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Author Topic: Significance of the Primarchs' names  (Read 14222 times)

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Offline Cripple, Whose Corporeal Form is Now a Shade of Blue

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Significance of the Primarchs' names
« on: February 22, 2008, 02:00:03 PM »
A lot of the names in 40k have some sort of referance to the real world. For instance, Nergal(or something like that) was the sumerian god of death. Recently however, I have been wondering, what is the significance of the names of the Primarchs. Horus shares the name of an Egyptian god (horus, in Egyptian mythology is the son of Osiris) who avenges his fathers death by fighting Set. And Horus acts to avenge the (perceived) treachery by the Emperor. With Alpharius' name is almost the opposite of what he is. Although his name denotes being the leader, or being the first, he is, in fact, tha last.

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Offline PaxImperatrix

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #1 on: February 22, 2008, 02:39:16 PM »
Lion El'Jonson is a reference to Lionel Johnson, an English poet and writer of the poem The Dark Angel.

Perturabo is similar to Latin perturbatio: confusion , disorder, disturbance.

Jaghatai Khan is an alternate spelling of Chagatai Khan, the second son of the Mongolian warlord Genghis Khan.

Leman Russ is presumably connected to the Rus’ people, who lived in parts of present-day Russia. Leman is also the last name of a Russian composer and a select few other notable people.

Rogal Dorn has a Germanic last name, meaning thorn.

The name Sanguinius is related to Latin sanguis: blood. And all similar Latinate words in the English language.

Ferrus Manus is pig Latin for Iron Hand.

Angron is a near-homonym of anger.

Mortarion is related to Latin mors: death. And all similar Latinate words in English.

Magnus the Red's name comes from Latin magnus: big.

Though it's a bit of a stretch, Lorgar might come from Latin largior : to lavish, bestow, grant, give abundantly.

Vulkan is named after the Roman god Vulcan, and volcano imagery.

Corax is Latin for raven.

If I didn't mention a Primarch, it's because I didn't know what to make of them.

Offline Irandrura

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #2 on: February 22, 2008, 06:05:14 PM »
Ferrus Manus is pig Latin for Iron Hand.

And that's always been rather silly, considering that later one he literally gets iron hands and then names his Legion that. I'd suggest that 'Ferrus Manus' is a title, not his name. It's something the Medusans came to call him after he defeated the Silver Wyrm and obtained his metal hands - for someone with such things might plausibly be nicknamed 'Iron Hand'. Indeed, there's an example of someone with that nickname, Colonel 'Iron Hand' Stracken of the Catachans, though as Medusa seems to have been on the feudal side I think more along the lines of 'the hero X of the Iron Hand'.

Then when the Emperor gives him a Legion, Ferrus thought that he'd extend the metaphor, for what is the X Legion but his Iron Hands? And for some reason he introduces himself to them with his title, not his name. Maybe he didn't have a name until he slew the Wyrm, and grew up alone.

In any case, I think something like that makes more sense than his name actually being 'Iron Hand' before he fought the Wyrm.

Moving on...

You missed Guilliman. He's actually quite interesting as he's got a pseudo-French name. One would think that Konor, his adoptive father, would have named him, and the name Guilliman doesn't make a great deal of sense against Konor's cultural background. Perhaps the vision Konor had that showed him where to find Guilliman also told him his name, or it was written on the stasis pod or something.

In any case, Guillemain is a common French surname, and there are a few historical figures with it. No one who particularly leaps out, though.

Let's see, you didn't mention Konrad Curze, whose name seems to be a Heart of Darkness reference - to Joseph Conrad, the author, and Mr. Kurtz, the principal antagonist. Very subtle indeed.
The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #3 on: February 22, 2008, 06:27:18 PM »
Omegan (Alpharius' fraternal twin introduced in the book legion) also has an interesting referance in his name. Omega is the last number in the greek alphabet, and as such his name ironically seems to be almost a mockey of Alpharius'.  However, mega means 'great', and in the greek number system, it has a value of 800.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2008, 06:30:24 PM by lordofthegrave »

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2008, 08:21:52 PM »
Let's see, you didn't mention Konrad Curze, whose name seems to be a Heart of Darkness reference - to Joseph Conrad, the author, and Mr. Kurtz, the principal antagonist. Very subtle indeed.

