generally a symbol of the watchful and protective power of the Supreme Being, especially when that entity is considered in a solar or heavenly context.

It appears on the Great Seal of the United States, and is among the many beautiful symbols of Freemasonry (the Eye of Providence), where it represents the Great Architect of the Universe.

In regions where the Evil Eye belief occurs, the All-Seeing Eye is used as a talisman to "guard" the bearer "from the evil."

A similar function was assigned to the protective Eye of Horus of Ancient Egypt. Originally, Horus was the god of the sky, and the son of Ra, the creator. One was found under the bandages on Tutankhamen's mummy.

I've seen different kinds of those in Turkey, some fitted with ribbons and chains, so that they can be hung in a window, on a wall, near the door, or over a baby's bed, where it will ward off the Evil Eye; others were part of the pavements...

However, I must admit my eye was set on those sexy belly dancers.


The Eye-in-Hand



It is an old and still popular apotropaic amulet for magical protection from the evil eye.

Combining the imagery of Greek and Turkish blue all-seeing eye charms with the downward-facing Arab and Israeli hamsa hand, the eye-in-hand is a frequently encountered protective talisman in India and the southern Mediterranean region.


The Scarab



Scarabs are engraved stones representing the Scarab beetle (a.k.a. the dung beetle ), which rolls each of its eggs in a ball of... umm... mud, and may be seen on sandy slopes in the hot sunshine of Egypt; rounding the pellet by pushing it backwards uphill with its hind legs, and allowing it to roll down again.

The ancient Egyptian compared this to the sun, which brings matter into life, and the Scarab became the symbol of creation. It was their custom as far as 4,000 years B.C. to bury these engraved Scarabs with their dead, and frequently one was placed in the heart itself. It was an emblem of re-creation, and symbolized the evolution of the soul through eternity.



Horseshoe



Horseshoes are considered a good luck charm in many cultures.

A common tradition is that if a horseshoe is hung on a door with the two ends pointing up then good luck will occur. However, if the two ends point downwards then bad luck will occur. Traditions do differ on this point, though. In some cultures, the horseshoe is hung points down (so the luck pours onto you); in others, it is hung points up (so the luck doesn't fall out); still in others it doesn't matter so long as the horseshoe has been used (not new), was found (not purchased), and can be touched.

One reputed origin of the tradition of lucky horseshoes is the story of Saint Dunstan and the Devil. Dunstan, who would become the Archbishop of Canterbury in AD 959, was a blacksmith by trade. The story relates that he once nailed a horseshoe to the Devil's hoof. This caused the Devil great pain, and Dunstan only agreed to remove the horseshoe after the Devil promised never to enter a place where a horseshoe is hung over the door.

Another theory concerning the placing of horseshoes above doorways is to ward off Faeries; the theory being that Faeries are repelled by iron and as horseshoes were an easily available source of iron, they could be nailed above a door to prevent any unwanted, otherworldly guests.

There is good reason to suppose that the crescent form of the horseshoe links the symbol to pagan Moon goddesses of ancient Europe such as Artemis and Diana.


Ankh



The ankh was the Egyptian hieroglyphic character that stood for "life"). Egyptian gods may carry it by the loop, or bear one in each hand crossed over their breast.

Later it was interpreted the as a "cross with a handle".

What it was intended to represent remains a mystery to Egyptologists, and no single hypothesis has yet been widely accepted. Some have speculated that it was a stylized womb, a sandal strap, even a primitive representation of human genitalia.

The original meaning of this Egyptian symbol is also not known. One suggests that it combines the male and female symbols of Osiris (the cross) and Isis (the oval) and therefore signifies the union of heaven and earth. As a hieroglyph, it likely encompassed a range of meanings centered around the concept of life or life force.

Over time, the ankh certainly came to symbolize life and immortality, the universe, power and life giving air and water. Its key-like shape also encouraged the belief it could unlock the gates of death. The Coptic Christians used it as a symbol of life after death.

A similar symbol was later used to represent the Roman goddess Venus. This symbol, known benignly as Venus' hand-mirror, is much more associated with a representation of the female womb. In astrology the same symbol is used to represent the planet Venus, in alchemy to represent the element copper, and in biology to identify the female sex.

Today the ankh is widely employed in pop culture as a symbolic device to instantly communicate deep history, arcane life-forces and/or spiritual magic.


