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Aquilonia - Supreme in the Dreaming West


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#121 Ironhand

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Posted 22 August 2010 - 10:00 AM

I'm re-reading Wolves Beyond the Border, and I always supposed names like "Gault Hagar's son" meant "the son of Gault Hagar", and the same for the other Bossonians. However, it came a huge doubt to my mind. Did REH mean "Gault, son of Hagar", instead of "the son of Gault Hagar"?

I always assumed it to mean Gault, son of Hagar. That is consistent with Northern European usage.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

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#122 Kaziglu Bey

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Posted 24 August 2010 - 04:01 AM

Did REH mean "Gault, son of Hagar", instead of "the son of Gault Hagar"?


That was always my understanding, yes.

Wow, I totally didn't see that Ironhand had answered this question already. :blink: Guess, I'll just say "I concur."

Edited by Kaziglu Bey, 24 August 2010 - 04:05 AM.


#123 Fernando

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 08:33 PM

Thanks, IH and KB! After reading your answers - and re-reading WBtB -, I noticed Hakon Strom's son is called later of "Hakon", and the same with his brother.

Well, I guess I'll have to rewrite my WBtB's translation... :(

Edited by Fernando, 28 August 2010 - 08:33 PM.


#124 deuce

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 02:56 AM


For the Gundermen axes (I didn't find any references to Swords though) there's a passage I interpret as the pikemen breaking the knights charge with spears and killing them on the ground with axes:

"On came the knights, with waving plumes and dipping lances. Through a whistling cloud of arrows they plowed to break like a thundering wave on the blistering wall of spears and shields. Axes rose and fell above the plumed helmets, spears thrust upward, bringing down horses and riders(?) They held their formation unshaken; over their gleaming ranks flowed the great lion banner, and at the tip of the wedge a giant figure in black armor roared and smote like a hurricane, with dripping axe that split steel and bone alike"
The Hour of the Dragon page 247 - The Bloody Crown of Conan


I think the axes belong to Gundermen and not the knights (which are charging with their lances!). Gundermen are using axes for close quarters combat. Even their King, leading their unit in person, uses the same weapon.


Seems a reasonable assumption, though like Ironhand, I'd suggest they were almost poleaxes, though functionally still referred to as axes. Something like the Danish Axe, or the Sparth or Lochaber axes: six foot hafts and axe heads.


I think that Ironhand definitely has a good point. B) It could be argued either way. I love Taranaich's suggestion of Lochaber axes.

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#125 deuce

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 03:40 AM

A very likely source for the name of the Aquilonian province of Tauran:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touraine

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#126 Kortoso

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 05:40 PM

A very likely source for the name of the Aquilonian province of Tauran:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touraine


If that's true, it's interesting how REH paid attention to the correct French pronunciation, rather than how it appears on the written page. :)

#127 deuce

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Posted 05 October 2010 - 05:44 PM


A very likely source for the name of the Aquilonian province of Tauran:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Touraine


If that's true, it's interesting how REH paid attention to the correct French pronunciation, rather than how it appears on the written page. Posted Image


REH was more linguistically savvy than some give him credit for. There are several instances ("Nineveh" comes to mind) where he went with "correct" over common pronunciations. He certainly did a fine job of spelling Spanish terms.

BTW, "Tauran" is a fairly common French surname.

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#128 Pictish Scout

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Posted 02 May 2011 - 05:56 PM

Posted Image

An Aquilonian frontiersman, from the description in Beyond the Black River.

#129 Taranaich

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 04:52 PM

Very nice!

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#130 Pictish Scout

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:06 PM

And that's the description:

"They were of a new breed growing up in the world on the raw edge of the frontier ? men whom grim necessity had taught woodcraft. Aquilonians of the western provinces to a man, they had many points in common. They dressed alike ? in buckskin boots, leathern breeks and deerskin shirts, with broad girdles that held axes and short swords; and they were all gaunt and scarred and hard-eyed; sinewy and taciturn."

