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(Amra's) The Chronicles Of Conan The Cimmerian


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#1 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 12:04 AM

The Chronicles of Conan the Cimmerian

Contents (quicklinks):

Preface/explanation
Conan's Youth
The Frost-Giant's Daughter
The God in the Bowl
The Tower of the Elephant
Untitled Synopsis a.k.a. The Nestor Synopsis
Rogues in the House
Untitled Fragment a.k.a. The Yaralet Fragment
Black Colossus
A Witch Shall be Born
The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
Queen of the Black Coast
Untitled Synopsis/Draft a.k.a. The Shumballa Typescripts
Xuthal of the Dusk
Iron Shadows in the Moon
The Devil in Iron
People of the Black Circle
Untitled Synopsis/Draft a.k.a. The Tombalku Typescripts
The Vale of Lost Women
The Servants of Bit-Yakin
Howard's Maps
The Pool of the Black One
Red Nails
Beyond the Black River
The Black Stranger
Wolves Beyond the Border Typescripts
Speculation on Conan's Ages
The Phoenix on the Sword
The Scarlet Citadel
Hyborian Map
The Hour of the Dragon
Conan's Future
Alternate theories
Conan’s career of piracy
Conan's Naval Shipyard
Conan’s resume
Conan's Armory
Conan’s Bestiary
Conan's Linguistics
The Hero’s Journey/Monomyth
Wounds of Conan
Conan’s Travels
Paramours of Conan
Dramatis Personæ
The Map of The Hyborian Age
Deities and Demi-gods of the Hyborian Age
Magicians, Sorcerers, Wizards, Necromancers, Illusionists, and other magic users of the Hyborian Age

Treasures of the Hyborian Age

Conan's Bloodline

 

Each story has an analysis of placement chronologically, languages that Conan speaks in it, Howard's description of Conan in the story, and Conan's profession.

I have decided after fiddling with understanding the languages Conan speaks and when he may have learned them in this thread Conan's Linguistic Abilities

that the facts of the stories do not support the chronological order as set forth by Dale Rippke in his The Dark Storm Conan Chronology and I have decided to go back to the stories to flesh out my own outline of the Cimmerian's career.

I heavily rely on P. Schuyler Miller and Dr. John D. Clark’s A Probable Outline of CONAN’S CAREER in its original, un-altered, and un-edited version as it first appeared in the Robert E. Howard fanzine, The Hyborian Age, published in 1938. As found on Edward Waterman’s website The Barbarian Keep

And also Dale Rippke’s essay The Dark Storm Conan Chronology. Broken link update: http://www.rehupa.co..._chronology.htm

Steve Tompkins’ placement of Black Colossus before Queen of the Black Coast.

Joe Marek’s Some Comments On Chronologies In Regards To The Conan Series

I discount, disregard, and completely ignore any chronology that attempts to fuse non-Howard pastiche stories into the timeline. I view any pastiches as subsidiary apocryphal legends (if they are taken into account at all) that grew up around the “facts” (Howard stories un-edited) of Conan’s life and career. Some are entertaining, some are amusing and some are downright awful and on the whole they have degraded and changed the character as Howard originally wrote him and intended him to be. Pastiches include any non-Howard books or short stories, any unfinished stories by Howard finished by another author, comic books, role-playing games, computer games, cartoons, television shows, and films.

The only stories considered canon in the Conan saga are the original ones written by Robert E. Howard.

1. The Phoenix on the Sword
2. The Scarlet Citadel
3. The Tower of the Elephant
4. Black Colossus
5. Xuthal of the Dusk
6. The Pool of the Black One
7. Rogues in the House
8. Iron Shadows in the Moon
9. Queen of the Black Coast
10. The Devil in Iron
11. The People of the Black Circle
12. A Witch Shall be Born
13. The Servants of Bit-Yakin
14. Beyond the Black River
15. The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
16. The Hour of the Dragon
17. Red Nails

Published posthumously:

18. The Frost-Giant's Daughter
19. The God in the Bowl
20. The Vale of Lost Women
21. The Black Stranger

Unfinished Typescripts: Notes, Fragments, Drafts, and Story synopses:

22. The Shumballa Typescripts (synopsis, draft)
23. The Tombalku Typescripts (synopsis, draft)
24. The Nestor Synopsis
25. The Yaralet Fragment
26. Wolves Beyond the Border Typescripts (notes, drafts)


Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 04 September 2014 - 01:36 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


#2 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 12:56 AM

The Conan stories that are in Miller's original outline based on his correspondence with Robert E. Howard:

1. The Tower of the Elephant
2. Rogues in the House
3. Queen of the Black Coast
4. Black Colossus
5. Shadows in the Moonlight Iron Shadows in the Moonlight
6. A Witch Shall be Born
7. Shadows in Zamboula The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
8. The Devil in Iron
9. The People of the Black Circle
10. The Slithering Shadow Xuthal of the Dusk
11. The Pool of the Black One
12. Red Nails
13. Jewels of Gwahlur The Servants of Bît-Yakin
14. Beyond the Black River
15. The Phoenix on the Sword
16. The Scarlet Citadel
17. The Hour of the Dragon

“Your outline follows his career as I have visualized it pretty closely. The differences are minor.” -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller dated March 10, 1936

So what are the differences? I have placed stories in red that I believe have contradictions to this order based on facts from the stories. In blue are Howard's titles that differ from what the published title was in Weird Tales. We may never know what exactly Howard is referring to in his reply as Miller's letter to Howard to the best of my knowledge was not found among Howard's papers after his death and subsequent searches by various parties. Howard's letter of reply is found here:

Letter from Robert E. Howard to P.S. Miller dated March 10, 1936


Red Nails had not been published yet in original form at the time of Howard’s letter to miller written on March 10,1936 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 prior prompting his response. It was published prior to and was included in Miller’s A Probable Outline of CONAN’S CAREER published in 1938.

The Hour of the Dragon had not been fully published yet in original form either at the time of Howard’s letter, and may not have been included in the Miller’s outline. It was fully published prior to and was included in Miller’s A Probable Outline of CONAN’S CAREER published in 1938.

Of Howard’s other finished tales, The Frost-Giant’s Daughter, The God in the Bowl, The Vale of Lost Women, and The Black Stranger would not have been included as none had yet seen print when Miller wrote to Howard, and none of the fragments, synopses, and unpublished drafts would have been included either.

One of the first attempts at a chronological order besides Miller was Marek's. Highlighted in Red are the differences to Miller's outline.

1. The Tower Of The Elephant
2. Rogues In The House
4. Black Colossus
3. Queen Of The Black Coast
5. Iron Shadows in the Moon
6. A Witch Shall Be Born
7. The Man-Eaters Of Zamboula
10. Xuthal Of The Dusk
8. The Devil in Iron
9. The People of the Black Circle
11. The Pool Of The Black One
12. Red Nails
13. Teeth of Gwahlur
14. Beyond the Black River
15. The Phoenix On The Sword
16. The Scarlet Citadel
17. The Hour Of The Dragon


Marek decided to move Black Colossus prior to Queen of the Black Coast,

"for the placement of this story here, I am indebted to Steve Tompkins" -Some Comments On Chronologies In Regards To The Conan Series

and also moved Xuthal of the Dusk based on something he read in another Conan story.

"Years ago, while reading "The Devil In Iron", I noticed that while wandering through the deserted city in that story, Conan reflects that its spaced-out, seemingly drugged-up inhabitants remind him of Xuthal (The Devil In Iron, Don Grant, p. 119) — well, pardon me, but according to the official chronology, he hadn't yet been to Xuthal to encounter the slithering shadow. So, quite obviously "Xuthal Of The Dusk" precedes "The Devil In Iron"." -Some Comments On Chronologies In Regards To The Conan Series

Next to try this task was Dale Rippke. Highlighted in Red are the differences to Miller's outline.

1 . The Tower of the Elephant
2. Rogues in the House
5. Shadows in the Moonlight
4. Black Colossus
3. Queen of the Black Coast
10. The Slithering Shadow
6. A Witch Shall Be Born
8. The Devil in Iron
9. The People of the Black Circle
7. Shadows in Zamboula
11. The Pool of the Black One
14. Beyond the Black River
12. Red Nails
13. Jewels of Gwahlur
15. The Phoenix on the Sword
16. The Scarlet Citadel
17. The Hour of the Dragon

Rippke accepted Marek's reasons for changes and implemented his own as well. Trying to place a Hyrkanian tale prior to Queen of the Black Coast he moves Shadows in the Moonlight to satisfy Conan's comment in Queen that he learned archery among the Hyrkanians. Going on gut feeling he moves Shadows in Zamboula to be later in Conan's career.

"I have changed its position in my chronology because it just seems to fit better where I’ve placed it. It’s hard to describe why, but it just feels as if some time has passed since Conan left the Zuagirs." -The Dark Storm Conan Chronology.

He moves Beyond the Black River ahead possibly trying to distance the tale from the time that Conan is king.

Now I am attempting the impossible with a new order. I use Howard's own titles for stories and not the titles as they were published in Weird Tales and elsewhere if they differ. Highlighted in Red are the differences to Miller's outline.

Mine

1. The Tower of the Elephant
2. Rogues in the House
4. Black Colossus
6. A Witch Shall be Born
7. The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
3. Queen of the Black Coast
10. Xuthal of the Dusk
5. Iron Shadows in the Moon
8. The Devil in Iron
9. People of the Black Circle
13. The Servants of Bit-Yakin
11. The Pool of the Black One
12. Red Nails
14. Beyond the Black River
15. The Phoenix on the Sword
16. The Scarlet Citadel
17. The Hour of the Dragon


I have moved Queen of the Black Coast after Man-Eaters of Zamboula, and moved Iron Shadows in the Moon after Queen for what I believe are compelling reasons in the stories themselves. I moved Xuthal of the Dusk before Irons Shadows in the Moon and The Servants of Bit-Yakin prior to Red Nails for similar reasons and left the other stories in the same order as Miller's outline.

The full reasons for these placements will follow.

This is before trying to figure out where the finished stories that were not published in Howard's lifetime and prior to Miller's outline fit as well as the untitled fragments, story synopses, and drafts need to go in there somewhere. Everything concerning these later tales as to placement is pure speculation unless the stories themselves have facts to help place them.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 16 December 2010 - 02:58 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


#3 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:15 AM

Marek's placement of unfinished tales or tales that were finished but not included in Miller's outline as they had not yet been published.

The Frost-Giant's Daughter
1. The Tower Of The Elephant
The Hall Of The Dead [synopsis]
2. Rogues In The House
The God In The Bowl
The Hand Of Nergal [fragment]
4. Black Colossus
3. Queen Of The Black Coast
The Snout In The Dark [frag. & syn.]
5. Iron Shadows in the Moon
6. A Witch Shall Be Born
7. The Man-Eaters Of Zamboula
10. Xuthal Of The Dusk
8. The Devil in Iron
9. The People of the Black Circle
Drums Of Tombalku [frag. & syn.]
The Vale Of Lost Women
11. The Pool Of The Black One
12. Red Nails
13. Teeth of Gwahlur
14. Beyond the Black River
The Black Stranger
Wolves Beyond The Border [frag. & syn.]
15. The Phoenix On The Sword
16. The Scarlet Citadel
17. The Hour Of The Dragon


Rippke's placement of unfinished tales or tales that were finished but not included in Miller's outline as they had not yet been published.

The Frost-Giant's Daughter
The God in the Bowl

1. The Tower of the Elephant
Untitled Synopsis a.k.a. The Hall of the Dead
2. Rogues in the House
Untitled Fragment a.k.a. The Hand of Nergal
5. Shadows in the Moonlight a.k.a. Iron Shadows in the Moon
4. Black Colossus
3. Queen of the Black Coast
Untitled Fragment/Synopsis a.k.a. The Snout in the Dark
10. The Slithering Shadow a.k.a. Xuthal of the Dusk
6. A Witch Shall Be Born
8. The Devil in Iron
9. The People of the Black Circle
7. Shadows in Zamboula a.k.a. The Man-Eaters of Zamboula
Untitled Fragment/Synopsis a.k.a. The Drums of Tombalku
The Vale of Lost Women
11. The Pool of the Black One
14. Beyond the Black River
The Black Stranger
12. Red Nails
13. Jewels of Gwahlur a.k.a. The Servants of Bît-Yakin
Untitled Fragment/Synopsis a.k.a. Wolves Beyond the Border
15. The Phoenix on the Sword
16. The Scarlet Citadel
17. The Hour of the Dragon



My placement of unfinished tales or tales that were finished but not included in Miller's outline as they had not yet been published.
I hate using non-Howardian titles for story fragments and untitled synopses and have adopted Taranaich aka Al Harron’s suggested titles. As found in this thread and his essay at the Cimmerian.

