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Zapa...what River?


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#1 Speelie

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 07:43 AM

I noticed something when rereading A Witch Shall be Born a few months ago. I compared the text in The Bloody Crown of Conan with that of my Lancer copy of Conan the Freebooter. Both are the same for what follows. In Bloody Crown, we can read on page 271 that Olgerd Vladislav was formerly a hetman of the kozaki of the Zaparoskan River. On page 275 of that book, we can read a quote about , "...Olgerd Vladislav, the kozak adventurer who wandered down from the northern steppes..." DeCamp didn't change these things for the Lancer volume (I don't have the Ace edition to compare).

Further, looking at REH's map on page 365 of The Conquering Sword of Conan, I noticed that the word "Kozaks" was written just west of the Vilayet, and somewhat north of its center. This would go along with the notion that Vladislav came south to Khauran from northern steppes, especially considering that REH wrote the word "steppes" on his map just to the west and south of the word Kozaks.

The above seems rather straight forward, so I'm left wondering why later maps and glossaries mention the "Zaparoska" River (no "n" at the end) and place said river at the southeastern end of the Vilayet. Indeed, the map in my copy of Conan the Freebooter includes this, in spite of contradictory information in the story which is in that very volume! And this spelling and placement was continued in Conan the Swordsman (map and Hyborian Names supplement) the map in the Tor volumes.

What the heck? Am I missing something obvious here? Has anyone else noticed this previously, and discussed it somewhere? I did a quick search for this topic, and failed to find anything, but my apologies if I missed an existing discussion.

#2 Kortoso

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 05:15 PM

Good bit of research there. Something I hadn't noticed. Certainly the kozaki are the closest we have to Slavs in Hyboria, but as far as the discrepancy you mentioned, I have no idea. Several cultures competing over that area, most of them nomadic, so there's no reason there shouldn't have been a shift in populations over time.

#3 tofu

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 05:37 PM

In conan The Valorous it talks about the Khozgarian hills these are located in Northern Vilayet and supposedly home of the kozakis. The YLIRUS River flows through their land.

As far as the River every book I own or have owned shows Zaporoska River so leads me to believe the added "N". was a mere typo that was copied even in other stories.

Best I can bring to the table hope this helps.

also to quote a passage from the book."In the valley where the Zaporoska River flows into the Akrim River lives the Yuetshi People."

So assumeing Kozakis are Northern Vilayet ,Yuetshi Southern Vilayet. Ilbars in the middle and to the west side of Vilayet, Meroe in Meru ,Talakama Mountain men North of Kosala,Zugair tribesman,And Afghuli Tribesman North of Iranistan.

Just how I see it and break it down. But can be wrong and willing to allow others to correct me.

Edited by tofu, 26 June 2006 - 05:49 PM.

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#4 Hans

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Posted 12 July 2006 - 11:43 PM

Not only is Olgerd Vladislav a kozak from the Zaparoska River,but,(if we're into the pastiches)Gleg,jailer of Prince Teyaspa( in "Road of the Eagles") is known as "The Zaparoskan."The first is the noun;the 2nd,the adjective.
Both Olgerd and Gleg are Slavic names from the early Middle Ages,so there's the touch of antiquity here.
Also,in "Witch Shall Be Born," Constantius is described as "...the Kothic voivode."Voivode is the term to describe a military governor.
Has anybody read the adaptation of "Road" in Savage Sword(c.1979)?They introduce Gleg,slouching in a chair and glaring at Teyaspa.He's very obviously based on the title character of the 1952 RKO film"Blackbeard the Pirate,"starring that fine English character actor Robert Newton.

