Deviation Actions

redwattlebird's avatar

The Mythical Golden Bough

Whoa, what's this? A SUBMISSION?!

Yeah, I've been kind of dead lately... but that means I've been actually working hard as a student, doesn't it? >_> *glances at mountainous pile of shirked homework from the past year*

Anyway, this is teh mighty Golden Bough, from book 6 of the Vergilian epic, The Aeneid. I don't think it could /really/ be called mythical since this Vergil guy just made it up out of nowhere around 40BC, and it just got accepted as mythical canon after that... but hey, it's someone's myth. :P

According to the author of this ancient tale, the bough is required as a bribery price if you want to pass through the underworld as a living man, unscathed. But you can only pluck it from the oak if fate allows you; if you haven't got the right heart, no amount of hacking with steel axes will get it off the tree. Only if you are meant to take it, will it come away easily. It's oddly disconcerting then when the bough is described as "resisting" when Aeneas (our epic hero) pulls it off the tree... but at least he got it, and that's good enough for Proserpine I guess.

It has odd properties. It's a dead thing, but it regenerates every time it's broken off; it's made of metal-foil, it tinkles/rattles in the breeze (the words in latin here are "crepitabat brattea vento", plenty of rattling t consonance), and Aeneas compares it to the growth of mistletoe on a host tree... it's eerie, described with the adjective "discolor" which roughly means it's got an otherworldly, unnatural colour, contrasting with what it should be. I've read that the gold is to represent something that lies hidden in mines deep in the bowels of the earth, but to our surprise here it appears at the surface, a secret manifesting in the world above.

The two doves are the birds of Venus; see Aeneas walked into the forest and went, "oh crud, there are like a billion trees here. How am I going to find a golden stick. Gimme a sign, mummy" and then all of a sudden these two birds flew to him and conveniently guided the hero to the spot where the golden bough was glistening. Oh yeah, and did I tell you that Venus is this guy's mother? Gee that would be hard to live with. Every time you look at a famous unclothed statue, you know it's a statue of your mum. EW.

Eh. This was mostly a study for drawing trees, because I don't know about you, but for me, forest scenes have got to be one of the hardest ever backgrounds to make. Seriously.
Image details
Image size
674x700px 283.89 KB
© 2009 - 2022 redwattlebird
Join the community to add your comment. Already a deviant? Log In
Shade703's avatar
Pure eye candy! The detail is amazing and everything in this is so balanced.