Aquilonia is a country of the Hyborian Age. It is named after its main and biggest province.
Geography[edit | edit source]
Aquilonia is known for its fertile cropland and many forests. Multiple rivers that run directly through it make it a perfect land for civilization, and the kingdom was powerful throughout the ages. Aquilonia is a western kingdom that is bordered by Zingara to the southwest, the Pictish Wilderness to the west, Cimmeria to the north, Border Kingdom to the northeast, Nemedia to the east, Ophir and Argos to the south.
Regions[edit | edit source]
The province of Bossonian Marches lies between Black River and Thunder River, and is covered by thick vegetation. This highly sought after land is constantly at stake between Aquilonia and the wild tribes of the Pictish Wilderness. For a brief time, Aquilonia pushed past the Thunder River and annexed the land beyond, calling it Conajohora, and installing Fort Tuscela to protect its interests. However, a loose alliance of Picts led by Zogar Sog managed to fight the Aquilonians back to the river.
Westermarck, made up of the provinces Oriskonie, Conawaga, and Schohira, is to the east of the Thunder River. This land is home to many frontier settlements and is the destination of many adventurers looking for an exciting journey into the western lands. Tullian's Creek forms the boundary between Schohira and the Pictish lands.
Poitain, which lies to the south, is a rich province known for its fierce loyalty and military strength. Poitain is dotted with rich meadowlands, rolling plains, rose gardens, and orange groves.
Gunderland, to the north, is a hilly region known for its wild inhabitants, and is separated from the rest of Aquilonia by woodlands that teem with wildlife.
Rivers[edit | edit source]
To the west, the Black River and the Thunder River run parallel and seperate Aquilonia from the wildlands of the Pictish Wilderness. The Bossonian Marches lie directly east of these rivers. The Shirki River runs from the northeast, in a southwest direction, until it meets with the Thunder River in the southwest region of Aquilonia. The Khorotas River lies east of the Shirki River, and runs relatively parallel to it. Tarantia, the capital of Aquilonia, lies on the Khorotas River. The Red River and Tybor River mark the southeast border, seperating Aquilonia from Ophir.
Mountains[edit | edit source]
There are few mountains in Aquilonia. Mt. Golamira being the notable exception, which lies in the Border Range, which seperates Aquilonia from Nemedia. The Rabirian Mountains seperate Aquilonia from Zingara.
Cities[edit | edit source]
Shamar sits on the Tybor River, the site of an ancient village that predates the sinking of Atlantis. As the walled city grew, it attracted the attention of Ophir and Nemedia, among others, until finally growing strong enough to repel most attacks. It is traditionally ruled by a duke.
History and politics[edit | edit source]
Aquilonia is a monarchy, with the different provinces offering fealty to the king. Nine hundred years before the reign of Conan the country was ruled by Epeus the Sword-wielder. Vilerus held the throne prior to the ascension of his nephew Numedides, the last ruler before Conan. Numedides ultimately became a tyrant controlled by the sorcerer Thulandra Thuu. Little is known about this king and his rule, but Conan ultimately decided to overthrow him, and with the help of some allies (Count Trocero, Prospero, Dexitheus, and Publius), he marched on Tarantia and eventually killed King Numedides.
Conan's reign was rife with trouble, and his rule was challenged twice. The first by a set of five rebels who despised Conan as a lowly barbarian. Ironically, it was Thoth-Amon, Conan's old nemesis, who helps him destroy this plot. A few years later, another attempt was made by a group of quartet of schemers who had summoned Xaltotun, an ancient sorcerer of Acheron. This time, the schemers actually managed to dethrone Conan, if only for a short while. Conan regained his crown when he defeated Xaltotun with the help of the very same jewel that was used to summon him.
Aquilonia has a long history of border raids and wars with the neighbouring Nemedia. Although Aquilonia is larger, richer, and militarily more powerful, they have never been able to conquer Nemedia completely. There have even been times when Nemedia was greater than Aquilonia.
Aquilonia was the strongest and greediest of the Hyborian Kingdoms and wished to extend to an empire. Her kings made war on their neighbors. Tributaries were Koth, Corinthia and eastern Shemitish tribes, and were forced to lend aid in wars. Zingara, Argos and Ophir (and perhaps Zamora) were annexed outright, with the western cities of Shem, and were treated like conuqered provinces. Zingarans, barbaric Picts and Shemites fought as mercenaries in the Aquilonian splendid armies. The conquests were pushed to Nilus and they slaughtered a Stygian army. The Stygian king sent tribute to divert invasion.
At different times, the Cimmerians made their way to Aquilonia in plundering forays. One of Aquilonia's few defeats was when an army was sent into Cimmeria only to be routed, and an army that was almost completely destroyed in Asgard. The Aquilonian kings toyed with the idea of putting Picts and Cimmerians against each other and let both barbarian peoples destroy each other.
The Aquilonians also met invaders from Hyrkania, and defeated the on the plains of Brythunia. Aquilonia reconquered Zamora (which was briefly taken by the Hyrkanians) and quartered soldiers there not only to protect the ravaged country, but also to keep the people subjugated. Aquilonia repelled 3 more invasions upon the Zamorian borders, and the Lands of Shem, although the Turanian armies grew larger.
