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Seafaring During The Thurian Age


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#1 deuce

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 12:24 PM

I've noticed that many posters posit the Pictish Isles (and other Thurian Age localities) as being FAR closer to the Thurian mainland than Robert E. Howard obviously intended. I have to wonder if this is due to preconceptions regarding the capabilities of mariners during the Thurian epoch.

When I was corresponding with Arvid Nelson, he voiced his concern that Lemurians and Picts "couldn't" sail from the Pacific to the western Thurian littoral.

It would appear that Homo Erectus was the first mariner, The Polynesian Islanders covered INCREDIBLE distances. Considering that the Picts and Lemurians had sub-tropical/temperate archipelagoes to sail through, they actually had it EASIER than Renaissance mariners.

There was one system being considered during the 1700s by the British Admiralty that involved the phases of the moon to determine longitude. What if such a system was augmented by "low magic" of some sort? I'd call such navigators "moon-gazers".

Howard's Hyborian Age is in a bit of a cultural/historical straitjacket. Nowhere NEAR what is presented by actual history, but one taken on by REH, nonetheless.

OTOH, many cultural/tech issues of the Thurian Age are wide open. I'd like to hear some ideas regarding Thurian Age seafaring. :)

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#2 Taranaich

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 01:43 PM

I don't understand: Howard said the Pictish Islands became the peaks of the "Nameless Continent," which would eventually become America. How can you place the islands closer to the Thurian continent when Howard was entirely explicit about that?


I wonder if the Picts used double-hulled canoes or catamarans.

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#3 theagenes

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Posted 20 November 2011 - 02:09 PM

If you buy the idea that REH was influenced by Scott-Elliot's maps for the Thurian Age, then you might have a large continental Atlantis with it's eastern side being the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and it's western edge being the eastern US seaboard/Appalachians. This would be in contrast to a later smaller "Poseidonis" insular Atlantis. If so then you have, from left to right, Lemuria/Mu (Pacific), Pictish Isles (Rocky Mts.), Atlantean continent, then proto-Eurasia/Thurian Continent, without a whole lot of open ocean between land masses (plus plenty of islands presumably, as well as Kaa-u in there somewhere). So long distance sea voyages in the Thurian Age shouldn't be a big deal even for the barbarian cultures. It would still be mostly island hopping and coast hugging.

Edited by theagenes, 20 November 2011 - 02:10 PM.

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#4 deuce

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 06:58 AM

I don't understand: Howard said the Pictish Islands became the peaks of the "Nameless Continent," which would eventually become America. How can you place the islands closer to the Thurian continent when Howard was entirely explicit about that?


While I think that geographical questions are better addressed on other threads, I totally agree that REH left little doubt as to where the Pictish Isles were situated. I just brought up the divergent views because I have read comments where the long distances were used as a justification for "squeezing" the various locales together.


I wonder if the Picts used double-hulled canoes or catamarans?


Cool! A nautical tech question. B) Honestly, I haven't come down on one side or the other. Arguments could be made either way.

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#5 deuce

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 07:13 AM

If you buy the idea that REH was influenced by Scott-Elliot's maps for the Thurian Age, then you might have a large continental Atlantis with it's eastern side being the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and it's western edge being the eastern US seaboard/Appalachians. This would be in contrast to a later smaller "Poseidonis" insular Atlantis. If so then you have, from left to right, Lemuria/Mu (Pacific), Pictish Isles (Rocky Mts.), Atlantean continent, then proto-Eurasia/Thurian Continent, without a whole lot of open ocean between land masses (plus plenty of islands presumably, as well as Kaa-u in there somewhere).


As I commented to Taranaich, I think the geographical issues (amongst those who've read the texts closely) are fairly settled. Those who read a couple yarns and then run with a "feeling" are where the problems start.

No, my main reason for starting this thread was to look at what REH wrote about the nautical technology of Kull's era, nail that down and also do some fun extrapolation (like catamarans). :) I've only been at sea three times. I'm hoping some saltier sea-dogs than myself can come up with cool insights/ideas.

