Jump to content


Photo

The Hyborian Age, Ancient Or Medieval?


  • Please log in to reply
401 replies to this topic

#341 Lunatic

Lunatic

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 792 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:unknown..so unknown

Posted 10 March 2012 - 11:10 PM

I thought CtB82 and CtDestroyer looked medievaloid/ancientoid, or perhaps Dark Age in many places. Always liked how those movies looked. Much prefer the fantasyoid look compared to the historical look.

Ctb2012 somewhat ancientoid. But, the Acheronians perhaps should be ancient in the hyborian world.

Really looking forward to seeing Bilbo, right now.

#342 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:06 AM

No common origin is needed. After all, the faith of Mitra is not monotheistic, but henotheistic. Apparently, when a non-Mitraist sect follows questionable practices in Aquilonia (and probably elsewhere) it is considered heretic.


If the faith of Mitra is henotheistic (belief in one god while accepting the existence of other deities) why declare other cults heresy if they accept the existence of other gods? Why declare other cults heresy if they don’t belong to the same religious stream?

Trocero called the priestan heretic. Xaltotun called that same priest a “charlatan”. Was the cult of Assura a heresy and also a charlatanry (if this word even existis…)?

I don’t claim that the cult of Mitra is henotheistic (have to dig more for it), yet henotheism was present and even characteristic of Hellenism/Romanization in some places and periods of classical and late antiquity. Well there are older examples of henotheism… the cult of Aten/Aton in ancient Egypt.

Romans persecuted the Christians, but the background for the cult of Asura points to the Middle Ages (Orastes, a former priest who practices black magic, Zelata the witch, Hadrathus the heretical priest etc.).


The background of Black Colossus is medieval, crusader kingdoms to be more precise… with an oracle and a talking statue of Zeus/Mitra.

#343 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:09 AM

Fair enough. I apologize if I sounded harsh. But you seemed to make a strained effort to find echoes of the Roman empire, where there were barely any.


This isn’t about ”Roman Empire”. Zenobia or King Numa weren’t even Roman Emperors (Zenobia wasn’t even Roman). I don’t think Howard just invented these names. I don’t think he took these names from his readings about the middle ages.

Solomon Kane is not part of this continuum. And tossing a lot of imaginary civilizations in the Paleolithic does not make it an alternate history (it wouldn't be Paleolithic in that case). At best, it can be historical fantasy.


I think Solomon Kane is part of the same world. In Moon of Skulls Kane is in the last colony of the ancient Atlantean Empire. Those ancient Atlanteans worshiped Valka. This god is worshiped by Atlanteans in the Kull stories. I think these Atlanteans are the same people. So Kull, Conan, Bran Mak Morn and Solomon Kane are in the same world.

I call it Alternate History because it is an “Alternate Past”. It is not about a divergence somewhere in our past, but a convergence. I see the mythical past created by Tolkien also as an Alternate Pre History, a convergence to our own "world". The Howardian Picts became the real and historical Picts. The Howardian Nemedia became a memory that survived in real Irish miths, The Howardian Hyborian Age was followed by the real Ice Age. A convergence of the Alternate Past to the real past/present. Historical Fantasy is also correct in my opinion...

#344 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 13 March 2012 - 04:12 AM

Fair enough. I apologize if I sounded harsh. But you seemed to make a strained effort to find echoes of the Roman empire, where there were barely any.


This isn’t about ”Roman Empire”. Zenobia or King Numa weren’t even Roman Emperors (Zenobia wasn’t even Roman). So I don’t think Howard just invented these names, and I don’t think he took these names from his readings about the middle ages.

Solomon Kane is not part of this continuum. And tossing a lot of imaginary civilizations in the Paleolithic does not make it an alternate history (it wouldn't be Paleolithic in that case). At best, it can be historical fantasy.


