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The Border Kingdom: What Did REH Say?


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#1 Adam

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 08:56 PM

Is the Border Kingdom a "kingdom" or is it only a stretch of land between Nemedia, Aquilonia and northern lands? :)

There are no mentions of Border Kingdom kings, queens, armies - even its inhabitants are never mentioned.

So, what is the Border Kingdom? :)

#2 Almuric

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Posted 14 March 2007 - 10:08 PM

My guess is that it's the remnant of some older Hyborian realm, or a buffer state, created by some ancient treaty. And my guess is as good as any.
"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?"

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#3 Mondas

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 09:16 PM

My guess is that it is a strech of land of brutal warriors like the cimmerian warriors but with no unifying factor. Like a barbarian realm in the middle of civilization.
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#4 deuce

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 09:19 PM

My guess is that it's the remnant of some older Hyborian realm, or a buffer state, created by some ancient treaty. And my guess is as good as any.


Hey Almuric! What gives you that idea? ;) BTW, howdja like the "Elak" stuff?

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#5 Taranaich

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:41 PM

Well, here's what we know of the Border Kingdom:

"The kingdoms of the Hyborians - Aquilonia, Nemedia, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Koth, Ophir, Argos, Corinthia, and one known as the Border Kingdom - dominate the western world."

"An ancient feud had existed between Aquilonia and Hyperborea, and the latter now marched to meet the armies of her western rival. The plains of the Border Kingdom were the scene of a great and savage battle, in which the northern hosts were utterly defeated, and retreated into their snowy fastnesses, whither the victorious Aquilonians did not pursue them."

"Opposed to this barbaric empire is the empire of the Hyrkanians, of which the northern boundaries are the ravaged lines of Hyperborea, and the southern, the deserts south of the lands of Shem. Zamora, Brythunia, the Border Kingdom, Corinthia, most of Koth, and all the eastern lands of Shem are included in this empire."

- The Hyborian Age

So what can we gleam from that? We know the Border Kingdom is a Hyborian one, and considering the fact that they dominate the western world, I can't honestly see it as some mere expanse of wilderness. It must have had some level of military power, otherwise it would've been overrun by annexed by Nemedia or Hyperborea, or overrun by the Cimmerians and just considered "southern Cimmeria". The fact that it's retained its borders against no less than the Cimmerians indicates there must be some central authority, possibly a king, that's in charge of things.

Incidentally, we have no mention of Brythunia or Corinthia's king or queen or armies, hence how we have some "city-state" theories in the comics and pastiches.

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#6 deuce

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:48 PM

My guess is that it is a strech of land of brutal warriors like the cimmerian warriors but with no unifying factor. Like a barbarian realm in the middle of civilization.


In the "middle" of WHAT "civilization"?

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#7 Mondas

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:48 PM

Well, here's what we know of the Border Kingdom:

"The kingdoms of the Hyborians - Aquilonia, Nemedia, Brythunia, Hyperborea, Koth, Ophir, Argos, Corinthia, and one known as the Border Kingdom - dominate the western world."

"An ancient feud had existed between Aquilonia and Hyperborea, and the latter now marched to meet the armies of her western rival. The plains of the Border Kingdom were the scene of a great and savage battle, in which the northern hosts were utterly defeated, and retreated into their snowy fastnesses, whither the victorious Aquilonians did not pursue them."

"Opposed to this barbaric empire is the empire of the Hyrkanians, of which the northern boundaries are the ravaged lines of Hyperborea, and the southern, the deserts south of the lands of Shem. Zamora, Brythunia, the Border Kingdom, Corinthia, most of Koth, and all the eastern lands of Shem are included in this empire."

- The Hyborian Age

So what can we gleam from that? We know the Border Kingdom is a Hyborian one, and considering the fact that they dominate the western world, I can't honestly see it as some mere expanse of wilderness. It must have had some level of military power, otherwise it would've been overrun by annexed by Nemedia or Hyperborea, or overrun by the Cimmerians and just considered "southern Cimmeria". The fact that it's retained its borders against no less than the Cimmerians indicates there must be some central authority, possibly a king, that's in charge of things.

Incidentally, we have no mention of Brythunia or Corinthia's king or queen or armies, hence how we have some "city-state" theories in the comics and pastiches.



