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The Most "Roman" Kingdom of the Hyborian Age


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#1 Sertorius

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 09:19 AM

Bob probably lost a fight to an Italian at school or something. :)


Hey Strom! Actually, there were several Italian-American boxers that Howard respected. THAT stuff will probably go on the projected "Howard and Sports" thread. REH's Argosseans in "Queen" and "Dragon" are tough, salty sea-dogs like the Italian Genovese/Pisans/Venetians of the Middle Ages that Howard modeled them on. Howard had no problem with medieval Italians, just those of the Republican/Imperial era. He really didn't like the Roman empire. Basically, REH didn't give much of a rat's a$$ for any ethnic group from the "Classical" period (except the Celts). He consistently said that his interests lay in the pre-Classical Middle East and the medieval period (from Erin to Mongolia). If you look at the cultures of the Hyborian Age, there is that exact same split, everything north (and east) of Shem being "medieval"-type cultures, everything south basically pre-Classical Semitic, Egyptian etc...




Hello, first time poster.


I'm going to be playing the Conan RPG for the first time, and had intended to make a Roman character. Do you see where I'm headed? :) Reading through the material, and a myriad of older threads, I get the impression that REH avoided placing Romans (Western Romans, not Byzantines) within his world. Aquilonians seem more akin to the european knight, but some pictures represent them as being very Roman in look.


I understand that REH is perhaps mixing the lines so as to avoid direct parrallels. However, should one want to make a Roman character, which race _most_ represents the Roman empire as a primary motif? I'm leaning toward Koth because of the Byzantine feel...Would you agree?


Thanks in advance for helping a noob,


Sertorius.

#2 Kortoso

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Posted 13 July 2008 - 05:23 PM

Aquilonians seem more akin to the european knight, but some pictures represent them as being very Roman in look.


Welcome Sertorius! I am sure we can help you you; just be patient. I would pay less attention to the pictures, since those artists' guesses are about as good as yours.

Is Rome represented in the Hyborian Age? I know that Aquilonia is spoken of as an empire, but what territory does it take over? Bossonia?
True the Argosseans and others capture the Mediterranean spirit, but I would not call them Roman. Anyone?

#3 Taranaich

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 03:33 PM

I understand that REH is perhaps mixing the lines so as to avoid direct parrallels. However, should one want to make a Roman character, which race _most_ represents the Roman empire as a primary motif? I'm leaning toward Koth because of the Byzantine feel...Would you agree?


Ave Sertorius, you latin dog!

I don't really think there's a clear-cut "Roman" analogue in the Hyborian Age unless you count the Byzantines (who really were considered "Romans" as much as the originals at the time). Some folks think Acheron was the "Rome" of the Hyborian Age:

- A corrupt, ruthless empire (as Howard believed Rome was)
- Dominated Corinthia, Koth, Ophir & Shem (as Rome dominated the Diadochi & Anatolian kingdoms)
- Jealously guarded against rival empires Old Stygia to the south and Iranistan to the west (as Rome tussled with southern Carthage and the eastern Parthians)
- Could not conquer the Cimmerians (Rome could not conquer the Caledonians & Gaels)
- Empire destroyed by Hyborian Barbarians (Barbarian attacks contributed to Rome's downfall)
- Acheron's empire divided between the Aquilonians, Nemedians and Argosseans (Mirrors the three Frankish kingdoms instated after Charlemagne's death, which would give rise to the medieval realms of France, the Holy Roman Empire and the Italian kingdoms)
- The frequent occurence of "latin" names of the Hyborian nations could be a remnant of Acheronian integration or adoption (as Vulgar Latin became a base for the Romance languages)

I think an Acheronian character would be possible, though he'd likely go under a disguise to hide his true heritage. There are people who claimed descent from Acheron living in the hills of Aquilonia and Nemedia: these are mostly stunted and warped humans, but there could be chieftains who have kept the bloodline pure, as with Bran Mak Morn & the Picts. I don't think they'd be giants with glowing eyes like Xaltotun, but still tall, pale, dark-haired men: the "warrior" class, similar to the warrior caste in Stygia.

Have a look in the Acheron and Koth threads for further info!

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#4 berserkmax

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Posted 15 July 2008 - 08:07 PM

I have always envisioned Aquilonia as medieval France because of where it lies on Howard's map, and all the chivalry that is spoken about it: AKA chevalier--a French word.

