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Hyborian Age & Conan: What Time Period?

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#121 Kane

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:00 PM

I don't have my copy handy at the moment, but IIRC Dale Rippke brings this up in one of his essays on the history of the Hyborian Age. He postulated that the tilt of the earth was different after the Great Cataclysm and so the north pole was in a slightly different position then it is now. Because of this the Ice Age did not hit the Thurian Contenant until after it had already started on what would someday become the Amercian hemisphere. This uneven distribution of weight would lead to a crustal displacement which reforms the world and gives rise to modern Europe and Africa from the shape they had during Conan's era.
Of course this flys in the face of the reality we've put together throughthe geological record. But then it does make an good reason for the lack of Howard never giving us any stories that take place deep in the winter snows while Conan is south of Cimmeria.
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#122 Jester

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 07:31 PM

How do you explain this then?

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas [...]"



Yes, but Howard's Atlantis is not the Plato's (or Blavatsky & Co) Atlantis. :)

"About Atlantis – I believe something of the sort existed, though I do not especially hold any theory about a high type of civilization existing there – in fact, I doubt that." (from REH to H. Preece letter)

#123 Kortoso

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 08:10 PM

Keep in mind that Howard was basing this off of science as it was in the 1920's. A glance through books from that period will show you what he had to deal with. :)

#124 theagenes

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 09:40 PM

Howard places the Hyborian age between the sinking of Atlantis, approximately 9600BC according to Plato, and the rise of the (indo) Aryan peoples sometime during the Bronze age. This would place it well after the last ice age.

Nope. While Howard never dated the Hyborian Age, it's safe to assume that it happened well before 9600 BC. According to Kings of the Night, King Kull's reign was approximately 100,000 years before Bran Mak Morn's. The 10,000 BC date for the Hyborian Age that became ubiquitous in Marvel comics is way off. IMO a more accurate date would be somewhere between 50,000 and 30,000 BC.

Damned straight, Amster. B) De Camp is the one who popularized the "10,000BC" datuie for Conan's era. Spraguie also ignored relevant cues within Howard's own tales that indicated the timespans used in the "Hyborian Age" essay were inaccurate.


This is an area where Deuce and I disagree. I really don’t see any convincing evidence to suggest that the Hyborian Age should be pushed back to 30,000 BC or more. This attempt to place the Hyborian Age further back in time is essentially a retcon by Dale Rippke and others to try and make Howard’s ideas fit with modern paleoclimatology and alt-history ideas like pole shifts. The main reasons given for this are the single passage in “The Hyborian Age” essay that mentions glaciers at the end of THA and the fact that 100,000 BC for Kull makes people uncomfortable.

As to the first point, it is easily explained by a passage in one of REH’s probable sources The History of Atlantis by Lewis Spence. Spence mentions a late period of glaciation around 7000 BC (he was talking about what we now call the Younger Dryas). As for the date for Kull, who cares? The Kull stories were written several years earlier and when created the Hyborian Age he had something different in mind; he was creating a proto-historical period that existed immediately prior to the beginning of recorded history. If you look the creation of THA in the context of what he was writing immediately prior (the Children of the Night/People of the Dark stories) and the historical sources he was using (Wells’s Outline of History, Allen’s Prehistoric World, et al.) you realize that the Pict/Turanian conflict at the end of THA was his fictionalizing of the supposed Neolitihic conflict between the so-called Mongoloid and Mediterranean races. Thus the Hyborian Age fits in quite well around the end of the Ice Age circa 10,000 BC, give or take, with what Howard was trying to do.

The only time Howard comes close to giving an absolute date for the THA is in “Marchers of Valhalla” and guess what that date is---10,000 years ago. That date is given by an unreliable narrator, but then so is the 100,000 BC date for Kull in KoTN, so make of it what you will.

