Posted 19 October 2006 - 06:23 AM
Hey Dale! I was gonna reply to Elegos' post but you took the words right outta my mouth (and then some). Now, I reserve the right to agree to disagree with you, but you also know that I've supported your efforts ever since I became aware of 'em. That said, I hafta say that The Blue East is the most polished gem of Howard scholarship that you've ever crafted. Anyway, I'm going to just run thru the essay and comment wherever the fancy strikes me...
Ilbars R.: This is so strange... The course of the river (as you've proven,IMO) in the Hyborian Age is almost a MIRROR IMAGE of what one would expect, being familiar with Howard's geographic borrowing methods. The "model" for the Ilbars, one would think, would have to be the mighty Safid R. of n. Iran. It flows n.e. out of the ELBURZ Mts into the s. Caspian Sea, pretty much diametrically opposite from where the Ilbars enters the Vilayet.
Balkhan: from Balkh/Bactrus/Paktra, the original capital of Bactria on the Oxus R.
Secunderam: an anagram of Samarkand, the city from which Babur (the future Mogul) began his conquest of Afghanistan. Look at it like this: SAKANDARAM/SAMARKAND. Begram, a city n. of Kabul, may have also influenced the name.
Iranistan: Right on, Dale! A few yrs ago, when I realized that Khauran and Khoraja were Hyborian "Crusader kingdoms" it made me wonder: did REH repeat/precurse the Indo-Iranian invasions in Iranistan and Vendhya? Dig this scenario: the Hyborians cast down Acheron and thunder south. Their eastern flank hits Kuthchemes, rolls over it AND JUST KEEPS ON GOING. They cross the Kharamun, lured bytales of "golden cities" (sorta like Coronado), and settle in (future) Iranistan. The rest, as you've laid out in your fine essay, is Hyborian history. Some have tried to say that Turan is a cross between the Ottoman and Persian empires. With Iranistan in the picture this would be redundant. Plus, REH showed his views on the Turks in several tales ("Vulture","Lord of Samarcand", etc...). His Persians come off better, tho' they seem prone to intrigue. Some have noted the Persian origin of "Yazdegerd". This just shows he had an Iranistani mother, IMO. Another point in favor of a "Hyborian" Iranistan: it would bring Mitra home. Ancient Iran/Persia is where Mitra worship came from. I see the Iranistanis worshipping Mitra and the old, pre-Zarathustra mother goddess Tanata/Ananita, plus some lesser gods. Speaking of Tanata...
Iranistani "mother" river: I nominate Tanata as a likely name for it. It would follow the model of "mother goddess" rivers like the Danube and the Don. Hell, it even sounds kinda like 'em.
Ghaza: probably from Ghazni (IMO), a city situated in the wine growing region that includes Shiraz and Herat. Way to go on this one, Dale. I missed the clues in "Zamboula" that you caught. You're right, no wine that gets hauled 1500 m. is gonna be "cheap", not on a regular basis.
Thumbs up on your Vendhya and Kosala placements! Not only does your Vendhya placement jibe with Howard, but it also roughly reflects the borders of "Aryan" India, which REH knew about. Kosala has been a conundrum to me for some time. I think your solution solves all the major problems involved. Is there a barrier betwixt noth and south Vendhya corresponding to the Deccan? If so, I propose "Thuggan" or "Thaggan" which would suggest/evoke the Thag/Thug cult which operated there in later India.
Baal-Pteor: master of mesmerism? Are you sure you didn't mean "Totrasmek"?
Bakhaurus: Bukhara, a rug-making center in Tajikistan, a Persian speaking country. Samarcand is also Tajik. As is Xujand (Khujand); a possible lost green-stone city, Dale?
Oh well. It's late. Workin' tomorrow. I'll do Part II then.