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Custodes Influences // Historical Military Doctrines


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#1
choppyred

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Back in 2017 there was a thread about Legion Influences// Historical Military Doctrines, which contained some of the best ideas and information on the legions that I have ever come across ( I recommend anyone who hasn't gone through the thread to do so.)

 

 I was hoping that those brothers and sisters with historical military knowledge could maybe shed some light on the Legio Custodes in the same way. 

 
 
Edit grammer

Edited by choppyred, 23 January 2020 - 06:13 PM.

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#2
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There's a lot of influences from Alexander the Great, who I think was the template for The Emperor of Mankind.

The Emperor's Companions, for example, share their name with the elite cavalry body guard of Alexander.

I don't honestly make a lot of the comparisons, but would be interested to see what other members come up with.

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#3
BaconCouch

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The Custodians Organize themselves into Sodalities. Which does smack of greek influence by name at the very least. 

 

Long story short, they're groups of warriors who prefer making war in a particular manner (On a bike, at range, terminator shock assault, close and personal etc). They work and train together, and get put into shield companies as needed.


40k Armies I Own

 

Necrons (10,000 Points)

Custodes (3000 Points)

Space Marines (3500 Points)


#4
jaxom

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The Legio Custodes are a bit of an odd duck. The Sodality specifically calls out that they fight as individuals rather than in units. The Germanic and Gaulish influence on medieval literary traditions gives us a great example for comparison: the Paladins of Charlemagne. Also known as the Twelve Peers, they were the foremost knights of his court. The modern use of paladin comes from their tales. Paladin is a francophied version of palatine which was an abbreviated usage of Palatine Count. A palatine count, or any other form of palatine rank, was one that existed solely within the confines of a royal court. The tradition came out of Rome (specifically the governing areas of the Palatine hill, hence the name). For example, a king's seneschal may be lower nobility, but have a palatine rank for the purpose of giving orders and being obeyed within the court by those who would otherwise outrank him.

 

The Deeds of the King from the Song of Heroic Deeds deals mainly with Charlemagne and the Paladins. In it, they are described in contrast to the rest of their armies. The armies fight as armies do, but the Paladins fight among, but separate from, the armies. By such actions are they glorified and their obesience to god rewarded with his protection while outnumbered. Their foes are savage, but cowardly at heart, so the bravery of Charlemagne and the Paladins cows them. The sight of the enemy breaking upon the rock of Carolingian knighthood spurred on the army to greater feats; mirroring the individual heroism of the Paladins.

 

Overall, we have something very similar to the Custodes. They exist separate from hierarchy, but have specific role with the Imperial Palace's locality that gives them rank over everyone else. They are the companions of the ruler. They fight as individuals, but their deeds inspire the normal armies around them.


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#5
Ryltar Thamior

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I have been Summoned. 

Expect a few contributions in due course once I've had a proper run-up at the subject.

These will hopefully cover not only a few historic points of comparison in terms of formations and engagements; but shall also likely delve into some theory as well. 

And, because I can already sense the appropriate idea-stream brewing, two (really one-and-a-half) salient influences/resonances in the form of an Indo-European mythological typology [with accompanying linguistics] and its more 'mortal' on-earth reflection.

Gang. Or, should I say - "Gana". 

In the mean-while, I do feel there's one *rather obvious* force of pole-spear-axe wielding yellowy-with-red-plumage wearing Guards of a holy figure bearing an imperial title ... 
 




[there's actually a whole array of formations drawn from *that* particular polity which are also quite relevant, although these days significantly overlooked due to the  greater prominence of the chaps aforementioned, and their .. still existing post Vatican II] 

[also, it's worth noting that while the Custodes *are*, as suggested by the name, a 'custodial' force ... their actual employment both during the Heresy era, and especially more recently, reflects a far broader repertoire of role; especially as applies their 'active defence' enthusiasm, as well as the Ephoroi and Eyes of the Emperor] 
 


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Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates]
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.]
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet]
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors]
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.]
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus]
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.]

#6
Ryltar Thamior

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I see Alexander the Great has already been mentioned; and one of the first thoughts I had was, indeed, drawn from his time and forces - the Argyraspides ["Silver Shields"] 

Here's Diodorus Siculus writing about them at Gabiene [courtesy of an associate]: 

"As for the infantry, the Silver Shields in close order fell heavily upon their adversaries, killing some of them in hand to hand fighting and forcing others to flee. They were not to be checked in their charge and engaged the entire opposing phalanx, showing themselves so superior in skill and strength that of their own men they lost not one, but of those who opposed them they slew over five thousand and routed the entire force of foot soldiers, whose numbers were many times their own."