But I don’t want to spoonfeed anybody. :) I invite you all to read my article “Theosophy in the Thurian Age” in the current issue of The Dark Man where I touch on these points, and my forthcoming chapter in Conan Meets the Academy where I go into greater detail. I believe Deuce has read at least the first though he obviously remains unconvinced. That's fine, but no one should be berating anyone on this issue for not following Rippke's model as it's far from universally accepted. Just because a meme gets repeated over and over again on these boards doesn't make it a fact.

BTW, LSdC wasn’t the first to suggest a ca 10,000 BC date for THA. The introductions to Conan stories in the Avon Fantasy readers in the 40’s did that first. You can blame a lot of things on LSdC, but to be fair, this isn’t one of them. Until Dale Rippke nobody suggested that the “Hyborian Age” was any other time than around 10,000 BC.

Edited by theagenes, 03 February 2012 - 10:43 PM.

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#125 theagenes

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 11:32 PM


How do you explain this then?

"Know, O Prince, that between the years when the oceans drank Atlantis and the gleaming cities, and the rise of the Sons of Aryas [...]"



Yes, but Howard's Atlantis is not the Plato's (or Blavatsky & Co) Atlantis. :)

"About Atlantis – I believe something of the sort existed, though I do not especially hold any theory about a high type of civilization existing there – in fact, I doubt that." (from REH to H. Preece letter)


Actually, there's quite a bit of the theosophical version of Atlantis in Howard's work though he makes it his own for sure. Just because he didn't believe in something doesn't mean he didn't recognize it's potential for use in his fiction. Again, check out my TDM article.

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#126 amster

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:00 AM

As for the date for Kull, who cares? The Kull stories were written several years earlier and when created the Hyborian Age he had something different in mind; he was creating a proto-historical period that existed immediately prior to the beginning of recorded history.


Well, I care. Clearly REH intended the Thurian Age of Kull and The Hyborian Age to exist within the same universe. The Age of Kull is where THA begins, and REH also metions it in the beginning of The Phoenix on the Sword. If the Thurian Age was not relevant to the Hyborian Age, REH simply could have started from scratch. But he didn't. He built the Hyborian Age upon that pre-existing foundation.

The only time Howard comes close to giving an absolute date for the THA is in "Marchers of Valhalla" and guess what that date is---10,000 years ago. That date is given by an unreliable narrator, but then so is the 100,000 BC date for Kull in KoTN, so make of it what you will.


I think Gonar's quotes are more reliable. He dates the age of King Kull at 100,000 BC not once, but several times. Aditionally, he remarks that the Picish Isles rose up to become a mountain range on the North American continent, which REH repeats in the Hyborian Age essay. For someone "unreliable", Gonar seems to have a pretty firm grasp of the situation. On the other hand, the statement of James Allison, "Man may look backward for 10,000 years, he may not look forward even for an instant", is problematic. For one, IMO it's more of a rhetorical statement than a factual one. Unlike Gonar, who is an active participant in events, James Allison is merely reliving past lives with no power to change what's already happened. I would question how JA would be able to accurately date this particular past life experience. Plus there's the fact that the second part of the statement is just plain wrong. King's of the Night is indisputable evidence that it is both possible to see and even travel forward in time.

I think even without Dale Rippke's input that the 10,000 BC date is problematic, because IMO the numbers just don't add up. As for the Age of King Kull, I take REH at his word. It occured roughly 100,000 BC. People can dispute that as they see fit, but for me REH is the final authority. That would mean a span of rougly 90,000 years between the Thurian Age and the Hyborian Age. That's a reasonable amount of time for most if not all of the human race to be thrown back into the stone age, some humans to devolve back into ape men, and for humanity to climb back up into an iron age civilization, but it just doesn't work when one considers that the same thing happened over again at the end of the Hyborian Age. The entire land of Shem was flooded to become the Mediterranean, the entire West Coast of Africa rose up out of the Sea, and entire portions of the what pre-nothern Europe fell into the ocean. I just don't see how one cataclysm that reduces mankind to savagery, followed by a slow climb back up to civilization would take tens of thousands of years and then and equally devestating cataclysm and its aftermath could take only a few thousand years. It just doesn't add up. This is the last paragraph from THA before REH ties all the losse ends up with recorded history:

