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#1 RJMooreII

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:21 AM

I am wondering just how physically strong Howard's Conan is supposed to be, as a baseline for what it means to be 'one of the strongest men in the Hyborian age'.
One tends to hear that Conan is about as storng as a human being can be, but I always wonder 'what kind of human being'? If Cimmerians are that much hardier than the civilized men of their time, and the civilized men of their time seem pretty damn sturdy, then how would they compare to our humans (athletes, presumptively, since comparing the lowest common denominator is beside the point when dealing with Conan).

Is Conan's strength 'human' the same way that Captain America's freakish power is 'human', i.e. pulp 'human'? Has he done anything that one would suspect is just impossible for someone who isn't genetically engineered? I've read all of the Howard stories but I have to admit I haven't kept a running catalogue of his feats in my head.
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#2 Lunatic

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 12:52 AM

I think "barbarians" are supposedly stronger and fiercer in Hyboria because of the violent warriorsociety they live in and their lack of comfortabilities as opposed to civilized cityfolk. Socially, you can compare people who work hard and fight sometimes with someone who trains in a gym or an athlete. I think the trained athlete is stronger. But limited. Like wolves compared to domesticated dogs.


But you get the feel often in the Conan stories it is also a genetic thing, that he is some kind of missing link...closer to the apeman orgin that is. A chimpanzee is 3 times stronger than a human being without excerzising, so there you go...Perhaps Conan is R E Howards, most dangerous little monster? :)


These is my two theories.



#3 RJMooreII

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 01:24 AM

I think "barbarians" are supposedly stronger and fiercer in Hyboria because of the violent warriorsociety they live in and their lack of comfortabilities as opposed to civilized cityfolk. Socially, you can compare people who work hard and fight sometimes with someone who trains in a gym or an athlete. I think the trained athlete is stronger. But limited. Like wolves compared to domesticated dogs.


But you get the feel often in the Conan stories it is also a genetic thing, that he is some kind of missing link...closer to the apeman orgin that is. A chimpanzee is 3 times stronger than a human being without excerzising, so there you go...Perhaps Conan is R E Howards, most dangerous little monster? :)


These is my two theories.

At one point I believe I recall reading that, after the sinking of Atlantis, her heirs on the Hyborian continent 'reverted to apes'. This may refer to a stone-age lifestyle, but it also might imply some sort of selective devolution as seems to be implied in some parts of REH and HPL.
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#4 Ironhand

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 03:26 AM

All that REH says about Conan's conditioning is that Conan grew up as a "mountain man", climbing cliffs and running up and down hills, when he wasn't hunting or fighting.
"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

#5 RJMooreII

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 06:28 AM

All that REH says about Conan's conditioning is that Conan grew up as a "mountain man", climbing cliffs and running up and down hills, when he wasn't hunting or fighting.

I always got the impression that it was a mix of amazing Atlantian genetics and extremely hard physical exertion. I'm mainly wondering if that would be greater than what we consider to be the extremes of human physical strength today. By all accounts he was extremely burly, which makes most of his feats feasible for a well-trained man to pull off, but some of the things he does make me wonder if he might have one foot on Perseus' grave.
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#6 amster

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 02:31 PM

I am wondering just how physically strong Howard's Conan is supposed to be, as a baseline for what it means to be 'one of the strongest men in the Hyborian age'.
One tends to hear that Conan is about as storng as a human being can be, but I always wonder 'what kind of human being'? If Cimmerians are that much hardier than the civilized men of their time, and the civilized men of their time seem pretty damn sturdy, then how would they compare to our humans (athletes, presumptively, since comparing the lowest common denominator is beside the point when dealing with Conan).

Is Conan's strength 'human' the same way that Captain America's freakish power is 'human', i.e. pulp 'human'? Has he done anything that one would suspect is just impossible for someone who isn't genetically engineered? I've read all of the Howard stories but I have to admit I haven't kept a running catalogue of his feats in my head.


