On this page, we want to take a closer look at the Animals that appear as artful depictions as part of the gaming environment or are in some other way referenced in the game.
This reference may be somewhat elusive to grasp for players of the original English edition, but thanks to my German heritage the naming of this character, Gaul, inspired a certain speculation, also because names in general appear to have a certain weight in ROTH.
Although his name is pronounced as /ɡɔːl/ (itself being a homophone of the word goal) with a decidedly English accent by all the characters, even in the German edition, the word Gaul also exists in the German language, where we pronounce it as [ɡaʊ̯l] and use it in reference to an old, incapable horse. This is insofar interesting as in the cutscene where Gaul claims one of the green crystals which allow entrance into the Realm of Sheol, he quite obviously limps. Now, Gaul is supposed to be the main antagonist in the game, the one to become the new host for the Power of Darkness (the antithesis to Hawk), once the seventh and last seal has been broken. His defective walk might, thus, be an allusion to the Devil with the mark of the cloven hoof who after having been expelled from Heaven started to limp.
Hawk describes himself as a vessel born of time to become a Host for the Power of Light, and emphasizes that, thus, he is the complete antithesis of Gaul - the Host in spe for the Power of Darkness. Interestingly, both of these opponent characters have been named after animals, as the word Gaul in the German language is used to refer to an old or incapable horse.
In ancient Egypt, the Hawk was a symbol associated with the sun and especially sacred to Horus, Ra, Osiris, and Seker. Horus and Ra were often depicted as hawk-headed, both being solar deities. The hawk also depicted one of the parts of the human constitution, the human soul.
As a high-flying raptor, the hawk shares much of the symbolism of the eagle. It is associated with light, royalty, power, the sun, watchfulness, and the heavens. Many solar gods have the hawk as an attribute or messenger. Gods portrayed in the form of hawks or as being hawk-headed are almost always sun gods. Like the eagle, the true hawk was thought capable of staring directly into the sun.
In ancient Egypt, the hawk was considered a royal bird and a symbol of the soul (ba). Egyptians believed that the ba of a mummy walked the earth, visiting the body from time to time, until eventually being reunited with the resurrected body. The Egyptian sphinx is sometimes hawk-headed. According to Egyptian mythology Isis, in the shape of a hawk, fluttered above the body of her dead husband while she conceived Horus (the son who would avenge his death).
The remarkable rapidity of their flight caused the Egyptians to make hawks the hieroglyphic emblem of the wind.
Inside the Mausoleum, specifically the section where we make the acquaintance of Aelf, the wall in the far end of the room is covered with several reliefs, among which we find the depiction of a winged horse, apparently about to set off towards the sky. According to some research I did on the artful representation of Saint Michael, this relief is probably based on an iconographic painting from the late 18th century.
Sarcophagi in the Mausoleum. The depicted bird bears some resemblance to the Ibis, which in ancient Egypt, just like the Hawk and the Serpent, has been an object of religious veneration. One of the deities of the Egyptian pantheon, Thoth, associated with the maintenance of the Universe, the arbitration of godly disputes, the arts of magic, the system of writing, the development of science and the judgment of the dead, was often depicted as a man with the head of an Ibis.This carving can be found on the
According to alchemical understanding, the Ibis with its crescent-shaped beak is representative of the moon and as such the harbinger of lunar functions, cycles of time, measure and movement. Great importance was placed on the moon, and the Ibis would be depicted on alchemical scripts as a sort of placation for successful transmutations.
The bird Ibis while wading in water has its head above the water and feet firmly on ground inside the water which spiritually symbolizes that one can be rooted in earthly matters and be in connected to spiritual planes above.
The Serpent is a recurring motif in the game, appearing to us for the first time in the form of the gold-leaf Serpent Statuettes.
Additionally, we also find that our Egyptian Masks, whose design recalls the so-called Nemes, the headgear of the ancient pharaos such as Tutankhamun. Apart from the similar gold and blue stripe design, the Egyptian Masks also feature the same Uraeus ornamentation on top of the headgear. The Uraeus (Greek οὐραῖος, ouraîos, "on its tail"; from Egyptian jʿr.t (iaret), "rearing cobra") is a stylized, up-right form of an Egyptian cobra that in ancient times, used to symbolize sovereignty, royalty, deity, and divine authority.
Inside the Mausoleum, specifically the section where we make the acquaintance of Aelf, the wall in the far end of the room is covered with several reliefs, among which we find the depiction of Saint Michael (as identified by the Quis ut Deus inscription on the bottom). Next to his feet we see a small Serpent, possibly symbolizing his victory over Evil and its numerous manifestations.
Connected to the Serpent motif, we find that there are several references to Dragons as well, those legendary creatures which are usually depicted with serpentine and reptilian features, most obviously the scales. Interestingly, the English word dragon derives from the Greek δράκων (drákōn) "dragon, serpent of huge size, water-snake". Occasionally, serpents and dragons are used interchangeably, having similar symbolic functions. The venom of the serpent is thought to have a fiery quality similar to a fire spitting dragon.
Beyond the Sarcophagus, there's a bright chamber, whose floor is covered with a large clock and whose walls are carved with murals, depicting various knights who protect themselves from fire-breathing dragons by using their shields. It's a valuable hint which prompts us to equip the Dragon Shield before we proceed on our way, as the door that opened up after setting the clock will shoot fire balls at us. When examining the trap beforehand, Adam will actually comment on the black colour around the dragon's mouth from which the fire balls will originate.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Tucker, Suzetta. "ChristStory Hawk Page." ChristStory Christian Bestiary. 1997. http://ww2.netnitco.net/users/legend01/hawk.htm (20 Jun. 2016).
- ↑ Saint Michael Archistrategos ("Commander of Heavenly Hosts"). Russian (Kamenetz-Podolsk, Ukraine). Icon: late 18th century; basma by "BYC," active after 1764. Oil on wood panel with gold-plated silver basma (frame) adorned with smoked topaz. From the Collection of Michael P. Kluppel, given in memory by Dolores Kluppel Vetter, 1992.27
- ↑ Common Animal Meanings in Alchemy
- ↑ List of Alchemy Symbols and their Meaning
- ↑ Serpent (Symbolism)