The buckling of the land thrust up great mountain ranges in the central part of the northern continent. Whole Nordic tribes were blotted out, and the rest retreated eastward. The territory about the slowly drying inland sea was not affected, and there, on the western shores, the Nordic tribes began a pastoral existence, living in more or less peace with the Cimmerians, and gradually mixing with them. In the west the remnants of the Picts, reduced by the cataclysm once more to the status of stone-age savages, began, with the incredible virility of their race, once more to possess the land, until, at a later age, they were overthrown by the westward drift of the Cimmerians and Nordics. This was so long after the breaking-up of the continent that only meaningless legends told of former empires.

That would seem like more than 3000-4000 years if you ask me. Scholars during the Hyborian Age know all about events that took place a mere 3000-4000 years beforehand, such as the Empire of Acheron and the Stygian City of Kutchemes, but the second cataclysm took place so long before recorded history that nobody remembers the Hyborian Age except through myths and legends..

But I don't want to spoonfeed anybody. :) I invite you all to read my article "Theosophy in the Thurian Age" in the current issue of The Dark Man where I touch on these points, and my forthcoming chapter in Conan Meets the Academy where I go into greater detail.


Looking forward to reading it. :)

Edited by amsterdamaged, 04 February 2012 - 03:06 AM.

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#127 theagenes

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 03:19 AM

Yeah, i know all the arguments and i don't buy it. Deuce and i have been round and round on this point. Again like Dale what you're doing is trying to fit Howard's ideas into your own conception of what should or shouldn't be possible. When i say who cares, i mean who cares if there is 90,000 years between Kull and Conan or 70,000? Who cares if 3000 years isn't long enough for the evolutionary changes he describes? 20,000 isn't long enough either. But it's his world --- his rules. You say you give precedence to what Howard says but you're not doing that here. You accept the 100,000 BC date for Kull in KotN but disregard the 10,000 BC date from Marchers, because in your opinion one is more reliable than the other. I accept them both.

I mention that Kull stories were written earlier to make the point that Howard's fictional prehistoric world was an evolving process. In fact it was a decade long project from MotS to HotD. There are naturally some inconsistencies. That drives our modern OCD sensibilities crazy, but it is what it is. He's still a lot more consistent than say ERB. What Dale has tried to do is reconcile those inconsistencies by retconning. If we ignore this and tweak that, somehow we can make Acheron fit in there somewhere. That's a fun exercise but we shouldn't confuse that with REH's own vision of his world. That's something that's still very much open to interpretation.

And that's really why i jumped in here. I'm not saying you're wrong and I'm right. Far from it.I think this is still is very much an open question. I'm certainly open to having my mind changed if presented with convincing evidence ---it wouldn't be the first time with Howard. That's why i don't think it's right to try and cram Dale's ideas down peoples throats (like Morrigan in this case) as though it represents some sort of scholarly concensus because it certainly does not.


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#128 amster

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 03:54 AM

How do you explain this then?

"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.


I would explain the word "between" to mean somewhere in the middle, hence the date of 30,000-50,000 BC.
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--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#129 amster

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:49 AM

Yeah, i know all the arguments and i don't buy it. Deuce and i have been round and round on this point. Again like Dale what you're doing is trying to fit Howard's ideas into your own conception of what should or shouldn't be possible. When i say who cares, i mean who cares if there is 90,000 years between Kull and Conan or 70,000? Who cares if 3000 years isn't long enough for the evolutionary changes he describes? 20,000 isn't long enough either. But it's his world --- his rules. You say you give precedence to what Howard says but you're not doing that here. You accept the 100,000 BC date for Kull in KotN but disregard the 10,000 BC date from Marchers, because in your opinion one is more reliable than the other. I accept them both.