But medieval France was mostly influenced by the Roman Empire, so I find it kind of ironic that Conan ends up as their King. But anything and everything Howard writes is mostly filled with irony.
"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. Let teachers and priest and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content" (Howard--Queen of the Black Coast).

#5 Sertorius

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 10:39 PM

I understand that REH is perhaps mixing the lines so as to avoid direct parrallels. However, should one want to make a Roman character, which race _most_ represents the Roman empire as a primary motif? I'm leaning toward Koth because of the Byzantine feel...Would you agree?


Ave Sertorius, you latin dog!

I don't really think there's a clear-cut "Roman" analogue in the Hyborian Age unless you count the Byzantines (who really were considered "Romans" as much as the originals at the time). Some folks think Acheron was the "Rome" of the Hyborian Age:

- A corrupt, ruthless empire (as Howard believed Rome was)
- Dominated Corinthia, Koth, Ophir & Shem (as Rome dominated the Diadochi & Anatolian kingdoms)
- Jealously guarded against rival empires Old Stygia to the south and Iranistan to the west (as Rome tussled with southern Carthage and the eastern Parthians)
- Could not conquer the Cimmerians (Rome could not conquer the Caledonians & Gaels)
- Empire destroyed by Hyborian Barbarians (Barbarian attacks contributed to Rome's downfall)
- Acheron's empire divided between the Aquilonians, Nemedians and Argosseans (Mirrors the three Frankish kingdoms instated after Charlemagne's death, which would give rise to the medieval realms of France, the Holy Roman Empire and the Italian kingdoms)
- The frequent occurence of "latin" names of the Hyborian nations could be a remnant of Acheronian integration or adoption (as Vulgar Latin became a base for the Romance languages)

I think an Acheronian character would be possible, though he'd likely go under a disguise to hide his true heritage. There are people who claimed descent from Acheron living in the hills of Aquilonia and Nemedia: these are mostly stunted and warped humans, but there could be chieftains who have kept the bloodline pure, as with Bran Mak Morn & the Picts. I don't think they'd be giants with glowing eyes like Xaltotun, but still tall, pale, dark-haired men: the "warrior" class, similar to the warrior caste in Stygia.

Have a look in the Acheron and Koth threads for further info!




Thanks for the insights everyone, and these links Taranaich.


Hmmm, two ways to go here. Consequently, are we in agreement that Acheron and Koth supercede Aquilonia as being the most roman in mode? If that is the case, then it should make my decision easier.


Reading through the linked threads, I get the impression that Acheron had the ruthless empire motif down. However, I didn't get an impression of their customs and their military practices in that thread. I will do some more digging for this.


Sertorius

#6 Taranaich

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Posted 16 July 2008 - 11:26 PM

Thanks for the insights everyone, and these links Taranaich.


No problem! :)

Hmmm, two ways to go here. Consequently, are we in agreement that Acheron and Koth supercede Aquilonia as being the most roman in mode? If that is the case, then it should make my decision easier.


Aquilonia would be the fourth most "Roman" after Nemedia (the Inquisitorial Guard & Watchmen are highly reminiscent of Romans to me), Koth and Acheron, IMO, but as you can see, it requires quite a bit of speculation.

Reading through the linked threads, I get the impression that Acheron had the ruthless empire motif down. However, I didn't get an impression of their customs and their military practices in that thread. I will do some more digging for this.


There isn't any info on their military in Howard, AFAIK. However, a comparison with its neighbour Stygia might be useful: while Stygia had obviously mighty sorcery, they also had a strong martial tradition among the nobility, as well as employing mercenaries. Xaltotun said of Aquilonia: "Lance and ax and torch shall conquer her; or if they fail, powers from the dark of ages shall march against her." It would make sense for Acheron as a whole to have a strong army too, since magic can be a dangerous thing to handle, as well as to protect their substantial borders from Pictish and Barbarian raids.

The absolute closest thing I can think of to a Roman soldier in the Conan's time would be a Numalian Policeman, who I found reminiscent to the popular vision of Roman vigiles (save the bills):

?? half a dozen men entered the hall. All but one wore the scarlet tunic of the Numalian police, were girt with stabbing swords and carried bills ? long-shafted weapons, half pike, half axe.? ? The God in the Bowl

However, the main Nemedian army is pretty strongly "Medieval", and the watchman could equally depict a traditional English militiaman with the famous bill as much as a Roman Guard.

