Cimmeria book cover is sweet!

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Postby Old Bear » Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:42 am

Karasu wrote:
Old Bear wrote:I don't see the Cimmerians as PC treehuggers either. Whether or not they had women warleaders is open to debate, based as much on a lack of evidence, but throughout Conan's career I seem to recall his personal preference was for wine, women and song, not some half-baked eco-theory.
Well Conan is an atypical cimmerian, especially regarding this behavior, imo it fits(considering not just reh stories, but later books as well), except the tears part :)
and i can't wait for this book, looking forward to it for months :)
How do you come to the conclusion that Conan is an atypical Cimmerian? My recollection oif Howard's writing is that Conan is painted as being typical of his surly kind.
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Postby The King » Fri Oct 17, 2008 8:47 am

Old Bear wrote:How do you come to the conclusion that Conan is an atypical Cimmerian? My recollection oif Howard's writing is that Conan is painted as being typical of his surly kind.
Because he is the only Cimmerian living his life out of Cimmeria.
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Postby Da Boss » Fri Oct 17, 2008 9:14 am

I am quite happy with a female warrior leader especially in the Conan age - he quite likes powerful and atttractive women :wink: No harm in it for a good story.

I quite enjoyed the speech. There is always a bit of mythoology about "native" peoples being "guardians of the land" - IMHO some were better than others and often better than the later setlers but then some were just as guilty of over explotiation of land and animals as anyone else.

I read it as how the Cimerians saw themselves in comparsion to others - a bit like the 300 film is a Spartan telling (and embellishing) the story of the stand (with massive bias- entertaining and glorious to watch but not totally accurate) but in reality its much less likely to be so perfect..........cos they are human :wink:
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Postby flatscan » Fri Oct 17, 2008 2:23 pm

The King wrote: Because he is the only Cimmerian living his life out of Cimmeria.
Except in an RPG setting where Cimmerians are a PC race and can travel the world just like any other race. :P

And besides, if other Cimmerians weren't living their lives out of Cimmeria than that speech becomes even more ridiculous as how would they have any concept of what life in the cities is like?

I also agree that the speech doesn't fit with the concept of Cimmerians that Howard created, where Conan is the only example of a Cimmerian we have to compare to.
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Postby Old Bear » Fri Oct 17, 2008 4:19 pm

The King wrote:
Old Bear wrote:How do you come to the conclusion that Conan is an atypical Cimmerian? My recollection oif Howard's writing is that Conan is painted as being typical of his surly kind.
Because he is the only Cimmerian living his life out of Cimmeria.
So because of circumstance he is 'atypical'? :roll:

I would suggest, based solely on Howard's work, that he is archetypal. After all, as little more than a child he fits in well enough to fight at Venarium and be accepted as a warrior by his peers. Furthermore, in many of the stories Howard clearly implies in his descriptions that what you see with Conan is what one would expect to get with Cimmerians. That's certainly how I have always read it in any case.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Fri Oct 17, 2008 5:27 pm

Old Bear wrote: How do you come to the conclusion that Conan is an atypical Cimmerian? My recollection oif Howard's writing is that Conan is painted as being typical of his surly kind.
Howard did occasionally paint Conan as atypical. Here are two examples where Howard hints Conan is more like an Aesir in temperament than a Cimmerian.

From "Phoenix on the Sword": Conan speaks of the Nordheimir and Prospero says, "Then I think you are like them. You laugh greatly, drink deep and bellow good songs; though I never saw another Cimmerian who drank aught but water, or who ever laughed, or ever sang save to chant dismal dirges."

From an early draft of "Phoenix on the Sword": Conan talks about the depressing land of Cimmeria and its depressed people and exclaims "The ways of the Aesir were more to my liking." Then for a moment the "unreasoning melancholy of the Cimmerian fell like a shroud over his soul..." but Conan shakes himself loose of its paralyzing grip and decides "life was good and real and vibrant after all - not the dream of an idiot god."

I think everyone can agree that Conan is certainly an exceptional man - and an exceptional Cimmerian, which makes him atypical by default. I argue he is unique among Cimmerians and the rest of the Hyborian age peoples.
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Postby The King » Fri Oct 17, 2008 7:38 pm

Old Bear wrote:
The King wrote:
Old Bear wrote:How do you come to the conclusion that Conan is an atypical Cimmerian? My recollection oif Howard's writing is that Conan is painted as being typical of his surly kind.
Because he is the only Cimmerian living his life out of Cimmeria.
So because of circumstance he is 'atypical'? :roll:

I would suggest, based solely on Howard's work, that he is archetypal. After all, as little more than a child he fits in well enough to fight at Venarium and be accepted as a warrior by his peers. Furthermore, in many of the stories Howard clearly implies in his descriptions that what you see with Conan is what one would expect to get with Cimmerians. That's certainly how I have always read it in any case.
Physically, Conan looks like a Cimmerian but his mind is much different: his doesn't stay with his clan and he has a thirst for adventure and to discover the world that we don't see in others of his kind, then with time he also wants power and in the end becomes king of one of the mightiest kingdom. Do you think this is typical?