I don't want to belabor the point (and I never stated that it was anything other than my opinion, in fact quite opposite), but it's not a matter of me accepting one quote and dismissing another. I just don't see the quotes as saying the same thing. Gonar repeatedly dates the Thurian Age at 100,000 BC. I don't see any ambiguity there at all. Allison, on the other hand, merely says "Man may look backward for 10,000 years, but he may not look forward even for an instant", which to me (again, IMO) is more about man's ability to see into his past than Allsion making the declarative statement: "The story I'm about to tell you took place 10,000 years ago". So I think it's about taking the quotes in context. You also have to take into the account the 2000 year gap between BC and AD, which would date the end of the Hyborian Age before the cataclysm at 8000 BC.

But yeah, since REH never bothered to create a timeline or actually provide dates in The Hyborian Age, it is all just a matter of opinion. And I really don't see how posting an opinion on a forum equals "cramming ideas down people's throats" any more than what you're doing. Generally, when people have an opinion, they think it's right and wish to persuade other people to it's validity. I don't agree with a lot of Dale Rippke's theories (I generally favor the old pre-DeCamp Miller/Clark timeline), but on this point I think he's correct. And I haven't read all of Deuce's arguments that you've heard over and over. My thoughts are my own. Forgive me if Deuce and I read the same material and came to the same conclusion independent of each other. And for the record, I think it's great that your opinions appear in literary journals and in Conan Meets the Academy. Is 10,000 BC the consensus among most Howard scholars? I would like to hear Mark, Rusty, and Patrice weigh in on this as well.

BTW, LSdC wasn’t the first to suggest a ca 10,000 BC date for THA. The introductions to Conan stories in the Avon Fantasy readers in the 40’s did that first.


Yeah, and the editors of Avon fantasy readers probably had less material to go on than you or I. They proobaly never read the Kull stories or much other Howard material, and it's doubtful that they ever had access to The Hyborian Age essay. At least LSdC did have access to loads of scholarly material, but apparently he just copied the date from Avon without a lot of research on his own part. That makes the date even more problematic IMO.

Until Dale Rippke nobody suggested that the “Hyborian Age” was any other time than around 10,000 BC.


That's because they were probably just parroting what came before, assuming that it came directly from Howard, and just weren't putting much thought into it.
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--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#130 theagenes

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 12:22 PM

Actually, the editor of the Avon Fantasy Readers was Donald Wollheim. It was to his fanzine Phantagraph that Howard submitted "The Hyborian Age" essay. It was he along with Forrie Ackerman that published The Hyborian Age booklet in 1938 (working with Miller and Clark). He was part of the first generation of fandom which was a lot more sophisticated than many realize today. He probably knew a lot quite a bit more than we do about what Howard had in mind.

Amster, I didn't mean to single you out or this particular thread. It's just that the regulars on these boards have discussed certain topics so much over the years that a number of REH Forum memes have developed and when new fans come here looking for more information, we (and I am completely guilty of this too) sometimes have a tendency to present these memes to them as though they are written are stone. I'm going to try and stop doing that myself.

I also don't want anyone to think I'm picking on Dale. I think he has had some great insights---I just think he was off the mark on this one (I agree, his Conan timeline is also problematic). The problem with Dale's Hyborian Heresies is that it was just a fun exercise for the REHupa Mailings and never intended to be authoritative. But once it was published publicly, people began accepting his ideas uncritically including Mongoose and Dark Horse. You, Deuce, and others may have reached the same conclusion on the date of the HA independently, but it was Dale that first popularized and published this idea so that's why I invoke his name.

It is an intriguing theory, but I just don't see much evidence to support it. The truth is, there may not be a real answer. Howard himself clearly didn't have dates for the HA set in stone as he continuously tweaked and changed his own timeline in the various drafts of THA. All the more reason not to be too rigid in our interpretation of REH's intentions (something I try remind myself, though I'm not always succesful :) )

Edited by theagenes, 04 February 2012 - 12:25 PM.

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#131 deuce

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 02:47 PM

How do you explain this then?


