Tag: this post is super long

“Monstrous Birth” and SMT

A while back, Professor Stuart showed two images depicting a “monstrous birth”. Both were from pamphlets made by Luther and his friend Melanchthon, made possible by Gutenberg’s printing press.

*Contrary to popular belief, Gutenberg was NOT the inventor of the printing press. Movable metal type was first invented in China and Korea, and had existed in Asia for hundreds of years before Gutenberg’s printing press even existed. However, Gutenberg’s version of the printing press made reading material easily (and cheaply) available to European peasants.

Image source: http://www.lib.cam.ac.uk/exhibitions/Babies/extraordinary.html

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One of these images, the one depicting “The Pope-ass in Rome” (1523), caught my interest. The Pope-ass was a very influential Protestant pamphlet, as it depicted a monstrous being that was supposedly found dead in the Tiber River in 1496. Said creature was said to represent how corrupt the Roman papacy was. Now, since the pamphlet was made nearly 30 years after the creature’s corpse was sighted, I’m going to ignore its further religious significance. After all, being propaganda made by Martin Luther, it’s undoubtedly severely biased towards demonizing the Catholic Church and the Pope.


As Prof. Stuart said in the first lecture, demons are corrupt and otherworldly-looking because they incorporate parts from both sexes and different animal parts.

This is apparent in Melanchthon’s flyer, which shows a creature with a donkey’s head, human breasts, one human hand, two hooves (one as a hand and one as a foot), one bird’s foot, a tail with a humanoid and an avian demon’s face, and scales all over its body. While this drawing was no doubt shocking to the masses (uneducated peasants whose lives were dictated by religion and the supernatural) in the 15oo’s, I personally would say that it doesn’t look too bad for a demon. Aside from the oddly spread-out breasts, I’d say it is a rather handsome demon, as it still maintains a basically human shape, as opposed to say, Nyarlathotep’s “Moon Howler” form (or, God forbid, Azathoth).

The creature’s features remind me of how two demons that appear in SMT: the ever-populat Baphomet, and Adramelech, who I had mentioned before on Facebook.


Adramelech in SMT, drawn by Masayuki Doi (NOT Kazuma Kaneko!)

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Adramelech is one of the few post-Kaneko demons, and is drawn by Doi instead of Kaneko. That’s not to say he’s a bad demon — Adramelech ended up being one of my favorites!

Now, design-wise, Adramelech has bird’s feet (like the creature), a donkey’s head (like the creature), human hands (like the creature), a human torso (Adramelech is male, while the creature, I assume, had a female torso), a peacock’s tail, and vibrant makeup! These elements, when combined, result in an uncanny effect created out of familiar objects put together where they shouldn’t be. This is what gives demons their otherworldly charm, after all! While Adramelech is clearly a lot more dolled-up than Melanchthon’s… thing (I mean, just look at his matching pedicured and manicured nails! And that lipstick! That eye makeup! Those gold pieces!) they still follow the same base concept: mashing together human and animal features to make something that’ll creep out most people.


Baphomet in SMT (by Kazuma Kaneko)

Baphomet

Baphomet’s an older demon than Adramelech, so he isn’t quite as fancy. He was very important to witches, and was worshipped by them. In this sense, I guess he can be seen as somewhat of an anomaly amongst demons, as he was legitimately worshipped by people instead of used as a deterrant to prevent people from sinning. I believe he was also worshipped by Knight Templars at some point, but am honestly too lazy to go and check.

Now, Baphomet has an impressive pair of ram horns above a goat’s head, leering red eyes, wings, a human torso (it’s hard to see, but he has breasts, as the creature does), human hands, and human-goat legs (they don’t appear to be digitigrade, but his feet still end in hooves). The ornament on his head is burning, a detail put in by Kaneko that’s missing in traditional depictions of Baphomet. On his crotch, partially obscured by a modest loincloth, is a caduceus, an object that is included in traditional depictions of Baphomet. I won’t doubt that the caduceus is meant to be phallic. The placement of that object, combined with his breasts results in an unsettling effect, as he combines both female and male parts along with parts from different animals.

Before I ramble on in purgatory for the next 10,000 years, I’ll end this post here.

But… if we consider this class to be an example of Protestantism, with Prof. Stuart at its helm, is there even Purgatory? I guess I’d end up in Hell for being a heretic, then.

Honestly, I wouldn’t mind that much. I like demons, and I’m used to hot weather.

The Whore of Babylon

In one of the previous lectures (I think the February 14th one, but, as of this time, the lecture about the rise of Lutheranism hasn’t been uploaded yet) Professor Stuart briefly showed an image of the Whore of Babylon.

Since this class doesn’t focus on the Book of Revelation or mythology in general, the image was only shown because of the artist, Lukas Cranach. The image shown was “The Pope as the Whore of Babylon” (1545). Depicted in the woodcut (a colorized version of it is posted below) is, as the title says, the Pope as the Whore of Babylon.

The image is a strong anti-clerical piece, and ties in with Lutheranism, as Luther’s doctrine of “sola gratia, sola fide, sola scriptura” went again Catholic beliefs. In short, Luther believed in salvation by scripture alone, that only God’s chosen ones could be granted salvation and that purgatory was a fabrication made up by the clergy. Thus, he believed in predestination and that people could not change the outcome of their lives. This went directly against the Catholic Church’s selling of indulgences, which could reduce the amount of time people would spend in purgatory, and Luther grew to see the Pope as the Anti-Christ.

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*To be honest, if this image is supposed to represent the Pope, I think he doesn’t look all that bad in drag.

Image source:http://themillenniumreport.com/2016/11/whore-of-babylon-revealed/


Mother Harlot

theharlot2

Here is SMT’s version of the Whore of Babylon, called “Mother Harlot” due to the character-count limit in earlier games allowing names up to only 14 letters long. In my opinion, the name “Mother Harlot” fits her well, after all, in Revelation 17:5, “upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”.

Thus, SMT’s “Mother Harlot” can be considered to be a title for Babylon the Great, which is the actual name of the Whore.

Thematically, Mother Harlot follows the same concept as the Whore, which is a given, as they are the same character. Both images depict her as a woman dressed in red and purple, accented by gold and some precious stones. In addition, she holds a goblet “full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication” (Revelation 17:4). The beast on which she rides is red and has seven heads and 10 horns – these features are mentioned in the Book of Revelation and present in Kaneko’s art, but missing in Cranach’s woodcut, presumably due to the angle in which it is drawn. A curious feature about Mother Harlot is her skeletal visage: presumably, Kaneko added this feature to make her fit in with his versions of the Four Horsemen, who are also from the Book of Revelation.

Design-wise, there’s no doubt that Mother Harlot represents the Whore of Babylon. She sits upon the Whore’s iconic seven-headed and ten-horned scarlet beast, is dressed in red and purple, and holds a goblet full of “filth”. The veil, red toenail polish, skeletal face, and provocative manner of dress are all elements of Kaneko’s stylistic flair, and I feel it works well in this image. All of the fancy adornments combined with her relative lack of clothing is fitting for a prostitute, and the diamond patterns, strong underbite, vaguely human-like face and blank white eyes really blend together to make her beast look demonic.


Now, all this is great and all, but what does the Whore represent? Well, what she represents is actually unclear and up to people’s interpretation of her. Usually, she is said to represent nations who persecute Christians or churches that spread false gospel. Many also believe that her beast’s seven heads represent Rome’s seven hills. Since she’s a strong anti-Christian image, I can only imagine that the connection with Rome is due to how the Romans persecuted Christians at first.

Source: http://eirikrjs.tumblr.com/post/133437780102/could-you-give-me-some-insight-into-mother