- See also: Cimmeria (poem)
Cimmeria is located north of Aquilonia, and east of the Pictish Wilderness. The Eiglophian Mountains separate Cimmeria from the Nordheim countries Asgard and Vanaheim. The Border Kingdom separates Cimmeria from Nemedia in the south east.
Cimmeria appears to contain wolves, panthers, deer, and rabbits, but has no snakes or reptiles.
Cimmeria was undoubtedly a rugged wilderness, hilly, probably mountainous, heavily forested, and often cold and overcast. Based on the Hyborian map as it overlaps a modern map of Europe, there was likely a mountain range along Cimmeria's western border. Howard confirms this in The Hyborian Age: "...the ocean flowed around the mountains of western Cimmeria to form the North Sea; these mountains became the islands later known as England, Scotland and Ireland..."
When Hyboria is superimposed over modern Europe, Cimmeria occupies the a region containing Denmark and the east coast of Scotland, most of the land submerged under the North Sea. In the interval between the Older and Younger Dryas 10,000 years ago (which is when Robert E. Howard placed the Hyborian Age), much of the North Sea area was in fact above water.
History and politicsEdit
The Cimmerians of the Hyborian Age are the descendents of Atlantean colonists of the Thurian Age. Living on the main Thurian continent, the colonists survived the great Cataclysm that submerged Atlantis and destroyed most of the Thurian civilizations. The survivors, at this point reduced to a stone age level of sophistication, eventually found themselves locked in multigenerational warfare with survivors of a Pictish colony. This prolonged conflict caused the Atlanteans to further devolve into little more than ape-men. With no memory of their history or even of language and civilization itself, these beings eventually redeveloped into a people known as Cimmerians.
Although the nation has no overall government, the individual tribes are governed in a vaguely democratic way by all the tribes' men. Even women have a respected place in Cimmeria, for while they are not soldiers, many wives and mothers have stood in defence of their homes and families.
Almost every grown Cimmerian knows how to fight, for their neighbours will just as willingly raid them. However, Aquilonia at least has never made a concerted effort to conquer Cimmeria; there is too little there to be profitable, and the people would sternly fight for their freedom. (?)
In lean times, Cimmerians constantly fought against their old enemies, the Picts as well as the Nordheimir to the north. They also fought against the Bossonian Marches and even fought their way to Aquilonia for plundering raids. Once, an Aquilonian army was routed from Cimmeria, one of the few humiliating defeats of the almighty empire. The Aquilonian kings toyed with the idea of putting Picts and Cimmerians against each other and let both barbarian peoples destroy each other.
While Aquilonia was being invaded by the Picts and their vassals were deserting them, the Cimmerians found the opportunity and came from their hills, looting the cities and devastating the lands, completing the ruin, before returning with the plunder to their land.
Shortly after the fall of Aquilonia, Hyrkanians invaded from the east and north. A united force of riders swept into the Cimmerian hills, where their horses were less effective. The Cimmerians turned on them, and after a whole day of bloody fighting, the Hyrkanian hosts retreated to escape complete annihilation. Cimmeria remained unconquered both by the Pictish and the Hyrkanian empire that dominated the former Hyborean world. Only the restless Nordic tribes warred continually with the Cimmerians.
When the glacier age came, the Cimmerians fled before the Nordic onrush. Moving southwards, they almost destroyed Gunderland and fought their way into Aquilonia against the Picts. No army or city stood before them. They defeated the Nordics in Nemedia and sacked some cities and moved eastwards, defeating a Hyrkanian army on the borders of Brythunia.
Cimmeria was afterwards covered by the waves in another cataclysm. Its mountains became the British Isles.
Meanwhile the Cimmerians remained in the western shores of the slowly drying inland sea, which became the Caspian. They were joined by pastoral Nordic tribes fleeing eastwards and gradually mixed with them. Their growing population forced many o them to migrate southward, northward and westward, later known as Aryans.
Population and cultureEdit
Cimmerians were tall and powerfully built ferocious savages, with black hair and blue or grey eyes. Although the Hyborian invasion did not touch them, they seem to have benefitted by contact with the invaders, and advanced rapidly in culture, more than their old rivals, the Picts.
They appear to be partly or completely tribal hunter-gatherers, with no central goverment. They know of the craft of iron-working (Conan's father was a blacksmith), but they dress in skins and pelts, and do their own weaving in a rough, practical style. Cimmerians have little use for philosophy, science, or art, but seem to value entertainment, especially in the form of storytelling. Conan himself remarks: "I saw myself in a pantherskin loin-clout, throwing my spear at the mountain beasts."
The Cimmerians are a people forged by the very harsh conditions of their land. Howard often makes reference to the Cimmerian people's hardiness and martial prowess, as well as to their many other impressive skills. They can climb seemingly unscalable cliffs, track humans and animals with ease, and stalk their prey without making a sound. The apparent primitiveness of the Cimmerians and their sense of justice is often juxtaposed with the corruption of the "civilized" races in Hyboria.
Cimmerian culture does not value materialism for avarice's sake. Although warriors such as Conan are encouraged to gather wealth and glory to themselves, Cimmerians value courage, honour, respect, and pride more than treasure. It is said that none starve in Cimmeria unless all starve, for any family would care for any who need it.
The Cimmerians appear to have been based on the Celts, specifically the Dark Age Gaels who are the ancestors of the modern Irish and Scots. Howard states in The Hyborian Age that "the Gaels, ancestors of the Irish and Highland Scots, descended from pure-blooded Cimmerian clans."
The Cimmerians' chief deity was Crom, a vengeful god who took little interest in mortal matters. He and his dark brood are said to never answer prayers, for this as seen as weak pleading and Crom would rather such supplicants die honourably. However, the Cimmerians credit their strength of arm and spirit to Crom, who allegedly grants strength and courage at birth in order to face their enemies in life.
Other gods include: