Birth of the Gods: Bori

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
I'm intrigued by the sparse mentions of the primaeval-ancestor-turned-deity, Bori (via euhemerism, I assume).

Does anyone have more information on this pre-Conan personage? Canon references? Pastiche?

From the Marvel comics they provide this info: http://www.marvunapp.com/Appendix/greygod.htm although with the incorrect (?) spelling Borri. From this webpage it sounds like a version of a proto-Odin/Wotan, or perhaps proto-Tyr/Tiwaz, etc.

The belief that Odin and the other gods were once men is not a new idea. Such things are mentioned in Ynglinga Saga (1st saga of the collection Heimskringla, by S. Sturlason).

If any Conan-guru has any thoughts they would be much appreciated! :)
 

Strom

Mongoose
I've been intrigued by Bori as well and was going to create a post about him soon. Apparently he was some great chieftain and warrior right after the great cataclysm (if I remember right) It's funny because he is worshipped after the great cataclysm but then abandoned for the most part for Mitra "a more modern God". Gunderland and Hyperborea still worshipped him during the Hyborian Age. But then during Gorm's success in tearing down the Hyborian nations, Bori resurfaces as the God to be worshipped. I believe I have that right - I just thought it was unique that Bori survived the abandonment of the people who are named after him - Hy-Bori-an - for some false modern God like Mitra! Bori definitely had the last laugh - one could almost attach modern thoughts of false gods to the Hyborian downfall. Wish i had my books with me...I'm sure you guys will correct any inaccuracies I may of remembered wrong. As far as I know there isn't anything written about who he was other than the mention in The Hyborian Age. Great topic!
 

René

Mongoose
Darkhorse reprinted the old Marvel comics; in the 1st volume of the collection there is a story "The passing of the grey god", which is an adaptation of a real REH story featuring a dying Odin and triumphant Christians.
THe REH story is much better than the comic (which is more than silly if you want my opinion). Nonetheless the comic gives some info about Bori, if you like the idea of a "real" god in Hyboria.

The REH story is available in an out of print book called The Marchers of Valhalla (bought it cheap at abebooks).
 

The King

Cosmic Mongoose
René is right. Bori is considered the grim grey god.
He was an heroic leader of the Northern tribes at the time of the cataclysm when man regressed to the state of apes or savages.
He united them and became their ruler, fighting for territory (and survival) against a race of giant flesh-eating white apes . They progressively settled and learnt to work stone tools.
These people were called Hyborian in honour of this man who was deified for having rediscovered the state of mankind.

For more information I advise you to go to the Dale Rippke's website at http://www.dodgenet.com/~moonblossom

Hybori:---a tribe of unknown origin led into the Far North at the time of the Cataclysm by a legendary chief, Bori. Displacing the indigenous white apes of the region, they prospered in this unlikely environment. At first, the Hybori were nomads dwelling in horsehide tents. Then some unchronicled genius discovered how to dress stone, and the Hybori built mighty keeps surrounded by curtain walls. Since the keeps would have been useful for defense but damp, cold, and uncomfortable for everyday life, the bailey area probably contained residential buildings, stables, storehouses, and the like. Peasants, traders, and others dependent upon the protection of the castle probably lived in huts clustered outside the walls. Some 1500 years after Bori's time, the Hybori had achieved a fairly high culture. They were a sturdy people with tawny hair and gray eyes. As their population increased, they conquered and absorbed weaker tribes and eventually established the first Hyborian kingdom--Hyperborea the Elder. (At some later date this was destroyed by an invasion of the Æsir.) Hyborian tribes who resisted the lords of Hyperborea the Elder began a great southward movement that continued over hundreds of years. The horde probably migrated through the easy Skull Gate Pass. They encountered Picts scattered throughout the Border Kingdom lands and drove them westward. Then the Hyborians had a choice of marching eastward around the Great Salt Marsh into future Brythunia, or westward into Nemedia--which was then part of the empire of Acheron. We have presumed the latter for the main body of invaders, since scouts would have reported the tempting riches of the southern empire. Brythunia, a virtual wilderness, would keep until later. It is possible the decadent and unsuspecting cities of Acheronian Nemedia fell like sitting ducks before the barbarians, especially if--as we have presumed--the overextended army of Acheron was engaged in pacifying lands newly wrested from Old Stygia far to the south. We believe that both geography and known Hyborian history point to Nemedia as the first of the southern Hyborian kingdoms. Nemedia's wealth and its protected position relative to Acheronian Aquilonia would have permitted it to prosper as the western regions of the older realm decayed. A Hyborian power base in Nemedia would have been quite resistant to Acheronian thrusts. (Note that Nemedia was the only Hyborian kingdom not destroyed in the turbulent era following the Age of Conan.) According to the Saga, at least 2500 years were to pass before the Hyborians were secure in both Nemedia and Aquilonia. Cimmeria was too tough a nut to crack and so it was bypassed. Pictland was similarly given a miss. The conquest of the later Hyborian kingdoms to the south must have proceeded with deliberation as the Hyborian population continued to grow. Argos would have fallen easily, as would western Koth. Mountain-girt Ophir and Corinthia would have been more difficult to subdue. (The latter three had been briefly independent after the withdrawal of Acheronian forces.) The beleaguered army of Old Stygia probably stopped the Hyborian movement near the Koth-Shem frontier. In the centuries that followed, Shem grew from a no-man's-land nominally subject to Koth into a kingdom whose people combined Shemite and Hyborian genes. Border Kingdom barons, suffered to exist because it tended to discourage military adventures on the part of the new Hyperboreans into Nemedia. By Conan's time, the original tribe of the Hybori was thoroughly merged with other races. The purest strain of the original stock was to be found only in remote Gunderland.
 