#5 PainBrush

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 04:38 AM

Just to add my 2 cents , I think all the above are pretty close to the mark . I think REH intended the 'Kozacki' to be loosely 'Russia' - & extend from the slavic peoples all the way South to the middle East like modern day Kajikistan , Fryingpan & all those other middle-east countries that end in 'an' - so that explains Zaporoska river adjoining Vilayet & etc. . For the record - don't know Bobs etymology but Kozak is a Polish word - same as Russian Cossack etc. Voivode was mentioned by Hans -with a good definition - it's a Hungarian/Rumanian/Slavic word for like Hans said a military leader or warlord . I do believe Vlad III Tepes Drakula ( the Impaler - not the vampire ha) had the title Voivode bestowed on him ( by the Hunyadi ?) - when he took over rule . Also - this probably means little - but I went to school with a couple people whose last name was 'Zaporoska' - ( no 'N' at the end) -it's a Balkan word , they were Yugo/Albanian/Kosovar (?) - so depending on where REH got his words from - he evidently intended his Kozakis to be painted with a BIG wide brush as to exactly who they were - yet pretty close to actual historical countries which all were at one time or another connected to or part of the Russian empire ?

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#6 Kortoso

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 04:38 PM

Russian kozak from the Turkish quzzak, "adventurer, guerilla, nomad," from qaz "to wander."

#7 PainBrush

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 09:33 PM

Ah , I never looked that up - interesting etymology . Turkish no less . Didn't know the origin of it - , well the Turks did spread all through a BIG area of Europe in their heyday . Kozak is even nowadays a really common Russian/Polish( Ukranian?) - last name .I went to school with no less than 6 different Kozaks in Hamtramck Mich. ( used to be the largest Polish & Ukranian populations outside of those respective countries for decades -) - & only 2 of those Kozaks were related ! There's still a "Kozak's" store there today & a "Kozak's" beer distributor company also . If ya have to have a wild band of Hyborian Kozakis in your home-town - I guess ones that bring beer are the best , aye ? hahaha

Back to the subject of the Zaporoska River - kind of - does anybody else get the strong idea that the Vilayet sea was REH's version of the pre-cataclysmic 'Baltic' sea - which probably was also still connected to what became the Black Sea and/or even the Caspian - before his imaginary cataclysm broke Europe up ? It would make all his Hyborian ethnicities & country names fit nicely where their actual modern day counterparts are nowadays - except slightly squished more together - (for convenience ?!) rather than just only 'overlayed' over the map of Europe ?


p.s.- just did a search for 'Zaporoska' & every one of the first 15 or so pages on my search engine was written in Polish or Ukranian - ( maybe even czech?) - except for this one really interesting page I'll link - evidently a Hyborian glossary from way back in 1998 -
Z GLOSSARY
should add that I only just now noticed I was using the spelling 'Zaporoska' - rather than 'ZapAroska' - didn't do a search on that spelling yet..........................

Edited by PAINBRUSH, 26 July 2006 - 09:45 PM.

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#8 Kortoso

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Posted 26 July 2006 - 09:58 PM

It also seems that the Kazakh people may be the forerunners (or the afterrunners in a Hyborian sense) of the kozak/cossacks. The actual origin of their name remains a mystery, but don't we know better? ;)

#9 Darkstorm Dale

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Posted 05 August 2006 - 03:29 AM

I noticed something when rereading A Witch Shall be Born a few months ago. I compared the text in The Bloody Crown of Conan with that of my Lancer copy of Conan the Freebooter. Both are the same for what follows. In Bloody Crown, we can read on page 271 that Olgerd Vladislav was formerly a hetman of the kozaki of the Zaparoskan River. On page 275 of that book, we can read a quote about , "...Olgerd Vladislav, the kozak adventurer who wandered down from the northern steppes..." DeCamp didn't change these things for the Lancer volume (I don't have the Ace edition to compare).

Further, looking at REH's map on page 365 of The Conquering Sword of Conan, I noticed that the word "Kozaks" was written just west of the Vilayet, and somewhat north of its center. This would go along with the notion that Vladislav came south to Khauran from northern steppes, especially considering that REH wrote the word "steppes" on his map just to the west and south of the word Kozaks.