For various reasons, I think Koth would be the best bet for a "proper" soldier.

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#7 docpod

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 03:54 AM

In "The Scarlet Citadel" there is mention of Kothic Spahis, that is a sort of light or intermediate cavalry. Gives a sort of eastern flavor to Koth. When I see Sphahi or Sipahi, I start thinking of the short lived Latin Empire after the Fourth Crusade or some or the longer lasting Duchy of Athens. One of the Alfred Duggan books, I think THE LADY FOR RANSOME captures that period well.

Morgan

Thanks for the insights everyone, and these links Taranaich.


No problem! :)

Hmmm, two ways to go here. Consequently, are we in agreement that Acheron and Koth supercede Aquilonia as being the most roman in mode? If that is the case, then it should make my decision easier.


Aquilonia would be the fourth most "Roman" after Nemedia (the Inquisitorial Guard & Watchmen are highly reminiscent of Romans to me), Koth and Acheron, IMO, but as you can see, it requires quite a bit of speculation.

Reading through the linked threads, I get the impression that Acheron had the ruthless empire motif down. However, I didn't get an impression of their customs and their military practices in that thread. I will do some more digging for this.


There isn't any info on their military in Howard, AFAIK. However, a comparison with its neighbour Stygia might be useful: while Stygia had obviously mighty sorcery, they also had a strong martial tradition among the nobility, as well as employing mercenaries. Xaltotun said of Aquilonia: "Lance and ax and torch shall conquer her; or if they fail, powers from the dark of ages shall march against her." It would make sense for Acheron as a whole to have a strong army too, since magic can be a dangerous thing to handle, as well as to protect their substantial borders from Pictish and Barbarian raids.

The absolute closest thing I can think of to a Roman soldier in the Conan's time would be a Numalian Policeman, who I found reminiscent to the popular vision of Roman vigiles (save the bills):

?? half a dozen men entered the hall. All but one wore the scarlet tunic of the Numalian police, were girt with stabbing swords and carried bills ? long-shafted weapons, half pike, half axe.? ? The God in the Bowl

However, the main Nemedian army is pretty strongly "Medieval", and the watchman could equally depict a traditional English militiaman with the famous bill as much as a Roman Guard.

For various reasons, I think Koth would be the best bet for a "proper" soldier.


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#8 deuce

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Posted 17 July 2008 - 12:45 PM

In "The Scarlet Citadel" there is mention of Kothic Spahis, that is a sort of light or intermediate cavalry. Gives a sort of eastern flavor to Koth. When I see Sphahi or Sipahi, I start thinking of the short lived Latin Empire after the Fourth Crusade or some or the longer lasting Duchy of Athens. One of the Alfred Duggan books, I think THE LADY FOR RANSOME captures that period well.

Morgan


Hey Morgan! Yeah, the "spahis" mention is interesting. However, there are a few things to consider. First, Eastern cavalry was employed by the Byzantines from an early period. Justinian stayed on the throne due to the bloody intervention of Belisarius' Hunnish guards. Eastern/Muslim cavalry (and infantry) was employed by various Christian Mediterranean nations throughout the medieval period. For instance, the "Turcopoles": http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Turcopoles
Other Muslim mercs saw action all over southern Italy.
Plus, as I've said elsewhere, Koth had been around a lot longer than Constantinople's 1000yrs by the time of "Citadel". Koth's long dominance of Shem was bound to lead to some integration of "non-Hyborian" elements (for instance, Ishtar-worship).
Finally, one has to wonder just what REH meant by "spahis". The term, in the 1800's and early 1900's, was usually applied to native cavalry employed by Europeans like the French and Italians.

Another great novel about the "Crusader kingdom" in Greece is Poul Anderson's Rogue Sword.

