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Aquilonia - Supreme in the Dreaming West


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#1 Taranaich

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Posted 19 October 2008 - 01:25 AM

?Another five centuries and the Hybori peoples are the possessors of a civilization so virile that contact with it virtually snatched out of the wallow of savagery such tribes as it touched. The most powerful kingdom is Aquilonia, but others vie with it in strength and mixed race; the nearest to the ancient root-stock are the Gundermen of Gunderland, a northern province of Aquilonia. But this mixing has not weakened the race. They are supreme in the western world, though the barbarians of the wastelands are growing in strength.? ? The Hyborian Age


As the most prominent of the Hyborian Nations, I feel it's only fair that Aquilonia should get her own thread to follow Acheron & the others.

In recent years, there's been quite a lot of confusion regarding the nature of Aquilonia, specifically whether it's a "Classical" or "Middle Ages" kingdom in flavour: Aquilonia is depicted either as a fantastic Roman Empire, or a long-lost High Medieval kingdom. Obviously the correct answer is "neither - it's Aquilonia!", but hopefully this topic can set the record straight in terms of what Howard said on the matter.

For starters, let's have a look at the possible "Roman" links to Aquilonia:

Names

Many Aquilonians have distinctly Latin names: Tiberio, Publius, Servius, Soractus, Valeria/en/us. However, this is not inclusive, as some names are Greek, such as Pallantides, Dion, Epe(i)us, Thespius, Tiberias. Others are Greco-Latin adoptions of Gallic, Germanic or Indo-European, such as Albiona & Amalric. Some I can't even tell: Arpello, Attelius, Valannus, Vilerus, Volmana and Zelata all *sound* vaguely Greco-Latin, or at least Indo-European. There are Latin-inspired place names too, such as Pellia, Amilius, and Aquilonia itself, and others like Shamar & Tanasul that aren't.

Anyone else want to join in?

EDIT: Aquilonia Annotations

As promised, here are some of my thoughts on Aquilonia. I've had a bit of a time trying to correlate all the Aquilonia information, as of all the lands in the Hyborian Age, Aquilonia is undoubtedly the one we know most about. Aquilonia is detailed most thoroughly in the three King Conan stories, "The Phoenix on the Sword", "The Scarlet Citadel" and "The Hour of the Dragon", though a wealth of information can be found in the Pict tales "Beyond the Black River" and "Wolves Beyond the Border". To start off, let's have a look at Aquilonia's debut...

"The Phoenix on the Sword"

"But the proudest kingdom of the world was Aquilonia, reigning supreme in the dreaming west."
The second half of that sentence is one of my very favourite Howardisms: a touch of the romantic in a strong couplet. It also states in no uncertain terms that Aquilonia is the shining jewel of the west, in a world of such glorious kingdoms. It's a bit of a shame we never get to see much of Brythunia or Ophir, as although Aquilonia, Nemedia, Koth et al are recognizably of the same root stock, they're all still distinct from each other.

The Capital
"Over shadowy spires and gleaming towers lay the ghostly darkness and silence that runs before dawn. Into a dim alley, one of a veritable labyrinth of mysterious winding ways, four masked figures came hurriedly from a door which a dusky hand furtively opened."
In a few sentences, Howard depicts a pretty evocative picture of Aquilonia's capital. "Spires" are a hallmark of gothic architecture, used as a symbol of spiritual pride - reaching up to the heavens - and to assert the city's wealth through grand architecture. Spires are most commonly seen adorning cathedrals and churches: in the absense of Christianity in the Hyborian Age, the spires of this city may be found on temples of Mitra. Indeed, they may even have no religious connotations at all, and could fill any number of purposes. What is important is that to construct spires requires quite impressive engineering ability, at least High Medieval. A case could be made that the "spires" referred to monuments similar to Egyptian Obelisks, Roman Steles or Islamic Minarets: however, Howard was quite precise in his descriptions, so it is my opinion that spires are spires, and not just shorthand for "big skinny towers".

It occured to me upon re-reading that, bizarrely, we don't actually know which city the story is set in! It's pretty obviously a major city where Conan's citadel can be found, but the question of Aquilonia's actual capital is a bit tricky in general. In "The Scarlet Citadel", the capital is Tamar: in "The Hour of the Dragon", it is Tarantia. I can think of a few explanations:

1. Tamar and Tarantia are two different cities which both served as capital at one time. Conan could have used Tamar as the capital in the beginning, and later moved to Tarantia. This is not uncommon in history, happening all the time as nations expanded and contracted their territory.

2. Tamar and Tarantia are one and the same. One could be an old name for the city, or possibly a reference to different districts. This is quite a likely situation, as the "Teamhair na R?" connection between the two words could allow, say, Tamar to be the the name of the original settlement, and Tarantia the name of the city proper.

3. Tamar and Tarantia are BOTH the capitals. There are a few examples of two cities in a country where a city is the economic, cultural and population centre of a country, but the seat of government is located elsewhere. Thus it could be possible that Tarantia is the great city of Aquilonia, but Tamar is the effective capital where the kingdom's decisions are made. Hence when Aquilonia is being invaded but is still intact, Conan takes a dragon taxi to Tamar, but when Aquilonia is half conquered, he makes a beeline to Tarantia.

I can see all three being reasonable, personally: though I kind of like the idea of dual capitals, the fact that Tamar and Tarantia aren't referred to outside their respective stories seems to indicate a change in venue. I'm open to opinions on the matter, but frankly the similarity of the two names has me leeaning towards 2. I'm also not entirely sure whether "Phoenix" is set in Tamar or Tarantia: I'd like to see others' thoughts on that matter. Anyway, moving on:

The Throne Room
"The room was large and ornate, with rich tapestries on the polished-panelled walls, deep rugs on the ivory floor, and with the lofty ceiling adorned with intricate carvings and silver scrollwork. Behind an ivory, gold-inlaid writing-table sat a man whose broad shoulders and sun-browned skin seemed out of place among those luxuriant surroundings."
Howard really loved his ivory: ivory floors, ivory altars, great round domes of ivory... and that's just the women! *rimshot* As with the gigantic ivory dome in "Black Colossus", Howard seemed to be hinting at something with this. Either the Hyborians had some incredible lost artistic talent, or there are some gargantuan elephants in the Hyborian Age. Although BC and HotD were mere glimmers in Howard's eye at this point, I still like to consider this another link with Acheron. Kuthchemes utilized the scientifically impossible in its architecture: the ivory floors and furniture could be antiques from Acheronian times. Of course, they could also be a reference to some other material similar to ivory, but where's the fun in that?

Conan's Sleeping Chamber
"Alone in the great sleeping chamber with its high golden dome King Conan slumbered and dreamed."
"High Golden Dome" indicates that in addition to spires, the Aquilonians could construct arches pretty well.

