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Hyperboreans -- REH References


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#1 The Gneech

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 10:12 PM

I am looking for direct REH references to Hyperborea; I have seen a lot of references to Conan being "captured by Hyperboreans" (including in the Dark Horse comic), but none of it appears to be in tales actually written by Howard. The only mention I've found so far is in "The Hyborean Age". I -have- found a reference to "Legions of the Dead" but that was deCamp/Carter IIRC.

Am I just missing something? Please enlighten me!

-The Gneech B)

#2 Kieran

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 10:38 PM

In a letter Howard wrote to fan P.S. Miller, Howard mentions after leaving Cimmeria, Conan spent time with the Aesir fighting the Vanir and Hyperboreans. He was captured by the Hyperboreans but escaped and headed south to Zamora to start his thief adventures.

Edited by Kieran, 20 November 2006 - 10:40 PM.

Contemplate this on the Tree of Woe.

#3 Brule

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 10:47 PM

I am looking for direct REH references to Hyperborea; I have seen a lot of references to Conan being "captured by Hyperboreans" (including in the Dark Horse comic), but none of it appears to be in tales actually written by Howard. The only mention I've found so far is in "The Hyborean Age". I -have- found a reference to "Legions of the Dead" but that was deCamp/Carter IIRC.

Am I just missing something? Please enlighten me!

-The Gneech B)


REH never wrote a story with the hyperboreans there mentioned in a few stories but never used. But yea
deCamp/Carter wrote a few stories with them. "Witches of the Mists", "The Thing in the Cript"

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#4 Almuric

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 10:55 PM

Older Minor Spoilers
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The De Camp/Carter stories had the Hyperboreans as a proto-Finnish people ruled by evil sorcerers. Busiek made them into an immortal race that were once human. When they finally got sick of living forever they would jump into a gorge where their insectoid "gods" devoured their remains. Howard never really said much, other than that they had cities with high stone walls.
"It is more than a mortal sea. Your hands are red with blood and you follow a red sea-path, yet the fault is not wholly with you. Almighty God, when will the reign of blood cease?"

Turlogh shook his head. "Not so long as the race lasts."


--- The Dark Man, by Robert E. Howard

#5 The Gneech

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Posted 20 November 2006 - 11:34 PM

In a letter Howard wrote to fan P.S. Miller, Howard mentions after leaving Cimmeria, Conan spent time with the Aesir fighting the Vanir and Hyperboreans. He was captured by the Hyperboreans but escaped and headed south to Zamora to start his thief adventures.


Thanks for the info!

-TG B)

#6 deuce

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 02:01 AM

How weird. I was just mulling over a similar idea at work. There are actually several references in "The Coming of Conan". One is in "Black Colossus". There's also one in "Phoenix" and some in the background materials in the back of the book.

BTW: shouldn't this be in The Hyborian Age? :)

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#7 Kortoso

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Posted 21 November 2006 - 06:29 PM

A number of Hyborian nations were never used in the stories. Conan never visited the Border Kingdom, for instance.

#8 Senta

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 02:18 AM

Older Minor Spoilers
*
*
*
*
The De Camp/Carter stories had the Hyperboreans as a proto-Finnish people ruled by evil sorcerers. Busiek made them into an immortal race that were once human. When they finally got sick of living forever they would jump into a gorge where their insectoid "gods" devoured their remains. Howard never really said much, other than that they had cities with high stone walls.


i was sure that Howard never described Hyberborea in detail, and wondered where Busiek got his interpretation from. i wasn't aware of the letter from Howard hibnting at Conan fighting Hyperboreans etc.

#9 Almuric

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 04:16 AM

Busiek based his Hyperborea on the Greek legend, but with a darker twist.
"It is more than a mortal sea. Your hands are red with blood and you follow a red sea-path, yet the fault is not wholly with you. Almighty God, when will the reign of blood cease?"

Turlogh shook his head. "Not so long as the race lasts."