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#9 docpod

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 02:04 AM

Hey Deuce: I think the Kothic "Spahis" are Kothians themselves. The Shemite mercenaries appear to be bowmen to balance out the force. Howard probably used the term to accentuate the difference of the Kothians from the Western Hyborians.
I have read Procopius and he generally mentions the Huns were often uncotrollable under Belisarius. I think Belisarius' Comitati had a large number of Heruls (who I mention in my "Statement of S. T. Joshi" in 2007's April issue of THE CIMMERIAN). I know luckily in North Africa, a group of Huns who darted out away from Belisarius' main force looking for plunder hit a Vandal van-guard and killed Gelimer's brother. Gelimer was king of the Vandals. He lost his nerve and fell back.
I love ROGUE SWORD. I would gladly trade a half dozen Poul Anderson titles for two more works like ROGUE SWORD. That along with THE GOLDEN SLAVE and THE LAST VIKING are top notch historical adventures. They don't get better than that.

Morgan

Hey Morgan! Yeah, the "spahis" mention is interesting. However, there are a few things to consider. First, Eastern cavalry was employed by the Byzantines from an early period. Justinian stayed on the throne due to the bloody intervention of Belisarius' Hunnish guards. Eastern/Muslim cavalry (and infantry) was employed by various Christian Mediterranean nations throughout the medieval period. For instance, the "Turcopoles": http://en.wikipedia....wiki/Turcopoles
Other Muslim mercs saw action all over southern Italy.
Plus, as I've said elsewhere, Koth had been around a lot longer than Constantinople's 1000yrs by the time of "Citadel". Koth's long dominance of Shem was bound to lead to some integration of "non-Hyborian" elements (for instance, Ishtar-worship).
Finally, one has to wonder just what REH meant by "spahis". The term, in the 1800's and early 1900's, was usually applied to native cavalry employed by Europeans like the French and Italians.

Another great novel about the "Crusader kingdom" in Greece is Poul Anderson's Rogue Sword.
[/quote]
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#10 deuce

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 05:37 AM

Hey Deuce: I think the Kothic "Spahis" are Kothians themselves. The Shemite mercenaries appear to be bowmen to balance out the force. Howard probably used the term to accentuate the difference of the Kothians from the Western Hyborians.


Hey Morgan! I may not have made myself clear. I wasn't trying to say that the "Spahis" in the Kothian host were definitely NOT Kothian. I was just going over possible influences on Howard's thought. IMO, the Zaheemis in "Colossus" are "Turcopole"-types. Perhaps, since the Turanians/Hyrkanians had been raiding Koth's eastern borders for centuries, some were induced to settle in Koth. Like the actual sipahis, they then provided horse-archers for the Kothic throne. Of course, this assumes that the "spahis" were actually horse-archers. It would go well with their role as "raiders". Sipahi isn't actually a Turkish word, anyway. Like so many other things, the Turks borrowed it from the Persians. The fact that a couple of Turanians have "shah" in their names doesn't mean much. REH has the Turk named Kai Shah in Blood of Belshazzar. Perhaps, centuries before, as the old Iranistani Empire imploded, some of the Iranistanis fled west to Koth, home of their ancient Hyborian kin.
However, your solution is less convoluted and explains the conundrum just as well. :)


I have read Procopius and he generally mentions the Huns were often uncotrollable under Belisarius. I think Belisarius' Comitati had a large number of Heruls (who I mention in my "Statement of S. T. Joshi" in 2007's April issue of THE CIMMERIAN). I know luckily in North Africa, a group of Huns who darted out away from Belisarius' main force looking for plunder hit a Vandal van-guard and killed Gelimer's brother. Gelimer was king of the Vandals. He lost his nerve and fell back.


Drake and Stirling retold the Vandal campaign (amidst a "Napoleonic" setting) in the "General" series. Their "Huns" were basically Cossacks with Nitro Expresses. :D I was simply using the Huns as an early example of the Byzantines' utilization of "Eastern" cavalry. They hired on Turks later.

I love ROGUE SWORD. I would gladly trade a half dozen Poul Anderson titles for two more works like ROGUE SWORD. That along with THE GOLDEN SLAVE and THE LAST VIKING are top notch historical adventures. They don't get better than that.
Morgan


I agree. VERY fine novels. B)

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#11 docpod

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Posted 18 July 2008 - 12:28 PM

Oh yeah. I am going to have to go through Harold Lamb's IRON MEN AND SAINTS and THE FLAME OF ISLAM looking for mention of Spahis in the Byzantine Army of Alexius Comnene and in the Crusader States. "Black Colossus" has a very Crusader State feel to it. You could see a different version of it with Cormac FitzGeoffrey in place of Conan leading a force against a horde of invaders. I should probably look at Lane-Poole also but I only have his book on The Moors in Spain.