Fernando

Mongoose
René said:
Darkhorse reprinted the old Marvel comics; in the 1st volume of the collection there is a story "The passing of the grey god", which is an adaptation of a real REH story featuring a dying Odin and triumphant Christians.
THe REH story is much better than the comic (which is more than silly if you want my opinion). Nonetheless the comic gives some info about Bori, if you like the idea of a "real" god in Hyboria.

The REH story is available in an out of print book called The Marchers of Valhalla (bought it cheap at abebooks).

The Howard's tale can also be found in http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601721h.html

Its original title is "The Cairn on the Headland".
 

Doc Martin

Mongoose
I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong but I don't remember 'Bori' being the conqueror of the Snow Apes in Howard's own writings - although it is not an unreasonable extrapolation of the source material.

As for Snorri Sturluson suggesting that the Norse gods were descendants of mortal people this may well be a later 'Christianisation' on his part so as to belittle pagan dieties. However, I have wondered if the chiefs of the Aesir and Vanir (in Howardian terms) might go on to become the gods of Norse myth. In particular, their lead god is Ymir who, in 'real' mythology is slain by Odin and his brothers to make the world - this could be a folk memory of leading Vanir and Aesir replacing the old religious order, perhaps even slaying Ymir as (according to one interpretation of 'The Frost Giant's Daughter') he, or his family, seem to be real and material beings. An epic campaign for gaming perhaps?

Thanks for listening.
 

Fernando

Mongoose
Doc Martin said:
I'm sure I'll be corrected if I'm wrong but I don't remember 'Bori' being the conqueror of the Snow Apes in Howard's own writings - although it is not an unreasonable extrapolation of the source material.

As for Snorri Sturluson suggesting that the Norse gods were descendants of mortal people this may well be a later 'Christianisation' on his part so as to belittle pagan dieties. However, I have wondered if the chiefs of the Aesir and Vanir (in Howardian terms) might go on to become the gods of Norse myth. In particular, their lead god is Ymir who, in 'real' mythology is slain by Odin and his brothers to make the world - this could be a folk memory of leading Vanir and Aesir replacing the old religious order, perhaps even slaying Ymir as (according to one interpretation of 'The Frost Giant's Daughter') he, or his family, seem to be real and material beings. An epic campaign for gaming perhaps?

Thanks for listening.

About Bori being or not the conqueror of the Snow Apes, I think this is an open question left by Howard. In "The Hyborian Age", REH said the following:

"These people are called Hyborians, or Hybori ; their god was Bori - some great chief, whom legend made even more ancient as the king who led them into the north, in the days of the great Cataclysm, which the tribes remember only in distorted folklore"
(...)
"There is one exception in their so far complete isolation from other races : a wanderer into the far North returned with the news that the supposedly deserted ice wastes were inhabited by an extensive tribe of apelike men, descended, he swore, from the beasts driven out of the more habitable land by the ancestors of the Hyborians".

So, I think that whatever interpretation - if Bori had or not lead the expulsion of the Snow Apes - is valid.

About Ymir and Odin, we just see alusion about this last - and his son, Thor - in "The Cair on the Headland" (and about Thor, in "The Dark Man" and "Gods of Bal-Sagoth" - all this three tales hapenned in the XI century A.D.). I believe that, in some epoch between Hyborian Age and Viking Age, Odin slew Ymir and took his place as main Norse god.
 

