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(Amra's) The Chronicles Of Conan The Cimmerian


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#41 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:47 AM

Untitled Synopsis/Draft a.k.a. The Shumballa Typescripts
(The Snout in the Dark)

The Shumballa Typescripts were an unfinished story synopsis and unfinished story draft that were abandoned by Howard; they were not published in his lifetime.

Set in Kush, Conan rescues the sister to the king of Kush and becomes embroiled in a power struggle for the rule of the kingdom.

Language:


Kushite, Nemedian

"Have you taught her Kushite, as I commanded?" -The Shumballah Draft

Moving inland Conan is in the city of Shumballa in the land of Kush in the The Shumballah Typescripts. He speaks Kushite/Cushite and probably Nemedian to Diana with whom he escapes.

"His emissary bought a Nemedian girl, Diana, from a Shemitish slave-trader, who had captured her from an Argossean trading vessel."- The Shumballa Synopsis

Profession:

Wandering Adventurer, Captain of the royal guard

Conan described in the typescripts:


"Blows aimed at her in the press were blocked or diverted by the mass; and then there came a shock under which the whole throng staggered as a horsemen on a powerful steed crashed full into the press." -The Shumballa Draft

"Men went down screaming to be crushed under the flailing hoofs; Tananda got a dizzy glimpse of a figure towering above the press, of a dark scarred face under a steel helmet, of a scarlet cloak unfurled from mighty mailed shoulders, and a great sword lashing up and down, spattering crimson splashes." -The Shumballa Draft

"Wildly driven spears and knives glanced from his helmet or the shield on his left arm, while his broadsword cleft flesh and bone, split skulls, scattered brains and spilled entrails into the bloody dust." -The Shumballa Draft

"A penniless wanderer." -The Shumballa Draft

Clues to placement:

"Her escort were murdered, and she was dragged from her saddle and stripped naked by the mob, who were about to tear her to pieces when she was rescued by Conan, who had just arrived in Shumballa, a wandering adventurer who had recently been a corsair." -The Shumballa Synopsis

Conan has obviously moved inland from the coasts after Queen of the Black Coast. There is no mention as to where he acquired a horse while traveling through the jungle. The shield he may have gotten from the Tigress before sending it out to sea. Another mystery is where he got another scarlet cloak. The cloak he had was immolated by fire at the end of Queen and cannot be the same cloak in Shumballa.

"I came here to seek my fortune. I was formally a corsair." -The Shumballa Draft

"We have heard tales of you, whom men call Amra the Lion. But if you are no longer a corsair, what are you now?" -The Shumballa Draft

Conan is made captain of the royal guard and gains favor.

"Shortly thereafter he put down a rising of the blacks, was greatly esteemed by the king." - The Shumballa Synopsis

"He was likewise slain by the mob, and then the blacks rose and destroyed Shumballa, and Conan and Diana escaped." -The Shumballa Synopsis

There is no clue as to what Conan does at this point but from Kush he goes north eventually coming to Koth.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 01 September 2011 - 05:18 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#42 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 09:54 AM

From Koth to Shem, through Stygia cutting across kush south into the desert wastes to Xuthal

Xuthal of the Dusk

Fleeing south after the complete rout and destruction of the army that he had been a mercenary in Conan finds himself in the deserts south of Kush; with Natala he finds a mysterious city the people of which are sacrificed to an ancient god.

Xuthal of the Dusk was first published in Weird Tales in September 1933 as The Slithering Shadow.

Language:

Kothic, Shemitish, Stygian, Brythunian

In Xuthal of the Dusk while traveling as the sole survivors of an army fighting his way through Koth (knowing Kothic which he speaks from Black Colossus), Shem (knowing Shemitish having learned with the Zuagirs, whilst traversing Stygia (probably picking up more Stygian building on his knowledge learned as a corsair), and finally to the strange city of Xuthal in the deserts south of Kush.

I think he is probably speaking Brythunian to Natala that he would have learned crossing Brythunia in his youth. He speaks his newly learned Stygian to Thalis in Xuthal.

"The girl was Brythunian, whom Conan had found in the slave-market of a stormed Shemite city, and appropriated."- Xuthal of the Dusk

"'Lir an mannanan mac lir!'he swore..." - Xuthal of the Dusk

Conan swearing in his native Cimmerian tongue naming two Celtic gods Lir, and "the son of" (mac in Gaelic) Lir, Mannanan. Curiously Howard does not mention either god in a list of Cimmerian gods "Crom, Badb, Morrigan, Macha, Nemain, war-goddeses, Diancecht, Dagda" nor other northern barbarian gods such as the Nordheimr god "Ymir". - Howard in Hyborian Names and Countries

"After a tense moment he spoke, in a far-away detached tone, and a language his hearers did not understand. On a venture Conan replied in Stygian, and the stranger answered in the same tongue: 'Who are you?'"- Xuthal of the Dusk

"'Who are you' bluntly countered Conan, who quickly wearied of answering questions.’I am Thalis the Stygian,' she replied...'I am Conan, a Cimmerian, and this is Natala, a daughter of Brythunia', he answered." - Xuthal of the Dusk

Brythunian is never mentioned by Howard as a language, I name it after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in.

Profession:

Mercenary

Conan described in the story:

“The desert shimmered in the heat waves. Conan the Cimmerian stared out over the aching desolation and involuntarily drew the back of his powerful hand over his blackened lips. He stood like a bronze image in the sand, apparently impervious to the murderous sun, though his only garment was a silk loin-cloth, girdled by a wide gold-buckled belt from which hung a saber and a broad-bladed poniard. On his clean-cut limbs were evidences of scarcely healed wounds.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“He lifted a small canteen from his belt and shook it, scowling at the faint splashing within.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“The Cimmerian growled wordlessly, glaring truculently at the surrounding waste, with outthrust jaw, and blue eyes smoldering savagely from under his black tousled mane, as if the desert was a tangible enemy.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

Clues to placement:

“He and the girl were, so far as he knew, the sole survivors of Prince Almuric’s army, that mad motley horde which, following the defeated rebel prince of Koth, swept through the Lands of Shem like a devastating sandstorm and drenched the outlands of Stygia with blood. With a Stygian host on its heels, it had cut its way through the black kingdom of Kush, only to be annihilated on the edge of the southern desert. Conan likened it in his mind to a great torrent, dwindling gradually as it rushed southward, to run dry at last in the sands of the naked desert. The bones of its members – mercenaries, outcasts, broken men, outlaws – lay strewn from the Kothic uplands to the dunes of the wilderness.
From that final slaughter, when the Stygians and the Kushites closed in on the trapped remnants, Conan had cut his way clear and fled on a camel with the girl. Behind them the land swarmed with enemies; the only way open to them was the desert to the south. Into those menacing depths they had plunged.
The girl was a Brythunian, whom Conan had found in the slave-market of a stormed Shemite city, and appropriated. She had had nothing to say in the matter, but her new position was so far superior to the lot of any Hyborian woman in a Shemitish seraglio, that she accepted it thankfully. So she had shared in the adventures of Almuric’s damned horde.”
– Xuthal of the Dusk

Conan encounters Xuthal a strange city that is very similar to Xuchotl from Red Nails that he encounters later in his career. Both are built by peoples of the east in very similar fashions.

“’I saw no fields or vineyards outside the city. Have they orchards and cattle-pens within the walls?’ She shook her head. ‘They manufacture their own food out of the primal elements.’” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“’No cattle have trampled the plain on this side of the city,’ said he. ‘No plowshare has toughed the earth for years, maybe centuries. But look: once this plain was cultivated.’” – Red Nails

“SO FOR many centuries the people of Xuchotl dwelt in their city, cultivating the fertile plain, until their wise men learned how to grow fruit within the city – fruit which is not planted in soil, but obtains its nourishment out of the air – and then they let the irrigation ditches run dry, and dwelt more and more in luxurious sloth, until decay seized them.” – Red Nails

“The city is really one great palace, with every building inside the walls closely connected with the others.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“’There are no streets in Xuchotl,’ he answered. ‘No squares or open courts. The whole city is built like one giant palace under one great roof. The nearest approach to a street is the Great Hall which traverses the city from the north gate to the south gate. The only doors opening into the outer world are the city gates, through which no living man has passed for fifty years.” - Red Nails

“Some of the chambers were unlighted, and these they avoided. Others were bathed in a soft weird light that seemed to emanate from jewels set in the walls in fantastic designs.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“Have you wondered about these lights? They are jewels, fused with radium. You rub them with your thumb to make them glow, then rub them again, the opposite way, to extinguish them.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

"The vaulted ceiling was of lapis lazuli, adorned with clusters of great green stones that gleamed with a poisonous radiance. 'Green fire-stones,' growled Conan. 'That's what the people of Punt call them. They’re supposed to be the petrified eyes of those prehistoric snakes the ancients called Golden Serpents. They glow like a cat's eyes in the dark At night this hall would be lighted by them, but it would be hellishly weird illumination. Let's look around. We might find a cache of jewels.'" -Red Nails

I placed Xuthal of the Dusk prior to The Devil in Iron for the same reason that Marek and Rippke did, that in Devil Conan decides that the Dagonian people of Dagonia which ruins are presently found on the island of Xapur, are addicted to a drug, perhaps the black lotus like the people of Xuthal. Conan would not be able to decide that there were any similarities unless he remembered seeing the same drug induced slumber as he did at Xuthal, making Xuthal of the Dusk a prior story. He had already experienced the slumber caused by the black lotus during Queen of the Black Coast and could have likened it to that experience, instead he likened it to the more recent one in Xuthal.

"He decided that she must be an addict of some drug, perhaps like the black lotus of Xuthal." -The Devil in Iron

“There was neither surprise nor hostility in his amber eyes. They were dreamy as a lotus-eater’s.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“Much of the time these people lie in sleep. Their dream-life is as important – and to them as real – as their waking life. You have heard of the black lotus? In certain pits of the city it grows. Through the ages they have cultivated it, until, instead of death, its juice induces dreams, gorgeous and fantastic. In these dreams they spend most of their time. Their lives are vague, erratic, and without plan. They dream, they wake, drink, love, eat, and dream again. They seldom finish anything they begin, but leave it half completed and sink back again into the slumber of the black lotus.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

Conan already speaks Stygian from his time raiding their coasts with the corsairs, and further refined from his time as a Kothic mercenary battling his way through Stygia.

"After a tense moment he spoke, in a far-away detached tone, and a language his hearers did not understand. On a venture Conan replied in Stygian, and the stranger answered in the same tongue: 'Who are you?'" – Xuthal of the Dusk

Conan makes a reference to his Corsair days by way of comparison, remembering a harrowing battle against a serpent.

“But it was its damnable squeezing that got my wind. It was worse than a python.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

"Strong beyond the comprehension of civilized man, he had broken the neck of a python in a fiendish battle on the Stygian coast, in his corsair days." - The Scarlet Citadel

“There is an oasis a day’s march to the south – I have seen it on the old maps their ancestors drew on parchment – but no man of Xuthal has visited it for three generations, much less made any attempt to explore the fertile grasslands which the maps show lying another day’s march beyond it.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“’They may even pursue us, but from what Thalis said, I doubt it. That way is south,’ a bronze muscular arm indicated their course; ‘So somewhere in that direction lies the oasis. Come!’” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“We got off light, after all: we have wine and water and a good chance of reaching a habitable country, though I look as if I’d gone through a meat-grinder, and you have a sore-“ – Xuthal of the Dusk

From Xuthal south to an oasis then further south to the grasslands

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 20 December 2010 - 04:39 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#43 elegos7

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 12:33 PM

Hi Amra,

You seem to have updated and modified your timeline quite drastically, moving (and deleting the descriptions) of Tombalku and Vale.

What is the reason for these changes?
Of course, we will probably see them in a couple of days, I am just curious.

#44 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 05:35 PM

Hi Amra,

You seem to have updated and modified your timeline quite drastically, moving (and deleting the descriptions) of Tombalku and Vale.

What is the reason for these changes?
Of course, we will probably see them in a couple of days, I am just curious.


I ran into something I hadn't noticed before and it changed my mind on placement as I thought it could not be avoided. In reality I didn't want to put anything up until I was completely finished, but my brother wanted me to put up what I had already and complete it in parts. So I did. Seems I was a little premature.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#45 Tex

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Posted 17 December 2010 - 06:30 PM

In reality I didn't want to put anything up until I was completely finished, but my brother wanted me to put up what I had already and complete it in parts. So I did. Seems I was a little premature.


No no, this is amazing stuff! It's almost like watching Sherlock Holmes piecing together all the strands of a mystery.

The creative process is ALWAYS fascinating to watch.

Keep it up! B)

Tex
(enjoying the serialized version, and waiting for the collected edition)

#46 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:50 AM

Iron Shadows in the Moon

After the mercenary forces of the Free Companions are trapped at the Ilbars River Conan escapes and enacts some vengeance prior to fleeing to the Vilayet Sea reaching a mysterious island and a waiting nocturnal menace.

Iron Shadows in the Moon was first published in Weird Tales in April 1934 as Shadows in the Moonlight.

Language:

Hyrkanian, Ophirean

Conan learns to speak Hyrkanian as a Zuagir fighting the Turanians prior to The Man-Eaters of Zamboula and as a Kozaki and speaks it in the story. Conan also speaks to Olivia presumably in her native tongue Ophirean.

"'You Hyrkanian dog!' mouthed this apparition in a barbarous accent. 'The devils of vengeance have brought you here!' 'Kozak!' ejaculated Shah Amurath, recoiling." - Iron Shadows in the Moon

"'I am Conan, of Cimmeria,' he grunted. 'I was with the kozaki, as the Hyrkanian dogs called us.' ...'I am a daughter of the king of Ophir,'she said." –Iron Shadows in the Moon

Ophirean is never mentioned by Howard as a language, I name it after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in.

Profession:

Free Companion Mercenary, Kozaki raider, Vilayet pirate of the Red Brotherhood

Conan described in the story:

“Olivia, staring up from the ground, saw what she what she took to be either a savage or a madman advancing on Shah Amurath in an attitude of deadly menace. He was powerfully built, naked but for a girdled loin-cloth, which was stained with blood and crusted with dried mire. His black mane was matted with mud and clotted blood; there were streaks of dried blood on his chest and limbs, dried blood on the long straight sword he gripped in his right hand. From under the tangle of his locks, bloodshot eyes glared like coals of blue fire.” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

Conan no longer has the saber he had in Xuthal of the Dusk.

“His jaws champed spasmodically, froth appeared on his blackened lips.” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“It was evident that he was not an Hyrkanian, and he did not resemble the Hyborian races. There was a wolfish hardness about him that marked the barbarian. His features, allowing for the strains and stains of battle and his hiding in the marshes, reflected that same untamed wildness, but they were neither evil nor degenerate.” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“So saying, he laid aside his sword, and wading out shoulder-deep into the blue water, went about his ablutions. When he emerged, his clean-cut bronze limbs shone, his streaming black mane was no longer matted. His blue eyes, though they smoldered with unquenchable fire, were no longer murky or bloodshot. But the tigerish suppleness of limb and the dangerous aspect of feature were not altered.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

“He came of a people bloody, grim and ferocious. His kinship to the wild was apparent in his every action; it burned in his smoldering eyes.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Clues to placement:

Shah Amurath a Turanian lord defeats the Free Companions who he names as part of the Kozaki.

“But come – let us return to Akif, where the pople are still feting the conqueror of the miserable Kozaki; while he, the conqueror, is engaged in recapturing a wretched fugitive, a foolish, lovely, idiotic runaway!” Iron Shadows in the Moon

Shah Amurath not only defeats them but routs them hounding them to the last man, who of course is Conan; who has witnessed the torture of his comrades unlucky enough to escape the destruction.

"'You Hyrkanian dog!' mouthed this apparition in a barbarous accent.’The devils of vengeance have brought you here!' 'Kozak!' ejaculated Shah Amurath, recoiling. ‘I did not know a dog of you escaped! I thought you all lay stiff on the steppe, by the Ilbars River.’ ‘All but me, damn you!’ cried the other" – Iron Shadows in the Moon

“Shah Amurath, the great lord of Akir! Oh, damn you, how I love the sight of you – you, who fed my comrades to the vultures, who tore them between wild horses, blinded and maimed and mutilated them – ai, you dog, you filthy dog!” – Iron Shadows of the Moon

Conan says he is with the Kozaki.

“’Who are you?’ she asked. ‘Shah Amurath called you a Kozak; were you of that band?’ ‘I am Conan, of Cimmeria,’ he grunted. ‘I was with the kozaki, as the Hyrkanian dogs called us.’” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Instead of being a Kozak proper born on the steppes, he is one of the Free Companions a mercenary army. Who Shah Amurath compares nominally to the Kozaki who also raid Turan and are made up of similar men. The Free Companions probably comprise one part of the Kozaki the Free People.

“I was one of those dissolute rogues, the Free Companions, who burned and looted along the borders. There were five thousand of us, from a score of races and tribes. We had been serving as mercenaries for a rebel prince in eastern Koth, most of us, and when he made peace with his cursed sovereign, we were out of employment; so we took to plundering the outlying dominions of Koth, Zamora and Turan impartially. A week ago Shah Amurath trapped us near the banks of Ilbars with fifteen thousand men. Mitra! The skies were black with vultures, When the lines broke, after a whole day of fighting, some tried to break through to the north, some to the west. I doubt if any escaped. The steppes were covered with horsemen riding down the fugitives. I broke for the east, and finally reached the edge of the marshes that border this part of the Vilayet.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Obviously a considerable amount of time has passed and Conan took part in a mercenary army again for a rebel prince fighting against Koth, but this time when defeat is eminent the prince makes peace with the king instead of getting utterly destroyed as his brother, Prince Amulric and his army did when they were driven from Koth and destroyed in the deserts south of Kush in Xuthal of the Dusk.

