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Kush is a country of the Hyborian Age.
Shumballa, also known as Meroe, the capital of Kush, stands in the midst of a great plain of rolling savannas which stretch towards the horizon, broken only by occasional low hills. A narrow deep river, meandering across the savanna, touches the straggling edges of the city.
History and politics
Kush was ruled by the mad Queen Tanada, whose upper-class half-Stygian rulers hated the lower full Kushite underclass. A rebellion spearheaded in part by Lord Tuthmes raged out of his control and ended with most of the nobility and ruling class dead.
Population and culture
The ruling caste, the Chagas, are descendants of those Stygians who centuries ago had come southward to hack out an empire. The population is composed of people with rich dark skin, brutal and warlike, known as Gallahs. They have been murmuring that a king of pure descent should rule Kush.
The city of Shumballa is a sprawling wilderness of thatched mud huts; the streets straggle into squares that are squares in name only. There the people chaffer and bargain over plantains, beer, and hammer brass ornaments. People carry water-gourds or baskets of food on their heads. Smiths crouch over tiny charcoal fires, laboriously beating out spear blades. The hot sun beats down on all. Barbaric chanting thrums with an undertone of wrath or bloodlust.
The inner city behind great bronze gates is El Shebbeh with its palaces and gardens, and the great square, into which, at an instant's notice, a thousand horsemen could ride, from the courts of adjoining barracks.
The warriors of Kush are a motley array of stark naked wild men using bows, iron hammers, stones and spears. They use half-wild horses without saddle or bridle — shining ebony, lean, wiry steeds that get frantic with the fire and the scent of blood.
Blood-ties mean little; a victorious chieftain and personal gain everything. Callous corsairs of Kush are described thus.
Ships from Zingara occasionally come and trade weapons and ornaments and wine to the coastal tribes. Pirates and traders get ivory and ostrich feathers and skins, copper and pearls and gold, and other things from the jungle-clad coast of Kush.
Stories set in Kush
- Queen of the Black Coast [wikisource]
- "The Snout in the Dark"
- Xuthal of the Dusk [wikisource]
- Conan of Cimmeria: Volume One (1932-1933) — Untitled Synopsis, Untitled Draft
Characters from Kush
- Tananda — king's sister and the real ruler of Kush
- Tuthmes — a scheming noble
- Agara — a fanatical Gallah witch-finder
Cities found in Kush
- Xuthal — a lost city in the Kushite desert Xuthal of the Dusk
- Shumballa/Meroe — capital city of the kingdom.
- Xucha — unseen city, presumably near the southern border Kush itself. [The Savage Sword of Conan #182]
- Zabhela — city on the coast of Kush.