--- The Dark Man, by Robert E. Howard

#10 Pictish Scout

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 05:32 PM

Busiek based his Hyperborea on the Greek legend, but with a darker twist.


And some Lord of the Rings ( the movie) Uruk-Hai, I think.

#11 Kortoso

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 06:01 PM

There's a "gaunt" Hyperborean in the opening scene of Tower of the Elephant.

#12 John Maddox Roberts

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 06:28 PM

Hyperborean trivia: In ancient Greece, Boreas was the god of the north wind. Hyperborea meant "beyond the north wind" i.e. a remote, cold place way up there to the north.

#13 Mikey_C

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 11:37 PM

Marc Bolan:

Lionel Lark was an alchemist by professsion but he loved to quest. Li and Mole were a romantic pair. Li, with his many-coloured zodiac coat flapping about as he rode the dawn wind. Rubbing his rimless spectacles, he lectured Mole in his larkish manner about the mythical Lily Pond and its latitude and longitude, and goofing sometimes, and mentioning the Hyperboreans, the frozen folk who lived behind the North Wind.


Utterly irrelevant, but quite a connection for old "groovers" like me! :D
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#14 deuce

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Posted 27 November 2006 - 11:46 PM

Is that Marc Bolan as in "T-Rex" Marc Bolan?

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#15 Mikey_C

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 12:14 AM

The very man. He had quite an interest in fantasy and mythology. That little spaced-out children's story was narrated by none other than the great John Peel in his hippy days.

- Sorry folks, even more off-topic...

Edited by Mikey_C, 28 November 2006 - 12:17 AM.

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#16 deuce

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Posted 28 November 2006 - 12:28 AM

The very man. He had quite an interest in fantasy and mythology. That little spaced-out children's story was narrated by none other than the great John Peel in his hippy days.

- Sorry folks, even more off-topic...



Damn right, Mikey! We're no thread hijackers! I'll get the ball rollin... Howzabout this: how come ol' KB put all the Hyperboreans (as far as I can tell) in ONE city when Conan himself says they live in "cities" (in "Phoenix")? Hyperborea is a BIG country. How do they defend it? KB makes it seem like Switzerland or Shangri-la (ie, little and REALLY mountainous). Personally, I think REH had a medieval/Renaissance Russia idea in mind for Hyberborea. Comments? See, back on track! :)

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#17 Sloth-Amon

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 12:21 AM

They defend it with umm...Extremely high walls, powerfull magic, and uhhh...

10 000 Uruk-hai? :blink:

Edited by Sloth-Amon, 30 November 2006 - 12:21 AM.



#18 deuce

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 08:18 AM

They defend it with umm...Extremely high walls, powerfull magic, and uhhh...

10 000 Uruk-hai? Posted Image



I guess I wasn't being clear enough. Posted Image My question wasn't about how the 'Hyperboreans' (of Busiek) defended their one little mountain city. My question pertained as to how KB's 'Hyperboreans' defended their entire big-a$$ COUNTRY (roughly the size of Texas/Ukraine). Everybody seems to be based out of Kurt's ONE city (let's call it "Hyperborea"), including the "10,000 Uruk-hai"(BTW, how did you arrive at that figure, Sloth-Amon?).

Anyway, why aren't the Aesir, the Border Kingdom, the Brythunians, the Cimmerians, the Hyrkanians and Crom knows who else swarming all over the unfortified, unwatched, unpopulated and unguarded border regions of Hyperborea? The Cimmerians are hillmen. The Aesir have mighty mountains to provide "mountaineer" mercenary bands to take and hold Hyperborean territory. All these virile (and most of them barbarian) nations, surrounding a decadent, sorcerous, wealthy, slaving pustule (sounds a lot like Acheron, doesn't it?) on the face of the Hyborian lands.