Incidentally he becomes king of a country which is quite agressive with its neighbors and his first great battle as a man was against the country he rules over.
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Postby Strom » Sat Oct 18, 2008 4:40 pm

I don't see an issue with the "use every animal part" comment strictly based on the harsh environment of Cimmeria. I could see Cimmerians not wanting to waste any resource based on how limited the available food sources would be in dark, gloomy Cimmeria. I don't think you can use the original stories to dispute the issue either as Howard never had Conan hunting or needing food or other resources provided by a kill.
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Postby LucaCherstich » Sun Oct 19, 2008 1:16 pm

My doubts started from the sentence "Waste is an insult to the Earth..." which really sounds a bit like Cimmerians as "hippy mother-earth worshippers".
And again: "...It brings tears to the eyes and heart to see the waste in the cities..." is this guy talking as a real grim Cimmerian warrior?
Maybe it's just me but I see Cimmerians more concerned with other issues.
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Postby The King » Sun Oct 19, 2008 3:26 pm

The best perhaps is to ask Loz what he meant when he wrote the regional sourcebook.
He is usually present on the Runequest forum but he sometimes appears there now that he writes for Conan RPG.
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Postby Old Bear » Sun Oct 19, 2008 6:36 pm

"Conan, what is best in life?"

"To crunch your muesli, never drive a chariot as it's bad for the environment, and to hear the repetitive nagging of old women."
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Postby Karasu » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:54 am

Well it could draw a strange picture for some the "way" he wrote it, guess it would be better if he just wrote something like they use everything they get and just disdain those which waste because it shows they don't live an life as harsh as the cimmerian one. When does Conan kill animals? just when he can't stay at his place and has to protect himself, the only time he actually has to kill something to survive he eats raw musk rats, i would bet he ate every eatable piece of them. Some aspects of conan are very cimmerian, his body, his honed senses and his code of honor, his superstition and maybe his cynic view of the world, but thats it, he doesn't want to live the ordinary harsh cimmerian life without much joy(tasty food,wine and many beautiful woman), he wants to get everything from life he can get, he doesn't care for his clan, he rides(in "the hyborian age" we learn, that cavalry doesn't work very well in cimmeria) he uses the bow(he had to learn this in the east) and later full plate armor and knows how to lead an army just to name some examples.
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Postby Old Bear » Mon Oct 20, 2008 3:37 pm

VincentDarlage wrote:
Old Bear wrote: How do you come to the conclusion that Conan is an atypical Cimmerian? My recollection oif Howard's writing is that Conan is painted as being typical of his surly kind.
Howard did occasionally paint Conan as atypical. Here are two examples where Howard hints Conan is more like an Aesir in temperament than a Cimmerian.

From "Phoenix on the Sword": Conan speaks of the Nordheimir and Prospero says, "Then I think you are like them. You laugh greatly, drink deep and bellow good songs; though I never saw another Cimmerian who drank aught but water, or who ever laughed, or ever sang save to chant dismal dirges."

From an early draft of "Phoenix on the Sword": Conan talks about the depressing land of Cimmeria and its depressed people and exclaims "The ways of the Aesir were more to my liking." Then for a moment the "unreasoning melancholy of the Cimmerian fell like a shroud over his soul..." but Conan shakes himself loose of its paralyzing grip and decides "life was good and real and vibrant after all - not the dream of an idiot god."

I think everyone can agree that Conan is certainly an exceptional man - and an exceptional Cimmerian, which makes him atypical by default. I argue he is unique among Cimmerians and the rest of the Hyborian age peoples.