Referring To The Unfinished Tales

Nameless Tales: Labeling Howard’s Untitled Fiction

Broken link fix: http://leogrin.com/CimmerianBlog/nameless-tales-labeling-howards-untitled-fiction/

The Frost-Giant's Daughter
The God in the Bowl

1. The Tower of the Elephant
Untitled Synopsis a.k.a. The Nestor Synopsis
2. Rogues in the House
Untitled Fragment a.k.a. The Yaralet Fragment
4.Black Colossus
6. A Witch Shall be Born
7. The Man-Eaters of Zamboula a.k.a. Shadows in Zamboula
3.Queen of the Black Coast
Untitled Synopsis/Draft a.k.a. The Shumballa Typescripts
10. Xuthal of the Dusk a.k.a. The Slithering Shadow
5. Iron Shadows in the Moon a.k.a. Shadows in the Moonlight
8. The Devil in Iron
9. People of the Black Circle
Untitled Fragment/Synopsis a.k.a. The Tombalku Typescripts
The Vale of Lost Women
13. The Servants of Bit-Yakin a.k.a. Jewels of Gwahlur
11. The Pool of the Black One
12. Red Nails
14. Beyond the Black River
The Black Stranger
Wolves Beyond the Border Typescripts

15. The Phoenix on the Sword
16. The Scarlet Citadel
17. The Hour of the Dragon


The reasons for these placements will follow.


Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 23 August 2014 - 04:37 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


#4 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:25 AM

The Chronicles of Conan the Cimmerian

Born on battlefield with raiding Vanir

“I was born in Cimmeria.” –Black Colossus

"he was born on the battlefield, during a fight between his tribe and a horde of raiding Vanir" -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

“’I was born in the midst of a battle,’ he answered, tearing a chunk of meat from a huge joint with his strong teeth. ‘The first sound my ears heard was the clang of swords and the yells of the slaying.’” –Black Colossus

"I saw again the battlefield whereon I was born,' said Conan, resting his chin moodily on a massive fist." - The Hour of the Dragon

"I saw myself in a pantherskin loin-clout, throwing my spear at the mountain beasts." - The Hour of the Dragon

“...in his youth he had felled hawks on the wing.” – The Hour of the Dragon

“… there is something hidden, some undercurrent of which we are not aware. I sense it as in my youth I sensed the tiger hidden in the tall grass.” – The Phoenix on the Sword

"But the instincts of the wild were there, that had caused him in his childhood to lie hidden and silent while wild beasts prowled about his covert." – The Hour of the Dragon

“A gloomier land never existed on earth. It is all of hills, heavily wooded, and the trees are strangely dusky, so that even by day all the land looks dark and menacing. As far as a man may see his eye rests on the endless vista of hills beyond hills, growing darker and darker in the distance. Clouds hang always among those hills; the skies are nearly always grey and over-cast. Winds blow sharp and cold, driving rain of sleet or snow, and moan drearily among the passes and down the valleys. There is little mirth in that land, and men grow moody and strange.”–Conan describes his homeland in The Phoenix on the Sword Unpublished draft

“A gloomier land never existed on earth. It is all of hills, heavily wooded, and the trees are strangely dusky, so that even by day all the land looks dark and menacing. As far as a man may see his eye rests on the endless vistas of hills beyond hills, growing darker and darker in the distance. Clouds hang always among those hills; the skies are nearly always gray. Winds blow sharp and cold, driving rain or sleet or snow before them, and moan drearily among the passes and down the valleys. There is little mirth in that land.” – The Phoenix on the Sword First Submitted Draft

"A gloomier land never was – all of hills, darkly wooded, under skies nearly always gray, with winds moaning drearily down the valleys.” - The Phoenix on the Sword

“…to Conan, whose homeland was among the high hills of the northern uplands.” -Queen of the Black Coast

"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

“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

"He was a barbarian of a thousand generations of barbarians." – Beyond the Black River

"He knew Conan was a Cimmerian, born and bred in the wastes of the far north, and therefore not amenable to the physical limitations which controlled civilized men." - The Black Stranger

"Conan was a Cimmerian by birth, one of those fierce moody hillmen who dwelt in their gloomy, cloudy land in the north. His saga, which led him to the throne of Aquilonia, was the basis of a whole cycle of hero-tales.” – The Scarlet Citadel

Comes from northwestern Cimmeria

"The country claimed by and roved over by his clan lay in the northwest of Cimmeria, but Conan was of mixed blood, although a purebred Cimmerian. His grandfather was a member of a southern tribe who had fled from his own people because of a blood-feud and after long wanderings, eventually taken refuge with the people of the north." - Robert E. Howard Letter to P. Schuyler Miller

“He had taken part in many raids into the Hyborian nations in his youth, before his flight, and perhaps it was the tales he told of those softer countries which roused in Conan, as a child, a desire to see them.” - Robert E. Howard Letter to P. Schuyler Miller

“I am a barbarian and the son of a blacksmith.”
– The Hour of the Dragon

“…his thews had been steeled in boyhood on the sheer cliffs of his native hills.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“He came from a race of hillmen, accustomed to scaling forbidding crags, and he was a man of unusual strength and agility.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“He knew, if the others were too stupid to know, the steel-trap muscles and blinding quickness of men raised beyond civilization’s frontiers where life was a continual battle for existence, and he had no desire to loose the barbaric frenzy of the Cimmerian if it could be avoided.” –The God in the Bowl

“The Cimmerians were barbarians as ferocious as the Picts, and much more intelligent.” – Beyond the Black River

"He was a Cimmerian and understood the voices of the wilderness as a city-bred man understands the voices of his friends." - The Black Stranger

Fought at Venarium

“There are many things concerning Conan's life of which I am not certain myself. I do not know, for instance, when he got his first sight of civilized people. It might have been at Vanarium, or he might have made a peaceable visit to some frontier town before that. At Vanarium he was already a formidable antagonist, though only fifteen. He stood six feet and weighed 180 pounds, though he lacked much of having his full growth.” - Robert E. Howard Letter to P. Schuyler Miller

“’But some day a man will rise and unite thirty or forty clans, just as was done among the Cimmerians, when the Gundermen tried to push the border northward, years ago. They tried to colonize the southern marches of Cimmeria: destroyed a few small clans, built a fort-town, Venarium, - you’ve heard the tale.’
‘So I have indeed,’ replied Balthus, wincing. The memory of that red disaster was a black blot in the chronicles of a proud and warlike people. ‘My uncle was at Venarium when the Cimmerians swarmed over the walls. He was one of the few who escaped that slaughter. I’ve heard him tell the tale, many a time. The barbarians swept out of the hills in a ravening horde, without warning, and stormed Venarium with such fury none could stand before them. Men, women and children were butchered. Venarium was reduced to a mass of charred ruins, as it is to this day. The Aquilonians were driven back across the marches, and have never since tried to colonize the Cimmerian country. But you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?’
‘I was,’ grunted the other. ‘I was one of the horde that swarmed over the walls. I hadn’t yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires.’”
– Beyond the Black River

“I think you never saw a man from the West before. 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 – like this!” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"A barbarian of barbarians, the vitality and endurance of the wild were his, granting him survival where civilized men would have perished." -Xuthal of the Dusk

Speaks Aquilonian, Nordheimr, Hyperborean, Pictish


Born in Cimmeria Conan speaks Cimmerian from childhood. More than likely he has learned some Pictish growing up as well from the incessant fighting with them.

"'Even a Zingaran ought to know there's never been peace between Picts and Cimmerians, and never will be,' he retorted with an oath. 'Our feud with them is older than the world. If you'd said that to one of my wilder brothers, you'd have found yourself with a split head. But I've lived among you civilized men long enough to understand your ignorance and lack of common courtesy - the churlishness that demands his business of a man who appears at your door out of a thousand-mile wilderness. Never mind that.'" -The Black Stranger

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

For the same reason he is familiar with Nordheimr of Nordheim, Aquilonian of Aquilonia, Hyperborean of Hyperborea, and Bossonian of the Bossonian Marches as well.

"In a sort of bastard-Bossonian, the priest made the chief understand his purpose, and the though extremely puzzled, Gorm gave him permission to remain among his tribe unbutchered- a case unique in the history of the race." - REH speaking of Picts in The Hyborian Age.

Nordheimr and Hyperborean are never mentioned by Howard as languages, they are named after the people, or the country or region they are spoken in.

“...but there’s strength in union – that’s what the Aquilonian renegades used to tell us Cimmerians when they came into the hills to raise an army to invade their own country. But we fight by clans and tribes.”
–Red Nails

"They were barbaric and warlike...They fought on foot, mainly, and made savage raids on their neighbors to the east, north, and south." - REH on Cimmerians in Notes on Various Peoples of the Hyborian Age

"Cimmeria: to the south Aquilonia, to the north Asgard, to the northwest Vanaheim, to the west the Pictish marches; to the east Hyperborea; to the south the Aquilonian marches." - REH in Hyborian Names and Countries

I think the Aquilonian marches Howard lists may be the Bossonian Marches because he lists it separate from Aquilonia that he has already listed.

"In the north there was incessant bickering along the Cimmerian borders between the black-haired warriors and the Nordheimr; and the Æsir, between wars with the Vanir, assailed Hyperborea and pushed back the frontier, destroying city after city. The Cimmerians also fought the Picts and Bossonians impartially, and several times raided into Aquilonia itself, but their wars were less invasions than mere plundering forays." -REH in The Hyborian Age

“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 Æsir, 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

The Frost-Giant's Daughter

Conan is a member of an Æsir war band, Wulfhere’s Reavers a group of yellow bearded warriors fighting a group of red-haired slayers, the Vanir Wolves of Bragi in Nordheim. Nordheim is divided in half Vanaheim in the northwest and Asgard in the northeast.

Language:

In the story Conan speaks the language of Nordheim –Nordheimr.

Since Conan speaks to the Æsir and Vanir as well as the god Ymir's daughter Atali and her brothers the frost giants and all seem to understand him, and that he understands Atali as she cries out for help from her father the Nordheimr God Ymir it seems Conan speaks Nordheimr.

Howard never mentions Nordheimr as a language by name. It is named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in.

Profession:

Fighter in an Æsir war band, Wulfhere’s Reavers

Conan described in the story:

“Both were tall men, built like tigers. Their shields were gone, their corselets battered and dinted. Blood dried on their mail; their swords were stained red. Their horned helmets showed the marks of fierce strokes. One was beardless and black-maned.” – The Frost-Giant’s Daughter

“With an oath the Cimmerian heaved himself up on his feet, his blue eyes blazing, his dark scarred face contorted.” – The Frost-Giant’s Daughter

“His mailed feet broke through the frozen crust; he sank deep in the drifts and forged through them by sheer strength.” – The Frost-Giant’s Daughter

“In spite of the fire in his veins, the cold bit through the warrior’s mail and fur-lined tunic; but the girl in her gossamer veil ran as lightly and as gaily as if she danced through the palm and rose gardens of Poitain."– The Frost-Giant’s Daughter

Setting:

“Their country is called Nordheim, and they are divided into the red-haired Vanir of Vanaheim, and the yellow-haired Æsir of Asgard.” –REH in The Hyborian Age

The Frost-Giant’s Daughter 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.
It may have been written in “early March 1932”.
An altered version The Frost-King’s Daughter was published in The Fantasy Fan in March 1934 as "Gods of the North" with Conan replaced by Amra of Akbitana. Amra was already used as an alias for Conan in The Scarlet Citadel.