The fact that these were, by the latter phase of the original unit's history, men *in their sixties* who were still not just fighting fit but elite warriors - and who had been making war alongside the royal line (or its upholder/successor) across that time, well, perhaps there is something of resonancy with the comparatively ancient Custodes and their comparatively close association with the Emperor Himself. 

Appropriately, some of the later formations built upon the prestige of the earlier unit were specifically congealed as groups of Ten Thousand, and could also be found as elite Guard regiments.  

Although speaking of Ten Thousand-s, another reasonable fit is the Immortals [possibly 'Companions' instead, there's a bit of back-and-forth about the accuracy of the rendering] of the Persians, both the Achaemenids and various of their successors (such as the Sassanian 'Zhayedan'). They've certainly got the spear-and-bling elite unit bit down [and various forms have the leather  gloves, as well]. 

I'm fading energy-wise, but shall return with more and perhaps more in-depth analysis later. 

 


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Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates]
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.]
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet]
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors]
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.]
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus]
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.]

#7
choppyred

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I see Alexander the Great has already been mentioned; and one of the first thoughts I had was, indeed, drawn from his time and forces - the Argyraspides ["Silver Shields"] 

Here's Diodorus Siculus writing about them at Gabiene [courtesy of an associate]: 

"As for the infantry, the Silver Shields in close order fell heavily upon their adversaries, killing some of them in hand to hand fighting and forcing others to flee. They were not to be checked in their charge and engaged the entire opposing phalanx, showing themselves so superior in skill and strength that of their own men they lost not one, but of those who opposed them they slew over five thousand and routed the entire force of foot soldiers, whose numbers were many times their own."

The fact that these were, by the latter phase of the original unit's history, men *in their sixties* who were still not just fighting fit but elite warriors - and who had been making war alongside the royal line (or its upholder/successor) across that time, well, perhaps there is something of resonancy with the comparatively ancient Custodes and their comparatively close association with the Emperor Himself. 

Appropriately, some of the later formations built upon the prestige of the earlier unit were specifically congealed as groups of Ten Thousand, and could also be found as elite Guard regiments.  

Although speaking of Ten Thousand-s, another reasonable fit is the Immortals [possibly 'Companions' instead, there's a bit of back-and-forth about the accuracy of the rendering] of the Persians, both the Achaemenids and various of their successors (such as the Sassanian 'Zhayedan'). They've certainly got the spear-and-bling elite unit bit down [and various forms have the leather  gloves, as well]. 

I'm fading energy-wise, but shall return with more and perhaps more in-depth analysis later. 

 

Thanks for your insight as always Ryltar, I look forward to reading more of your ideas.


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#8
Ryltar Thamior

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There's a bit of explanation for why I'm about to say what I'm about to say, and I'll put most of the academic-theological material in a spoilerbox for easy ignoring by any not that interested ... 

... but one of the best models for the conceptualization and operation of the Custodes is actually that of the Huscarla of a Nordic lord. 

I'll quote from an article I wrote last year:

 

Nevertheless, there is a significant resonance to be found in all three of these definitions, properly construed, with the Nordic concept of the Huscarla – the House[‘s] Karls [‘Men of the House’]. A term which, despite its modernly familiar meaning of a body of armed men in the personal retinue of a lord, had an older swathe and broader of meaning which also encompassed other, not-immediately/directly-militarized free-men of the Lord’s House. Interestingly, another term – Hird – went in the other direction over a similar period, from meaning just such an armed retinue of personal guard, to a more generalized concept of a ‘household’, and even a royal court.

[there is also a further element I did not include there, around the spies of such a court going out among the broader populace - 'Geist' being phonetically close to both "Ghost" and "Guest" is *entirely* unaccidental] 

And, for the preceding few paragraphs .. 

Spoiler

 

Now as for why this is relevant ... it isn't just because the Custodes are something almost akin to 'family' to the Emperor - constant companions, regarded with genuine affection, and certainly definite 'familiarity' ; nor is it because there is a general typology of a feudal iron age lord with a retinue that The Emperor is quite literally the apotheosis of the concept of. 

Rather, it's because there is a *quite specific* Indo-European mythic occurrence that The Emperor and His Custodes are the Far Future manifestation of. 