"The giant drew a deep breath and launched his mighty frame against the panels, which groaned and bent at the impact. Again he crouched and plunged. With a snapping of bolts and a rending crash of wood, the door splintered and burst inward."
Either Gromel's a veritable juggernaut, or Aquilonian carpentry leads a lot to be desired. I'd be inclined to the former, personally: men were men in the Hyborian Age!

Conan's gear
"True; there had been lack of time to don the heavy plumed casque, or to lace in place the sideplates of the cuirass, nor was there now time to snatch the great shield from the wall."
Ever the cautious barbarian, Conan keeps his armour and weapons close to hand. The armour in this case appears to be based on medieval casques and cuirasses.
"... Conan leaped to the wall and tore therefrom an ancient battle-ax which, untouched by time, had hung there for half a century."
This axe is a nice little mystery: what significance, if any, did it have to be placed on the wall? Was it merely to be ornamental, or was placed to serve its deadly function in an emergency? Was it Aquilonian in origin, or a campaign trophy? Perhaps 50 years ago a great Aquilonian king defeated its wielder in combat: a Nemedian king, a mercenary warlord... a Cimmerian high-king?

Crown Jewels of Aquilonia
"In that instant Ascalante beheld, on a small table near the royal couch, the silver scepter and the slender gold circlet which was the crown of Aquilonia, and the sight maddened him with desire."
The Crown of Aquilonia appears to be more of a diadem or circlet than the more grandiose headgear of renaissance or modern crowns. I picture something like a thinner version of the Iron Crown of Lombardy, though with dragon imagery, or perhaps a wee diorama of the fall of Acheron.

Writing Tools
"Now he laid down the golden stylus with which he had been laboriously scrawling on waxed papyrus..."
The use of Papyrus is a bit of a puzzle to me, since by definition, papyrus is made from the pith of the papyrus plant (Cyperus papyrus). Quite why Conan uses Papyrus as opposed to parchment (which is mentioned in a few tales) or paper (which is alluded to in metaphor but not directly described) is unclear: I would guess that parchment is viewed as the paper of choice, but papyrus has some sort of cultural significance, perhaps linked to its ancient practise in Egypt-like Stygia aaaaaaand... you guessed it, Acheron!

Mitraism
"Already they openly sing The Lament for the King in which Rinaldo lauds the sainted villain and denounces Conan as 'that black-hearted savage from the abyss.' Conan laughs, but the people snarl."
"They have put a statue of that swine in the temple of Mitra, and people go and wail before it, hailing it as the holy effigy of a saintly monarch who was done to death by a red-handed barbarian."
Says much for Conan's character that he merely laughs at the people's 180 on Namedides, and doesn't just order the statue be torn down and the sculptor beheaded! Although saints are frequently considered a Christian phenomenon, the idea of a person who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to their faith is certainly one shared by many religions - however, of Hyborian religions, Mitra alone has saints. "Saints of heaven" are mentioned by Trocero in HotD, indicating another interesting similarity to Christianity.

The Hall of Epimitreus
Now the mists grew lighter and he saw that he was in a great dark corridor that seemed to be cut in solid black stone. It was unlighted, but by some magic he could see plainly. The floor, ceiling and walls were highly polished and gleamed dull, and they were carved with the figures of ancient heroes and half-forgotten gods. He shuddered to see the vast shadowy outlines of the Nameless Old Ones, and he knew somehow that mortal feet had not traversed the corridor for centuries.
He came upon a wide stair carved in the solid rock, and the sides of the shaft were adorned with esoteric symbols so ancient and horrific that King Conan's skin crawled. The steps were carven each with the abhorrent figure of the Old Serpent, Set, so that at each step he planted his heel on the head of the Snake, as it was intended from old times. But he was none the less at ease for all that.

A marked contrast to what we've seen of Aquilonian architecture, Epimitreus and Mitra could have their own thread. Nonetheless, I'll mention some thoughts here. Along with some other places like Tanasul, Golamira is pretty much a Howard Original.

The Legend of Epimitreus
"Men say you sleep in the black heart of Golamira, whence you send forth your ghost on unseen wings to aid Aquilonia in times of need..."
The messianic return of a great cultural hero to assist the people when they need them most is a common enough legend, most famously in Arthurian and Jewish traditions. Howard would expand on the Arthurian mythological aspect in HotD.

Set worship in Aquilonia?
Ages ago Set coiled about the world like a python about its prey. All my life, which was as the lives of three common men, I fought him. I drove him into the shadows of the mysterious south, but in dark Stygia men still worship him who to us is the archdemon.
Why does Epimitreus favour Aquilonia in particular over other Mitra-worshipping kingdoms? I would presume that Set worship was considered the "religion of the enemy" in newly founded Aquilonia, and was thus banned. HOWEVER... Epimitreus was considered dead 1,500 years ago. Acheron fell 3,000 years ago: if Epimitreus worked during his lifetime to rid the West from Set and his acolytes, and helped drive them south to Stygia, then the only option is that Set was still being worshipped in Aquilonia thousands of years after the fall of Acheron!
This might not be as strange as it sounds: Set worship is very pervasive, being around long before humanity and will likely outlive it. Set worship likely STILL exists in Aquilonia, in the underground and dark hills of Acheronian descendents: there may well have been a powerful Setite undercurrent for thousands of years after Acheron's fall. It's possible that a few centuries after the fall of Acheron, there was a major resurgence of Set worship, usurping Bori and threatening to bring about a second Acheron. Then, Mitra and his saints (and Ibis and Asura) come into play, driving Set into Stygia.

Cartography
"The maps of the court show well the countries of south, east and west, but in the north they are vague and faulty. I am adding the northern lands myself. Here is Cimmeria, where I was born. And -"
"Asgard and Vanaheim," Prospero scanned the map. "By Mitra, I had almost believed those countries to have been fabulous."

It's interesting that the Aquilonians seem to know more about the Pictish lands than those of the Cimmerians: it's probably because the eastern shore could be graphed, and so the outline of the wilderness could be detailed. No such luck with Cimmeria.

It's also interesting that an "adventurer" like Prospero could imagine Nordheim to be fictional, given the fact that he seems to have actually met other Cimmerians. The only nation that would have direct experience to the contrary would be the Cimmerians and Hyperboreans, and possibly the Picts. While one can imagine why one couldn't ask the barbarians for geographical knowledge, it's quite a cool indirect reference to Hyperborea's insularity that one of their neighbours would be considered a mere myth as far north as Aquilonia.

Nobility
"Who are they to match wits with Ascalante? Volmana, the dwarfish count of Karaban; Gromel, the giant commander of the Black Legion; Dion, the fat baron of Attalus; Rinaldo, the hare-brained minstrel."
"...Count Trocero of Poitain, seneschal of Aquilonia..."