The above seems rather straight forward, so I'm left wondering why later maps and glossaries mention the "Zaparoska" River (no "n" at the end) and place said river at the southeastern end of the Vilayet. Indeed, the map in my copy of Conan the Freebooter includes this, in spite of contradictory information in the story which is in that very volume! And this spelling and placement was continued in Conan the Swordsman (map and Hyborian Names supplement) the map in the Tor volumes.

What the heck? Am I missing something obvious here? Has anyone else noticed this previously, and discussed it somewhere? I did a quick search for this topic, and failed to find anything, but my apologies if I missed an existing discussion.


I'm guessing that you are missing the fact that Howard placed the Zaporoska River on the southern edge of the Vilayet Sea in THE DEVIL IN IRON (THE COMING OF CONAN THE CIMMERIAN, pp 325). It is located close to the Turanian city of Khawarizm and the isle of Xapur, on the Vilayet Sea. Howard describes the Zaporoska River as a wilderness of reeds and a swampy jungle. Conan's Kozaki war-camp is pitched somewhere upon the river's lower reaches. B)
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#10 Speelie

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 03:50 AM

Hi Dale, I was hoping you'd jump into this, after reading your pieces on Hyborian geography. I have The Coming of Conan here with me as I type, and I see nothing on page 325 to indicate that the Zaparoska(n) River is at the southeast of the Vilayet. It only mentions that the Kozaki war camp was "on the lower reaches of the Zaparoska (no "n")."

What IS mentioned, on page 324, is this : "On the broad steppes between the Sea of Vilayet and borders of the easternmost Hyborian kingdoms, a new race had sprung up in the past half-century, ..." This sounds very much like the description on the map REH sent Miller and Clark, ie, to the west of the central Vilayet.

#11 Darkstorm Dale

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 04:05 PM

Hi Dale, I was hoping you'd jump into this, after reading your pieces on Hyborian geography. I have The Coming of Conan here with me as I type, and I see nothing on page 325 to indicate that the Zaparoska(n) River is at the southeast of the Vilayet. It only mentions that the Kozaki war camp was "on the lower reaches of the Zaparoska (no "n")."

What IS mentioned, on page 324, is this : "On the broad steppes between the Sea of Vilayet and borders of the easternmost Hyborian kingdoms, a new race had sprung up in the past half-century, ..." This sounds very much like the description on the map REH sent Miller and Clark, ie, to the west of the central Vilayet.

You make a good point in that the Kozaki seem to be mostly a force that bedevils the western frontiers of Turan.

Yet there is other internal evidence to support a placement of the Zaparoska River on the lower Vilayet. On page 321, Howard places the Yuetshi homeland as being "along the southern shore of the Sea of Vilayet since time immemorial". On page 322, he describes the area around Xapur, "The adjacent coast of the mainland was uninhabited, a reedy marsh given over to the grim beasts that haunted it. The (Yuetshi) fisher's village lay some distance to the south, on the mainland. A storm had blown his frail fishing craft far from his accustomed haunts, and wrecked it in a night of flaring lightning...". So what this tells me is that the isle of Xapur lies to the north of the southern edge of the Vilayet, adjacent to either the western or eastern coast. While it is described as laying "some distance" and "far" from Yuetshi lands, it can really only be as far away as a small boat can be blown over the course of a single night. So it possibly lies within a hundred miles of the southern end of the Vilayet, but it is much more realistic to place it within fifty miles. That's quite a ways south of the area "west of the central Vilayet" that you recommended, which would have required the storm to push the fisher's boat some 800 to a thousand miles. The "reedy marsh" adjacent to Xapur is the same area as "the lower reaches of the Zaporoska", since Conan was set to flee from the isle "across the blue waters to the distant camp at the mouth of the Zaporoska".