So long distance sea voyages in the Thurian Age shouldn't be a big deal even for the barbarian cultures. It would still be mostly island hopping and coast hugging.


Exactly what I've been saying for years, T. B) REH's Thurian Age would appear to be custom-made for long-range voyaging.

On top of that, the Polynesians overwhelmingly demonstrated that even Neolithic peoples were/are capable of sailing thousands of miles across open ocean. In fact, one could argue that the Polynesians were the best "natural" mariners ever. I'd definitely put them up against any "Old World" mariners from, say, 1750.

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#6 deuce

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 08:41 AM

An excellent thread for discussing the geography of the Thurian Age:


http://www.conan.com...pic=1939&st=160

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#7 theagenes

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:15 PM


If you buy the idea that REH was influenced by Scott-Elliot's maps for the Thurian Age, then you might have a large continental Atlantis with it's eastern side being the Mid-Atlantic Ridge and it's western edge being the eastern US seaboard/Appalachians. This would be in contrast to a later smaller "Poseidonis" insular Atlantis. If so then you have, from left to right, Lemuria/Mu (Pacific), Pictish Isles (Rocky Mts.), Atlantean continent, then proto-Eurasia/Thurian Continent, without a whole lot of open ocean between land masses (plus plenty of islands presumably, as well as Kaa-u in there somewhere).


As I commented to Taranaich, I think the geographical issues (amongst those who've read the texts closely) are fairly settled. Those who read a couple yarns and then run with a "feeling" are where the problems start.

No, my main reason for starting this thread was to look at what REH wrote about the nautical technology of Kull's era, nail that down and also do some fun extrapolation (like catamarans). :) I've only been at sea three times. I'm hoping some saltier sea-dogs than myself can come up with cool insights/ideas.

So long distance sea voyages in the Thurian Age shouldn't be a big deal even for the barbarian cultures. It would still be mostly island hopping and coast hugging.


Exactly what I've been saying for years, T. B) REH's Thurian Age would appear to be custom-made for long-range voyaging.

On top of that, the Polynesians overwhelmingly demonstrated that even Neolithic peoples were/are capable of sailing thousands of miles across open ocean. In fact, one could argue that the Polynesians were the best "natural" mariners ever. I'd definitely put them up against any "Old World" mariners from, say, 1750.


Hi Deuce, Well, your first post was about how some people like Arvid Nelson were letting their ideas about the level of nautical technology among the Picts, et al. affect their views about Thurain Age geography and I was trying to reverse that line of reasoning. My point was that, because of the geography, you wouldn't have to have highly advanced nauctical technology or sophisticated ocean-going vessels. Even if you don't buy the Atlantean super-continent idea (and I'm not sure I do either---just throwing it out there as a possibility), Howard is pretty clear in MotS that the seas around the Pictish Isles were filled with islands. We know now that Polynesians made incredibly long voyages, but I'm not sure how much knowledge REH would have had about that in those pre-Thor Heydahl days. It doesn't really matter a great deal though since they would have never really had to cross large stretches of open ocean.

As for what he says specifically, in MotS, he mentions that the Lemurians had "fleets of canoes" and that the Picts/Nameless Tribe "made boats" to sail to Atlantis. Not a lot to go on, but you get the overall impression that he's talking about low-tech, island hopping technology like outrigger canoes and catamarans like Al suggests.

Now later, in EoA you have a sea battle between Lemurian pirates and the Valusian mentioned. The Valusians, who should obviously be more advanced, have "galleys" and "merchant ships." Gor-Na the Atlantean "harried the Valusian coast." So in EoA, you get the impression (and an impression is all that it is) that the barbarian races have more sophisticated ships than just canoes and the like, though not as sophistcated as the Valusians.

When I get more time, I'll go through the other Kull stories and see what other nautical references he makes.

Edited by theagenes, 21 November 2011 - 12:18 PM.