Counts, Barons, Seneschals and Minstrels are all very Medieval European terms. Counts may argue descent from imperial "Comes", but barons, seneschals and minstrels are definately Middle Ages in etymology and nature. Volmana and Dion appear to be "hereditary" nobles, although Conan promises titles to those who would aid or impress him, indicating that titles as rewards would be commonplace.

"Volmana wishes to be reinstated in royal favor as he was under the old regime, so that he may lift his poverty-ridden estates to their former grandeur."
I guess Volmana bet on the wrong horse in the War of the Barons. :P One of Conan's biggest problems as King is in not getting rid of people who are likely to cause him trouble: I wouldn't consider this an example of Conan's naivete (he is pretty perceptive of such intrigue in his later years), more an example of his enemy's cunning, and the fatal underestimation of their foe.

Then a medley of voices reached his ears, and the room was thronged with the finally roused people of the court - knights, peers, ladies, men-at-arms, councillors - all babbling and shouting and getting in one another's way.
More examples of the Medieval aspect of Aquilonia.

Dion's Garden
"The sun was setting, etching the green and hazy blue of the forest in brief gold. The waning beams glinted on the thick golden chain which Dion of Attalus twisted continually in his pudgy hand as he sat in the flaming riot of blossoms and flower?trees which was his garden. He shifted his fat body on his marble seat and glanced furtively about, as if in quest of a lurking enemy. He sat within a circular grove of slender trees, whose interlapping branches cast a thick shade over him. Near at hand a fountain tinkled silverly, and other unseen fountains in various parts of the great garden whispered an everlasting symphony."
Here we see a description of Dion's country estate, full of lush foliage and opulent fountains. It certainly sounds like a Mediterranean escape, with some minor Shakespearean overtones.

The Black Legion
One military unit referred to here and never mentioned again is the Black Legion:
"...Gromel, the giant commander of the Black Legion..."
"... That leaves only the king's personal bodyguard in the city - besides the Black Legion."
"After the deed is done, even if the people do not rise to welcome us, Gromel's Black Legion will be sufficient to hold the city and the crown."

What was this Black Legion? A few clues can be found in historical examples: the most likely inspiration, to me, is the Black Brunswickers, who were also known as the Black Horde and the Black Legion. They wore black broadcloth, and their caps featured the Totenkopf military insignia: a silver skull and crossbones. The BB had a ferocious reputation during the Napoleonic Wars, and were very popular among the Victorians, inspiring some famous artwork and statues, most notably "The Black Brunswicker" by John Everett Millais.

Given Howard's partialness to stick a few gunpowder-era references into the Hyborian Age - the Kozaks/Cossacks being a notable other example - I can imagine the Aquilonian Black Legion being similar in some respects. My theory is that the Black Legion were a mercenary force raised by Gromel during the War of the Barons, taking advantage of the abundant bloodshed between the squabbling nobles to get a bit of action. When Conan became a force to be reckoned with, Gromel saw the writing on the wall, and joined with him: his army of mostly common or low-nobility soldiers would likely side with Conan anyway. As the historical Black Legion was composed of infantry, cavalry and artillery, I'd imagine the Aquilonian BL was similarly diverse: perhaps mostly infantry spearmen, with some Bossonian regiments (Gromel being Bossonian himself) and a mix of light and heavy cavalry.

What happened to the Black Legion after "The Phoenix on the Sword"? My guess is they were disbanded, the soldiers either going off to new pastures or joining the existing Aquilonian army. We never hear from the Black Legion again in Citadel or HotD, so it's likely without Gromel it dissolved, though it would be nice to imagine there's still a small battalion of soldiers in black with silver Death's Head regalia somewhere about Aquilonia.

Imperial Troops?
"Days ago I saw the imperial squadrons ride from the city..."
"And Volmana made it possible to dispose of the rest of the imperial troops which remained in the city..."
"...he'll be accompanied by an imperial escort, as well as his own troops..."
"Your only danger is assassination, and that's impossible, with men of the imperial troops guarding you day and night."

These references to "imperial soldiers" are quite intriguing to me, as they obviously indicate some sort of Imperial slant to Aquilonia, many years before the events of "The Hyborian Age". Both Thoth-Amon and Prospero use the term "imperial" in relation to soldiers, so one can't put it down to one character's personal quirk. This sits somewhat ill-at-ease with Conan's later dismissal of Trocero's plea for empire-building in HotD. So if Conan isn't interested in forging an empire (yet), why the Imperial Soldiers?

The most obvious answer to me is that this is a relic of Namedides. This is the first story to feature Conan as King, and also the earliest chronologically, meaning that he hasn't quite made his mark yet. As such, it's likely to me that the imperial soldiers referred to are a result of Namedides' political ambitions. We have an idea of how rough Aquilonia was in the War of the Barons, but we don't seem to know what other countries felt about it. What if one of the reasons for the War of the Barons was a result of attempted conquest of other nations? A costly, failed invasion of Nemedia, Zingara, Ophir or barbarian lands could have ignited the internal conflict. It could also offer an interesting new light on Koth and Ophir's betrayal in "Citadel": perhaps Ophir's nobles felt justified in betraying Aquilonia if they themselves were treated poorly by Aquilonia. Perhaps the chaos Zingara's in in HotD is also a result of Namedides' imperial ambitions. Indeed, Numa of Nemedia seemed quite amicable with Conan: could it be because of his less cordial relationship with Namedides, so sour that he'd prefer a red-handed barbarian as a fellow statesman?

Whatever it is, Imperial soldiers, squadrons and troops are not referred to in either of the other King Conan tales: this suggests that they no longer exist, as artefacts of Aquilonia's aggressive and imperialist nature before Conan came in to shake things up. Exactly what these Imperial Troops were is unclear, but I think it's just a reference to their status than any particular difference in organization, equipment or nature: they're likely composed of the same tough dudes like Valannus and Tiberias, just under a different name.

The Black Dragons
"Gromel hates Pallantides, commander of the Black Dragons"
"The mercenaries are ours, and the Black Dragons, and every rogue in Poitain swears by you."
"They crowded back behind a cluster of carven pillars, and almost immediately ten giants in black armor swung by at a measured pace."
"The Black Dragons were on hand, wild with rage, swearing and ruffling, with their hands on their hilts and foreign oaths in their teeth."
Like the Black Legion, the Black Dragons make their only direct appearance in "Phoenix". Did it also seemingly disappear in the subsequent stories, or did it continue, with its name merely omitted? I think it's possible that, like the "Imperial Troops", the Black Dragons were a relic of Aquilonia's imperial phase, and that they were phased out during Conan's rule. However, it's also possible that they continued as Conan's bodyguard, since Pallantides continues to be his top general in the other King Conan tales, and they seemed far more loyal to Conan than the Black Legion.