 

 

"In any case, both of these Old Norse concepts align most strongly with the sense of the BhutaGana, in its aforementioned broader sense, as the Retinue, the Chamber Militant, indeed, the *Companions* [and I mean that term, too, also in its far older militaristic sense] of Lord Shiva. Although it is perhaps worth noting that while both are very much in accord with the concept of the Einherjar, neither *quite* encapsulates the severe degree of closeness with which the Einherjar were occasionally regarded in relation to Odin – stated in the Gylfaginning to be as that of His adoptive Sons.

 
This notion of “Sons” (adoptive or otherwise) is one which comes through repeatedly when detailing the Ganas of Mahadev. As we have already heard, the Rudras and the Maruts may be direct instances of the Sons of Shiva, arrayed about Their Lord in resplendent, Roudran (that is to say – ‘Roaring’) might."

It helps, of course, that the deity I am referring to is, in the Hindu perspective, headquartered in the Himalays, referred to as wearing golden armour, accompanied by a formidable guard of lightning-ensigned super-warriors wielding spears/lances, at least some of whom fly on roaring 'horseless chariots' [which, for obvious reasons, I keep thinking of as jetbikes], etc. etc. etc. Oh, and "Ishvara" also translates rather handily to "God-Emperor". 

Now part of the reason I bring all of this up - other than the fact that it's pretty strongly resonant in conception with the Custodes [seriously, there is a *reason* that article I wrote includes headings like "The Gana As Custodian Guard" and "The Golden Legion of Thunder Warriors" in it] - is because there is a particular mythological instance that really strongly gets across how I see the Custodes working, particularly during Unification. 

That is the Vayu Purana account of VeeraBhadra at the Horse-Sacrifice of Daksha. 

Spoiler


The long and the short of which is, there is a ruler on Earth who is carrying out a sacrificial rite which, if completed, shall seal/signify his status as the over-king, the unchallenged paramount sovereign of ... pretty much everywhere; and, alongside this, is also honouring a deity as being supreme. 

Daksha is warned by the sage Dadhichi that this is ... going to end badly - "The man who worships what ought not to be worshipped, or pays not reverence where veneration is due, is guilty, most assuredly, of heinous sin."

This rather annoys Rudra [the aforementioned Himalayan-dwelling God-Emperor], Who dispatches VeeraBhadra as His Emissary to put a stop to proceedings, and implicitly to bring Daksha to heel. 

You can see how this resonates rather strongly with the Emperor's general ethos on late-Unification Terra. And also, for that matter, with the role of particular Custodes as His high Emissaries, Enforcers, and potentially also sanctioning Executioners. 

I won't quote the various evocative descriptors given for VeeraBhadra or the ensuing assault [although there's some pretty excellent epic verse, even in translation, to be found in the H.H. Wilson translation] ; however it would be extraordinarily remiss of me *not* to extol the climactic verse:

"Daksha the patriarch, his sacrifice being destroyed, overcome with terror, and utterly broken in spirit, fell then upon the ground, where his head was spurned by the feet of the cruel Vírabhadra. The thirty scores of sacred divinities were all presently bound, with a band of fire, by their lion-like foe; and they all then addressed him, crying, 'Oh Rudra, have mercy upon thy servants: oh lord, dismiss thine anger.' Thus spake Brahmá and the other gods, and the patriarch Daksha; and raising their hands, they said, 'Declare, mighty being, who thou art.' Vírabhadra said, 'I am not a god, nor an Áditya; nor am I come hither for enjoyment, nor curious to behold the chiefs of the divinities: know that I am come to destroy the sacrifice of Daksha, and that I am called Vírabhadra, the issue of the wrath of Rudra. Bhadrakálí also, who has sprung from the anger of Deví, is sent here by the god of gods to destroy this rite. Take refuge, king of kings, with him who is the lord of Umá; for better is the anger of Rudra than the blessings of other gods.'"

Now imagine some powerful Unification-era Terran court featuring some pretend-world-conqueror who hasn't *quite* gotten the message yet, and a chosen Custodes emissary turning up in its midst in an encounter perhaps not unlike the above ... and you can see what I mean. 

Particularly as applies *that* time period, 30k background really is built from Bronze Age Solutions to Future-Past Problems. 


 


  • RolandTHTG, Lucerne and choppyred like this
Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates]
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.]
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet]
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors]
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.]
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus]
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.]