#131 Ironhand

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Posted 05 May 2011 - 08:49 AM

And that's the description:

"They were of a new breed growing up in the world on the raw edge of the frontier ? men whom grim necessity had taught woodcraft. Aquilonians of the western provinces to a man, they had many points in common. They dressed alike ? in buckskin boots, leathern breeks and deerskin shirts, with broad girdles that held axes and short swords; and they were all gaunt and scarred and hard-eyed; sinewy and taciturn."

Exactly right. This picture is a faithful depiction. :)
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
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#132 deuce

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Posted 07 May 2011 - 11:17 AM

And that's the description:

"They were of a new breed growing up in the world on the raw edge of the frontier ? men whom grim necessity had taught woodcraft. Aquilonians of the western provinces to a man, they had many points in common. They dressed alike ? in buckskin boots, leathern breeks and deerskin shirts, with broad girdles that held axes and short swords; and they were all gaunt and scarred and hard-eyed; sinewy and taciturn."


Top-notch stuff, Scout. B) Take a bow for that (and earlier renditions).

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#133 Gin-Wulf

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 08:22 PM

something I'm trying to find and answer to , we know in conans rule the black banner with gold lion was the symbol, but in hour of the dragon, we have mention of valenth something,, (can spell his name by memory) the king who took over after conan was dethroned his banner was a golden serpent from the old dynasty . i can t find the thread discussing conans symbol , after that little passage in HOTD i think the lion is something he brought to the crown, and before him it was a golden serpent. not to be confused with the red dragon on gold banner of Nemmedia .
any thoughts?

#134 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 09:09 PM

something I'm trying to find and answer to , we know in conans rule the black banner with gold lion was the symbol, but in hour of the dragon, we have mention of valenth something,, (can spell his name by memory) the king who took over after conan was dethroned his banner was a golden serpent from the old dynasty . i can t find the thread discussing conans symbol , after that little passage in HOTD i think the lion is something he brought to the crown, and before him it was a golden serpent. not to be confused with the red dragon on gold banner of Nemmedia .
any thoughts?


Taranaich's thread

Heraldry Of The Hyborian Age

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Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#135 Gin-Wulf

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Posted 13 September 2011 - 10:36 PM

much thanks :)

#136 deuce

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:09 PM


something I'm trying to find and answer to , we know in conans rule the black banner with gold lion was the symbol, but in hour of the dragon, we have mention of valenth something,, (can spell his name by memory) the king who took over after conan was dethroned his banner was a golden serpent from the old dynasty . i can t find the thread discussing conans symbol , after that little passage in HOTD i think the lion is something he brought to the crown, and before him it was a golden serpent. not to be confused with the red dragon on gold banner of Nemmedia .
any thoughts?


Taranaich's thread

Heraldry Of The Hyborian Age


Cool on you, AtL. B) BTW, "heraldry" (by any stretch of the imagination) was unknown in Imperial Rome. It was absolutely rampant in Aquilonia.

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#137 deuce

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 03:15 PM

Al Harron/Taranaich seems a bit too modest (or lazy :P ) to repost this. Consider it just a taste of how thoroughly he'll handle the topic when his "Hyborian Age Encyclopaedia" comes out (most quotes in bold are by Amster).

"There are examples of Howard presenting Aquilonians' better qualities.

Amalric, a noble of the house of Valerus, was the co-protagonist of the Tombalku fragment. He risks his life for a (beautiful) stranger, he doesn't take advantage of her, he offers to sacrifice himself so she can escape. He even felt ashamed for feeling wrathful at Lissa's innocence. Pretty heroic, for an alleged decadent noble.

Tiberius, an Aquilonian noble, undertakes what is tantamount to a suicide mission to give Conan a fighting chance against the Nemedians by luring Valerius into a trap... even though Conan knows nothing about it. He and his followers aren't even part of Conan's army, yet they still followed him:

“Conan knows nothing of it,” laughed Tiberias. “It was the plot of broken men, of men you ruined and turned to beasts. Amalric was right. Conan has not divided his army. We are the rabble who followed him, the wolves who skulked in these hills, the homeless men, the hopeless men. This was our plan, and the priests of Asura aided us with the mist. Look at them, Valerius! Each bears the mark of your hand, on his body or on his heart!