I would say that the Cimmerians are at least as physically strong as their barbarian neighbors, the Nordheim. The Cimmerians and Nordheim are unique in the Hyborian Age in that both races made the evolutionary leap from ape to human much more recently than the other races of the Hyborian Age, and still retain some of that apelike strength and agility. And how strong did Howard describe the Nordheim?

Oh, we were fighters! Let me speak of Niord. I am proud of him, the more when I consider the paltry crippled body of James Allison, the unstable mask I now wear. Niord was tall, with great shoulders, lean hips and mighty limbs. His muscles were long and swelling, denoting endurance and speed as well as strength. He could run all day without tiring, and he possessed a coordination that made his movements a blur of blinding speed. If I told you his full strength, you would brand me a liar. But there is no man on earth today strong enough to bend the bow Niord handled with ease. The longest arrow-flight on record is that of a Turkish archer who sent a shaft 482 yards. There was not a stripling in my tribe who could not have bettered that flight.


And Conan is exceptionally stong and agile even by those standards. It's a combination of genetics and enviornment, but he's certainly not genetically engineered, nor is his strength supernatural in any way. It's just a whim of circumstance.
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Money and muscle, that's what I want; to be able to do any damned thing I want and get away with it. Money won't do that altogether, because if a man is a weakling, all the money in the world won't enable him to soak an enemy himself; on the other hand, unless he has money he may not be able to get away with it.
--Robert E. Howard to Harold Preece, ca. June 1928--

#7 RJMooreII

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 02:44 PM

I would say that the Cimmerians are at least as physically strong as their barbarian neighbors, the Nordheim. The Cimmerians and Nordheim are unique in the Hyborian Age in that both races made the evolutionary leap from ape to human much more recently than the other races of the Hyborian Age, and still retain some of that apelike strength and agility. And how strong did Howard describe the Nordheim?

Oh, we were fighters! Let me speak of Niord. I am proud of him, the more when I consider the paltry crippled body of James Allison, the unstable mask I now wear. Niord was tall, with great shoulders, lean hips and mighty limbs. His muscles were long and swelling, denoting endurance and speed as well as strength. He could run all day without tiring, and he possessed a coordination that made his movements a blur of blinding speed. If I told you his full strength, you would brand me a liar. But there is no man on earth today strong enough to bend the bow Niord handled with ease. The longest arrow-flight on record is that of a Turkish archer who sent a shaft 482 yards. There was not a stripling in my tribe who could not have bettered that flight.


And Conan is exceptionally stong and agile even by those standards. It's a combination of genetics and enviornment, but he's certainly not genetically engineered, nor is his strength supernatural in any way. It's just a whim of circumstance.

Right. I certainly didn't think it's supernatural, but based on your description I think it is a wee-bit superhuman, at least in the combination of both stamina, power and adroitness; at least compared to modern humans.
"Never trust a wizard - even in death." - Grognak the Barbarian

#8 Dave the Rage

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 07:03 PM

Didnt Howard state in a letter to someone, our a story (cant recall, will look it up when I can) that he strangled a bull in the village in his teens? I think if you take it from Howard's notes and stories, he was not superior in any way to his own tribe. He was conditioned that way by the cold climate and enduring hardships of mountain life, but he had the added advantage of genetics over the centuries handed down to him from successful mating patterns from the Atlantean gene pool. If you take a wolf as he was described, you can see the genetics in play on the Alpha wolf, the best hunter and strongest jaw incorporated with the will, does make Conan the biggest baddas in the house. Though howard points out in many stories, that Conan's ability to read the situation like the tiger in the long grass, showed an increased sense of mental preparedness not found in the civilised folk, no matter how well trained and muscled they where. He strangled the head dude in Red Nails (X) with his bare hands, and that guy was as dense as steel, it took ages for him to do it, but his animal instinct held on and he realised it was a fight to the bitter end of who draws last breath....literally. So my own take would be based on Howard's writings that he was more conditioned by the harshness of his environs, but was givin a nice leg up the ladder from his long lost cousins as they were dispersed after the sinking of Atlantean civilisation.

