Hyboria is a fictional supercontinent created by Robert E. Howard which first appeared in "The Phoenix on the Sword", the first of his Conan the Barbarian stories which was published in 1932 in Weird Tales. It is the setting for the his Conan the Barbarian stories. It likewise starred in the Conan the Barbarian line of comics published by Marvel Comics. In both Marvel Comics and the Conan: Adventures in an Age Undreamed Of roleplaying game of Modiphius Entertainment, the Mythos is involved in its history.
Circa 20,000 BC, a great cataclysm devastated the world. Atlantis and Lemuria sunk beneath the waves. Parts of the Thurian supercontinent sunk or vanished under the waves, forming great inland seas and lakes. The Pictish islands were thrust up forming the mountains of a new continent. Cities were toppled and nations wiped out by earthquakes, volcanoes, and flooding.
On the Thurian coast was an Atlantean colony to which surviving Atlantean refugees fled to in their ships. A great colony of Picts had survived untouched on Valusia's south. Many Lemurians made it to the eastern Thurian shores only to be enslaved by the non-Thurian empire and kept in servitude for 1000s of years. In the west, the remnant kingdoms of the Picts and Atlanteans waged war against each other and within 500 years reverted back to barbarism. To the southeast, a remnant of a non-Valusian civilization, survived as Zhemri. Further to the south, the lands are still dominated by pre-human races. A lesser cataclysm soon followed which completed the ruin of the barbarians and created a great inland sea dividing the west and east of the continent.
In the west, the descendants of the Picts and Atlanteans have been reduced to a primitive stone age state. In the east, the descendants of the Lemurians have risen up and overthrown their masters, and like savages they stalked the ruins of a strange civilization. The former masters fled westward, where they would establish two mighty empires. In the lands along the river Styx, they overthrew a pre-human race, and established the kingdom of Stygia. To the north of Stygia, they established the empire of Acheron. The empire of Acheron would become the greatest power in the western world, a kingdom ruled by dark sorcerers. Further north a barbarian tribe was rising to primacy, the warlike tawny-haired fair-skinned Hybori which slowly treks southward. 1,500 years after the lesser cataclysm, the Hyborians tribes have conquered or destroyed weaker tribes to the south and west of them. To the north, the first Hyborian civilization has emerged, the kingdom of Hyperborea. The Hyborian barbarians would end up coming under the yoke of the empire of Acheron, and would eventually rise up against their overlords and overthrow Acheron.
To the west of the Hyborians, the ape-like Atlanteans are beginning their long climb up from savagery. The Picts neither progressed nor retrogressed, as they remained savages. Far to the south lies the mysterious ancient kingdom of Stygia. On their eastern shores were nomadic clans, known as the Sons of Shem. To the southeast of the Hyborians the ancient people of Zhemir have rebuilt their civilization, establishing the kingdom of Zamora. To the southwest the kingdom of Zingara will emerge from the mixing of various peoples, the original natives, their Pictish conqueror, and the Hyborian conquerors of the Picts. Far to the east, the Lemurians are building their own civilization on the wreckage of the one they destroyed, the civilization of Khitai.
500 years later, the kingdoms of the Hyborian Age were clearly established in the lands that used to make up the empire of Acheron. Dominating the western world were the Hyborian kingdoms, consisting of Aquilonia, Brythunia, Nemedia, Koth, Argos, Hyperborea, Corinthia, Ophir, and the Border Kingdom. To the southwest is Zingara and to the east is Zamora. In the distant south is Stygia, untouched by barbarian invasions. They've lost their suzerainty over the Shem, who are now dominated by Koth. Who drove the Stygians south of the great river Styx. To the north of Aquilonia are the ferocious barbarian descendants of Atlantis, the Cimmerians who are progressing ahead of their ancient enemies, the Picts who live in the wilderness to the west of Aquilonia.