“’Long have I wished to meet you, Amra,’ the black gave Conan the name – Amra, the Lion – by which the Cimmerian had been known to the Kushites in his piratical days.” –The Scarlet Citadel

The original version of The Frost-Giant’s Daughter remained unpublished in Howard’s lifetime.
- The Surviving Conan Typescripts - Patrice Louinet, Glenn Lord and Ed Waterman
- Patrice Louinet in Hyborian Genesis

Clues to placement of the story:

“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 Æsir, 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

The Tower of the Elephant first published in Weird Tales in March 1933 occurs in Zamora. However Howard was mistaken in his letter as it was not Conan’s debut in print. Conan first appeared in The Phoenix on the Sword in Weird Tales in December of 1932. Howard may have been referring to the first appearance chronologically of Conan’s life that was then already in print.

Nordheim east to Hyperborea

Held captive by the Hyperboreans in Hyperborea


He may have also already been familiar with Hyperborean but definitely would have picked up some while in captivity.

Howard never mentions Hyperborean as a language by name. It is named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in.

He also probably lost all of his weapons and armor during captivity. Coming out of Hyperborea he would have had to have crossed through Brythunia to get to Zamora. He may have picked up some Brythunian while there.

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

Hyperborea south through Brythunia

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 15 September 2011 - 04:13 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


#5 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:39 AM

“I know what it is to be penniless in a Hyborian land. Now in my country sometimes there are famines; but people are hungry only when there’s no food in the land at all. But in civilized countries I’ve seen people sick of gluttony while others are starving. Aye, I’ve seen men fall and die of hunger against the walls of shops and storehouses crammed with food.
Sometimes I was hungry, too, but then I took what I wanted at sword’s point.”
–The Black Stranger

The God in the Bowl had not been published yet 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.

It may have been written from “mid to late March 1932” but remained unpublished in Howard’s lifetime - The Surviving Conan Typescripts - Patrice Louinet, Glenn Lord and Ed Waterman

Brythunia south to Nemedia

Dale Rippke (Darkstorm Dale) places the next story before Tower of the Elephant. In his essay The Dark Storm Conan Chronology he examines why Howard may have provisionally agreed with Miller’s outline and he mentions some circumstantial evidence from the stories themselves.

The Dark Storm Conan Chronology Broken link fix: http://www.barbariankeep.com/cnchronds.html

In an online discussion here in these forums I feel he gives much stronger arguments than even in his original essay as to why he places The God in the Bowl before The Tower of the Elephant. He had me convinced anyways.

Placement of Conan Books In Chronology http://www.conan.com...ge=3#entry46813 Update fixed broken link from a merged thread.

A summary of Rippke’s reasons are that Conan is an inexperienced thief as opposed to incompetent. That Conan’s behavior in God of the Bowl is nearly feral and much more barbaric than in Tower of the Elephant. Conan says he has already been awed by Nemedian civilized mysteries in Tower of the Elephant. In Rippke’s opinion the order the stories were written in suggest a chronological manner after the first re-written Kull story into a King Conan story until rejection by Wright of those stories and acceptance of the king Conan tale prompts him to return to writing a king Conan tale to ensure a sale.

Joe Marek contends that the “thief” tales are linear in nature going from east to west starting in Zamora west to Corinthia and west again to Nemedia

Keep in mind that all “evidence” as to placement in order of the Conan tales is circumstantial at best. Howard never made public any timeline for Conan’s career and only vaguely alluded to one in private, a fan letter.

Members here in these forums have speculated and argued over points and minutia from the stories with definite factions and opinions emerging. Some threads to consider are here:

Conan's Chronology My own ideas

Dale Rippke: Dark Storm Chronology Updated Conan timeline

The God in the Bowl

Conan is a thief hired to steal the Zamorian diamond goblet from a great museum and antique house, Kallian Publico’s Temple in the city of Numalia in Nemedia. He becomes embroiled with the Numalian police summoned by the watchman.

“’I came here to steal the Zamorian diamond goblet. A man gave me a diagram of the Temple and told me where to look for it. It is kept in that room,’ Conan pointed, ‘in a niche in the floor under a copper Shemitish god.’” -The God in the Bowl

Language:

In the story Conan speaks Nemedian that he learned while in Nemedia prior to the story.

"'I didn't kill him,' he answered, speaking Nemedian with a barbaric accent." –The God in the Bowl

Profession:

Hired thief

Conan described in the story:

“Arus saw a tall powerfully built youth, naked but for a loin-cloth, and sandals strapped high about his ankles. His skin burned brown as by the suns of the wastelands, and Arus glanced nervously at his broad shoulders, massive chest and heavy arms. A single look at the moody, broad-browed features told the watchman that the man was no Nemedian. From under a mop of unruly black hair smoldered a pair of dangerous blue eyes. A long sword hung in a leather scabbard at his girdle.” – The God in the Bowl

“An angry glint rose in the moody blue eyes.” – The God in the Bowl

Clues to placement in the story:

Conan is young in age and early in his career.

“Arus saw a tall powerfully built youth” – The God in the Bowl

Civilization is new to him.

“The Cimmerian hesitated. He was not afraid, but slightly bewildered, as a barbarian always is when confronted by the evidence of civilized networks and systems, the workings of which are so baffling and mysterious to him.” – The God in the Bowl

He has already been involved in mortal combat.

“I’m no city-bred Nemedian to cringe before your hired dogs. I’ve killed better men than you for less than this.”
– The God in the Bowl

He has already been in large scale battles and death is nothing new to him.

“Conan had seen and heard men die by the scores, and never had he heard a human being make such sounds in the death-throes.” – The God in the Bowl

Clues from other stories as to placement:

He has been to other Hyborian nations prior to Zamora.

“These people were strange and mysterious to him; they were not his kind – not even of the same blood as the more westerly Brythunians, Nemedians, Kothians and Aquilonians, whose civilized mysteries had awed him in times past.” –The Tower of the Elephant

From Nemedia he travels west

“Then the full horror of it all rushed over the Cimmerian, and he fled, nor did he slacken his headlong flight until the spires of Numalia faded into the dawn behind him.” -The God in the Bowl

Directly to the west of Nemedia is Aquilonia based on Howard’s map, it is unknown if at this time he heads there. He has been awed in the past by Aquilonian civilization as referenced by one of the quotes above.


Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 23 August 2014 - 04:43 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


#6 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:47 AM

We next find him in Zamora in…

The Tower of the Elephant


The Tower of the Elephant was written from “late March – early April 1932” - The Surviving Conan Typescripts - Patrice Louinet, Glenn Lord and Ed Waterman

The Tower of the Elephant was first published in Weird Tales in March 1933

Conan is a young thief in Zamora living in the Maul a quarter of the city shunned by honest people. He becomes intrigued hearing of a fabulous treasure hidden in a high tower

Language:

In The Tower of the Elephant he speaks Zamorian. He was probably in Zamora for some time before the story begins.

"He had squatted for hours in the courtyards of the philosophers, listening to the arguments of the theologians and teachers, and come away in a haze of bewilderment, sure of only one thing, and that, that they were all touched in the head." –The Tower of the Elephant

“’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

"'You spoke of the Elephant Tower,' said the stranger, speaking Zamorian with an alien accent." –The Tower of the Elephant

Supposing that upon being surprised by Conan, Taurus the Nemedian speaks to him in his own native tongue Nemedian , Conan then replies as he has previously learned it prior to the events of God in the Bowl, in any case he had already heard of the Nemedian thief.

’You are no soldier,’ hissed the stranger at last. ‘You are a thief like myself.’
'And who are you?' asked the Cimmerian in a suspicious whisper. 'Taurus of Nemedia.' The Cimmerian lowered his sword. 'I've heard of you. Men call you a prince of thieves.'"
–The Tower of the Elephant

Profession:

Daring thief

Conan described in the story:

“A touch on his tunic sleeve made him turn his head, scowling at the interruption. He saw a tall, strongly made youth standing beside him. This person was as much out of place in that den as a gray wolf among mangy rats of the gutters. His cheap tunic could not conceal the hard, rangy lines of his powerful frame, the broad heavy shoulders, the massive chest, lean waist, and heavy arms. His skin was brown from outland suns, his eyes blue and smoldering; a shock of tousled black hair crowned his broad forehead. From his girdle hung a sword in a worn leather scabbard.”
-The Tower of the Elephant

“He had discarded his torn tunic, and walked through the night naked except for a loin-cloth and his high-strapped sandals. He moved with the supple ease of a great tiger, his steely muscles rippling under his brown skin.”
- The Tower of the Elephant

Clues to placement in the story:

Conan is young in age and early in his career.

“He saw a tall, strongly made youth standing beside him.” –The Tower of the Elephant

His reasoning is considered simple by the Kothian.

“The Kothian stared wide-mouthed at the other’s simplicity, then burst into a roar of derisive mirth, in which the others joined.” -The Tower of the Elephant

He is still new to civilization however he recognizes the difference now between civilized people and savages. He probably would have left when insulted instead of threatening to kill the man as he did when threatened and insulted by Demetrio when he accused him of lying in The God of the Bowl. He doesn’t take action until the Kothian shoves him and it doesn’t become deadly until the Kothian starts drawing his sword.

“The Cimmerian glared about, embarrassed at the roar of mocking laughter that greeted this remark. He saw no particular humor in it, and was too new to civilization to understand its discourtesies. Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing. He was bewildered and chagrined, and doubtless would have slunk away, abashed, but the Kothian chose to goad him further.” -The Tower of the Elephant

“And he pushed the Cimmerian violently. ‘Will you mock me and then lay hands on me?’ grated the barbarian, his quick rage leaping up; and he returned the push with an open-handed blow that knocked his tormentor back against the rude-hewn table. Ale splashed over the jack’s lip, and the Kothian roared in fury, dragging at his sword.
‘Heathen dog!’ he bellowed. ‘I’ll have your heart for that!’
Steel flashed and the throng surged wildly back out of the way.”
-The Tower of the Elephant

Compared with:

“’It’s much easier to beat a confession out of a suspect. Here’s our man, no doubt about it. Let’s take him to the Court of Justice – I’ll get a statement if I have to smash his bones to a pulp.’
Demetrio looked at the barbarian.
‘You understand what he said?’ asked the Inquisitor. ‘What have you to say?’
“’That any man who touches me will quickly be greeting his ancestors in hell,’ the Cimmerian ground between his powerful teeth, his eyes glinting quick flames of dangerous anger.
‘Why did you come here, if not to kill this man?’ pursued Demetrio.
‘I came to steal,’ sullenly answered the other.
‘To steal what/’ rapped the Inquisitor.
‘Food,’ the reply came after an instant’s hesitation.
‘That’s a lie!’ snapped Demetrio. ‘You knew there was no food here. Don’t lie to me. Tell me the truth or –‘
The Cimmerian laid his hand on his sword hilt, and the gesture was as fraught with menace as the lifting of a tiger’s lip to bare his fangs.
‘Save your bullying for the fools who fear you,’ he growled, blue fires smoldering in his eyes.
‘I’m no city-bred Nemedian to cringe before your hired dogs. I’ve killed better men than you for less than this.’”

– The God in the Bowl

He discards his tunic as it was torn in the brawl reverting back to the state of dress he was in during The God of the Bowl.

“He had discarded his torn tunic, and walked through the night naked except for a loin-cloth and his high-strapped sandals.” -The Tower of the Elephant

He makes assumptions based on prior experiences with civilized people prior to the events of Tower of the Elephant and it is intimated that he had traveled to several Hyborian countries previously.

“This a wandering Shemite had told him, swearing that he had seen such beasts by the thousands in the country of the Hyrkanians; but all men knew what liars were the men of Shem.” –The Tower of the Elephant

“These people were strange and mysterious to him; they were not of his kind – not even of the same blood as the more westerly Brythunians, Nemedians, Kothians and Aquilonians, whose civilized mysteries had awed him in times past. The people of Zamora were very ancient, and, from what he had seen of them, very evil.” –The Tower of the Elephant

“He shook his head; the magic of the exotic lands was mysterious and terrible to the barbarians of the north.” –The Tower of the Elephant

“But that was as close a call as I’ve had in a life noways tame.” –The Tower of the Elephant

Other Clues:

Conan is young in age and early in his career.

“As you deduct, Conan was about seventeen when he was introduced to the public in "The Tower of the Elephant." While not fully matured, he was riper than the average civilized youth at that age.” -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

Leaving from the Tower Conan heads west

“He turned back uncertainly, to stare at the cryptic tower he had just left. Was he bewitched and enchanted? Had he dreamed all that had seemed to have passed? As he looked he saw the gleaming tower sway against the crimson dawn, its jewel-crusted rim sparkling in the growing light, and crash into shining shards.” –The Tower of the Elephant

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 January 2011 - 06:14 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


#7 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 01:56 AM

Based on Howards map, west of Zamora is Corinthia but he has another adventure prior to leaving the country.