Conan has been fighting against Koth since his mercenary days with the Corinthians in The Yaralet Fragment and has repeatedly worked for forces that oppose Koth such as the kingdoms of Khoraja who gained their independence from Koth prior to Black Colossus and for Khauran another kingdom claiming independence from Koth in A Witch Shall Be Born. Mercenary Conan is in the end a sell-sword and will go wherever the pay is best.

“In that case we might go over to the king of Koth, though that cursed miser is no friend of mine.” –Black Colossus

Who are the Kozaki?

“On the broad steppes, between the sea of Vilayet and the borders of the easternmost Hyborian kingdoms, a new race had sprung up in the past half-century, formed originally of fleeing criminals, broken men, escaped slaves, and deserting soldiers. They were men of many crimes and countries, some born on the steppes, some fleeing from the kingdoms in the west. They were called kozak, which means wastrel.
Dwelling on the wild, open steppes, owning no law but their own peculiar code, they had become a people capable even of defying the Grand Monarch. Ceaselessly they raided the Turanian frontier, retiring in the steppes when defeated; with the pirates of Vilayet, men of much the same breed, they harried the coast, preying off the merchant ships which plied between the Hyrkanian ports.”
– The Devil in Iron

They were in existence for fifty years, well before the Free Companion mercenaries started harrying the Turanians and were still there after the Free Companions were destroyed. I think that the Free Companions were one part of the Kozaki the Free People.

Wastrel means:
1. A wasteful person; spend-thrift
2. A waif; abandoned child
3. An idler or good-for-nothing.
-Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

When Shah Amurath calls Conan a wastrel it does not necessarily mean he is a Kozaki but that the Shah is describing him in the Hyrkanian tongue as a Kozak.

How fitting that the Kozaki have embraced the name as their own and Conan later becomes a chief of them in The Devil in Iron.

That being said I am sure that the men of the Free Companies and the Kozaki probably had some contact while they were both raiding the Turanians and may have mingled. The Free Companions being the deserting soldiers that made up part of the Kozaki as a whole. The Free Companions being destroyed completely does not mean that the Kozaki are destroyed entirely just that the 5000 mercenaries were.

“’I was a Kozak before I was a pirate,’ he answered. ‘They live in the saddle.’” –Red Nails

“If they will have none of me, by Crom I will ride northward with you to the steppes of the kozaki. I was a hetman among the Free Companions before I rode southward. I’ll make you a queen on the Zaporoska River.” – The People of the Black Circle

Dale Rippke doesn’t believe that Conan as a Free Companion in Iron Shadows in the Moon is familiar with the geography of Turan and the area around the Vilayet.

“He shows only a superficial sense of the area’s geography; he plans to escape his pursuers by traveling the Vilayet Sea in a rowboat. His planned escape route is the longest and riskiest of his options. He could have traveled southward, past Aghrapur in the dark, and reached the safety of the mountains to the south of the city within a day or so. Instead he chose to row northward past all of the Turanian ports in an effort that would have taken him weeks to accomplish. This clearly shows that he isn’t familiar with the layout of the nation of Turan, which he should be if he had actually experienced the country years earlier as a mercenary.” –Dale Rippke in The Dark Storm Conan Chronology

But in addition to having raided the Turanians with the Zuagirs in A Witch Shall Be Born and the period after, he shows considerable knowledge of the area, its inhabitants, and the local fauna. He knows the southwestern, northern, and eastern shores of the Vilayet and even recognizes animals from the region.

“The southwestern shore is held by the Hyrkanians for hundreds of miles. We still have a long way to go before we pass beyond their northern boundaries. I intend to go northward, until I think we have passed them. Then we’ll turn westward, and try to land on the shore bordered by the uninhabited steppes.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

"'I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a million years,' muttered Conan. 'In the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot.'" -Beyond the Black River

"'What - what is it?' she whispered.’A gray man-ape,' he grunted.’Dumb, and man-eating. They dwell in the hills that border the eastern shore of this sea. How this one got to this island, I can't say. Maybe he floated here on driftwood, blown out from the mainland in a storm.'" - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“These creatures always lurk in the deepest woods they can find, and seldom emerge.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

“His kind are creatures of darkness and the silent places, haters of the sun and moon.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

“They gray ape is wary, for all his strength, as shown by his hesitancy in falling upon us in the thicket.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

He shows more knowledge of apes and their kin distinguishing between the caged ape seen in a Hyrkanian city mentioned earlier in his career in Queen of the Black Coast and the gray apes that he knows come from the eastern shores of the Vilayet as well as some of their behavior.

He also recognizes a parrot when he sees one, which based on Howard’s description sounds like a Red Fronted or Jardine's Parrot of Africa that can have large vocabularies when mimicking human speech, which Conan may have seen while in the Black Kingdoms. Alternately it also sounds like the Great Green macaw or a Green-and-Red Macaw, both of South America. Except for the crested head which sounds like Australian parrot species. Let’s chalk it up to another mythical animal endemic to Howard’s world.

“As she peered timidly into the shadows between the trees, something swept into the sunlight with a swift whirl of wings: a great parrot which dropped on to a leafy branch and swayed there, a gleaming image of jade and crimson. It turned its crested head sidewise and regarded the invaders with glittering eyes of jet. ‘Crom!’ muttered the Cimmerian. ‘Here is the grandfather of all parrots.’” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Conan also references a buffalo, who knows maybe he saw one in the black kingdoms.
“I could eat a whole buffalo” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Conan has plenty of experience at this point in his career with the Turanians having raided them with the Zuagir and Free Companions and having seen the cruelty of Shah Amurath when the Free Companions were captured. He makes a promise that he is not done with them and keeps his promise in The Devil in Iron.

“’Pirates, storms, starvation – they are all kinder than the people of Turan.’ ‘Aye.’ His face grew somber. ‘I haven’t done with them yet.’” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Conan further explains his knowledge of the geography of the Vilayet but intimates that he has spoken to someone who told him about the area as he has heard this information from them.

“’This is one of the many islands that dot this inland sea,’ said Conan. ‘They are supposed to be uninhabited. I’ve heard the Hyrkanians seldom visit them. Besides they generally hug the shores in their galley, and we have come a long way. Before sunset we were out of sight of the mainland.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

He has knowledge of pirates on the Vilayet, and the dialog suggests that he has heard the opinion on whose sea the Vilayet belongs to from the pirates.

“’But we have a start, and I’m going to haul at these oars until we reach a safe place.’ ‘Where shall we find that?’ she asked hopelessly. ‘Vilayet is an Hyrkanian pond.’ ‘Some folk don’t think so,’ grinned Conan grimly; ‘notably the slaves that have escaped from galleys and become pirates.’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

Having previously been a corsair and from already having contact with some pirates from his time as a Free Companion, the thought of pirates to Conan is not troubling.

“’As for pirates –‘He grinned enigmatically, and bent to the oars.” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

Not only is Conan familiar with pirates but they are familiar with him as part of the Free Companions.

“Friends –friends, Conan. We are thy comrades, lad! We be all lusty rogues together. We hate the king of Turan, not each other.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Conan can recognize a sail in the distance for what it is, which would probably be difficult for a landsman if he had no prior experience with the sea.

“Conan, poised like a bronze statue on the cliffs, pointed northward. Straining her eyes, Olivia saw a white fleck that seemed to hang suspended in the aching haze. ‘What is it?’ ‘A sail.’” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Not only can he identify a ship by its sounds and know what makes the sounds he can identify the nationality of the ship by its design; again, nearly impossible if he had no previous experience aboard a ship.

“Conan strode over to her, and his words electrified her. ‘Just before dawn I heard the creak of timbers and the rasp and clack of cordage and oars. A ship has put in and anchored at the beach not far away – probably the ship whose sail we saw yesterday. We’ll go up the cliffs and spy on her.’
Up they went, and lying on their bellies among the boulders, saw a painted mast jutting up beyond the trees to the west.
‘An Hyrkanian craft, from the cut of her rigging,’ muttered Conan.”
- Iron Shadows in the Moon

Not only is he familiar with sea going vessels he knows how to make a raft; again difficult for a landsman or someone unfamiliar with bodies of water.

“Tomorrow I’ll make a raft, and we’ll trust our luck to the sea again.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

He knows how to disable a ship.

“’Then I’ll knock a hole in the planks and sink her,’ answered Conan grimly.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

He recognizes on pirates on sight.

“’Pirates! Whispered Conan, a grim smile on his thin lips. ‘It’s an Hyrkanian galley they’ve captured.’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

He knows of the pirates dispositions and demeanor if not from having met them at least by reputation or comparison with the Corsair raiders, Zingaran Buccaneers, and Pirates of the Barachan Isles that he encountered raiding the coastlines of the western sea.

“I’m going to meet these dogs. If I succeed in my plan, all will be well, and we’ll sail away with them. If I don’t succeed – well, hide yourself in the rocks until they’re gone, for no devils on this island are as cruel as these sea-wolves.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

He is also familiar with customs and laws of the “Trade” and the name of the local pirates, The Red Brotherhood, which he may have learned as a Free Companion in the area.

“’Conan the Cimmerian!’ his voice was like the deep challenge of a lion. ‘One of the Free Companions. I mean to try my luck with the Red Brotherhood. Who’s your chief?’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“’Well you dogs!’ he roared, ‘I’ve sent your chief to hell – what says the law of the Red Brotherhood?’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“’Then if I am one of the Brotherhood,’ he grunted, ‘the laws of the Trade apply to me; and since I killed your chief in fair fight, then I am your captain!’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“’Swear by the hilt,’ Conan demanded. Forty-four sword-hilts were lifted toward him, and fort-four voices blended in the corsair’s oath of allegiance.” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

His knowledge of the machines of war comes from his time as Corinthian mercenary as was demonstrated in A Witch Shall Be Born.

“No man living could throw that rock across this glade. It’s a task for siege engines. Yet here there are no mangonels or ballistas.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

“Scouts have reported that the Zuagirs have siege engines, built, undoubtedly, according to the instructions of Conan, who learned all the arts of war among the western nations.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

He is also aware of torture devices possibly having seen some previously or when Shah Amurath maims and mutilates his companions.

“I feel as if I’d been racked!” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

He already knows what black look like from fighting against Kushites in Black Colossus, his time among the corsairs in Queen of the Black Coast, and from his journeys in the black kingdoms thus far.

“’What manner of men were these copied from?’ he inquired of the world at large. ‘These figures are black, yet they are not like negroes. I have never seen their like.’” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

“Behind these came a motley array of wild men on half-wild horses – the warriors of Kush, the first of the great black kingdoms of the grasslands south of Stygia. They were shining ebony, supple and lithe, riding stark naked and without saddle or bridle.” – Black Colossus

Dale Rippke thinks that if he saw any blacks previously at all it must have been a fellow mercenary.

“Conan notes that the iron statues aren’t ne gro, but that doesn’t need to imply that he’s visited the Black Coast, as some of his fellow mercenaries could have been black.” –Dale Rippke in The Dark Storm Conan Chronology

Conan has met an old enemy in Sergius of Khrosha who is a Kothian. Conan may have met him any time during his fighting against Koth as a mercenary.

“Conan stared and glared. ‘Sergius of Khrosha, by Crom!’ ‘Aye, by Ishtar!’ boomed the giant, his small black eyes glittering with hate. ‘Did you think that I had forgot? Ha! Sergius never forgets an enemy. Now I’ll hang you up by the heels and skin you alive. At him, lads!’ ‘Aye, send your dogs at me, big-belly,’ sneered Conan with bitter scorn. ‘You were always a coward, you Kothic cur.’” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Conan tells Olivia he will make her Queen of the Blue Sea possibly echoing Bêlit as the Queen of the Black Coast as elegos7 and guilalah have pointed out on these boards.

“I’ll make you Queen of the Blue Sea! “– Iron Shadows in the Moon

"King of Aquilonia he might no longer be; king of the blue ocean he was still." - The Hour of the Dragon

Rippke states about Iron Shadows in the Moon:

“That this story is set early in Conan’s career seems evident from the fact that Yildiz is king of Turan, not Yezdigerd in the subsequent Turanian tales.” –Dale Rippke in The Dark Storm Conan Chronology

He is basing that supposition on Miller’s filler fiction between tales in A Probable Outline of CONAN’S CAREER.

“Meanwhile, King Yildiz of Turan has died or been deposed, and his successor, Yezdigerd, embarks on a series of imperial campaigns which will make him the master of the greatest empire on Earth.” –Dale Rippke in The Dark Storm Conan Chronology plagiarized (as much of the essay is) from A Probable Outline of CONAN’S CAREER by P. Schuyler Miller & John D. Clark, Ph.D.
Maybe plagiarized is a too strong of a word let’s say that Dale is paying homage with his essay to Miller and Clark with a similitude.
Meanwhile, King Yildiz of Turan has died or been deposed, and his successor, Yezdigerd, embarks on a program of imperialism which is to make him master of the greatest empire on Earth."
- A Probable Outline of CONAN’S CAREER by P. Schuyler Miller & John D. Clark, Ph.D.

What do we know from the stories themselves? First that at the time of Iron Shadows in the Moon Yildiz is a king of Turan.

"Cast off there, dogs! We’ll scorch King Yildiz’s pantaloons yet, by crom!” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

Yezedigerd is also a king of Turan in The Devil in Iron.

"Yezdigerd, King of Turan, was the mightiest monarch in the world." – The Devil in Iron

There is no further reference to what happened to these kings. However Yezdigerd is described as a grand monarch possibly indicating a lesser monarch. In The Servants of Bit-Yakin there is an enigmatic phrase that suggests the possibility of more than one Turanian king.

“…capable even of defying the Grand Monarch.” The Devil in Iron

“…following the lure of a fabled treasure that outshone the hoard of the Turanian kings.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Further in The Devil in Iron we are told emphatically that Yezdigerd made the Vilayet a Hyrkanian lake while in Iron Shadows in the Moon Olivia tells Conan that the Vilayet is a Hyrkanian pond and then the story mentions King Yildiz at the end.

"Yezdigerd, King of Turan, was the mightiest monarch in the world.In his palace in the great port city of Aghrapur was heaped the plunder of empires. His fleets of purple-sailed war galleys had made Vilayet an Hyrkanian lake." – The Devil in Iron

“Vilayet is an Hyrkanian pond.” – Iron Shadows in the Moon

It is clear for other reasons that The Devil in Iron is sequentially later than Iron Shadows in the Moon based on Conan being a Kozaki chieftain. We do not know if there are two kings of Turan at the same time, if one took over the reins of the other, or if Yildiz becoming the ruler of an empire decided to change his name. Regardless there is scant irrefutable evident one way or the other to support any of the possibilities or to suppose one of the kings had died or had been deposed. We do not know how long Conan was a member of the Red Brotherhood scouring the Vilayet Sea and any change in rule of the kingdom of Turan could have happened during this time.

From Koth raiding Zamora, and Turan escaping east to the Vilayet Sea setting off northwestward on the Vilayet to an unnamed island.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 20 December 2010 - 05:14 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#47 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 03:58 AM

The Devil in Iron

Conan is a hetman among the Kozaki, he follows a girl to a forgotten ancient island fortress and discovers the citizens of a long dead culture and the Devil that sleeps.

The Devil in Iron was first published in Weird Tales in August 1934.

Language:

Hyrkanian, Yuetshi, Nemedian

The Devil in Iron has Conan speaking the Hyrkanian learned in Iron Shadows in the Moon. He already speaks Yuetshi presumably learned in the same time period as a Kozaki and member of the Red Brotherhood in the region, in Iron Shadows in the Moon and directly after.

"Yezdigerd, King of Turan, was the mightiest monarch in the world... His fleets of purple-sailed war galleys had made Vilayet an Hyrkanian lake." – The Devil in Iron

"We will ask for a parley with the kozaks in regard to prisoners, at the edge of the steppes by Fort Ghori." – The Devil in Iron

"with the kozak chief with whom- by compulsion- she had she had shamelessly flirted in the pavilions of the camp by Fort Ghori, where the Hyrkanian lords had parleyed with the warriors of the steppes." – The Devil in Iron

"Hyrkanian kingdom of Turan"
- REH in The Hyborian Age

"Presently she spoke, but the tongue was unfamiliar to him, and he shook his head. She yawned again, stretched lithely, and without any show of fear or surprise, shifted to a language he did understand, a dialect of Yuetshi which sounded strangely archaic." – The Devil in Iron, Yateli speaking to Conan.

"The fisherman was typical of his race, that strange people whose origin is lost in the gray dawn of the past, and who have dwelt in their rude fishing-huts along the southern shore of the Sea of Vilayet since time immemorial." – The Devil in Iron

“Then we will send a spy – a Yuetshi fisherman will do – to the kozak camp, who will tell Conan that Octavia is hiding on Xapur.” – The Devil in Iron

“The fisherman had not lied, then; she was here!” – The Devil in Iron

Conan understands a voice coming from behind a wall.

"The tongue was Nemedian, but the voice was not human." – The Devil in Iron

He also speaks to the Nemedian girl Octavia.

Profession:

Kozaki Chief

Conan described in the story:

“The man in the boat was a picturesque figure. A crimson scarf was knotted about his head; his wide silk breeches, of flaming hue, were upheld by a broad sash which likewise supported a simitar in a shagreen scabbard. His gilt-worked leather boots suggested the horseman rather than the seaman, but he handled his boat with skill. Through his widely open white silk shirt showed his broad muscular breast, burned brown by the sun.
The muscles of his heavy bronze arms rippled as he pulled the oars with an almost feline ease of motion. A fierce vitality that was evident in each feature and motion set him apart from common men; yet his expression was neither savage nor somber, through the smoldering blue eyes hinted at ferocity easily wakened. This was Conan, who had wandered into the armed camps of the kozaks with no other possessions than his wits and sword, and who had carved his way to leadership among them."
- The Devil in Iron

Conan is wearing the garb that he received as a Vilayet Pirate in Iron Shadows in the Moon mixed with boots for riding with the Kozaki of the steppes. He no longer has the sword he had in Iron Shadows in the Moon and which he entered the kozak camps to carve his way to leadership, he now has a scimitar.