Fernando

Mongoose
Doc Martin said:
Good stuff Fernando, where have these stories been published?

"The Dark Man" was published in http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608071h.html

Its sequence "The Gods of Bal-Sagoth", in http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0608081h.html

And, at end, "The Cairn on the Headland", in http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601721h.html

The first and second tales have only invocations to Thor, done by the Vikings and by Athelstane the Saxon, but "The Cairn..." has a good talk between Odin and a mortal warrior.
 

Yogah of Yag

Mongoose
I don't know if it's wise to trust the stuff scanned in at Gutenberg AU, because I just got done with editing "The Hyborian Age" essay and found quite a few typos and one place where a sentence was missing/butchered!
:roll: For the love of Crom, mates, proofread! :shock: :D
 

Fernando

Mongoose
Yogah of Yag said:
I don't know if it's wise to trust the stuff scanned in at Gutenberg AU, because I just got done with editing "The Hyborian Age" essay and found quite a few typos and one place where a sentence was missing/butchered!
:roll: For the love of Crom, mates, proofread! :shock: :D

I agree with you about "The Hyborian Age" in Gutenberg - one of the greatest mistakes of that version was an wrong interpretation that says only 100 years passed between the beginning of Glacial Age and the latest cataclysm :shock: -, but in the net I just found two websites with free Howard's tales: Gutenberg and Wikipedia. Between them, I think the more trustful - or at least less wrong - is the Gutenberg. They say Wikipedia can be updated by whatever person that sign in there!!! :x

Anyhow, my mind is open for whatever opinion and critics, and of couse, for whatever suggestion about a more trustful site :? :D
 

Fernando

Mongoose
Strom said:
Here's an idea - buy the books and support the growth of Robert E. Howard publishing. Buy the Atlantean rulebook or any of the Kull or Conan Del Rey books:

http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/catalog/results.pperl?title=conan

http://www.randomhouse.com/delrey/catalog/results.pperl?title=Kull

'Nuff said.

Good idea!

Now that you told me of the Conan Del Rey Books, I'd like if you - or whatever fan who knows about the subject - answer me only a little doubt I got some hours ago. I have a Brazilian Portuguese version of the issue 1 of Conan Del Rey (yes, I am Brazilian!). In the Gutenberg's website, the tale "The Scarlet Citadel" has two parts about women's hairs: one about the Kothian ones, and other about the Brytunian ones. There, is told they both are "tousle-headed". But in the Conan Del Rey's translation to my language, is used an expression that means "cute-haired". What of them agree with the original Del Rey's book? :?

Don't worry. After an answer I won't trouble any of you with questions like this :D ; the only problem is that I spend a great time to translate the English texts to the language I speak :( .
 

Faraer

Mongoose
The gutenberg.net.au etext is accurate in those sentences, identical to the Wandering Star/Del Rey. "Tousled" means "picturesquely dishevelled" (messy-looking, not combed straight). "Cute-haired" is a very loose translation.

Roy Thomas's "The Twilight of the Grim Grey God" in Conan the Barbarian #3 is adapted from "The Grey God Passes", not "The Cairn on the Headland".
 

Fernando

Mongoose
Faraer said:
The gutenberg.net.au etext is accurate in those sentences, identical to the Wandering Star/Del Rey. "Tousled" means "picturesquely dishevelled" (messy-looking, not combed straight). "Cute-haired" is a very loose translation.

Roy Thomas's "The Twilight of the Grim Grey God" in Conan the Barbarian #3 is adapted from "The Grey God Passes", not "The Cairn on the Headland".

Thank you very much for the answer, Faraer :D !

But, aren't "The Grey..." and "The Cairn..." the same tale? :? Take a look in http://gutenberg.net.au/ebooks06/0601721h.html
 

Faraer

Mongoose
No, not the same story. "Cairn" is set in the present day, referring back to events told first-hand in "Grey God".
 

Fernando

Mongoose
Faraer said:
No, not the same story. "Cairn" is set in the present day, referring back to events told first-hand in "Grey God".

You're right, Faraer! I took a look in the net and saw two websites that make goods references to "The Grey God Passes". It's a Turlogh O'Brien's tale - the first of all, prior to "The Dark Man". It seems to be an excellent story. :) Unfotunately I didn't find the whole tale in the net. :(

Anyhow - now that I spoke about Turlogh -, the fragment "The Shadow of the Hun", whose events take place shortly after "The Gods of Bal-Sagoth", came yesterday in the site http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Shadow_of_the_Hun :D
 
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