“Look at me! You do not know me, do you, what of this scar your hangman burned upon me? Once you knew me. Once I was lord of Amilius, the man whose sons you murdered, whose daughter your mercenaries ravished and slew. You said I would not sacrifice myself to trap you? Almighty gods, if I had a thousand lives I would give them all to buy your doom!

“And I have bought it! Look on the men you broke, dead man who once played the king! Their hour has come! This gorge is your tomb. Try to climb the cliffs: they are steep, they are high. Try to fight your way back through the defile: spears will block your path, boulders will crush you from above! Dog! I will be waiting for you in hell!”


Valannus of the Pellian Spearmen seems to be a fairly decent, humble, honest chap:

Presently the squire returned with the officer Pallantides had named – a tall man, broad and powerful, built much like the king. Like him, also, he had thick black hair. But his eyes were gray and he did not resemble Conan in his features.

“The king is stricken by a strange malady,” said Pallantides briefly. “A great honor is yours; you are to wear his armor and ride at the head of the host today. None must know that it is not the king who rides.”

“It is an honor for which a man might gladly give up his life,” stammered the captain, overcome by the suggestion. “Mitra grant that I do not fail of this mighty trust!”


...

Full-armed, Valannus dropped to his knee and bent his plumes before the figure that lay on the dais.

“Lord king, Mitra grant that I do not dishonor the harness I wear this day!”


Regardless of where one stands on Pallantides' nationality, it's clear he's a Hyborian, and just as clear he's an honourable, brave, dedicated man.

I don't even have to talk about Valeria, assuming the fact that she's a woman and outlaw excludes her, but it should be clear that there are more exceptions to the "Aquilonians are bastards" paradigm than Albiona.

So, according to Howard, the Hyborian monarchs are trecherous without a sense of personal honor, and have a false sense of entitlement by virtue of birth rather than individuual accomplishment, much like, I would note, the upper classes of Rome.

And I would note, much like the upper classes of the Middle Ages. Howard's historical stories present us with plenty of arrogant nobles clinging to birthright over personal accomplishments and committing treachery. That's the entire plot of "Hawks of Outremer."

It seems like the average civilized Aquilonian is rather fickle and unprincipled, ready to swear loyalty at the drop of a hat to avoid personal danger.

You'll remember that later in that story, those same average civilized Aquilonians then rebel against that same king they swore in, rioting in the palace and endangering themselves to oust Arpello. Evidently the populace who rebelled against Conan in "Phoenix" were given a rude awakening when they realised just what would happen when they swore someone in purely on the basis of some meagre drop of royal blood. Also, what was Servius supposed to do? Get himself killed like Emilius Scavonus, simply because of a change in leadership? Little point in honouring a dead king. And don't forget:

“Well,” said Conan harshly, “is it not better to die honorably than to live in infamy? Is death worse than oppression, slavery and ultimate destruction?”
When the fear of sorcery is in, reason is out.


As soon as he learned Conan was not dead, he put himself on the line against this sorcery, risking his life to ensure Conan regain the throne: hardly the actions of a fickle, unprincipled man.

In The Hour of the Dragon, those "fickle, unprincipled" Aquilonians rebel against Valerius, only to be crushed by Altaro's sorcery - their morale was destroyed. How can a fickle, unprincipled populace have morale? Later on, they join in the ambush on Valerius - the rightful king. If they were truly fickle and unprincipled, surely they would just stay put and not rock the boat? The fact is that the people of Aquilonia were only against Conan in "The Phoenix on the Sword" due to the machinations of Rinaldo combined with the "perfection around the corner" phenomenon. When they actually get a taste of royal life under Arpello and Valerius, they flock back to Conan: it's notable that they're much more difficult to subdue in The Hour of the Dragon than "The Scarlet Citadel." Evidently they're wising up.

I would also note that the system of government under Conan is not the feudal system.

To be blunt: if not feudal, then what is it?

Yes, there are admirable Hyborians in the Conan stories, but they're usually either victims of the civilized social order, such as Conan's numerous slave/girlfriends, or like Prospero, Balthus, and Trocero, they're from the outlying provinces and are not fully civilized.

Balthus I'll give you on the fuzziness regarding Westermarckers, but Prospero and Trocero? Not fully civilized? It's hard to invisage two characters in the Conan stories who epitomise the chivalric ideal more than those two: gleaming armour, strong senses of honour, dreaming of their sun-washed orange groves and palm trees?