Yet, unlike Acheron (which possessed wider lands and more manpower), the Hyborian and barbarian nations didn't overthrow the Hyperboreans until 500+ years after Conan, when the Aesir gave that kingdom its death-blow. How were the "10,000 Uruk-hai", the slaves and the'Hyperboreans' fed? If it's by magic, then KB's city, "Hyperborea", has more magic within its walls than Xuthal, Xuchotl, Dagonia and Mt. Yimsha combined. Basically, in his version of 'Hyperborea', Busiek depicts a society equal to (on a sorcerous level) Acheron (something that REH never implied). That's quite an achievement considering that the Hyperboreans of Conan's time were descendants of wild Hyborian tribesmen who overthrew "Old Hyperborea" 3000 to (maybe) 3500 years before. Fast learners (relatively speaking), those illiterate Hyperborean tribesmen.

For that matter, how did Hyperborea, with it's impoverished/infertile, uber-mountainous environment, ever become the cradle of countless Hyborian tribes? The "Land Beyond the North Wind" didn't become a 'reality'(at least in Busiek's vision of the Hyborian Age) until after "Hyperborean sorcerors" modified the environment. Busiek (or for that matter, deCamp/Carter) didn't read Howard's "The Hyborian Age" anywhere near close enough. More on that later. I've been at the hospital all night and I gotta work tomorrow. Cheers. Posted Image

Edited by deuce, 30 January 2012 - 06:31 PM.

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#19 Taranaich

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Posted 30 November 2006 - 03:38 PM

To be frank, I don't think Howard mentioned the Hyperboreans having sorcerers at all. All I've read is that their soldiers are gaunt and slow of speech, and that their castles are immense fortifications. Later on in the Hyborian Age, Hyperborea is mentioned as making war on Aquilonia, which would indicate it has a sizeable enough society.

I personally view the Hyperboreans as at the same level of society as "barbarian" societies that took over an ancient realm, such as the Gothic kings of Italy, the Dorians who rampaged over ancient Greece, or the Ostrogoths who established Castille and eventually Spain. I personally thought they were akin to a pre-Hellenic Aegean culture like the Minoans: they had elaborately horned helmets and double-bitted axes like the Nordheimir, plus they have pretty impressive constructions like the palace at Knossus.

Posted Image
The Labrys, a Minoan axe.

Posted Image
Reconstruction of Knossos. Not exactly Cyclopean, but still impressive for a Bronze Age culture.

Posted Image
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#20 Pictish Scout

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Posted 01 December 2006 - 12:17 AM

To be frank, I don't think Howard mentioned the Hyperboreans having sorcerers at all. All I've read is that their soldiers are gaunt and slow of speech, and that their castles are immense fortifications. Later on in the Hyborian Age, Hyperborea is mentioned as making war on Aquilonia, which would indicate it has a sizeable enough society.

I personally view the Hyperboreans as at the same level of society as "barbarian" societies that took over an ancient realm, such as the Gothic kings of Italy, the Dorians who rampaged over ancient Greece, or the Ostrogoths who established Castille and eventually Spain. I personally thought they were akin to a pre-Hellenic Aegean culture like the Minoans: they had elaborately horned helmets and double-bitted axes like the Nordheimir, plus they have pretty impressive constructions like the palace at Knossus.

Posted Image
The Labrys, a Minoan axe.

Posted Image
Reconstruction of Knossos. Not exactly Cyclopean, but still impressive for a Bronze Age culture.

Posted Image
Who be this mysterious goddess?



Yeah, I agree with you. They are the first "barbarian" civilization, they built palaces of stone, a primordial kingdom prior to the other hyborian civilizations. I still think they look much the same as other Hyborians ( Nemedians, Aquilonians, Brythunians...). Yet I don't know what "Gaunt" means... gotta check it out.
Actually Visigoths were the ones conquering spain not the Ostrogoths, and Castille was founded centuries latter, after the Moor invasion ( that ended the Visigoth empire), during the " reconquista".