With Brythunia reduced to small wars, Aquilonia felt ready to march against Nemedia. However the campaign coincided with the Pictish invasion; Bossonian conscripts quit Aquilonian troops and the campaign in order to fight in the Bossonian Marches. As a result, Aquilonia was defeated by the desperate Nemedians. For this humiliating defeat, the Aquilonians retributed the Bossonians by staging a war conclave. Then, their mercenaries turned against their unsuspecting and unarmed allies and left the marches as a ruined a devastated land.
Fall[edit | edit source]
But this proved to be a short-sighted whim, as the Bossonians always were a bulwark against the barbarians. Nothing was left to stop the second attempt by the Picts. While Aquilonia was warring again with Nemedia, a massive, coordinated invasion found no opposition and swarmed into Aquilonia. Zingara found the opportunity to throw off Aquilonia's yoke, followed by Corinthia and the Shemites. Regiments of mercenaries and vassals mutinied and deserted, looting as they returned to their countries. In the midst of the chaos even the Cimmerians came, looting cities and devastating the country before returning to their hills.
Aquilonian troops were recalled from all parts of the empire, like Zamora, which incited the Hyrkanians from Turan to return. Without allies they were unable to hold off the barbarians, the mutineers and the inexhaustible supply of the swarming hordes from the wilderness, that was nothing less than an onrush of the whole Pictish nation. The Aquilonian empire fell in fire and blood and the overran country was now occupied by the Picts.
Soon they became the masters of Aquilonia and started erasing the former inhabitants from the map. Only Gunderland survived the fall and maintained its independence as a separate kingdom in the hills.
Driven before the onrushing tides of the Nordic drift, the Cimmerians surged destroyed Gunderland, and marched across ancient Aquilonia, through the Pictish hosts. Aquilonia remained under the hold of the Picts until their demise in the next cataclysm.
Population and culture[edit | edit source]
Aquilonian people are mainly of Hyborian stock. They are a tall race varying in complexion depending on locality. Many of the provinces have distinct cultures and peoples of their own, such as the Bossonian Marches, Gunderland, and Poitain, where black hair and brown eyes are dominant, because of admixture with the brown Zingarans.
The Aquilonians remained vital and virile, despite the conquered wealth and sumptuous slpendor. They were also haughty and arrogant and treated less powerful people with intolerance and contempt. As self-proclaimed masters they treated their tributaries as conquered provincial subjects.
Aquilonian smiths make some of the finest plate armour and helms in all the world. Their knights are truly a powerful force with this armour. Their armies primarily rely on cavalry while spearmen are provided from Gunderland and archers from the Bossonian marches.
Aquilonia is one of the few countries to mint gold coins. These coins, sometimes called lunas, are valued around the world. Aquilonian civilization altogether is enviable particularly in Attalus were commerce thrives. Their chief deity is Mitra, much like the rest of the Hyborians, and their religion is quite imaginative.
Stories set in Aquilonia[edit | edit source]
- Conan the Liberator
- Beyond the Black River
- Wolves Beyond the Border
- The Hour of the Dragon
- The Phoenix on the Sword
Characters from Aquilonia[edit | edit source]
- King Numedides - A king of Aquilonia.
- Amalric - Comrade of Conan, whose father was a rival of Count Terentius, a favorite of King Vilerus. Amalric's family was exiled from Aquilonia, but with the ascension of Numedides exiles were forgiven and recalled, and Amalric returned home.
- Valeria - A swordswoman and pirate.
- Epimetrius the Sage - A somewhat ambiguous character arguably identical with the shaman who used the heart of Ahriman against Xaltotun of Acheron, hence founder of Aquilonia, as well as the Mitra-cult. He is said to have lived three ordinary lifetimes and now sits sleeping in Mount Golamira. Both things resemble legends about Epimenides, a religious reformer in ancient Greece, worshpper of Apollo (Hyperborea). On the other hand, Epimetheus is the name of a brother and negative parallel to Prometheus. It was Epimetheus who opened the box of Pandora. He summons Conan (or his spirit) in his sleep in "The Phoenix on the Sword". Persian Mithra was something of an appeaser vis a vis Ahriman, Lord of Darkness, as opposed to Ahura (Indian Asura) Mazda.Note that the symbol of the Ancient royal house toppled by Conan was the golden Serpent. In Wolves Beyond the Border it is revealed that the Golden Lion was the standard of Conan's old regiment.
- Trocero - count of Poitain and right hand man to king Conan in matters of statescraft and politics. He serves as regent of the realm when king Conan is not present. Before becoming the probably decisive backer of Conan the rebel Trocero himself did direct war against king Numedides and once beleaguerd Tarantia. He is therefore highly controversial in the main region of the realm.
- Prospero - the right hand man of king Conan in matters of war and military. He is probably a poitainian baron and direct feudal liege to count Trocero.
- Ascalante - lord of Thune and highly positioned under king Numedides. He may well have been the strongman behind this incompetent tyrant. In Howard there is no Thulandra Tuu or the like. Ascalante survives the fall of Numedides. In The Phoenix on the sword he masterminds a dangerous plot against king Conan .
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