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Acheron - The Nightmare Empire


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#121 Kortoso

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:46 PM

Might be time to update this:
http://en.wikipedia..../Acheron_Empire

#122 elegos7

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Posted 26 July 2011 - 11:52 PM

The unkwnon priest/shaman was buried by his "chosen priests." Epi's crypt in Golamira was hewn by "unknown hands." Figures of the Nameless Old Ones and "Half-forgotten gods" don't fit Mitra's "Heavenly Host." These "unknown hands" couldn't have been, IMHO, Mitran priests. Howard would have been very inconsistent between "TPotS" and HotD. But hey, that's only speculations.
That take is quite problematic, IMO. By the way, elegos, is the guy from the Mongoose forum who suggested it credited by Mr Rippke?


I saw noone credited in Dale's article.

#123 Axerules

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 04:20 AM

Thanks.
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#124 Kaziglu Bey

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 04:02 AM

Hey, Axe, thanks for posting that link to your debate with Darkstorm and Kintire on the old Mongoose Conan RPG forum. Been a few years since I first saw that thread (though I do still keep up with the goings-on over there). An interesting and fruitful discussion.

Edited by Kaziglu Bey, 29 July 2011 - 04:03 AM.


#125 Sardonikus

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 07:21 PM

What an unbelievably erudite and fascinating thread!

It is thus a shame that the only thing I have to contribute is a confession of falling into paroxysms of girlish giggling whenever I read the line "purple-towered Python" in 'Hour of the Dragon'. :P

Edited by Sardonikus, 07 August 2011 - 07:39 PM.

Sardonikus vs. REH - All the torment and half the talent! :wacko:

#126 deuce

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 09:40 AM

Might be time to update this:
http://en.wikipedia..../Acheron_Empire


I love how those morons (I can't seem to find a more appropriate term) can't seem to spell "Hyborian", instead, spelling it "HyborEan". Yeah, REH spelled it that way in the early drafts of "THA". They don't know that. Sheer sloppy laziness. :rolleyes:

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#127 deuce

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:04 AM


The unkwnon priest/shaman was buried by his "chosen priests." Epi's crypt in Golamira was hewn by "unknown hands." Figures of the Nameless Old Ones and "Half-forgotten gods" don't fit Mitra's "Heavenly Host." These "unknown hands" couldn't have been, IMHO, Mitran priests. Howard would have been very inconsistent between "TPotS" and HotD. But hey, that's only speculations.
That take is quite problematic, IMO. By the way, elegos, is the guy from the Mongoose forum who suggested it credited by Mr Rippke?


I saw noone credited in Dale's article.


A titanic clash, Axe, and one in which you emerged triumphant, IMO. B) Conflating Epi with the shaman robs the published Conan yarns of all validity. You did an excellent job of negating that possibility.

Edited by deuce, 22 August 2011 - 11:59 AM.

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#128 deuce

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 10:16 AM

I'm almost finishing my THotD's translation (I'm in the 21th chapter), and my next translation will be THotD's synopsis. In both texts I could see everything you've mentioned, and... Well, though I still believe the Giant Kings were Acheronians' ancestors, I'm no longer fool enough for denying their Hyborian ancestry.

Indeed, the fact of Xaltotun speaks in an archaic Nemedian, the fact he uses the word "barbarians" instead of "Hyborians", and it's also used the expression "younger kingdoms" - instead of "Hyborian kingdoms" -, as well as Xaltotun's "lion-like head" are great proofs that Acheronians were as Hyborians as, for instance, Kothians. As we know, Kothians had Stygian and Shemitish blood in their veins, yet they were called Hyborians, because of their Hyborian ancestry.

And, in THotD's 21th chapter, Orastes' words "But behind Xaltotun lie a thousand centuries of black magic and diabolism, an ancient tradition of evil. He is beyond our conception not only because he is a wizard himself, but also because he is the son of a race of wizards" - which are apparently a contradiction to Xaltotun's Hyborian ancestry - make me believe, IMHO, that Acheronians were descendants of Hyborians and Giant Kings. ;)

Just my opinion. I don't wanna change the mind of who doesn't believe Acheronians had GK's DNA, neither of who doesn't think they were Hyborians. I'm only posting my personal conclusion. ;)


As I pointed out in this thread ( http://www.conan.com...h=1 ) the "Monster-kings" referred to by REH seem to be represented by the chimerical monster that Conan slays at the end of TGitB. I have no problem accepting the supposition that the Acheronians had some sort of non-Hyborian lineage along with their basic Hyborian heritage..