Non-Howardian titles are in parenthesis for comparison to the other timelines.

Untitled Synopsis a.k.a. The Nestor Synopsis
(The Hall of the Dead)

The Nestor Synopsis was an unfinished and abandoned story synopsis by Howard, it was not published in his lifetime.

Conan has infuriated the government of a Zamorian city as a thief and is being pursued into the mountains by Zamorian soldiers led by a Gunderman mercenary.

Language:

Conan speaks to the Gunderman mercenary Nestor with the Aquilonian that he must have learned previously in his youth.

“He was seeking an entrance, when Nestor came upon him again, sword in hand, having followed him over the wall. Conan disgustedly advised him to aid him in securing the vast fabulous treasure instead of fighting. After some argument the Gunderman agreed…” -The Nestor Synopsis

Profession:

Notorious thief

Conan described in the Synopsis:

He is not described other than having a sword.

“This he slew by casting great blocks of stone upon it from an elevation, and then descending and hacking it to pieces with his sword.” - The Nestor Synopsis

Clues to placement:

As in Tower of the Elephant Conan is still a thief in Zamora living in the Maul but has gained enough notoriety through his exploits to have garnered the attention of the authorities who send soldiers to apprehend him.

“A squad of Zamorian soldiers, led by the officer Nestor, a Gunderman mercenary, were marching down a narrow gorge, in pursuit of a thief, Conan the Cimmerian, whose thefts from rich merchants and nobles had infuriated the government, of the nearest Zamorian city.” -The Nestor Synopsis

“Conan made his way back to the city, and entering a tavern, where his light-of-love was guzzling wine, spilled the jewels out on the ale-splashed table, in the Maul.”
–The Nestor Synopsis

“The turmoil which followed gave Conan and the girl an opportunity to escape.” –The Nestor Synopsis

Conan escapes in an unknown direction but likely would not have stayed in the city much longer with so much heat being drawn from the authorities. He may have traveled to other Zamorian cities before leaving for Corinthia.

"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

“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

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 18 December 2010 - 12:25 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


#8 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:01 AM

Rogues in the House

Rogues in the House was first published in Weird Tales in January 1934.

Conan imprisoned in an unnamed city-state is sought out for a mission against the king’s priest. Partially freed he makes good an escape and sets out to complete the mission. Conan starts as a thief and takes employment as an assassin.

"I am not sure that the adventure chronicled in 'Rogues in the House' occurred in Zamora...I am of the opinion that the city was one of the small city-states lying just west of Zamora, and into which Conan had wandered after leaving Zamora." -Robert E. Howard Letter to P.Schuyler Miller

To the west of Zamora lies Corinthia on Howard’s maps, so the unknown city-state is presumed to be in that region. It is not an independent city but part of a larger kingdom.

“You exploit a whole kingdom for your personal greed, and under the guise of disinterested statesmanship, you swindle the king, beggar the rich, oppress the poor, and sacrifice the whole future of the nation for your ruthless ambition.” –Rogues in the House

Language:

Corinthian is the language assumed to be spoken throughout the story but is never mentioned. Conan must have been in Corinthia long enough to pick up the language.

“He thought his heart would stop when a voice hissed in a barbaric accent: ‘Murilio! Is it you?’” – Rogues in the House

Profession:

Prisoner-captured thief, Assassin

Conan described in the Story:

“Daring above all were a Gunderman deserter from the mercenaries and a barbaric Cimmerian.” – Rogues in the House

“Even in the dim light of the dungeon, with his limbs loaded with chains, the primitive power of the man was evident. His mighty body and thick-muscled limbs combined the strength of a grizzly with the quickness of a panther. Under his tangled black man his blue eyes blazed with unquenchable savagery.” – Rogues in the House

“He discarded his ragged tunic and moved off through the night naked but for a loin-cloth. As he fingered the poniard he had captured – a murderous weapon with a broad double-edged blade nineteen inches long.” – Rogues in the House

Clues to placement:

He is first mentioned as a thief along with a Gunderman, probably Nestor from the Untitled Synopsis a.k.a. The Nestor Synopsis

“He worked a thriving trade both ways, because the district on which he bordered was The Maze, a tangle of muddy winding alleys and sordid dens, frequented by the boldest thieves in the kingdom. Daring above all were a Gunderman deserter from the mercenaries and a barbaric Cimmerian. Because o f the priest of Anu, the Gunderman was taken and hanged in the market-square. But the Cimmerian fled, and learning in devious ways of the priest’s treachery, he entered the temple of Anu by night, and cut off the priest’s head.” – Rogues in the House

He is not just listed along with the Gunderman, he is implied to be partners with him and avenges his death. Nestor prior to his death had ample reason to desert from his service as a mercenary in Zamora and join up again with Conan.

“A squad of Zamorian soldiers, led by the officer Nestor, a Gunderman mercenary…” – The Nestor Synopsis

“Nestor had regained the city, with the coins which had not crumpled, and drunk, had told of the exploit. They had sought to arrest him, but drunk, though he was, he had cut his way through and escaped.” –The Nestor Synopsis

From Corinthia through Ophir and Aquilonia to Cimmeria.


“’’I’m tired of this city anyway,’ grinned the Cimmerian. ‘You mentioned a horse waiting at the Rat’s Den. I’m curious to see how fast that horse can carry me into another kingdom.’” –Rogues in the House

“Then go to the Rats’ Den, where a man will meet you and give you a pouch of gold and a horse. With those you can escape from the city and flee the country.” –Rogues in the House

Although probably not entirely ignorant of horses this is the first time it is mentioned that Conan plans to ride one.

"I am not sure that the adventure chronicled in 'Rogues in the House' occurred in Zamora...I am of the opinion that the city was one of the small city-states lying just west of Zamora, and into which Conan had wandered after leaving Zamora. 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

Looking to the borders of Corinthia which borders Nemedia and Brythunia in the north, Ophir and Koth to the west and south and Zamora in the east on Howard’s maps; I find it difficult to believe he would return to Cimmeria by way of Nemedia because of his troubles with authorities there. I believe he travelled through Ophir and Aquilonia on his way home.

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 January 2011 - 07:02 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


#9 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:06 AM

Untitled Fragment a.k.a. The Yaralet Fragment
(The Hand of Nergal)

The Yaralet Fragment is an unfinished story fragment that was abandoned by Howard, it was not published in his lifetime.

Time has passed and the lure of the southern countries has drawn Conan out of Cimmeria again. No longer a thief, Conan is a mercenary in an unknown land for an unnamed army. He wanders the battlefield among the dead. He is wounded and is searching for anything of value to show for his efforts as his employment likely had ended with the battle and the hosts being decimated.

The next chapter mentions the city of Yaralet with apparent nobility in command as it also mentions a Prince Than.

Prince Than is described wearing a hat much like one worn by Count Thespides a Khoraji from Khoraja in Black Colossus.

“The firm outline of his limbs and the steely quality of his grey eyes belied the slightly effeminate suggestion of his curled black locks, and feathered velvet cap.” - The Yaralet Fragment

“With one white hand he smoothed his pointed mustache, and with the other he held a velvet chaperon with a scarlet feather fastened by a golden clasp.” –Black Colossus

“…while Thespides fumed and gnawed his velvet cap…”
–Black Colossus

Yaralet is described as having towers and minarets.

“Straightening up from his fruitless quest, he glanced uncertainly afar off across the deepening plain, to where the towers of the city gleamed faintly in the sunset.”
-The Yaralet Fragment

“In the city of Yaralet, when night came on, the people barred windows and bolted doors, and sat behind their barriers shuddering, with candles burning before their household gods until dawn etched the minarets.”
-The Yaralet Fragment

Conan mentions that he served as a Corinthian mercenary possibly placing Yaralet in Corinthia, however it could be in any kingdom Corinthia was fighting against.

“When I served with the mercenaries of Corinthia we swilled and wenched all night and fought all day – aye, blood ran down the channels of our swords.” –Black Colossus

This is at odds with his previous feelings on the region. There is no mention of the Corinthian authorities still looking for him for the murder of the priest of Anu or why he chose to come back after he had desired to leave to another country from there in Rogues in the House. There is usually little that can dissuade him once his mind is set and there is scant reason for him to return after his home-faring but apparently he did. Perhaps he joined the Corinthian mercenaries while they were already fighting on foreign soil thereby avoiding a return trip to Corinthia.

I think that Yaralet is in Koth and the Corinthian mercenaries are waging a war on foreign soil; one of many imperial campaigns in different countries.

“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

“I have fought in blood-feuds, tribal wars, and imperial campaigns.” –Black Colossus

Any imperial campaign mentioned would have had to have happened during his time with the Corinthian mercenaries as the blood-feuds and tribal wars likely happened in Cimmeria. The time fighting with the Æsir against the Vanir and his captivity in Hyperborea and his time as a thief cannot account for it.

When he again uses the word “imperial” much later in his career he is describing a concept of expanding a kingdom by conquering others.

“Let others dream imperial dreams. I but wish to hold what is mine. I have no desire to rule an empire welded together by blood and fire. It’s one thing to seize a throne with the aid of its subjects and rule them with their consent. It’s another to subjugate a foreign realm and rule it by fear.” –The Hour of the Dragon

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

Profession:

Mercenary for the Corinthian army

Conan described in the fragment:

“The fellow was a Cimmerian, a giant with a black mane and smoldering blue eyes. His girdled loin-cloth and high-strapped sandals were splashed with blood. The great sword he trailed in his right hand was stained to the cross-piece. There was a ghastly would in his thigh, which caused him to limp as he walked.” - The Yaralet Fragment

“He was a wolf who had lingered too long at the blood-letting, while jackals stripped the prey.” -The Yaralet Fragment

He is not mentioned wearing armor yet but was apparently part of the battle because of his wound. I don’t think he would join a battle with trumpeting armies that had mercenaries and probably chariots by wandering into it. He may have been hired to fight by one side or another making him a mercenary.

“No rumble of chariot-wheel or peal of trumpet disturbed the unseeing stillness. The silence of death followed the thundering of battle.” -The Yaralet Fragment

“The knives of the mercenaries and camp-followers had been at work.” -The Yaralet Fragment

He travels from the battlefield west to the city, presumably Yaralet mentioned in the next chapter.

“Straightening up from his fruitless quest, he glanced uncertainly afar off across the deepening plain, to where the towers of the city gleamed faintly in the sunset.”
-The Yaralet Fragment

From Koth south to Khoraja

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 January 2011 - 06:27 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


#10 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:12 AM

Black Colossus

Black Colossus was first published in Weird Tales in June 1933.

Black Colossus was written in October 1932 - The Surviving Conan Typescripts - Patrice Louinet, Glenn Lord and Ed Waterman

We next find Conan as a Mercenary captain in Khoraja.

Chance, fate, or the whim of the gods leads princess Yasmela to choose Conan to lead her armies against a sorcerous threat back from the dead.

Language:

In Black Colossus Conan speaks Kothic the language of the land which he must have learned whilst employed as a Mercenary. He is enlisted under Amalric the Nemedian. Good thing he already speaks Nemedian. That may have helped him to learn the Kothic spoken in the area by having a commander that can translate orders into a language he is familiar with. He also speaks Shemite learned as a thief and mercenary.