#9
jaxom

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Interesting stuff! I hadn't thought to look in the Vedic direction. I don't know a lot about it, but if I recall correctly, the major deities had retinues made up of divine, anthropomorphic versions of their tools and weapons? That fits very well with the idea of custodes as a not separate existence from the Emperor.


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#10
Ryltar Thamior

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Interesting stuff! I hadn't thought to look in the Vedic direction. I don't know a lot about it, but if I recall correctly, the major deities had retinues made up of divine, anthropomorphic versions of their tools and weapons? That fits very well with the idea of custodes as a not separate existence from the Emperor.

Close - the general idea I was exploring with the "Gana" etymology and associated bits and pieces in the article, is that they're ... actually, the best way to explain this is probably literally by using the 40k equivalent. As a Primarch is to his gene-sons, so to are at least some of the deities in question to Their retinues. With, as it happens, some of said retinues being commanded by the *literal* Sons of a given Deity. [In fact, this is what "Ganesha" literally means - Gana-Esha ... Lord of the Gana; and referring to a Seneschal position attained in part through being such a vigilant watchman. A *custodian* we might say ... ] 

So, for example, one approach to the RudraGana ['Tribe/Company of Rudra'], especially the one that's made up of Rudras (plural) [effectively almost, and in some cases actually, deities in Their own right), is that it's made up of refracted parts of Rudra the Capital D Deity, with different roles and functions - in really similar manner to how the Primarchs are made up of parts of the Emperor [I suppose you could say that these include 'tools' and 'weapons' of the God in question ... it's just that these are *living* weapons, even those emanated for a specific purpose [e.g. the VeeraBhadra mentioned earlier; or Bhairava as 'Executioner']. Whereas with the Maruts [*a* RudraGana, although not necessarily *the* RudraGana], it's a bit more of a case of a small legion of 'mini-me' types that are quite alike to their progenitor in a more general conception (so, somewhere between angels and demigods, usually with spears and thunder/lightning, deer-vahanas, etc.). Whereas some of the further sets of groupings are made up of human (or human-like) devotees who embody something relevant/about the Deity so much that they've been elevated to part of the Ganas [this is directly the same as what Odin does when choosing warriors to go to Valhalla to join the Einherjar].

Now how all of that relates to the Custodes, is because if we look at how the process of producing transhumans works ... whether you're (mass-)producing ordinary Astartes, or artisan-crafting individual Custodes - you're taking what was formerly an exceptional human, and then changing them via an impartment of what is, functionally, divine essence[Astartes geneseed, people occasionally forget, has a certain Warp-involvement in it; it's not just 'science'] ., so they come to resemble the source of said essence more. [Which has interesting implications given the likelihood that the Custodes are running on what amounts to The Emperor's own equivalent to geneseed - and are therefore fundamentally in some way ... Emperor-like] 

As applies the Custodes themselves, if I remember correctly, the Custodes aren't just supposed to be excellent guardians - nor even to have serious super-(super-)human proficiency in an array of immediately relevant vocations to better serve as The Emperor's local executors of will (so diplomacy, etc.). 

They're supposed to be absolute paragons of how excellent humanity can be, as a result of The Emperor's guidance of their veer-y being. [Partially, to be sure, because again - they're the Emperor's 'household', and so He likes companions who're able to hold a decent conversation or other form of engagement across quite a broad array of affairs. [Unsurprisingly, this 'companion' element is also found in the relationship between Shiva and the Ganas]].

Now this also all segues back into a doctrinal point; because the presence of (a/the) Custodes doesn't just imply the scrutiny of The Emperor watching - it also implies the downright *inspiring* effect of The Emperor watching, and in a certain sense, almost being there [hence the Custodes seeming to exert a smaller and more limited version of the 'Awe-field' Primarchs have upon ordinary humans].

This has obvious utility in military operations [which includes wrangling the actual command and control behind the scenes/lines - the typical Feud-al internal relationships of various Imperial formations "struggling together" half the time they're supposed to interact, must surely come to an abrupt halt when a Custodes is standing there eyeballing you and reminding you of what "Unity" of purpose is supposed to look like ... and probably making insightful contributions to planning as well, due to superhuman competency in the relevant areas anyway), but also in less overtly combative endeavours, as well. You literally have, when a Custodes makes planetfall, a walking and thunderously talking 'avatar' [in a sense] of the Emperor and the Imperial Essence, turning up within your midst. We've seen what Living Saints [perhaps rather more conventional 'avatars' of The Emperor] can do in these regards, as one form of comparative. 