“Most of them were half naked, but the garments they wore were fine; gold-braided jacket, satin girdles, silken breeches, tattered, stained with tar and blood, vied with pieces of silver-chased armor.” – Iron Shadows of the Moon

“’I was a Kozak before I was a pirate,’ he answered. ‘They live in the saddle.’” –Red Nails

Clues to placement:

The island of Xapur, the Fortified is north of the Yuetshi villages on the southern shores of the Vilayet.

"The fisherman was typical of his race, that strange people whose origin is lost in the gray dawn of the past, and who have dwelt in their rude fishing-huts along the southern shore of the Sea of Vilayet since time immemorial." – The Devil in Iron

“The fisher’s village lay some distance to the south, on the mainland.“– The Devil in Iron

“’The king grows short of patience,’ said he. ‘In his own hand he complains bitterly of what he calls my failure to guard the frontier. By Tarim, if I can not deal a blow to these robbers of the steppes, Khawarizm may own a new lord.’” – The Devil in Iron

“‘How am I to crush these wolves?’ demanded Jehungir. ‘If I follow them into the steppes, I run the risk either of being cut off and destroyed, or having them elude me entirely and burn the city in my absence. Of late they have been more daring than ever.’
‘That is because of the new chief who has risen among them,’ answered Ghaznavi. ‘You know whom I mean.’
‘Aye!’ replied Jehungir feelingly. ‘It is that devil Conan; he is even wilder than the kozaks, yet he is crafty as a mountain lion.’”
– The Devil in Iron

Conan has risen to leadership by the strength of his arm and his wits, by joining the Kozaki and the pirates of the Vilayet Sea, The Red Brotherhood of whom he became a captain in Iron Shadows in the Moon. Together they have been causing the king plenty of headaches and are attacking both by land and sea.

“This was Conan, who had wandered into the armed camps of the kozaks with no other possessions than his wits and sword, and who had carved his way to leadership among them.” – The Devil in Iron

“If they will have none of me, by Crom I will ride northward with you to the steppes of the kozaki. I was a hetman among the Free Companions before I rode southward. I’ll make you a queen on the Zaporoska River.” – The People of the Black Circle

“Their war camp is at present pitched somewhere on the lower reaches of the Zaporoska River – which as you well know, is a wilderness of reeds, a swampy jungle in which our last expedition was cut to pieces by those masterless devils.” – The Devil in Iron

“’Conan the Cimmerian!’ his voice was like the deep challenge of a lion. ‘One of the Free Companions. I mean to try my luck with the Red Brotherhood. Who’s your chief?’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“Friends –friends, Conan. We are thy comrades, lad! We be all lusty rogues together. We hate the king of Turan, not each other.” – Pirates in Iron Shadows in the Moon

“Dwelling on the wild, open steppes, owning no law but their own peculiar code, they had become a people capable even of defying the Grand Monarch. Ceaselessly they raided the Turanian frontier, retiring in the steppes when defeated; with the pirates of Vilayet, men of much the same breed, they harried the coast, preying off the merchant ships which plied between the Hyrkanian ports.” – The Devil in Iron

“He had been on Xapur before. Less than a month ago he had held a secret conclave here with a pirate crew.” – The Devil in Iron

“Besides, the buccaneers who roamed Vilayet ceaselessly would have learned of any work going on on such stupendous scale, and would have informed the kozaks.” – The Devil in Iron

I placed Xuthal of the Dusk prior to The Devil in Iron for the same reason that Marek and Rippke did, that in Devil Conan decides that the Dagonian people of Dagonia which ruins are presently found on the island of Xapur, are addicted to a drug, perhaps the black lotus like the people of Xuthal. Conan would not be able to decide that there were any similarities unless he remembered seeing the same drug induced slumber as he did at Xuthal, making Xuthal of the Dusk a prior story.

"Her sleep was too deep to be natural. He decided that she must be an addict of some drug, perhaps like the black lotus of Xuthal." -The Devil in Iron

“There was neither surprise nor hostility in his amber eyes. They were dreamy as a lotus-eater’s.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“Much of the time these people lie in sleep. Their dream-life is as important – and to them as real – as their waking life. You have heard of the black lotus? In certain pits of the city it grows. Through the ages they have cultivated it, until, instead of death, its juice induces dreams, gorgeous and fantastic. In these dreams they spend most of their time. Their lives are vague, erratic, and without plan. They dream, they wake, drink, love, eat, and dream again. They seldom finish anything they begin, but leave it half completed and sink back again into the slumber of the black lotus.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“Then he found something else to make him wonder. Among the furs on the dais was a gorgeous spotted skin, whose predominant hue was golden. It was not a cleaver copy, but the skin of an actual beast. And that beast, Conan knew, had been extinct for at least a thousand years; it was the great golden leopard which figures so prominently in Hyborian legendry, and which the ancient artists delighted to portray in pigments and marble.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“Recognition stirred in his mind. This snake was evidently meant to represent one of those grim monsters of the marsh which in past ages had haunted the reedy edges of Vilayet’s southern shores. But, like the golden leopard, they had been extinct for hundreds of years. Conan had seen rude images of them, in miniature, among the idol-huts of the Yuetshi, and there was a description of them in the Book of Skelos, which drew on prehistoric sources.”– Xuthal of the Dusk

“Why should not a chief of the Free People be preferable to a city-bred dog of Turan?” – Xuthal of the Dusk

“I’ll burn Khawarizm for a torch to light your way to my tent.” – Xuthal of the Dusk

From the southern Vilayet Sea near the Zaporoska River north to the island of Xapur then to Khawarizm

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 21 December 2010 - 08:04 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#48 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 09:09 AM

The filters on the boards are removing ne gro and ne groes for some reason, and also sna tch in the context of "take" ignore the spacing.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 10 January 2011 - 05:23 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#49 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:08 PM

People of the Black Circle

Conan is pitted against black sorcerers when he kidnaps the Devi for the ransom of his captured tribesman as an Afghuli chieftain.

People of the Black Circle was first published in Weird Tales in September, October, and November of 1934.

Language:

Vendhyan, Zhaibari, Afghulistani, Hyrkanian

Set in Vendhya in the cities of Ayodhya and Peshkhauri, and in the crags of the Himelians. Conan is Chief of the Afghulis the hillmen of Ghulistan or Afghulistan.

It is presumed by the text that Conan speaks Vendhyan as he speaks to the governor Chunder Shan in his native tongue.

"'Shhhh!' he warned. 'Don't make a noise, you bastard, or I'll send the devil a henchman!'" – People of the Black Circle

And also to the Devi Yasmina.

"'You dare - you dare! Your life shall pay for this! Where are you taking me?' 'To the villages of Afghulistan,' he answered, casting a glance over his shoulder." – People of the Black Circle


Conan speaks to Zhaibari tribesmen in the Zhaibar region of the Himelians, the Wazulis of Khurum.

"Conan and Yar Afzal stood a few paces before the door, and between them and the ring of warrors another man sat cross-legged. This one was addressing his chief in the harsh accents of the Wazuli which Yasmina could scarcely understand, though as part of her royal education she had been taught the languages of Iranistan and the kindred tongues of Ghulistan." – People of the Black Circle

Conan speaks to a girl from a Galzai village.

"'If you will give this woman your garments,' he said, ' I will give you this money.'" – People of the Black Circle

Zhaibari Galzai dialect

Conan speaks to the Afghuli hillmen.

"'I was riding for Ghor! he roared. 'I had not hoped to meet you dogs on the trail. Follow me as fast as your nags can push! I'm going to Yimsha, and -' 'Traitor!' The howl was like a dash of ice water in his face." – People of the Black Circle

Conan speaks to the Turanian Kerim Shah in Hyrkanian.

"'Where is the Devi?' demanded Kerim Shah.’What's it to you, you Hyrkanian spy?' snarled Conan." – People of the Black Circle

The Turanian then explains to his followers the Irakzai tribesmen showing they didn't understand the conversation in Hyrkanian.

"Kerim Shah turned to the silent Irakzai and spoke briefly: 'This chief and I are going to Yimsha to fight the wizards. Will you go with us, or stary here to be flayed by the Afghulis who are following this man?'"– People of the Black Circle

Afghuli, Zhaibari, Hyrkanian, and Irakzai are never mentioned by Howard as languages, they are named after the people, or the country or region they are spoken in.

Profession:

Chief of Afghulis

Conan described in the story:


“He was within reach of the yard-long Zhaibar knife that glittered in the intruder’s fist, and he knew the desperate quickness of a Hillman.
The invader was a tall man, at once strong and supple. He was dressed like a Hillman, but his dark features and blazing blue eyes did not match his garb. Chunder Shan had never seen a man like him; he was not an Easterner, but some barbarian from the West. But his aspect was as untamed and formidable as any of the hairy tribesman who haunt the hills of Ghulistan.”
– People of the Black Circle

“His garments were clean and not ragged. The broad Bakariot girdle that supported his knife in its ornamental scabbard would have matched the robes of a prince, and there was a glint of fine Turanian mail under his shirt.” – People of the Black Circle

“Conan stared down at the girdle. The hair of which it was woven was not horse-hair. He was convinced that it was woven of the thick black tresses of a woman. Set in the thick mesh were tiny jewels such as he had never seen. The buckle was strangely made, in the form of a golden serpent head, flat, wedge-shaped and scaled with curious art. A strong shudder shook Conan as he handled it, and he turned as thought to cast it over the precipice; then he hesitated, and finally buckled it about his waist, under the Bakhariot girdle.” – People of the Black Circle

Clues to placement:

Conan has seen plenty of riches and plunder in his career so far but gives an example that his listener will recognize of the gold seen in the bazaars of Khurusun.

“’Gold? There is more gold in Peshkhauri than you ever saw.’ ‘You’re a liar,’ retorted Conan. ‘I’ve seen the suk of the goldsmiths in Khurusun.’ ‘Well – more than any Afghuli ever saw,’ amended Chunder Shan.” – People of the Black Circle

Some have tried to place People of the Black Circle based on a passage saying that he does not sit cross-legged where in other stories it mentions it, supposing that he learned the trick in the interim between tales. However, I think from the passage it is clearly describing something different “cross-legged after the Eastern fashion” which I envision as being with the feet on top of the shins or knees in sort of a yoga position.

“Making no comment she seated herself cross-legged on the floor, and taking the dish in her lap, she began to eat, using her fingers, which were all she had in the way of table utensils. After all, adaptability is one of the tests of true aristocracy. Conan stood looking down at her, his thumbs hooked in his girdle. He never sat cross-legged, after the Eastern fashion.” – People of the Black Circle

As compared to the standard sitting cross-legged with the feet under the legs:

“He himself, with a few of his chiefs, sat with Bajujh and the headmen of Bakalah, cross-legged on mats, gorging and guzzling.” –The Vale of Lost Women

“She hesitated, glancing at him uncertainly, but he sat down cross-legged in the opening, facing toward the plain, his sword across his knees, his back to her.” – Red Nails

Conan saved the life of Yar Afzal chief of the Khurum Wazulis.

“They don’t love you - or any outlander – but you saved my life once, and I will not forget.” – People of the Black Circle

Conan knows Kerim Shah from his time in Turan with the Kozaki.

“’He’s not even that,’ said Conan. ‘I know him of old. He’s an Hyrkanian, a spy of Yezdigerd’s. If I catch him I’ll hang his hide to a tamarisk.’” – People of the Black Circle

“And I knew you, in the days when you were a hetman of the kozak steppes, so I know your ambition is wholesale plunder.” – People of the Black Circle

Conan mentions his time as a thief among the spider-haunted Zamora possibly giving a name to the thief-city of Zamora.

“That fellow Yar Afzal beat and sent away – he moved like a man walking in his sleep. I’ve seen the priests of Zamora perform their abominable rituals in their forbidden temples, and the victims had a stare like that man. The priests looked into their eyes and muttered incantations and then the people became like walking dead men, with glassy eyes, doing as they were ordered.
And then I saw what the fellow had in his hand, which Yar Afzal picked up. It was like a big black jade bead, such as the temple girls of Yezud wear when they dance before the black stone spider which is their god. Yar Afzal held it in his hand, and he didn’t pick up anything else. Yet when he fell dead a spider, like the god at Yezud, only smaller, ran out of his fingers.”
– People of the Black Circle

Howard never specifies in Tower of the Elephant what the name of the city is. In his letter to Miller he states the thief-city of Zamora that can be read as a city in Zamora or the thief-city named Zamora. Only two names of Zamorian cities are found in tales by Howard: Shadizar, City of Wickedness as found in The Scarlet Citadel or as Shadizar the Wicked in The Pool of the Black One, and Yezud found in this story.

“He had roamed the cities of Zamora, and known the women of Shadizar the Wicked.” –The Pool of the Black One

“It was exactly such laughter as he had heard bubble obscenely from the fat lips of salacious women of Shadizar, City of Wickedness, when captive girls were stripped naked on the public auction block.” – The Scarlet Citadel

“Yet when he fell dead a spider, like the god at Yezud, only smaller, ran out of his fingers.”
– People of the Black Circle

L. Sprague de Camp made up the name Arenjun for the City of Thieves and invented that Shadizar is the capital city of Zamora.

“Conan came to Arenjun, the notorious "City of Thieves." -Conan the Indestructible

“Conan wandered westward to the capital of Zamora, Shadizar the Wicked.” - Conan the Indestructible

Conan has spoken with men from the region who claim they saw the wizards of Yimsha.

“Wipe out wizards with swords? Anyway, they never interfere with people, unless the people interfere with them. I never saw one of them, though I’ve talked with men who swore they had. They say they’ve glimpsed people from the tower among the crags at sunset or sunrise –tall, silent men in black robes.” – People of the Black Circle

Conan seems not to recall that he killed the sorcerer Thugra Khotan with a sword in Black Colossus.

Conan knows some of the legends of the hillmen, indicating some time spent with them, and has seen firsthand their conviction in them.

“’The hillmen call it Yimsha’s Carpet, whatever the devil that means,’ answered Conan. ‘I’ve seen five hundred of them running as if the devil were at their heels, to hide themselves in caves and crags, because they saw that crimson cloud float up from the peak. What the hell!’” – People of the Black Circle

Conan faces diabolism of the East from the Rakhsha Khemsa.

“Khemsa’s sorcery was based on hypnotism, as is the case with most Eastern magic. The way has been prepared for the hypnotist for untold centuries of generations who have lived and died in the firm conviction of the reality and power of hypnotism, building up, by mass thought and practice, a colossal though intangible atmosphere against which the individual, steeped in the traditions of the land, finds himself helpless.
But Conan was not a son of the East. Its traditions were meaningless to him; he was the product of an utterly alien atmosphere. Hypnotism was not even a myth in Cimmeria. The heritage that prepared a native of the East for submission to the mesmerist was not his.
He was aware of what Khemsa was trying to do to him; but felt the impact of the man’s uncannypwer only as a vague impulsion, a tugging and pulling that he could shake off as a man shakes spider webs from his garments.
Aware of hostility and black magic, he ripped out his long knife and lunged, as quick on his feet as a mountain lion.”
– People of the Black Circle

Conan reacts much differently this time as compared to when he faced Baal-pteor.

“’Mesmerism!’ muttered Conan, crouching and digging his toes hard against the marble. His eyes blazed. This brown dog was playing with him, making sport of him! But this mummery, this child’s play of mists and shadows of thought, it could not harm him. He had but to leap and strike the brown acolyte would be a mangled corpse under his heel. This time he would not be fooled by shadows of illusion but he was.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

In The Man-Eaters of Zamboula I think the sphere that the Kosalan threw at Conan contained some lotus dust (mists) and Conan was hallucinating not really being hypnotized like Khemsa was unable to do to him in People of the Black Circle. Even though hypnotism doesn’t work on the Cimmerian the Master of Yimsha has other magic that differs from it and does partially work.

“Conan halted in mid-stride, compelled against his will. He had encountered a force differing subtly from Khemsa’s mesmerism, and he could not advance, though he felt it in his power to retreat if he wished.” – People of the Black Circle

Conan having seen many battles in his career:

“Conan had witnessed hundred of battles in his wild life, but never one like this, wherein four diabolical wills sought to beat down one lesser but equally devilish will that opposed them.” – People of the Black Circle

More knowledge of the Wazuli’s legendry is apparent.

“He knew that not even the legendary tulwar of Amir Khurum could shatter that invisible curtain.” – People of the Black Circle

Conan lists some of his previous experiences and his plans.