What exactly is the "this" referred to and what about it requires an explanantion?

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#132 deuce

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 03:45 PM

This is an area where Deuce and I disagree. I really don't see any convincing evidence to suggest that the Hyborian Age should be pushed back to 30,000 BC or more. This attempt to place the Hyborian Age further back in time is essentially a retcon by Dale Rippke and others to try and make Howard's ideas fit with modern paleoclimatology and alt-history ideas like pole shifts. The main reasons given for this are the single passage in "The Hyborian Age" essay that mentions glaciers at the end of THA and the fact that 100,000 BC for Kull makes people uncomfortable.

As to the first point, it is easily explained by a passage in one of REH's probable sources The History of Atlantis by Lewis Spence. Spence mentions a late period of glaciation around 7000 BC (he was talking about what we now call the Younger Dryas). As for the date for Kull, who cares? The Kull stories were written several years earlier and when created the Hyborian Age he had something different in mind; he was creating a proto-historical period that existed immediately prior to the beginning of recorded history. If you look the creation of THA in the context of what he was writing immediately prior (the Children of the Night/People of the Dark stories) and the historical sources he was using (Wells's Outline of History, Allen's Prehistoric World, et al.) you realize that the Pict/Turanian conflict at the end of THA was his fictionalizing of the supposed Neolitihic conflict between the so-called Mongoloid and Mediterranean races. Thus the Hyborian Age fits in quite well around the end of the Ice Age circa 10,000 BC, give or take, with what Howard was trying to do.



Actually, my own ideas regarding the placement of the HA had little to do with Mr. Rippke or the need to fit it into any sort of theory of the past, orthodox or otherwise. I've alway tried to read the yarns and ancillary material closely and then attempt to make everything fit as coherently as possible, since REH himself kept referencing his fictional concepts again and again throughout his career.

I don't have a problem with the glaciers or "!00,000BC". IMO, Howard was essentially "right" every time in comparison to whatever the accepted orthodoxy of whatever field states (which has changed over time anyway). "Right", that is, within his own fictional universe.

I need to look into the "Mongoloid vs Mediterranean conflict" you referred to. Seems like I've seen it touched upon in older sources. I haven't got to that section of Allen's TPW yet.


The only time Howard comes close to giving an absolute date for the THA is in "Marchers of Valhalla" and guess what that date is---10,000 years ago. That date is given by an unreliable narrator, but then so is the 100,000 BC date for Kull in KoTN, so make of it what you will.


I never took Allison's quote seriously (even before I really started pondering the "HA placement" issue) because, firstly, it seemed more "rhetorical" than concrete, and secondly, because Allison contradicts himself in a later JA yarn and says one CAN look forward into the far future. So, pretty unreliable, yeah. :)

I've stated before that I consider "BMM Gonar" to be quite unreliable, at least in Men of the Shadows. He was either possessed or insane (or both) the first time we meet him in MotS and his (mostly) hand-me-down, verbally-transmitted data in that yarn doesn't match what REH later wrote. Of course, Howard hadn't, himself, "dreamed of" the HA in 1925. Unless we're willing to toss MotS in the "Apocrypha" ashcan (I'm not), then one has to account for the discrepancies. Making the Gonar of MotS wildly unreliabel fits the evidence within the story and explains the contradictions quite nicely, IMO.

However, "BMM Gonar" and his "100,000BC" remark do not exist in a vacuum, nor are they unsupported. For one thing, Gonar DELIVERS. He brings Bran the "king" he needs across the nighted gulfs of deep time. However, we also have the implied imprimatur of Gonar the First HIMSELF. "BMM Gonar" is just the "thaumaturgical assistant" to the great Thurian Age mage. Gonar the First obviously is possessed of great skill and power. If he could send Kull to 3rd century Caledonia I'm pretty sure he could roughly calculate the time-span betwixt "BMM Gonar" and himself.