The psychic resonancy/imprint of the Custodes can also perhaps be seen in the Cawdor gang ensemble from (New-) Necromunda. I know that the official reason many of their ranking sorts are dressed in the pointy cone-hood-masks, and wielding ballstic weapons duct-taped to staff-weapons is because somebody saw a Custodes stained glass window once, and it stuck that "This Is What HIS Angels Look Like!" - but I suspect that it's actually deeper than that. That in addition to the Cawdor dressing like that because they have a visual cue they're running off from some millennia-old religious art ... it's also because embedded in them at various levels of their (collective) psyche(s), is that concept of the Custodes and what the Custodes represents, which they're performatively expressing. Now, whether it got *in* there to begin with because a Cawdor predecessor saw the artefact and it took hold from there, or whether it was *already* in there as a matter of resonancy which was *reinforced* by seeing the stained glass window, who can say. 

But whatever the truth of the matter, it does speak to a somewhat more subtle and perhaps 'longer term' application of the Custodes - being an inspirational/aspirational model for Imperial citizenry and therefore worlds ... which has psychic currency/saliency/resonancy in the beholders for much the same reason that the Primarchs do - and The Emperor does. 

Which, to bring this back to M42, is why they're so important for the various Indomitus Crusade and related efforts. Because one of them turning up with an army group of Guard etc. is literally bringing back the Light of Terra and the performative imprintings which go alongside that, with them. 


  • jaxom, RolandTHTG and choppyred like this
Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates]
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.]
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet]
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors]
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.]
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus]
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.]

#11
noigrim

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Praetorian guard + xenophon's 10k

There were also 10k guys in he persioan inmortals guard I believe

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#12
jaxom

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This all now has me curious if there are other forces where the thematic grounding doesn’t match the military grounding.

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#13
duz_

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Let's not get too carried away into the weeds without tying it back to Custodes :tu:

#14
Ryltar Thamior

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Now heer's a potential thought ... I'm sure somebody's mentioned the various bodyguard and praetorian guard formations of the successive Roman Empires earlier; but I present ... literal Custodes. [this finding being brought to you by one of the other Vox Stellarum guys] 

There's two points of relevancy/saliency for this. The first one being the manner in which these Germanic Guards were, in effect, bodyguards for the Emperor ... not least against his *other* bodyguards; an internal logic which ran upon the concept that they were 'above' all the rest of the politicking and everything else going on. At least, in partial principle. 

The actual truth of the matter, is that the Germanic guards were used, indeed favoured, not just because they weren't immersed in Roman politics  [which, in 40k terms, would be reflected in their 'relationship' to ... everybody else and the High Lords at least some of the time] - but rather, because of their immense, intense *loyalty*. They took oaths with complete and utter seriousness in a manner that was almost literally inscribed upon their veer-y souls. You can see how this gels with the concept of the Custodes. 

In fact, it goes *so* well, that I'm a little surprised to see a lack of direct utilization for it in the Custodes as they've been fleshed out. The closest I can see off a quick perusal, is the vaguely Germanic 'Allarus' [which may, perhaps, without having done a proper deep-dive on the etymology, be derived from "Alaric" and therefore refer to Rule *Everywhere* in pseudolatin; although the perhaps more immediately likely derivation is "Alaris" auxiliary cavalry - which, I suppose, fits with the potential use of such troops, even though veer-y heavy infantry, in turning up via teleport assault, etc.]

There is also the "Vratine" armour which, if memory serves, the Sisters of Silence are equipped with ... because Alan Bligh *also* enjoys Indo-European mytholinguistic incorporations into his work; "Vratine" being an English adjectival development of "Vrata" - which would mean something like "Oath-Bound" in Sanskrit, and perhaps also referencing "Vratya", which ... it's complex, the point is they're spear-wielding devotees of the golden-armoured Sky Father deity living in the Himalayas I mentioned a few posts ago. You can read about it in that article I linked at the time

And, in the context of being part of the Retinue of Rudra, you could perhaps even say that it is their Word [in the sense of 'giving someone your word'] which not only brings them together as a body, but which is their essence, their life. Exactly as it is with the Custodes - and why they are, it seems, pretty much Unbreakable in spirit and immune to the corruptions of Chaos - because The Law *is* Them, in somewhat anthropomorphic and transhuman form; which also helps to explain, now that I think about it, what I'd said during my previous rant-commentary around The Custodes as walking Imperial Embodiments with mini-versions of Primarch inspirational auras.