Clearly Conan's courage and physicality are not those of your run of the mill Hyborian or barbarian, but I always took his slightly broader view of the world to have come from his experience travelling, rather than any inherent 'un-Cimmerianess'. Had he not been exposed to the outside world by a whim of fate is it likely he would have been quite so eclectic in his views?
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Postby LucaCherstich » Mon Oct 20, 2008 5:41 pm

. Some aspects of conan are very cimmerian, his body, his honed senses and his code of honor, his superstition and maybe his cynic view of the world
My concern was that the Cimmerian in that paragraph does not sound like "Cynic" Cimmerian but rather like an eco-hippy native american. [/quote]
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Postby The King » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:50 pm

Well, some can adapt the Cimmerians to their game according to their own liking. Nothing and noone will prevent you from integration the industrial revolution in Cimmeria (after all, Howard wrote the British are scions of the Cimmerians and it is well-known England was the first to developp the Industrial revolution) as well as the mass-comsumption market with the Aquilonians being forced to invade Cimmeria to play the garbage collectors.
However they can't use the forest for construction material there because the fuckin' Cimmerians use to pee on the trees and ore mines are also unusable because it is well-know Cimmerians use any holes for their dirty depravations.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Oct 20, 2008 8:58 pm

Old Bear wrote:Had he not been exposed to the outside world by a whim of fate is it likely he would have been quite so eclectic in his views?
That is a good argument. I believe (but could be mistaken, as I don't have the reference handy) that Howard said in a letter that Conan's well-travelled grandfather told tales which sparked Conan's interest in the outside world. However, I agree that just because Conan is not the stereotypical dour Cimmerian that makes him un-Cimmerian - just that he is not the stereotype to base Cimmerians on. But then again, how many people actually do conform to a stereotype?
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Postby Old Bear » Mon Oct 20, 2008 9:25 pm

The trouble with 'arguing' with you, Vincent, is that after about two posts I always end up agreeing with you. :lol:

I don't recall the letter about the grandfather but I've always considered your knowledge of the subject superior to mine so I'll happily take your word for it.

I guess all of this boils down to the fact that for over 30 years 'my' Cimmerian has been a pretty barbaric and bloodthirsty fellow, more akin to the Ancient Germans than Asterix's Gauls. Fewer druids and more barbaric sacrifices, although of course the real Gauls weren't opposed to burning the oddd chap here and there in the name of one god or another. I alweays rather hoped that the last Cimmerian to turn up before Venarium was sacrificed to the gods to bring victory, rather than carefully ensuring that the last acorn was put into the extremely healthy vegetable soup known to be cconsumed by all Cimmerians just prior to group therapy. :wink:
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Postby Strom » Mon Oct 20, 2008 10:39 pm

Vincent's memory is accurate as usual. He is remembering the letter from REH to P. Schuyler Miller, dated March 10, 1936:

Letter from R.E. Howard to P.S. Miller


Lock Box 313

Cross Plains, Texas

March 10, 1936


Dear Mr. Miller:


I feel indeed honored that you and Dr. Clark should be so interested in Conan as to work out an outline of his career and a map of his environs. Both are surprisingly accurate, considering the vagueness of the data you had to work with. I have the original map--that is the one I drew up when I first started writing about Conan-- around here somewhere and I'll see if I can't find it and let you have a look at it. It includes only tbe countries west of Vilayet and north of Kush. I've never attempted to map the southern and eastern kingdoms, though I have a fairly clear outline of their geography in my mind. However, in writing about them I feel a certain amount of license, since the inhabitants of the western Hyborian nations were about as ignorant concerning the peoples and countries of the south and east as the people of medieval Europe were ignorant of Africa and Asia. In writing about the western Hyborian nations I feel confined within the limits of known and inflexible boundaries and territories, but in fictionizing the rest of the world, I feel able to give my imagination freer play. That is, having adopted a certain conception of geography and ethnology, I feel compelled to abide by it, in the interests of consistency. My conception of the east and south is not so definite or so arbitrary.


Concerning Kush, however, it is one of the black kingdoms south of Stygia, the northern-most, in fact, and has given its name to the whole southern coast. Thus, when an Hyborian speaks of Kush, he is generally speaking of not the kingdom itself, one of many such kingdoms, but of the Black Coast in general. And he is likely to speak of any black man as a Kushite, whether he happens to be a Keshani, Darfari, Puntan, or Kushite proper. This is natural, since the Kushites were the first black men with whom the Hyborians came in contact--Barachan pirates trafficking with and raiding them.


As for Conan's eventual fate--frankly I can't predict it. In writing these yarns I've always felt less as creating them than as if I were simply chronicling his adventures as he told them to me. That's why they skip about so much, without following a regular order. The average adventurer, telling tales of a wild life at random, seldom follows any ordered plan, but narrates episodes widely separated by space and years, as they occur to him.


