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Lady Midday; a black woman? - Gtx0 ?>

Lady Midday; a black woman?
Posted: Posted September 7th by chiarizio
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Is the folk spirit Lady Midday* sometimes depicted as dark-skinned or black?
And, even if not; could she be?

*”the personification of sunstroke”, sometimes. Slavic or Germanic folklore, maybe other folks, as well.

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In some depictions she seems to have blonde or hay-colored hair, not quite African kinky or frizzy but very curly, and extremely tan or even black skin.

Posted September 7th by chiarizio
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I don't see why not! Though it would make sense for it to be lady midnight instead of midday.

There was an trend ib pre-medieval christianity to depict a "black madonna" or "african madonna", an african version of jesus' mother. My friend recently came into a statue modeled after that style completely randomly.

Posted September 8th by Xhin
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I can't say that I've run across this particular deity in my study of European mythology, so I can't speak to the historical accuracy of how this deity was represented. As far as answering the question of if she could be, that raises a gnarly question about what is inherent to a character. You could present a character as having any color of skin that you prefer, but that might change the character, depending on how that character is actually handled in the relevant sources. Without the context of the sources, I can only make very general comments about the tendencies of Slavic and Germanic mythology that I do know.

Proto-Indo-Europeans (i.e. the people who eventually become both the Slavs and the Germans) tended to divide their deities into celestial deities and infernal deities. They were mainly anthropomorphic and closely related in appearance to the central Eurasian people that worshiped them. IIRC, it was not unknown for an infernal god (a god of the earth) to have dark skin. Not as a commentary on race, as infernal gods were not seen as inherently evil and the PIE people didn't necessarily have contact with Africans, but simply representing their connection with the shadowy realm of mortals as opposed to the luminous realm of the midday sky that the celestials were representatives of.

Of course, this is very general tendency of a root culture, and not necessarily relevant to a specific folk tale from a daughter culture. In other words:

Yes and/or no, depending.

Posted September 8th by Canary Yellow
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I anticipated your (very welcome!) answers to the “could be” part of my question. Or at least to their general thrust!
That’s why I asked the question in the “WorldBuilding” forum of gtx0.

I think the blondness and the tanness could both be results of her always being out in the sunniest part of the day.

She seems IIANM to usually be depicted wearing all white.
She comes up to people working outdoors in the noonday sun and starts asking them difficult questions.
If they start getting confused she knocks them out and they wake up with severe and long-lasting headaches.

She also “helps” children get lost in the fields. I don’t think (?) the children in question always actually want to get lost!


Have you seen that the first anatomically-modern and behaviorally-modern Paleolithic humans in Great Britain were probably black skinned?
And apparently 10% of modern British DNA came from them, so they weren’t wiped out.

The theory is that selective pressure to have light skin didn’t begin to be significant until the Neolithic Revolution.
Before there was agriculture, people’s diets had a lot more animal-sourced food in them, so they got the Vitamin D they needed from their diets; so the hypothesis goes.
But after nearly everyone depended mostly on agriculture, they needed to make Vitamin D in their skin, which requires letting in sunlight.
So “they” think. Or, at least, they’re thinking about thinking that!


Anyway, I like the suggestion that Lady Midday might be considered something closer to “chthonic”, in an expanded sense; not that she lived underground, but that she was associated with the earth, and with working the land, rather than with celestial objects such as the sun.


I asked these questions because of the illustrations in which she seems extremely tanned, in spite of being blond and wearing white.
Her features in those pictures resemble — to me, YMMV — those of that Paleolithic “Briton” (probably not really any kind of Celt or Indo-European) whom they’ve recently restored a 3D color image of based on his bones and his DNA.

He’s very dark for a modern European; a bit darker than Tom Jones, maybe, in my opinion, if I’m not mistaken (again!).
But I don’t think if we met him on the streets of Cardiff we’d assume he was largely African.

in my opinion he’d look lighter-than-average on the streets of Lagos; but not out of range to be some kind of Nigerian.

All my opinion, not anyone’s facts!


It seems clear that all of Lady Midday’s surviving folktales are set during and after the Neolithic; having to do with a culture that practiced agriculture.
But I don’t think that means her origins were after the advent of farming. ?

Posted September 8th by chiarizio
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