The Black Dragons appear to employ "giants", and intriguingly swear by "foreign oaths". Although it's possible a few were Aquilonians, it's equally likely more than a few are from other lands. Since all ten of the black-armoured guards are called giants, this is probably a deliberate aspect of the job. Either they're recruited due to their imposing height, or the best men for the job just happened to be big tall dudes. It's my opinion that Pallantides' version of the Black Dragons consisted of the greatest mercenary warriors any nation had to offer to guard the king: with no noble ties, they would not have the divided loyalties of family to crown. They could be of any nation, but I could imagine established tall races such as Gundermen making up a large part, as well as Kush-ites, Shemites, maybe even some Cimmerians. I doubt Hyperboreans or Stygians would, given Conan's antipathy to those races.

Although this is particularly conjectural, I like to think that the Black Dragons are a particularly ancient relic of Aquilonian might - Acheron. Certain military corps in history gain a powerful cultural status: the Immortals of Achaemenid Persia had spiritual successors in the Athanatoi and Napoleon's Imperial Guard. Presumably the organization, role and equipment of Acheronian Black Dragons would have been very different from Aquilonia's, but the name and idea of a group of giant elite guards may itself have a resonance which resulted in such a legacy. After the conquest of Acheron, the Aquiloni invaders may have been so inspired by the ferocity and valour of Acheron's elite soldiers that in a few centuries their successors would be established.

Edited by Taranaich, 30 November 2008 - 05:57 PM.

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#2 Spartan198

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Posted 21 October 2008 - 08:35 PM

I think it's really up to what the reader interprets, as with any literary tale. Because I'm more familiar with classical civilization than medieval, I've always envisioned Aquilonia as a prehistoric Roman Empire, Corinthia as Greece, Argos as a pseudo-Syracuse, Turan as the Sassanid Empire, etc..
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Posted 22 October 2008 - 05:35 AM

Hi all,

[

In recent years, there's been quite a lot of confusion regarding the nature of Aquilonia, specifically whether it's a "Classical" or "Middle Ages" kingdom in flavour: Aquilonia is depicted either as a fantastic Roman Empire, or a long-lost High Medieval kingdom. Obviously the correct answer is "neither - it's Aquilonia!", but hopefully this topic can set the record straight in terms of what Howard said on the matter.

For starters, let's have a look at the possible "Roman" links to Aquilonia:

Names

Many Aquilonians have distinctly Latin names: Tiberio, Publius, Servius, Soractus, Valeria/en/us. However, this is not inclusive, as some names are Greek, such as Pallantides, Dion, Epe(i)us, Thespius, Tiberias. Others are Greco-Latin adoptions of Gallic, Germanic or Indo-European, such as Albiona & Amalric. Some I can't even tell: Arpello, Attelius, Valannus, Vilerus, Volmana and Zelata all *sound* vaguely Greco-Latin, or at least Indo-European. There are Latin-inspired place names too, such as Pellia, Amilius, and Aquilonia itself, and others like Shamar & Tanasul that aren't.

Anyone else want to join in?


Hey T! Other than the names and said references in the 'Hyborian Age' did Aquilonia resemble the Roman Empire?Not in Conan's time.What were the conquests?If any. :unsure:
It is well know that REH,used names that would invoke historic names,one as a reader of history would recognize.As he was,maybe not his readers,were.But that makes a link.You also have to remember as I am sure you do, that he was pounding out these stories per penny.Per word.

I don't -see- Rome in Aquilonia,I do see the Latin names in the stories.I do see France in Aquiliona,the knights,barons,etc.Heck I see alot of 1066 in it!The turmoil,usheaveal! I also see,and again,as usual,I see alot Germanic in Nemida,of course I'm talking 'The Phoenix on the Sword' and 'The Hour of the Dragon' ,natch :P

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#4 Pictish Scout

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 04:30 PM

After re-reading some of the stories and discussing it in this forum, it seems to me that Aquilonia, like many hyborean age kingdoms contains very historical elements from different cultures and epochs. So I don't think there was a direct copy paste of Rome or Medieval France into Aquilonia.

There are “classic” names and the worship of Mitra. There is also, at least a Ballista, a roman war-machine:

“The men in the canoes rushed their boats toward the river-wall, and were met by another shower of clothyard shafts and a volley from the small ballistas mounted on towers on that side of the stockade.”

There is also some kind of Namedides’ “Imperial cult”:

“They have put a statue of that swine (Namedides) in the temple of Mitra, and people go and wail before it, hailing it as the holy effigy of a saintly monarch who was done to death by a red-handed barbarian.”

Roman citizens used incense when worshiping the spirit of the deceased Emperor.

“Now in Mitra’s temple there come to burn incense to Namedides’ memory…”

Some of the roman rituals survived into the middle ages, though. So I’m not sure if Howard took inspiration in Middle Ages or the roman cult on this one.

There are other “roman” elements, not in Aquilonia but in the neighbor Nemedia: Also in some person’s and city names (Numalia) , king Numa and a Palian Way.

I think at least in part, the fictional Aquilonia and the Aquilonians have something to do with Rome and the classic world. But there are also other influences: medieval and pre-modern France, Norman dynasty, etc as was pointed before on other threads.


Maybe there is another “Roman” inspiration to Aquilonia. And that one maybe Conan himself…


I think there are some similarities between Conan’s race to Aquilonian throne and Constantine I. I mean, Conan’s quest for the throne had very typical roman undertones: Famed general who attracted the emperor’s jealousy but conquered the peoples support. Than fallows a civil war and the old emperor is defeated. The general is called the liberator and rules as the new emperor / king.

Here goes some parallels between Conan and Constantine in my opinion:

Both were victims of the Emperor/King’s jealousy and had to flee from imprisonment.

Both waged war on the frontier against the picts.

Both had a strong support from the people when racing for the throne. And both were acclaimed as “liberators”.

It seems Conan changed his capital from Tamar to Tarantia.

Constantine (like other emperors) changed his capital several times.

They were both tested by foreign invasions and civil wars during the first years of their rules.

Both were aided by supernatural events and magical dreams during or before important battles. Ok, this one was very common back then.

Both of them stopped the persecution of an outlawed cult (Asura / Christianism).

Mitra / Mithras was a very important god during the lives of Conan and Constantine.

According to Geoffrey of Monmouth in his fictional Historia Regum Britanniae, Constantine was half Celt through his mother Helena, daughter of King Cole mythical King of the Britons.

Both went to battle with large regiments of cavalry.

Constantine reunited the Empire under one emperor, ending the age of the four emperors and stopping the civil wars.