Within 500 years, the Hyborians have a virile civilization, with the kingdom of Aquilonia as its greatest realm though it's challenged by Hyborian kingdoms. To the north, blue-eyed golden-haired barbarians have driven out the remaining Hyborians, till only Hyperborea remained. Their land became known as Nordheim, and they were divided into the yellow-haired Aesir and the red-haired Vanir. From the east, a group of Lemurians enter history as the Hyrkanians. On the southwestern shores of the inland Vilayet Sea, they established the kingdom of Turan. Later on, other horse-riding Hyrkanian clans push westerward towards the northern extremity of the sea, establishing themselves on the steppes. The kingdom of Iranistan lay southeast of Turan. Further east of Iranistan was Vendhya, a kingdom made of up castes ruled by a warrior caste. In the far east of the continent was the ancient and mysterious empire of Khitai, the largest kingdom on the continent. Defended by a great wall that ran long its western border. Eternally at war with the tropical kingdom of Kambuja to the south.
By now, the Hyborians are no longer uniformly grey-eyed and twany-haired, but have mixed with other races. In Nordheim the people have blue eyes, yellow or red hair, and light skin. The Picts are still very dark and short, with black hair and eyes. The Cimmerians have blue or grey eyes and dark hair, and are tall and powerful. Between the Pictish wilderness and Aquilonia are the Bossonisan Marches, the mixed descendants of the natives and Hyborians. The Shemites have dark eyes, hawk noses, and blue-black beards. Stygia's ruling classes are tall men who are straight-featured and dusky, and the down-trodden lower classes are a mix of Stygian, Hyborian, Shemitish, and black blood.
To the south of Stygia are the black kingdoms of the Atlaians, the Kushites, and the Amazons, and the hybrid empire of Zembabwei. To the east of Stygia are the Turanians, who are dark, tall, and slender with hooked noses. North and east of Turan, are the Hyrkanians some who are like the Turanians and others who are short with monolid shaped eyes. The people of Iranistan are short with blue or brown eyes, light brown skin, and steely-blue hair. Vendhyans are a people with dark hair and light brown skin. The Khitans are yellow-skinned with black hair and monolid shaped eyes.
The Fall of the Aquilonian Empire
500 years after the era of Conan, the Hyborian world was engulfed in flame and slaughter. From a misguided priest of Mithra, a wise and cunning Pictish chieftan learned much. From them Grom's tribe learned to mine and forge iron weapons, and soon afterward Grom established his tribes primacy over the rest of the Picts. Meanwhile to the east, the Aquilonian Empire (which had been turned into the greatest power in the history of the Hyborians, centuries earlier by their king Conan, was overextending itself in wars of expansion to the south and east. Pictish warriors who served as mercenaries in its armies returned home to teach their people, the ways of civilized warfare. Grom established himself as Chief of Chiefs of the Picts.
The strong but arrogant Aquilonians treated their subject peoples and allies with contempt, resulting in rebellions that they were forced to crush. Nemedia to the east never submitted to them so a great Aquilonian army marched to subjugate them. While this was happening the Pictish invasion of the Bossonian Marches was going on, and up on hearing of the atrocities happening in their homeland, Bossonian mercenaries deserted the Aquilonian army in droves. They marched back home and defeated the Pictish invaders. Their desertion resulted in the defeat of the Aquilonians at the hands of the Nemedians, and the Aquilonians took out their wrath on the unsuspecting Bossonians. Massacring their chiefs and ravaging the land.
In the aftermath, Gorm led a full scale Pictish invasion along the Bossonian borders, and no one was there to stop them this time. They swarmed into Aquilonia before its legions were able to return from the east. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Zingara overthrew the Aquilonian yoke, after which Shem and Corinthia did the same. The kingdoms of Shem conquered Koth and invaded Stygia but were defeated. Entire units of Aquilonian vassals and mercenaries rose in mutiny and marched back home, burning and looting along the way. Meanwhile, the Picts continued their advance eastward. During the chaos, the Cimmerian barbarians surged from the north into the Aquilonian empire.