I look at "BMM" Gonar's unreliability here:


http://www.conan.com...ar&fromsearch=1


Thirdly, there is the list drawn up by REH in 1930-31 which says "Kull 100,000 BC". Robert E. Howard was right on the verge of dreaming up the Hyborian Age and he was still sticking with "100,000BC" for the Thurian Age..

But I don't want to spoonfeed anybody. :)


By "spoon-fed", I was referring to children who have others "serve" them instead of nourishing themselves. It's NOT synonymous with "force-feeding", BTW

BTW, LSdC wasn't the first to suggest a ca 10,000 BC date for THA. The introductions to Conan stories in the Avon Fantasy readers in the 40's did that first. You can blame a lot of things on LSdC, but to be fair, this isn't one of them.


I never said de Camp originated that "10,000BC" meme. I stated that he "popularized" it. :)

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#133 deuce

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 04:50 PM

Since Lunatic's topic became almost an exact twin of "Conan and the HA? When?" (though with, hopefully, updated scholarship), I've merged the two. :)

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#134 theagenes

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 09:03 PM

I never took Allison's quote seriously (even before I really started pondering the "HA placement" issue) because, firstly, it seemed more "rhetorical" than concrete, and secondly, because Allison contradicts himself in a later JA yarn and says one CAN look forward into the far future. So, pretty unreliable, yeah. :)

I've stated before that I consider "BMM Gonar" to be quite unreliable, at least in Men of the Shadows. He was either possessed or insane (or both) the first time we meet him in MotS and his (mostly) hand-me-down, verbally-transmitted data in that yarn doesn't match what REH later wrote. Of course, Howard hadn't, himself, "dreamed of" the HA in 1925. Unless we're willing to toss MotS in the "Apocrypha" ashcan (I'm not), then one has to account for the discrepancies. Making the Gonar of MotS wildly unreliabel fits the evidence within the story and explains the contradictions quite nicely, IMO.

However, "BMM Gonar" and his "100,000BC" remark do not exist in a vacuum, nor are they unsupported. For one thing, Gonar DELIVERS. He brings Bran the "king" he needs across the nighted gulfs of deep time. However, we also have the implied imprimatur of Gonar the First HIMSELF. "BMM Gonar" is just the "thaumaturgical assistant" to the great Thurian Age mage. Gonar the First obviously is possessed of great skill and power. If he could send Kull to 3rd century Caledonia I'm pretty sure he could roughly calculate the time-span betwixt "BMM Gonar" and himself.

I look at "BMM" Gonar's unreliability here:


http://www.conan.com...ar&fromsearch=1


Thirdly, there is the list drawn up by REH in 1930-31 which says "Kull 100,000 BC". Robert E. Howard was right on the verge of dreaming up the Hyborian Age and he was still sticking with "100,000BC" for the Thurian Age..


It seems like a misconception has crept in to this thread that I don't agree with the 100,000 BC date for Kull. I have no problem with that at all. Unlike the HA where there is a lot of room for doubt, I think the date for Kull is as solid as it gets. What I was saying was that one of reasons often given for an early HA date (maybe not by you or Amster, but I'm pretty sure Dale uses it) is that putting the HA at ca. 10,000 BC makes the gap between Kull and Conan too large. I don't think there's a problem with that at all. In fact it creates the perfect "window" in which to place the Poseidonis/brown-skinned Atlanteans if you want to reconcile those stories with Kull/Conan.

By "spoon-fed", I was referring to children who have others "serve" them instead of nourishing themselves. It's NOT synonymous with "force-feeding", BTW



I know, I was just being snarky and also using it as an opportunity for a cheap plug for my article. Seriously everyone should pick up the latest TDM, if not for my article then for Rusty and Rob's or just to make fun of Kahan. It's the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to REH and we're lucky to have something like that. Even the Lovecraft guys don't have a peer-reviewed journal. It can only survive and improve if we support it.

