Some of the other guys earlier on in this thread shared some of my ancient/Dark Age views, but jumped ship at the first sign of a critique.
Quote by Constantine
" First, I was talking about Frazetta's illustration; Conan wears only a loincloth. Therefore, it was not based on REH's story. And viking helmets were still believed to have horns by some at REH's time. What does this have to do with the non-Howardian representations of his characters? Finally, unlike you, I am not an amateur historian (and with a little luck I might be able to teach in the future).
You know, I am not trying to kow-tow you into submission or anything. But if you do not actually care about other people's views as stated in their posts, what's the point of debating? "
Wow. I don’t know where that is coming from. The fact that I keep responding to your posts should give you some indication of my respect for your intellectual input. I have even made note of that on more than one occasion, and have also been in agreement with some of your views, in spite of the above. ( I find it a little irksome though when you act as a self styled representative and go on about me not giving due notice or attention to other posts, irrespective of my included quotes. If someone feels I have ignored them I am sure they can let me know themselves ).
I don’t pretend to know it all. I don't. In fact I am doing a little cursory research through some old books just to find out if the inclusion of horned helmets in TFGD was due to ignorance on REH’s part, or a bit of literary licence, well, there is magic in the work so why not.
I am happy that some of the posts are discussing the Ostrogothic and Visogothic Kings as I did find inspiration for Conan from that particular twilight Roman Empire and especially Dark Ages era. I was aware of Max the Thrax, but was not sure if he made the Barbarian ( probably depends on who are asking ).
Back to the basics. In my first post I did say something about a prehistoric base and lost civilisations. What I was thinking about was the first towns and cities just prior to the Nile settlements and Mesopotamia; Think of the honey combed city of Catal Huyuk with its dwelling houses, cult centres, simple temples and extensive trade in turkey 6000 to 7000 BC. For some reason I also think of the Pueblo settlements and fortresses of New Mexico and Arizona. Fast forward that to the ancient classical period ( already covered those points in my first post ),
“ Hey Bront, where are the Toga’s, baths and aqueducts. “ ( general made up quote not directed at anyone ) O.K. now this is where a misconception arose that I was pushing for a strong Greco-Roman material basis for the Hyborian nations when it was really a Greco-Roman mindset that I was studying here. Those particular classical elements where not included, it is like I will keep that out, not gritty enough and jump right into the Dark Ages. I did say ancient/near east/dark ages. That is the Hyborian nations base. With a back drop like that it would have been easy for REH to up the ante on the medieval from tale to tale or tone it down, hence the myth of the high or late medieval priority.
Some of the points about THOTD are pertinent to this debate and I found the information from Taranaich and Ironhand insightful, again I did say absolutes did not exist, and we also find slavery in the form of Zenobia.
What is this about the Greco Roman mindset ? First I will quote a passage from RITH.
“ He does not see us. ‘ answered the priest. ‘ We are looking into chamber above us. The door that Thak is guarding is the one at the head of these stairs. It is simply an arrangement of mirror.....Murilo realised that the priest must be centuries ahead of his generation, to perfect such an invention, but Conan put it down to witchcraft, and troubled his head no more about it. “
Nabonidus comes across almost like a Hellenic scientist or engineer, someone that might have made the Antikythera mechanism. Conan, ignorant of such things, hailing from the distant north, a little like the Greco-Roman ancient viewpoints concerning outlanders. Contrast REH’s soft, decadent rogue like civilised archetypes wit the straight forward stoic rustic outsider. I can quote Strabo and others, but you probably get my drift. REH’s barbarians waiting to move against the civilised and through new impetus pick up art and sophistication.
REH used this device. Cimmerians and Norheimer are a cross between prehistoric, iron age and Dark Age Europeans. In reality you had historical iron age Celts that where quite inventive, artistic and innovative with war chariots, mathematical sophistication in the Coligny Calendar, Gallic vallus harvesting machine that amazed the Romans and lasted until the 3rd Century AD – reinvented 1831. Hell, they probably built that device for Nabonidus. In REH’s time his views of the Iron Age Celts was based on Hellenic and Roman writers, as well as the more favourable Irish tales, Cu Chulainn. It is about contrasts and workable stereotypes. I mean, when I pick up REH I don’t want to be told that a Pict could have done a Picasso.
I will close with this classical map of the known world. Look at where Hyperborea is located. Look at the centre and notice that Africa does not extend very far south of the Egypt. Ancient maps of the northern , western and eastern barbarian lands circling the warm centre of the Mediterranean civilisation is very reminiscent of the Hyborian Age
Taranaich, I will do an expose on Conan and why it will never work as per film medium in one of the film threads at a later date. REH created a certain Puritan perfect for the silver screen ( really loved that Solomon Kane flick, hope a sequel is on its way ).
Note was made somewhere about me editing. Yeah, do it for typos, neat it up.
Edited by deuce, 13 February 2012 - 02:23 AM.