"But in Khoraja, carved out of Shemite lands by the swords of Kothic adventurers." "At first glance she saw he was no Kothian; when he spoke she knew he was no Hyborian." "'Have they shut you into the street?' he asked in barbarous Kothic, reaching for her." -Black Colossus

“She could dimly see that Conan still sat on the boulder; she glimpsed the long blue glimmer of his blade. Close beside him crouched another figure, on which the dying fire cast a faint glow. Yasmela drowsily made out a hooked beak of a nose, a glittering bead of an eye, under a white turban. The man was speaking rapidly in a Shemite dialect she found hard to understand.
‘Let Bel wither my arm! I speak truth! By Derketo, Conan, I am prince of liars, but I do not lie to an old comrade. I swear by the days when we were thieves together in the land of Zamora, before you donned hauberk!’”
–Black Colossus

“This a wandering Shemite had told him, swearing that he had seen such beasts by the thousands in the country of the Hyrkanians; but all men knew what liars were the men of Shem.” –The Tower of the Elephant

Profession:

Captain of the mercenary spearmen for the Khoraji army, General –Commander of the armies of Khoraja

Conan described in the Story:

“As he passed near a cresset she saw him plainly – a tall man, in the chain-mail hauberk of a mercenary.” –Black Colossus

“He stood facing her, his hand on the long hilt that jutted forward from beneath the scarlet cloak which flowed carelessly from his mailed shoulders. The torchlight glinted dully on the polished blue steel of his greaves and basinet. A more baleful fire glittered bluely in his eyes.” –Black Colossus

“He was clad like a captain of the mercenaries…” –Black Colossus

“His mail could not conceal his hard lines of tigerish strength. Everything about him was tigerish, elemental, untamed.” –Black Colossus

“He laid his naked sword across his mail-sheathed knees.” –Black Colossus

“He lifted off his basinet and laid it on the table, and drew back his coif, letting the mail folds fall upon his massive shoulders. She saw more fully now his unlikeness to the Hyborian races. In his dark, scarred face there was a suggestion of moodiness; and without being marked by depravity, or definitely evil, there was more than a suggestion of the sinister about his features, set off by his smoldering blue eyes. A low broad forehead was topped by a square-cut tousled mane as black as a raven’s wing.” –Black Colossus

“Conan, a captain of the mercenary spearmen…” –Black Colossus

“’Mitra protect us!’ exploded Amalric. ‘That’s Conan the northron, the most turbulent of all my rogues! I’d have hanged him long ago, were he not the best swordsman that ever donned hauberk-‘” –Black Colossus

“At her command they brought harness to replace Conan’s chain-mail – gorget, sollerets, cuirass, pauldrons, jambes, cuisses, and sallet. When Yasmela again drew the curtains, a Conan in burnished steel stood before his audience. Clad in plate-armor, vizor lifted and dark face shadowed by the black plumes that nodded above his helmet, there was a grim impressiveness about him that even Thespides grudgingly noted. A jest died suddenly on Amalric’s lips.
‘By Mitra’, said he slowly, ‘I never expected to see you cased in coat-armor, but you do not put it to shame. By my finger-bones, Conan, I have seen kings who wore their harness less regally than you!’
Conan was silent. A vague shadow crossed his mind like a prophecy. In years to come he was to remember Amalric’s words, when the dream became the reality.”
–Black Colossus

Clues to placement:

Conan mentions mercenary service

“When I served with the mercenaries of Corinthia we swilled and wenched all night and fought all day – aye, blood ran down the channels of our swords.” –Black Colossus

Conan lists his battle experiences and is willing to try his hand at leading large forces of men in battle.

“’You have seen much war?’ ‘I was born in the midst of a battle,’ he answered, tearing a chunk of meat from a huge joint with his strong teeth. ‘The first sound my ears heard was the clang of swords and the yells of the slaying. I have fought in blood-feuds, tribal wars, and imperial campaigns.’ ‘But can you lead men and arrange battle-lines?’ ‘Well, I can try,’ he returned imperturbably. ‘It’s no more than sword-play on a larger scale. You draw his guard, then – stab, slash! And either his head is off, or yours.’” –Black Colossus

His commander believes Conan has never led more men than the one company of the mercenary spearmen now under him as captain and is willing to bet on it.

“I’ll serve under him. A short life and a merry one, say I – and with Conan the Throat-slitter in command, life is likely to be both merry and short. Mitra! If the dog ever commanded more than a company of cutthroats before, I’ll eat him, harness and all!” –Black Colossus

Conan was a thief prior to being a mercenary.

“I swear by the days when we were thieves together in the land of Zamora, before you donned hauberk!” –Black Colossus

He is doing well despite not having any experience leading armies before.

“At any rate, you’ve arranged your lines as well as a seasoned general could have done.” –Black Colossus

His disposition has changed.

“’You grow sober with authority,’ quoth Almaric. ‘Such madness as that was always your particular joy.’ ‘Aye, when I had only my own life to consider,’ answered Conan.” –Black Colossus

From Khoraja south to Kuthchemes

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 January 2011 - 06:54 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


#11 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:17 AM

A Witch Shall be Born

A Witch Shall be Born was first published in Weird Tales in December 1934.

Conan is the captain of the guard in Khauran, becomes embroiled in restoring a kingdom to its rightful ruler. Surviving being crucified he becomes chief of the Zuagirs to enact his vengeance.

Language:

Conan speaks Kothic learned as a mercenary and Shemitish learned as a thief and mercenary.

"They are the Shemitish mercenaries of Constantius, the Kothic voivode of the Free Companies."-A Witch Shall be Born

Conan understands the Kothic spoken to him by Constantius while crucified. He also speaks Kothic in Khauran.

"which at one time formed the eastern part of the empire of Koth, and which later regained the independence which was theirs at a still earlier age." –A Witch Shall Be Born

"'Remember me when the vultures are tearing at your living flesh,' he called mockingly." - A Witch Shall Be Born

"At the present there is some possibility of invasion from the desert, which is inhabited by tribes of Shemitish nomads. The mercenaries of Constantius are men from the Shemitish cities of the west, Pelishtim, Anakim, Akkharim, and are ardently hated by the Zuagirs and other wandering tribes." - A Witch Shall Be Born

Conan understands the Zuagir dialect of Shemitish and speaks with them.

"'Aye!' It was the guttural accents of a Zuagir. 'It is the Cimmerian who was captain of the queen's guard.'" - A Witch Shall Be Born

"Aie, you dogs, sharpen your ears and listen! Gather around here. I have a tale to tell you." – A Witch Shall Be Born

Profession:

Captain of the guard, Zuagir Chief

Conan described in the story:

“Naked but for a loin-cloth, the man was almost a giant in stature, and his muscles stood out in thick corded ridges on limbs and body, which the sun had long ago burned brown. The perspiration of agony beaded his face and his mighty breast, but from under the tangled black mane that fell over his low, broad forehead, his blue eyes blazed with an unquenchable fire. Blood oozed sluggishly for the lacerations in his hands and feet.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

“To his splendor the huge Cimmerian opposite him offered a strong contrast, with his square-cut black mane, brown scarred countenance and burning blue eyes. He was clad in black mesh-mail, and the only glitter about him was the broad gold buckle of the belt which supported his sword in its leather scabbard.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

Clues to placement:

Conan having had some command experience is now a much more confident and forceful leader.

“He shouted to the guardsmen to stand as they were until they received an order from him – and such is his dominance of his men, that they obeyed in spite of the queen.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

Conan deduces that a foreigner with the Zuagir is Olgerd Vladislav a Kozaki hetman who wandered down from the northern steppes and made himself chief of a band of Zuagirs. He guessed as much by him being a foreigner and probably from knowing about the desert men in the region around the kingdom as a Captain of the Khaurani forces. He does not know him personally and Olgerd does not recognize him or know how he might know of him. It is plain that Conan has not yet become a member of the Kozaki, as he likely would have mentioned it.

“’If I could come down from this beam I’d make a dying dog out of you, you Zaporoskan thief!’ he rasped through blackened lips. ‘Mitra, the knave knows me!’ exclaimed the other. ‘How, knave, do you know me?’ ‘There’s only one of your breed in these parts,’ muttered Conan, ‘You are Olgerd Vladislav, the outlaw chief.’ ‘Aye! And once a hetman of the kozaki of the Zaporoskan River, as you have guessed. Would you like to live?’” – A Witch Shall Be Born

“We’ve contented ourselves, so far, with raids on the Turanian outposts and the city-states to the west.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

“’Not if there were three thousand desperate Hyborian horsemen fighting in a solid wedge such as I could teach them,’ answered Conan.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

He obviously has seen such battle maneuvers if not participated himself in them. One such maneuver is recounted in Black Colossus.

“The hill steeds reared wildly under the unfamiliar clash of the Kothic armor, and Conan’s gust laugh rose above the din as he led them to where the eastern ridge branched away from the plateau. Five hundred footmen – pauper patricians, younger sons, black sheep – on half-wild Shemite horses, charging an army, down a slope where no cavalry had ever dared charge before!” –Black Colossus

Conan has seen siege engines and other such implementations of war as well.

“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

“No, lass, that’s over with. I’m chief of the Zuagirs now, and must lead them to plunder the Turanians, as I promised.” –A Witch Shall Be Born

From Khauran to Turan

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 January 2011 - 06:54 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


#12 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:21 AM

The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

The Man-Eaters of Zamboula was first published in Weird Tales in November 1935 as Shadows in Zamboula.

Conan is a traveler in the city of Zamboula in Turan.

Language:

Conan now is probably nearly fluent in Shemitish having lived with the Zuagir. During their raids on Turanian outposts and cities he has probably picked up a smattering of Hyrkanian the language of the empire of Turan. Conan first hears the Kushite, Stygian, and possibly Darfari tongues while in Zamboula.

Conan speaks to a Zuagir in Shemitish Zuagir dialect.

"'Be warned! Thou hast dwelt for many moons in the tents of the Zuagirs, and thou art our brother! Go not to the house of Aram Baksh!' 'Get out of sight!' Conan said suddenly."-The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"The watchmen did not accost him...They were Pelishtim...mercenaries hired for work the ruling Turanians considered beneath themselves." - The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"Giant black slaves slouched along, jostling blue-beared wanderers from the Shemitish cities, ragged nomads from the surrounding deserts, traders and adventurers from all the lands of the East.
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 babel of a myriad tongues smote on the Cimmerian's ears as the restless pattern of the Zamboula streets weaved about him..."
- The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

Conan speaks to Nafertari most likely in Hyrkanian throughout the story. Howard never mentions Hyrkanian/Hyrcanian as a language by name. It is named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in.

Conan listens to cannibal slaves from Darfar.

"Now they could understand the gutturals of the black men." –The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

It is not made clear if they are speaking Hyrkanian since they are slaves and likely have been in the city for some time or their own language Darfari from Darfar near Kush. Howard never mentions Darfari as a language by name. It is named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in.

Profession:

Adventurer, former Zuagir, Assassin

Conan described in the story:


“He looked smaller and meaner than ever in contrast to the giant Cimmerian with his black brows, broad breast, and powerful limbs.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“’I have no goods,’ growled the Cimmerian, touching the shagreen-bound hilt of the broadsword that hung at his hip. ‘I have even sold my horse.’” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“His blue eyes and alien features distinguished him from the Eastern swarms, and the straight sword at his hip added point to the racial difference.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“’You are a fighting man,’ she answered. ‘To risk your life is part of your profession.’” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

Clues to placement:

"Be warned! Thou hast dwelt for many moons in the tents of the Zuagirs, and thou art our brother!” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“All the tales he had heard in the Zuagir tents of devils and goblins came back to bead his flesh with clammy sweat.”
– The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

There is no mention of why Conan is no longer one of the chiefs of the Zuagir; but they still hold him in high esteem considering him a brother. Conan gambled away all of his plunder from the Turanians and even had to sell his personal effects but retained his sword. He is now just another penniless adventurer, a sword for hire in the western-most out-post of the Turanian empire.

“’I have no goods,’ growled the Cimmerian, touching the shagreen-bound hilt of the broadsword that hung at his hip. ‘I have even sold my horse.’” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“You did not win at the gaming tables?” “How could I, with only a handful of silver to begin with?” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“It was a much more elaborate chamber than Conan could have procured for the price nearer the center of the city – a fact that had first attracted him, when, that morning, he discovered how slim a purse his roistering for the past few days had left him. He had ridden into Zamboula from the desert a week before.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"'So you could steal from him the only thing he would never give you - the ring with the jewel men call the Star of Khorala - the star stolen from the queen of Ophir, who would pay a roomful of gold for its return.'" – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"As he rode he drew from his belt a ring in which gleamed a jewel that snared the starlight in a shimmering iridescence. He held it up to admire it, turning it this way and that. The compact bag of gold pieces clinked gently at his saddle bow, like a promise of the greater riches to come.
'I wonder what she'd say if she knew I recognized her as Nafertari and him as Jungir Khan the instant I saw them,' he mused. ‘I knew the Star of Khorala, too. There'll be a fine scene if she ever guesses that I slipped it off his finger while I was tying him with his sword-belt. But they'll never catch me with the start I'm getting.'"
- The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

There is no mention of how he recognized Nafertari or the ring known as the Star of Khorala. It is apparent that Nafertari did not recognize him nor did the Pelishtim watchmen of the city as a former Zuagir. I tend to think that Conan is a man whose mind is not easily dissuaded once it is made up and he likely made it to Ophir to sell the ring.