On the Mediterranean vs. Mongoloid conflict, that's in my CMtA article, which is slowly working its way through the publication grist mill. but PM sent. B)
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#135 deuce

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 10:36 PM

It seems like a misconception has crept in to this thread that I don't agree with the 100,000 BC date for Kull. I have no problem with that at all. Unlike the HA where there is a lot of room for doubt, I think the date for Kull is as solid as it gets. What I was saying was that one of reasons often given for an early HA date (maybe not by you or Amster, but I'm pretty sure Dale uses it) is that putting the HA at ca. 10,000 BC makes the gap between Kull and Conan too large.


I guess I was remembering back to when you were using "Plato's Atlantis" as a temporal "anchor" for your chronology. In your recent work, you've definitely supported the 100K date.

No, mine own placement of the HA comes from Robert E. Howard extending the foundation/duration of the Stygian and Hyborian kingdoms in the actual published tales of Conan. Since the Stygian dominion was established at least 10,000yrs before the reign of Conan and the first Hyborian kingdoms were established WELL before 3000+yrs prior to Conan, then it stands to reason that the "front end" of the chronology was extended just as much as the "back end".

In addition, there is the mention of "eons" subsequent to the end of the Hyborian Age in the "James Allison" yarns. On top of THAT, there are also the various implied evidences of a great lapse of time/earlier epoch than the Late Neolithic within the JA stories.

I don't think there's a problem with that at all. In fact it creates the perfect "window" in which to place the Poseidonis/brown-skinned Atlanteans if you want to reconcile those stories with Kull/Conan.


I definitely believe there is a "window" for "Imperial Atlanteans" within the Thurian/Hyborian Age timeframe. I just don't believe that any huge time-span is necessary for their incorporation.


Seriously everyone should pick up the latest TDM, if not for my article then for Rusty and Rob's or just to make fun of Kahan. It's the only peer-reviewed journal dedicated to REH and we're lucky to have something like that. Even the Lovecraft guys don't have a peer-reviewed journal. It can only survive and improve if we support it.


I plan on buying the next issue of TDM. Your article is excellent and I'm sure that Rusty and Rob Roehm both did great work. I just wish that Frank Coffman was editor again. :)

On the Mediterranean vs. Mongoloid conflict, that's in my CMtA article, which is slowly working its way through the publication grist mill. but PM sent. B)


Another excellent article. Hopefully the rest of the content measures up.

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#136 theagenes

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Posted 04 February 2012 - 11:31 PM

I guess I was remembering back to when you were using "Plato's Atlantis" as a temporal "anchor" for your chronology. In your recent work, you've definitely supported the 100K date.


Like I said, I have no problem altering my view when new evidence comes my way. The more research I do delving into REH's sources the more I have to keep tweaking the model. I'm reading something right now that may make me rethink certain things. Part of the problem with print publishing is that it's slow going and by the time it hits the streets it may already be outdated. It's true in my archaeological work and it's true in Howard studies.

Edited by theagenes, 04 February 2012 - 11:32 PM.

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#137 deuce

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 12:14 AM


I guess I was remembering back to when you were using "Plato's Atlantis" as a temporal "anchor" for your chronology. In your recent work, you've definitely supported the 100K date.


Like I said, I have no problem altering my view when new evidence comes my way. The more research I do delving into REH's sources the more I have to keep tweaking the model. I'm reading something right now that may make me rethink certain things. Part of the problem with print publishing is that it's slow going and by the time it hits the streets it may already be outdated. It's true in my archaeological work and it's true in Howard studies.


Just to do a "reset" from our previous "epic conflict" ( ;) ) 2+yrs ago, I'd like to say that I've come around to your position a wee bit. It would appear (judging from the evidence and arguments you've assembled) that for one brief moment REH tried to squeeze his Hyborian Age chronology into the "Platonic/Spencean" timeframe. HOWEVER, the previous three drafts and all the Conan and James Allison tales point to REH reverting back to more of a "deep time" outlook.

Your evidence is compelling to me, but it's obvious (IMO) that Howard decided to go with his original instincts. "Fifteen hundred years" became "three thousand years" etc...