Edited by Dave the Rage, 14 April 2012 - 07:05 PM.

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#9 Konorg

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 03:02 AM

I think "barbarians" are supposedly stronger and fiercer in Hyboria because of the violent warriorsociety they live in and their lack of comfortabilities as opposed to civilized cityfolk. Socially, you can compare people who work hard and fight sometimes with someone who trains in a gym or an athlete. I think the trained athlete is stronger. But limited. Like wolves compared to domesticated dogs.


But you get the feel often in the Conan stories it is also a genetic thing, that he is some kind of missing link...closer to the apeman orgin that is. when A chimpanzee is 3 times stronger than a human being without excerzising, so there you go...Perhaps Conan is R E Howards, most dangerous little monster? :)


These is my two theories.



when it comes to athletes,i'd have to say Power lifters and Olympic lifters tend to be the two strongest types,and i'd say Conan had the brute strength of a Powerlifter combined with the explosive strength of an Olympic lifter


The aveage civilized man is never fully alive;he is burdened with masses of atrophied tisse and useless matter.Life flickers feebily in him;his senses sre dull and torpid...In devloping his intellect he has sacrificed far more then he realizes."

#10 Ironhand

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 05:32 AM

IMHO, Conan was not superhumanly strong. But he combined the abilities of every Olympic Gold Medalist in their favorite sports. For instance, he was as strong as an Olympic weight lifter, as agile as an Olympic gymnast, as fast as an Olympic sprinter, as enduring as an Olympic marathon runner, as explosive as an Olympic shotputter, etc. Sounds impossible. But so was Conan.

Edited by Ironhand, 15 April 2012 - 05:33 AM.

"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

#11 RJMooreII

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 11:31 AM

IMHO, Conan was not superhumanly strong. But he combined the abilities of every Olympic Gold Medalist in their favorite sports. For instance, he was as strong as an Olympic weight lifter, as agile as an Olympic gymnast, as fast as an Olympic sprinter, as enduring as an Olympic marathon runner, as explosive as an Olympic shotputter, etc. Sounds impossible. But so was Conan.

I think once you combine those things you have a superhuman. That was always my argument about Captain America: even if there are a hand full of guys who can replicate his squat, his mile time, etc. the fact that he can do all of them is in itself a super power. I mean, if Perseus is a demigod, and if a great man can become an Elf (a kind of god) when he dies, then there's no real usage problem with calling Conan or Doc Savage a superhuman or a demigod.
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#12 Amra_the_Lion

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 03:34 PM

“…his thews had been steeled in boyhood on the sheer cliffs of his native hills.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“He came from a race of hillmen, accustomed to scaling forbidding crags, and he was a man of unusual strength and agility.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“He knew, if the others were too stupid to know, the steel-trap muscles and blinding quickness of men raised beyond civilization’s frontiers where life was a continual battle for existence, and he had no desire to loose the barbaric frenzy of the Cimmerian if it could be avoided.” –The God in the Bowl

“I think you never saw a man from the West before. 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 – like this!” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"A barbarian of barbarians, the vitality and endurance of the wild were his, granting him survival where civilized men would have perished." -Xuthal of the Dusk

“His mailed feet broke through the frozen crust; he sank deep in the drifts and forged through them by sheer strength.” – The Frost-Giant’s Daughter

“Arus saw a tall powerfully built youth, naked but for a loin-cloth, and sandals strapped high about his ankles. His skin burned brown as by the suns of the wastelands, and Arus glanced nervously at his broad shoulders, massive chest and heavy arms. A single look at the moody, broad-browed features told the watchman that the man was no Nemedian. From under a mop of unruly black hair smoldered a pair of dangerous blue eyes. A long sword hung in a leather scabbard at his girdle.” – The God in the Bowl

“A touch on his tunic sleeve made him turn his head, scowling at the interruption. He saw a tall, strongly made youth standing beside him. This person was as much out of place in that den as a gray wolf among mangy rats of the gutters. His cheap tunic could not conceal the hard, rangy lines of his powerful frame, the broad heavy shoulders, the massive chest, lean waist, and heavy arms. His skin was brown from outland suns, his eyes blue and smoldering; a shock of tousled black hair crowned his broad forehead. From his girdle hung a sword in a worn leather scabbard.”
-The Tower of the Elephant