“The noise followed Conan as he rode westward beneath the paling stars.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

From Turan northwestward to Ophir through Shem, Khoraja, and Koth

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 January 2011 - 07:03 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


#13 johnnypt

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:33 AM

Let me just briefly interrupt to say I love this! This is radical stuff, I can't wait to see everything laid out.

#14 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 02:50 AM

From Ophir south to Argos

Queen of the Black Coast (Post Part 1)

Queen of the Black Coast was first published in Weird Tales in May 1934.

Conan finds trouble in Argos and is forced to leave in a hurry boarding a ship bound for Kush/Cush. The ship is attacked by Corsairs.

Language:

Argossean, Shemitish, Kushite/Cushite, Stygian

Travelling from Ophir into Argos seeking employment as a mercenary but not finding any wars in which to sell his service as a swordsman he remained in the kingdom long enough to make friends and learn some of the language.

“Well, last night in a tavern, a captain of the king’s guard offered violence to the sweetheart of a young soldier, who naturally ran him through. But it seems there is some cursed law against killing guardsmen, and the boy and his girl fled away. It was bruited about that I was seen with them, and so today I was haled into court, and a judge asked me where the lad had gone. I replied that since he was a friend of mine, I could not betray him.” - Queen of the Black Coast

Conan speaks Argossean to the master of the ship Argus a man named Tito an Argossean, when he boards it. Argossean is never mentioned as language by Howard,it is named after the people, or the country or region it is spoken in.

"'Who invited you aboard?' 'Get under way!' roared the intruder with a fierce gesture that spattered red drops from his broadsword. 'But we're bound for the coasts of Cush!' expostulated the master." -Queen of the Black Coast

Since Bêlit is Shemitish one could postulate that she addresses him in her native tongue although she may be speaking to him in Argossean knowing the nationality of the vessel she just captured on which he was aboard. She continues to speak to both Conan and the crew and it is doubtful she would address the crew in Argossean so it is assumed to be Shemitish. Conan speaks Shemitish learned as a thief and mercenary and refined with the Zuagir.

"'Who are you?' she demanded....'I am Conan, a Cimmerian,' he answered." -Queen of the Black Coast
"...this daughter of Shem ..." -Queen of the Black Coast
“She is a Shemite woman, who leads black raiders.” –Queen of the Black Coast

While raiding with the corsairs he learns Kushite/Cushite.

"The black spoke in a sea-coast dialect, and Conan replied; he had learned the jargon while a corsair on the coasts of Kush." - The Scarlet Citadel

He probably picks up some Stygian from his time sacking their cities and raiding their coasts with the corsairs. He definitely picked up a reputation and the name of Amra the lion at that time from the tales in the coastal villages of Kush calling him an iron man whose wrath was that of a wounded lion, and the enmity of the Stygians in their land of temples and pyramids.

"The Tigress ranged the sea, and the black villages shuddered. Tom-toms beat in the night, with a tale that she she-devil of the sea had found a mate, an iron man whose wrath was as that of a wounded lion. And the survivors of butchered Stygian ships named Bêlit with curse, and a white warrior with fierce blue eyes; so the Stygian princes remembered this man long and long, and their memory was a bitter tree which bore crimson fruit in the years to come." -Queen of the Black Coast

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

Profession:

Mercenary, Chief of the Corsair raiders

Conan described in the story:


“The folk that yelled and scattered had only a fleeting glimpse of a mailed figure on a black stallion, a wide scarlet cloak flowing out on the wind.” -Queen of the Black Coast

“The shipmaster was a good judge of men. One glance at the dark scarred face of the swordsman, hardened with passion, and he shouted a quick order, thrusting strongly against the piles.” -Queen of the Black Coast

“He saw a tall powerfully built figure in a black scale-mail hauberk, burnished greaves and a blue-steel helmet from which jutted bull’s horns highly polished. From the mailed shoulders fell the scarlet cloak, blowing in the sea-wind. A broad shagreen belt with a golden buckle held the scabbard of the broadsword he bore. Under the horned helmet a square cut black mane contrasted with smoldering blue eyes.” -Queen of the Black Coast

“Conan towered above them, and no two of them could match his strength. They were hardy and robust, but his was the endurance and vitality of a wolf, his thews steeled and his nerves whetted by the hardness of life in the world’s wastelands. He was quick to laugh, quick and terrible in his wrath. He was a valiant trencherman, and strong drink was a passion and a weakness with him. Naïve as a child in many ways, unfamiliar with the sophistry of civilization, he was naturally intelligent, jealous of his rights, and dangerous as a hungry tiger. Young in years he was hardened in warfare and wandering, and his sojourns in many lands were evident in his apparel. His horned helmet was such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim; his hauberk and greaves were of the finest workmanship of Koth; the fine ring-mail which sheathed his arms and legs was of Nemedia; the blade at his girdle was a great Aquilonian broadsword; and his gorgeous scarlet cloak could have been spun nowhere but in Ophir.” –Queen of the Black Coast.

From Argos to the sea sailing past Shem, past Stygia to the coasts of Kush


Clues to placement of the story:

Conan is seeking to exploit his mercenary experience.

“I came into Argos seeking employment, but with no wars forward, there was nothing to which I might turn my hand.” -Queen of the Black Coast

He still considers the ways of civilization strange after have spent a good deal time among them.

“By Crom, though I’ve spent considerable time among you civilized peoples, your ways are still beyond my comprehension.” -Queen of the Black Coast

Civilization still shocks and astounds the Cimmerian.

“Naïve as a child in many ways, unfamiliar with the sophistry of civilization…” –Queen of the Black Coast.

Conan steals a horse to flee and manages an amazing leap from the saddle onto a moving ship leaving the pier.

“…seeing the high constable’s stallion tied near by, I rode for the wharfs, where I thought to find a ship bound for foreign parts.” -Queen of the Black Coast

“Hoofs drummed down the street that sloped to the wharfs. The folk that yelled and scattered had only a fleeting glimpse of a mailed figure on a black stallion, a wide scarlet cloak flowing out on the wind. Far up the street came the shout and clatter of pursuit, but the horsemen did not look back. He swept out onto the wharfs and jerked the plunging stallion back on its haunches at the very lip of the pier. Seamen gaped up at him, as they stood to the sweep and striped sail of a high-prowed broad-waisted galley. The master, sturdy and black-bearded, stood in the bows, easing her away from the piles with a boat-hook. He yelled angrily as the horseman sprang from the saddle and with a long leap landed squarely on the mid-deck.” -Queen of the Black Coast

Where did he learn such skills on a horse? From Rogues in the House on he has been riding horses and may not have been ignorant to them before that.

“’’I’m tired of this city anyway,’ grinned the Cimmerian. ‘You mentioned a horse waiting at the Rat’s Den. I’m curious to see how fast that horse can carry me into another kingdom.’” –Rogues in the House

He no doubt learned horsemanship with the Corinthian mercenaries and had witnessed cavalry charges and chariots in battle. In Black Colossus he leads a charge of mounted warriors.

“Conan the Cimmerian, restless in his plate-armor, stated at the bedecked camel with no great approval, and spoke to Amalric, who rode beside him…” –Black Colossus

“’This day you become knights!’ he laughed fiercely, pointing with his dripping sword toward the hillmen horses, herded near by. ‘Mount and follow me to hell!’” –Black Colossus

“The hill steeds reared wildly under the unfamiliar clash of the Kothic armor, and Conan’s gust laugh rose above the din as he led them to where the eastern ridge branched away from the plateau. Five hundred footmen – pauper patricians, younger sons, black sheep – on half-wild Shemite horses, charging an army, down a slope where no cavalry had ever dared charge before!” –Black Colossus

“Conan sprang clear as the horse fell, and with a roar Kutamun was on him.” –Black Colossus

Springing clear of a charging horse as it falls is no mean feat either.

By the time of A Witch Shall Be Born he is so confident of his skills in the saddle that he offers to teach battle maneuvers on horseback to the Hyborians.

“’Not if there were three thousand desperate Hyborian horsemen fighting in a solid wedge such as I could teach them,’ answered Conan.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

“’A horse,’ demanded Conan. ‘The swiftest steed you have.” –The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“Presently on a bay stallion, Conan was riding toward the house of Aram Baksh.” –The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

I do not find it difficult at all that Conan could leap from a rearing stallion onto a moving ship at this point in his career.

Later in his life he would further refine his horse riding skills, knowledge of horseflesh, and become a master horseman among the Kozaki.

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

“As the horse fell he leaped clear, holding the girl aloft to guard her from striking boulders. He his on his feet like a cat, thrust her into a cleft of rock, and wheeled toward the outer darkness, drawing his knife.” - The People of the Black Circle

“He shook loose the reins and the stallion went like a thunder-bolt, as if frantic to lose hysteria in violent physical exertion. Across the ledge and around the crag and down the narrow trail threading the great steep they plunged at break-neck speed.” - The People of the Black Circle

“Zenobia had chosen well in selecting the white horse. His speed, toughness and endurance were obvious. The girl knew weapons and horses, and, Conan reflected with some satisfaction, she knew men.” – The Hour of the Dragon

Further clues to placement:

Conan is unfamiliar with the sea.

“The sea and the ways of the sea were never-ending mysteries to Conan, whose homeland was among the high hills of the northern uplands.” -Queen of the Black Coast

Conan does not help with the ship as he is a landsman and unfamiliar with sea vessels which is in contrast to later in his career where he is a good sailor and knows their customs. Instead he pays his way as a fighting man for Tito aboard the Argus.

"’Can you pay for your passage?’ demanded the master. ‘I pay my way with steel!’ roared the man in armor, brandishing the great sword that glittered bluely in the sun. ‘By Crom man, if you don’t get under way I’ll drench this galley in the blood of its crew'” –Queen of the Black Coast

“We’re peaceable sailors, and have nothing against you. Besides, it’s as well to have a fighting-man like yourself on board. Come up to the poop-deck and we’ll have a tankard of ale.” –Queen of the Black Coast

“Standing on the poop, he watched the serpent-ship skimming lightly over the waters, and landsman though he was, it was evident to him that the Argus would never win that race.” –Queen of the Black Coast

Compare the previous behavior with that of later in his career.

“’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

“’You’ll work for your keep,’ snarled the Hawk.” –The Pool of the Black One

“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

Conan shows he is not experienced with pirates and questions Tito, but he is willing to fight them.

“’I had good trade here, aforetime. This is the work of pirates.’
‘And if we meet them?’ Conan loosed his great blade in its scabbard.
‘Mine is no warship. We run not fight. Yet if it came to a pinch, we have beaten off reavers before, and might do it again; unless it were Bêlit’s Tigress.’”
–Queen of the Black Coast.

Compare that with his apparent knowledge of ships, pirates and their ways in Iron Shadows in the Moon:

“’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

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

“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

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

I cannot find any reason to suppose that Conan would have acted as he did questioning Tito at the mention of pirates if he had previous experience with the sea or pirates as he obviously does in Iron Shadows in the Moon. I find it impossible to place Irons Shadows before Queen of the Black Coast as Rippke has done.

Rippke thinks that he would have mentioned sailing with the black corsairs to aid him with the pirates in Irons Shadows in the Moon. I think he didn’t have to mention them at all but his knowledge of corsairs and pirates gained in The Queen of the Black Coast served him well.

Rippke states that in Queen of the Black Coast, “Howard subtly implies that the Cimmerian has spent some time at sea prior to this story.”-Dark Storm Chronology

It was so subtle however that I have missed what he is referring to unless he is talking about Conan recognizing the position and using the correct terminology when addressing the navigator of the Argus, there is little else to base that speculation on.