Wouldn't the Border Kingdom have a more proper name is this was the case??
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#8 Mondas

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Posted 11 November 2007 - 11:51 PM

My guess is that it is a strech of land of brutal warriors like the cimmerian warriors but with no unifying factor. Like a barbarian realm in the middle of civilization.


In the "middle" of WHAT "civilization"?


I was meaning the "civilized world" Aquilonia would be considered civilized compared to Cimmeria. I was just say that maybe the Border Kingdom is something like Cimmeria nbut with less unity.
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#9 deuce

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:01 AM

My guess is that it is a strech of land of brutal warriors like the cimmerian warriors but with no unifying factor. Like a barbarian realm in the middle of civilization.


In the "middle" of WHAT "civilization"?


I was meaning the "civilized world" Aquilonia would be considered civilized compared to Cimmeria. I was just say that maybe the Border Kingdom is something like Cimmeria nbut with less unity.


A primary characteristic of Cimmerians was their disunity. They only managed to unite for one battle after they'd been invaded. According to Howard, all Hyborian nations were civilized, to one extent or another. :)

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#10 Mondas

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:19 AM

In Conan Of Cimmeria Vol 1 on page 418. It list a King Cumal as King. It doesn't say if it was over part or all of Cimmeria but it seems like he was King over all. I haven't read anything yet of a king of the Border Kingdom. Was there a King?
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#11 deuce

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 12:33 AM

In Conan Of Cimmeria Vol 1 on page 418. It list a King Cumal as King. It doesn't say if it was over part or all of Cimmeria but it seems like he was King over all. I haven't read anything yet of a king of the Border Kingdom. Was there a King?


Good question. :) However, it is a "kingdom", after all.

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#12 Mondas

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 01:29 AM

A lawless place full of savages, Conan once traveled through the Border Kingdom on his way to Nemedia. He befriended Mar the Piper and the King of the Border Kingdoms. He helped save the kingdom before returning to his quest to reach Nemedia.

Does This sound about right?
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#13 Pictish Scout

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 01:40 AM

In Conan Of Cimmeria Vol 1 on page 418. It list a King Cumal as King. It doesn't say if it was over part or all of Cimmeria but it seems like he was King over all. I haven't read anything yet of a king of the Border Kingdom. Was there a King?


Good question. :) However, it is a "kingdom", after all.


Maybe we can find some real "Border Kingdoms" to try to understand what really was the hyborian Border Kingdom.

There were/are real border kingdoms: Ostmark (Austria), Denmark, Spanish Mark... They all bear the "border" on their name: "mark". Normandy was also some kind of "border kingdom". There are also the famous Mark of Rohan in the Lord of the Rings.

It is interesting that Border Kingdom follows the southeastern and western border of Cimmeria. Bossonian Marches ( Bossonianmark?) and Gunderland cover the southern border of Cimmeria. So Aquilonia , Nemedia, Brithania and Hyperboria are "protected" from Barbarians by the marks/Buffer zones of BK, Bossonian Marches and Gunderland. Like this last two, the Border Kingdom could have started as a buffer zone for nemedians and brithanians to guard the Cimmerian border. A zone with adventureres, frontier men, bandits and the hardest legions. Eventualy they became more independent like the Normans and formed their own kingdom, still "Known as the Border Kingdom".

#14 Mondas

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 01:45 AM

Kinda like a neutral zone that became a nation?
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#15 Almuric

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 05:30 AM

My guess is that it's the remnant of some older Hyborian realm, or a buffer state, created by some ancient treaty. And my guess is as good as any.


Hey Almuric! What gives you that idea? ;) BTW, howdja like the "Elak" stuff?


Just idle speculation on my part.

Haven't gotten Elak yet. :unsure:
"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?"

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

#16 deuce

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 05:56 AM

My guess is that it's the remnant of some older Hyborian realm, or a buffer state, created by some ancient treaty. And my guess is as good as any.


Hey Almuric! What gives you that idea? ;) BTW, howdja like the "Elak" stuff?


Just idle speculation on my part.

Haven't gotten Elak yet. :unsure:


Hey Almuric! Actually, I kind of agree with ya. REH, by his own admission, read LOTS of Scottish history when he was a kid. As Budgie and Taranaich can tell ya, the Scots Border, along with the Highlands, has the most legends, tales and ballads attached to it. Sir Walter Scott (the "inventor" of the modern "historical novel") himself came from a very prominent Borderer family, with plenty of bloody skullduggery in its past.