“I was born in the Cimmerian hills where the people are all barbarians. I have been a mercenary soldier, a corsair, a kozak, and a hundred other things. What king has roamed the countries, fought the battles, loved the women, and won the plunder that I have?
I came into Ghulistan to raise a horde and plunder the kingdoms to the south – your own among them. Being a chief of the Afghulis was only a start. If I can conciliate them, I’ll have a dozen tribes following me within a year. But if I can’t I’ll ride back to the steppes and loot the Turanian borders with the kozaki.” “If they will have none of me, by Crom I will ride northward with you to the steppes of the kozaki. I was a hetman among the Free Companions before I rode southward. I’ll make you a queen on the Zaporoska River.”
– The People of the Black Circle

We know that he was a mercenary in The Yaralet Fragment, Black Colossus, A Witch Shall Be Born, Queen of the Black Coast, The Shumballa Typescripts, Xuthal of the Dusk, and in Iron Shadows in the Moon. That he was a Corsair in Queen of the Black Coast. A Kozak in Iron Shadows in the Moon and The Devil in Iron. But what are the hundred other things? I can place a few of them:

Æsir War-band Reaver – The Frost-Giant’s Daughter
Captive – in Hyperborea
Penniless Wanderer –Brythunia, Nemedia
Robber - Nemedia
Thief –The God in the Bowl, The Tower of the Elephant, The Nestor Synopsis, and Rogues in the House
Treasure Hunter - The Nestor Synopsis
Assassin – Rogues in the House
Zuagir –A Witch Shall Be Born
Zuagir Chief –A Witch Shall Be Born
Adventurer –The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
Assassin –The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
Free Companion – Iron Shadows in the Moon
Vilayet pirate of the Red Brotherhood – Iron Shadows in the Moon

“I have you to thank for the lives of some three hundred and fifty of my rogues, who are at least convinced that I didn’t betray them. You have put my hands on the reins of conquest again.” – The People of the Black Circle

“’I will collect your ransom in my own way, at my own time,’ he said. ‘I will collect it in your palace at Ayodhya, and I will come with fifty thousand men to see that the scales are fair.’
She laughed, gathering her reins into her hands. ‘And I will meet you on the shores of the Jhumda with a hundred thousand!’”
– The People of the Black Circle

Whether Conan succeeds with the tribes is not known but is doubtful, with only 350 Afghuli warriors backing him and the rest hating him as only a hillman can hate, and the Wazuli reared up against him and the Galzai thinking he raped one of their women. It is plain that he cannot go back to Vendhya as the Devi mentions she will protect her borders before hillmen come to Ayodhya. Possibly he returns to the steppes to ride with the Kozaki again for awhile like he planned if things didn’t work out.

Afghulistan to the Himelians, down to Vendhya and back to the Zhaibar pass, up to Yimsha mountain of the Black Seers

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 20 December 2010 - 04:32 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#50 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:20 PM


From Argos to Stygia through Kush to Tombalku


Untitled Synopsis/Draft a.k.a. The Tombalku Typescripts
(The Drums of Tombalku)

As mercenaries fleeing from a broken army Conan and his companion escape the Stygian’s wrath by plunging south into the desert. Set upon by desert men it seems Conan is no more until he turns up leading those who Amalric supposed to have cut him down.

The Tombalku Typescripts are an unfinished story synopsis and an unfinished story draft abandoned by Howard; they were not published in his lifetime.

Language:

Argossean, Aquilonian, Stygian, Kothic, Kushite

The Tombalku Typescripts is set in the desert that lies south of Stygia in the Black Kingdoms. Conan and Amalric were mercenaries in an Argossean army attacking Stygia from the south coming up from the Kushite coasts they are annihilated and forced into the deserts to the south of Stygia.

The Ghanatas are mentioned but not which language they speak. "members of the bandit tribe of Ghanata, a ne gro race mixed with Shemitish blood." –The Tombalku Synopsis

Amalric meets the girl Lissa a Gazali from the city of Gazal.

"He found she spoke a language akin to the Kothic, and they could understand each other." –The Tombalku Synopsis

"The words were strange, yet possessed an illusive familiarity." –The Tombalku Draft

"Tombalku, a strange fantastic city set in the sands of the desert, beside an oasis of many springs. It was a city of many tongues. The dominant caste, the founders of the city, were a warlike brown race, descendents of the Aphaki, a Shemitish tribe which pushed into the desert several hundred years before, and mixed with the ne gro races. The subject tribes included the Tibu, a desert race, of mixed ne gro and Stygian blood; and the Bagirmi, Mandingo, Dongola, Bornu, and other ne gro tribes of the grasslands to the south."-The Tombalku Synopsis

Conan speaking Kushite:

“A horse screamed frenziedly, and a bull like voice bellowed in a strange tongue. From somewhere in the night a clamor of yells answered.” –The Tombalku Draft

"They spoke a dialect I could understand a little, it being much like that of the western Mandingo who dwell on the coast." Conan speaking –The Tombalku Draft

Conan speaks to Amalric presumably in Amalric’s native tongue.

“’The Devil!’ he roared; ‘Amalric the Aquilonian!’” –The Tombalku Draft

Profession:

Argossean mercenary, general over the riders of Tombalku, one of the Kings of Tombalku (synopsis only)

Conan described in the typescripts:

“Amalric had fled with his companion, Conan, a giant Cimmerian, but they had been attacked by a band of wild-riding brown-skinned men of strange dress and appearance, and Conan was cut down.” - The Tombalku Synopsis

“But when night fell, I broke away with my companion, a Cimmerian named Conan, a brute of a man, with the strength of a bull.” –The Tombalku Draft

Clues to placement:


“Amalric told Lissa his story – that he had been a soldier in the army of Argos, under the Zingaran Prince Zapayo da Kova, which had sailed in ships down the Kushite coast, landed in southern Stygia, and sought to invade the kingdom from that direction, while the armies of Koth invaded from the north. But Koth had treacherously made peace with Stygia, and the army in the south was trapped. They found their escape to the sea cut off, and tried to fight their way eastward, hoping to gain the lands of the Shemites. But the army was annihilated in the desert. Amalric had fled with his companion, Conan, a giant Cimmerian, but they had been attacked by a band of wild-riding brown-skinned men of strange dress and appearance, and Conan was cut down.” –The Tombalku Synopsis

“’Argos and Stygia were at war,’ he said abruptly. ‘Koth became embroiled. The Kothians urged a simultaneous invasion of Stygia. Argos raised an army of mercenaries, which went into ships and sailed southward along the coast. At the same time, a Kothic army was to invade Stygia by land. I was one of that mercenary army. We met the Stygian fleet and defeated it, driving it back to Khemi. We should have landed and looted the city, and advanced along the course of the Styx- but our admiral was cautious. Our leader was Prince Zapayo da Kova, a Zingaran. We cruised southward until we reached the jungle-clad coasts of Kush. There we landed, and the ships anchored, while the army pushed eastward, along the Stygian border, burning and pillaging as we went. It was our intention to turn northward at a certain point and strike into the heart of Stygia, to form a juncture with the Kothic host which was supposed to be pushing down from the north. Then word came that we were betrayed. Koth had concluded a separate peace with the Stygians. A Stygian army was pushing southward to intercept us, while another already had cut us off from the coast.
Prince Zapayo, in desperation, conceived the mad idea of marching eastward, hoping to skirt the Stygian border and eventually reach the eastern Lands of Shem. But the army from the north overtook us. We turned and fought. All day we fought, and drove them back in route to their camp. But the next day the pursuing army came up from the west, and crushed between the hosts, our army ceased to be. We were broken, annihilated, destroyed. There were few left to flee. But when night fell, I broke away with my companion, a Cimmerian named Conan, a brute of a man, with the strength of a bull.
We rode southward into the desert, because there was no other direction in which we might go. Conan had been in this part of the world before, and he believed we had a chance to survive. Far to the south we found an oasis, but Stygian riders harried us , and we fled again, from oasis to oasis, fleeing , starving, thirsting, until we found ourselves in a barren unknown land of blazing sand and empty sand."
–The Tombalku Draft

Conan had been in that part of the world before in the deserts south of Stygia and Kush in Xuthal of the Dusk.

It is apparent that this happens after Queen of the Black Coast.

“The ne gro stared at Conan, and greeted him by the name of Amra, the Lion. The black man’s name was Sakumbe, and he was an adventurer from the West Coast who had been connected with Conan when the latter was a corsair devastating the coast.” –The Tombalku Synopsis

In the synopsis only Conan becomes a king during a civil war.

“The Cimmerian wished to be a king of Tombalku himself. So Askia was persuaded to denounced Zehbeh, and in the bloody civil war that followed, the Aphaki were defeated, and Zehbeh fled the city with his riders. Conan took his seat beside Sakumbe, but strive as he would, he found the ne gro the real ruler over the city, because of his ascendency over the black races.” –The Tombalku Synopsis

In the synopsis Conan’s friend Sakumbe is killed and he is forced to escape.

“As the companions strove to reach the outer walls, Zehbeh and his Aphaki attacked the city, and in a wild holocaust of blood and flame, Tombalku was almost destroyed, and Conan, Amalric and Lissa escaped.“–The Tombalku Synopsis

In the draft Conan plans to take Lissa and Amalric to Tombalku but there is no mention of what happens after that.

“’You will like Tombalku! It was made for men like us to loot! There are half a dozen powerful factions plotting and intriguing against each other –there are continual brawls in the taverns and streets, secret murders, mutilations, and executions. And there are women, gold, wine – all that a mercenary wants! And I am high in foavor and power! By Crom, Amalric, you could not come at a better time!” –The Tombalku Draft

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 20 December 2010 - 09:33 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#51 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 01:21 PM

The Vale of Lost Women

Conan is a war-chief of the Bamulas attaining his position by the strength of his arm and the skill of his blade. Conan rescues a captive and encounters a devil from the outer dark.

The original version of The Vale of Lost Women remained unpublished in Howard’s lifetime.

The Vale of Lost Women had not been published yet in original form at the time of Howard’s letter to miller in 1936 and would not have been included in the outline of Conan’s Career that P. Schuyler Miller and Dr. John D. Clark had sent him prompting his response.

Language:

Kushite, Ophirean

Conan and his warriors converse with Bajujh, king of Bakalah presumably in some dialect of Kushite although it is never stated in the story.

"'Who are you?'he demanded, speaking Ophirean with a barbarous accent.'By Crom, I never thought to find a white girl in this hellish land.' "My name is Livia,' she answered." –The Vale of Lost Women

Profession:


War-chief of the Bamulas

Conan described in the story:

“At the head of the ebon spearmen strode a figure at the sight of which Livia started violently; her heart seemed to stop, then began to pound again, suffocatingly. Against that dusky background, this man stood out with vivid distinctness. He was clad like his followers in leopard-skin loin-clout and plumed head-piece, but he was a white man.” –The Vale of Lost Women

“He was tall; neither in height nor in massiveness was he exceeded many of the giant blacks. He moved with the lithe suppleness of a great panther. When the firelight caught his eyes, they burned like blue fire. High-strapped sandals guarded his feet, and from his broad girdle hung a sword in a leather scabbard. His appearance was alien and unfamiliar; Livia had never seen his like. But she made no effort to classify his position among the races of mankind. It was enough that his skin was white.” –The Vale of Lost Women

Clues to placement:

Where exactly Bakalah is, is not mentioned in the story but it seems to border Kush or be a part of Kush.

“But if Bajujh, king of Bakalah, …”–The Vale of Lost Women

“’The black Kushites raided Kheshatta,’ she continued hurriedly. ‘We were approaching the city in a camel caravan. Our guard gled and the raiders carried us away with them. But they did us no harm, and let us know that they would parley with the Stygians and accept a ransom for our return. But one of the chiefs desired all the ransom for himself, and he and his followers stole us out of the camp one night, and fled far to the south-east with us, to the very borders of Kush. There they were attacked and cut down by a band of Bakala raiders.” –The Vale of Lost Women

“The horses snorted and stampeded past her, rolling the black man in the dust – lean, wiry steeds of the Kushite breed, already frantic with the fire and the scent of blood.” –The Vale of Lost Women

“she thought of a valley of which the blacks had spoken with fear; a valley to which had fled the young women of a strange brown-skinned race which had inhabited the land before the coming of the ancestors of the Bakalas.” –The Vale of Lost Women

Conan has been in the region for some time and Howard beats us over the head with the fact that he has risen to a position of power.

“…and to stare down a broad lane which was being formed by the action of his subjects in pressing back on either hand.
Down this lane, walled with sweaty black humanity, Livia vaguely realized some important personage would come, judging from the strident clamor of drum and horn. And as she watched , one came.
A column of fighting men, marching three abreast, advanced toward the ivory stool, a thick line of waving plumes and glinting spears meandering through the motley crowd.
At the head of the ebon spearmen strode a figure at the sight of which Livia started violently; her heart seemed to stop, then began to pound again, suffocatingly. Against that dusky background, this man stood out with vivid distinctness. He was clad like his followers in leopard-skin loin-clout and plumed head-piece, but he was a white man.
It was not in the manner of suppliant or a subordinate that he strode up to the ivory stool, and sudden silence fell over the throng as he halted before the squatting figure. Livia felt the tenseness, though she only dimly knew what it portended. For a moment Bajujh sat, craning his short neck upward, like a great frog; then, as if pulled against his will by the other’s steady glare, he shambled up off his stool, and stood grotesquely bobbing his shaven head.
Instantly the tension was broken. A tremendous shout went up from the massed villagers, and at a gesture from the stranger, his warriors lifted their spears and boomed a salute royale for King Bajujf. Whoever he was, Livia knew the man must indeed be powerful in that wild land, if Bajujh of Bakalah rose to greet him. And power meant military prestige – violence was the only thing respected by those ferocious races.
Thereafter Livia stood with her eyes glued to the crack in the hut wall, watching the white stranger. His warriors mingled with the Bakalas, dancing, feasting, swigging beer. He himself, with a few of his chiefs, sat with Bajujh and the headmen of Bakalah, cross-legged on mats, gorging and guzzling. She saw his hands dipped deep into the cooking pots with the others, saw his muzzle thrust into the beer vessel out of which Bajujh also drank. But she noticed, nevertheless, that he was accorded the respect due a king. Since he had no stool, Bajujh renounced his also, and sat on the mats with his guest. When a new pot of beer was brought, the king of Bakalah barely sipped it before he passed it to the white man. Power! All this ceremonial courtesy pointed to power –strength –prestige!”
–The Vale of Lost Women

“’You speak as if you were free to give yourself at your pleasure,’ he said. ‘As if the gift of your body had power to swing kingdoms. Why should I kill Bajujh to obtain you? Women are cheap as plantains in this land, and their willingness or unwillingness matters as little. You value yourself too highly. If I wanted you, I wouldn’t have to fight Bajujh to take you. He would rather give you to me than to fight me.’” –The Vale of Lost Women

He is on the same standing as a king and the king of the Bakalas act as if he is inferior to Conan if not in position at least in might of arms. Conan has been there long enough to gain military prestige and become a ruler in his own right as a war-chief.

He has been in the black countries long enough that he is tired of some of the citizens there as he puts in a derogatory way:

“I have looked at black sluts until I am sick at the guts.” –The Vale of Lost Women

“I have not fought my way alone to the position of war-chief of the Bamulas without learning all the lessons the black country teaches.” –The Vale of Lost Women

He is surprised at finding Livia, a white woman in the black kingdoms in this story in contrast to not being surprised at all finding Muriela in another black kingdom in The Servants of Bît-Yakin.

“By Crom, I never thought to find a white girl in this hellish land!” –The Vale of Lost Women

“and though your kind call me a robber…”
–The Vale of Lost Women

It is not clear if he is referring to Livia’s kind as being an Ophirean or just a white woman. Since there are no tales set in Ophir other than at the beginning of The Scarlet Citadel it may not ever be known what he is talking about. He may be referring to her as a Hyborian and his time as a thief in some of the Hyborian nations.

Another reference to his time in Zamora as a thief:

“’A devil from the Outer Dark,’ he grunted. ‘Oh, they’re nothing uncommon. They lurk as thick as fleas outside the belt of light which surrounds this world. I’ve heard the wise men of Zamora talk of them.’” –The Vale of Lost Women

"'I saw it carved in the rock of a cave no human had visited for a million years,' muttered Conan. 'In the uninhabited mountains beyond the Sea of Vilayet, half a world away from this spot. Later I saw a black witch-finder of Kush scratch it in the sand of a nameless river. He told me part of its meaning- it's sacred to Jhebbal Sag and the creatures which worship him.'" –Beyond the Black River

Conan plans on taking Livia back out of the black countries and to the borders of Stygia , but does not intend to travel through Stygia himself perhaps because of his troubles there in The Tombalku Typescripts or the reputation gained as Amra in Queen of the Black Coast.

“I will take you to the Stygian borders. The stygians will send you home to Ophir.” –The Vale of Lost Women

Kush to the borders of Stygia

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 18 December 2010 - 01:26 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#52 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 18 December 2010 - 11:48 PM

Of all people a Kosalan, Baal-pteor in The Man-Eaters of Zamboula immediately addresses Conan as a barbarian upon his entrance to the chamber and after an exchange of pleasantries and insults says: "Your head, Cimmerian!' taunted Baal-pteor." without Conan having introduced himself or Baal-pteor being told who he was. Where a Kosalan of the Himalean region would have seen a Cimmerian or how he would recognize one on sight is its own mystery.


Of course, it's equally likely that Baal-pteor knew of Conan by his reputation as a Kozak, and that his ethnicity was thus known. That said, Baal-pteor displays some impressive mesmerism and psychic abilities: perhaps he somehow divined Conan's origin?


Even if there was a Kozak tale before The Man-Eaters of Zamboula, which I obviously don't think there is, Baal-pteor did not hear Conan's name and would have had to associate the appearance of the man alone with any reputation he may have heard of. I think however unlikely that he had encountered a Cimmerian before. We know that he has traveled far from his homeland of Kosala in the Himelians. He instantly recognized Conan as a northern barbarian and not a Hyborian or Easterner and further guesses or correctly names his people. If he hadn't met barbarians before then perhaps it was magic as there is no other way to explain it.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#53 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 11:35 PM

The Servants of Bit-Yakin Part 1

The Servants of Bit-Yakin was first published in Weird Tales in March 1935 as Jewels of Gwahlur.

Set in the kingdom of Keshan. Conan is a mercenary offering his services to train the armies of Keshia and a treasure hunter in the haunted city of Alkmeenon.

Language:


Keshani, Corinthian

Conan speaks Keshani to the Keshan rulers and the high priest Gorulga.

Conan reads ancient Pelishtim a dialect of Shemitish.

