Obscure Greek/Roman mythology reference in FFVII?

I was reading about Greek Mythology on Wikipedia, and came across this under their Hades article:

In Roman mythology, the entrance to the underworld located at Avernus, a crater near Cumae, was the route Aeneas used to descend to the Underworld. By synecdoche, “Avernus” could be substituted for the underworld as a whole.
I remembered seeing the word Avernus somewhere before, it felt so familiar… it didn’t take long to remember why I recognized it, it’s in a prominent place in a game I’ve beaten many times over:

I realize the graffiti on the wall says Averus, not Avernus, but I think the reference is clear. Anyway, I just thought it was cool that the slums under the plate were compared to the underworld in such a weird but effective way. Maybe someone here will appreciate it :stuck_out_tongue:

That’s a good catch, really interesting to me as a fan of mythology.

I never noticed that grafitti in the game. To a colorblind guy, they look too similiar.

See also the Avernum (fka Exile) rpg series

Despite playing through VII a number of times, I never caught this either. Weird. Pretty cool reference though, as it sounds fitting.

I always assumed that said “avarice”, with the “e” cut off from the screen. Avarice is another word for greed and is typically used in the sense of the sin of greed, which would be exactly the right word for a person wanting to show what they think of the Shinra company.

The only problem is that there’s no u or s in averice.

The second to last letter looks as much like an i as it does a u(in fact more so as far as I can tell) and the last letter is cut off, and looks as much like a c as an s. Besides, if you’re going to get picky about spelling, I have to reiterate the fact that there’s no “n” at all in the word, and no amount of squinting is going to change that one. Also, even if it does say “averus”, that still phonetically sounds the same as avarice, and that’s what really counts with the Japanese. Spelling an english word like this is perfectly understandable from a Japanese perspective, whereas missing an “n”, one of the fundamental sounds in Japanese, is not likely.

From my experience with Square’s usage of references, it’s almost definitely not a reference to a ridiculously obscure location that has only a passing similarity to the setting in which we see it and isn’t even spelled correctly or phonetically. I’d say that it is either avarice, or some other in-reference that Square used that we are unaware of. There’s plenty of other graffiti around the slums that is equally enigmatic.

Oh yeah, I forgot, Square has never used a reference to Greek Mythology, ever. And clearly, not using any other obscure references that an average guy like yourself would be aware of means it’s a law that they can’t do it even once.

The second last letter looks way, WAY more like both an L and a U than an I. The letter I is fairly straight, it doesn’t loop back in on itself at the bottom or really have any curves or bends in it, whereas the second-last letter in the word in the screenshot is pretty much just a big curve. The last letter almost looks like a C… except that being a C would make it only half the height of the other letters, which there’s no reason for. There’s also the fact that it’s shaped pretty blatantly like an S, even if it is cut off. I feel like I’m being taken for a complete idiot here. I know what letters look like, dude. I don’t know what kind of english you’ve been studying with its loopy, curvy "I"s and itty bitty "C"s, but I can assure you Square didn’t intend for that word to say averice. I’m absolutely certain it was meant to stand alongside the overwhelming slew of Greek, Norse, and Egyptian mythological references that have existed in the series for over 15 years, especially since it was placed in just exactly the PERFECT spot for a reference to Avernus to be placed: the junction between the overworld (wealthy Midgar) and the land of the dead (the slums under the plate). Throwing exactly that reference in exactly that spot in the game is exactly the way Square operates, and it’s very unlikely that you’re correct here.

Waaaaaait… Wait a goddamn second.


It’s avArice. Now I’m 200% sure you’re wrong.

I’m hardly your average guy when it comes to Final Fantasy, and I make it my business to know where every single name, term, and reference in the entire series comes from. I can say without much hubris that I know more about the references Square uses than 99.9% of the people who play these games. I know the difference between a common reference like Hades, and an obscure reference like Avernus. And Avernus is to the point of obscurity that I strongly doubt Square would ever think to use it.

As for the rest of your arguments, my points still stand just as strong. You’re the one spelling it averice, not me, and I already explained the possible reasons and justifications of the spelling differences sufficiently. Those last couple letters are too obscured to clearly say that they are an i, u, or l, and a c, or s. They could be any of them. And claiming that the c would be too small is pretty odd considering how small the v is and how large the a is. It’s graffiti, it’s not meant to be perfect typecast lettering, hence the current confusion.

All I’ve said is that I always thought it was meant to say avarice, and I still believe that, certainly over something like Avernus. I could be wrong, and I wouldn’t be surprised if I was, but I’m fairly confident that it’s not Avernus. You’re the one making the grand leap and claiming it has to be what you think it is. And when it comes to references, I can’t stand it when people make huge leaps and claim this or that is 100% meant to reference that or this based on a handful of tenuous assumptions and theories. You don’t know anymore than I do what it’s supposed to mean for sure.

That’s a pretty cool observation, Hades. I remember seeing that spray paint before but I didn’t think anything of it. Cool to see some cultural interpretation thrown in there that seems pretty valid at that.

Thanks Gila, I thought it was pretty cool and fitting too :stuck_out_tongue: I like when I can still learn new things about a game over a decade after first playing it.

Yeah, you really are. Being able to point out that Hades is a Greek god doesn’t make you the king of references.

Those last couple letters are too obscured to clearly say that they are an i, u, or l, and a c, or s.
No, they’re really not. You’re just being stubborn.
You’re the one making the grand leap and claiming it has to be what you think it is. And when it comes to references, I can’t stand it when people make huge leaps and claim this or that is 100% meant to reference that or this based on a handful of tenuous assumptions and theories. You don’t know anymore than I do what it’s supposed to mean for sure.
There’s always someone who has to piss in the face of reasonable thought with unfounded, narrowminded rejections of the obvious, and right now it happens to be you.

The letters on the wall: Averus.
The letters in Avernus: Avernus.
The letters in Avarice: Avarice. Aside from starting with “A” and having 3 syllables, this word bears almost no resemblance to what’s written on the wall. It’s also very unlikely that it was meant to be read phonetically because FFVII is filled with english words and phrases written everywhere on pre-rendered backgrounds and absolutely none of them are spelled incorrectly.

What Avernus is: A lesser-known but still fairly recognizable name referring to the path that connects the overworld with the land of the dead in Roman mythology.

Where the graffiti is written: A path that connects the wealthy top levels of Midgar to the slums of midgar. It would make only too much sense for Avernus to be written on this path as a metaphor, especially since it’s extremely characteristic of Square to do something exactly like that.

Throw away your pride and enjoy the reference. It wasn’t what you thought it was, big deal.

Square has used some pretty obscure (Greek) references, to be fair.

That is neat. I think Hades is right: FFVII, more than the other FFs, had a lot of philosophical/mythological thought put into it. It also has many more obscure philosphical/mythological references than any of the other FFs. for example, the whole thing about the sephira and Jewish theology, and Shinra being a foreign language’s word for “dark God”, etc. Also, remember the bosses in Wutai named after existentialist philosophers? This just reinforces the amount of serious thought put into FFVII for me.

Course, comparing the slums to mythological hell isn’t that philosophically deep, but its still cool

EDIT: The 5th letter almost looks like a mutation between two letters.

Goddamn, what a retarded thing to argue about. I noticed the Graffiti before, just never cared to make any sort of connections.

Trying to get people not to act utterly retarded is a pretty noble goal I think.