Conan “reunited” Aquilonia under one king, ending the age of feudalism and the “war of the barons”

Edited by Pictish Scout, 22 October 2008 - 04:35 PM.


#5 Kortoso

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 05:10 PM

If we are to pretend to believe that such a nation existed, it was not then "Roman" nor did anyone speak Latin. It was not during the "Middle Ages.

But, if this place actually existed during the time that we suppose, it's certainly possible that it had elements that resembled some country during the Middle Ages; during transcription, some familiar words would be used describing analogous items that were otherwise untranslatable. This would explain Conan's helmet being described using a number of (mutually exclusive) medieval terms.

The same would apply to names of people and places. The orthography of these words (the way that the sounds are transcribed) resembles Latin, but that's an easy coincidence. See, for example, the many words in Japanese that seem to be identical to Spanish words. In most cases, it can be demonstrated that they have no eytmological connection.



#6 Kortoso

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 05:13 PM

Roman citizens used incense when worshiping the spirit of the deceased Emperor.


Nearly every culture uses some sort of incense in worship. Is Aquilonia then Chinese? ;)

#7 Pictish Scout

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 07:53 PM

Roman citizens used incense when worshiping the spirit of the deceased Emperor.


Nearly every culture uses some sort of incense in worship. Is Aquilonia then Chinese? ;)


True. Also it can be influenced in Medieval cults and not on the Roman Imperial cult.

My post os only about what could have influenced REH when depicting the Hyborean civilization( s ), and in particular Aquilonia.

But, if this place actually existed during the time that we suppose, it's certainly possible that it had elements that resembled some country during the Middle Ages; during transcription, some familiar words would be used describing analogous items that were otherwise untranslatable. This would explain Conan's helmet being described using a number of (mutually exclusive) medieval terms.

The same would apply to names of people and places. The orthography of these words (the way that the sounds are transcribed) resembles Latin, but that's an easy coincidence. See, for example, the many words in Japanese that seem to be identical to Spanish words. In most cases, it can be demonstrated that they have no eytmological connection.


Yes, I agree. I didn't mean Aquilonia was some kind of Rome or Medieval France ancestor.
When it comes to some Aquilonian/Nemedian description Howard uses medieval (and late medieval) names. As an example: How could we interpret the Hyborean Pikemen? Were they like late medieval Swiss Guard, Scottish pikeman, or were they more related to the classic pikemen / Phalanx or even Sumerian pikemen depicted in the Standard of Ur?

Another exemple: Servius " a compact figure in silk hose and richly embroidered doublet"
With this description it seams a guy from the Renascence.

#8 Kortoso

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Posted 22 October 2008 - 09:43 PM

As an example: How could we interpret the Hyborean Pikemen?

Guys with spears. ;) Certainly Howard wanted to inject a quick connotation into it.
Maybe my mind is on how the Hyborian Age would be depicted in the movies, and whether they should make it literally medieval/Roman empire... :rolleyes:

#9 deuce

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 08:41 AM

Roman citizens used incense when worshiping the spirit of the deceased Emperor.

Also it can be influenced in Medieval cults and not on the Roman Imperial cult.


Hey Scout! Robert E. Howard was familiar with the practices of the Catholic Church in Texas and New Orleans. Medieval practices, influenced by the Classical past. The same type of influence answers just about every "example" of "Romanesque" culture supposedly displayed in the Conan yarns which deal with Aquilonia. Perhaps the Acheronians used incense? I don't doubt it.

My post was only about what could have influenced REH when depicting the Hyborean civilization( s ), and in particular Aquilonia.


Well, since your post cited a great many supposed examples of "Greco-Roman" influence upon Robert E. Howard, let's look at what he had to say in a letter to HPL (July 13, 1932)...

"Some day I must try to study the ancient Grecian world. It's always seemed so vague and unreal to me, in contrast to the roaring, brawling, drunken, bawdy chaos of the Middle Ages in which my instincts have always been fixed. When I go beyond the Middle Ages, my instincts veer to Assyria and Babylon, where again I seem to visualize a bloody, drunken brawling, lecherous medley. My vague instincts towards classical Greece go no further than a dim impression of calm, serene white marble statues in a slumbering grove. Though I know the people of the classic times must have wenched and brawled and guzzled like any other people, but I can not conceive of them. The first mythology I ever read was that of Greece, but even then it seemed apart and impersonal..."

There you go. Robert E. Howard's primary "instinctive fixation" was upon the Middle Ages. He only experienced "dim impressions" and "vague instincts" of the Classical world. He wasn't writing these things to "impress" Lovecraft (whom he deeply admired). HPL idolized the Greco-Roman period. REH wrote that letter after he'd already written at least five Conan yarns, two of which were The Phoenix on the Sword and The Scarlet Citadel, both set in Aquilonia. Yet, Howard tells HPL that "some day I must try to study the ancient Grecian world." According to the "AquiRomian paradigm"™, Howard should have been studying the Classical period for years and loving it. :rolleyes:

As for Howard and the Roman Empire, please check out this thread:
http://www.conan.com...?showtopic=5569 :)

But, if this place actually existed during the time that we suppose, it's certainly possible that it had elements that resembled some country during the Middle Ages; during transcription, some familiar words would be used describing analogous items that were otherwise untranslatable. This would explain Conan's helmet being described using a number of (mutually exclusive) medieval terms.

The same would apply to names of people and places. The orthography of these words (the way that the sounds are transcribed) resembles Latin, but that's an easy coincidence. See, for example, the many words in Japanese that seem to be identical to Spanish words. In most cases, it can be demonstrated that they have no eytmological connection.


Yes, I agree. I didn't mean Aquilonia was some kind of Rome or Medieval France ancestor.
When it comes to some Aquilonian/Nemedian description Howard uses medieval (and late medieval) names. As an example: How could we interpret the Hyborean Pikemen? Were they like late medieval Swiss Guard, Scottish pikeman, or were they more related to the classic pikemen / Phalanx or even Sumerian pikemen depicted in the Standard of Ur?


Are you seriously comparing Gundermen to Sumerian pikemen? :blink: The Gunderman mercenaries in "Wolves Beyond the Border" (or in any mention in all of REH's writings) certainly don't sound like Sumerian pikemen in any way. There are advantages to "casting a wide net" (even to Portugal, Sumeria or whatever), but it can also waste a lot of time and verbiage. Exactly what are your points against the Gundermen being inspired by, say, the Scottish pikemen (of whom REH read rapturously as a lad)? Let's rule out the most likely suspects first, I say. Otherwise, what about "pikemen" in South America? Or East Asia? This "wide net" approach can get ridiculous real fast, IMO, especially when we ignore Robert E. Howard's stated predelictions.