The End of the Hyborian Age
After the fall of the Aquilonian Empire, from the east came the Hyrkanian hordes. It was a dual-thrust offensive, one from the ancient Turanian kingdom and another more savage one further north. One chief leading the armies of Turan and Hyrkania. With the disappearance of the Aquilonian legions, none were strong enought to oppose them and the Hyrkanians were invincible. They swept over Zamora, Corinthia, Hyberborea, and Brythunia. Then into Cimmeria where they drove the Cimmerians back until they reached the hills, where their cavalry was not as effective and were assaulted by the Cimmerians, resulting in a disorderly retreat. Meanwhile the Picts had made themselves overlords of Aquilonia and nearly massacred all of its inhabitants. Likely it was only the ferocious Pictish thrusts which prevented Stygia from falling to the expanding empire of the Hyrkanians. Nemedia which had never been conquered now reeled from both the west an east, and was forced to employee a wandering tribe of Aesir as mercenaries. Whose leader Hialmar slayed the elderly Gorm.
For a short age, the Hyrkanians and Picts threatened each other over the ruins of the former Hyborian kingdoms. The beginning of an ice age changed all of that, as it drove nordic tribes southward who in turn drove their kindred clans further southward. Pressed by the Nordic migration, the Cimmerians went on the march. They destroyed Gunderland, hacked their way through the Pictish hosts, defeated the Nordic-Nemedians, and sacked various cities. They marched on eastward and defeated a Hyrkanian border at Brythunia's borders. Right behind them, came the Vanir and Aesir hordes, whom battered the young Pictish Empire. They overthrew Nemedia, forced their half-civilized Nordic-Nemedian kinsmen to flee, and devastated the cities of Nemedia. Their fleeing kinsmen in turn expelled the Picts from Koth and helped the Shemites throw off the Hyrkanian yoke. Nordic tribes broke the back of the Hyrkanians in Brythunia and Hyperborea, forcing them to retreat back to the Vilayet Sea. Meanwhile, the Cimmerians who had been wandering to the southeast, destroying the Hyrkanian kingdom of Turan and established themselves by the Vilayet Sea.
The Hyrkanians then butchered all of the captives who were unfit to march on a long journey and took thousands of slaves back with them as they rode back to the distant east. Meanwhile the rulers of Stygia whose kingdom was staggering under the attacks of the black kingdoms, were overthrown by red-haired Vanir adventurers who led the slaves in a revolt. They established a great southern empire they called Egypt, conquering the northernmost black kingdoms. It's early pharaohs would later claim descent from these red-haired conquerors. Nordic barbarians now dominated the Western world, which had few cities left. The Hyborians had vanished from the world, barely leaving a trace of blood in their conqueror's veins. Lost to time was the history of the Hyborian Age and the ones that came before it.
The Post-Hyborian Age
The world was then convulsed by another cataclysm. Which carved the lands into what is now known to man. Great chunks of the continent's western coast sunk, and the islands of Britain emerged from the mountains of western Cimmeria. When the Stygian continent broke away from the supercontinent, the Mediterranean Sea was formed. To the west of Stygia a vast expanse of land rose out of the sea, becoming the western half of Africa.
The Nordics who retreated to the slowly drying lands around it, more or less lived at peace with the Cimmerians. To the west the Pictis who retreated to their old lands, were once again reduced to stone-age savages. Till they were overthrown in a later age by the westward drifting Nordics and Cimmerians. A migration brought about by the westward drift of the growing population west of the greatly reduced inland Sea (now known as the Caspian Sea) forced them to migrate outward. They were known as Aryans, who migrated into Europe, Asia Minor, and India.
Over the millennia, the peoples of recorded history would emerge. The Etruscans from who the Romans would emerge, were a people of a mixed Pictish, Hyrkanian, and Stygian strain, and were originally from Koth. From the Zamorians and Zingarans taken to the east by the Hyrkanians, the Gypsies would emerge. The ancestors of the Germanic peoples, the Goths, descended from the Cimmerians, Aesir, and Vanir. In the east, emerged the Scythians, a people descended from the Hyrkanians and Cimmerians. From mixed Shemitish and Hyrkanian blood, emerged the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia, who established the earliest civilization in recorded history. From the Cimmerians came the Gaels, the ancestors of the Highland Scots and Irish. The Arabs and Israelites in turn descended from the pure-blooded Shemites and those who mixed with Nordics or Cimmerians. From the Hyrkanians, thousands of years later, the Huns, Turks, Mongols, and Tartars would reenter Western history. Khitai would over time evolve in China. From the Aryan migration into Vendhya, would emerge India.
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