Four-Leaf Clover



It has been estimated that there are approximately 10,000 three-leaf clovers for every four-leaf clover. There is a debate as to whether the four-leaf clover is caused by genetic or environmental factors. The rarity of the four leaf clover suggests a possible recessive gene at a low frequency as the cause. Alternatively, four-leaf clovers could be caused by a mutation.

According to legend, each leaf of the clover represents something. The first leaf is for hope, the second leaf is for faith, the third leaf is for love, and the fourth leaf, naturally, is for luck.

Trivia: According to Guiness, the world record is 18 leaves!

NB: It is often mistaken for the Irish shamrock.


White Pearl



A pearl is a hard, rounded object produced by certain animals, primarily mollusks such as oysters. Pearl is valued as a gemstone and is cultivated or harvested for jewelry.

Pearls are formed within mollusks when a foreign substance invades the shell, entering the soft mantle tissue, and picking up epithelial cells. In response to the irritation, the cells form into a sac (known as a pearl sac) which secretes a crystalline substance called nacre.

Before the beginning of the 20th century, pearl hunting was the most common way of harvesting pearls. Divers manually pulled oysters from ocean floors and river bottoms and checked them individually for pearls. Not all natural oysters produce pearls, however. In fact, in a haul of three tones, only three or four oysters will produce perfect pearls.

Now, however, almost all pearls used for jewelry are cultured by planting a core or into pearl oysters. The pearls are usually harvested three years after the planting, but it can take up to as long as six years before a pearl is produced. This process was first developed in Japan in 1896.

The value of the pearls in jewelry is determined by a combination of the luster, color, size, lack of surface flaw and symmetry.

Pearls come in eight basic shapes: round, semi-round, button, drop, pear, oval, baroque, and ringed. Perfectly round pearls are the rarest and most expensive.


Black Pearl



Black pearls frequently referred to as Black Tahitian Pearls are highly valued because of their rarity. Most "black" Tahitian pearls are not actually black, but are instead gray, silver, or similar shades. Truly black pearls are extremely rare.

Although these pearls are thought by many to be a product of Tahiti this is in fact not true. Tahiti is the commercial center of the industry, but does not have any pearl farms located on the island. The farms are instead scattered throughout Polynesia.


Astrolabe and Sextant



The astrolabe was an instrument used by classical astronomers and astrologers. Its many uses included locating, and predicting the positions of, the Sun, Moon, planets and stars; Astrologers of the Islamic world and European nations used astrolabes to construct horoscopes.

No one knows for certain who invented the astrolabe, but it was the chief navigational instrument until the invention of the sextant, in 16th century. The sextant soon became the most reliable instrument used to measure the angle of elevation of a celestial object above the horizon.


Compass



A compass is another navigational instrument for finding directions.

It consists of a magnetized pointer free to align itself with Earth's magnetic field direction. The cardinal points are north, south, east and west. A compass can be used in conjunction with a clock and a sextant to provide a very accurate navigation capability. This device greatly improved trade by making travel safer and more efficient.

Compasses were initially used in feng shui in ancient China. The first known use of Earth's magnetic field in this way occurred in ancient China as a spectacle. Arrows were cast similarly to dice. These magnetized arrows aligned themselves pointing north, impressing the audience.

Legend says that the mythological emperor the Yellow Emperor (2698 - 2599 BC) invented the first land compass during a battle against a rival who used sandstorm as camouflage to hide his army.


Lion



The lion is a common image in heraldry around the world, traditionally symbolizing bravery, valor and strength.

Great Britain has several coats of arms featuring lions (Three lions on a shirt... la la la... ). Singapore means the Lion City. Although lions are not native to China, the Chinese believe that lions protect humans from evil spirits, hence the Chinese New Year Lion Dance to scare away demons and ghosts.


Cap



The square academic cap, very commonly called a mortarboard, is an item of academic headgear consisting of a horizontal square board fixed upon a skull-cap, with a tassel attached to the centre. It is also often termed a square or trencher in the UK and Australia; in the USA, it is usually referred to as a cap.

Its colloquial name derives from its resemblance to the board upon which mortar is placed by a bricklayer. (?)

The cap, together with the gown and sometimes a hood, now form the customary uniform of a university graduate.


Golden Goose



The Golden Goose comes from a fairy tale collected by the Brothers Grimm. The hero (the youngest of three brothers, given the nickname Dummling - "little fool") is generous with a mysterious little old man and is rewarded with a golden goose. Dummling, after three more impossible trials, in each of which he is assisted by the little gray man, wins the Princess and everyone lives happily ever after.

