Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16

Thread: Robert E. Howard's "Hyborian Age" in 3-D

  1. #1

    Default Robert E. Howard's "Hyborian Age" in 3-D

    I would like to produce a virtual-reality globe of the Hyborian Age, one that is limited to features drawn or described by Howard himself. Do any of you know of such a project already in existence; or, if not, would you be interested in advising on or participating in the creation of one?

    Just to clarify, the project would have nothing to do with pastiche material. (To the best of my knowledge, this would not only exclude the various speculations about the southern coast and far east, but even the misguided term "Hyboria" itself.)

    I have a number of ideas on how to proceed, and have even gone as far as reserving a domain name and setting up a small server to host a project page, but there's no point in talking about that if it's all been done elsewhere already.

  2. #2

    Default

    I would like to produce a virtual-reality globe of the Hyborian Age, one that is limited to features drawn or described by Howard himself. Do any of you know of such a project already in existence; or, if not, would you be interested in advising on or participating in the creation of one?
    None currently exist as far as I'm aware of. I myself have been working on an interactive map of the Hyborian Age for some time now. It first started as a regular map but became a SVG map (with some JavaScript magic) some time during the last year or so (an old wip image). Interactivity includes zooming in/out, toggling borders on/off etc. It's been mostly on hiatus and though far from complete most of the work is done. I don't know when I'm going to finish it (months? years? never?). I would be interested in following your progress or discussing some aspects of Hyborian Age cartography. :p


    Just to clarify, the project would have nothing to do with pastiche material. (To the best of my knowledge, this would not only exclude the various speculations about the southern coast and far east, but even the misguided term "Hyboria" itself.)
    I myself had a similar approach. A few years ago I read through all the Robert E. Howard's Conan stories (and few others of his work) and wrote down every description of landscape that I could find. The final document was about 40 – 60 pages of text excerpts from the 21 stories and drafts & synopses (some times I copied whole paragraphs so the real amount of information isn't that much). I based the map on a combination of the only three map sketches that Howard left and filled it with the details from the stories. (H1, H2 and H3)

    Although I stayed away from pastiche material I noticed that sticking strictly to REH's word would leave the map very unsatisfying. As you see Howard's sketches include only rough outline of his world, one river and a couple of cities. It poses some real challenges to come up with the rest. I decided to give myself some freedom. So a lot of interpretation was required when piecing the map together and I only excluded stuff from the map if I felt that I couldn't reasonably justify their placing based on Howard's texts.

    Some of the geographical features are pretty straightforward to add but many uncertainties arise that require decisions. Border mountains, hills, forests and grasslands were quite easy to place on the map. Rivers were hard, where exactly do they flow when text gives no description? Cities were annoying too. Some of their placement I estimated by travel times based on the clues in the stories, whether horse riding, camel caravan or flying winged beasts. Sometimes I noticed that Howard's sketches weren't “up to date” and some stories gave additional information that required some changes. I had to leave many cities out of the map. For example, we know many Turanian and Shemite cities by name but nothing of their location. Many kingdoms are left completely without descriptions, like next to nothing is told about the landscape of Corinthia or Brythunia. Heck, sometimes we aren't even told where the story takes place. Generally the most well known places are unsurprisingly those were the stories took place.

    I mostly sticked to the boundaries of REH's sketches but I expanded the map a bit in the south and south-east to include the stories that took place on the unmapped region. However, things get even more uncertain there. And naturally, almost nothing is known about the rest of the globe and it's continents.

    Although there are some mysteries that I haven't been able to solve yet, overall it was quite fun to come up with the map and it was cool to spot some implausible placements from some of the maps done over the years.

    I hope you decide to work on your map. I would be very interested to see what you come up with.

  3. #3

    Default

    I agree there is very little original evidence to go on, and, so being, the project is quite intimidating. I should also say that I'm not opposed to improvisation, as long as it has a supporting argument and is open to change. Ultimately, however, I would prefer to see the details based on real-world analogues, mathematical extrapolations, and the like.

    I should also mention that I'm completely unqualified to start this project! My plan is simply to collect as much data as possible, provide a venue for debate, and let the experts hash it out. However, unless there's an outpouring of capable volunteers, I will probably start a fundraiser to ensure that the project retains momentum.