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#129 Kortoso

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Posted 08 August 2011 - 05:32 PM


Might be time to update this:
http://en.wikipedia..../Acheron_Empire


I love how those morons (I can't seem to find a more appropriate term) can't seem to spell "Hyborian", instead, spelling it "HyborEan". Yeah, REH spelled it that way in the early drafts of "THA". They don't know that. Sheer sloppy laziness. :rolleyes:


Fixed. "We" is "they". :)

#130 Almuric

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 07:11 PM

The only problem with the Acheron=Rome theory is that the only personal name we know for certain from Acheron is "Xaltotun", which is more Meso-American than quasi-Latin. If it were "Xalthus", the theory would have more merit.
"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

#131 deuce

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 07:32 PM

The only problem with the Acheron=Rome theory is that the only personal name we know for certain from Acheron is "Xaltotun", which is more Meso-American than quasi-Latin. If it were "Xalthus", the theory would have more merit.


Actually, it's quite close to "Xuthltan". That was the name of the cyclopean fortress/city/whatever in The Black Stone (being in Hungary, that would put it within the borders of Acheron) AND the name of the sorcerer (who seems to hale from that vicinity) in The Fire of Asshurbanipal . Since there doesn't seem to be a good POST-Acheronian candidate for the culture that created Xuthltan, I'd posit that Xaltotun's name MIGHT have something to do with it. IMO, Xuthltan was likely Thurian/pre-Thurian; most likely the latter.

"Thugra Khotan" doesn't look particularly "quasi-Egyptian", but REH plainly states that the sorcerer WAS "Stygian". You have names like "Amalric" and "Gault" which definitely argue against "Greco-Roman" being the default setting for PRIMAL Hyborian nomenclature. I think "Xaltotun" looks about as Greek as it does "Meso-American" (whatever that nebulous tag means). Not all "Greco-Roman" names ended in -us/-os/-es. Not in Anglophone usage.

EDIT: Moved to "Acheron" thread.

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#132 Almuric

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 08:09 PM

True enough, deuce. To me, "Xaltotun" does remind me of names like Toltec or Xibalba, which is why I made the Meso-American connection.
"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

#133 Rockamobile

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 11:44 PM

Id like to see a novel set in Archeron

#134 deuce

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 12:15 PM

True enough, deuce. To me, "Xaltotun" does remind me of names like Toltec or Xibalba, which is why I made the Meso-American connection.


No biggie. However, it's best to keep in mind how often "x" appears in Ancient Greek (and Latin) words. For instance, here's a little somethin' on "xal" (it means "and" in Greek):

http://books.google......reek"&f=false

In that sample, they mention that the use of "xal" points to "Semitism" (ie, employinging "Semitic" [as in the languages of the Babylonians, Hebrews and Arabs] word usage). REH probably didn't know it, but a nice wrinkle to the whole thing.

Of course, you also have Low Latin "exalto":

http://books.google......atin"&f=false

Latin "totum" means "the whole".

With "exalto", one could look to how an initial "e" was added to Stephanos to come up with "Esteban", for instance. So, in convoluted "cod-Latin", "Xaltotun" could mean "most-high whole/self-actualized one" (or something ;) ). The point being, "Xaltotun" is NOT that non-Greco-Roman/Indo-European. It looks exotic, yeah, but it's not like the name could be KhoiSan or something. I could see "Xuthltan" tripping your "Meso-American" radar, though.

For an example of a roughly analogous name (phonetically), "Xenophon" works well enough, IMO. Regarding the lack of "-es/-os/-us" endings for "Xaltotun", all I gotta say is that here are several OTHER Acheronian names:

Acheron
Python
Chiron

Kind of a pattern there.

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#135 constantine

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 11:11 AM

I've been checking this thread for some time and I find the topic very interesting. I have also realized I need to get my hands on the Del Rey Conan books, because I wasn't aware of the synopsises REH wrote for some of his tales. And after absorbing much unknown info I think I should comment a bit on Acheron myself.

My initial view of the Acheronians was that they descended from the Giant-kings of prehistoric Stygia. It's possible that I leaned towards this opinion due to the influence of Mongoose. But after a second reading of THotD I was mystified by the lack of mention on the supposed pre-human origins of the Acheronians, a detail certainly worth to be noted in the tale. Still, I saw them as an ancient, evil and sorcerous race brought down by the furious Hyborian barbarians. And then I read in this thread that the Acheronians were actually Hyborians. It destroyed my view of the Hyborian Age on certain issues. But that was temporary for reasons to be stated. So this is what I made out of all my readings, including those in the forum:

Howard modeled Acheron's fate on that of the western Roman Empire. That much is obvious to anyone with elementary knowledge of Late Roman history. The empire goes down and the victorious barbarians establish their own kingdoms upon the lands of the vanquished. But the similarity ends here. Whereas memory of Rome and some of her customs became attractive to her conquerors, Acheron vanished from history, save only as a dark legend. The evil empire reaped what it had sown when the hatred of the barbarians was loosed upon it. One might perceive as a possible lingering influence the rise of Set-worship some time after the conquest, but this was not the beginning of a renaissance. It was rather the replanting of corruption which was rooted out by the early Mitran worshippers, primarily Epemitreus. It should be noted though, that REH had no thoughts of Acheron when he wrote TPotS.

What I could not visualise, however, was Acheron as a Hyborian nation. Of course, Howard states this is so plainly in the synopsis. But the various inconsistencies of the latter with the story, plus Howard's uncertainty or lack of cohesive view concerning a number of issues on Hyboria, make me believe that this new Hyborian connection of Acheron was not what he had in mind when he wrote the story. IMHO he put down the synopsis in retrospect, so that Acheron would fit in his fictional history without upsetting it as it would had it been the revival of the Giant-kings or the ascendancy of another sorcerous race mentioned nowhere else, including THA.

Various members have added more details that may support a Hyborian origin for Acheron. I will comment upon some. For example, it has been noted that Xaltotun doesn't describe his ancient foes as Hyborians but only as barbarians. However, the Stygian Natohk does pretty much the same. His familiarity with the Hyborians (not so with Cimmerians) may stem from the fact that he knew them as subjects, slaves or sacrificial victims. And further, there is the issue of the image of Xaltotun himself.

The Acheronian appears as male counterpart of Thalis or Akivasha (or at least their female ancestors), women that have to do with Stygian royalty, possibly connected with the pre-human race that was mostly obliterated by the would-be dusky Stygians. A counter-argument was brought about Prince Kutamun who is described as dark of skin, yet a possible member of the Stygian royal family. But that is not stated explicitly, unlike the aforementioned females (unless it is in another synopsis I ignore). It is assumed because of his title. However, I really think that most princes mentioned in the Conan tales are not royalty (at least not close kin). Thus, Prince Arpello of Pellia ''claims a trace of royal blood''. He is also described in general as ''the strongest prince of the central realm'' inTSC. The title may well exist outside the immediate circle of a dynasty's members. From Koth we have prince Almuric and an unnamed rebel prince in eastern Koth. Are they royalty? Maybe, maybe not. Finally, prince Zapayo de Kova commands a mercenary army invading Stygia (again). I somehow think that all this royalty should make a sensation of sorts if they command armies so often while being members of royal dynasties. My point here is that a prince might be a powerful noble, but not necessarily royal which means that prince Kutamun's phenotype might represent the typical aristocratic true Stygian, but not a member of the Stygian dynasty. The implication would be that those who belong to the latter (and maybe, the highest echelons of the kingdom's aristocracy) are white skinned, just like Xaltotun. And since they originate from a pre-human race, one may find a connection with the Acheronians.

Naturally, the possibility of intermixing was raised when mention was made about the ''race of wizards'' with ''an ancient tradition of evil'' based on ''a thousand centuries of black magic and diabolism''. Might Xaltotun be a product of mixing of such a race with an older Hyborian tribe? Could the resulting nation be termed Hyborian? It might, if we accept the synopsis statement connected with this hypothesis. Yet, REH doesn't seem to treat the other Hyborians in a similar manner. And what about the Zingarans? They should be termed as Hyborians by all accounts (a Hyborian tribe conquering a mixed people of Pict and Zingg-folk origin), but they are placed as a distictive nation clearly and repeatedly. Frankly, it is the above descriptions of the Acheronians that influence me most towards a non-Hyborian connection.