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#8 deuce

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 12:48 PM

Well, your first post was about how some people like Arvid Nelson were letting their ideas about the level of nautical technology among the Picts, et al. affect their views about Thurain Age geography and I was trying to reverse that line of reasoning. My point was that, because of the geography, you wouldn't have to have highly advanced nauctical technology or sophisticated ocean-going vessels.


Very cool of you to do so, Jeff. B) I was just trying to dissuade anyone else from posting about Thurian Age geography on THIS thread when the "Geography" thread is such an excellent (and languishing) venue.


Even if you don't buy the Atlantean super-continent idea (and I'm not sure I do either---just throwing it out there as a possibility), Howard is pretty clear in MotS that the seas around the Pictish Isles were filled with islands. We know now that Polynesians made incredibly long voyages, but I'm not sure how much knowledge REH would have had about that in those pre-Thor Heyerdahl days. It doesn't really matter a great deal though since they would have never really had to cross large stretches of open ocean.


I believe there was a book that Churchward and Spence both quoted/cited about the Pacific/Polynesians. As you say, it may be irrelevant.

As for what he says specifically, in MotS, he mentions that the Lemurians had "fleets of canoes" and that the Picts/Nameless Tribe "made boats" to sail to Atlantis. Not a lot to go on, but you get the overall impression that he's talking about low-tech, island hopping technology like outrigger canoes and catamarans like Al suggests.

Now later, in EoA you have a sea battle between Lemurian pirates and the Valusian mentioned. The Valusians, who should obviously be more advanced, have "galleys" and "merchant ships." Gor-Na the Atlantean "harried the Valusian coast." So in EoA, you get the impression (and an impression is all that it is) that the barbarian races have more sophisticated ships than just canoes and the like, though not as sophistcated as the Valusians.

When I get more time, I'll go through the other Kull stories and see what other nautical references he makes.


I am on record as doubting almost every word out of (BMM) Gonar's mouth. Not that he's always WRONG, just that he's rarely 100% right. He's serving up "lore" that dates back 100,000yrs, after all.

The Lemurians required "slaves" for their "galleys" (Lemurian "barbarism" is the topic of another thread). REH has Kull raiding the Lemurian Isles. Brule owned a "galley".

I'm thinking that Atlanteans sailed in "curraghs" of some sort (it fits right in with "wooden chains"). Lemurian "galleys" had some resemblance to Chinese junks and the Pictish galleys were catamarans constructed from antediluvian redwoods.

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#9 theagenes

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Posted 21 November 2011 - 04:19 PM

Hugh Brown's Riddle of the Pacific is the book you're thinking of I think.

Curragh-type craft would make sense for the Atlanteans. I definitely get the impression that the Lemurians are most advanced mariners of the "barbarian" races. Also, any Lemurian, Pict, or Atlantean pirates could be using captured vessels from Valusia or the other more civilized nations.
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#10 Taranaich

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Posted 22 November 2011 - 04:42 PM

Given REH's knowledge and admiration of Columba and Brendan ("the Navigator"), I would say it's a definitely possibility Howard could've had currachs in mind for the Atlanteans, or something like them.

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#11 deuce

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Posted 26 November 2011 - 11:47 PM

Hugh Brown's Riddle of the Pacific is the book you're thinking of I think.


I believe you're right.

I definitely get the impression that the Lemurians are most advanced mariners of the "barbarian" races. Also, any Lemurian, Pict, or Atlantean pirates could be using captured vessels from Valusia or the other more civilized nations.


Judging from The Curse of the Golden Skull and Marchers of Valhalla, I'd say that the Lemurians were at a VERY high level of "barbarism" (if true "barbarians" at all) during Kull's era. Lemuria's (general) tech/cultural level is probably best discussed here:

http://www.conan.com...ia&fromsearch=1

That said, I'm going with some sort of "Chinese junk/galley" hybrid for the Lemurians. Sure, there were probably several Thurian/Valusian galleys helmed by Lemurians, but I still think they had their own, native, slave-oared galleys.

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