"Remembering something, the Cimmerian drew forth the roll of parchment he had taken from the mummy and unrolled it carefully, as it seemed ready to fall to pieces with age. He scowled over the dim characters with which it was covered. In his roaming about the world the giant adventurer had picked up a wide smattering of knowledge, particularly including the speaking and reading of many alien tongues. Many a sheltered scholar would have been astonished at the Cimmerian's linguistic abilities, for he had experienced many adventures where knowledge of a strange language meant the difference between life and death.
These Characters were puzzling, at once familiar and unintelligible, and presently he discovered the reason. They were the characters of the archaic Pelishtim, which possessed many points of difference from the modern script, with which he was familiar, and which, three centuries ago, had been modified by conquest by a nomad tribe. This older, purer script baffled him. He made out a recurrent phrase, however, which he recognized as a proper name: Bit-Yakin. He gathered it was the name of the writer.
Scowling, his lips unconsciously moving as he struggled with the task, he blundered through the manuscript, finding much of it untranslatable and most of the rest of it obscure.
He gathered that the writer, the mysterious Bit-Yakin, had come from afar with his servants, and entered the valley of Alkmeenon. Much that followed was meaningless, interspersed as it was with unfamiliar phrases and characters. Such as he could translate seemed to indicate the passing of a very long period of time."
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"the Shemitish cities of the west, Pelishtim, Anakim, Akkharim,..." –A Witch Shall Be Born

Conan recognizes a Corinthian accent.

"I thought it was strange that a princess of Alkmeenon would speak with a Corinthian accent! As soon as I'd gathered my wits I knew I'd seen you somewhere. You're Muriela, Zargheba's Corinthian dancing girl." - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

It is probable that upon recognizing the Corinthian accent of the spoken Keshani, Conan confronts then converses with Muriela in her native tongue, which he probably learned prior to and during the tale Rogues in the House.

Profession:

Unemployed mercenary, Keshani general, treasure hunter

Conan described in the story:

“He came from a race of hillmen, accustomed to scaling forbidding crags, and he was a man of unusual strength and agility. His only garment was a pair of short red silk breeks, and his sandals were slung to his back, out of his way, as were his sword and dagger.
He was a powerfully built man, supple as a panther. His skin was brown, bronzed by the sun, his square-cut black mane confined by a silver band about his temples. His iron muscles, quick eye and sure foot served him well here, for it was a climb to test these qualities to the utmost.”
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“The climber stretched forth a long arm and wrenched away this cylinder. Without investigation he thrust it into his girdle and hauled himself up until he was standing in the opening of the niche.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Clues to placement:

“Conan the Cimmerian, late of the Barachan Isles, of the Black Coast, and of many other climes where life ran wild, had come to the kingdom of Keshan following the lure of a fabled treasure that outshone the hoard of the Turanian kings.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

From this statement he is “late of” –belonging to the time just before the present moment or immediately preceding the present, so he is recently from the Black Coast as he was in The Tombalku Typescripts:

“Argos raised an army of mercenaries, which went into ships and sailed southward along the coast. At the same time, a Kothic army was to invade Stygia by land. I was one of that mercenary army. We met the Stygian fleet and defeated it, driving it back to Khemi. We should have landed and looted the city, and advanced along the course of the Styx- but our admiral was cautious. Our leader was Prince Zapayo da Kova, a Zingaran. We cruised southward until we reached the jungle-clad coasts of Kush.” -The Tombalku Draft

He is recently from many other climes where life ran wild. Climes = Climates- the prevailing attitudes, standards, or the environmental conditions of a group, period, or place. Life was certainly wild as the war-chief of the Bamulas and the destruction of Bakalah in The Vale of Lost Women:

“Whoever he was, Livia knew the man must indeed be powerful in that wild land, if Bajujh of Bakalah rose to greet him. And power meant military prestige – violence was the only thing respected by those ferocious races.” - The Vale of Lost Women

This leaves us with the fact that he was late of the Barachan Isles. The Barachan Isles are only specifically mentioned in two tales about pirates, The Pool of the Black One and The Black Stranger, and referenced one time each in Beyond the Black River andThe Hour of the Dragon. The time that Conan has spent among the Barachan pirates is never set forth in a story of its own and only alluded to in others.

Let’s take a look at what the pirates are that are mentioned in the Conan stories:

Black Corsairs:

“Most of these were Kushites, but some thirty of the blacks who now rested on their idle oars and stared up at the stranger with dull curiosity were from the far southern isles, the homelands of the corsairs. Conan recognized them by their straighter features and hair, their rangier, cleaner-limbed build. And he saw among them men who had followed him of old.” – The Hour of the Dragon

"If he were recognized as Amra, the corsair chief who had swept their coasts with steel and flame..." -The Hour of the Dragon

Conan is a chief of the Corsairs on the Tigress in Queen of the Black Coast. This period of his life ends with the death of Bêlit and the burning of the Tigress.

“Bêlit had been of the sea; she had lent it splendor and allure. Without her it rolled a barren, dreary and desolate waste from pole to pole. She belonged to the sea; to its everlasting mystery he returned her. He could do no more. For himself, its glittering blue splendor was more repellent than the leafy fronds which rustled and whispered behind him of vast mysterious wilds beyond them, and into which he must plunge.
No hand was at the sweep of the Tigress, no oars drove her through the green water. But a clean tanging wind bellied her silken sail, and as a wild swan cleaves the sky to her nest, she sped seaward, flames mounting higher and higher from her deck to lick at the mast and envelop the figure that lay lapped in scarlet on the shining pyre. So passed the Queen of the Black Coast…”
-Queen of the Black Coast

Conan briefly returns as Chief of the Corsairs in The Hour of the Dragon.

“And from the waist rose a shout that swelled to a mighty roar: ‘Amra! It is Amra! The Lion has returned!” – The Hour of the Dragon

Pirates of the Vilayet Sea, The Red Brotherhood:


“’But we have a start, and I’m going to haul at these oars until we reach a safe place.’ ‘Where shall we find that?’ she asked hopelessly. ‘Vilayet is an Hyrkanian pond.’ ‘Some folk don’t think so,’ grinned Conan grimly; ‘notably the slaves that have escaped from galleys and become pirates.’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“’Conan the Cimmerian!’ his voice was like the deep challenge of a lion. ‘One of the Free Companions. I mean to try my luck with the Red Brotherhood. Who’s your chief?’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

“’Then if I am one of the Brotherhood,’ he grunted, ‘the laws of the Trade apply to me; and since I killed your chief in fair fight, then I am your captain!’” - Iron Shadows in the Moon

Conan becomes a captain of the Red Brotherhood pirates in a captured Hyrkanian galley in Iron Shadows in the Moon.

Apparently The Red Brotherhood of the Vilayet Sea are not the only Red Brotherhood as the Barachan Pirates also are referred to by the same appellation.

"A ship and a crew are all I want. As soon as I set foot on that deck, I’ll have a ship, and as soon as I can raise the Barachans I’ll have a crew. The lads of the Red Brotherhood are eager to ship with me, because I always lead them to rare loot. And as soon as I’ve set you and the girl ashore on the Zingaran coast, I’ll show the dogs some looting! Nay, nay, no thanks! What are a handful of gems to me, when all the loot of the southern seas will be mine for the grasping?”– The Black Stranger

“There was the color of the sea in her wide eyes. And that was as it should have been, because this was Valeria of the Red Brotherhood, whose deeds are celebrated in song and ballad wherever seafarers gather.” – Red Nails

“’Why did you join Zarallo? Sukhmet’s a long way from salt water.’
‘Red Ortho wanted to make me his mistress,’ she answered sullenly. ‘I jumped overboard one night and swam ashore when we were anchored off the Kushite coast. Off Zabhela, it was. There a Shemite trader told me that Zarallo had brought his Free Companies south to guard the Darfar border. No better employment offered. I joined an east-bound caravan and eventually came to Sukhmet.’”
–The Red Hand

Barachan Pirates, The Red Brotherhood:

“The pirates were mainly Argossean Sailors, turned outlaw…” –The Black Stranger

“Who of all the sea-folk had not heard the wild, bloody tales told of Conan, the wild rover who had once been a captain of the Barachan pirates, and one of the greatest scourges of the sea? A score of ballads celebrated his ferocious and audacious exploits.”- The Black Stranger

"Little love was lost between the Zingaran renegades and the outlaws who infested the Baracha Islands off the southern coast of Zingara." –The Pool of the Black One

Conan is a Barachan Pirate at the start of The Pool of the Black one.

“’I came from the islands.’ ‘Oh!’ The other regarded him with increased interest. Black brows drew down over scowling eyes, and the thin lip lifted unpleasantly.
‘So you are one of those dogs of the Barachans.’
A faint smile touched Conan’s lips.”
– The Pool of the Black One

Because of an unknown reason this stint as a Barachan Pirate ends on Tortage with Conan leaving hastily.

“’I found it necessary to leave the rendezvous at Tortage before moonrise last night,’ answered Conan. ‘I departed in a leaky boat, and rowed and bailed all night. Just at dawn I saw your topsails, and left the miserable tub to sing, while I made better speed in the water.’” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan plans to return to the life of piracy among the Barachans at the end of Red Nails.

“’It’s a long way to the coast,’ she said presently, withdrawing her lips from his. ‘What matter?’ he laughed. ‘There’s nothing we can’t conquer. We’ll have our feet on a ship’s deck before the Stygians open their ports for the trading season. And then we’ll show the world what plundering means!’” – Red Nails

His time with Valeria as a Barachan Pirate is ended with the sinking of his ship.

“’I thought you were dead,’ said Zarono slowly. ‘Three years ago the shattered hull of your ship was sighted off a reefy coast, and you were heard of on the Main no more.’ ‘I didn’t drown with my crew,’ answered Conan. ‘It’ll take a bigger ocean than that one to drown me.’”- The Black Stranger

Conan returns to the life of a Barachan Pirate as captain of the Red Hand at the end of The Black Stranger.

“Conan grinned and indicated The Red Hand drawing swiftly inshore.
‘A ship and a crew are all I want. As soon as I set foot on that deck, I’ll have a ship, and as soon as I can raise the Barachans I’ll have a crew. The lads of the Red Brotherhood are eager to ship with me, because I always lead them to rare loot. And as soon as I’ve set you and the girl ashore on the Zingaran coast, I’ll show the dogs some looting! Nay, nay, no thanks! What are a handful of gems to me, when all the loot of the southern seas will be mine for the grasping?’”
– The Black Stranger

Zingaran Buccaneers, The Fellowship of Freebooters:

“He was well aware of the enmity which existed between the pirates and the Zingaran buccaneers. The pirates were mainly Argossean Sailors, turned outlaw; to the ancient feud between Argos and Zingara was added, in the case of the freebooters, the rivalry of opposing interests. Both breeds preyed on the shipping and the coastal towns; and they preyed on one another with equal rapacity.” –The Black Stranger

Conan joins the Zingaran Buccaneers at the beginning of The Pool of the Black One and becomes the captain of the Wastrel by the end of it.

“Throughout the affair, he had taken the lead without question, and they had instinctively followed him.”
– The Pool of the Black One

“’The Plunder of the seas!’ he laughed. ‘A paltry crew, and that chewed and clawed to pieces, but they can work the ship, and crews can always be found.'”
– The Pool of the Black One

Conan’s career as a Zingaran Buccaneer is ended when his ship is sunk as was related at the start of Red Nails.

“The Zingarans sank my last ship off the Shemite shore – that’s why I joined Zarallo’s Free Companions.” – Red Nails

You may be asking yourself why would the Zingarans sink a ship of Zingaran Buccaneers? That would be because the Zingaran Buccaneers are renegades who raid their own people among the nations whose shipping and coastal towns they prey on.

“Little love was lost between the Zingaran renegades and the outlaws who infested the Baracha Islands off the southern coast of Zingara. These men were mostly sailors from Argos, with a sprinkling of other nationalities. They raided the shipping, and harried the Zingaran coast towns, just as the Zingaran buccaneers did, but these dignified their profession by calling themselves Freebooters, while they dubbed the Barachans pirates. They were neither the first nor the last to guild the name of thief.” – The Pool of the Black One

“’Baracha, eh?’ he sneered. ‘That’s where they raise dogs for men. We of the Fellowship spit on ‘em – like this!’” – The Pool of the Black One

Freebooters:

In addition to The Zingaran Fellowship of Freebooters, freebooters can be a generic term used for any pirate or buccaneer that they call themselves to dignify their profession calling their rival competitors for plunder Pirates. As you can see from this passage in The Black Stranger where Conan is compared to a Zingaran Buccaneer and a Barachan Pirate:

"The stranger was as tall as either of the freebooters, and more powerfully built than either, yet for all his size he moved with pantherish suppleness in his high, flaring-topped boots." –Comparing Conan to Strom the Barachan Pirate and Zarono the buccaneer in The Black Stranger

So why all this talk of pirates? Because The Servants of Bit-Yakin mentions that he was late of the Barachan Isles and there is this bit of evidence to ponder:

“His only garment was a pair of short red silk breeks, and his sandals were slung to his back, out of his way, as were his sword and dagger.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Breeks is the Scottish term for breeches meaning knee-length pants.

Conan is always described as wearing silk breeks or silk breeches in all of his pirate tales. He is wearing them shortly after a stint with The Red Brotherhood on the Vilayet Sea in The Devil in Iron. He is wearing them after a stint with the Barachans prior to The Servants of Bit-Yakin. He is wearing them again after being a Barachan pirate when he boards the Wastrel in The Pool of the Black One. He is wearing them after being sunk as a Zingaran Buccaneer before and during Red Nails. And he is wearing them when he resumes piracy at the end of The Black Stranger. The only time he is not wearing them is when he is in armor at the beginning and during his adventures with the Black Corsairs during Queen of the Black Coast (possibly showing his naivety, as a man in armor who goes overboard will surely drown before he can remove it), and when he is stripped of his armor then shanghaied aboard the Venturer in The Hour of the Dragon.

This then is how I postulate Conan’s career of piracy:

1. Chief of the Black Corsairs in Queen of the Black Coast aboard the Tigress on the western ocean. Ends with the Tigress burned.
2. Pirate Captain of The Red Brotherhood sailing the Vilayet Sea in a Hyrkanian galley, in Iron Shadows in the Moon and the period after. Ends with the joining of the pirates and the Kozaki to harass the Turanians.
3. Barachan Pirate prior to the events of The Servants of Bit-Yakin.
4. Barachan Pirate after his trip to Punt and at the beginning of The Pool of the Black One. Ends with Conan leaving Tortage by night in a leaky boat.
5. Zingaran Buccaneer Captain aboard the Wastrel in the western ocean, after the events of The Pool of the Black One. Ends with the Wastrel sunk by Zingarans.
6. Barachan Pirate Captain after the events of Red Nails. Ends with the sinking of his ship off a reefy coast.
7. Barachan Pirate Captain on the Red Hand sailing the western ocean, after the events of The Black Stranger. Ends with Conan becoming a mercenary general for the Aquilonians.
8. Brief return to the life of piracy as the Chief of the Black Corsairs on board the Argossean galley the Venturer on the western ocean, during The Hour of the Dragon. Ends to resume his mission to regain his kingdom.

Continued in The Servants of Bit-Yakin part 2.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 29 December 2010 - 01:57 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#54 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 21 December 2010 - 12:08 AM

The Servants of Bit-Yakin part 2

Further clues to placement:

“Keshan was a barbaric kingdom lying in the eastern hinterlands of Kush where the broad grass lands merge with the forests that roll up from the south.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"The city of Shumballa in the land of Kush, which lies south of Stygia, in the vast grass lands.” The Shumballa Synopsis

Hinterland –
1. Often, hinterlands. The remote or less developed parts of a country; back country
2. The land lying behind a coastal region.
3. An area or sphere of influence in the unoccupied interior claimed by the state possessing the coast.
4. An inland area supplying goods, esp. trade goods, to a port.

- Webster’s Encyclopedic Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language

Keshan is as the dictionary confirms an area in the interior that is claimed by the vast black kingdom of Kush, lying behind the coastal region of Kush, The Black Coasts. It probably supplies trade goods to the port cities of the coast. It is less developed than Kush that has cities such as Shumballa that has a palace and a city with towers as compared to Keshia: “the royal city, which was a swarm of thatched huts crowding about a mud wall that enclosed a palace of stone and mud and bamboo.” It is south of Stygia and to east of Kush where the grasslands meet the forest.

“He followed it warily, hugging the edge of the paving where the shrubs massed their shadows thick, until he saw ahead of him, dimly in the dusk a clump of lotus-trees, the strange growth peculiar to the black lands of Kush.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Much debate has centered on the placement of Keshan. But in the story itself it seems clear that it is in Kush in the interior behind the coastal lands. It borders Punt to the east.

“Punt would be invaded simultaneously from the east and the west, but the Zembabwans would see to it that the Keshani did most of the fighting and then, when both Punt and Keshan were exhausted from the struggle, the Zembabwans would crush both races, loot Keshan and take the treasure by force, if they had to destroy every building and torture every living human in the kingdom.”
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Dale Rippke says that The Servant of Bit-Yakin cannot come prior to Red Nails because he believes Keshan is further east than Xuchotl the city encountered in Red Nails and Conan makes this statement:

“’Turn west,’ he answered. ‘I’ve been this far south, but not this far east. Many days’ traveling to the west will bring us to the open savannas, where the black tribes graze their cattle. I have friends among them. We’ll get to the coast and find a ship. I’m sick of the jungle.’” – Red Nails
 

 


How can you reconcile the statement Conan made in RED NAILS that he had never been farther east in the Black Kingdoms than Xuchotl, when every Hyborian Age map shows Keshan lying to the east of Xuchotl? Either he is lying or he hasn't been to Keshan yet.


Which maps is Dale referring to? None of Howard’s maps show the location of the city of Xuchotl and we have already established that Keshan is in the hinterlands of Kush.

Keshan is not on Howard’s first two maps drawn possibly in mid March 1932, and for that matter neither is Kush or Darfar. On the first map which Dale calls the Rough Map 1932, Stygia is seen as occupying the entire bottom part of the map without a border on the east with the Nile River (later coined the Styx) marking the border with Shem then turning south in the middle of Stygia. It appears that Stygia may extend to the borders of Turan in the eastern desert.