I mention this, and place such emphasis upon the concept, because in part of this fluff bit around Custodian Wardens - care of Lexicanum: "Upon accepting the robes that mark their station they swear binding oaths to fight as immovable sentinels, a living fortress of auramite and sinew that no foe will ever breach. Each Warden’s oaths are personal, written by the Custodian himself after a full year’s contemplation sat in meditation upon the precipitous ledges of the Gallowtower. To break their vows would be worse than death to these warriors, and their determination to uphold them bolsters their already formidable wills to something of truly frightening intensity."

[Waitaminute ...  Gallowtower .... Hangatyr, indeed] 

ANYWAY. That "Vrata" term, is pretty close in a number of senses to "Var" and "Varar" in Old Norse - which is one of several potential etymologies for "Varangian" ... as in the most prominent of these Germanic Guard formations. I also have a further deep-dive on the mytholinguistics of "Var" which bring it back to "Varuna" and provide some rather cool potential points of inspiration in relation to the God-Emperor of Mankind if you're thataway inclined. [actual article is here - although I haven't drawn out directly the 40k relevant bits therein] 

There are further points of resonancy with the Germanic Guard as well, for the Custodes - including the direct incorporation of the sons of the nobility of people(s) now a part of Terran Unity as partial political project; but part of what I'd actually been intending to explore a bit, concerned another "Var", well, "War-" ... the "Warders", which 1d4chan links to the Ephoroi. 

I have my own thoughts upon the *specific* Warders - of the Vaults of Rython - that I may expand upon later, in light of what a Rython is ... but to get back to them "Watchmen", and Ephoroi concept, the reason I'm bringing this up immediately following mention of "Varuna", is because one of the attributes of Varuna is that He is All-Seeing. 

In part, by virtue of having Spies that are able to get just about anywhere, and where They make Themselves known inspire devotion ... and also to carry out righteous acts of sanction upon those who would seek to poison and despoil His realm with their perfidy. Just as the Custodes do. [in fact, it is perhaps worth quoting a rather beautiful Vedic verse at this point: AV IV 16 : "He that should flee beyond the heaven far away would not be free from king Varuna. His spies come hither (to the earth) from heaven, with a thousand eyes do they watch over the earth. [...] The rogue shall sit, his belly hanging loose, like a cask without hoops, bursting all about!"; and, for good measure, RV I 25 13: "Varuṇa, wearing golden mail, hath clad him in a shining robe. / His spies are seated [r]ound about."] 

Now, I could go on at some length, but I am mindful of need to keep things tied to the Custodes in quite direct terms ... rather than a more expansive comparative mytho-theology of the God-Emperor of Mankind. 

The point I am making is ... there's' a rather cool suite of mythological elements to draw from when people are worldbuilding or fluffing out their forces and games in ways which involve these particular Custodes formations - Ephoroi, Warders - , specifically in the ways in which at least two Indo-European mythoreligious complexes have 'carried forward' the concept of All-Seeing Sky Father. The other being the manner in which the Ravens of Odin are sent forth.

"The Emperor Knows. The Emperor Is Watching." 



 


  • jaxom and choppyred like this
Vox Stellarum efforts:
The Unyielding Adamanticores [truescale Astartes, auxilia, and sectorial AdMech; M37/38]
The Haunting Harii of Hvergelmir [truescale Astartes ... and associates]
The Unification Wars [truescale Thunder Warriors, (Proto-)Astartes, Army of Unification, Aegyptian-style Proto-Mechanicus raiders, etc.]
Combat Archaeology [Tomb Raiding for Fun & Prophet]
Horus Heresy [truescale loyalist IVth, VIIIth; Agents of the Sigillite; VIth; and so much more; and Umbral's amazing Traitors]
The Worlds-Wide Webway [(Dark) Eldar, Imperial Inquisition, an a-maze-ing realmweave of fear and wondermeant]
Thorian Inquisition [some rather different Inquisitorial Storm Troopers, true-scale Fire Hawks, Black Dragon, Inquisitor and associates, etc.]
For Whom The Great Bell Tolls Thrice [attempts to put the 'priest' back in 'tech-priest' with more-medieval mechanicus]
InquisiNecronMunda [the log that incepted it all - at least two Inquisitors, truescale Deathwatch, local enforcers, cultists, etc.]




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