Could the apparently decadent remnants of the Giant-kings stir themselves even as the proto-Stygians overrun their kingdom and mount an invasion to the north? Well, why not? The proto-Stygians did the same when their Lemurian slaves revolted and overthrew them. Could they prevail over the tribes they would encounter? Again, Xaltotun states that the imperial campaigns against the (Hyborian) barbarians were succesful for a long time, until the Heart of Ahriman debacle.

Final conclusion: I do not dispute the contents of the synopsis or the validity of some arguments in favor of the Acheronian-Hyborian thesis, but I strongly believe that Howard decided to add the latter, plus some other details about the Acheronians, in the synopsis in order to make up (posibly even to himself) for the inconvenience of including in the frame of Hyboria's history a formidable race and state of otherwise unknown origin. To me, they seem to appear as an older, non-Hyborian race, possibly even the transplanted Giant-kings of old.

Alas, I must apologise for the extreme length of this post. I hope it will appear in the forum intact.

Edited by constantine, 08 February 2012 - 10:09 PM.


#136 constantine

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 12:05 PM

A few things about the nomenclature of the Acheronians:

Xaltotun sounds really alien, though the similarity with Xuthltan should not be ignored as it has been noted in previous posts. I don't see something Latin here and certainly not anything Greek. The suffix -tun on the other hand has an ancient Egyptian quality. If that was the source of inspiration it would not be unusual. After all, Stygia's name has Greek origin, but almost all personal and place names are based on Egyptian ones.

For an example of a roughly analogous name (phonetically), "Xenophon" works well enough, IMO. Regarding the lack of "-es/-os/-us" endings for "Xaltotun", all I gotta say is that here are several OTHER Acheronian names:

Acheron
Python
Chiron

Kind of a pattern there.


Acheron, Python and Chiron come from the Greek mythology. Did Howard choose them on purpose? It might be so, especially for the first two, hence the pattern. Acheron was a river of the underworld, based on a real river in northwestern Greece. Python was a serpent-like monster (and therefore appropriate name for the Acheronian capital) killed by Apollo at the site of Delphi.
Chiron was a centaur and Achilles tutor, if I remember correctly. He was rather benign, but REH chose the name for a demon or something possibly due to the fact that he wasn't a wholesome human. The name may be used by a demon since it is placed alongside with Baal.

Baal is, obviously, of Semitic origin. He must be a demon of sorts, known among devil-worshippers throughout the world, since the name appears as a theophoric one in the case of the Kosalan strangler Baal-Pteor. Or it may signify a darksome lordship.

Deuce, it is interesting that analogous to Xenophon would be the name of the Stygian king; that is Ctesphon, mentioned in TPotS. It is also Greek (Ctesiphon, personal and place, in the case of a late Mesopotamian city) and the only Stygian name recorded on the canon that doesn't have an Egyptian basis. I think it would be more appropriate for a Kothian, but maybe Howard in his first Conan tale had not sorted out the the details of the Stygian culture yet.

Edited by constantine, 06 February 2012 - 12:45 AM.


#137 Almuric

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 04:50 PM

constantine: Good point on Stygia. Trying to deduce too much just from the names Howard chose can lead us in the wrong direction sometimes. That way lies Aquiromia . . .
"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

#138 Kortoso

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:44 PM

Howard must have known that at least some of those would have been recognized by his readers. I think that his idea was that these Hyborian places and characters were the inspiration for those names from the classical period.

#139 Rockamobile

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 06:06 PM

The only problem with the Acheron=Rome theory is that the only personal name we know for certain from Acheron is "Xaltotun", which is more Meso-American than quasi-Latin. If it were "Xalthus", the theory would have more merit.



I don't know Archeron ,reminds me more of Assyria more then it does Rome

#140 constantine

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 10:36 PM

Howard must have known that at least some of those would have been recognized by his readers. I think that his idea was that these Hyborian places and characters were the inspiration for those names from the classical period.

Kortoso


I fully agree. That's why I mentioned their mythological basis, which seems to fit with their supposed ''origins'' in a Hyborian Age context. It would not do to have a kingdom of Acheron peopled by harmless folk like the Shire hobbits, worshipping benevolent gods of peace and harmony.

I don't know Archeron ,reminds me more of Assyria more then it does Rome

Rockamobile


Archeron may remind you of Assyria, because the latter had more archers than Rome. Just joking...
Acheron on the other hand, has some ''historical'' similarities with the Late Roman empire, but little else that would evoke Roman images IMHO. No Acheromans here...