I think Solomon Kane is part of the same world. (Spoiler Alert) In Moon of Skulls Kane is in the last colony of the ancient Atlantean Empire. Those ancient Atlanteans worshiped Valka. This god is worshiped by Atlanteans in the Kull stories. This is just one of the reasons I think these Atlanteans of Kane are the same people of Kull (and Conan). So Kull, Conan, Bran Mak Morn and Solomon Kane are in the same world.

I call it Alternate History because it is an “Alternate Past”. It is not about a divergence somewhere in our past, but a convergence. I see the mythical past created by Tolkien also as an Alternate Pre History, a convergence to our own "world".

The Howardian Picts became the real and historical Picts. The Howardian Nemedia became a memory that survived in real Irish miths, The Howardian Hyborian Age was followed by the real Ice Age. A convergence of the Alternate Past to the real past/present. Historical Fantasy is also correct in my opinion...

Edited by Pictish Scout, 13 March 2012 - 04:13 AM.


#345 Ironhand

Ironhand

    The Mad Playwright

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 8,630 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Saint Louis, MO, USA

Posted 13 March 2012 - 06:38 AM

The cult of Aten was a heresy within the Egyptian religion, and therefore provides an example of how a heresy could form within a henotheistic religion. It would be an assertion that the paramount god of the state religion was not really paramount.
"Did you deem yourself strong, because you were able to twist the heads off civilized folk, poor weaklings with muscles like rotten string? Hell! Break the neck of a wild Cimmerian bull before you call yourself strong. I did that, before I was a full-grown man...!" - Conan, in "Shadows in Zamboula", by Robert E. Howard
"... you speak of Venarium familiarly. Perhaps you were there?"
"I was," grunted [Conan]. "I was one of the horde that swarmed over the hills. I hadn't yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires." - "Beyond the Black River", by Robert E. Howard

Read my Conan screenplays at The Scrolls of Ironhand (in particular my transcription of THE FROST GIANT'S DAUGHTER in Act II of "The Snow Devil") at
http://www.scrollsof...d.us/index.html or at
http://www.delicious...ic=ConanProject

#346 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 13 March 2012 - 05:07 PM

The cult of Aten was a heresy within the Egyptian religion, and therefore provides an example of how a heresy could form within a henotheistic religion. It would be an assertion that the paramount god of the state religion was not really paramount.


Egypt had a lot of gods (and aspects of gods, and mixed gods and foreign gods and animal gods…) and cults who changed greatly in preeminence through the ages. Are all these seen as heresies?

The problem with the new cult of Aten and the old cult of Amun seems to be more about preeminence (of its clergy) and not about the truthfulness of belief. It seems Akhenaten was centralizing power getting rid of the old clergy, giving preeminence to another god (and clergy) over the others (Henotheism).

I am convinced that its effects didn’t reach the popular beliefs and stayed inside the royal circles. These changes weren’t new to the Egyptians and were repeated after that.

If we take as an example the history of the cult of Set (the Egyptian) we see a mythology that demonizes him as the usurper and evil god. But many times Set was seen as a (or the) major god and some other times as an evil god practically a “demon”.

This is not the same as medieval Norman kings worshiping Satan, Thor or embracing Gnosticism. We are talking about very different things here. In my opinion it is hard to trace parallels between these religious systems and the more familiar monotheistic religions.

Some kings favored Horus, others Set, others Ptah, others Re and Amun. Gods were created along the way, local deities became major “national” gods. Even Isis gained much more importance in the Hellenistic world.

I don’t see these changes (and “Atenism”) as heresy because there was no “deviation” from the main religion. There wasn’t a “main religion” in Ancient Egypt to begin with, but a lot of “flexibility” and complexity in Ancient Egypt religions.

If there was no unitary religion, no unitary dogma in my opinion there’s no reason to even think about “heresy”.

If the cult of Mitra faces the cult of Ibis, Set and Asura this is not a case of heresy but foreign religions and Paganism (since these cults worshiped different gods).

Edited by Pictish Scout, 13 March 2012 - 05:08 PM.