“He had discarded his torn tunic, and walked through the night naked except for a loin-cloth and his high-strapped sandals. He moved with the supple ease of a great tiger, his steely muscles rippling under his brown skin.”
- The Tower of the Elephant

“This he slew by casting great blocks of stone upon it from an elevation, and then descending and hacking it to pieces with his sword.” - The Nestor Synopsis

“Even in the dim light of the dungeon, with his limbs loaded with chains, the primitive power of the man was evident. His mighty body and thick-muscled limbs combined the strength of a grizzly with the quickness of a panther. Under his tangled black man his blue eyes blazed with unquenchable savagery.” – Rogues in the House

“His mail could not conceal his hard lines of tigerish strength. Everything about him was tigerish, elemental, untamed.” –Black Colossus

“Naked but for a loin-cloth, the man was almost a giant in stature, and his muscles stood out in thick corded ridges on limbs and body, which the sun had long ago burned brown. The perspiration of agony beaded his face and his mighty breast, but from under the tangled black mane that fell over his low, broad forehead, his blue eyes blazed with an unquenchable fire. Blood oozed sluggishly for the lacerations in his hands and feet.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

“He looked smaller and meaner than ever in contrast to the giant Cimmerian with his black brows, broad breast, and powerful limbs.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“Conan towered above them, and no two of them could match his strength. They were hardy and robust, but his was the endurance and vitality of a wolf, his thews steeled and his nerves whetted by the hardness of life in the world’s wastelands. He was quick to laugh, quick and terrible in his wrath. He was a valiant trencherman, and strong drink was a passion and a weakness with him. Naïve as a child in many ways, unfamiliar with the sophistry of civilization, he was naturally intelligent, jealous of his rights, and dangerous as a hungry tiger. Young in years he was hardened in warfare and wandering, and his sojourns in many lands were evident in his apparel. His horned helmet was such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim; his hauberk and greaves were of the finest workmanship of Koth; the fine ring-mail which sheathed his arms and legs was of Nemedia; the blade at his girdle was a great Aquilonian broadsword; and his gorgeous scarlet cloak could have been spun nowhere but in Ophir.” –Queen of the Black Coast.

“The man in the boat was a picturesque figure. A crimson scarf was knotted about his head; his wide silk breeches, of flaming hue, were upheld by a broad sash which likewise supported a simitar in a shagreen scabbard. His gilt-worked leather boots suggested the horseman rather than the seaman, but he handled his boat with skill. Through his widely open white silk shirt showed his broad muscular breast, burned brown by the sun.
The muscles of his heavy bronze arms rippled as he pulled the oars with an almost feline ease of motion. A fierce vitality that was evident in each feature and motion set him apart from common men; yet his expression was neither savage nor somber, through the smoldering blue eyes hinted at ferocity easily wakened. This was Conan, who had wandered into the armed camps of the kozaks with no other possessions than his wits and sword, and who had carved his way to leadership among them."
- The Devil in Iron

“But when night fell, I broke away with my companion, a Cimmerian named Conan, a brute of a man, with the strength of a bull.” –The Tombalku Draft

“He came from a race of hillmen, accustomed to scaling forbidding crags, and he was a man of unusual strength and agility. His only garment was a pair of short red silk breeks, and his sandals were slung to his back, out of his way, as were his sword and dagger.
He was a powerfully built man, supple as a panther. His skin was brown, bronzed by the sun, his square-cut black mane confined by a silver band about his temples. His iron muscles, quick eye and sure foot served him well here, for it was a climb to test these qualities to the utmost.”
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

At least, she knew that there was something about him, some super-vitality or barbarism that set him apart from his wild mates.” – The Pool of the Black One

But he grinned as he braced his powerful legs, and swung on the wheel in sheer exuberance of muscular might.” – The Pool of the Black One

