Actually the waters need to be "muddied" exactly as I described. That's what it takes to describe the Hyborian Age. It's one way to escape the oversimplification that results in the either/or argument that's been going on.
Quote by Ironhand
“Yes, that's going on in part of the Hyborian Age. Elsewhere we have Egypt, (Turko-) Persia, Bedouins, Cossacks, India, and the Middle Ages. All at the same time.”
Exactly, I wanted to drop the ancient near east in a little more ( always loved old Egypt ), but did not want to muddy the water more than it already has been.
I hope when you're referring to "oversimplification" and "either/or" arguments that you didn't have MY comments in mind. If so, THAT's quite a bit of "oversimplifying" and "either/or"ing on your part.
As I've stated for years (ever since I read the quote in the preceding post above in The Letters of Robert E. Howard
), the Hyborian Age world (the portion on REH's maps, anyway) can be grouped into TWO BROAD CATEGORIES
analogous with REH's stated historical interests/favorites: When "two at the same time"
is an option, you CAN'T have an "either/or" situation. Period.
First, the "Howardian Ancient Middle East
": That begins with the foundation of Sumer (which REH seems to have placed around 6500-6000BC) and ends with the fall of Babylon/foundation of the Persian Empire (and includes pre-satrapic Egypt).
That's a nice broad
swath of Middle Eastern history, encompassing about 4000yrs (according to REH, which is ALL that counts in this context). Hard to "oversimplify" FOUR MILLENIA, right?
We can see Robert E. Howard's interest in this period exhibited indubitably and concretely in yarns like:The Voice of El-LilThe House of ArabuTwo Against TyreThe Children of AsshurThe Noseless HorrorBlack Eons
(which should be more rightly known as "The Unassprechlichen Fragment", IMO)The Footfalls Within
(a masterful melding of "Howardian Middle Ages" and "Howardian Ancient Middle East"; the "Classical" era is basically ignored in the backstory)The Fire of Asshurbanipal
In contrast, tales by Robert E. Howard that specifically reference the "Classical" period can be counted on one hand, basically.
The other broad time period (and the one that takes up 75+% of REH's HA maps) is the "Howardian Middle Ages
". This would appear to extend from the Gothic sack of Rome (411AD) to sometime in the 1600s. That's 1200yrs, but still longer than the "Howardian Classical Period". Once barbarians were generally in charge in Europe, things got "medieval". Howard never refers to the Battle of Chalons or the Vandal sack of Rome as occurring in the "Roman" or "Classical" period.
According to Patrice Louinet, Robert E. Howard wrote that he considered the Solomon Kane yarns "medieval" and we know that The Black Stranger
was converted into a 17th century pirate yarn by REH. It would appear that Howard considered the dominance of firearms, along with other factors, as the cut-off point.
The number of REH tales that would fall within this category could fill several volumes. THOUSANDS of pages. There is nothing to indicate that REH set stories within this broad timespan "for the money". Talbot Mundy made PLENTY of money writing about Cleopatra and Caesar for Adventure magazine (a pulp that REH was never able to crack, though he DEARLY wanted to). I don't have the inclination to list all the REH yarns that fall into the "Howardian Middle Ages" category. It would take too long, frankly. However, check out this link:http://howardworks.c....htm#historical
Now, scroll down from that and include the "Agnes de Chastillon", "Cormac Fitzgeoffrey", "Cormac Mac Art", "Solomon Kane", "Terence Vulmea" and "Turlogh Dubh O'Brien" tales. Like I said, THOUSANDS of pages.
Many consider Cormac Fitzgeoffrey (Second Crusade) as a closer prototype for Conan the Cimmerian than Kull. Red Sonya from Shadow of the Vulture
(1529AD) was turned into Red Sonja™ and few seem to question her inclusion into the Hyborian Age. Where is the "Greco-Roman" Red Sonya? Basically, she couldn't exist. Terence Vulmea, 17th century Gaelic pirate, started out as Conan.
And now, to escape my headache,
I keep seeing these references to "headaches" when contemplating the Hyborian Age. I never found thinking about such things a "chore" of any kind, However, I hope that the breakdown into two large sections helps all those "Hyborian Age Headache" sufferers.
The main thing is that Robert E. Howard thought in a "bigger box" (no little categories like "Early High Dark Ages" for REH!) than most. He also tossed away the prevailing favorable prejudice of HIS era (and, it would seem, of our
era) for the Greco-Roman period. He saw the "Middle Ages" (411-1640?AD) as a brawling, partying, all-around bad-a$$ period, just as he portrayed the Hyborian Age..