What and where is Zaiyon?

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Capitaneus Fractus
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Wolf wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:52 am
There is also a history to the linking of mythological dwarfs and Jewish stereotypes beyond the question of Tolkein’s inspiration and intentions. The character of Alberich in Wagner’s Ring Cycle is generally agreed to be an anti-Semitic stereotype (as well as one of the more famous dwarfs in literature/culture). It certainly was something picked up on in Nazi Germany.
And, as it happens, Tolkien's Dwarves are actually said to take the opposite point of view, against the antisemitic interpretations took from Wagner's Ring Cycle.

For decades, scholars have called Tolkien’s dwarf narrative – including its continuation in his “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy – a sort of “corrective rewrite” of German composer Richard Wagner’s famed “Ring cycle.” In that four-part opera, anti-Semites – including Adolf Hitler – found allegorical confirmation for their hatred of Jews, represented by the villainous dwarf Alberich. A lifelong anti-Semite, Wagner publicly called for a Jew-free Germany on many occasions.

According to some Tolkien scholars, the author’s heroic dwarves are a conscious inversion of Wagner’s negatively “Jewish” dwarves, meant to flip the switch on damaging stereotypes. As a lover of Norse mythology, Tolkien despised the Nazis’ distortion of ancient tales to incite hatred.

“Anyway, I have in this war a burning private grudge… against that ruddy little ignoramus Adolf Hitler,” wrote Tolkien in a 1941 letter to his son. “[Hitler is] ruining, perverting, misapplying, and making forever accursed, that noble northern spirit, a supreme contribution to Europe, which I have ever loved, and tried to present in its true light.”


(Matt LEBOVIC, "For decades, scholars have called Tolkien’s dwarf narrative a sort of 'corrective rewrite' of German composer Richard Wagner’s famed 'Ring cycle'. Are Tolkien’s dwarves an allegory for the Jews? Ahead of the premiere of the second installment of Peter Jackson’s ‘The Hobbit’ trilogy, a look at its possible Jewish connections" Times of Israel, 11th of December, 2013, https://www.timesofisrael.com/are-tolki ... -the-jews/.)
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Herr Arnulfe
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It's possible that WFRP 1e Dwarfs were a sensitive allegory to Jews. However, Warhammer Dwarfs have since been GW-branded as cartoony grumblers with big noses, ancient grudges and obsessions with gold. Plus, if the original Dwarfholds are Zion, does that make greenskins the Arabs/Muslims? Lots of representation issues there. I mean it's possible for a good GM to make it work, provided the greenskins are fairly represented too, but it feels a bit 1980's to be honest.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:03 am
Plus, if the original Dwarfholds are Zion, does that make greenskins the Arabs/Muslims?
There is no logical connexion between "original Dwarfholds are Zion" (which isn't exactly what the text state, by the way) and "make greenskins Arabs/Muslims". Orcs and goblins might or might not be inspired by Arabs or Muslims (Hobgoblin tribes under the rule of Hobgobla-Khan are, for example, quite clearly inspired by Turco-Mongol tribes, for example), but that is unrelated to the sources of inspiration for dwarves.

Just like the Scottish inspiration that dry erase see on Warhammer dwarves doesn't make "greenskins" Anglican/Englishmen.

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 6:03 am
provided the greenskins are fairly represented too
That is out-topic, but that is something that Something Rotten in Kislev done correctly, by the way. Mutants are interestingly represented in Heart of Chaos too.

Even chaotic cultists should be fairly represented: good and evil are pure subjective visions, tied to cultural values. The conflict between Khazalid empires and orcish invaders isn't a conflict of good against evil, nor was the conflict between, say, the Roman Empire and Barbarian invaders... It was a conflict of interests. The continuation of their respective policies by violent means...
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Herr Arnulfe
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 7:59 am
There is no logical connexion between "original Dwarfholds are Zion" (which isn't exactly what the text state, by the way) and "make greenskins Arabs/Muslims". Orcs and goblins might or might not be inspired by Arabs or Muslims (Hobgoblin tribes under the rule of Hobgobla-Khan are, for example, quite clearly inspired by Turco-Mongol tribes, for example), but that is unrelated to the sources of inspiration for dwarves.
If Zaiyon is analogous to Zion in the Dwarfs=Jews analogy, then I don't see how greenskins could be anything but Muslims (or Crusaders). I suppose greenskins could be Romans if we go far enough back, however in WFRP it's primarily greenskins that caused the Dwarf diaspora, and that occupy their original holds. As soon as you bring Zion into a Jewish analogy, you're bound to evoke reclaiming the holy land from Muslims; there's no way around that.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:28 am
[...] I don't see how greenskins could be anything but Muslims
Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:28 am
(or Crusaders).
Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:28 am
I suppose greenskins could be Romans if we go far enough back
Capitaneus Fractus
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:28 am
If Zaiyon is analogous to Zion in the Dwarfs=Jews analogy, then I don't see how greenskins could be anything but Muslims (or Crusaders).
I feel that is probably because you confuse induction and deduction, which constitute the very significant logical gap that lead to the illogical path you've took.