Wow... you just got 10/10 on that assigment  ;)

I never thought of anything like that. My humble mind just assumed that maybe the Curze word was a play on "Curse" which would foreshadow the fact that his "farseer-like" visions were his curse. After all, the visions never did anything good for him, they just drove him mad.

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2008, 09:27:40 PM »
I'm a little surprised to see this topic hasn't been dealt with in the 'commonly asked questions' thread... it seems to come up regularly.  At any rate, I thought the Alpharion/Omegan thing was a clear, corny reference to the old 'I am the Alpha and the Omega'.

As much as I know y'all love Wikipedia  :P, this link will suffice methinks.
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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2008, 03:39:21 AM »
In any case, I think something like that makes more sense than his name actually being 'Iron Hand' before he fought the Wyrm.

Given the demographic 40K's mainly targeted at, I don't have so much trouble believing they intended it to be his actual name. Think of it as a corny in-joke or "Easter egg" for the few with a classical education. But it being a title works too, I guess.

You missed Guilliman. He's actually quite interesting as he's got a pseudo-French name. One would think that Konor, his adoptive father, would have named him, and the name Guilliman doesn't make a great deal of sense against Konor's cultural background. Perhaps the vision Konor had that showed him where to find Guilliman also told him his name, or it was written on the stasis pod or something.

I didn't know what to make of Roboute. Though his French name does go some way to explaining why he and the Ultramarines are so universally despised. ;)

Let's see, you didn't mention Konrad Curze, whose name seems to be a Heart of Darkness reference - to Joseph Conrad, the author, and Mr. Kurtz, the principal antagonist. Very subtle indeed.

Didn't know what to make of Fulgrim either. Any ideas there? It seems random to me.

Offline Irandrura

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #7 on: February 23, 2008, 03:48:05 AM »
Given the demographic 40K's mainly targeted at, I don't have so much trouble believing they intended it to be his actual name. Think of it as a corny in-joke or "Easter egg" for the few with a classical education.

I know, but it's so horrendous I want to make an excuse for it not to be true. ;)

Incidentally, Corax is similar, especially since they've thrown in that Corax means 'the Deliverer' in the Kiavahran language. Unfortunately there's no good excuse there, though.

Quote
Didn't know what to make of Fulgrim either. Any ideas there? It seems random to me.

If it means something, I can't find it. Looks like an original name to me.
The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

Offline Scorn

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #8 on: February 23, 2008, 11:47:55 AM »

Incidentally, Corax is similar, especially since they've thrown in that Corax means 'the Deliverer' in the Kiavahran language. Unfortunately there's no good excuse there, though.


His last known words after leaving the Tower of the Ravens just cinch it as GW thinks their clever and then proceeds to make people wince.  It's not even in jokes by the end it's just throw away "shout-outs" to the real world that take away from suspension of disbelief.
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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #9 on: February 23, 2008, 03:49:21 PM »
I never thought of anything like that. My humble mind just assumed that maybe the Curze word was a play on "Curse" which would foreshadow the fact that his "farseer-like" visions were his curse. After all, the visions never did anything good for him, they just drove him mad.

Don't forget the assassin sent to kill him; M'sheen, based on Martin Sheen who plays Benjamin Willard in Apocaplypse Now, a film based heavily on Heart of Darkness, a soldier sent to kill Colonel Walter Kurtz. Sometimes the GW silliness gives me the creeps...

WHFB background is even worse to the point of being troublesome. Lucky me that I mostly read 40k fluff.

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #10 on: February 24, 2008, 04:14:12 AM »
Perturabo is similar to Latin perturbatio: confusion , disorder, disturbance.

Or for that matter the English perturbance, which means exactly the same thing.
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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #11 on: February 24, 2008, 02:19:14 PM »
Perturabo is similar to Latin perturbatio: confusion , disorder, disturbance.

