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The Nemedian Chronicles


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#1 sat

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Posted 16 October 2003 - 11:28 PM

I suspect most, if not all, Conan fans have read or heard this quote:

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas, there was an Age undreamed of, when shining kingdoms lay spread across the world like blue mantles beneath the stars - Nemedia, Ophir, Brythunia,Hyperborea, Zamora with its dark-haired women and towers of spider-haunted mystery, Zingara with its chivalry, Koth that bordered the pastoral lands of Shem, Stygia with its shadow-guarded tombs, Hyrkania whose riders wore steel and silk and gold.  But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west. 
Hither came Conan the Cimmerian, black-haired, sullen-eyed, sword in hand, a thief, a reaver, a slayer, with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth, to tread the jeweled thrones of the earth under his sandled feet."
- The Nemedian Chronicles


Who created that?

And where was it first used?
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#2 TwZtdJuGGalo

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 12:32 AM

Robert E. Howard created it and it appeared with the first Conan story "The Phoenix on Sword", published in December, 1932. His words end at " ...under his sandaled feet." Anymore added junk you might read was written by deCamp.
"Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content." REH, 'Queen of the Black Coast'

#3 blacksagelobo

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 12:33 AM

The Nemedian Chronicles was written by REH as an introduction to his first published Conan story "The Phoenix on the Sword."

REH added it because the first draft of the story he sent to Weird Tales was rejected and the rewrite cut some important info about Conan.

The Coming of Conan will have this first draft. For me, the insight into Conan's character, from the first draft is invaluable. To my knowledge, it was never given elsewhere in the saga.

#4 Bri

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 02:18 AM

I have read that many times in the SAVAGE SWORD magazine, but has that quote been printed in any of the paperbacks? As part of an introduction perhaps? I seem to recall reading it in one of the novels.

-Bri

#5 matsellah

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 03:21 AM

And never did it have the words "HIGH ADVENTURE!"

Heh... :rolleyes: Just thought I'd throw that in there.
"Their present king is the most renowned warrior among the western nations. He is an outlander, an adventurer who seized the crown by force during a time of civil strife, strangling King Namedides with his own hands, upon the very throne. His name is Conan, and no man can stand before him in battle." ~ Orastes, 'The Hour Of The Dragon'

"Damned degenerates!" ~ Conan 'Xuthal Of The Dusk'

#6 Kane

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 06:29 AM

I've always wondered were that intro came from. for years I thought that it was added by de Camp and then expanded by Roy Thomas.

Thanks for the explanation. :)
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#7 alex

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Posted 17 October 2003 - 06:36 AM

I thought we were talking probable outline for a moment. :P
What do I know of cultured ways, the gilt, the craft and the lie?
I, who was born in a naked land and bred in the open sky.
The subtle tongue, the sophist guile, they fail when the broadswords sing;
Rush in and die, dogs - I was a man before I was a king.

- "The Road of Kings"

#8 Matt Spencer

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 03:19 PM

... 'cause I can't seem to find it anywhere in either of my Conan collections, yet it's such a cool passage that it's pretty much been canonically inducted into the Conan mythology. If Howard didn't write it, who did?
"I have lived in the Southwest all my life, yet most of my dreams are laid in cold, giant lands of icy wastes and gloomy skies, and of wild, wind-swept fens and wilderness over which sweep great sea-winds, and which are inhabited by shock-headed savages with light fierce eyes. With the exception of one dream, I am never, in these dreams of ancient times, a civilized man. Always am I the barbarian, the skin-clad, tousle-haired, light-eyed wild man, armed with a rude ax or sword, fighting the elements and wild beasts, or grappling with armored hosts marching with the tread of civilized discipline, from fallow fruitful lands and walled cities."
-- Robert E. Howard

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#9 Merlin

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Posted 11 August 2004 - 03:28 PM

Yes, that passage from the Nemedian Chronicles begins "The Phoenix on the Sword", the first Conan story. Howard wrote it when Farnsworth Wright asked him to condense the first two chapters of his submitted draft.

#10 Jack T. Chance

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Posted 15 August 2004 - 08:57 AM

... 'cause I can't seem to find it anywhere in either of my Conan collections, yet it's such a cool passage that it's pretty much been canonically inducted into the Conan mythology. If Howard didn't write it, who did?

No offense intended, but it sounds like your collections aren't as good as they should be.

I recommend picking up a copy of Del Rey's The Coming of Conan the Cimmerian at your earliest convenience. ;)
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#11 Matt Spencer

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Posted 19 August 2004 - 04:16 PM

Actually, I have all the Conan stories ... I just hadn't previously spotted that particular poem there, so thanks.