Another exemple: Servius " a compact figure in silk hose and richly embroidered doublet"
With this description it seams a guy from the Renascence.


Exactly. Sergius' depiction (by REH) as a late medieval nobleman is complete with a "hunting sword" (trousse) and a wood-paneled hunting lodge. I'd like someone to bring forth a quote from REH that describes a toga-wearing member of the Aquilonian Senate. :)

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#10 Pictish Scout

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 02:12 PM

Exactly what are your points against the Gundermen being inspired by, say, the Scottish pikemen (of whom REH read rapturously as a lad)? Let's rule out the most likely suspects first, I say.

I got nothing against Gundermen being inspired on Scottish Pikemen or more modern Swiss Pikeman. And I was looking for the more likely suspects first, there. That's why I mentioned them before the Phalanx and Sumerians. Not only for the description (there was no hoplite gear on those Pikeman, if I remember well, just "steel caps and brigandines"). These late medieval interpretation came along with the "Renascence" Servius and the numerous "arbalest", "crossbows", "pannons", etc.


But, 'IF' Howard was trying to describe Hyborean names and objects using more familiar medieval analogies, these Pikemen, Men-at-arms and knights could look different from their 100 years war counterparts. Maybe Howard was using retronyms when describing the Hyborean age, words we can easelly indentify in this exotic and "undreamed of" age.

As an example: Most people call Castles to those Daimyo Fortresses in Japan (shiro). They could have had the same purpose as European castles (fortresses) but really they don't look like any European Castle and almost has nothing to do with the roman "castellum". But still we call it a Castle. The same way the nobles of Pharaonic Egypt are called "Viziers", a title that was introduced by Arabs long after the fall of ancient Egypt.
I read a translation to Sun Tzu's Art of War where the ancient nobles of Chine are called Marquis, Dukes and Counts. Do you know what I mean? Maybe it is just a wild interpretation of REH words.

Edited by Pictish Scout, 23 October 2008 - 02:26 PM.


#11 Kortoso

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Posted 23 October 2008 - 05:29 PM

But, 'IF' Howard was trying to describe Hyborean names and objects using more familiar medieval analogies, these Pikemen, Men-at-arms and knights could look different from their 100 years war counterparts. Maybe Howard was using retronyms when describing the Hyborean age, words we can easelly indentify in this exotic and "undreamed of" age.

My point (more or less) exactly. ;)

Stepping over to Tolkien briefly, we know what he was inspired by. But his work is permitted to stand on its own, without fans jumping up and down, saying: "look, he said 'waistcoat'! Hobbits are from the 18th century! And Aragorn is Robin Hood!" etc...

OK, fans do, sometimes, but it serves only to burst a bubble that these fine writers worked so hard to construct.



#12 PainBrush

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 01:11 AM

hmmm , can't figure why some of you guys are so averse to the idea of Howard mixing classical era with Medieval & all points in time in between . Here's a 'few' relevant details to show that's exactly what he intended , regardless of if he was as expert on 'classical' era history as 'medieval' , he still had way more than just a 'passing' knowledge of the classical era , & I.M.H.op. he used it quite effectively (mixed with medieval/rennaisance era culturers) - to portray his favorite theme of 'decadent civilization' . Anyhow , mull over some of this stuff ( from just '1' of his tales)..........

In Numalia , names -
Arus ,
Aztrias Petanus ,
Promero ,
Kallian Publico ,
Kalanthes ,
Demetrio (the Inquisitor) ,
Dionus the 'Prefect' , a Roman term , not really Medieval .
Enaro , Publico's 'charioteer' , 'not' his 'wagon-master' , 'coachman' , 'driver' , or 'chauffeur' .
-all names of which there is definite 'Roman' influence , & definitely 'not' dark-ages , medieval , or rennaisance influence.

Everyones wearing 'sandals' , not 'slippers' , 'boots' , or 'shoes' .
Everyones wearing 'robes' and 'tunics' and 'girdled' . But not any mention of 'jerkins' , 'hose' , 'pantaloons' , 'breeks' , 'doublets' etc.

From Stygia ,"the god Ibis has fought Set since the first dawn of the earth" and 'Kalanthes of Hanumar' , a priest of 'Ibis' has "fought the priests of Set" all his life"..... sounding definitely like classical era 'Egypt' , no medieval counterparts .

Promero, who "gouged out a girls eye in the Court of Justice" - which definitely wouldn't occur in medieval France or Europe , but might likely occur in a classical era Roman court with a 'non-citizen' .
Enaro the charioteer has a 'debtors-slave brand' on his shoulder beneath his 'tunic' . Not a medieval practice .

The slaves of the era lived communally in the 'slave-quarters' , decidedly not medieval , but has definite precedence in classical Rome .

A 'sarcophagus' covered in 'heiroglyphics' .

Dionus tells Conan...." ..you go to the mines for killing a commoner , you hang for killing a tradesman , and for murdering a rich man , you burn ! " - all with definite Roman precedents , not really medieval European .

'Kallian Publicos temple' mentioned several times , in medieval era Europe there were really no 'temples' , just majestic 'Cathedrals' .
Kallian Publico rode the 'Pallian way' (just like the 'Via Appia' , the 'Appian Way' of classical Rome ) in his golden chariot .
Publico wore a 'rich robe and purple tunic'
the numalian police all wore 'scarlet tunics'
Mention of 'citizens rights' - apparently different than a non-citizen with 'no' rights .

Arus the watchman , sported an arbalest - medieval , not classical roman .
there was an 'Inquisitorial Council of the city of Numalia' - with implications of it being powerful & ominous like the medieval European 'Inquistion' of the Roman Catholic church having universal authority & jurisdiction above & beyond many local or 'state' governments of the time .

" You have a good point there,...put your helmet on & no-one will notice it ."
" Look for a long time at what pleases you... and longer still at what pains you "
So THIS is civilization ??!??!......

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#13 deuce

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 09:04 AM

But, 'IF' Howard was trying to describe Hyborean names and objects using more familiar medieval analogies, these Pikemen, Men-at-arms and knights could look different from their 100 years war counterparts. Maybe Howard was using retronyms when describing the Hyborean age, words we can easelly indentify in this exotic and "undreamed of" age.

My point (more or less) exactly.


I'm perfectly aware of the point both of you are making. :) I've never tried to say that Aquilonia (which nation is the primary topic of this thread, not Nemedia or any other kingdom of the Hyborian Age) was some sort of "xerox" of Medieval France or the Angevin/Plantagenet Empire or anything else. However, Howard most definitely had a model/inspiration in mind when he created the kingdom of Aquilonia and I've yet to see anyone produce evidence that the model was the Roman Empire. Latinesque names mean jack-all when we consider the fact that virtually every Hyborian nation used Latinesque names. Were Aquilonia, Ophir, Koth, Nemedia, Brythunia, Khauran, Khoraja (and maybe the Border Kingdom and Corinthia, too) ALL "Roman Empires"? THAT's a wagon-load of "Roman Empires". :rolleyes:

How many quotes from Robert E. Howard are needed to demonstrate that he didn't give a rat's a$$ about Classical Greece and that he HATED the Roman Empire? I'll post every one of them here.