Portion of the 1932 Rough Map

1932 Rough Map

On the second map that Dale calls the Finished Map 1932, Stygia can barely be seen at the bottom under Shem.

1932 Finished Map

There is a third map that is an updated map of the two previous including many city placements, more details and slightly modified boundaries that Howard sent in reply to Miller and Clark in his response to their outline and map they drew in 1936, dubbed by Dale the 1936 map. In this third and most accurate map we have Howard’s notes as showing Stygia at the extreme bottom of the page under Shem. To the left of Stygia is an arrow pointing downward labeled with “Sea To Kush”, then to the right of Stygia is another arrow pointing downward labeled, “To ZAMboula” under the “Shem deserts”. To the right of this arrow is another arrow directly below the Kozaks Steppes and the western-most point of Turan labeled, “To Keshan”. On the third map Darfar is still not listed and the city of Xuchotl is not placed.

1936 Map 11936 Map 2

Now we know that Darfar is where the cannibal slaves are from in The Man-Eaters of Zamboula, and that Zamboula is part of Turan.

"The native population was no less heterogeneous. Here, centuries ago, the armies of Stygia had come, carving an empire out of the eastern desert. Zamboula was but a small trading town then, lying amidst a ring of oases, and inhabited by descendants of nomads. The Stygians built it into a city and settled it with their own people, and with Shemite and Kushite slaves. The ceaseless caravans, threading the desert from east to west and back again, brought riches and more mingling of races. Then came the conquering Turanians, riding out of the East to thrust back the boundaries of Stygia, and now for a generation Zamboula Had been Turan's western-most out-post, ruled by a Turanian satrap." - The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"The man on the floor was a cannibal slave from Darfar." - The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

We also know that Darfar borders Stygia from Red Nails but it is not listed on the map. So south of Stygia we have first the kingdom of Kush which also borders the sea, second Darfar, and then third Keshan. So how can this be if Keshan is in the hinterlands of Kush the land right behind the Black Coasts? Well Kush is described as a vast kingdom in The Hyborian Age. I postulate that Kush is far more vast then suspected. Darfar is probably a small country and probably has many enemies since they are cannibals and are kept reined in. The Stygians protect their borders from them. The much larger and more established kingdom of Kush extends from the coast along the southern border of Stygia then surrounds most of Darfar except the portion that is nestled against Stygia and continues south. Zamboula is to the northeast of Darfar and north of Keshan as part of Turan bordering Stygia. Keshan is to the south and partly to the east of Darfar but still borders the vast Kushite Kingdom. There is no evidence that Keshan borders Stygia. We know that Keshan borders Kush in the west and Punt in the east and that Zimbabwe lies next to Punt marking Punt’s eastern border. Keshan has Darfar to the north as well as Zamboula and still extends farther east. Darfar is to the west and north of Keshan but probably extends over a portion of Keshan. Punt is nestled into Keshan that borders it on the east but Keshan then expands past Punt further east.

"South of Stygia are the vast black kingdoms of the Amazons, the Kushites, the Atlaians, and the hybrid empire of Zimbabwe." -REH in The Hyborian Age

"...the warriors of Kush, the first of the great black kingdoms of the grasslands south of Stygia." - Black Colossus

“Keshan was a barbaric kingdom lying in the eastern hinterlands of Kush where the broad grass lands merge with the forests that roll up from the south.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“Thutmekri likewise had a proposition to make to the king of Keshan and it also concerned the conquest of Punt – which kingdom, incidentally, lying east of Keshan, had recently expelled the Zembabwan traders and burned their fortresses.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“Punt would be invaded simultaneously from the east and the west, but the Zembabwans would see to it that the Keshani did most of the fighting and then, when both Punt and Keshan were exhausted from the struggle, the Zembabwans would crush both races, loot Keshan and take the treasure by force, if they had to destroy every building and torture every living human in the kingdom.”
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“She had come far – from the camp of the mercenaries by the border town of Sukhmet amidst the level grasslands, where desperate adventurers of many races guard the Stygian frontier against the raids that come up like a red wave from Darfar.” – Red Nails

So the question becomes where exactly is Xuchotl? Just because in Red Nails Valeria and Conan started in Darfar does not mean that Xuchotl is in Darfar. So let’s see from the story the description of where it is.

“’I’ve seen his kind before, though. They live on the shores of Lake Zuad, near the border of Kush. They’re sort of mongrel Stygians, mixed with another race that wandered into Stygia from the east some centuries ago and were absorbed by them. They’re called Tlazitlans. I’m willing to bet it wasn’t they who built this city, though.’”- Red Nails

"'your people came from Lake Zuad?' questioned Conan. 'Aye. More than half a century ago a tribe of the Tlazitlans rebelled against the Stygian King, and, being defeated in battle, fled southward. For many weeks they wandered over grasslands, desert and hills, and at last they came into the great forest, a thousand fighting-men with their women and children.
It was in the forest that the dragons fell upon them, and tore many to pieces; so the people fled in a frenzy of fear before them, and at last came into the plain and saw the city of Xuchotl in the midst of it.'"
– Red Nails

Lake Zuad is on the border of Stygia and Kush. The Tlazitlans went first south through grasslands, deserts, and hills for weeks then came to the edge of the great forest. It does not say what direction they traveled through the forests when pursued by the dragons but they were in a frenzy of fear. They ended at the plains finding Xuchotl in the midst of it. Somehow they had reached the same place that Valeria and Conan had reached more than half a century later, when they came south from Sukhmet in Stygia through Darfar so the Tlazitlans must have traveled east upon reaching the forest.

“For leagues she had traveled in a realm of brooding stillness, broken only by the sounds of her own flight.” – Red Nails

This is referring to the forest where they encounter the Dragon, the reason for the silent forest devoid of other animals.

“Perhaps its peak rose above the tree-tops, and from it she could see what lay beyond – if, indeed, anything lay beyond but more of this apparently illimitable forest through which she had ridden for so many days.” – Red Nails

“She glanced northward, in the direction from which she had come. She saw only the rolling green ocean stretching away and away, with only a vague blue line in the distance to hint of the hill-range she had crossed days before, to plunge into this leafy waste.
West and east the view was the same; though the blue hill-line was lacking in those directions. But when she turned her eyes southward she stiffened and caught her breath. A mile away in that direction the forest thinned out and ceased abruptly, giving way to a cactus-dotted plain. And in the midst of that plain rose the walls and towers of a city. Valeria swore in amazement. This passed belief. She would not have been surprised to sight human habitations of another sort – the beehive-shaped huts of the black people, or the cliff-dwellings of the mysterious brown race which legends declared inhabited some country of this unexplored region. But it was a startling experience to come upon a walled city here so many long weeks’ march from the nearest outposts of any sort of civilization.”
– Red Nails

“That delayed me, though, and I almost lost your trail when you crossed the rocky spurs of the hills. Otherwise I’d have caught up with you long ago.” – Red Nails

“Sukhmet’s a long way from salt water.” – Red Nails

“’Turn west,’ he answered. ‘I’ve been this far south, but not this far east. Many days’ traveling to the west will bring us to the open savannas, where the black tribes graze their cattle. I have friends among them. We’ll get to the coast and find a ship. I’m sick of the jungle.’” – Red Nails

So from this we learn that having left the border town of Sukhmet in Stygia which is a long way from salt water, they traveled many leagues across jungles and a rocky hill range to plunge into a nearly limitless forest that ends in a desert plain where the city of Xuchotl is many long weeks from any civilization (by Valeria’s estimation, Suhkmet being the last city she she visited in Stygia and probably having seen, possibly avoided villages in Darfar) and all of this on horseback.

Conan says he has friends to the west, who could they be? He escaped from Shumballa the capital of Kush in The Shumballa Typescripts and likely has no friends there. He has no friends in Xuthal in the deserts south of Kush. He may still have friends in Tombalku as the draft doesn’t say what happened after he arrived there with Amalric and he was a horse general in The Tombalku Typescripts. However probably not since in the synopsis his corsair friend is killed in Tombalku and he is forced to flee as the city is nearly destroyed. Conan said Keshia would be too hot for him and has probably not made any friends in Punt after trying to swindle them during and after The Servants of Bit-Yakin. Conan probably still has friends among the Bamulas from The Vale of Lost Women in Kush and definitely still has friends among the Corsairs that come from the southern Isles and range the Black Coasts of Kush from Queen of the Black Coast.

Compare the description of the journey to Xuchotl with the one that Conan makes to reach Keshan:

“But these misty legends had been enough to bring Conan to Keshan, over vast distances of plain, river-laced jungle, and mountains.
He had found Keshan, which in itself was considered mythical by many northern and western nations, and he had heard enough to confirm the rumors of the treasure that men called the Teeth of Gwahlur.”
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Alkmeenon lies in the southwest corner of Keshan.

“Riding hard as he dared for a night and a day and a night, he came in the early dawn to the cliffs of Alkmeenon, which stood in the southwestern corner of the kingdom, amidst uninhabited jungle which was taboo to common men.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Could Alkmeenon in the southwest corner of Keshan be further west than Xuchotl? Why not? Traveling south out of Stygia and through Darfar Xuchotl could be found in Keshan. Alkmeenon is in the southwest corner of Keshan so any placement of Xuchotl further east than the southwest corner would satisfy Conan's statement that he had been that far south (and further) but not that far east (which in fact he had because he had been in Turan and points even further east, but was probably referring only to the black kingdoms). Xuchotl was first placed south of Darfar on the Lany map.

http://lh6.ggpht.com...Stygia1[2].jpg'>The Lany Map

 

Broken link fix: http://lh6.ggpht.com...yStygia1[2].jpg

“Two years after Howard’s death in June 1936, the LANY Corporation published a booklet titled THE HYBORIAN AGE. Its contents included Howard’s essay, “The Hyborian Age” as well as “A Probable Outline of Conan’s Career” by P. Schuyler-Miller and Dr. John Clark. The booklet also contained a map of the Hyborian lands, drawn by Miller and Clark, and based on the map that Howard had mailed them. The LANY map was the first Hyborian Age map that the general public had ever seen, and has since become the basis for all of the maps that have been produced over the decades.” – Dale Rippke in The Darkstorm Files

After that it was placed inside the borders of Darfar which is where it is supposedly found currently based on maps on the Hyborian world that CPI endorses. Remember all maps after the Howard maps are based or partly influenced by pastiche stories and are not reliable.

http://www.conan.com...showtopic=3503'>World of Hyboria Map

 

Broken link fix: http://www.conan.com/hyboria.jpg

On Rippke’s own map notice he did not place Xuchotl. But even on his map Xuchotl could be south of Darfar and still be east of the southwest corner of Keshan where Alkmeenon is located. Heck Xuchotl could still be east of the tiniest fragment of Punt based on his map. Conan said he had never been further east when he was near Xuchotl but had been that far south (indeed and probably further south still), even if he did travel to Punt after The Servants of Bit-Yakin, Xuchotl could be east of both Alkmeenon and the western border of Punt by placing it just south of the eastern border of Darfar on Rippke’s map. I would suppose that probably the border of Punt and Keshan is more directly underneath Darfar or that Darfar is extended further east, and that Kush would be vastly larger bordering Keshan on Keshan’s western border.

Rippke Map

“It seems to me that Keshan’s western frontier may well end at the River Styx, since a location in the “eastern hinterlands” implies that it is located in the grasslands east of that important watercourse.” – Dale Rippke in The Darkstorm Files

Notice how Rippke fails to mention the rest of the quote “of Kush” because it does not jive with his preconceived notion of Keshan placement and instead says it refers to the western edge of Keshan which he imagines borders the river Styx, when we know the western edge is Kush, and hinterlands refers to land behind a coastline. Here is the full quote:

“Keshan was a barbaric kingdom lying in the eastern hinterlands of Kush where the broad grass lands merge with the forests that roll up from the south.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin
 

 


How can you reconcile the statement Conan made in RED NAILS that he had never been farther east in the Black Kingdoms than Xuchotl, when every Hyborian Age map shows Keshan lying to the east of Xuchotl? Either he is lying or he hasn't been to Keshan yet.


When Dale said that he was basing the position of Xuchotl on maps that are based on pastiche novels and not based on Howard’s maps (because Howard doesn’t place Xuchotl). Conan had been farther south than Xuchotl and in fact farther east than Xuchotl in Turan based on Howard's map; assuming Xuchotl is south of Darfar based on Valeria's travels, and that Darfar is not inside Turan lying to the west of it bordering Stygia, with Zamboula being Turan's westernmost outpost, also bordering Stygia.

To see the rest of Dale Rippke's musings on maps etc. go here:

The Dark Storm Files

Here is my weak attempt at a map to show the relative placement of kingdoms that could work. All the placements are arbitrary and personal opinion based on speculation. I admit I probably have my own preconceived notions of where to place kingdoms. Click on the map to enlarge it. To be able to see the fine print you will have to click the download button on the right side. You will then be able to explore and scroll. It is fairly large and make take a minute to download.

My Hypothetical Hyborian Map

Or you can look at it directly in this Map Thread, just click the map to enlarge it.

Howard himself never felt the need to map out exactly the Black Kingdoms south of Stygia.

“I feel indeed honored that you and Dr. Clark should be so interested in Conan as to work out an outline of his career and a map of his environs. Both are surprisingly accurate, considering the vagueness of the data you had to work with. I have the original map - that is the one I drew up when I first started writing about Conan-- around here somewhere and I'll see if I can't find it and let you have a look at it. It includes only the countries west of Vilayet and north of Kush. I've never attempted to map the southern and eastern kingdoms, though I have a fairly clear outline of their geography in my mind. However, in writing about them I feel a certain amount of license, since the inhabitants of the western Hyborian nations were about as ignorant concerning the peoples and countries of the south and east as the people of medieval Europe were ignorant of Africa and Asia. In writing about the western Hyborian nations I feel confined within the limits of known and inflexible boundaries and territories, but in fictionizing the rest of the world, I feel able to give my imagination freer play. That is, having adopted a certain conception of geography and ethnology, I feel compelled to abide by it, in the interests of consistency. My conception of the east and south is not so definite or so arbitrary.

Concerning Kush, however, it is one of the black kingdoms south of Stygia, the northern-most, in fact, and has given its name to the whole southern coast. Thus, when an Hyborian speaks of Kush, he is generally speaking of not the kingdom itself, one of many such kingdoms, but of the Black Coast in general. And he is likely to speak of any black man as a Kushite, whether he happens to be a Keshani, Darfari, Puntan, or Kushite proper. This is natural, since the Kushites were the first black men with whom the Hyborians came in contact - Barachan pirates trafficking with and raiding them.”
- Robert E. Howard Letter to P. Schuyler Miller

Further clues to placement:

“Equally nebulous were the tales of the Teeth of Gwahlur, the treasure of Alkmeenon. But these misty legends had been enough to bring Conan to Keshan, over vast distances of plain, river-laced jungle, and mountains.
He had found Keshan, which in itself was considered mythical by many northern and western nations, and he had heard enough to confirm the rumors of the treasure that men called the Teeth of Gwahlur. But its hiding place he could not learn, and he was confronted with the necessity of explaining his presence in Keshan. Unattached strangers were not welcome there.
But he was nonplused. With cool assurance he made his offer to the stately, plumed, suspicious grandees of the barbarically magnificent court. He was a professional fighting man. In search of employment (he said) he had come to Keshan. For a price he would train the armies of Keshan and lead them against Punt, their hereditary enemy, whose recent successes in the field had roused the fury of Keshan’s irascible king.
This proposition was not as audacious as it might seem. Conan’s fame had preceded him, even into distant Keshan; his exploits as a chief of the black corsairs, those wolves of the southern coasts, had made his name known, admired and feared throughout the black kingdoms. He did not refuse tests devised by the dusky lords. Skirmishes along the borders were incessant, affording the Cimmerian plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his ability at hand-to-hand fighting. His reckless ferocity impressed the lords of Keshan, already aware of his reputation as a leader of men, and the prospects seemed favourable. All Conan secretly desired was employment to give him legitimate excuse for remaining in Keshan long enough to locate the hiding place of the Teeth of Gwahlur. Then there came an interruption. Thutmekri came to Keshan at the head of an embassy from Zembabwei.
Thutmekri was a Stygian, an adventurer and a rogue whose wits had recommended him to the twin kings of the great hybrid trading kingdom which lay many days’ march to the east. He and the Cimmerian knew one another of old, and without love. Thutmekri likewise had a proposition to make to the king of Keshan and it also concerned the conquest of Punt – which kingdom, incidentally, lying east of Keshan, had recently expelled the Zembabwan traders and burned their fortresses.”
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Legends of the Teeth of Gwahlur had brought Conan over considerable distance to find Keshia. Conan spent some time in Keshia trying to locate the hiding spot of the Teeth of Gwahlur.

“His fingers itched to plunge among the gems he had heard described by story-tellers in the market squares of Keshia, who repeated tales handed down from mouth to mouth through the centuries – jewels not to be duplicated in the world, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, bloodstones, opals, sapphires, the loot of the ancient world.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“Conan could predict Thutmekri’s plans, from his knowledge of the man.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Conan has previously met Thutmekri but we are never told where although Conan is very familiar with him and his habits. He could have met him anywhere if Thutmekri is a wandering adventurer like Conan or at any time he traveled to, raided the coasts of, or fought the armies of Stygia. He could have met him in Shem if Thutmekri was with his partner Zargheba at the time Conan saw him there.

"The Cimmerian made no attempt to match wits and intrigue with Thutmekri and his Shemitish partner, Zargheba." -The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"A year ago I saw you in Akbitana with that swine, Zargheba, and I don't forget faces - or women's figures." -The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Conan had learned Shemitish and even knew how to read Pelishtim a dialect of Shemitish from the Shemite city of Pelishtim.

