This thread somewhat conflates with the ''ancient vs medieval'' one. Again, the basis for a ''Roman'' Aquilonia is a set precedent by illustrations and pastiche stories more than actual descriptions by Howard. If Frazetta, Kelly and Marvel and others had left a large roster of medieval-like illustrations of Aquilonians many would be singing a different song today. Even if Howard could accept Romanised Aquilonians as non-imperialistic slavers (i.e.the Romans, in his view), he simply wasn't interested in depicting a Classical Roman society. And he didn't. Apart from few elements there is no Roman Aquilonia in his writings.
Not much I can add to the above, except....
I assume by "non-imperialistic slavers" you mean "a nation who did not seek new territory as general/ongoing policy AND did not practice slaving/enslavement as a pervasive/endemic element in its culture"? Your phrase encapsulates it pretty well, but it IS a complicated concept.
In conjunction with your "AquiRomian pastiches/art" comment above, I'd say that if
REH had completely done away with any "Greco-Romanesque" names, the perception of various authors/artists would've been quite different. As it was, that ONE facet seems to have dominated all subsequent perceptions. However, there are far more NON-"Romanesque" Aquilonian names than some seem to realize. A (perhaps not) complete list:
First, Conan had numerous supporters among the aristocracy as well. He, as king, ceased the imperialistic expansion of the kingdom and that is an indicator of Howard's own preferences.
In general, though there WERE instances (in his letters,especially) where REH wasn't totally averse to the concept of "empire".
Further,terms like ''empire'' and ''imperial'' are also stock-phrases for powerful monarchies, like the ''British empire'' or ''Alexander's empire'', where no emperor is involved.
Most pertinently, IMO, the term "empire" was applied (during Robert E. Howard's lifetime) to the Angevin/Plantagenet "Empire
". I'm not pulling this reference out of thin air.
We KNOW that Robert E. Howard read and admired Shakespeare's Henry V
. Beyond his reference to Falstaff
, there is also the Battle of Valkia and its aftermath.
In addition, you have REH's admiration for Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Doyle's novel, The White Company
. There is NO doubt that Robert E. Howard read this novel about the Hundred Years' War (all thanks to Patrice Louinet for bringing this to my attention). REH specifically mentions Samkin Aylward (a fairly "Conanic" protagonist) here: http://www.rehupa.co...elf_d.htm#Doyle
, Sir Arthur Conan (1859-1930).
Doyle's novel involves Edward the Black Prince. Robert E. Howard once wrote to HP Lovecraft that the Black Prince (and the Plantagenet armies) could've defeated the Mongols.
Of course, anyone can imagine what he wants. But some images do NOT come from REH's writings, including a Roman Aquilonia.