How many quotes from Robert E. Howard are needed to show that he felt an "instinctive connection" with the Middle Ages? I'll post all of them, too, if necessary.

Where are Howard's tales of Classical Greece and the Roman Empire? The Bran Mak Morn yarns are set out on the ultimate northern periphery of the Empire. Does anyone think that REH would have BMM protect, rule and perpetuate the ROMAN EMPIRE? If not, then why should we think that Howard would have Conan protect, rule and perpetuate (at great personal cost to himself) some sort of COPY of the ROMAN EMPIRE (ie, "AquiRomia")? If Aquilonia isn't looked upon as the "Hyborian Roman Empire", then this dissonance with the attitudes that we know Howard held at the time disappears. Any talk about the Aquilonians being "decadent", so they MUST be "Roman", is directly contradicted by Conan's thoughts, words and actions in The Hour of the Dragon. Would Howard have Bran Mak Morn adopt Roman ways, willingly, to the point of actually speaking with a Roman accent? If not, why would REH do essentially that when he wrote of Conan and this "AquiRomia" that everyone seems to see?

There are enough tales written by Robert E. Howard concerning the Crusades and the European Renaissance to fill a couple of big volumes. Obviously, Howard, a writer who wrote from the heart with great passion, felt something for that period. All he had to say about Rome and Classical Greece can be found in the "BMM" yarns, Delenda Est and a short vignette set in Sparta. Why didn't more "Classical" yarns flow from his Underwood? There were markets for "Greco-Roman" fiction. Howard's favorite pulp, Adventure, commissioned one of REH's favorite writers, Talbot Mundy, to write a novel-length tale about Cleopatra. That project became Tros of Samothrace, a wildly popular (and controversial) serial. So, REH could have written "Greco-Roman" yarns, but, as he told HPL, he simply had no interest in the period.

Let's look at another REH quote (ca. February 1931):

"I feel more of an instinctive interest and loyalty toward individuals rather than nations, races or countries; as for instance, and especially, King Saul, King Arthur (whether historical or legendary), Joan of Arc, Robert Bruce, Brian Boru and Hugh O'Neill."

~ Robert E. Howard ~

Hmmm. No Scipio Africanus. No Leonidas. No Marius. No Philip of Macedon. No Constantine the Great. One Hebrew king (REH always said he considered Saul's era the "Aryan phase" of Jewish history) from the pre-Classical period, four men from the British Isles (Medieval/Dark Age period) and one Frenchwoman (also Middle Ages). Judging from that, just where would one say that Robert E. Howard's principal interests lay? It seems to follow the parameters of the REH passage I quoted in my earlier post quite closely: pre-Classical Middle East and Medieval "everything else". Coincidentally, one could also interpret the socio-political map of the Hyborian Age kingdoms in a similar fashion.


Stepping over to Tolkien briefly, we know what he was inspired by. But his work is permitted to stand on its own, without fans jumping up and down, saying: "look, he said 'waistcoat'! Hobbits are from the 18th century! And Aragorn is Robin Hood!" etc...
OK, fans do, sometimes, but it serves only to burst a bubble that these fine writers worked so hard to construct.


I'm not trying to burst any bubble. It's done been busted. See here:

http://www.mongoosep...pic.php?t=37503

Quilliams has rendered a beautiful painting, but those "AquiRomian" soldiers are "Greco-Roman". They're not from some "exotic fantasy bubble" created by Robert E. Howard. Everybody gets their mental pictures of Aquilonians from images like this. Pictish Scout has himself admitted that his first mental image of the Aquilonian military was from the art in the Marvel™ Conans depicting Greco-Roman "AquiRomians". Frazetta could come up with his own "fantasy" style of Hyborian Age armor and make it believable. Gianni did a good job, too. Apparently, everyone else just goes for what their idea of "Greco-Roman" looks like. I'm all for cool-looking "fantasy" armor, as long as it goes by Howard's descriptions. But, as seems the case, if an artist simply can't pull that off, then the "default" mode for the Aquilonians should be "Medieval", not "Roman" (the opposite being the case right now). Everything in Howard's Conan yarns and in his letters indicates it.

My two lunas. :)

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#14 Fernando

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 08:43 PM

All he had to say about Rome and Classical Greece can be found in the "BMM" yarns, Delenda Est and a short vignette set in Sparta.


Hey, Deuce! :)

I think you forgot of the fragment Genseric's Fifth-Born Son. There are some (not kinds :P ) Romans references there - as well as Spartan ones. Anyway, I believe Aquilonia - as far as I can say, since I don't have yet the whole The Hour of the Dragon's translation - was maybe partially based upon the Carolingian Empire. ;)

#15 deuce

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 09:04 PM

All he had to say about Rome and Classical Greece can be found in the "BMM" yarns, Delenda Est and a short vignette set in Sparta.


Hey, Deuce! :)

I think you forgot of the fragment Genseric's Fifth-Born Son. There are some (not kinds :P ) Romans references there - as well as Spartan ones.


Hey Fernando! In the context of my quote you have there, I simply meant that those are the only REH stories set in and about the Classical Greek/Roman periods (as opposed to his many, many yarns set in the Medieval/Renaiisance periods). Howard makes a few glancing mentions, usually unkind, to Rome in some of his other yarns. Here's the one from "Genseric" that you mentioned:

"Romulus was suckled by a harlot, and his sons called her a wolf through courtesy and evasion."

I can't find any direct reference to Sparta in the fragment. Allison simply lists all the battles he's died in, from Marathon to Agincourt (the 593rd anniversary of which is tomorrow) to Gettysburg.

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#16 Fernando

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 09:23 PM

I can't find any direct reference to Sparta in the fragment. Allison simply lists all the battles he's died in, from Marathon to Agincourt (the 593rd anniversary of which is tomorrow) to Gettysburg.


Hey, Deuce! :) The "reference" to Sparta is not so direct. In the fragment, JA says "Immemorial custom had decreed that only the perfect should live". In this excerpt, REH shows, not only his inspiration on a Spartan custom, but the fictional origins of this very custom - we mustn't forget that Greeks - including Spartans - were, in REH's fiction, descendants of Aryans (i.e. Vanir and Aesir)! ;)

#17 deuce

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 10:25 PM

I can't find any direct reference to Sparta in the fragment. Allison simply lists all the battles he's died in, from Marathon to Agincourt (the 593rd anniversary of which is tomorrow) to Gettysburg.