Your outline follows his career as I have visualized it pretty closely. The differences are minor. As you deduct, Conan was about seventeen when he was introduced to the public in "The Tower of the Elephant." While not fully matured, he was riper than the average civilized youth at that age. He was born on a battle field, during a fight between his tribe and a horde of raiding Vanir. The country claimed by and roved over by his clan lay in the northwest of Cimmerian, but Conan was of mixed blood, although a pure-bred Cimmerian. His grandfather was a member of a southern tribe who had fled from his own people because of a blood-feud and after long wanderings, eventually taken refuge with the people of the north. He had taken part in many raids into the Hyborian nations in his youth, before his flight, and perhaps it was the tales he told of those softer countries which roused in Conan, as a child, a desire to see them. There are many things concerning Conan's life of which I am not certain myself. I do not know, for instance, when he got his first sight of civilized people. It might have been at Vanarium, or he might have made a peaceable visit to some frontier town before that. At Vanarium he was already a formidable antagonist, though only fifteen. He stood six feet and weighed 180 pounds, though he lacked much of having his full growth.


There was the space of about a year between Vanarium and his entrance into the thief-city of Zamora. During this time he returned to the northern territories of his tribe, and made his first journey beyond the boundaries of Cimmeria. This, strange to say, was north instead of south. Why or how, I am not certain, but he spent some months among a tribe of the AEsir, fighting with the Vanir and the Hyperboreans, and developing a hate for the latter which lasted all his life and later affected his policies as king of Aquilonia. Captured by them, he escaped southward and came into Zamora in time to make his debut in print.


I am not sure that the adventure chronicled in "Rogues in the House" occurred in Zamora. The presence of opposing factions of politics would seem to indicate otherwise, since Zamora was an absolute despotism where differing political opinions were not tolerated. I am of the opinion that the city was one of the small city-states lying just west of Zamora, and into which Conan had wandered after leaving Zamora. Shortly after this he returned for a brief period to Cimmeria, and there were other returns to his native land from time to time. The chronological order of his adventures is about as you have worked it out, except that they covered a little more time. Conan was about forty when he seized the crown of Aquilonia, and was about forty-four or forty-five at the time of "The Hour of the Dragon." He had no male heir at that time, because he had never bothered to formaliy make some woman his queen, and the sons of concubines, of which he had a goodly number, were not recognized as heirs to the throne.


He was, I think, king of Aquilonia for many years, in a turbulent and unquiet reign, when the Hyborian civilization had reached its most magnificent high-tide, and every king had imperial ambitions. At first he fought on the defensive, but I am of the opinion that at last he was forced into wars of aggression as a matter of self-preservation. Whether he succeeded in conquering a world-wide empire, or perished in the attempt, I do not know.


He travelled widely, not only before his kingship, but after he was king. He travelled to Khitai and Hyrkania, and to the even less known regions north of the latter and south of the former. He even visited a nameless continent in the western hemisphere, and roamed among the islands adjacent to it. How much of this roaming will get into print, I cannot foretell with any accuracy. I was much interested in your remarks concerning findings on the Yamal Peninsula, the first time I had heard anything about that. Doubtless Conan had first-hand acquaintance with the people who evolved the culture described, or their ancestors, at least.


Hope you find "The Hyborian Age" interesting. I'm enclosing a copy of the original map. Yes, Napoli's done very well with Conan, though at times he seems to give him a sort of Latin cast of the countenance which isn't according to type, as I conceive it. However, that isn't enough to kick about.


Hope the enclosed data answers your questions satisfactorily; I'd be delighted to discuss any other phases you might wish, or go into more details about any point of Conan's career or Hyborian history or geography you might desire. Thanks again for your interest, and best wishes, for yourself and Dr. Clark.


Cordially,

Robert E. Howard


P.S. You didn't mention whether you wanted the map and chronology returned, so I'm taking the liberty of retaining them to show to some friends, if you want them back, please let me know.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:33 pm

Thanks, Strom!

Also, the comment about his being of mixed-blood (although pure Cimmerian on both sides) indicates at least a slight difference in REH's mind between Conan and most other Cimmerians, or else he wouldn't have phrased it that way - considering the importance Howard seemed to put into bloodlines, racial memories, and the like.
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Postby VincentDarlage » Mon Oct 20, 2008 11:40 pm

Old Bear wrote:I guess all of this boils down to the fact that for over 30 years 'my' Cimmerian has been a pretty barbaric and bloodthirsty fellow, more akin to the Ancient Germans than Asterix's Gauls. Fewer druids and more barbaric sacrifices, although of course the real Gauls weren't opposed to burning the oddd chap here and there in the name of one god or another. I alweays rather hoped that the last Cimmerian to turn up before Venarium was sacrificed to the gods to bring victory, rather than carefully ensuring that the last acorn was put into the extremely healthy vegetable soup known to be cconsumed by all Cimmerians just prior to group therapy. :wink:
I agree totally!

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