“’Let them rave,’ grinned the swordsman hardly. ‘Do you keep her on her course, master steersman.’” –Queen of the Black Coast

Continued on Queen of the Black Coast post part 2

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 January 2011 - 07:43 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


#15 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 03:06 AM

The Queen of the Black Coast (Post part 2)

More clues to story placement:

"Young in years he was hardened in warfare and wandering, and his sojourns in many lands were evident in his apparel. His horned helmet was such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim; his hauberk and greaves were of the finest workmanship of Koth; the fine ring-mail which sheathed his arms and legs was of Nemedia; the blade at his girdle was a great Aquilonian broadsword; and his gorgeous scarlet cloak could have been spun nowhere but in Ophir." -Queen of the Black Coast.

It is apparent that he has become wealthy again from the sale of the Star of Khorala and has purchased fine equipment and arms of much better quality than he had as a mercenary for the Corinthians, and as a mercenary at the beginning of Black Colossus (He probably looses the plate armor gained later in Black Colossus while being crucified in A Witch Shall Be Born). He has better arms and armor then he had among the Zuagir as well.

As Tito notes Conan has journeyed to many lands among them Nordheim in The Frost-Giant's Daughter. It is unknown if he has returned to Nordheim after one of his trips home to his native Cimmeria or has purchased the blue-steel helmet with highly polished bull's horns of apparent Æsir make in some other nation's market that it may have traveled to from that distant northland. It is obviously clear it is not the same helmet he had in The Frost-Giant's Daughter in the beginnings of his wanderings nor is it the same as a similar helmet he retains later in his career in Beyond the Black River.

Conan has journeyed to Koth and the Kothic peopled renegade nations of Khoraja and Khauran in The Yaralet Fragment as a Corinthian Mercenary, in Black Colossus, and in A Witch Shall Be Born.
He may have wandered further possibly returning to one of those countries after his new found fortune or he may have just purchased in a local market (before arriving in Argos) the black scale-mail hauberk and burnished greaves; recognizing them as of the finest workmanship of Koth, having been there.

Having been in Nemedia in The God in the Bowl and possibly crossing it during one of his home-farings he has recognized the worth and purchased the fine ring-mail of Nemedia which sheathed his arms and legs.

Being a northron he would value long straight swords and using his wealth has purchased a new blade, a great Aquilonian broadsword.

To top off this glut of spending he has purchased a gorgeous scarlet cloak while in Ophir after selling the Star of Khorala.

Rippke wants to suppose that the chain-mail and scarlet cloak have been with Conan from Black Colossus through Queen of the Black Coast and into the next tale in Shumballa. Linking the three stories together chronologically based on apparel.

"He is well equipped in this story; a chain-mail hauberk, blue-steel greaves and basinet, and a scarlet cloak. He has better equipment in "Queen of the Black Coast", though. This also helps the case that this story precedes Queen." -The Dark Storm Chronology

"This is the final story in the saga of Conan's chain mail and scarlet cloak." -The Dark Storm Chronology

Let us compare them.

"the chain-mail hauberk of a mercenary." -Black Colossus

"the scarlet cloak which flowed carelessly from his mailed shoulders. The torchlight glinted dully on the polished blue steel of his greaves and basinet." -Black Colossus

"He laid his naked sword across his mail-sheathed knees." -Black Colossus

"He lifted off his basinet and laid it on the table, and drew back his coif, letting the mail folds fall upon his massive shoulders." -Black Colossus

In Black Colossus the hauberk is chain-mail. In Queen of the Black coast the hauberk is scale-mail. In BC there are polished blue steel greaves and basinet. In Queen there are burnished greaves and a blue steel helmet not described as a basinet but as a horned Æsir helmet. While in both BC and Queen Conan has chain-mail on his arms and legs in Queen it is mentioned as fine Nemedian ring-mail. The scarlet colored cloak is mentioned in both tales but in Queen it is mentioned as being gorgeous.

"His horned helmet was such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim; his hauberk and greaves were of the finest workmanship of Koth; the fine ring-mail which sheathed his arms and legs was of Nemedia; the blade at his girdle was a great Aquilonian broadsword; and his gorgeous scarlet cloak could have been spun nowhere but in Ophir." -Queen of the Black Coast.

"He saw a tall powerfully built figure in a black scale-mail hauberk, burnished greaves and a blue-steel helmet from which jutted bull's horns highly polished. From the mailed shoulders fell the scarlet cloak, blowing in the sea-wind. A broad shagreen belt with a golden buckle held the scabbard of the broadsword he bore." -Queen of the Black Coast

All of that is a moot point however as Conan's chain-mail was replaced with plate armor in Black Colossus.

"At her command they brought harness to replace Conan's chain-mail; gorget, sollerets, cuirass, pauldrons, jambes, cuisses, and sallet. When Yasmela again drew the curtains, a Conan in burnished steel stood before his audience. Clad in plate-armor, vizor lifted and dark face shadowed by the black plumes that nodded above his helmet, there was a grim impressiveness about him that even Thespides grudgingly noted." -Black Colossus

After her death, Bêlit was sent to sea wrapped in the gorgeous scarlet cloak Conan had at the beginning of Queen of the Black Coast.

"But on the deck of the Tigress, on a pyre of broken benches, spear-shafts and leopardskins, lay the Queen of the Black Coast in her last sleep, wrapped in Conan's scarlet cloak." -Queen of the Black Coast

"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 described in 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

The armor from Black Colossus did not remain with him until the events of Queen of the Black Coast. The scarlet cloak is probably not the same in Queen as in Black Colossus; especially for me after I placed additional tales between the two with no mention of a cloak in those stories. The cloak is immolated by fire at the end of Queen and cannot be the same cloak in Shumballa. Where he got another scarlet cloak is a mystery however let us remember that the story in Shumballa was never finished and we are taking facts from a draft only. The armor from Queen likely is the same as the armor in The Shumballa Draft. The scarlet cloak is most certainly not the same one Conan uses after he has become king in Hour of the Dragon as he rides into Zingara!

Continued in Queen of the Black Coast post three!

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 01 September 2011 - 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


#16 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 04:39 AM

Queen of the Black Coast (Post Part 3)

Some thoughts on archery:


"'Give me a bow,' requested Conan. 'It's not my idea of a manly weapon, but I learned archery among the Hyrkanians, and it will go hard if I can't feather a man or so on yonder deck.'" -Queen of the Black Coast

"Tito sprang to take his place, and Conan, bracing his feet wide on the heaving poop-deck, lifted his bow." -Queen of the Black Coast

"On the raised platform in bows stood a slim figure whose white skin glistened in dazzling contrast to the glossy ebon hides about it. Bêlit,without a doubt. Conan drew the shaft to his ear - then some whim or qualm stayed his hand and sent the arrow through the body of a tall plumed spearman beside her." -Queen of the Black Coast

Obviously Conan is a proficient archer although he thinks it is an unmanly weapon. I would wager all my golden lunas that Conan has known of and seen archery since he was a youth in Cimmeria. Bordered by some of the Hyborian Age's best archers the Cimmerians have been fighting the Picts since their earliest legends and waging war with the Bossonians as they attempt to push the Aquilonian borders further into Cimmeria with the Gunderman and Aquilonians and during their own raids south into those Kingdoms and regions.

"An incessant hail of arrows of arrows rained against the stockade from the woods and the river. The deep twanging of bow-strings rose above the howling." - Picts in Beyond the Black River

"At the sight of their prey their screams rose to a devil's crescendo, and they raced toward the foot of the crag, loosing arrows as they came. The shafts showered about the man who doggedly climbed upward, and one stuck in the calf of his leg." -Picts in The Black Stranger

"That was true; the Bossonian Marches, with their fortified villages filled with determined bowmen, had long served Aquilonia as a buffer against the outlying barbarians." -Beyond the Black River

"'Now arrows fly between the hosts like stinging clouds that hide the sun. Ha! Well loosed, bowmen! The Bossonians have the better of it! Hark to them shout!'
Faintly in the ears of the king, above the din of trumpets and clanging steel, came the deep fierce shout of the Bossonians as they drew and loosed in perfect unison.
'Their archers seek to hold our in play while their knights ride into the river,' said the squire. 'The banks are not steep; they slope to the water's edge. The knights come on, they crash through the willows. By Mitra, the clothyard shafts find every crevice of their harness!'"
-The Hour of the Dragon

"And before the arbalesters could come within killing range, the arching shafts of the Bossonians were wreaking havoc in their ranks. A little of this, a futile attempt at exchanging fire, and the Nemedian bowmen began falling back in disorder. Their armor was light, their weapons no match for the Bossonian longbows." -The Hour of the Dragon

Conan besides having seen and likely fought against archers since he was young, probably saw and learned some of the rudiments of archery as a mercenary with the Corinthian army and I do not believe that archery was not to be found in the battle that left the plains strewn with bodies in The Fragment of Yaralet. Conan says himself that he "learned archery among the Hyrkanians", however the word among does not mean from the Hyrkanians. In Black Colossus the army of Khoraja under Conan's command uses archers. His enemies the Stygians and Shemite Asshuri used archery against him.

Conan's army

"Their main weapon was the terrible Shemitish bow, which could send a shaft five hundred paces." - Black Colossus

"Conan stood among the spearmen. He knew the invaders would not try to drive a chariot charge up the Pass in the teeth of the archers, but he grunted with surprize to see the riders dismounting." - Black Colossus

"As the horde entered the wide valley mouth the hillmen loosed their shafts. In spite of the protective formation, men dropped by dozens." -Black Colossus

Natohk's army

"Heavy bows were in their hands. No common archers, these, but nobles of the South, bred to war and the hunt, who were accustomed to bringing down lions with their arrows." - Black Colossus

"But the Shemites gave back the fire, and the clouds of arrows darkened the skies." - Black Colossus

"By the very numbers of their bows, they began to swamp the archers on the cliffs. Clouds of shafts sped upward, driving the hillmen to cover." - Black Colossus

In A Witch Shall be Born Conan among the Zuagirs uses archery. I would say that there definitely was archery used during their raids among the Turanians, a Hyrkanian people.

“We’ve contented ourselves, so far, with raids on the Turanian outposts and the city-states to the west.”
– A Witch Shall Be Born

As demonstrated by the Zuagirs using them in siege of Khauran.

"Arrows flew in clouds between the hosts and the nomads wavered." -A Witch Shall be Born

"...the desert-men feather us with arrows. I -ahhh!" - A Witch Shall be Born

"With them rode fifty black-bearded desert-riders, and at their head a giant figure in black mail. 'Conan!'shrieked Valerius. 'Conan!' The giant yelled a command. Without checking their headlong pace, the desert men lifted their bows, drew and loosed. A cloud of arrows sang across the square, over the seething heads of the multitude, and sank feather-deep in the black monster. It halted, wavered, reared, a black blot against the marble pillars. Again the sharp cloud sang, and yet again, and the horror collapsed and rolled down the steps, as dead as the witch who had summoned it out of the night of ages." A Witch Shall be Born

After the kingdom was re-won Conan leads the Zuagir against Hyrkanian kingdom of Turan once again. That is what he meant when he said he learned among the Hyrkanians, when he was feathering them with arrows from horseback!

“No, lass, that’s over with. I’m chief of the Zuagirs now, and must lead them to plunder the Turanians, as I promised.” –A Witch Shall Be Born

Continued in Queen of the Black Coast post part 4!

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 11 December 2010 - 04:51 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


#17 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 07:11 AM

Queen of the Black Coast post part 4

Raiding Kush and Stygia

Conan spends a considerable amount of time with Bêlit and the black corsairs pillaging and looting the Stygians and Kushites. He may have had a few brushes with pirate competition from the Zingaran Freebooters and Pirates from the Barachan Isles. He definitely waged destruction and plunder on the coast and sea with pitched sea battles among ships.