  4. #4

    Default

    Before posting here, I tried to contact some people I know to be in the REH community, but didn't hear back from them. (I really prefer the telephone to e-mail, as the former allows an instant back-and-forth of thoughts, while the latter is always a shot in the dark as to whether it's even been received.) It may be that scholars have already done all this legwork far better than I can. Still, let's start with a few questions...

    First, what type of projections were used in the maps of Europe that Howard traced? Is there any information on the actual atlases he used? If we match the projection, we will know how his map should lie on the globe. If we match the atlas, we will see first hand the details that may have influenced his choices.

    Second, the original Howard maps: Do any originals still exist? If so, have they been scanned or photographed with modern technology? As a final touch, it may be possible to capture grain, smudges, wrinkles, and other such minute details, and use those to add an extra layer of "original" randomness to the seed for height-map terrain generation.

  5. #5

    Default

    It has often been claimed that the Hyborian Age took place at the end of the last ice age, in which case, today's geography is likely to have significant relevance to that landscape. If, though, as some have suggested, the Age took place before the ice age, then there is much less data for us to work with.

    Here's a rough overlay of two REH maps (plus a bit of France thrown in, in the hope of seeing where Tarantia would lie).

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	Hyborian maps.png 
Views:	100 
Size:	1.47 MB 
ID:	65752

  6. #6
    Guild Adept Naima's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    286

    Default

    Aquilonia Empire was representation of Roman Empire so I might place that in corrispondence of Italy .
    Koth and Stygia Egypt , Cimmeria France or Britain .

  7. #7

    Default

    Generally Howard's Hyborian Age places don't have any matching locations with real life cities or places apart from sometimes similar sounding names.

    However at times European geography matches Hyborian Age's geography. Like in the image above, the Pyrenees (real world) are on the same region as Poitanian mountains (HA), southern Aquilonia has also hills that match the Massif Central in modern France. The Ophirean and Nemedian border of Aquilonia also seems to be a mountainous and/or hilly region matching the Alps. Similarly, Howard described in the Hyborian Age essay that British Isles were mountains during the Hyborian Age.

    I haven't given much thought when exactly the Hyborian Age supposedly took place. I would say the 10k years ago would not be far back enough but I don't really care. Using modern geography to fill in the blanks when lacking Howard's notes isn't the worst idea if the purpose is to create a complete map.

  8. #8
    Guild Adept Naima's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Italy
    Posts
    286

    Default

    Did ever the Author post any reference on real world corrispondences or are all made up by fans?
    Aquilonia is btw a realplace in Italy .

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Aquilonia

    Same for Tarantia , wich was Tarentum .
    Last edited by Naima; 07-15-2014 at 03:32 PM.

  9. #9

    Default

    IIRC Howard's idea regarding place(& other)names was that some names from the Hyborian age had been remembered even after the era itself had been long forgotten, and ended up being recycled in later times when people needed to name things.

    BTW, are you aware of the REHupa website and the REH Forum? Those would be good places to look for more information.

  10. #10

    Default

    Yes, exactly as Ghostman said. Howard described it in the Hyborian Age essay like this:

    Only a few names of lands, tribes and cities remained in the languages of the barbarians, to come down through the
    centuries connected with distorted legend and fable, until the whole history of the Hyborian age was lost sight of in a cloud of myths and fantasies.

    There are a lot of names that are real places, either the names are identical or they vary slightly. However, they are just that, names. They rarely have anything to do with the actual real life place. So, no help in trying to figure out where a city would belong on a Hyborian Age map if Howard doesn't describe it.

    The Hyborian Age is part pseudo-history and part fantasy. The connections are just analogues and not to be taken too seriously. There is no Egypt, there is no France etc. However, Stygia is sort-of Egypt if one wishes to quickly describe it and according to the lore Egypt was founded on the ruins of Stygia sometime after the Hyborian Age when the real world history begins. The stories set in the eastern Koth are Hyborian Age version of Crusader tales and the eastern stories are oriental adventures and so on.

    I strongly disagree with the Aquilonian and Roman analogue. It is a common view because of pastiches and comics, and because of the Greco-Roman names and terms like legions and patricians etc. that Howard used occasionally. The Hyborian kingdoms are a blend of medieval and ancient world. The Rome analogue of THA, in my opinion if there is one, is the empire of Acheron. Evil empire (Howard disliked the Romans), overthrown by barbarians and only relics and ruins survive.

    Some think that Aquilonia's capital Tamar/Tarantia (Howard used two different names without explanation, that's one map makers dilemma right there) is named after Hill of Tara.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •