the Painted ones... It has been established that Conan is of a Gaelic or Celtic ( If you will ) origin. His name alone is enough to determine this. But who were the Cimmerians in relation to who the Scottish or Irish are today? This is hard to pinpoint as the HYBORIAN age of REH was around 10,000 years before recorded history which is only around 2,400 years BC. That is a lot of time to pass…many things can happen in just 1000 years much less 12,400 years. So you have to take a lot of things into consideration. Different tribes of people settled in different parts of the world that were originally from some other area of the world. Vikings are a good example of this.
Xerxes wanted to be the King of the entire world and he roamed about conquering and making his what was once someone else’s. Alexander the Great is also guilty of this as well as Many Kings of England who let Power go to their heads.
If you look at a map of Howard’s world and compare it to a world Atlas you will find Denmark right where Cimmeria was supposed to be. But the people of Denmark are not the people who were there 2000 years ago. They are Germanic settlers who moved there and made that land their own. Like English people came to the U.S. and settled before the melting pot got to a full boil.
The mountain people who lived in the hills and in Clans and wore Blue war paint when they fought or hunted were called Picts by the Romans. Historically the picts were of Spanish descent. They migrated to that area and began a new ( If you will ) race of people. They stepped out of the sunny climes of Spain and settled in the Northern regions where it is colder and windier. Over time they lost their tan and their skin took on a more pale complexion. The people from that time took on pagan rituals and believed in a wholly different theology. But these folks were not Spanish anymore…they were Celts. ( Historically ) They lived in the mountains in clans and hunted and killed game basically living like the Native Americans did before the English came over and created a new land that became America and destroyed life as they knew it. They painted themselves up and had different animals to claim as their totem and worshipped Gods of elemental nature…( Sounds like the Indians to me. )
But wait…if these are Picts then…who is Conan always fighting? Who were those animal growling guys in the movie that 13 year old Conan massacred with their own weapons?
Those were not the Picts that we’re familiar with nope. That’s because that all took place 10,000 years before recorded history in REH’s HYBORIAN age. So they definitely were not of Scottish or Gaelic or Celtic descent. But then again…Neither is CONAN then? Conan has a Celtic name sure but his people were from another era. So we can’t safely say that Conan was a big Irish guy. He’s a prehistoric man brute. You have to keep in mind that people by nature were Nomads way back when and before they began settling down on one piece of land to call their own they moved from place to place as the weather changed. Sounds pretty smart. So the Cimmerians were a people who stopped and stayed and said screw it! I’m staying I’m not moving and this is my land no matter how harsh it gets in the winter. Now..Historically , what people are known for their stubbornness?... Italians.
Now according to memory if I recall correctly, CONAN was quite the hairy dude. His bare chest and body full of rippling corded muscles was full of thick black hair ( In the REH stories ). So we can assume Conan looked like a big muscular Danny Devito with a full head of long thick black hair ( His mane ) Now I am NOT claiming that CONAN was Italian that is not what I’m saying at all. I’m just stating that people moved around a lot back in them prehistoric days. The people that settled in Italy are the people who’ve earned the name Italians. But getting back to the Painted ones…
It was a clever device on the part of Oliver Stone to paint Conan up in the first CONAN film.
Usually ( Historically ) the paint would have or should have been a blue color. But because this was a night mission Conan and crew chose black…who knows when they started using Blue because we’re talking a difference of 10,000 years. So the ancient Scotts/Celts of the HYBORIAN age were in theory Conan’s people….as we’ve clearly established. But the picts Conan fought against were also of different tribes and beliefs. Painting their bodies up and piercing themselves and going into battle basically naked with nothing but a sword , spear or axe. That sounds like a Berserker.
Where am I going with this? I don’t know I’m trying to remember. In the film the “13th Warrior” the flesh eating Wendol a tribe of Bear men were terrorizing the countryside in a Nordic country. My guess is that this area was up there near Ireland way up North.
Leastways thats the impression I got. But I got the feeling that those Bear men the "Wendol" were Viking era Celtic/Pagan warriors living in a Clan whose Animal totem was a bear. Duh!
But in King Arthur the Painted ones were called the "Woad" these people lived in the woods and were fierce and brilliant combat strategists and tough as nails fighters. However the " Seal people " from the film the EAGLE lived near the water and smeared themselves head to toe in blue paint/clay. These warriors were ruthless they would kill their own young to prove a point.
Then we have Sir William Wallace played brilliantly by Oscar winner and totally nutso Genius film maker Mel Gibson. After having done a little research to confirm my curiosities about the Picts I found out that by Wallace's era the Blue war paint had already passed as those times were a changing and the Painted peoples were a bit more on the civilized side as time wore on.
But Mel added the paint as a beautifully clever cinematic license. It worked for me. I bought it.
Who the heck knows what was on REH's mind when he was writing up his yarns? He created other worlds and a vast array of characters. "Brule the spear slayer" was a Pict. Bran Mak Morn...Pict. But these guys were more along the lines of the " Wendol " But...If King Arthur had come across CONAN...he lump him right in there with Picts. But Conan hates Picts so Artie would be picking up his head if he ever called Conan a Pict...But I can see why he'd make that observation. I can see where he's coming from...so to speak. However you look at it...The Picts were the Celts. At least this is what History tells us. The peoples indiginous to the area.
Anyway...Happy Halloween folks...I'm taking a couple weeks off from Bloggin' on Crom for a bit. Congrats to Cromsblood and his wife for the little warrior. I hope I did not tick anyone one off as this entire post...is speculative and nothing more.
* Revision : I got into reading my ACE reprints a day or two ago which prompted this particular post. I like to read Roy Thomas' Forwards before I read the already familiar comic stories with art by Barry Smith. In volume 6 ... In my re-reading I came across a rewritten redrawn ( By Ernie Chan ) retelling of the Hyborian Age by REH rewritten for the comics by ROY. Now I read these before in the pages of Savage sword with art by Simonson. I was reminded of something I had forgotten. HOWARD makes it pretty clear. Cimmerians were the descendants of the Atlanteans and the Pictish tribes were the Descendants of the Lemurians. After the second great cataclysm ( 500 years after the first ) When the fianal bits of land dropped into the sea creating the inland sea the people of Atlantis and Lemuria migrated north toward the mountains.
It is pretty clear to me now that there were two different peoples occupying the land. The Picts were a people all unto themselves as they were a race of people whose line dated back to lost Lemuria. While the Cimmerians were Atlantean. Both races according to HOWARD were Ancient and were always a part of the landscape before the Cataclysm.
So I think it can be safe to say...CONAN was not a pict. I am satisfied with my findings.
Thank you Professor Roy Thomas for the education. I will take this as a lesson. I have read these things before...unless reading said books and articles and comics again on occasion. The information will be forgotten. So I'll make it a point to re-read my materials every once in a while to stay fresh. OK...NOW I'M FINISHED...later. ;)