The deduction is: "all men are monkeys + Socrates is a man = Socrates is a monkey", and indeed if all men are monkeys and Socrates is a man, then we couldn't see how Socrates could not be a monkey. The logical link is a link of necessity.

Your hypothesis is an induction, not a deduction. To have "greenskins" as Muslims (or Arabs, Romans, Crusaders...), when one of the source of inspiration of dwarves is the jewish culture, is a possibility, not a necessity.

Aspects of Muslim, Arabic, Levantine or Roman culture or history might have inspired directly or indirectly or, on the contrary, might have not inspired the design of Warhammer "greenskins". Many other mythological, fictitious, prehistorical, historical or contemporary things, related or unrelated to Hebrews and Jews, might instead had as well directly or indirectly inspired the design of Warhammer's "greenskins". Their design might even had been a totally original product.

(Just like the dwarven said inspiration from Scots doesn't make "greenskins" Englishmen.)

---
Nevertheless, you also scribble another fallacious sophism: you for example generalise "one of the sources of inspiration of Warhammer's exiled dwarves in the Empire are, through Tolkien dwarves, European Jewish communities" to "Dwarfs=Jews" which isn't exactly the same postulate, isn't it?
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:16 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Herr Arnulfe
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 9:22 am
Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:28 am
[...] I don't see how greenskins could be anything but Muslims
Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:28 am
(or Crusaders).
Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 8:28 am
I suppose greenskins could be Romans if we go far enough back
Be honest, which group of occupiers do you associate with "reclaiming Zion"? The Crusader analogy could maybe work in Karak Eight Peaks if the Muslims are Skaven. Romans are a stretch due to the historical period.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:13 am
Be honest, which group of occupiers do you associate with "reclaiming Zion"? The Crusader analogy could maybe work in Karak Eight Peaks if the Muslims are Skaven. Romans are a stretch due to the historical period.
In fantasy fiction works, we can imagine everything. A people inspired by Aztec, Egyptian and Martian aspects might be imagined invading and occupying dwarven lost realms just like they can be imagined invading our own Earth's Near East in the past, the present or the future... just like any other design might fit.

This kind of settings is very common in literature, graphic novels, cinema, video games, board games and role playing games. "Your imagination is the limit!"
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Gideon
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I, too, think it's bit of a leap from a dwarf-Jew analogy to identifying goblinoids with real-world groups. (That it's unclear whether the relevant real-world group is Muslims, Crusaders or Romans highlights the problem.) However, I think the bigger problem is that it has not in my opinion been established that Warhammer dwarfs are portrayed as Jewish. All we have is a solitary Zaiyon reference, for which there are alternative (and in my view more plausible) explanations. In any case, that Zaiyon reference alludes to Zion in a Christian, not Jewish, context.
Herr Arnulfe
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:24 am
In fantasy fiction works, we can imagine everything. A people inspired by Aztec, Egyptian and Martian aspects might be imagined invading and occupying dwarven lost realms just like they can be imagined invading our own Earth's Near East in the past, the present or the future... just like any other design might fit.

This kind of settings is very common in literature, graphic novels, cinema, video games, board games and role playing games. "Your imagination is the limit!"
Even so, artists are responsible for inferences that logically arise from their RW analogies. For example, you can't dress the Imperial Guard in WW2 German uniforms and then claim that any similarity between the Imperium and Nazi Germany is purely coincidental.

I trust that Tolkien's intent for the "Dwarfs=Jews" analogy was well-intentioned. However, I think there's a reason why he didn't play up the Erebor=Zion analogy, because a man of his literary chops must surely have understood what that would imply about Orcs. I would tend to stick with the "diaspora experience" in general when comparing Dwarfs to Jews, and leave the "occupied holy land" out of it unless you're prepared to tackle the other half of that analogy properly.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:21 am
Even so, artists are responsible for inferences that logically arise from their RW analogies. For example, you can't dress the Imperial Guard in WW2 German uniforms and then claim that any similarity between the Imperium and Nazi Germany is purely coincidental.
Noticing you've made our thread reach the Godwin point (!) I have however to admit that I do not get your point, nor understand how it would be related to the current topic nor to what was previously wrote here...