For all his massive, muscular build he moved with the supple certitude of a panther. He was naked except for a rag twisted about his loins, and his limbs were criss-crossed with scratches from briars, and caked with dried mud. A brown-crusted bandage was knotted about his thickly-muscled left arm. Under his matted black mane his face was drawn and gaunt, and his eyes burned like the eyes of a wounded panther. He limped slightly as he followed the dim path that led across the open space." - The Black Stranger

"Behind an ivory, gold-inlaid writing-table sat a man whose broad shoulders and sun-browned skin seemed out of place among those luxuriant surroundings. He seemed more a part of the sun and winds and high places of the outlands. His slightest movement spoke of steel-spring muscles knit to a keen brain with the co-ordination of a born fighting man. " –The Phoenix on the Sword

"It floated hazily, then leaped into startling clarity; a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. " - The Hour of the Dragon

"Then the blacks had lifted Conan, for so loaded with chains was he that he could not walk, and carried him from the chamber." - The Hour of the Dragon

If life is an illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. Queen of the Black Coast 1934 Robert E. Howard

 

Amra's The Chronicles of Conan The Cimmerian: Determining the chronological order of Howard's Conan Tales


#13 RJMooreII

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Posted 15 April 2012 - 04:48 PM

Great stuff, Amra_the_Lion; simply from the fact that he tends to split helmets nearly in half speaks of incredible strength, even with a good steel sword and a broad swing cleaving into metal is not something most people can do at all, much less like a threshing machine as Conan is wont to.
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#14 TheDarkslayer

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 09:30 PM

AWESOME! I gotta dig out my Conan books and start reading them all over again. It's a good think I have 3 copies of every story in paperback.

“…his thews had been steeled in boyhood on the sheer cliffs of his native hills.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“He came from a race of hillmen, accustomed to scaling forbidding crags, and he was a man of unusual strength and agility.” - The Servants of Bit-Yakin

“He knew, if the others were too stupid to know, the steel-trap muscles and blinding quickness of men raised beyond civilization’s frontiers where life was a continual battle for existence, and he had no desire to loose the barbaric frenzy of the Cimmerian if it could be avoided.” –The God in the Bowl

“I think you never saw a man from the West before. 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 – like this!” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

"A barbarian of barbarians, the vitality and endurance of the wild were his, granting him survival where civilized men would have perished." -Xuthal of the Dusk

“His mailed feet broke through the frozen crust; he sank deep in the drifts and forged through them by sheer strength.” – The Frost-Giant’s Daughter

“Arus saw a tall powerfully built youth, naked but for a loin-cloth, and sandals strapped high about his ankles. His skin burned brown as by the suns of the wastelands, and Arus glanced nervously at his broad shoulders, massive chest and heavy arms. A single look at the moody, broad-browed features told the watchman that the man was no Nemedian. From under a mop of unruly black hair smoldered a pair of dangerous blue eyes. A long sword hung in a leather scabbard at his girdle.” – The God in the Bowl

“A touch on his tunic sleeve made him turn his head, scowling at the interruption. He saw a tall, strongly made youth standing beside him. This person was as much out of place in that den as a gray wolf among mangy rats of the gutters. His cheap tunic could not conceal the hard, rangy lines of his powerful frame, the broad heavy shoulders, the massive chest, lean waist, and heavy arms. His skin was brown from outland suns, his eyes blue and smoldering; a shock of tousled black hair crowned his broad forehead. From his girdle hung a sword in a worn leather scabbard.”
-The Tower of the Elephant

“He had discarded his torn tunic, and walked through the night naked except for a loin-cloth and his high-strapped sandals. He moved with the supple ease of a great tiger, his steely muscles rippling under his brown skin.”
- The Tower of the Elephant

“This he slew by casting great blocks of stone upon it from an elevation, and then descending and hacking it to pieces with his sword.” - The Nestor Synopsis