It seems to me the game developers have confused the Grimms' Goose with the Aesop's, since it is the latter that gives gold to its owner.

According to the fable, a poor farmer found that one of the geese in his flock had begun laying eggs made of gold. The farmer and his wife began selling the gold, and were finally becoming prosperous. At long last, the farmer's wife suggested that they were fools to wait for the goose to produce gold at such a slow rate - they could kill the goose, cut it open, and get all the gold inside it right now! The farmer did as his wife suggested, and cut open the goose. To his horror, he found that there was no gold inside the goose, and since the goose was now dead, it would not be laying any golden eggs in the future. Gradually, the farmer and his wife became poor again. Lessons to be drawn from the story: the destructiveness of greed, the virtue of patience.

In English language, "killing the golden goose" has become a metaphor for any short-sighted action that may bring an immediate reward, but will ultimately prove disastrous.


David's Sling



Everyone knows the legend about Jewish king David (11th century BC) who used his sling to send a stone flying into the Goliath's head. When three-meter giant fell dead to the ground, David beheaded him.

"David and Goliath" is now a proverbial expression of a small force defeating a larger one.


Grail



In Christian mythology, the Holy Grail was the dish, plate, cup or vessel used by Jesus at the Last Supper, said to possess miraculous powers. According to many versions of the story, Joseph of Arimathea used the Grail to catch Christ's blood while interring him and then took the object to Britain, where he founded a line of guardians to keep it safe. The quest for the Holy Grail makes up an important segment of the Arthurian cycle.

The legend may combine Christian lore with a Celtic myth of a cauldron endowed with special powers.
The Grail plays a different role everywhere it appears, but in most versions of the legend the hero must prove himself worthy to be in its presence.

The legend of the Holy Grail is the basis of the use of the term holy grail in modern-day culture. This or that "holy grail" is seen as the distant, ultimate goal for a person, organization, or field to achieve.


Hourglass



An hourglass, also known as a sandglass or sand timer, is a device for the measurement of time. Once all the sand has run to the bottom bulb, the device is inverted in order to measure another time period.

The hourglass was often depicted on pirate flags where it symbolized the fact that human existence is fleeting, and in England hourglasses were sometimes placed in coffins to symbolize the fact that the "sands of time" had run out. In literature, references to time measuring devices can represent death. There are images depicting the Grim Reaper holding an hourglass.

Beer



Beer is an alcoholic drink produced through the fermentation of cereal sugars, and which is not distilled after fermentation. But you knew that.

Brewing dates back to at least the 5th millennium BC, and is recorded in the written history of Ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia. Beer largely remained a homemaker's activity, made in the home in medieval times. By the 14th and 15th centuries, beer making was gradually changing from a family-oriented activity to an artisan one, with pubs and monasteries brewing their own beer for mass consumption. Those naughty monks...

Since I prefer wine and other drinks, I'll leave this part to anyone else who'd further explain the mug's + 3 morale bonus.


Cornucopia



The cornucopia, also known as the Horn of Plenty, is a symbol of food and plenty dating back to the 5th century BC.

In Greek mythology, Amalthea raised Zeus on the milk of a goat. In return Zeus gave Amalthea the goat's horn. It had the power to give to the person in possession of it whatever he or she wished for. The original depictions were of the goat's horn filled with fruits and flowers: deities, especially Fortuna, would be depicted with the horn of plenty.

In modern depiction, the cornucopia is a hollow, horn-shaped wicker basket typically filled with various kinds of festive fruit and vegetables.

In America, the cornucopia has become associated with Thanksgiving.


Shackles



In former times, police officers typically handcuffed arrested persons with their hands in front of them, but since approximately the mid-1960s behind-the-back handcuffing has been the standard. The vast majority of police academies in the United States today also teach their recruits to apply handcuffs so that the palms of the suspect's hands face outward after the handcuffs are applied. In addition, suspects are handcuffed with the keyholes facing up (away from the hands) to make it difficult to open them even with a key or improvised pick.

Trivia: Sometimes two pairs of handcuffs are needed to restrain a person with an exceptionally large waistline because the hands cannot be brought in sufficient proximity to each other; in this scenario, one cuff on one pair of handcuffs is handcuffed to one of the cuffs on the other pair, and then the remaining open handcuff on each pair is applied to the person's wrists.