Herr Arnulfe wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 11:21 am
I trust that Tolkien's intent for the "Dwarfs=Jews" analogy was well-intentioned. However, I think there's a reason why he didn't play up the Erebor=Zion analogy, because a man of his literary chops must surely have understood what that would imply about Orcs.
I would tend to stick with the "diaspora experience" in general when comparing Dwarfs to Jews, and leave the "occupied holy land" out of it unless you're prepared to tackle the other half of that analogy properly.
Logic should help to understand that the alleged "other half of the 'Erebor=Zion' analogy" that you try to establish do not hold up. That is an incoherent, illogical and fallacious sophism.

The mediaeval diaspora experience is indeed one of the claimed source of Tolkien's inspiration for Middle Earth's dwarves:

More than three decades after publishing “The Hobbit,” Tolkien spoke about the Jewish-dwarvish connection during a BBC interview.

“I didn’t intend it, but when you’ve got these people on your hands, you’ve got to make them different, haven’t you?” said Tolkien during the 1971 interview. “The dwarves of course are quite obviously, wouldn’t you say that in many ways they remind you of the Jews? Their words are Semitic, obviously, constructed to be Semitic. The hobbits are just rustic English people,” he said.

According to Tolkien scholar John Rateliff, author of a two-volume “Hobbit” history published in 2007, Tolkien drew inspiration from Hebrew texts and Jewish history when developing the dwarves. As craftsmen exiled from a bountiful homeland, the dwarves spoke both the language of their adopted nations and – among themselves – a Hebrew-influenced tongue developed by Tolkien.

Though Tolkien’s dwarves remember their traumatic past with mournful songs, most are assimilated and ambivalent about reclaiming Erebor, their lost country. Back at the Lonely Mountain, hidden somewhere beneath the dragon Smaug’s treasure mound, there’s a self-glowing “Arkenstone” gem, called “the heart of the mountain.”

The divinely inspired Arkenstone — say some observers — represents the Ark of the Covenant, with the Lonely Mountain standing in for Jerusalem’s Temple Mount.

As with the Old Testament’s later Jewish kings, the dwarf kings of Erebor prove to be highly corruptible, not to mention gold-obsessed. Their ceaseless accumulation of wealth – Tolkien makes clear – stoked the resentment of neighbors, and eventually brought on the marauding dragon.
(Matt LEBOVIC, op. cit.)


Nota bene that it is difficult to both stick with the "diaspora" and leave the "diaspora" as you seem to suggest... ;) (and that Dwarven lost realms could be as much described as destructed than occupied).

---
Gideon wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 10:44 am
However, I think the bigger problem is that it has not in my opinion been established that Warhammer dwarfs are portrayed as Jewish. All we have is a solitary Zaiyon reference, for which there are alternative (and in my view more plausible) explanations. In any case, that Zaiyon reference alludes to Zion in a Christian, not Jewish, context.
It isn't established no. I fully agree with that.
Worse, I feel it would be erroneous to state that dwarves would be portrayed as Jewish. That is way too exaggerated and too much unidimensional...


It seems however established that Tolkien tooks inspiration, among others, from Germanic mythological dwarfs and from the diaspora to design his dwarves and that Death on the Reik's Zaiyon is a reference to Zion which is, in Muslim, Christian, Jewish or Rastafari contexts, associated with Hebrews.


It is presumed (and generally agreed) that Warhammer's dwarves took a strong inspiration, among others, from Tolkien's dwarves, and it look like the name of their culture and language, Khazalid, could be borrowed from Tolkien's Semitic fashioned construct Khuzdul. This might perhaps had intentionally or inconsequently inspired Rick Priestley when he designed his obviously Semitic Chaos Dwarves.


It appears, too, that Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay's dwarves have borrowed from Tolkien's their aspect of a nation in exile: most dwarves now lives with men, and even among purely khazalid communities, a significant share are constituted by new communities. Only very few of the places of origin of dwarves still stand... Both somewhat praised and somewhat despised, Warhammer's dwarven communities constitute something that somewhat looks like to our Real World's mediaeval "diaspora".


It seem very much probable, too, that Warhammer Fantasy didn't only borrowed things from fiction, historical, prehistorical or contemporary things... it also created original things. I presume that Dwarven slayers is something quite original to Warhammer Fantasy[/i], for example.