“What is your command, sire?” they cried. “Let one of us ride ahead and bear the news of your coming into Poitain! Banners will wave from every tower, roses will carpet the road before your horse’s feet, and all the beauty and chivalry of the south will give you the honor due you – ”
Conan shook his head.
“Who could doubt your loyalty?"


In contrast, name a single Roman character Howard describes in positive terms that isn't a Germanic/Celtic/British foederati.

Finally, Howard himself states that the Aquilonians - even by the time of their fall - had not become degenerate.

But degeneracy had not yet sapped the kings and the people; though clad in silks and cloth-of-gold, they were still a vital, virile race.

Howard uses "decadence," "degeneracy" and similar terms for Xuthal, Xuchotl, Zamora, Turan, Shemite gods, and certain Kushite kings. Never for Aquilonia, or any Hyborian nation, or king.

--- Taranaich"


In addition, KIng Conan acquires an "Aquilonian accent" by the time of HotD. Nor does Conan seem to hold any particular grudge towards Aquilonia regarding Venarium. Two "virile" (a term REH never used in reference to Rome) nations naturally coming into conflict. You put two bulls in the same pen; expect a fight.

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#138 amster

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 04:38 PM

In addition, KIng Conan acquires an "Aquilonian accent" by the time of HotD. Nor does Conan seem to hold any particular grudge towards Aquilonia regarding Venarium. Two "virile" (a term REH never used in reference to Rome) nations naturally coming into conflict. You put two bulls in the same pen; expect a fight.


Yeah, and the people who stumble upon this thread and not the other one might be interested in reading the points that Taranaich is responding to in their full context:

Al Harron's latest entry on the subject of Aquiromans is up on his blog:
http://theblogthatti...t.blogspot.com/

Just to repeat myself, I never asserted that when it comes to technology, style of government, etc., that the Hyborian kingdoms in general and Aquilonia in particular were more Classical or Roman than Medieval, but I stand by my prior assertion that thematically the Conan stories are about the stuggle between barbarism and classical civilization, and in many ways are a continuation of the debate he was having at the same time with HP Lovecraft. I want to discuss the quote by Howard that Taranaich starts his essay off with:

I was, as always, much interested in your remarks concerning the classical world, of which I know so little. What a city Alexandria must have been! I had no idea of the origin of the word parchment. As I’ve said before, your letters are an actual education for me. Some day I must try to study the ancient Grecian world. Its 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 concieve of them. The first mythology I ever read was that of Greece, but even then it seemed apart and impersonal, without the instinctive appeal I later found in Germanic mythology.

This argument is made pretty routinely: that REH was simply not interested in Classical culture and therefore wouldn't write about it, and that conversely, the Hyborian civilization was the type of civilization that he was interested in writing about. Let's just go back to this quote for a moment:

I have tried to study Greek and Roman history, but I found it dull and to some extent inexplicable. I can not understand their viewpoints. The Achaeans of the Heroic Age interest me, and to a lesser extent, the Romans of the early republic, when they were a struggling tribal state, if they could be called that. But soon the interest dwindles. I attribute this not to any real lack of interest those times contain, but to a defect in my own make-up. I am unable to rouse much interest in any civilized race, country, or epoch, including this one. When a race –almost any race –is emerging from barbarism, or not yet emerged, then they hold my interest. I can seem to understand them, and to write intelligently of them. But as they progress towards civilization, my grip on them begins to weaken, until at last it vanishes entirely, and I find their ways and thoughts and ambitions perfectly alien and baffling.

First of all, we know from the Bran Mak Morn stories that REH could write about Roman civilization realistically and convincingly when he wanted to, but I can't think of a single REH where he writes about either barbarism or civilization from the point of view of someone who's civilized. He can write about civilization just fine when it's from the point of view of someone who finds their ways baffling.

