Nog Prize #1


neboolia asked:

Question about fredegund: the groundbreaking of notre dame de paris was in the 12th century — how did a sixth century merovingian lady find sanctuary there? Was there a previous church on the same land? Are you referring to a different notre dame?

That is a good question. That is a REALLY good question. In fact, here’s how good it is: I made the image attached to this post just to commemorate it.

Now, first, your question, before I get to the nature of that image:

I had to look this up, but apparently the Notre Dame we all know and take sanctuary in is the SECOND Notre Dame! There were in fact temples there prior — one dedicated to Jupiter, and then one (constructed in the late 500s, shortly before Fredegund fled there) dedicated to Saint Etienne, which I believe to be the Notre Dame referred to in all the stuff I’d read about Fredegund.

So yeah, kudos on catching that! It had slipped right past me.

Which brings me to the nature of that there image above. I’m calling it the “Nog Prize”, as a callback to Marvel Comics’ No-Prize, which they’d give out whenever anyone wrote in with a good correction. I don’t have much of a plan on how I am going to give these out, but basically, if you write in with an awesome question or correction (not just a “I found a typo,” or “you got this slightly wrong,” although those messages are totally welcome too), then I may give one to you! As it stands, I can’t see myself giving any away for awesome suggestions (although those are ALWAYS welcome) — this is meant more as a prize for the eagle-eyed!

Or actually, owl-eyed. Glaukopis is an epithet for Athena, Greek goddess of wisdom. It references her insightful “flashing eyes”, and is often associated with the gaze of owls. There’s so much written in feminist literature about the male gaze, I thought doing something related to the female gaze might be nice for a change.

I plan on giving these away once of these a week, maximum — probably less than that. I have a couple lined up already for people who’ve written it with awesome corrections, but I promise to give one to the first person who can correctly list all of the references to wisdom-related characters/creatures/imagery in the above image. Funnily enough, I took most of them from a totally unrelated book I am writing (so you may see them again at some point in the future). Some are quite obscure!

21 Responses to “Nog Prize #1”

  1. monkeypi

    The owl head in front, symbol of Athena, goddess of wisdom. Athena and her owl-shield are at the bottom right. Odin, who sacrificed his eye for wisdom, is sitting in the well of wisdom at the foot of Yggdrasil. The ravens holding his eye are his raven informers and spies. The apple tree at the right is the tree of knowledge that Eve and the serpent tempted Adam into eating, and the Sphinx asked riddles to test men’s knowledge. If they guessed wrong, she ate them. The light and water are both traditional symbols clear thinking and knowledge, and the Aegis of Athena is draped over the Sphinx’s shoulders. The goat on the cliff might be Amaltheia, the goat nursemaid of Zeus. “Glaukopis” means owl-eyed. I believe that the bird on the riverbank is a pelican, which symbolizes inner stillness and clear mind. The fish also represents knowledge because it is closely associated with water, which, as I mentioned earlier, is knowledge. If there is anything I missed, let me know!

  2. Jason Porath

    Sadly, you didn’t get them all. Some of your guesses were correct, while others — the fish, the bird, the goat, the woman in the bottom-left, and the head with the ravens — were incorrect.

  3. samara leah

    I would like to point out that the serpent tempted Eve, where as all we know is that Eve offered the fruit (it wasn’t an apple, the Hebrew text only says fruit) to Adam and he accepted it.

  4. Laughing Collie

    Continuing with the information listed above, and trying to figure out what the remaining characters are… my guess is that the bird is an ibis, and representative of Thoth, the ancient Egyptian god of knowledge. The head by the well is Mimir, and the ravens are Huginn and Muninn; the eye is Odinn’s. I originally thought the human-headed creature standing over the waterfall was one of the lamassu, but they’re winged… and this one isn’t. So instead I think it’s one of the Greek Potamoi, or river gods who appeared as man-headed bulls. Is the fish the Irish Salmon of Knowledge? Is the woman in the lower left the water nymph Egeria, who gives wisdom and prophecy in return for libations of water or milk? And finally, is the guy seated at the desk and smacking his forehead the wisdom-seeking Jason Porath? :-D

  5. Jason Porath

    All but one right. :) Nobody gets the goat.

  6. Caroline

    Is the goat supposed to be Baphomet?

  7. Laughing Collie

    You’re so sweet to reply so quickly! Also, now I’m intrigued by your clue… is the figure representative of the original understanding of Baphomet as initiation into Wisdom, or Sophia?

  8. Jason Porath

    Nope. It’s not from a western tradition.

  9. Caroline

    Is it Enki?

  10. Caroline


  11. Jason Porath

    Nope. Think China.

  12. Caroline

    I think I’m stumped for today. The only thing that I can think of creature wise that kind of fits the bill is the qilin (Kirin) but that’s more deer body than goat and it has antlers not horns (plus it’s more related to good fortune than wisdom). The only one I can think of with three eyes is Erlang Shen and I can’t find any connection between him and goats!

  13. Caroline

    One more guess, I feel good about this one. The BaiZe, a nine eyed creature that lives high in the mountains and knows basically everything about every living creature, including mythological ones (ironic). Legend says they are only seen when China is governed by a wise King!

  14. Jason Porath

    Ding ding ding. :)

    And in thirty minutes I will delete this entire thread, so as not to spoil it for everyone.

  15. Caroline

    YES!!!! It was really a pride thing, mythology is one of my main interests and it was killing me that I couldn’t figure it out. Plus once you said China I had to figure it out (otherwise dishonor on my whole family, myself, and my cow).

    The BaiZe was really obscure. How did you come across it? Even my Aunties who are really traditional and love to tell old folk tales had no clue.

  16. Jason Porath

    This may shock you to learn, but I read a LOT.

  17. Caroline

    I figured you probably did considering how much research your entries likely take. I was more asking if you remember the title(s) of the book(s) you got it from. Like I said, mythology is a passion of mine and I’m always looking for more. :p

  18. Jason Porath

    Unfortunately not — I learned about it while writing a novel before I even started RP. Maybe one day I’ll get back to that novel…!

  19. Caroline

    Oh well, thanks for the challenge anyway. And good luck with tomorrow’s release!

  20. Amy Stevenson

    If no one’s guessed the figures yet, I’d like to try my hand…

    goat thing that’s actually a cow/horse thing – Bai Ze
    head – Mimir
    ravens – Hugin & Munin (but maybe not…) with Odin’s eye that he gave for wisdom
    fish – Salmon of Knowledge/Fintan (depending on what version of the story you read)
    bird – Ibis (reference to god Thoth)
    goddess – Athena with the Aegis that isaac41256 pointed out was meant to have Medusa’s head (although some versions have it as the goat skin of Amalthea)
    tree – Tree of Forbidden Knowledge
    sphinx – Greek sphinx who posed the riddle to Oedipus (slightly different but not by much to the Egyptian sphinx)
    reclining girl – Egeria

    probably wrong on that last one, but the scene looks like a grove and the dish beside her looks like it’s full of milk – the offering she accepted there in return for knowledge and prophecy