Morgan

Hey Morgan! I may not have made myself clear. I wasn't trying to say that the "Spahis" in the Kothian host were definitely NOT Kothian. I was just going over possible influences on Howard's thought. IMO, the Zaheemis in "Colossus" are "Turcopole"-types. Perhaps, since the Turanians/Hyrkanians had been raiding Koth's eastern borders for centuries, some were induced to settle in Koth. Like the actual sipahis, they then provided horse-archers for the Kothic throne. Of course, this assumes that the "spahis" were actually horse-archers. It would go well with their role as "raiders". Sipahi isn't actually a Turkish word, anyway. Like so many other things, the Turks borrowed it from the Persians. The fact that a couple of Turanians have "shah" in their names doesn't mean much. REH has the Turk named Kai Shah in Blood of Belshazzar. Perhaps, centuries before, as the old Iranistani Empire imploded, some of the Iranistanis fled west to Koth, home of their ancient Hyborian kin.
However, your solution is less convoluted and explains the conundrum just as well. :)


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#12 deuce

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Posted 21 July 2008 - 09:36 PM

Hello, first time poster.
I'm going to be playing the Conan RPG for the first time, and had intended to make a Roman character. Do you see where I'm headed? :) Reading through the material, and a myriad of older threads, I get the impression that REH avoided placing Romans (Western Romans, not Byzantines) within his world. Aquilonians seem more akin to the european knight, but some pictures represent them as being very Roman in look.

I understand that REH is perhaps mixing the lines so as to avoid direct parrallels. However, should one want to make a Roman character, which race _most_ represents the Roman empire as a primary motif? I'm leaning toward Koth because of the Byzantine feel...Would you agree?

Thanks in advance for helping a noob,
Sertorius.


Hey Sertorius! I meant to ask this earlier...
Exactly how do you envision your "Roman" character? By that, I mean what, in your mind, would make your character "Roman"? Also, what "class/profession" is your RPG character going to be? Depending on exactly what you're looking for, a suitable "match" is fairly likely. :)

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#13 Sertorius

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 05:19 AM

Hey Sertorius! I meant to ask this earlier...
Exactly how do you envision your "Roman" character? By that, I mean what, in your mind, would make your character "Roman"? Also, what "class/profession" is your RPG character going to be? Depending on exactly what you're looking for, a suitable "match" is fairly likely. :)




Ahh, good question.


The look: Open faced helmet with plume, large/tower shield (Scutum), sectioned iron armour (Lorica Segmentata) are the basics. An infantry soldier (class/profession: Soldier/Officer), with little preference for horse. Pullum optional... Racial: Olive skin with maybe darker eye colour, and brown to black hair. Medium height/build.


What would make him Roman to me? Difficult to answer in its entirety, but I'd start with the following:

- Discipline of the highest order.
- Tireless work ethic.
- Paganism.
- Adaptability - new customs and ways of war.
- Penchance for defense over offense - superior armour.
- Infantry over cavalry.
- Low creativity (adapting other cultures comes into play here).
- Group tactics.


Hope that helps.

#14 Taranaich

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 09:28 PM

I'll stick my nose in if you lads don't mind. :P

The racial phenotype you present fits Kothians, Ophireans, Argosseans and Corinthians best, so those are the races I'd go for.

I think to be an infantry soldier in the Hyborian Kingdoms that isn't mere spear-fodder (unless you're a Gunderman), one has to be a guardsman or a mercenary. Conan has fought with Kothian & Corinthian mercenaries, a spearman of the former and swordsman of the latter, though it's possible the Kothians also have dedicated swordsmen. As such, it's likely that a mercenary infantry company will be highly trained and disciplined, as good infantry would be quite sought-after in the Hyborian Age. The armour also indicates a professional soldier's pay, and so can afford finer equipment. Alternatively, a palace guardsman would also work: this would explain the discipline and work ethic, and the high pay of guarding an important place would support the burnished plume helmets guards are noted to wear in a few stories.

The Ophireans and Kothians are known to worship Ishtar: it's possible some of the easternmost realms have adopted other deities, or have a "kitchen sink" approach to religion. The people of the "Rogues in the House" city in the buffer zone west of Zamoria and east of Corinthia worship Anu, and given the fractious nature of the city-states it's possible they have taken on other gods, maybe bleeding into Corinthia itself.

