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First off, I'd like to say that this was just an exercise done for fun, and has no bearing on the real world or Warhammer 40k fluff. I'm not going to cite sources for mythological data, the archetypes are fairly universal and can be tracked down easily enough.
The symbol of the Necron race is as striking as it is recognisable. But what does this simple combination of lines actually say?
Looking closely, it can be imagined that the symbol went through a variety of changes as the Necrontyr developed. The early stages of the symbol were probably similar to that of 'The Tree', an archetypal symbol present in many mythologies. The tree, shown below in the form of the Christian Cross (left), and the Lakota tree (right).
The Tree is a mythological archetype that typically represents both creation of life and rebirth. The Tree is probably an early relic of Necrontyr philosophy, as every member of the race was destined to die in a slow and painful fashion due to the harsh nature of the Necrontyr homeworld. The earliest version of the Necron symbol was most likely religious in nature, pertaining to 'a better life' in the afterlife, while implying the origin of the race.
With the tree as a base, it can also be presumed that a second image, that of 'The Sun', was added later.
The Sun is another archetypal image signifying death and rebirth. The Necrontyr sun was particularly deadly, but it seems likely that the Sun imagery was added after the discovery of the C'Tan, the 'Star Gods'. When viewed in this light, the Sun can be seen as a symbol of hope to the Necrontyr, perhaps even implying the C'Tan promise to grant the Necrontyr eternal life.
The final addition to the Necron symbol would then be The Boat.
Although not an archetypal image, the Boat had a great deal of meaning to the Egyptians, upon whom the Necrontyr are loosely based. It was seen as the vessel that bore the soul to the afterlife, and when placed above the sun symbolizes a journey into the land of the dead. As a "vessel for the Soul", The Boat in the Necron symbol could possibly be the promise of the C'Tan to render the Necrontyr 'Deathless', and as such contains quite a bit of ironic meaning (the C'Tan were lying, the Necrons are soulless, if intelligent).
If interpreted this way, the final product...
... can be interpreted as the story of the entire Necrontyr race, from their beginning, to the 'birth' of the Star Gods, to their rebirth as the soulless Necrons. It's a symbol that implies both suffering and false promises, a symbol that implies the death of the Galaxy with the addition of the central skull motif found on Necron Monoliths.
So, what do you think?
Last edited by PoptartsNinja; November 3rd, 2006 at 01:49. Reason: Title
Very nice...(you and me should get together some time...let my people call your people...).
It's good to see some fellow linguist/acheologists out there...
-The God of all Machines
Actually the ancient romans used to use the symbol of the cross (your "tree") as a symbol of great suffering before the crusafiction of jesus. Then churches perverted its meaning for there propaganda. The fact of the cross being a symbol of suffering can also go well with the Necrontyr's tale of suffering and betrale. good post. sorry about my spelling.
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Also, think about this. Place a smaller circle inside 'the sun' symbol, at the top so the top edges of the two circles cross at a point directly at the top. Then draw a line from the bottom of the small circle straight down.
What does that give you?
Perhaps this is significant? Consider the similarities:
-Both have life spans significantly shorter than most other races in the galaxy
-Both turn to science and technology for war and develeopement rather than psychers
-One race is completely mechanical; The higher ranked members of the other are given, or perhaps 'incased' in battlesuits. Stretching it I know, but still.
Just a theory I heard once and tend to agree with, perhaps the Tau were a race originally created by the Necrons in the image of the Necrons; The Deceiver might've been awake, I'm not sure, when the Tau were first developing. Created specifically without any psychic prowess, yet almost infinite skill at the adaption and creation of technologies. However, other developes took their attention away from their new 'pets', and since then the Tau's evolution outgrew what the Necrons were originally intending. While not a serious threat to the Necron dominance of the Galaxy, their technology if combined with the powers of say, Eldar (Unlikely, but in the name of preventing another Red Harvest it could happen.) could perhaps become a hinderance.
Just a thought. Based somewhat on my 'necron crusade' recently, where most of my games have been against hoards of Necrons... Though I've yet to encounter the wrath of a C'tan.
Sorry about that, thought I might as well put this little rant out there:rolleyes:
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Wow! I had a good read. Although, I don't think GW put that much weight into using symbols like you have described. Moneygrabing dogs as they are, they will do it now. (The GW people reading this, feel ashamed)
Ninja, would you care to do the same symbolic breakdown of other symbols, like the Crux Terminatus, or eldar signs? That would be pretty awesome to read too.
Does anyone here know if the Necrontyr reproduced asexually?
I'll go out on a wild goose chase here if you don't mind.
Nice analysies! Rep for you.
Very cool and well thought out...REP
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Laughing God: The symbol of the cross was also an ancient egyptian hieroglyph literally meaning "Savior". But hey, lets not mention both sides of the argument, instead we'll just be rednecks, right?
Also, I think you guys are missing what seems to me to be an obvious similarity. The Necrons main symbol as illustrated above bears resemblance to an Ankh. A symbol meaning eternity or eternal life, which would mesh very well with the idea of the necrons. My guess is the guys at GW took an ankh and fiddled with it to make the necron symbol.
I was wathcing CSI the other day and noticed something else as well. The symbol chains on the necron transfer sheet look very similar to actual polypeptide chains, the basis for basically all living things. Another idea that mesh's well with the necrons and their quest to dominate and control all life.
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