#347 constantine

constantine

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greece

Posted 13 March 2012 - 09:31 PM

This isn’t about ”Roman Empire”. Zenobia or King Numa weren’t even Roman Emperors (Zenobia wasn’t even Roman). I don’t think Howard just invented these names. I don’t think he took these names from his readings about the middle ages.

Pictish Scout


Zenobia is a Greek name and the woman was Roman, though not Italian. On the names much has already been told and Ironhand had made in the past an attractive suggestion about Shakespearean influence on Howard, apart from other considerations.

I think Solomon Kane is part of the same world. In Moon of Skulls Kane is in the last colony of the ancient Atlantean Empire. Those ancient Atlanteans worshiped Valka. This god is worshiped by Atlanteans in the Kull stories. I think these Atlanteans are the same people. So Kull, Conan, Bran Mak Morn and Solomon Kane are in the same world.

Pictish Scout


The barbarian Atlanteans of THA and Kull yarns/fragments have nothing to do with the Atlanteans described by their descendent in MoS. The one common thing they have is the god Valka, but the other gods mentioned in MoS do not appear in Kull yarns. Again, this claim of yours demonstrates that too much reliance on names may lead to faulted conclusions.

If the faith of Mitra is henotheistic (belief in one god while accepting the existence of other deities) why declare other cults heresy if they accept the existence of other gods? Why declare other cults heresy if they don’t belong to the same religious stream?

Trocero called the priestan heretic. Xaltotun called that same priest a “charlatan”. Was the cult of Assura a heresy and also a charlatanry (if this word even existis…)?

Pictish Scout


PS, you must understand that heresy doesn't have to belong in the ''same religious stream'' in Hyboria. Again, who told you that historically the dominant churches and their followers considered the heretics as branches of the ''mainstream'' Christianity? The ''Errores Gazariorum'' conflates the heresy of the Cathars with the perceived diabolism of witchcraft. Hardly a part of the ''same religious stream''. And there are many more examples.

In the Hyborian kingdoms the religion of Mitra is dominant. The faithful may recognize the existence of other gods, but not accord them an equal position with Mitra. Further, they do not wish these faiths expanding in the Mitra-worshipping lands. The non-Mitraist cults may be labeled heretic, especially if they are believed to be connected with the Stygian religion. Thus, Trocero called Hadrathus a heretic, because this is what he believed (i.e. what any Aquilonian would believe) and how he would term him. Period. And the term heresy HAS been used by historians to describe Atenism. In any case, Howard in his most medievalist tale was probably inspired from medieval examples.

Edited by constantine, 13 March 2012 - 09:46 PM.


#348 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:26 AM

On the names much has already been told and Ironhand had made in the past an attractive suggestion about Shakespearean influence on Howard, apart from other considerations.


So you say that every single name that sound “Classic” comes from other sources and not from any knowledge Howard possessed on the Classic Antiquity? I believe Howard knew very well who King Numa and Queen Zenobia were.

I think he chose to use these names consciously that he was borrowing it from the Classical Antiquity and more specifically from the history of the Roman Empire.

I’m not implying that Howard tried to trace a parallel between his characters and the historical ones. And I don’t fully disagree with the “suggestion about Shakespearean influence”, I think it makes sense. But I don’t see why he would need Shakespearean influence here with Zenobia and Numa.

In my opinion the “Classical Influence” isn’t predominant in the Hyborian Kingdoms. But I don’t think this influence is nonexistent. I agree that some of this “Classical Influence” comes indirectly from many sources: renaissance, Shakespeare and classical cultural aspects that survived and were characteristic of the middle ages. But I also believe some “Classical Influence” took a direct route.

The barbarian Atlanteans of THA and Kull yarns/fragments have nothing to do with the Atlanteans described by their descendent in MoS. The one common thing they have is the god Valka, but the other gods mentioned in MoS do not appear in Kull yarns. Again, this claim of yours demonstrates that too much reliance on names may lead to faulted conclusions.


There was a great discussion about it some time (years?) ago. Maybe we should get back to that thread.