My gut instinct is to go with an Ophirean Swordsman: since we now the least about their infantry, they have the most room to maneuver. He could have been a guardsman for the Chelkus family of scientists and noblemen, and acquitted himself admirably in the country's baronial conflicts, rising to captain of the guard. At some point in Ophir's peacetime, he uses the gold he saved up to form a mercenary corps, seeking employment and adventure wherever it leads him. Being a mercenary, he studies the weaknesses and strengths of enemies, but instead of just looting armour and selling it off after a campaign, he incorporates various elements into the company's organization - Zamorian helms, Brythunian shields, Zingg short-swords, Kothic greaves, red scarlet cloaks of Ophir - and forming a well-trained, cohesive unit. Just to connect him to Conan, he could be one of Pallantides' kin in Ophir alluded to in Hour of the Dragon.

Or something like that. :lol:

Edited by Taranaich, 18 August 2008 - 09:35 PM.

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#15 Kortoso

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Posted 18 August 2008 - 11:04 PM

The scutum shield was used for fighting in formation. If you are seeing your character as a lone adventurer, that big shield may prove more of a burden to him. From what I understand (and someone will correct me if I am wrong) the plumes on the helmet were largely used for parades, not in combat or day-to-day wear.

Probably some of the southerly lands, such as Corinthia or Argos would be more similar to ancient Rome, probably more like the Republic than the Empire.



#16 Elegast

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 05:56 AM

There are a few Roman elements in Aquilonia. One need only think of Councilor Publius, a Roman name if ever there was one ( curiously, he had a powerful position at court but he was not actually an aristocrat ). In the Hour of the Dragon, he withdrew to his villa after Conan was overthrown. This large country villa was obviously based on the Roman model. Someone mentioned Spahis. I believe Howard thought of them as " light horse ". Cavalry without much ( or even any body armour ) and without heavy weaponry on relatively small ponies. It would be suicidal for them to meet heavy cavalry head on, but they would have had speed and mobility. They could have been used as scouts, to harry the enemy in the rear, as messengers, for reconaissance deep behind enemy lines, for encirclement and enflankment maneuvers or to lay ambushes. The Sipahies were originally the aristocratic cavalry of the Ottoman Turkish Empire. They were a classic feudal cavalry run by a land owning aristocracy ( often they would have been heavy armoured cavalry ). In the late 19th. century the French Empire hired a 100 of these from North Africa as mercenaries. They then continued to recruit more native ( now black cavalry ) from NorthWest Africa. Ie Senegal, Chad, that area. The Turkish name ( now spahi ) stuck. Spahis were lightly equiped, native horsemen armed with rifles with white officers and sometimes black NCO's. Curiously the French army still has a regiment called the 1st. Regiment of Spahis ( though it is now no longer a colonial force, and it is based in the metropole ). It is part of the 6th. Light Armoured Brigade ( previously the 6th. Light Armoured Division ). It has 3 squadrons of AMX-10RC Armoured cars ( 15 ton vehicles with 90 mm. guns ) and 1 squadron of VBL cars ( light amphibious, armoured, jeep style vehicles armed with wire guided anti tank missiles ). These vehicles are about 20 years old and will soon be due for replacement. During the 1st Gulf War, 6th. of Spahis formed part of the Dagget Division wich went deep behind the enemy lines into Iraq itself ( along with the 101st. Airmobile Division ). It captured the Al- Salman airbase.

Edited by Elegast, 14 January 2009 - 03:29 PM.