“Even in the dim light of the dungeon, with his limbs loaded with chains, the primitive power of the man was evident. His mighty body and thick-muscled limbs combined the strength of a grizzly with the quickness of a panther. Under his tangled black man his blue eyes blazed with unquenchable savagery.” – Rogues in the House

“His mail could not conceal his hard lines of tigerish strength. Everything about him was tigerish, elemental, untamed.” –Black Colossus

“Naked but for a loin-cloth, the man was almost a giant in stature, and his muscles stood out in thick corded ridges on limbs and body, which the sun had long ago burned brown. The perspiration of agony beaded his face and his mighty breast, but from under the tangled black mane that fell over his low, broad forehead, his blue eyes blazed with an unquenchable fire. Blood oozed sluggishly for the lacerations in his hands and feet.” – A Witch Shall Be Born

“He looked smaller and meaner than ever in contrast to the giant Cimmerian with his black brows, broad breast, and powerful limbs.” – The Man-Eaters of Zamboula

“Conan towered above them, and no two of them could match his strength. They were hardy and robust, but his was the endurance and vitality of a wolf, his thews steeled and his nerves whetted by the hardness of life in the world’s wastelands. He was quick to laugh, quick and terrible in his wrath. He was a valiant trencherman, and strong drink was a passion and a weakness with him. Naïve as a child in many ways, unfamiliar with the sophistry of civilization, he was naturally intelligent, jealous of his rights, and dangerous as a hungry tiger. Young in years he was hardened in warfare and wandering, and his sojourns in many lands were evident in his apparel. His horned helmet was such as was worn by the golden-haired Æsir of Nordheim; his hauberk and greaves were of the finest workmanship of Koth; the fine ring-mail which sheathed his arms and legs was of Nemedia; the blade at his girdle was a great Aquilonian broadsword; and his gorgeous scarlet cloak could have been spun nowhere but in Ophir.” –Queen of the Black Coast.

“The man in the boat was a picturesque figure. A crimson scarf was knotted about his head; his wide silk breeches, of flaming hue, were upheld by a broad sash which likewise supported a simitar in a shagreen scabbard. His gilt-worked leather boots suggested the horseman rather than the seaman, but he handled his boat with skill. Through his widely open white silk shirt showed his broad muscular breast, burned brown by the sun.
The muscles of his heavy bronze arms rippled as he pulled the oars with an almost feline ease of motion. A fierce vitality that was evident in each feature and motion set him apart from common men; yet his expression was neither savage nor somber, through the smoldering blue eyes hinted at ferocity easily wakened. This was Conan, who had wandered into the armed camps of the kozaks with no other possessions than his wits and sword, and who had carved his way to leadership among them."
- The Devil in Iron

“But when night fell, I broke away with my companion, a Cimmerian named Conan, a brute of a man, with the strength of a bull.” –The Tombalku Draft

“He came from a race of hillmen, accustomed to scaling forbidding crags, and he was a man of unusual strength and agility. His only garment was a pair of short red silk breeks, and his sandals were slung to his back, out of his way, as were his sword and dagger.
He was a powerfully built man, supple as a panther. His skin was brown, bronzed by the sun, his square-cut black mane confined by a silver band about his temples. His iron muscles, quick eye and sure foot served him well here, for it was a climb to test these qualities to the utmost.”
- The Servants of Bit-Yakin

At least, she knew that there was something about him, some super-vitality or barbarism that set him apart from his wild mates.” – The Pool of the Black One

But he grinned as he braced his powerful legs, and swung on the wheel in sheer exuberance of muscular might.” – The Pool of the Black One

For all his massive, muscular build he moved with the supple certitude of a panther. He was naked except for a rag twisted about his loins, and his limbs were criss-crossed with scratches from briars, and caked with dried mud. A brown-crusted bandage was knotted about his thickly-muscled left arm. Under his matted black mane his face was drawn and gaunt, and his eyes burned like the eyes of a wounded panther. He limped slightly as he followed the dim path that led across the open space." - The Black Stranger

"Behind an ivory, gold-inlaid writing-table sat a man whose broad shoulders and sun-browned skin seemed out of place among those luxuriant surroundings. He seemed more a part of the sun and winds and high places of the outlands. His slightest movement spoke of steel-spring muscles knit to a keen brain with the co-ordination of a born fighting man. " –The Phoenix on the Sword

"It floated hazily, then leaped into startling clarity; a tall man, mightily shouldered and deep of chest, with a massive corded neck and heavily muscled limbs. " - The Hour of the Dragon

"Then the blacks had lifted Conan, for so loaded with chains was he that he could not walk, and carried him from the chamber." - The Hour of the Dragon


Craig Halloran
author of The Darkslayer

Check out my books and blog!

http://www.thedarkslayer.com

Favorite Conan Stories: The Black Stranger, Queen of the Black Coast ... (i'm going back and re-reading REH Conan) It's long over due.
Favorite Conan Artist: Ernie Chan

#15 guilalah

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 05:14 PM

'The Devil in Iron', Conan is on the floor with a 40 ft snake wrappped around him. We've been told that the snake is as thick around as Conan's thigh. With an extreme effort -- bear in mind, Conan's ribs are being crushed in on his vitals, and he's near blacking out -- Conan stand's up bearing the weight of the entire snake.

How much did the snake weigh?

I found a reference to this snake: ""The heaviest living snake is a Burmese Python (Python molurus bivittatus) weighing 182.76 kg (403 lb.) It is 21 years old, 8.23-m (27 ft) long, and has a girth of 71.12 cm (28 in) Known as "Baby", she lives at the Serpent Safari Park in Gurnee, Illinois, USA." http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/15816

Whether that actually is the world largest snake is not so important; but, if the stats are good, we could make a guess as to the weight of the snake Conan lifted.

The question is: how thick do we think Conan's thighs were?

#16 Kortoso

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Posted 29 May 2012 - 05:20 PM

Find a 40-foot snake and you'll have your answer I guess. :)

#17 guilalah

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 12:15 AM

Well, we need to consider thickness, too.

OK, so we have (claimed) a snake, 403 lb, 27 ft long, 28 inch circumference.

So, here's my estimate for Conan's 'thigh-wide' 'Devil in Iron'-snake, for Conan-thighs of 20" to 40".

20" -------> 305 lb
21" -------> 336 lb
22" -------> 369 lb
23" -------> 403 lb
24" -------> 439 lb
25" -------> 476 lb
26" -------> 515 lb
27" -------> 555 lb
28" -------> 597 lb
29" -------> 640 lb
30" -------> 685 lb
31" -------> 732 lb
32" -------> 780 lb
33" -------> 829 lb
34" -------> 880 lb
35" -------> 933 lb
36" -------> 987 lb
37" -------> 1043 lb
38" -------> 1100 lb
39" -------> 1158 lb
40" -------> 1218 lb

If I had to hazard a gues, I would suppose that Conan's thighs were in the 28"-32" range, though they may have been smaller or larger.

It seems fair to say that (while being crushed) Conan stood up, bearing the weight of atleast 500 lb of snake; a high end surmize would be about 900 lb.

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EDIT: If I had to guess in a 50 lb range, I'd guess the snake was 650-700 lb.

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EDIT: To be more specific, Conan was writhing on the steps to the throne; when he heaved up he lifted "almost the full weigh" of the snake.

Edited by guilalah, 30 May 2012 - 12:52 AM.


#18 Ironhand

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Posted 30 May 2012 - 03:27 AM

There may have been some dangling snake ends on the ground. ^_^
"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

#19 gungnir_1972

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 05:30 AM

Something like this https://sphotos.xx.f...236885085_n.jpg or this https://sphotos.xx.f...308562745_n.jpg


#20 Arg0naut

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Posted 31 May 2012 - 10:10 AM

As horrifying as those snakes are, and oh god they are terrifying... (I have fled from bittier snakes than that), I somehow feel that the serpent in Devil In Iron was much bigger than those. That must be because Conan is so built up in my mind that even a huge beast is paltry when it menaces our favourite barbarian.