In general, when it comes to stories that epigraph chapter headings with poetry/song lyric/etc. excerpts, I'm predisposed to sometimes reading, sometimes not, according to whim. Howard's tend to be more rewarding than most, though.
"I have lived in the Southwest all my life, yet most of my dreams are laid in cold, giant lands of icy wastes and gloomy skies, and of wild, wind-swept fens and wilderness over which sweep great sea-winds, and which are inhabited by shock-headed savages with light fierce eyes. With the exception of one dream, I am never, in these dreams of ancient times, a civilized man. Always am I the barbarian, the skin-clad, tousle-haired, light-eyed wild man, armed with a rude ax or sword, fighting the elements and wild beasts, or grappling with armored hosts marching with the tread of civilized discipline, from fallow fruitful lands and walled cities."
-- Robert E. Howard

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#12 yimsha

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 10:22 PM

'...with gigantic melancholies and gigantic mirth' etc etc etc...


I just assumed it was a Howard quote, but not actually sure. If it is, where's it from?
'who dies first?'

#13 War Song

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 10:34 PM

Robert E. Howard's "The Phoenix on the Sword" (1932)

Edited by War Song, 24 April 2007 - 10:37 PM.


#14 Kortoso

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Posted 24 April 2007 - 10:38 PM

It's troubling that even the best of us credit this to "The Nemedian Chronicles" and not the actual tale in which it appears.

The formula "Know, O prince..." was used in many ancient works, including the Mahabharata:

Know, O prince, that those things which thou regardest as existing are in reality non-existent.




#15 timeless

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Posted 25 April 2007 - 03:16 AM

Maybe only princes had access to written information back then...
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream. - Edgar Allen Poe

It's the olden lure, it's the golden lure, it's the lure of the timeless things. - Robert Service

For the myth is the foundation of life; it is the timeless schema, the pious formula into which life flows when it reproduces its traits out of the unconscious. - Thomas Mann

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#16 Ironhand

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 05:06 AM

Certainly princes must have known more than anybody else, since philosophers were always telling them stuff.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
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#17 Kortoso

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Posted 26 April 2007 - 05:15 PM

That's what Machiavelli thought.

#18 Maelstrom

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 04:47 AM

O.K., maybe this is a stupid question, but I would like to know how much information there is pertaining to the "Nemedian Chronicles," specifically, is there more to them than the introduction to "The Phoenix on the Sword"? Is is possible there is a complete "Nemedian Chronicle" or other fragmented parts of them?

#19 deuce

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 07:51 AM

O.K., maybe this is a stupid question, but I would like to know how much information there is pertaining to the "Nemedian Chronicles," specifically, is there more to them than the introduction to "The Phoenix on the Sword"? Is is possible there is a complete "Nemedian Chronicle" or other fragmented parts of them?


Hey Maelstrom! The "Nemedian Chronicles" are a bit of an orphan, and as far as I know(?) aren't mentioned anywhere else in the Conan yarns. Basically, Farnsworth Wright (editor of Weird Tales) asked REH to shorten "PotS". Howard did this by creating the "NC" as a chapter heading. He never refers to the "NC" again. In the "Black Eons" fragment, REH has his "Allison" character state that Friedrich Wilhelm von Junzt (the German author of Nameless Cults) was the savant who "rediscovered" the Hyborian Age. The thing is, if you read the "Chronicles" closely, you see that the tutor/vizier/"wazir" who's instructing the "Prince" can't be a ("Hyborian Age") Nemedian. He calls the Hyborian Age "an Age undreamed of". He notes the rise of the "Sons of Aryas" (Indo-Europeans/"Aryans"). Both indicate that he's speaking from the vantage point of historical/"dreamed of" times (ie, post-early Sumerian/Egyptian/the last 5000yrs).

According to Howard, there were "other" Nemedians. They were the "Brythonic" descendants of the Hyborian Age (Aesir) Nemedians. They settled Ireland before the Gaelic (Cimmerian) Celts showed up. In the "Dark Ages", Ireland was a main center of learning in Europe. Ireland exported scholars as far away as Kiev. The Irish also founded many monasteries in Germany. The Irish "brain drain" accelerated with the Norse invasions of Ireland. Many Irish scholars went to Germany. Perhaps there was a German "prince" (a son of Otto the Great?) who asked his Irish tutor about the days of old. The monk might have said, "Know, oh prince..." Ol' von Junzt could've just discovered the one surviving manuscript from that scholar's tutorial.

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#20 Kortoso

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Posted 21 August 2007 - 05:11 PM

Deuce, that's a great back-story. Would the Conan "yarns" be themselves the body of the Nemedian Chronicles? Another thing, I think that the Cimmerians were already there when the Nemedians arrived, no?