"The Tigress ranged the sea, and the black villages shuddered. Tom-toms beat in the night, with a tale that she she-devil of the sea had found a mate, an iron man whose wrath was as that of a wounded lion. And the survivors of butchered Stygian ships named Bêlit with curse, and a white warrior with fierce blue eyes; so the Stygian princes remembered this man long and long, and their memory was a bitter tree which bore crimson fruit in the years to come."- Queen of the Black Coast

“’Long have I wished to meet you, Amra,’ the black gave Conan the name – Amra, the Lion – by which the Cimmerian had been known to the Kushites in his piratical days.” –The Scarlet Citadel

“I know you from of old, since the days when I was a chief among a free people, before the Stygians took me and sold me into the north. Do you not remember the sack of Abombi, when your sea-wolves swarmed in? Before the palace of King Ajaga you slew a chief and a chief fled from you. It was my brother who died; it was I who fled. I demand of you a blood-price, Amra!” –The Scarlet Citadel

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

“a mercenary swordsman in horned helmet and scale-mail corselet; a corsair in a dragon-prowed galley that trailed a crimson wake of blood and pillage along southern coasts” – The Scarlet Citadel

"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

“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

Thoughts on apes, ape-men, and great grey apes

"And once in inhuman voice was lifted in awful mockery - the cry of an ape, Bêlit said, adding that the souls of evil men were imprisoned in these man-like animals as punishment for past crimes. But Conan doubted, for once, in a gold-barred cage in an Hyrkanian city, he had seen an abysmal sad-eyed beast which men told him was an ape, and there had been about it naught of the demoniac malevolence which vibrated in the shrieking laughter that echoed from the black jungle." -Queen of the Black Coast

Conan is remembering the first time he had seen an ape in a Hyrkanian city that he may have seen during his time with the Zuagirs raiding Turanian outposts or in Zamboula the westernmost Hyrkanian city of the Turanian empire during the events of A Witch Shall Be Born and The Man-Eaters of Zamboula. He makes no mention or comparison to the sound he heard while going up the Zarkheba River to the Gray man-ape he fought on an island in the Vilayet Sea during Iron Shadows in the Moon. I believe he would have made a comparison to Bêlit's belief in the souls of evil men imprisoned in a man-like animal if he had already encountered the gray man-ape.

"Out of the shadows of the cliffs moved a monstrous shambling bulk - an anthropomorphic horror, a grotesque travesty of creation.
In general outline it was not unlike a man. But its face, limned in the bright moonlight, was bestial, with close-set ears, flaring nostrils, and a great flabby-lipped mouth in which gleamed white tusk-like fangs. It was covered with shaggy grayish hair, shot with silver which shone in the moonlight, and its great misshapen paws hung nearly to the earth. Its bulk was tremendous; as it stood on its short bowed legs, its bullet-head rose above that of the man who faced it; the sweep of the hairy breast and giant shoulders was breath-taking; the huge arms were like knotted trees." - Iron Shadows in the Moon

"'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

However Conan also does not think of Thak that he had already encountered in Rogues in the House. I believe this is because Conan considered Thak more of a man than beast.

"'That is Thak,' answered the priest, caressing his temple. 'Some would call him an ape, but he is almost as different from a real ape as he is different from a real man. His people dwell far to the east, in the mountains that fringe the eastern frontiers of Zamora. There are not many of them, but if they are not exterminated, I believe they will become human beings, in perhaps a hundred thousand years.
They are in the formative stage; they are neither apes, as their remote ancestors were, nor men, as their remote descendants may be. They dwell in the high crags of well-nigh inaccessible mountains, knowing nothing of fire or the making of shelter or garments, or the use of weapons. Yet they have a language of a sort, consisting mainly of grunts and clicks.
I took Thak when he was a cub, and he learned what I taught him much more swiftly and thoroughly than any true animal could have done.'" -Rogues in the House

"Murilo stared in the mirror at the creature which sat with such monstrous patience before the closed door. He shuddered at the sight of the great black hands thickly grown with hair that was almost fur-like. The body was thick, broad and stooped. The unnaturally wide shoulders had burst the scarlet gown, and on these shoulders Murilo noted the same thick growth of black hair. The face peering from the scarlet hood was utterly bestial, and yet Murilo realized that Nabonidus spoke truth when he said that Thak was not wholly a beast. There was something in the whole appearance of the thing that set it apart from the truly animal. That monstrous body housed a brain and soul that were just budding awfully into something vaguely human. Murilo stood aghast as he recognized a faint and hideous kinship between his kind and that squatting monstrosity, and he was nauseated by a fleeting realization of the abysses of bellowing bestiality up through which humanity had painfully toiled." -Rogues in the House

"'He is opening the farther door,' said Nabonidus. 'By Mitra, he is more of a human than even I guessed!'" -Rogues in the House

"Instantly Thak, on the other side of the chamber, wheeled, glared, and charged with a thunderous roar. His scarlet hood had fallen back revealing his black misshapen head; his black hands and red robe were splashed with a brighter red. He was like a crimson and black nightmare as he rushed across the chamber, fangs bared, his bowed legs hurtling his enormous body along at a terrifying gait." -Rogues in the House

"Even the Cimmerian sensed this, for he panted: 'I have slain a man tonight, not a beast. I will count him among the chiefs whose souls I have sent into the dark, and my women will sing of him." -Rogues in the House

Bigfoot, Sasquatch, or Yeti anyone? Well it is plain that Thak was not a true ape at any rate.

Other clues mentioned:

Conan mentions the belief systems of some of the places he has visited, namely Hyborian nations who believe in Mitra such as Aquilonia, Nemedia, Corinthia, and Ophir. Bel of the Zamorans from his time before and during The Tower of the Elephant. And Valhalla of the Nordheimers from his time with the Æsir during The Frost-Giant's Daughter:

"Some gods are strong to harm, others, to aid; at least so say their priests. Mitra of the Hyborians must be a strong god, because his people have builded their cities over the world. But even the Hyborians fear Set. And Bel, god of thieves, is a good god. When I was a thief in Zamora I learned of him." - Queen of the Black Coast

"I have known many gods. He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply. I seek not beyond death. It may be the blackness averred by the Nemedian skeptics, or Crom's realm of ice and cloud, or the snowy plains and vaulted halls of the Nordheimer's Valhalla. I know not, nor do I care." - Queen of the Black Coast

"He recoiled, recognizing the black lotus, whose juice was death, and whose scent brought dream-haunted slumber." - Queen of the Black Coast

He had encountered the dust of the black lotus before when Taurus of Nemedia uses it to kill the lions in Tower of the Elephant and recognizes it by its scent that he remembers.

"Wait until it vanishes entirely. To breathe it is death." -The Tower of the Elephant

"Taurus, what was that powder? It was made from the black lotus, whose blossoms wave in the lost jungles of Khitai, where only the yellow-skulled priests of Yun dwell. Those blossoms strike dead any who smell of them." -The Tower of the Elephant

"A sweetish cloying scent lingered in the atmosphere." -The Tower of the Elephant

"Conan suddenly realized that the air was impregnated with an alien and exotic scent. Something gently brushed his temple. He turned quickly. From a cluster of green, curiously leafed stalks, great black blossoms nodded at him." -Queen of the Black Coast

“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." -Queen of the Black Coast

From the Kushite coast inland through the jungle

Edited by Amra_the_Lion, 20 September 2011 - 04:19 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


#18 grim cimmerian

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Posted 11 December 2010 - 08:35 AM

Ah the horned helmet/red cape/mail armor debate. Obviously it couldn't possibly be the same gear mentioned in several Conan tales or could it?
Let's start with helmet: clearly Conan lost his helmet described in Frost Giant's Daughter when he was placed in captivity after the events of that story by the Hyperborians. (as mentioned by Howard.) No slave in captivity would retain their weapons or armor. So even if you disagree on Frost Giant's Daughter coming early in Conan's career he wouldn't have the helmet or mail mentioned in that story in any other later tale. Sorry expanded Miller timeline.

?Both were tall men, built like tigers. Their shields were gone, their corselets battered and dinted. Blood dried on their mail; their swords were stained red. Their horned helmets showed the marks of fierce strokes. One was beardless and black-maned.? ? The Frost-Giant?s Daughter
?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
He also probably lost all of his weapons and armor during captivity.

As Tito notes Conan has journeyed to many lands among them Nordheim in The Frost-Giant?s Daughter. It is unknown if he has returned to Nordheim after one of his trips home to his native Cimmeria or has purchased the blue-steel helmet with highly polished bull?s horns of apparent ?sir make in some other nation?s market that it may have traveled to from that distant northland. It is obviously clear it is not the same helmet he had in The Frost-Giant?s Daughter in the beginnings of his wanderings nor is it the same as a similar helmet he retains later in his career in Beyond the Black River.

Amra expertly shows that the mail and helmet are different in Black Colossus and Queen of the Black Coast. One has a Bassinet the other a shiny polished Horned Helmet, later he gets a vizored helmet with the plate-mail in BC. Then there is the Chain-mail vs. Ring-mail vs. Scale-mail vs. Plate-mail descriptions (very different types of armor.) Hmmm not the same armor or helmets here either.
sorry Dark Storm timeline.

Rippke wants to suppose that the chain-mail and scarlet cloak have been with Conan from Black Colossus through Queen of the Black Coast and into the next tale in Shumballa. Linking the three stories together chronologically based on apparel.
?He is well equipped in this story; a chain-mail hauberk, blue-steel greaves and basinet, and a scarlet cloak. He has better equipment in "Queen of the Black Coast", though. This also helps the case that this story precedes Queen.? ?The Dark Storm Chronology
?This is the final story in the saga of Conan?s chain mail and scarlet cloak.? ?The Dark Storm Chronology

In Black Colossus the hauberk is chain-mail. In Queen of the Black coast the hauberk is scale-mail. In BC there are polished blue steel greaves and basinet. In Queen there are burnished greaves and a blue steel helmet not described as a basinet but as a horned ?sir helmet. While in both BC and Queen Conan has chain-mail on his arms and legs in Queen it is mentioned as fine Nemedian ring-mail. The scarlet colored cloak is mentioned in both tales but in Queen it is mentioned as being gorgeous.


In Queen of the black Coast he has a highly polished horned helmet which he continues to wear in the Shumballa draft but not in the Tombalku draft following and it is a good long while something like 10 stories until we see a horned helmet again in Beyond the Black River with many stories describing Conan in between wearing no such helmet.

...and a helmet perched on his black mane. That helmet held the other's gaze; it was without a crest, but adorned by short bulls horns. No civilised hand ever forged that head-piece.
-Beyond the Black River


Clearly he burns his red cloak during Belit's funeral in Queen of the Black Coast so it HAS TO BE a different red cloak later on in Shumballa or any other story.

?He saw a tall powerfully built figure in a black scale-mail hauberk, burnished greaves and a blue-steel helmet from which jutted bull?s horns highly polished. From the mailed shoulders fell the scarlet cloak, blowing in the sea-wind. A broad shagreen belt with a golden buckle held the scabbard of the broadsword he bore. Under the horned helmet a square cut black mane contrasted with smoldering blue eyes.? -Queen of the Black Coast
?...Young in years he was hardened in warfare and wandering, and his sojourns in many lands were evident in his apparel. His horned helmet was such as was worn by the golden-haired aesir of Nordheim; his hauberk and greaves were of the finest workmanship of Koth; the fine ring-mail which sheathed his arms and legs was of Nemedia; the blade at his girdle was a great Aquilonian broadsword; and his gorgeous scarlet cloak could have been spun nowhere but in Ophir.? ?Queen of the Black Coast.
?But on the deck of the Tigress, on a pyre of broken benches, spear-shafts and leopardskins, lay the Queen of the Black Coast in her last sleep, wrapped in Conan?s scarlet cloak.? -Queen of the Black Coast
?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


So to sum up: different red cloaks, different Helmets, and Different armor. So there can be no chronological order of tales based on attire in the manner that several chronologies postulate.
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#19 THE KID

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Posted 12 December 2010 - 03:34 PM

Very impressive! :) You guys are the experts/scholars.
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#20 Taranaich

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Posted 13 December 2010 - 01:20 AM

Fantastic stuff, Amra! Can't wait to see how this progresses. B)

Let's start with helmet: clearly Conan lost his helmet described in Frost Giant's Daughter when he was placed in captivity after the events of that story by the Hyperborians. (as mentioned by Howard.) No slave in captivity would retain their weapons or armor. So even if you disagree on Frost Giant's Daughter coming early in Conan's career he wouldn't have the helmet or mail mentioned in that story in any other later tale. Sorry expanded Miller timeline.


I don't think that's necessarily the case: isn't it possible that "The Frost-Giant's Daughter" could've taken place shortly before "Queen of the Black Coast," and therefore long after the Hyperborean episode? Say, after Conan's adventures in the east, he takes a brief sojourn home to Cimmeria (Howard said Conan occassionally revisited his homeland); he goes north and joins up with the Aesir again. If there's a brief space between TFGD and QotBC, I could possibly see the helm at least being the same one.

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