On page 323, the role of the governor of Khawarizm is to "guard the frontier". This implies that the city is near the outer border of Turan, not near the heavily settled center of the nation. When Octavia escapes from Khawarizm, she steals a horse, rides all night to the edge of the sea, and swims out to Xapur. So Khawarizm isn't on the sea coast, and it isn't all that far from Conan's war camp on the Zaporoska River, either.

In all fairness, I do think that you are right in that the Zaporoska River should be located on the western shore of the Vilayet, especially since the war camps's site seems ideally placed as an interface between the Kozaki to the west and the pirates to the east. Textually, however it seems reasonably certain that the river empties into the southern reaches of the Vilayet. Why Howard's map doesn't reflect this I can only guess.

If I were to place this on a map, I would make a large part of the southwestern shore of the Vilayet a massive swampland (you can even make a case that it's northern edge appears in Iron Shadows in the Moon), I would place Khawarizm southwest of the swamp along a caravan route, and I would place the Zaporoska River to the north of the city. It's mouth would be adjacent to the Isle of Xapur. The land of the Yuetshi would lie to the south of the swampy area.

Of course this would completely destroy the layout of the Ilbars River watershed established in several of the pastiche works, but really, that's not my problem! ;)
"Details are all that matters; God dwells there, and you never get to see Him if you don't struggle to get them right." - Stephen Jay Gould

"A man receives only what he is ready to receive. . . .
The phenomenon or fact that cannot in any wise be linked with the rest of what he has observed, he does not observe.
" - Henry D. Thoreau


"There never was an explanation which didn't itself need to be explained" - Charles Fort

"If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you." - Oscar Wilde

#12 John Maddox Roberts

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 04:53 PM

Cossack communities were named for the rivers where they lived. In the early days they actually had their sietches on islands in the rivers. Thus we have the Don Cossacks, the Dnieper Cossacks and, yes, the Zaparoskan Cossacks. The Zaporoska, sometimes spelled Zaporozhye, is on the southern steppes and the Zaporoskans mainly fought the Turks. If you saw the old movie "Taras Bulba," those were Zaporoski. Unlike the Don Cossacks, famous for their fur hats, long coats, beards and shasqas, the Zaporoski imitated Turkish styles: heads shaved except for a long braid in bach, billowy pants, colorful vests and scimitars.

#13 Kortoso

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Posted 12 August 2006 - 05:11 PM

Thank you Dale and John, between the two of you I think that we have a very good impression. I have only this to add:

Posted Image

Zaporozh'e Cossacks writing a letter to the Sultan

Painting (1880) by
Il'ya Efimovich Repin
5 May 1844 - 29 Sep 1930
One of my favorites.

#14 Speelie

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 05:26 AM

Thanks everyone for the enlightenment, I think we (or at least I) can now conclude that this sort of slipped through the cracks of REH's imaginings. As he wrote, the farther things got away from "Western Europe" the hazier became his notion of the geography. As to the illustration shown, I can easily imagine those men being the ones who took part in the events of the original version of The Road of the Eagles! (one of my very favorite REH tales)

#15 PainBrush

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 06:45 AM

Posted Image

Whoah ! - I didn't know till now Santa was a Zaporoskan - I always thought he was from much further 'North' !

" You have a good point there,...put your helmet on & no-one will notice it ."
" Look for a long time at what pleases you... and longer still at what pains you "
So THIS is civilization ??!??!......

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#16 deuce

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Posted 23 January 2012 - 12:09 PM

Since discussions of the Kozaki and all things "Zaporoskan" seem to be in vogue at the moment, re-upping this thread seemed appropriate. :)

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#17 theagenes

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Posted 27 January 2012 - 10:16 PM

REH likely got the name from Zaporozhye, a city in southern Ukraine. I was working on a couple of Scythian kurghans in 2004 and Zaporozhye was the nearest oasis of civilization (we were living in a pretty isolated rural area). I remember how excited I was to find a bottle of Jim Beam in the grocery store there after living on vodka and borscht for five weeks. The locals in that area are very proud of their cossack ancestry.
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