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#17 budgie

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 07:55 AM

My guess is that it's the remnant of some older Hyborian realm, or a buffer state, created by some ancient treaty. And my guess is as good as any.


Hey Almuric! What gives you that idea? ;) BTW, howdja like the "Elak" stuff?


Just idle speculation on my part.

Haven't gotten Elak yet. :unsure:


Hey Almuric! Actually, I kind of agree with ya. REH, by his own admission, read LOTS of Scottish history when he was a kid. As Budgie and Taranaich can tell ya, the Scots Border, along with the Highlands, has the most legends, tales and ballads attached to it. Sir Walter Scott (the "inventor" of the modern "historical novel") himself came from a very prominent Borderer family, with plenty of bloody skullduggery in its past.


very true, The Borders were a very violent and lawless area at one point, my family clan wouldnt even give fealty (sp!) to the Scots King initially.. it took the king and 3000 troops to even peak the Outlaw Murrays interest.. we still won out in and interresting but unbloody way too (read the Border ballad - The Outlaw Murray)..
outa time, gotta go to work or I would add more..

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#18 Ironhand

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 08:27 AM

Maybe the only reason the Border Kingdom retained its territorial integrity was that it was so poor and impoverished and unlovely that nobody wanted it.
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#19 deuce

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 01:30 PM

Maybe the only reason the Border Kingdom retained its territorial integrity was that it was so poor and impoverished and unlovely that nobody wanted it.


Hey Ironhand! I think the Aesir would've wanted it. Compared to the tundra of the Nordheim plateau, the plains of the Border Kingdom would have looked like paradise. No, I think it's more likely that the "Borderers" were just absolute bad-a$$es, able to go toe-to-toe (generally) with the Cimmerians, the Hyperboreans and the Aesir. Like the Scots Borderers, they would have been masters of light cavalry tactics (something the CImmerians and Aesir weren't).

Perhaps the Borderers were Hyborians that were just too proud/stubborn/cussed/mean/stupid to move somewhere else. They wanted to keep the "old ways" on the plains and in the surrounding hills. A semi-nomadic life-style, based around the keeps of "clan" lords, seems likely. Their life-style (essential for "cultural virility", according to Howard) would have been augmented by admixture of Gunderman, Cimmerian and Aesir stock (since REH makes no note of their "racial purity", as he does the Gundermen). Perhaps their national integrity is subsidized and guaranteed by Nemedia in return for them acting as a "buffer zone". My two lunas. :)

Edit: Perhaps the BK was part of "Greater Nemedia" immediately after the fall of Acheron, but then broke away, maybe during the Epemitreus/"Setite revival" period. Their usefulness as a buffer state far outweighed the advantages of trying to keep such an independent and belligerent area (with minimal tax revenues) under direct Nemedian control. Meanwhile, they retained the "Border" in their name from their days as a Nemedian province.

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#20 Mondas

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Posted 12 November 2007 - 04:35 PM

Maybe the only reason the Border Kingdom retained its territorial integrity was that it was so poor and impoverished and unlovely that nobody wanted it.


Hey Ironhand! I think the Aesir would've wanted it. Compared to the tundra of the Nordheim plateau, the plains of the Border Kingdom would have looked like paradise. No, I think it's more likely that the "Borderers" were just absolute bad-a$$es, able to go toe-to-toe (generally) with the Cimmerians and the Aesir, masters of light cavalry tactics (something their opponents were not).

Perhaps the Borderers were Hyborians that were just too proud/stubborn/cussed/mean/stupid to move somewhere else. They wanted to keep the "old ways" on the plains and in the surrounding hills. A semi-nomadic life-style, based around the keeps of clan lords, seems likely. Their life-style (essential for "cultural virility", according to Howard) would have been augmented by admixture of Gunderman, Cimmerian and Aesir stock (since REH makes no note of their "racial purity", as he does the Gundermen). Perhaps their national integrity is subsidized and guaranteed by Nemedia in return for them acting as a "buffer zone". My two lunas. :)

Edit: Perhaps the BK was part of "Greater Nemedia" immediately after the fall of Acheron, but then broke away, maybe during the Epemitreus/"Setite revival" period. Their usefulness as a buffer state far outweighed the advantages of trying to keep such an independent and belligerent area (with minimal tax revenues) under direct Nemedian control. Meanwhile, they retained the "Border" in their name from their days as a Nemedian province.



That sounds about right to me. :rolleyes:
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