Police handcuffs are sometimes used in sexual bondage, but you knew that.

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TNT_Addict
TNT_Addict


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Beautiful Liar
posted March 19, 2006 06:35 PM
Edited by TNT_Addict on 19 Mar 2006

Quote:
Police handcuffs are sometimes used in sexual bondage, but you knew that.


Nooo?! Really ?! Pfffffttt, ofcourse I knew it before the inventor of the cuffs knew it himself...

Looks like another QP to stack up... Some nice and interesting stuff here.

Maybe there are other artifacts that will do like the cuffs, hmmm...

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Vlaad
Vlaad


Admirable
Legendary Hero
ghost of the past
posted March 19, 2006 09:20 PM

Quote:
Maybe there are other artifacts that will do like the cuffs, hmmm...

Like what?
____________

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Loknar
Loknar


Adventuring Hero
Missing Links
posted March 19, 2006 10:55 PM
Edited by Loknar on 19 Mar 2006

David's Sling? The Golden Goose? OMG!

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Khaelo
Khaelo


Honorable
Supreme Hero
Underwater
posted March 19, 2006 11:14 PM

wow

Great article!  Lots of fascinating info in there; I never  realized that the English saying "killing the golden goose" confuses two different stories.  
Quote:
The Evil Eye is a widely distributed element of folklore or superstition: a belief that some people, often women seen as witches, can bestow a curse on victims by the malevolent gaze of their magical eye. The effects on victims vary; some have them afflicted with bad luck of various sorts. Others believe the evil eye has even more baleful powers, that it can cause disease, wasting away, and even death.

Fun fact: The English word "envy" comes from the Latin invidia which is in turn derives from -videre, "to see, look at," and in-, "against."  In Rome, that was understood as evil eye.  So, to be envious is to "look against" someone or give them the evil eye.  

(source: my college Latin professor who did his graduation thesis on evil eyes and protective charms.  He had interesting things to say about phalli, too, but for some reason those have not appeared in HoMM games.  )
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disguised as a responsible adult

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Valeriy
Valeriy

Mage of the Land
Naughty, Naughty Valeriy
posted March 20, 2006 12:38 AM


____________
You can wait for others to do it, but if they don't know how, you'll wait forever.
Be an example of what you want to see on HC and in the world.
http://www.heroesofmightandmagic.com

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Miru
Miru


Supreme Hero
A leaf in the river of time
posted March 20, 2006 12:57 AM

Quote:

Rabbit's Foot



The rabbit's foot is one of the oldest superstitious icons, having been used since before 600 B.C. Rabbits are said to be prolific breeders, so they are sometimes seen as symbols of fertility. They are thought to provide good luck, good crops, many children, and prosperity.

Besides being a symbol of fertility, rabbit's feet are also linked with darkness, witches, and the devil because rabbits live underground.

Although it's a bit difficult to follow, one of the more interesting stories claims that if a rabbit is killed during a full moon by a cross-eyed person, and then the rabbit's left hind foot is removed and carried in someone's left pocket, it is truly lucky. The foot is considered a powerful charm against evil because the rabbit's strong hind legs touch the ground before its front legs. The belief originates in the system of African-American folk magic known as hoodoo.

Be careful, though: First, not any old foot from a rabbit will do: it is the left hind foot of a rabbit that is useful as a charm. Second, not any left hind foot of a rabbit will do; the rabbit must have been shot or otherwise captured in a cemetery. Third, at least according to some sources, not any left hind foot of a rabbit shot in a cemetery will do: the phase of the moon is also important. Some authorities say that the rabbit must be taken in the full moon, while others hold instead that the rabbit must be taken in the new moon. Some sources say instead that the rabbit must be taken on a Friday, or a rainy Friday, or Friday the thirteenth. Some sources say that the rabbit should be shot with a silver bullet, while others say that the foot must be cut off while the rabbit is still alive.

Experiments to determine which is correct have so far been inconclusive.



The rabbit foot being lucky is a sales ploy invented a long time ago - to put it in short, every part of the rabbit (meat, pealt, bones etc.) is useful except for the foot. No one had any use for the feet, and they had plenty, so they made a use; spreading superstition that it was lucky.

But they sill look cool hanging from your rear-view-mirror (car), next to your fuzzy dice
____________
I wish I were employed by a stupendous paragraph, with capitalized English words and expressions.

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