Or for that matter the English perturbance, which means exactly the same thing.

Where do you think the English word came from  ;)

Offline Hypopheralcus

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #12 on: February 24, 2008, 02:35:01 PM »
Well we all know that GW isn't very creative finding names don't we? In one WHFB campaign they had a demon named "Zahnarzt" which is german and means dentist.

I wonder why anyone at GW even dares to speak out the word copyright.

Offline Cpt. Pain

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #13 on: February 24, 2008, 03:09:30 PM »
Dentists do tend to have demonic auras though, so that is understandable  :P.



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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #14 on: February 24, 2008, 07:01:40 PM »
Hell, I named my Haemonculus after my dentist...

On another note, although the names are corny, or obviously linked to modern day things, I wouldn't think they were that obvious to the majority of people who play the game.  I know I was ignorant of many of them before they were mentioned many a time in the fluff forum.  Not that bad I say.
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Offline Irandrura

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #15 on: February 24, 2008, 07:29:46 PM »
Don't forget the assassin sent to kill him; M'sheen, based on Martin Sheen who plays Benjamin Willard in Apocaplypse Now, a film based heavily on Heart of Darkness, a soldier sent to kill Colonel Walter Kurtz. Sometimes the GW silliness gives me the creeps...

The name was just M'Shen, actually, but the reference is blatant nonetheless...

Quote from: Toad_Raider
On another note, although the names are corny, or obviously linked to modern day things, I wouldn't think they were that obvious to the majority of people who play the game.  I know I was ignorant of many of them before they were mentioned many a time in the fluff forum.  Not that bad I say.

I would have thought Poe's The Raven would be common knowledge. Even those that haven't read it in full (probably most people, admittedly), should have heard 'Nevermore' before.
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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2008, 03:48:57 AM »
I would have thought Poe's The Raven would be common knowledge. Even those that haven't read it in full (probably most people, admittedly), should have heard 'Nevermore' before.

Yeah, I would have thought that The Raven was much more commonly known than The Dark Angel but it might be the gay angle that makes people remember the last one.

Some planet names have always bugged me a bit, especially Armageddon with all it's hell references (Hive Hades, Infernus, Acheron etc.) which just sounds silly.

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2008, 06:43:09 PM »
Some planet names have always bugged me a bit, especially Armageddon with all it's hell references (Hive Hades, Infernus, Acheron etc.) which just sounds silly.

That one never really bothered me.  If I had to live on a planet like Armageddon I might be kind of grumpy when it comes to naming it too.

A lot of the names for planets I can get along with being corny as it seems more plausible.  But names that are meant to be taken seriously and given in a vacume of cultural knowledge such as Corax and Ferrus Manus always bugged me.
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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #18 on: February 26, 2008, 03:08:20 PM »
Fulgrim has similarity to 'fulcrum', but I'm not sure what relevance that has to him or the emperor's children.  (Would make much more sense for a primarch of a legion like Iron Warriors, as the army could be said to be the lever...).

Fulgrim could also be a norse or anglo-saxon construction from full and grim, which given his current fate (as i recall, trapped in his body while a daemon controls it) is a 'reasonable' joke on GWs part.

Edit: 'Grim' is in fact a standard _prefix_ in anglo-saxon names, meaning savage and/or fierce.  Full is of course also of anglo-saxon origin, but not typically a name component.  Further, anglo-saxon names were constructed by assembling two "name words" together, which means a mash-up of full and grim is not entirely inappropriate (although it isn't a perfectly legitimate anglo-saxon name as best we can determine, just follows the same style).

Given his history of primarch slaying and violence, his name meaning something like 'completely savage' isn't wholly out of line.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2008, 03:28:44 PM by Squirrelloid »
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Offline Irandrura

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Re: Significance of the Primarchs' names
« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2008, 05:33:48 PM »
Edit: 'Grim' is in fact a standard _prefix_ in anglo-saxon names, meaning savage and/or fierce.

Which is what it seems to mean when used as a prefix in Ork names, so there we go.
The ending of the words is ALMSIVI.

 


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