#349 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 14 March 2012 - 02:35 AM

PS, you must understand that heresy doesn't have to belong in the ''same religious stream'' in Hyboria.


I don’t know that.

An encyclopedic definition of “Heresy” in religious (Christian) context would help us here. Also the context this word is used in tHotD. Or maybe REH definition of religious heresy.

Again, who told you that historically the dominant churches and their followers considered the heretics as branches of the ''mainstream'' Christianity? The ''Errores Gazariorum'' conflates the heresy of the Cathars with the perceived diabolism of witchcraft. Hardly a part of the ''same religious stream''. And there are many more examples.


When the first Christians started to use the word “heresy” it was to attack other Christians (namely Gnostics), not the pagans in the Roman Empire.

Are you implying that the Cathar Heresy was about diabolism and not about Christians diverging from the orthodoxy/main stream/Roman Catholic Church? Diabolism was the reason they were declared a heresy?

In any case, Howard in his most medievalist tale was probably inspired from medieval examples.


I am not sure it is his most medievalist tale but I do agree that there are a lot of medieval references there.

In the Hyborian kingdoms the religion of Mitra is dominant. The faithful may recognize the existence of other gods, but not accord them an equal position with Mitra. Further, they do not wish these faiths expanding in the Mitra-worshipping lands. The non-Mitraist cults may be labeled heretic, especially if they are believed to be connected with the Stygian religion


Set is a “demon” so I think it is natural his cult was banished. No need to get historical here.

King Conan is a “pagan” and I don’t remember any serious religious excuse to get rid of him.

Kalanthes (a Hyborian name?) seem to live in peace in Hanumar (in Nemedia?) even being a priest of Ibis. The same is not applicable to the cult o Asura in Aquilonia even when the cultists or the main priest are ethnically Hyborian.

To me the general population dislikes that cult because their ways are strange, secretive and they think it is associated with “demon” worship and cannibalism. Not because they are misinterpreting the "Mitraistic teachings".

If a cult from India reached medieval France and was embraced by some French people it wouldn’t be a case of “heresy” but “apostasy”. Even if a southern French noble called the cult leader a “heretic”.

If some French were reinterpreting the scriptures differently from the “main stream religion” AKA The Roman Catholic Church it would be called heresy. The end wouldn’t be much different for the apostate and the heretic though.

And the term heresy HAS been used by historians to describe Atenism


I know. Some did use the term, some didn't.

Edited by Pictish Scout, 14 March 2012 - 02:40 AM.


#350 constantine

constantine

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greece

Posted 15 March 2012 - 12:11 AM

If a cult from India reached medieval France and was embraced by some French people it wouldn’t be a case of “heresy” but “apostasy”. Even if a southern French noble called the cult leader a “heretic”.

If some French were reinterpreting the scriptures differently from the “main stream religion” AKA The Roman Catholic Church it would be called heresy. The end wouldn’t be much different for the apostate and the heretic though.

Pictish Scout


PS, I think you try too much to find an absolutely exact replication of the Middle Ages in the Hyborian kingdoms in order to accept certain elements in Howard's tales as medieval influences. But inspirations from this historical era don't have to correspond exactly with similar aspects of Hyboria. The great bell in Tarantia tolling the dirge of the king's death is an obvious medieval element, even if the bell itself was placed in the Citadel and not in a Mitraist temple.

The same case can be made for the heretical cult of Asura. It doesn't have to fit to medieval models in an absolute manner to be understood for what it is: another echo of the Middle Ages in REH's Hyboria. And I really don't think that Howard would have to make great inroads in Christian theology to use a term like heresy in his Conan yarns.

Quote

PS, you must understand that heresy doesn't have to belong in the ''same religious stream'' in Hyboria.

I don’t know that.

An encyclopedic definition of “Heresy” in religious (Christian) context would help us here. Also the context this word is used in tHotD. Or maybe REH definition of religious heresy.


