Ankh

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NES-ankh.jpg

First appearing in Ultima II, the ankh is a recurring theme throughout the Ultima series that would come to represent the ideals of Avatarhood.

History[edit]

Age of Darkness[edit]

In the midst of the chaos brought about by Minax's twisting of time and space during the middle of the Age of Darkness, the ankh would represent the key to controlling a rocket so that the Stranger might reach the enigmatic Planet X to receive Father Antos' blessing. Later during the terror of Exodus, the symbol could be found affixed to The Ancient Liturgy of Truth, a guide to the magic empowered to the clerics of the age, suggesting the symbol had become attached to a mystical purpose not seen in the previous adventure.

Age of Enlightenment[edit]

It was during this period, that the ankh began to represent the ideals of Avatarhood in the newly christened Britannia. The Stranger found a metallic ankh amulet at the circle of stones which they used to travel to Britannia in order to start the Quest of the Avatar. The ankh stood as the centerpiece of the great Shrines of Virtue, and meditating at these embodiments of Virtue would allow the Stranger to seek enlightenment in the respective ideal. Some of the great ankhs erected throughout the land had even gained the power of speech, and would help those seeking the path of the Avatar. Later during the Age of Enlightenment, when the Stranger, now the Avatar, was called back to Britannia, the metallic ankh was one of the few possessions brought from Earth on the quest to save Lord British from the Underworld. The ankh would also join the hero again while bringing peace between the Humans and Gargoyles, as told in Ultima VI.

When the Avatar was trapped in the Stygian Abyss after being falsely accused of the kidnapping of Baron Almric's daughter Arial, the ankh served, in the form of a shrine, as the key for the Avatar to improve their knowledge of the various attributes needed to survive the depths.

Age of Armageddon[edit]

Falling largely out of favor with the people of Britannia during the following 200 years, the ankh was seen rarely during the Avatar's investigation of the Fellowship and its eventual destruction. It was seen even more infrequently on Serpent Isle, as the Avatar chased Batlin to a land populated by those fleeing Lord British's belief in the Eight Virtues. During the subsequent banishment to Pagan by the Guardian, the ankh was no longer seen.

In the Avatar's final journey to Britannia, the ankh symbol had once again come to some prominence being featured proudly in the Cathedral of Love and in multiple locations throughout the land. With the Avatar's final sacrifice, the casting of the Armageddon spell to destroy both himself and the Guardian, the Avatar finally ascended to the heavens creating a new Ankh Constellation above the skies of Britannia. Down below, the Avatar's lover Raven would find the final remains of the Avatar, his metallic ankh.

Notable characters[edit]

Trivia[edit]

  • The ankh was the ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic character that read "eternal life" and generally depicted as a symbol of life and rebirth. Egyptian gods are often portrayed carrying it by its loop, or bearing one in each hand, arms crossed over their chest.
  • A metallic ankh was included with Ultima IV and the Dragon Edition of Ultima IX.

See also[edit]