Growing up Cimmerian

Posted: August 13, 2012 in Barbarian Philosophy

It’s time to get back to basics. Here are some quotes describing Conan and the barbaric world from which he came.

Conan: “In my country no starving man is denied food…”
-The Slithering Shadow

– This is an example of what others have called his “rough chivalry”. In truth, the poorest of tribal people are typically the most hospitable.

Conan does not consider the bow a manly weapon; had to learn its use in Hyrkania.
-Queen of the Black Coast

Conan remembering his childhood: “I saw myself in a pantherskin loin-clout, throwing my spear at the mountain beasts.”
-Hour of the Dragon

-Perhaps this is because Cimmerian barbarians consider it an unsportsmanlike way of gathering game. The spear would then be an honorable way of hunting, perhaps intending to honor the animal’s death in this way.

Conan of Cimmerian gods: “Their chief is Crom. He dwells on an great mountain. What use to call on him? Little he cares if men live or die. Better to be silent than to call his attention to you; he will send you dooms, not fortune! He is grim and loveless, but at birth he breathes power to strive and slay into a man’s soul. What else shall men ask of the gods?”
-Queen of the Black Coast

Conan on the afterlife: “There is no hope or hereafter in the cult of my people. In this world men struggle and suffer vainly, finding pleasure only in the bright madness of battle; dying, their souls enter a gray, misty realm of clouds and icy winds, to wander cheerlessly throughout eternity.”
-Queen of the Black Coast

Conan on the gods: “He who denies them is as blind as he who trusts them too deeply.”
-Queen of the Black Coast

“Wizards and sorcerers abounded in his barbaric mythology…”
-Hour of the Dragon

“It was his instinct, born of a thousand wilderness-bred ancestors, not to betray his position in his helplessness.”
-Hour of the Dragon

“In his youth he had felled hawks on the wing [by throwing stones].”
-Hour of the Dragon

“Steeps that balked these black people, horsemen and dwellers of plain and level forest, were not impossible for a man born in the rugged hills of Cimmeria.”
-Jewels of Gwahlur

Conan: “…some day a man will rise up and unite thirty or forty clans, just as was done among the Cimmerians, when the Gundermen tried to push northward, years ago. They tried to colonize the southern marches of Cimmeria: destroyed a few small clans, built a fort-town, Venarium..”
-Beyond the Black River

Balthus: “My uncle was at Venarium when the Cimmerians swarmed over the walls. He was one of the few who escaped the slaughter… The barbarians swept out of the hills in a ravening horde, without warning, and stormed Venarium with such fury none could stand before them. Men, women, and children were butchered…”
-Beyond the Black River

Conan: “I was one of the horde that swarmed over the walls. I hadn’t yet seen fifteen snows, but already my name was repeated about the council fires.”
-Beyond the Black River

Of Conan: “…he was no less a barbarian. He was concerned only with the naked fundamentals of life. The warm intimacies of small, kindly things, the sentiments and delicious trivialities that make up so much of civilized men’s lives were meaningless to him… Bloodshed and savagery were the natural elements of the life Conan knew; he could not, and would never, understand the little things that are so dear to civilized men and women.”
-Beyond the Black River

“He was a man,” said Conan. “I drink to his shade, and to the shade of his dog, who knew no fear.” He quaffed part of the wine, then emptied the rest upon the floor, with a curious heathen gesture, and smashed the goblet. “The heads of ten Picts shall die for his, and seven heads for the dog, who was a better warrior than many a man.” And the forester…knew that the barbaric oath would be kept.
-Beyond the Black River

“Barbarism is the natural state of mankind,” the forester said, still staring somberly at the Cimmerian. “Civilization is unnatural. It is a whim of circumstance. And barbarism must always ultimately triumph.”
-Beyond the Black River

Conan: “You had known otherwise, had you spent your youth on the northern frontiers of Cimmeria!” (ie, Is Conan from northern Cimmeria?)
-The Phoenix on the Sword

Conan: “By Badb, Morrigan, Macha and Nemain!”
– The Phoenix on the Sword

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