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#138 theagenes

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Posted 05 February 2012 - 02:06 AM



I guess I was remembering back to when you were using "Plato's Atlantis" as a temporal "anchor" for your chronology. In your recent work, you've definitely supported the 100K date.


Like I said, I have no problem altering my view when new evidence comes my way. The more research I do delving into REH's sources the more I have to keep tweaking the model. I'm reading something right now that may make me rethink certain things. Part of the problem with print publishing is that it's slow going and by the time it hits the streets it may already be outdated. It's true in my archaeological work and it's true in Howard studies.


Just to do a "reset" from our previous "epic conflict" ( ;) ) 2+yrs ago, I'd like to say that I've come around to your position a wee bit. It would appear (judging from the evidence and arguments you've assembled) that for one brief moment REH tried to squeeze his Hyborian Age chronology into the "Platonic/Spencean" timeframe. HOWEVER, the previous three drafts and all the Conan and James Allison tales point to REH reverting back to more of a "deep time" outlook.

Your evidence is compelling to me, but it's obvious (IMO) that Howard decided to go with his original instincts. "Fifteen hundred years" became "three thousand years" etc...


:D Well, a lot can change in 2-3 years. I really appreciate the comments, Deuce.

Really, what you describe is basically all I'm saying. I think what the HA drafts show is that he began with the cataclysm around 25-25000 BC but then in each subsequent draft he brought it closer and closer to the traditional date. Honestly I think he was probably struggling with some of the same problems we have now with his chronology. He had created this antediluvilian world several years before that existed 100,000 years ago---a theosophical-style deep time civilization. But now he wanted to create a new epoch closer to the historical past, maybe play with the Mediterranean (Pict) vs. Mongoloid (Turanian) Neolithic idea he had been toying with in WotE, CotN, and PotD, maybe tie in the Spencian idea of Cro-Magnons (Atlanteans) and Azilians (Picts). But he still wanted to connect it at least tangentially with his earlier Thurian Age. These were all the threads he was trying to weave together into something like a coherent whole. No wonder it took him four drafts for what was effectively elaborate backstory notes. Once he established his new epoch and codified it with TotE, he could start playing with it further, filling it gaps, stretching the chronology here and there as the stories needed it. As the series progressed there was less need for him to stick to THA religiously and he didn't (though he claimed to later).
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#139 theagenes

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Posted 28 February 2012 - 02:33 PM

BTW, LSdC wasn't the first to suggest a ca 10,000 BC date for THA. The introductions to Conan stories in the Avon Fantasy readers in the 40's did that first. You can blame a lot of things on LSdC, but to be fair, this isn't one of them. Until Dale Rippke nobody suggested that the "Hyborian Age" was any other time than around 10,000 BC.


I stand corrected on this. I misremembered what Wollheim said in the introductions to the Avon Fantasy readers. He actually placed the Hyborian Age at 25,000 years ago, closer to what Dale and you guys are suggesting. For some reason I had it in my mind that he had put it at 10,000, but I was mistaken.

Patrice has posted the intros in the Show your Howardss thread.

Edited by theagenes, 28 February 2012 - 02:34 PM.

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#140 Bront

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Posted 12 October 2014 - 12:05 PM

I know the 10000 BC thing is De Camp, but I always thought it was a nice round number that made a great deal of sense when you thought about it. I mean 10000 BC is not too far in the past, relatively speaking, from recorded history so that it makes it plausible that some of the Hyborian place names and peoples would have survived in the later legends and myths, but at the same time far enough in the past to almost allow for anything to be possible over the next horizon in the Hyborian Age. It just seems right. It allowed for Conan to come across even older and alien cultures in exotic locales such as Shem and Stygia, or stumble across the ruins of very archaic and lost civilisations, and at the same time we could relate to Conan by way of the somewhat obscure Cimmerians who just managed to scrape into the historical period before merging with or contributing to the creation of more contemporary peoples like the Celts. It is as if the Hyborian Age almost existed, stuff good fantasy is made out of.