You DO know that. When an Aquilonian noble, obviously aware of the cult of Asura being an alien religion, calls its archpriest a heretic, it is clear that the terminology in Howard's imaginary Hyboria can be used for such religious groups who are not just dissident branches of the Mitraist religion. Howard's own world. Period. If REH wanted to use another term, he would put another word in Trocero's quote.

Check the other sorcerous characters in THotD. Apart from Xaltotun (who is a class unto himself), we have a witch, a former priest of Mitra practicing black magic (both clearly medieval influences) and a priest of a banned faith who is labeled ''heretical''. Well, where would you place the inspiration for Hadrathus and his cult? And please don't tell me that Zelata and Orastes were inspired from Erictho and Anacharsis...

Are you implying that the Cathar Heresy was about diabolism and not about Christians diverging from the orthodoxy/main stream/Roman Catholic Church? Diabolism was the reason they were declared a heresy?

Pictish Scout


For many medieval Catholics the Cathars were involved in diabolism. And this is pretty much the accusation brought against the cult of Asura in Aquilonia.

Kalanthes (a Hyborian name?) seem to live in peace in Hanumar (in Nemedia?) even being a priest of Ibis. The same is not applicable to the cult o Asura in Aquilonia even when the cultists or the main priest are ethnically Hyborian.

Pictish Scout


Kalanthes is a Hyborian name (it sounds somewhat Greek, like Orastes, coming from Orestes). For the cult of Ibis I have already pointed in post #351 that its hostility to Set may explain its acceptance (sects of it could exist in Aquilonia as well). Similarly, in the Astreas' letter in AWsbB, there is a marked respect for the creed of Ishtar, but not equality with the religion of Mitra.

Still, if you wish to believe that there must be an influence of Classical Antiquity on Howard in this issue, despite all evidence to the contrary, you probably cannot be convinced otherwise.

#351 constantine

constantine

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greece

Posted 15 March 2012 - 01:36 AM

A point can be made on Shemitish nomenclature and some cultural aspects to show that they don't have to be exactly identical to historical Semitic ones. And unlike the Hyborians, the Shemites ''survived'' through their supposed descendants. This certainly affected Howard's name choices.

On place names: Akbitana, Shushan and Shumir were obviously inspired from Ecbatana, Susa (the biblical Shushan) and the land of Sumer, all non-Semitic. Of course, Shem represents the ancient Near East (except Egypt) and the Semitic influence is the most obvious.

On personal names: Gebal is a name of a city (Byblos), Khumbanigash is Elamitic, Bit Yakin is the name of a Chaldean tribe and Gilzan is a regional name (north of Assyria, if I recall it correctly). The Shupras fellow in BC had his name probably inspired from Shupria, another region/kingdom north of Mesopotamia, non-Semitic I think.

On culture: some details, basically in the Shemitic conduct of warfare, are not identical with those of the historical Semites. Civilized Shemitish armies may be composed entirely of cavalry. AFAIK, there is no similarity with actual Semitic forces. Also, they are known mostly as archers. That is certainly an eastern aspect but the armies of the ancient Near East were not exactly Mongols. Further, there is no mention of chariots, a standard element of ancient Semitic armies. They might be used by Shemitish royalty/nobility as in Koth, possibly an influence of Stygian culture, but that is speculation.

Despite these factors, Shem corresponds, more or less, with ancient Near East, especially the Semitic lands. There are numerous other details leading to this conclusion (and I haven't seen anyone disputing it). Of course, the Hyborian kingdoms present peculiarities of their own and are not exactly the same case.The point however is that explicit or generally obvious influences from the Middle Ages in the descriptions of the Hyborian kingdoms cannot be overridden or diminished, because of some non-medieval elements. In short, Hyboria doesn't have to be a perfect replica of medieval Europe, but the feel and imagery through Howard's works is clearly closer to the High and Late Middle Ages.

#352 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 18 March 2012 - 05:46 PM

“But inspirations from this historical era don't have to correspond exactly with similar aspects of Hyboria. The great bell in Tarantia tolling the dirge of the king's death is an obvious medieval element, even if the bell itself was placed in the Citadel and not in a Mitraist temple.”