And it seems obvious that, while borrowing things from many sources, the balance of influence of Warhammer's exiled dwarves isn't the same anyway as Tolkien's dwarves. Still, Warhammer's dwarves have at last indirect perceptible more or less superficial sources of influence rooting from Semitic peoples (quite clearly and directly for Chaos Dwarves), including to Hebrews (mainly their diaspora-like communities in the Old World, their reputation of skilled craftsmen, the isolated reference to Zion and their quasi Promethean symbolism for a cult of Sigmar whose high priests even adopt Khazalid names and which looks more and more inspired by the Christian Catholic Church).
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Thu Nov 19, 2020 9:06 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Herr Arnulfe
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:58 pm
The mediaeval diaspora experience is indeed one of the claimed source of Tolkien's inspiration for Middle Earth's dwarves.
However it is difficult to both stick with the "diaspora" and leave the "diaspora"... ;)
I'm proposing that Warhammer should stick with the "diaspora" and ditch the "Zionism" - which is what it ended up doing (as did Tolkien). Just as there is no movement to recolonize Erebor in LotR, there is no "lost holy land" that Warhammer Dwarfs are trying to reclaim. Instead, WH Dwarfs are still in control of their "holy land" (the Everpeak) and for the most part they aren't trying to recolonize the lost holds, merely retain the ones they still have. So if the DotR reference to Zaiyon was meant as a reference to Israel, it was dropped in later publications and for good reason IMO.
Herr Arnulfe
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:58 pm
Noticing you've made our thread reach the Godwin point (!) I have however to admit that I do not get your point, nor understand how it would be related to the current topic nor to what was previously wrote here...
If you prefer I can point to the "Jed'hi" in Warhammer Fantasy, which was also dropped. Whoever came up with that name for High Elf warrior-monks can claim that it's not supposed to evoke lightsabres and blasters, but really they ought to have known better.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Okay, I wasn't understanding your suggestion because I didn't even thought about Zionism, which is a 19th-21th century movement (albeit it obliviously have older roots), that I wouldn't thought to establish in an early 16th Century inspired Germanic flavoured fantasy civilization such as Warhammer (nor to Middle Earth). I'm not sure it would need to be ditched, because I don't think it is really present in those two settings. Anyway, Zaiyon might be a reference to Zion (to the promised land, to say it fast) without being a reference to Zionism, a way much latter ideology (which happened few thousand years after the myth of the promised land).
Spoiler
I quite like Gideon's solution to rather make it a reference to one of the final steps of The Enemy Within (and I wonder how it might perhaps be linked to an unification of the Doomstones campaign with the Sigmar's hammer quest episode of The Enemy Within.
So, to conclude, I imagine that we've always agreed on that point (not necessary for the same reasons thus) and that our disagreements roots on a misunderstanding (probably in part of my bad English, sorry for that) :).

What is interesting to take from the diaspora, is to make things looks like more alive, more real, more deep and less cartoonish for dwarves living in the Empire, who shouldn't be too much inspired on WFB's dwarven armies. My taste for Warhammer Fantasy lead me to avoid to excessively militarize its universe. I prefers tumblers, craftsmen, labourers and hedge wizards to wardancers, longbeards, swordsplayers and battle wizards...
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Herr Arnulfe
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 2:52 pm
Anyway, Zaiyon might be a reference to Zion (to the promised land, to say it fast) without being a reference to Zionism, a way much latter ideology (which happened few thousand years after the myth of the promised land).
In the DotR handout, Zaiyon is quite clearly a reference to Zionism because it's a prophecy foretelling the End Times when the Dwarfs return there.
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Totsuzenheni Yukimi
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Does anyone know if the reference to Zaiyon is still there in a fourth edition handout or elsewhere?
Capitaneus Fractus
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My feeling is that the Biblical return to Zion isn't the same thing as Zionism (albeit Zionism obviously legitimates itself from the Biblical return to Zion). Zionism isn't simply the willingness to return to Zion. It is more than that. That is why the willingness to return to Erebor isn't necessary a reference to Zionism. It is however a subject that I do not know well enough (I mean... I do not know it at all...) I still perceive Death on the Reik's reference to Zaiyon seem to be more eschatological than politico-nationalist as would be a reference to Zionism.

After an alas too fast look on Wikipedia's article on Zionism, those Biblical returns are described as "historic and religious origins of Zionism", implying they are not part of Zionism.
Most of the 19th century's initiatives to return to Zion are even labelled being either "pre-Zionist" or "proto-Zionist", there again implying that they are still not part of Zionism proper.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Zionism

... anyway, as I've said, I do not know enough this subject to argue, so I'll simply stand that we in fact agree on most points.
Last edited by Capitaneus Fractus on Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dry_erase
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totsuzenheni wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 3:15 pm
Does anyone know if the reference to Zaiyon is still there in a fourth edition handout or elsewhere?
Yes it is - page 147 in the handout section.
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Chuck
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Capitaneus Fractus wrote:
Wed Nov 18, 2020 1:58 pm
No offence intended, really, but a man of Tolkien's literary chops, or even anyone with very basic logical skills, would understand that the alleged "other half of the 'Erebor=Zion' analogy" that you try to establish do not hold up. That is an incoherent, illogical and fallacious sophism.
Let’s take it down a notch, please. If you feel the need to say “no offense intended,” you probably should rephrase whatever follows.
Capitaneus Fractus
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Thanks and sorry. I rephrased it.
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