"Remembering something, the Cimmerian drew forth the roll of parchment he had taken from the mummy and unrolled it carefully, as it seemed ready to fall to pieces with age. He scowled over the dim characters with which it was covered. In his roaming about the world the giant adventurer had picked up a wide smattering of knowledge, particularly including the speaking and reading of many alien tongues. Many a sheltered scholar would have been astonished at the Cimmerian's linguistic abilities, for he had experienced many adventures where knowledge of a strange language meant the difference between life and death.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“The wise men of Pelishtim know how to increase the span of their lives for hundreds of years. I’ve seen some of them myself.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"the Shemitish cities of the west, Pelishtim, Anakim, Akkharim,..." –A Witch Shall Be Born

Conan recognizes a Corinthian accent because he learned Corinthian prior to Rogues in the House.

"I thought it was strange that a princess of Alkmeenon would speak with a Corinthian accent! As soon as I'd gathered my wits I knew I'd seen you somewhere. You're Muriela, Zargheba's Corinthian dancing girl." - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"She was no longer a mystical figure of antiquity, but a terrified and humiliated dancing girl, such as can be bought at almost any Shemitish market-place." -The Servants of Bit-Yakin

"A year ago I saw you in Akbitana with that swine, Zargheba, and I don't forget faces - or women's figures." -The Servants of Bit-Yakin

One year prior to this adventure he had been in the Shemitish city of Akbitana. This could have been if he traveled across Shem visiting Pelishtim and Akbitana on his way to Argos (months) prior to The Tombalku Typescripts because of rumors of wars to join up as a mercenary after leaving the Kozaki if he rejoined them after being a Afghuli Chief. In the course of that year he would have left Shem for Argos, with the mercenary army he traveled south by ship to Kush after defeating the Stygian fleet off of Stygia, attacked Stygia by land along its southern border (several weeks at least), fled south to Tombalku for his adventures there during the month that Amalric was with the Ghanatas, and for however long they remained in Tombalku. Conan then became a War-Chief among the Bamulas (several months) during The Vale of Lost Women when things went sour in Tombalku and Amalric took Lissa away after not wanting to go to Tombalku in the first place. Taking Livia to the Stygian Coast and being tired of black women he travels to the coast then northward possibly on a trading ship. He spends some time as a Barachan Pirate (months). Traveling back to the Black Coasts of Kush after hearing the legends he heads for Keshia where he becomes a general while seeking the hiding place of the jewels (months) prior to finding Muriela in Alkmeenon and making the comment.

“Let the Teeth of Gwahlur be placed in the care of the general Conan.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Conan had become a Keshani General proving himself in border skirmishes before teaching their warriors.

“Skirmishes along the borders were incessant, affording the Cimmerian plenty of opportunities to demonstrate his ability at hand-to-hand fighting.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Conan does not intend to return to Keshia after he secures the Jewels.

“After that Keshia would be too hot for the Cimmerian, nor had Conan had any intention of returning when he rode away in the night.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Conan plans to travel to Punt at the end of the adventure and I have every inclination to believe he made it there. During his time in Keshia he may have heard some things about Punt and thought it would be lucrative to travel there or he may have learned customs of the people of Punt by having been there during his testing period in the border skirmishes.

"'I can use an actress like you. There's no use going back to Keshia. There's nothing in Keshan now that I want. We'll go to Punt. The people of Punt worship an ivory woman, and they wash gold out of the rivers in wicker baskets." - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“I’ve always known there was a subterranean river flowing away from the lake where the people of the Puntish highlands throw their dead.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

Obviously he hasn’t always known it because he could not have known it in Cimmeria prior to his travels out of that country but Conan does have knowledge of Punt because he had been there during the border skirmishes and heard about their hereditary enemies from the Keshians.

In Red Nails Conan mentions some beliefs concerning Golden Serpents and fire-stones of the people of Punt. He also states, "that is what the People of Punt call them" indicating that he had spoken directly to them (the people of Punt). Because he had traveled to Punt during border skirmishes during The Servants of Bit-Yakin and the period immediately following the events of that story.

"The vaulted ceiling was of lapis lazuli, adorned with clusters of great green stones that gleamed with a poisonous radiance.’Green fire-stones,' growled Conan. 'That's what the people of Punt call them. They’re supposed to be the petrified eyes of those prehistoric snakes the ancients called Golden Serpents. They glow like a cat's eyes in the dark At night this hall would be lighted by them, but it would be hellishly weird illumination. Let's look around. We might find a cache of jewels.'" -Red Nails

From Kush to Keshan, south to Alkmeenon, then to Punt


Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 23 August 2014 - 05:14 AM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#55 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 09:09 AM

The Pool of the Black One

Climbing from the sea having been among the Barachan Pirates, Conan boards a ship of Zingaran Buccaneers. They travel to a mysterious island where treasure hunting becomes second place to survival as the sacrifices begin.

The Pool of the Black One was first published in Weird Tales in October 1933.

Language:


Zingaran, and at least a dozen others sung at full volume.

"Sancha, once of Kordava,..." –The Pool of the Black One
(Kordava is a city of Zingara).

"'Who are you?' she demanded. 'Whence did you come?'...'I am Conan,' the other answered imperturbably. Sancha pricked up her ears anew; she had never heard Zingaran spoken with such an accent as the stranger spoke it." –The Pool of the Black One

The Pool of the Black One has Conan speaking Zingaran. He must have traveled to the coast and there became a Barachan pirate learning Zingaran along the way. After the events of The Servants of Bit-Yakin and his journey to Punt afterward he regains the coasts and rejoins them. Crawling aboard a ship from out of the sea and eventually joining the Zingaran crew as one of the Freebooters.

"I came from the Islands" –The Pool of the Black One

"Little love was lost between the Zingaran renegades and the outlaws who infested the Baracha Islands off the southern coast of Zingara." –The Pool of the Black One

"who roared ribald songs in a dozen languages" –The Pool of the Black One

Profession:

Barachan Pirate, Zingaran Buccaneer

Conan described in the story:

“She sat up, her gaze fixed on the rail, over which, to her amazement, a dripping figure clambered. Her dark eyes opened wide, her red lips parted in an O of surprize. The intruder was a stranger to her. Water ran in rivulets from his great shoulders and down his heavy arms. His single garment – a pair of bright crimson silk breeks – was soaking wet, as was his broad gold-buckled girdle and the sheathed sword it supported. As he stood at the rail the rising sun etched him like a great bronze statue. He ran his fingers through his streaming black mane, and his blue eyes lit as they rested on the girl.” – The Pool of the Black One

“There was no mistaking that tall brown figure with its springy step. Men said he was no civilized man at all, but a Cimmerian, one of those barbaric tribesmen who dwelt in the gray hills of the far North, and whose raids struck terror in their southron neighbors. At least, she knew that there was something about him, some super-vitality or barbarism that set him apart from his wild mates.” – The Pool of the Black One

“Conan’s breeks hung in blood-stained tatters; his girdle and sheath were gone, his sword, driven upright in the deck beside him, was notched and crusted with red. Blood thickly clotted his black mane, and one ear had been half torn from his head. His arms, legs, breast and shoulders were bitten and clawed as if by panthers. But he grinned as he braced his powerful legs, and swung on the wheel in sheer exuberance of muscular might.”
– The Pool of the Black One

Clues to placement:


Conan is a Barachan Pirate at the start of The Pool of the Black one.

“’And how did you get aboard my ship?’ The voice grated with suspicion.
‘I swam.’
‘Swam!’ exclaimed the master angrily. ‘Dog, would you jest with me? We are far beyond sight of land. Whence do you come?’
Conan pointed with a muscular brown arm toward the east, banded in dazzling gold by the lifting sun.
’I came from the islands.’
‘Oh!’ The other regarded him with increased interest. Black brows drew down over scowling eyes, and the thin lip lifted unpleasantly.
‘So you are one of those dogs of the Barachans.’
A faint smile touched Conan’s lips.”
– The Pool of the Black One

"Little love was lost between the Zingaran renegades and the outlaws who infested the Baracha Islands off the southern coast of Zingara." –The Pool of the Black One

Because of an unknown reason this stint as a Barachan Pirate ends on Tortage with Conan leaving hastily.

“’I found it necessary to leave the rendezvous at Tortage before moonrise last night,’ answered Conan. ‘I departed in a leaky boat, and rowed and bailed all night. Just at dawn I saw your topsails, and left the miserable tub to sing, while I made better speed in the water.’” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan is familiar with the reputation of Zingaran Buccaneers and recognizes the ship the Wastrel by sight.

“’And do you know who I am?’ his questioner demanded.
“This ship is the Wastrel; so you must be Zaporavo.’
‘Aye!’ It touched the captain’s grim vanity that the man should know him."
–The Pool of the Black One

Conan asserts himself as a good sailor.

“’A ship can always use another good sailor,’ answered the other without resentment. Zaporavo scowled, knowing the truth of that assertion.” –The Pool of the Black One

Conan joins and eventually takes over the ship, the loyalty of the men, and the admiration of the captain’s girl by working as a sailor aboard ship. The Zingaran buccaneers let him join because he is not Argossean, Argos being the hereditary enemy of Zingara, and had deserted from the Barachans. Conan shows his confidence both as a sailor and among pirates.

“He hesitated, and doing so, lost his ship, his command, his girl, and his life. But of course he could not see into the future, and to him Conan was only another wastrel, cast up, as he put it, by the sea. He did not like the man; yet the fellow had given him no provocation. His manner was not insolent, though rather more confident than Zaporavo liked to see.
’You’ll work for your keep,’ snarled the Hawk.”
–The Pool of the Black One

Conan is familiar with the traditions of maritime men on the sea.

“The smile seemed to broaden on Conan’s thin lips. Without hesitation but without haste he turned and descended into the waist.” –The Pool of the Black One

“As he came into the waist the crew thronged about him – Zingarans, all of them, half naked, their gaudy silk garments splashed with tar, jewels glinting in ear-rings and dagger-hilts. They were eager for the time-honored sport of baiting the stranger. Here he would be tested, and his future status among the crew decided. Up on the poop Zaporavo had apparently already forgotten the stranger’s existence, but Sancha watched, tense with interest. She had become familiar with such scenes, and knew the baiting would be brutal and probably bloody.
But her familiarity with such matters was scanty compared to that of Conan.”
–The Pool of the Black One

“’Baracha, eh?’ he sneered. ‘That’s where they raise dogs for men. We of the Fellowship spit on ‘em – like this!’” – The Pool of the Black One

“’You Freebooters are a weak-boned race,’ laughed the pirate. ‘On the Barachas we take no account of such taps as that. Will you play at sword-strokes, now, any of you? No? Then all’s well, and we’re friends, eh?’” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan is a skilled sailor having previously been a Corsair, Pirate of the Red Brotherhood of the Vilayet Sea, and Barachan Pirate.

“He mixed with the crew, lived and made merry as they did. He proved himself a skilled sailor, and by far the strongest man any of them had seen. He did the work of three men, and was always first to spring to any heavy or dangerous task. His mates began to rely upon him. He did not quarrel with them, and they were careful not to quarrel with him. He gambled with them, putting up his girdle and sheath for a stake, won their money and weapons, and gave them back with a laugh. The crew instinctively looked toward him as the leader of the forecastle. He vouchsafed no information as to what had caused him to flee the Barachas, but the knowledge that he was capable of a deed bloody enough to have exiled him from that wild band increased the respect felt toward him by the fierce Freebooters. Toward Zaporavo and the mates he was imperturbably courteous, never insolent or servile.
The dullest was struck by the contrast between the harsh, taciturn, gloomy commander, and the pirate whose laugh was gusty and ready, who roared ribald songs in a dozen languages, guzzled ale like a toper, and – apparently – had no thought for the morrow.”
– The Pool of the Black One

Conan speaks at least a dozen languages. At this point in his career I have him speaking if not fluently then at least partially the following tongues:

Cimmerian
Nordheimr
Hyperborean
Aquilonian
Bossonian
Pictish
Brythunian
Nemedian
Zamorian
Corinthian
Ophirean
Kothic
Shemitish
Hyrkanian
Argossean
Kushite/Cushite
Stygian
Yuetshi
Vendhyan
Zhaibari
Ghulistani or Ghuli
Zingaran
Keshani
Puntan

From near the Barachan Isles off the coasts of Zingara they head west.

“Now they had left all charted coasts behind and were plunging further and further into that unknown billowy wasted ordinarily shunned by seafarers, and into which, since the beginnings of Time, ships had ventured, only to vanish from the sight of man for ever. All known lands lay behind them, and day upon day the blue surging immensity lay empty to their sight.” – The Pool of the Black One

“So after many weary weeks, they raised land to westward, and at dawn dropped anchor in a shallow bay, and saw a beach which was like a white band bordering an expanse of gentle grassy slopes, masked by green trees.” – The Pool of the Black One

Again Conan shows his knowledge of sea-faring codes of conduct.

“Conan did not underrate his dominance of the crew. But he had not gained the right, though battle and foray, to challenge the captain to a duel to the death. In these empty seas there had been no opportunity for him to prove himself according to Freebooter law.” The crew would stand solidly against him if he attacked the chieftain openly. But he knew that if he killed Zaporavo without their knowledge, the leaderless crew would not be likely to be swayed by loyalty to a dead man. In such wolf-packs only the living counted.” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan having been in many battles himself, and part of various armies and fighting styles he still fights in his pure elemental style with barbaric ferocity that overwhelms lesser civilized men.

“Zaporavo was the veteran of a thousand fights by sea and by land. There was no man in the world more deeply and thoroughly versed than he in the lore of swordcraft. But he had never been pitted against a blade wielded by thews bred in the wild lands beyond the borders of civilization. Against his fighting-craft was matched blinding speed and strength impossible to a civilized man. Conan’s manner of fighting was unorthodox, but instinctive and natural as that of a timber wolf. The intricacies of the sword were as useless against his primitive fury as a human boxer’s skill against the onslaughts of a panther.” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan makes reference to black lotuses and the dream slumber they induce that he has encountered during Queen of the Black Coast and Xuthal of the Dusk.

“Up this he went, wondering if it were all real, or if he were not in the midst of a black lotus dream.” – The Pool of the Black One

“’What is that sweet cloying smell?’ she asked nervously. ‘It’s on all their breaths.’
‘It’s that damned fruit they were eating,’ he answered softly. ‘I remember the smell of it. It must have been like the black lotus, that makes men sleep.’”
– The Pool of the Black One

Conan may have seen cobras dance by the tune to a faquir’s fife in any of the eastern cities and kingdoms he had visited. In Man-Eaters of Zamboula he witnessed Nafertari dancing to avoid them even if they were illusions.

“The youth began to dance, as cobras dance by compulsion to the tune of the faquir’s fife.” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan refers to his time as a young thief in Zamora.

“Conan glared, frozen with repulsion and shaken with nausea. Himself as cleanly elemental as a timber wolf, he was yet not ignorant of the perverse secrets of rotting civilizations. He had roamed the cities of Zamora, and known the women of Shadizar the Wicked.” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan recognizes racial profiles of some of the peoples he has encountered.

“These figures, not much longer than a man’s hand, represented men, and so cleverly were they made that Conan recognized various racial characteristics in the different idols, features typical of Zingarans, Argoseans, Ophireans, and Kushite corsairs.” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan knows Zingarans from his time among the Barachan Pirates, and having followed a Zingaran Prince Zapayo da Kova as a mercenary in The Tombalku Typescripts. Conan lived briefly in Argos and borded the Argus an Argossean vessel with sailors during Queen of the Black Coast, and again knew Argosseans as a Barachan Pirate as most of them were men from Argos. Conan traveled through Ophir on his way home and when selling the Star of Khorala. He knew Livia in The Vale of Lost Women and Olivia in Iron Shadows in the Moon both of which were Ophirean. The Kushite Corsairs he knew because of his time as chief among them in Queen of the Black Coast.

Conan becomes captain of the Wastrel through subterfuge undermining the loyalty of the crew to the captain, the confrontation with the captain in secret, and taking command of the men to lead them out of a desperate situation.

“Throughout the affair, he had taken the lead without question, and they had instinctively followed him.” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan plans to continue piracy among The Fellowship of Freebooters.

“’The Plunder of the seas!’ he laughed. ‘A paltry crew, and that chewed and clawed to pieces, but they can work the ship, and crews can always be found.” – The Pool of the Black One

Conan’s career as a Zingaran Buccaneer is ended when his ship is sunk as was related at the start of Red Nails.

“The Zingarans sank my last ship off the Shemite shore – that’s why I joined Zarallo’s Free Companions.” – Red Nails

You may be asking yourself why would the Zingarans sink a ship of Zingaran Buccaneers? That would be because the Zingaran Buccaneers are renegades who raid their own people among the nations whose shipping and coastal towns they prey on.

“Little love was lost between the Zingaran renegades and the outlaws who infested the Baracha Islands off the southern coast of Zingara. These men were mostly sailors from Argos, with a sprinkling of other nationalities. They raided the shipping, and harried the Zingaran coast towns, just as the Zingaran buccaneers did, but these dignified their profession by calling themselves Freebooters, while they dubbed the Barachans pirates. They were neither the first nor the last to guild the name of thief.” – The Pool of the Black One

From the Barachan Isles to the western sea to the mysterious island of the black ones back to Zingara and Argos, ending up in Shem.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 22 December 2010 - 06:50 PM.

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

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


#56 grim cimmerian

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 07:47 PM

I think the key to placing The Frost-Giant's Daughter and the trump card if you will is Howard himself saying that his first foray after Venarium and outside of the boundaries of Cimmeria (reversing his previous supposition above) was north with the ?sir for months fighting the Vanir and the Hyperboreans and in the same paragraph stating he was captured by the Hyperboreans escaping southward into Zamora (eventually) to make his appearance in The Tower of the Elephant, his chronological debut of the stories that were already printed when the letter was written and the remark made. Even if his capture did not occur directly after his time with the ?sir it has to come prior to the tales set in Zamora specifically The Tower of the Elephant because the only other tale in Zamora (The Nestor Synopsis) was never finished and that is the only Zamorian tale in print.