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

This describes Hyborian civilization at it's peak. As Taranaich, Deuce and others have noted, it's considerably more technologically advanced than Roman civilzation. Additionally, I think it's fair to say that it's at least the equal to Greece and Rome when it comes to things like art, culture, literature, and philosophy. Am I the only one experiencing a bit of cognitive dissonace here? REH had no interest in writing about a civilization once it had peaked, and yet he created a civilization even more impressive than the real thing? So was REH at all interested in setting his tales in the Hyborian kingdoms proper, or was such a setting "too civilized" to hold his interest? I would note that only seven of the Conan stories, roughly one third, are set in the Hyborian Kingdoms proper:

The Phoenix on the Sword
The God in the Bowl
The Scarlet Citadel
Queen of the Black Coast (beginning of 1st chapter)
Rogues in the House
The Hour of the Dragon
Beyond the Black River

As it's been noted, REH had "no interest" in Classical civilization, he "hated" the Romans, and once a civilization had reached a certain level he found their ways baffling. Converesly, the assumption is that REH "liked" the Aquilonians, and made them an admirable people. So what did REH and his character Conan think of the Hyborians and Hyborian civilization in general and the Aquilonians in particular?

"I wish I might ride with you to Nemedia," said Conan enviously. "It seems ages since I had a horse between my knees — but Publius says that affairs in the city require my presence. Curse him! "When I overthrew the old dynasty," he continued, speaking with the easy familiarity which existed only between the Poitainian and himself, "it was easy enough, though it seemed bitter hard at the time. Looking back now over the wild path I followed, all those days of toil, intrigue, slaughter and tribulation seem like a dream.

"I did not dream far enough, Prospero. When King Numedides lay dead at my feet and I tore the crown from his gory head and set it on my own, I had reached the ultimate border of my dreams. I had prepared myself to take the crown, not to hold it. In the old free days all I wanted was a sharp sword and a straight path to my enemies. Now no paths are straight and my sword is useless. -The Phoenix on the Sword

It seems, with remarkable similarity to the sentiments REH expressed to Lovecraft, that once Conan completes his own climb from barbarism to the peak of civilization, he finds it rather boring and uninteresting, not to mention baffling.

"When I overthrew Numedides, then I was the Liberator — now they spit at my shadow. 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. When I led her armies to victory as a mercenary, Aquilonia overlooked the fact that I was a foreigner, but now she can not forgive me.

"Now in Mitra's temple there come to burn incense to Numedides' memory, men whom his hangmen maimed and blinded, men whose sons died in his dungeons, whose wives and daughters were dragged into his seraglio. The fickle fools!" -Hour of the Dragon

So the average Aquilonian on the street is a fickle ingrate who's loyalties sway with the wind. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement.

"Compensation!" It was a gust of deep laughter from Conan's mighty chest. "The price of infamy and treachery! I am a barbarian, so I shall sell my kingdom and its people for life and your filthy gold? Ha! How did you come to your crown, you and that black-faced pig beside you? Your fathers did the fighting and the suffering, and handed their crowns to you on golden platters. What you inherited without lifting a finger — except to poison a few brothers — I fought for.

"You sit on satin and guzzle wine the people sweat for, and talk of divine rights of sovereignty — bah! I climbed out of the abyss of naked barbarism to the throne and in that climb I spilt my blood as freely as I spilt that of others. If either of us has the right to rule men, by Crom, it is I! How have you proved yourselves my superiors?

"I found Aquilonia in the grip of a pig like you — one who traced his genealogy for a thousand years. The land was torn with the wars of the barons, and the people cried out under oppression and taxation. Today no Aquilonian noble dares maltreat the humblest of my subjects, and the taxes of the people are lighter than anywhere else in the world. -The Scarlet Citadel

So, according to Howard, the Hyborian monarchs are trecherous without a sense of personal honor, and have a false sense of entitlement by virtue of birth rather than individuual accomplishment, much like, I would note, the upper classes of Rome. Conan, on the other hand, has passed both taxation and human rights reforms that have made Aquilonia atypical when compared to it's neighbors. And how do the Aquilonians react when Conan is out of the picture?