“In short, Hyboria doesn't have to be a perfect replica of medieval Europe, but the feel and imagery through Howard's works is clearly closer to the High and Late Middle Ages.”


Agreed.

”The same case can be made for the heretical cult of Asura. It doesn't have to fit to medieval models in an absolute manner to be understood for what it is: another echo of the Middle Ages in REH's Hyboria. And I really don't think that Howard would have to make great inroads in Christian theology to use a term like heresy in his Conan yarns.”

“You DO know that. When an Aquilonian noble, obviously aware of the cult of Asura being an alien religion, calls its archpriest a heretic, it is clear that the terminology in Howard's imaginary Hyboria can be used for such religious groups who are not just dissident branches of the Mitraist religion. Howard's own world. Period. If REH wanted to use another term, he would put another word in Trocero's quote.”


If I am not mistaken the word heretic is used only once by Trocero and never by the narrator . Trocero is not lecturing Conan on religion; he is expressing his opinion trying to dissuade Conan on trusting Hadrathus and a “mad witch-woman”. The same way Albiona says “These folk eat human flesh!”. These quotes are very similar in context. Both nobles are tring to convince Conan of something using, not his knowledge on religion, but their opinions and preconceptions.

If we try to compare the cult of Asura with medieval heresy or early Christians we get something like:

Early Christians - Was another religion, accused of evil religious and social practices, and were persecuted.
Christian medieval heresy – Was another interpretation of the orthodoxy (a heresy), accused of evil religious and social practices, persecuted.
Cult of Asura – Was another religion, accused of evil religious and social practices, persecuted.

You mentioned all the medieval aspects in the background and I agree, but there’s something more that I don’t think is characteristic of the European medieval era; It seem to me that kings in Hyborian lands (at least Aquilonia and Nemedia) have authority over religion (all religions in their realms); Conan, being a polytheistic pagan, rules over devout followers of Mitra and openly helps (and accepts help from) the cult of Asura.

There’s no Pope authority over religion or kings, although there are high-priests of Mitra, an inner circle of clerics and an “official ban” of the cult of Asura (by whom?).

To me the religion-state relationship in the Hyborian kingdoms don’t seem to be exclusively inspired on the middle ages. The cult of Asura is just an example in my opinion.

The point however is that explicit or generally obvious influences from the Middle Ages in the descriptions of the Hyborian kingdoms cannot be overridden or diminished, because of some non-medieval elements.


And “some non-medieval elements ” cannot be overridden or diminished (or ignored) because of the explicit, obvious and major influences from the Middle Ages.

In your opinion which are the "non-medieval elements" in the Hyborian kingdoms?

Edited by Pictish Scout, 18 March 2012 - 05:48 PM.


#353 constantine

constantine

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greece

Posted 19 March 2012 - 08:05 AM

If I am not mistaken the word heretic is used only once by Trocero and never by the narrator . Trocero is not lecturing Conan on religion; he is expressing his opinion trying to dissuade Conan on trusting Hadrathus and a “mad witch-woman”. The same way Albiona says “These folk eat human flesh!”. These quotes are very similar in context. Both nobles are tring to convince Conan of something using, not his knowledge on religion, but their opinions and preconceptions.


PS, you are projecting your own ideas in a framework created by REH with a different approach. When Trocero terms the high priest of Asura a heretic, that means that in Aquilonia a faithful of Mitra perceives a certain alien cult as heretical. Period. It is irrelevant whether the rumors about it are true or what you perceive as heresy. The point is that Aquilonians would consider a religion believed to be connected with Stygian serpent-worship a heresy. Howard's creation. End of story. Quit arguing for the sake of arguing.

The religion of Mitra is mostly influenced by medieval Christianity, but it isn't a simple imitation (as I have pointed in the past). It has some of its own qualitative characteristics. Further, while the faithful of Mitra promote the creed of this ''universal god of the Hyborians'', they don't just target any other religion in their way. Thus, the cult of Ibis and for reasons mentioned in earlier post. Still, you bring in the early Christians, a subject beyond REH's interests, especially in this Conan yarn, where it is clear which faith is the counterpart of Christianity.

