Mythological Background of Etherlords Creatures
Many of the Creatures in Etherlords have a mythological background - here
you can find some of the most interesting. It always nagged me to knwo where
some of the names come from - and I found some info.
The ancient Greeks believed that the Lamia was a vampire who stole little children to
drink their blood. She was portrayed as a snake-like creature with a female head and
breasts. Usually female, but sometimes referred to as a male or a hermaphrodite.
According to legend, she was once a Libyan queen (or princess) who fell in love with
Zeus. Zeus' jealous wife Hera deformed her into a monster and murdered their offspring.
She also made Lamia unable to close her eyes, so that she couldn't find any rest from
the obsessing image of her dead children. When Zeus saw what had be done to Lamia, he
felt pity for her and gave his former lover a gift: she could remove her eyes, and then
put them on again. This way, though sleepless, she could rest from her misfortune. Lamia
envied other the other mothers and took her vengeance by stealing their children and
In Lamia and other Poems (1820), the English poet John Keats writes about Lamia too. In
this version, based on the information he found in Anatomy of Melancholy of the 1600s,
Lamia has the ability to change herself into a beautiful young woman. Here she assumes a
human form to win a man's love.
Another version of this myth states that Hera killed Lamia's children and that it was her
grief that turned her into a monster.
Kobolds are ugly spirits that originate from German folklore. The most common version, known
as Hinzelmännchen, are described as helpful or mischevious household elves. They sometimes
perform domestic chores, but can also play tricks on the human inhabitants. This type of
kobold is said to be related to Robin Goodfellow and brownies. Another type of kobold that
can be found in mines and other underground places seems to be more closely related to the
Kobolds are also found in fantasy fiction. In Dungeons & Dragons and the settings it inspired,
many authors present them as aggressive humanoid creatures that are smaller than a person.
They are evil creatures that dwell together with their own kind rather than in human homes.
Such kobolds have an ugly presence reminiscent of a bipedal rat or dog.
According to the folklore and mythology of the peoples of Northern Europe, the ogres (from
Latin Orcus) are a race of humanoid beings, fierce and cruel monsters, that eat human flesh;
they are also shy and cowardly, and have little or no intelligence and cleverness, which
makes it easy for men to defeat them. A female of this race is called ogress.
Ogres are said to be able to change their shape at will into animals or objects, and they
often dwell in marvellous palaces or castles, sometimes underground.
In Scandinavian countries ogres are sometimes associated with trolls; they are considered
to be masters of castles built in the mountains, keeping fabulous treasures (compare with
the Irish leprechaun); this creature is considered to be either a giant (most commonly) or
In art, ogres are depicted with a big head, abundant and hirsute hair and beard, a huge
belly, and a strong body.
Literature for children has plenty of tales mentioning ogres and kidnapped princesses who
were rescued by valiant knights and, sometimes, peasants. Ogres are also popular in fantasy
games and movies.
By extension, the term ogre applies to disgusting persons with a violent temper.
Orcus, in Roman mythology, was an alternative name for Pluto, Hades, or Dis Pater, god of
the land of the dead. The name "Orcus" seems to have been given to his evil, punishing
side, as the god who tormented evildoers in the afterlife.
Pliny the Elder wrote of orcs in his Historia naturalis, describing a sea monster with
large teeth. In Orlando Furioso, an epic by Ludovico Ariosto, the name of "orc" was given
to a sea monster that captured the damsel Angelica, and was fought by the hero Rogero riding
a hippogriff. It is this use of the word that gave us the word orca as one name for the
killer whale (now known by the scientific name orcinus orca).
From this usage, the word "orc" made it into English by being borrowed by Michael Drayton
in his Polyolbion, an epic poem about Brutus the Trojan and the mythical founders of
Britain, and also appears in the epic poem Paradise Lost, by John Milton. William Blake
names one of the characters in his complex mythology "Orc"; Blake's Orc, a proper name,
seems to be the embodiment of creative passion and energy, and stands opposed to Urizen,
the embodiment of reason.
The humanoid, non-maritime race of orcs are Tolkien's invention.
There were two generations of Cyclopes.
First Generation: These Cyclopes were the children of Uranus and Gaia. They were giants
with a single eye in the middle of their forehead and a foul disposition. According to
Hesiod, they were strong, stubborn, and “abrupt of emotion". Their names eventually became
synonyms for strength and power, and were used to signify especially well-crafted weapons.
Second Generation: The Cyclopes were a race of huge one-eyed monsters that resided on
an island with the same name. Commonly, the term 'Cyclops' refers to a particular son
of Poseidon and Thoosa named Polyphemus who was a Cyclops. Another of the Second
Generation of Cyclopes was Telemus, a seer.
Given their penchant for blacksmithing, many scholars believe the legend of the Cyclopes
arose from an actual practice wherein blacksmiths wore an eyepatch over one eye to
prevent becoming blind in both eyes from flying sparks. Blacksmiths also tattooed
themselves with concentric circles in honor of the sun; this is another possible source
of the legend. The second generation of Cyclopes are definitely of a different type
than the first generation; they were most likely much later additions to the pantheon
and have no connection to blacksmithing. Many believe that the legends associated with
Polyphemus were not about a Cyclops until Homer added it into the Odyssey; Polyphemus
may have been some sort of local demon or monster originally.
Another possible origin for the Cyclops legend is that prehistoric proto-elephant skulls
were found by the Greeks (some still exist today on Crete). Due to the large central
nasal cavity (for the trunk) in the skull, it might have been believed that this was a
large, single, eye-socket. The smaller, actual, eye-sockets are on the sides and much
less impressive. Given the paucity of experience that the locals likely had with living
elephants, they were unlikely to recognize the skull for what it actually was.
There's not much Mythology here, but the search for the meaning of the word
was interesting - 'Konung' is quite simply the Swedish word for 'King'.