He laid it on the table before Conan's eyes. The king looked into cloudy depths which deepened and expanded. Slowly images crystallized out of mist and shadows. He was looking on a familiar landscape. Broad plains ran to a wide winding river, beyond which the level lands ran up quickly into a maze of low hills. On the northern bank of the river stood a walled town, guarded by a moat connected at each end with the river. "By Crom!" ejaculated Conan. "It's Shamar! The dogs besiege it!" The invaders had crossed the river; their pavilions stood in the narrow plain between the city and the hills. Their warriors swarmed about the walls, their mail gleaming palely under the moon. Arrows and stones rained on them from the towers and they staggered back, but came on again. Even as Conan cursed, the scene changed. Tall spires and gleaming domes stood up in the mist, and he looked on his own capital of Tamar, where all was confusion. He saw the steel-clad knights of Poitain, his staunchest supporters, riding out of the gate, hooted and hissed by the multitude which swarmed the streets. He saw looting and rioting, and men-at-arms whose shields bore the insignia of Pellia, manning the towers and swaggering through the markets. Over all, like a fantasmal mirage, he saw the dark, triumphant face of Prince Arpello of Pellia. The images faded. "So!" raved Conan. "My people turn on me the moment my back is turned—"

"Not entirely," broke in Pelias. "They have heard that you are dead. There is no one to protect them from outer enemies and civil war, they think. Naturally, they turn to the strongest noble, to avoid the horrors of anarchy. They do not trust the Poitanians, remembering former wars. But Arpello is on hand, and the strongest prince of the central provinces."

It seems like the average civilized Aquilonian is rather fickle and unprincipled, ready to swear loyalty at the drop of a hat to avoid personal danger. REH revisits this theme in Hour of the Dragon:

"I am not strong enough to defy him openly," admitted Servius. "The fifty men-at-arms I could lead to battle would be but a handful of straws. You saw the ruins of Emilius Scavonus's plantation?" Conan nodded, frowning darkly. "He was the strongest patrician in this province, as you know. He refused to give his allegiance to Valerius. The Nemedians burned him in the ruins of his own villa. After that the rest of us saw the futility of resistance, especially as the people of Tarantia refused to fight. We submitted and Valerius spared our lives, though he levied a tax upon us that will ruin many. But what could we do? We thought you were dead. Many of the barons had been slain, others taken prisoner. The army was shattered and scattered. You have no heir to take the crown. There was no one to lead us -- "

"The merchants and commoners, dreading anarchy and a return of feudal days when each baron was his own law, cried out that any king was better than none, even Valerius, who was at least of the blood of the old dynasty. There was no one to oppose him when he rode up at the head of his steel-clad hosts, with the scarlet dragon of Nemedia floating over him, and rang his lance against the gates of Tarantia.

I would also note that the system of government under Conan is not the feudal system. So what is REH's opinion of other Hyborian nationalities? Well, let's see. In Rogues in the House, we have not one but two trecheous priests, a trecherous girlfriend, and a foppish nobleman who would rather pay to have someone killed than to do the deed himself. There's not one admirable civilized character in the entire story. I've already discussed the justice system in Queen of the Black Coast on this thread. Yes, there are admirable Hyborians in the Conan stories, but they're usually either victims of the civilized social order, such as Conan's numerous slave/girlfriends, or like Prospero, Balthus, and Trocero, they're from the outlying provinces and are not fully civilized. There are of course exceptions, like the Coutess Albiona, but the general trend is unmistakable in my opinion. My point is that the idea that the Conan stories thematically aren't based on the barbarism vs. classical civilization model rests on the premise that REH wasn't particularly interested in classical civilization and more importantly, didn't particularly like it, but it doesn't seem to me that Hyborian civilization is particularly likable, either.


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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#139 deuce

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Posted 25 February 2012 - 05:00 PM


In addition, KIng Conan acquires an "Aquilonian accent" by the time of HotD. Nor does Conan seem to hold any particular grudge towards Aquilonia regarding Venarium. Two "virile" (a term REH never used in reference to Rome) nations naturally coming into conflict. You put two bulls in the same pen; expect a fight.


Yeah, and the people who stumble upon this thread and not the other one might be interested in reading the points that Taranaich is responding to in their full context:


I'm pretty sure that Taranaich isn't scared of any such doing so. Here's the link:

http://www.conan.com...?showtopic=9380

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#140 Lunatic

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Posted 28 June 2013 - 11:10 AM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquila

 

Why I associate Aquilonia with eagles...as a "name".