As for inspirations for Conan's collaboration with the cult of Asura, there are many. I mentioned Frederick II that you chose to ignore. I would add other alliances of Christians (including Crusaders) with Muslims, a fact not only known to Howard, but actually presented in some of his Crusade stories, for example ''The Lion of Tiberias''. Of course, there are certain differencies in some cases, but again the point is that the followers of the dominant faith may ally with non-believers.

And “some non-medieval elements ” cannot be overridden or diminished (or ignored) because of the explicit, obvious and major influences from the Middle Ages.

In your opinion which are the "non-medieval elements" in the Hyborian kingdoms?


In my earliest posts in this thread I actually supported the existence and role of non-medieval influences (including Classical ones) in the canon. I noted them again in #295. However, the problem that becomes apparent not only in this thread (as well as in others), but in the general presentation of the Hyborian kingdoms is that these non-medieval elements, plus other irrelevant details like the names, take precedence and the predominantly ''medievalesque'' character of Hyboria is dropped/transformed into a Classical one and not the other way around. Or some people simply ignore these medieval elements, because they prefer something entirely different. Check again Axerules' post #225.

#354 Pictish Scout

Pictish Scout

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 503 posts

Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:14 PM

When Trocero terms the high priest of Asura a heretic, that means that in Aquilonia a faithful of Mitra perceives a certain alien cult as heretical. Period.


That is your interpretation.

It is irrelevant whether the rumors about it are true or what you perceive as heresy.


I didn’t invent the word or its definition.

I mentioned Frederick II that you chose to ignore.


I mentioned my ignorance on that subject. It is quite different from “chose to ignore”.

The point is that Aquilonians would consider a religion believed to be connected with Stygian serpent-worship a heresy. Howard's creation. End of story. Quit arguing for the sake of arguing.


Sir, yes sir!

#355 PaulMc

PaulMc

    Sword of Crom

  • Moderators
  • 2,041 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vinland

Posted 19 March 2012 - 04:59 PM

I have not read every single post on this thread, but according to the search function, no one has mentioned Rusty Burke's introduction to The Bloody Crown of Conan.

I tend to agree with Rusty, that the Hyborian Age is everything. It is not just classical, ancient or medieval. Howard put everybody together on the same map. He played with different historical populaces and time periods. This is how he did his world-building, as opposed to Tolkien who built his world from a love of language and sagas. Howard built his world from a love of history.

It's the same technique Charles Sanders later used when creating the fantasy Africa of Imaro. And why Saunders got it right and so many Howard imitators got worldbuilding (or, in the case of pastiche, world reusing) wrong.

If you haven't read Rusty's intro, you can just go to Amazon and preview the book and read the opening of it.

I find this the most relevant part;

The character of Conan "stalked full grown out of oblivion and set me at work recording the saga of his adventures." These exploits took place in a world populated by Elizabethan pirates, Irish reavers, and Barbary corsairs; American frontiersmen and Cossack raiders; Egyptian sorcerers and followers of Roman mystery cults; medieval knights and Assyrian armies. All were given disguises,...


Personally, I find nothing to disagree with there.

The Bloody Crown of Conan Amazon link.

-- Paul McNamee

My Blog


#356 mario

mario

    Adventurer

  • Members
  • PipPipPip
  • 264 posts
  • Gender:Not Telling

Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:08 PM

I absolutely agree. I think just reading the opening 'disclaimer ' to the hyborian age essay, should have answered this question.though I am not fully convinced that REH despite his cross referencing , was a 'deliberate' world builder. I think maybe he was doing his own version of a mythos of sorts, and if that constitues world building, by mananan mac lir, i stand corrected.

