First things first, the Encyclopedia Realmgardica header image —
— is meant to look like the actual frontispiece of a 1600s-ish book.
Worth noting that old books tend to have pretty elaborate frontispieces and/or title pages and/or illustrations in general. Particularly things like atlases, or scientific and philosophical treatises.
I’m assuming the decline of such elaborate frontispieces is the result of printing becoming easier and more mechanised, making books cheap, plentiful, and no longer inherently prestige pieces or status symbols.
Moving on, the title pages and frontispieces of books from this period tended to depict some allegorical personification of the subject matter — the Theatrum Orbis Terrarum, for exmaple, depicts women as personifications of the continents — or relevant mythological figures. Particularly the Muses, particularly Clio.
Hence, Science and History depicting as Muse-like Elven women.
Now, “Science” and “History” are perhaps inadequate translations, given that the Greco-Latin stems of the words have nuances the modern English words don’t. It might be something closer to “Study” and “Inquiry”, but the modern connotations of using “Science” and “History” together does have implications the Encyclopedia containing both STEM and the Liberal Arts is something I kinda dig.
Since my Elves are essentially Romans and because the two figures themselves are basically Muses, I’ve drawn them in at least vaguely Greco-Roman outfits.
Science is holding an armillary sphere, mostly because it looks cool, but also because it’s a piece of scientific equipment. History is holding a scroll, because, well, that seems self-explanatory, no? She’s also wearing a laurel crown to invoke the whole “literary champion” thing.
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