Hey, Deuce! :) The "reference" to Sparta is not so direct. In the fragment, JA says "Immemorial custom had decreed that only the perfect should live". In this excerpt, REH shows, not only his inspiration on a Spartan custom, but the fictional origins of this very custom - we mustn't forget that Greeks - including Spartans - were, in REH's fiction, descendants of Aryans (i.e. Vanir and Aesir)! ;)


This is really starting to get off-topic from the subject of Aquilonia.

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#18 Fernando

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Posted 24 October 2008 - 10:37 PM

This is really starting to get off-topic from the subject of Aquilonia.


All right! Sorry. :( Back to the subject, I believe Aquilonia - as far as I can say, since I don't have yet the whole The Hour of the Dragon's translation - was maybe partially based upon the Carolingian Empire. ;)

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 05:05 AM

Hi all,
From my balcony,I can't see how anyone can view Aquilonia as 'Roman' in any sense,at least in Conan's time.What did they conquer?In the three tales REH wrote about King Conan,they were all wars of defense.Can the Roman's claim that?Hardly. Carolingian Empire? In those centuries the big-wigs spoke Latin as did the church,...

Swords of the South we get King Conan's view: The Hour of the Dragon;

"Then let us unite Zingara with Poitain," argued Trocero. "Half a dozen princes strive against each other,and the country is torn assunder by civil wars.We will conguer it province by province,and add to our dominions.Then with the aid of the Zingarans we will conquer Argos and Ophir.We will build an empire -"
Again Conan shook his head. "Let others dream imperial dreams.I but wish to hold what is mine.I have no desire to rule an empire welded together by blood and fire.It's one thing to seize a throne with the aid of its subjects and rule them with their consent.It's another to subjugate a foreign realm and rule it by fear.I don't want to be another Valerius.No Trocero,I'll rule Aquilonia and no more,or I'll rule nothing.


That ain't Ceasar salad,... :P

Kevin.

Edited by Tu for Kull, 26 October 2008 - 04:47 AM.


#20 Pictish Scout

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Posted 25 October 2008 - 08:00 PM

[quote]Hi all,
From my balcony, I can't see how anyone can view Aquilonia as 'Roman' in any sense,at least in Conan's time.What did they conquer?In the three tales REH wrote about King Conan,they were all wars of defense.[/quote]

Aquilonia can only be (partially) inspired in Rome only if it had conquered an Empire?
The “Latin” names, which I think are a roman inspiration to Aquilonia, existed already, even before Rome was an Empire. So I don’t think we need the “Empire” as the ONLY parallel between Aquilonia and Rome.

BUT Aquilonia wasn’t innocent at all in what concerns hyborean age Imperialism.

What did they conquer before King Conan? Maybe not a BIG Empire, but they tried.

In the words of Howard:

[quote]North of Aquilonia, the western-most Hyborian kingdom, are the Cimmerians, ferocious savages, untamed by the invaders, but advancing rapidly because of contact with them;[/quote] The Hyborean Age.

I think these “invaders” are Hyboreans in general and specifically Aquilonians or Gundermen.

[quote]Gunderland was once a separate kingdom, but was brought into the larger kingdom, less by conquest than agreement. (…) and their main concession to the ways of their more civilized southern neighbors was the adoption of the god Mitra in place of the primitive Bori…[/quote] Notes on various people of the Hyborean Age.

[quote]Between Aquilonia and the Pictish wilderness lie the Bossonian marches, peopled by descendants of an aboriginal race, conquered by a tribe of Hyborians, early in the first ages of the Hyborian drift. (…) They live mainly by agriculture, in large walled villages, and are part of the Aquilonian kingdom. Their marches extend from the Border kingdom in the north to Zingara in the southwest, forming a bulwark for Aquilonia against both the Cimmerians and the Picts.[/quote] The Hyborean Age



And in Conan’s life time there is also the Venarium incident:

[quote]When the Gunderman tried to push the border northward, years ago. They tried to colonize the southern marches of Cimmeria: destroyed a few small clans built a fort-town, Venarium – you’ve heard the tale.[/quote] Beyond the Black River.

And the Black River incident:
[quote]Back to Thunder River, and still back, beyond Black River the aborigines had been pushed, with slaughter and massacre. But the dark-skinned did not forget that once Conajohara had been theirs.[/quote] Beyond the Black River.






And when Conan conquers the crown, according to REH:

[quote]King of Aquilonia for many years, in a turbulent and unquiet reign, when the Hyborian civilization had reached its most magnificent high-tide and every king had imperial ambitions. At first he fought on the defensive, but I am of the opinion that at last he was forced into wars of aggression as a matter of self-preservation. Whether he succeeded in conquering a world-wide empire, or perished in the attempt, I do not know.[/quote]

Most of Roman wars started as “defensive wars” of “self-preservation”: Punic Wars, Gallic Wars, etc. These same wars turned Rome into an Empire. If this is just propaganda or not, it’s still debated today.

Back to the Hyborean Age essay:

[quote]Wishing to extend their empire, her kings made war on their neighbors. Zingara, Argos and Ophir were annexed outright, with the western cities of Shem[/quote]

I’m not sure if these wars were during Conan’s reign or even if it was during the “Cimmerian dynasty”.

Koth, Corinthia and eastern Shemites were forced to pay tribute to Aquilonia.

To “defend” their Zamoran friends from the Hyrkanian hordes, Aquilonia stationed its armies there. It was, actually a military occupation of Zamora.

And there were also wars between Aquilonians and Cimmerians, during that time.

[quote]During this period Aquilonia's only defeats were: her failure to annex Nemedia; the rout of an army sent into Cimmeria; and the almost complete destruction of an army by the ?sir.”[/quote]

Is this an echo of the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest?

How could Aquilonians invade the Aesir without trespassing Cimmeria?

[quote]But Aquilonia's conquests were pushed to the Nilus, where a Stygian army was defeated with great slaughter, and the king of Stygia sent tribute — once at least — to divert invasion of his kingdom. Brythunia was reduced in a series of whirlwind wars, and preparations were made to subjugate the ancient rival at last — Nemedia.”[/quote]


So, in the height of Aquilonian Empire they controlled almost the present Western and Eastern Europe, Middle East and parts of North Africa, being also a sea power maybe. They were trying to conquer the present British Isles (Cimmeria), the picts and their eternal rival Nemedia, in present Germany. In my opinion they conquered almost the same space as the Romans (not the Eastern Europe though). Ok, most of them were “just” tributaries, but that was the same case in the Roman Empire.

Edited by Pictish Scout, 25 October 2008 - 08:04 PM.