#357 Kortoso

Kortoso

    -=Reiver of the Western Marches=-

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 10,400 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Northern California

Posted 19 March 2012 - 05:28 PM

It is, as they say, a floor wax AND a dessert topping. I always suspected as much. ;)

#358 PaulMc

PaulMc

    Sword of Crom

  • Moderators
  • 2,041 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Vinland

Posted 19 March 2012 - 06:09 PM

I am not fully convinced that REH despite his cross referencing , was a 'deliberate' world builder.


Yeah, I believe Howard's world building was organic. I don't think he sat down to create a whole world first, as so many authors today believe they are required to do.

Story was first for Howard. He'd put in what he'd need to support the current story.

I do think, though, that he was savvy enough that once he'd created a kingdom, he'd stick with it and not contradict himself later. (which is often a off-the-cuff-world-building issue, the polar opposite of thinking out every single aspect of the background world.) Eventually, the world emerged from all that.

Glen Cook never (or almost never) has the standard fantasy trope of a map. Sometimes I wish he would, but in an interview he stated he doesn't like maps, because they limit where the story can go. I'd hazard he has a similar 'world building' method as Howard did.

-- Paul McNamee

My Blog


#359 constantine

constantine

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greece

Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:02 PM

I tend to agree with Rusty, that the Hyborian Age is everything. It is not just classical, ancient or medieval. Howard put everybody together on the same map. He played with different historical populaces and time periods. This is how he did his world-building, as opposed to Tolkien who built his world from a love of language and sagas. Howard built his world from a love of history.

PaulMc


Nobody disagrees on that AFAIK. However, the debate for the most part (and despite the title of the thread) has not been about the Hyborian Age in general, but about the Hyborian kingdoms in particular. In fact, it is the downplaying of the medieval elements in Hyboria that limits the scope of REH's imaginary world. There are countless references in this thread that point to this tendency.

Yeah, I believe Howard's world building was organic. I don't think he sat down to create a whole world first, as so many authors today believe they are required to do.

Story was first for Howard. He'd put in what he'd need to support the current story.

I do think, though, that he was savvy enough that once he'd created a kingdom, he'd stick with it and not contradict himself later. (which is often a off-the-cuff-world-building issue, the polar opposite of thinking out every single aspect of the background world.) Eventually, the world emerged from all that.

PaulMc


It is highly probable that Howard's world-building was not spontaneous and complete from beginning. But he did contradict himself (a prominent example is the name, or lack of it, of the Aquilonian capital). IMHO that is a strong indication that the author, apart from selling his stories (an obvious concern), was interested in developing the imaginary world that served as a background for his yarns. Otherwise, such inconsistencies would not have appeared (like the city/region/kingdom where RitH takes place).

#360 constantine

constantine

    Mauler of Shadizar

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPip
  • 568 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Greece

Posted 19 March 2012 - 09:33 PM

Quote

When Trocero terms the high priest of Asura a heretic, that means that in Aquilonia a faithful of Mitra perceives a certain alien cult as heretical. Period.

That is your interpretation.

Pictish Scout


It is not my interpretation. The author put down a character who labeled as heretical the archpriest of a banned cult. What could be more simple than that? Of course, a character may be presented with views of his own, often faulty. But Trocero's quote actually reveals that the term and accusation of heresy exists in Aquilonia, even for an alien religion. And when the said Aquilonian follows a religion whose closest equivalent is (medieval) Christianity, how should one perceive the aforementioned outlawed cult? As one inspired from the early Christians? This was REH's interpretation, not mine.

I didn’t invent the word or its definition.

Pictish Scout


True. But you give another definition from the one used by REH.

Quote

I mentioned Frederick II that you chose to ignore.

I mentioned my ignorance on that subject. It is quite different from “chose to ignore”.

Pictish Scout


Actually, you chose to ignore it. You keep mentioning Conan's religious policies as aspects without anything equivalent in the Middle Ages, when it is clear that Howard could have been inspired by such examples from the medieval era.

No need for sarcasm PS. If these explanations are utterly unacceptable to you and you wish to find something Roman in the cult of Asura, we just have to disagree.