?There was the space of about a year between Vanarium and his entrance into the thief-city of Zamora. During this time he returned to the northern territories of his tribe, and made his first journey beyond the boundaries of Cimmeria. This, strange to say, was north instead of south. Why or how, I am not certain, but he spent some months among a tribe of the ?sir, fighting with the Vanir and the Hyperboreans, and developing a hate for the latter which lasted all his life and later affected his policies as king of Aquilonia. Captured by them, he escaped southward and came into Zamora in time to make his debut in print.? - Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller



Well, my timeline idea would go something like this:

- Conan joins the Aesir, fights Hyperboreans, escapes
- Conan becomes a thief, then mercenary
- Conan goes back home to Cimmeria
- Conan joins up with his old Aesir comrades in a blood feud between Bragi and Wulfhere
- "The Frost-Giant's Daughter"
- After TFGD, Conan gets a new helm to replace the one battered about in the battle and earthquake.
- Conan leaves Cimmeria, goes south
- Conan hears of a possible war in Argos
- "Queen of the Black Coast"

That's my general idea: "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" takes place long after the Hyperborean captivity episode.


Why the multiple trips to the far North with no evidence Taranaich? We have evidence from Howard himself in the Miller letter response that definitively places him with the Aesir in the North, then captured by the Hyperborians, then journeying to Zamora in his youth. That is only one proof that he was there at any time and by coincidence we only have one tale that fits that description (Conan with Aesir.) Surely if he was fighting along with the Aesir all the time on several trips those stories would have been exciting enough and made the Nemedian chronicles as well? Nowhere else is there any mention of a second trip to Nordheim.

The scientific principle of Occam's Razor lex parsimoniae states that the hypothesis that makes the fewest assumptions is the correct one or in other words, often the less complicated version is usually the easiest to explain the evidence available. We have a common phrase that illustrates this principle: "The simplest explanation is most likely the correct one." Therefore surely you would balk if I stated that Conan traveled to Nordheim 29 times total to the fight alongside the Aesir (they were really good chums) just because I like the idea. Obviously that many seems ridiculously preposterous based on no evidence. It would be impossible to convince anyone he traveled to the North that frequently and a great many trips North would have to be assumed to support it and naturally we automatically reject it as absurd. But even two trips based on no evidence would be just as illogical in principle even though to our human brains it seems much more plausible that a second trip could be made at a later point in his career. To assume even once is to commit this error in logic. He seems older in the story so it must have been on his second visit is just such an assumption. Too bad we can't all think like Mr. Spock or our own human nature wouldn't have masked this error.

Now if there were evidence for such a second trip I would heartily support your notion, for as my brother puts it, "He just seems older" in FSG. He fights well, has the scars to prove he has survived many conflicts, and claims to have traveled far. But that is the extent of any evidence whatsoever for this story occurring later (and therefore requiring a second trip to Nordheim to be invented to support that claim) Very circumstantial evidence indeed and certainly not enough for a jury to convict. All can easily be rationalized away. Howard said Conan was a seasoned fighter and well known around the campfires of his people even at a very young age; He participated with the sacking of Venarium as well; so his fighting prowess and scars could be from before he even left Cimmeria. As for traveling far, he might simply be referring to the journey Northward into Nordheim as the distance could be measured considerable by any traveling standard.

Howard mentioned Conan's youthful appearance in god in the Bowl, Tower of the Elephant etc. but did not mention his young age in FGD. However, it could just as easily be said neither did he say he was older. Lack of positive evidence itself is not evidence. He is not proclaimed to be either younger or older based on the evidence presented, instead we are left to wonder. Speculation isn't going to make evidential proof appear magically though. It is possible that subconsciously we assume he feels older because Howard usually mentions his youthful appearance and for some reason didn't in FGD. This kind of deductive reasoning is very helpful for finding out "The butler did it," but certainly would not convict him without hard evidence to support it. But again we are overlooking hard evidence to think that way, the Miller letter places him fighting alongside the Aesir before his youthful debut in print in tower of the Elephant, therefore he is also young during FSG as it must have occurred previously based only on the hard evidence (Howard's response to the miller letter)and not assumptions, suppositions, speculations, inventions etc. that our mind readily conjures to make a pattern "fit" our predisposed notions of how things are. How very unscientific of us.

The supposition that Howard wrote a Conan tale with the Aesir but the one he wrote isn't the one he is talking about in the Miller letter makes no sense. Hmmm Howard talks about a trip North but Frost giant can't possibly be it because??? (evidence to support) One would have to prove there were two trips or prove that FGD can't be what he was talking about to support the need for a second trip. the evidence just isn't there.
It is possible that there were two trips North to the Aesir? Absolutely. Is this supported by hard evidence? No, in fact by no more than my fanciful 29 trips version. It is a measured scale with the less trips being more probable at one end and the most trips being more improbable at the other. The least amount of trips one can take and still go at all is one. therefore one trip is the most probable and Howard himself places it first in Conan's career.
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#57 Kortoso

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 08:34 PM

Ah, a Yule-tide chestnut for sure! :)

It's possible that "far have I wandered" would have Conan comparing Atalia to Belit, but I suppose it's equally possible that "far" to a youth might only include Nordheim and the borders of Cimmeria. It is a relative term after all.

#58 Taranaich

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 12:57 AM

The scientific principle of Occam's Razor lex parsimoniae states that the hypothesis that makes the fewest assumptions is the correct one or in other words, often the less complicated version is usually the easiest to explain the evidence available. We have a common phrase that illustrates this principle: "The simplest explanation is most likely the correct one." Therefore surely you would balk if I stated that Conan traveled to Nordheim 29 times total to the fight alongside the Aesir (they were really good chums) just because I like the idea. Obviously that many seems ridiculously preposterous based on no evidence. It would be impossible to convince anyone he traveled to the North that frequently and a great many trips North would have to be assumed to support it and naturally we automatically reject it as absurd. But even two trips based on no evidence would be just as illogical in principle even though to our human brains it seems much more plausible that a second trip could be made at a later point in his career.


We know Conan went back home to Cimmeria a few times over the course of his life. We also know Conan lived in the north-west of Cimmeria. Asgard is right next door to Cimmeria. Is it really that "ridiculously preposterous" that Conan travelled what can't amount to more than a few hundred miles to rejoin his old Aesir allies? Especially knowing that Conan preferred the ways of the Aesir to his countrymen?

As for evidence for a second trip? The horned helmets in themselves.

Now, it has previously been mentioned that just because we know the Nordheimr and ancient Hyborians are the only race noted to have used horned helmets, that's no reason to say that other races didn't use them. But isn't that just the kind of supposition you're railing against? Unless Howard specifically states that other races have horned helms, we cannot say with any degree of authority that they do. And the only time the style of Conan's horned helm was mentioned, it was as being "such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim." Not Cimmerian, not Hyperborean, not Border kingdomer, Æsir.

Where would Conan receive a polished horned helm, then, but from the Nordheimr themselves? Now, this doesn't necessitate a trip to Nordheim in itself - I just presented it as a possible opportunity for Conan to get a shiny new helm. He could've picked it up from a Cimmerian trader for all I know: the important thing is that the Æsir are so far north that they're considered figures of myth by most Hyborians, that Conan happened to live next door to them, and that Conan happened to return to his homeland.

Incidentally, I may be mistaken, but I can't recall any of Howard's Gaelic heroes wearing a horned helm: in contrast, most of his Norse characters do. It seems to be a notable visual distinction between the two cultures. Conan wearing a horned helm in "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" could, then, in conjunction to "the ways of the Æsir are more to my liking," be another sign of Conan's affinity for the golden-heads over his own people.

The supposition that Howard wrote a Conan tale with the Aesir but the one he wrote isn't the one he is talking about in the Miller letter makes no sense. Hmmm Howard talks about a trip North but Frost giant can't possibly be it because??? (evidence to support) One would have to prove there were two trips or prove that FGD can't be what he was talking about to support the need for a second trip. the evidence just isn't there.


How about the fact that the only people of Conan's time to wear horned helmets are the Æsir and Vanir, and that they are so rarely seen that they are considered "almost fabulous" by a seasoned adventurer like Prospero, and nothing more than myth by the average person?

The reason I brought up a second Nordic trip is not just to form a later placement for "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," but to explain how Conan got a horned helm for "Queen of the Black Coast." Let's forget for a second that I'm arguing that. How else could you explain where Conan got a new horned helm "as worn by the Æsir", but Asgard, or at least Cimmeria?

- Conan joins the Aesir
- "The Frost-Giant's Daughter"
- fights Hyperboreans, escapes
- Conan becomes a thief, then mercenary
- Conan goes back home to Cimmeria
- Conan gets a new helm to replace the one battered about in the battle and earthquake.
- Conan leaves Cimmeria, goes south
- Conan hears of a possible war in Argos
- "Queen of the Black Coast"

The only reason I suggest a later placement could even be possible is that Conan is already in the area. I simply cannot understand your vehement refusal to even consider the possibility that Conan took a second trip north when he's basically right next door. That "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" may have taken place on the second, rather than the first, trip is almost incidental.

As for the whole "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" being the story Howard refers to: by your own standards, this is circumstantial. Just because Howard wrote a story with Conan among the Æsir doesn't necessarily mean that the tale he relates in the letter is TFGD. Howard wrote "The God in the Bowl" before the Miller letter, but he makes zero mention of it: does this mean we have to presume it takes place after "The Tower of the Elephant"? Even though we know Conan had been to Nemedia prior to "The Tower of the Elephant," providing a reasonable placement? Because if we use the Miller letter to trump the stories themselves, we would have to place "The God in the Bowl" after "The Tower of the Elephant" due to Howard not mentioning Conan taking a trip through Nemedia in the letter.

It is possible that there were two trips North to the Aesir? Absolutely. Is this supported by hard evidence? No, in fact by no more than my fanciful 29 trips version.


Except it is pretty obvious that 29 trips couldn't have happened because there is no opportunity. It simply contradicts with too many stories. In contrast, there is opportunity for at least a second trip.

All I ask is that if Conan only made a single trip to Asgard, then where did he get the horned helms for "Queen of the Black Coast" and "Beyond the Black River"? The best I can think of outside of Asgard is Cimmeria - and again, it's right next door to Asgard. I just think that, all things considered, there is justification for a later placement of "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," simply because the only evidence is the idea that Howard MUST have been talking about TFGD in the Miller letter - and I don't see that as being any less circumstantial than your 29 trips to Asgard.

Edited by Taranaich, 23 December 2010 - 12:59 AM.

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#59 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 03:53 AM

We know Conan went back home to Cimmeria a few times over the course of his life. We also know Conan lived in the north-west of Cimmeria. Asgard is right next door to Cimmeria. Is it really that "ridiculously preposterous" that Conan travelled what can't amount to more than a few hundred miles to rejoin his old Aesir allies? Especially knowing that Conan preferred the ways of the Aesir to his countrymen?

As for evidence for a second trip? The horned helmets in themselves.

Now, it has previously been mentioned that just because we know the Nordheimr and ancient Hyborians are the only race noted to have used horned helmets, that's no reason to say that other races didn't use them. But isn't that just the kind of supposition you're railing against? Unless Howard specifically states that other races have horned helms, we cannot say with any degree of authority that they do. And the only time the style of Conan's horned helm was mentioned, it was as being "such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim." Not Cimmerian, not Hyperborean, not Border kingdomer, Æsir.

Where would Conan receive a polished horned helm, then, but from the Nordheimr themselves? Now, this doesn't necessitate a trip to Nordheim in itself - I just presented it as a possible opportunity for Conan to get a shiny new helm. He could've picked it up from a Cimmerian trader for all I know: the important thing is that the Æsir are so far north that they're considered figures of myth by most Hyborians, that Conan happened to live next door to them, and that Conan happened to return to his homeland.

Incidentally, I may be mistaken, but I can't recall any of Howard's Gaelic heroes wearing a horned helm: in contrast, most of his Norse characters do. It seems to be a notable visual distinction between the two cultures. Conan wearing a horned helm in "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" could, then, in conjunction to "the ways of the Æsir are more to my liking," be another sign of Conan's affinity for the golden-heads over his own people.

How about the fact that the only people of Conan's time to wear horned helmets are the Æsir and Vanir, and that they are so rarely seen that they are considered "almost fabulous" by a seasoned adventurer like Prospero, and nothing more than myth by the average person?

The reason I brought up a second Nordic trip is not just to form a later placement for "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," but to explain how Conan got a horned helm for "Queen of the Black Coast." Let's forget for a second that I'm arguing that. How else could you explain where Conan got a new horned helm "as worn by the Æsir", but Asgard, or at least Cimmeria?

The only reason I suggest a later placement could even be possible is that Conan is already in the area. I simply cannot understand your vehement refusal to even consider the possibility that Conan took a second trip north when he's basically right next door. That "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" may have taken place on the second, rather than the first, trip is almost incidental.

All I ask is that if Conan only made a single trip to Asgard, then where did he get the horned helms for "Queen of the Black Coast" and "Beyond the Black River"? The best I can think of outside of Asgard is Cimmeria - and again, it's right next door to Asgard. I just think that, all things considered, there is justification for a later placement of "The Frost-Giant's Daughter," simply because the only evidence is the idea that Howard MUST have been talking about TFGD in the Miller letter - and I don't see that as being any less circumstantial than your 29 trips to Asgard.


"Shortly after this he returned for a brief period to Cimmeria, and there were other returns to his native land from time to time." -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

Yes we know he went home to his native Cimmeria from time to time and you do make a good point that he prefers the ways of the Æsir to his own people. We know that the Vanir use horned helms as well. That unfortunately is all we know. Everything else is supposition and speculation. There will never be a perfect answer. There will always be most probable and least probable, unlikely or highly likely; even the least probable or unlikely scenario is still a possibility because we will never have a finality to these questions as the source is removed from us.

Could Conan have traveled multiple times to Asgard? Yes. Is any trip other than The Frost-Giant's Daughter mentioned? No. Could he have bought or received any of the horned helmets anywhere else but Asgard or Vanaheim? Yes. Even though most Hyborians consider the northern barbarians mythical there will always be others who have met, seen, traveled there, or traded with them. Who knows maybe there are established trade routes from Nordheim through Cimmeria to Aquilonia during peaceful times. Some Aquilonians may never have met a Cimmerian and consider them fabulous but ask any Gunderman or Bossonian if they believe in the ferocity of their dark haired Cimmerian northern neighbors. The Cimmerians obviously know the Vanir considering them an enemy and fighting them often and having contact with the Æsir through fighting with them if only slightly less than the Vanir.

Where could he have gotten the helmets? I hope everyone is now on the same page that they are different helmets and we don't have to go over that again.
The first horned helmet showing the marks of fierce strokes in The Frost-Giant's Daughter obviously came from the Æsir that he was traveling with.
The second blue-steel helmet from which jutted bull’s horns highly polished, such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim, that he shows up with in Queen of the Black Coast he could have purchased in any market where goods from the north have eventually come south, he could have traveled home after visiting Ophir to sell the Star of Khorala after The Man-Eaters of Zamboula and gotten one there or even made a trip further north to visit his old buddies the Æsir and gotten one from them directly, even if you disagree with my placement of stories he still could gotten one during his visit home after his adventures in Zamora and Corinthia prior to Queen and again either got one there or traveled further north to visit his old buddies the Æsir and gotten one from them directly.
The final horned helmet without a crest, but adorned by short bull's horns that no civilized hand ever forged that Conan shows up with in Beyond the Black River could have been gotten the same way; purchased locally from Aquilonians (Gundermen and Bossonians) who have contact with Cimmerians, who have contact with Nordheimers, or he may have made another foray home or further north and received one more directly.

These are all possibilities and no one can say what is the correct way it happened because we will never know. There was plenty of time to do it between tales as I believe that no two Conan stories happen immediately after each other taking up right where the story ends in the previous one even if they are directly linked in sequence, just because of travel times, additional equipment, horses, cloaks, clothing, armor, or weapons picked up along the way, time to learn about the people, time to learn the language etc.

We do not know what happened to Conan after the events of Red Nails other than he wanted to go to the coast and resume piracy. Suddenly he shows up later in Aquilonia as a mercenary protecting the border from the Picts. We do not know what immediately preceded Queen of the Black Coast other than him spending some time in Argos. We do not know how many helmets he may have gotten and used from the Æsir during his time with them in The Frost-Giant's Daughter. He had one in the story, it was dented and battered showing fierce sword-strokes so he probably acquired another prior to resuming more battles with the Æsir after his rescue. If you agree with the placement of The Frost-Giant's Daughter as the first tale then you have to assume any helmets he had were lost in captivity to the Hyperboreans. If you disagree with The Frost-Giant's Daughter's placement then you can assume that the helmet either being repaired or replaced while still with the Æsir may be from the same trip north as the helmet in Queen but certainly cannot be the same as in Beyond the Black River. I definitely don't agree with any magical or cursed helmet showing up various times in Conan's life as Dark Horse Comics would have us believe in their story The Helm (I haven't read it so correct me if I am wrong in my understanding of what that story was about).

In the end you will have to agree to disagree about these clues unless there are indisputable facts, or even arguable facts from the stories themselves and in this case there are not.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 23 December 2010 - 03:56 AM.

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


#60 Ironhand

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 09:30 AM

For that matter, he could have looted Norse horned helmets from slain Vanir raiders during any of his trips to Cimmeria without necessarily having had to venture into Nordheim. So horned helms do not necessarily correspond to an equal number of trips to Nordheim.
"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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