#17 Elegast

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 04:56 PM

Hello it's me again ( not you again! ). Going back to Spahis. The Kothians could have had different types. If one looks at the map of Koth the eastern part seems to fade into Shem and the Hyrkanian steps witout a clear deviding line. Koth probably had a semi-arid climate like Southern Spain or Northern Morroco ( Southern California? ). Unless you had areas near large rivers or lakes with complex irrigation systems, the agriculture in these areas would have been limited. The aristocracy of the east would have had to make money by moving vast herds of cattle, horses, flocks of sheep, goats ( Hyrkanian camels? ),etc. over their vast estates searching for pasturage and water. Mounted herdsmen ( not that different from American cowboys or Spanish vaqueros ) would have looked after them. These men would have spent half their lives on horseback and been naturals on a horse. The Kothian aristocracy could have recruited men from here as spahis. Others could have been recruited from Shemitish mounted tribal warriors from the lands to the south-east controlled by Koth. They could also be Kotho-Hyrkanian nomads recruited from the steppes to the east. Mounted archers are actually quite powerful troops if used with powerful enough composite bows. A Parthian force of 7,000 men ( 1,000 heavy armoured lancers, cataphracts and 6,000 light mounted archers, sagitarri ) defeated a Roman force of 40,000 men. This happened at the battle of the Carhae ( Surrena versus Markus Crasus ). The Kothians did not seem to use the heavy armoured lancer, light mounted archer combination greatly. Their army was based on the classic Western European trinity of heavy cavalry, heavy infantry and light infantry, achers, skirmishers. The spahis would probably have been more specialist troops than battle winners. They could have been armed with javelins, or a short 6-7 foot spear/s. Some may have been armed with bows. On the subject of bills, it was a pole weopon probably 7-8 foot long and like a poormans halbard. They were used during the late middle ages and early renaissance when shields had become obsolete. The billhook was originally a farming implement. It was used in England by peasants to pull riders off their horses. As an arm it was used 2-handed by footmen. It could have a spear head, a sharp hook on one side for digging into a rider and some form of chopping blade on the other side. On Gundermen, the idea of them being spear fodder does not square with the fact that they were the finest, deadliest heavy infantry in the Hyrborean lands. They would problably have fought in formations and had to drill regularly to do so. Maybe they had an oval shield strapped to their shoulder and used the syntagma, a square of 16men x 16 ( the Macedonian Phalanx ) while holding their sarrisa or pike 2 handed. They may have had a short sword as backup. They could have been career soldiers ( seargents ) fighting for pay and board. Many could have been part of a citizens' militia system ( part time soldiers ) recruited from the small family farm owning freemen of Gunderland . Greek heavy infantry were often militia men from the cities. These were middle class land owners owning their own weopons. The early Roman legions were also lower-middle class militia men. They only became career soldiers later on after Marius's reforms. In the middle ages, the Italian cities would supply infantry through a militia system. They would be recruited from the lower middle-class of skilled craftsmen-shop keepers ( sorry, once again for being so long winded, once I started I couldn't stop).

Edited by Elegast, 14 January 2009 - 05:08 PM.


#18 Elegast

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 05:48 PM

me again ( no!! run! Run! ). Hi Sertorius! the character you mention is not a brilliant individual warrior but a well trained cog in a well functioning machine. His gear sounds quite expensive and was probably supplied for him by his General. A soldier like that would be at his best fighting with thousands of others in huge, well drilled formations. His equipment looks like it was made in a large weopons factory owned by a big, wealthy, sophisticated and advanced state ( like late republic, early empire Rome ). He certainly does not sound like a mercenary who had a varried career and who armed himself on the battlefield from defeated or slain enemies. The Germanics who fought for and against Rome a few hundred years later were armed in this fashion through looting. So were many of the non aristocrat mercenaries ( seargents ) of the middle ages.

Edited by Elegast, 14 January 2009 - 06:08 PM.


#19 Taranaich

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 10:04 PM

Hey Elegast, thanks for the data on Spahis, fantastic information!

There are a few Roman elements in Aquilonia.


There are indeed.

In the Hour of the Dragon, he withdrew to his villa after Conan was overthrown. This large country villa was obviously based on the Roman model.


While "villa" is obviously of Roman origin, it's just as likely Howard was using it in its modern term as "upper-class country house" as in the Renaissance as he was using it with a Roman villa in mind. His mention of "white-walled villas" could describe the the Villa Medici a Fiesole or Villa Doria Pamphili as a traditional Roman villa. Indeed, Howard used "villa as upper-class country house" before in "The House of Arabu", to describe a house set in modern historical times that predated the Roman Empire.

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#20 Kortoso

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Posted 14 January 2009 - 11:13 PM

The standard Roman villa was built to surround a courtyard, and to some degree resembled a small castle. This design survived to the American southwest among Spanish colonial architecture, BTW.

Posted Image

There's no sign that the house of Servius Gallannus was built in this manner. Nabonidus' estate seems to have been different as well, since the walled garden separates it from the other homes.

So whether REH was inspired by the name or not, he was either ignorant of the typical Roman layout, or he chose to follow another path.