The Hyborians are the people for who The Hyborian Age is named.
History of the HyboriansEdit
Robert E. Howard explained the origins and history of Aquilonia and its people in his essay "The Hyborian Age". The civilizations of Thuria, Lemuria and Atlantis, mentioned in his tales of Kull of Atlantis, all fell to a cataclysm a few centuries after the reign of that Valusian King.
At the time of this cataclysm a group of primitive humans were at a technological level barely above that of the Neanderthal. They fled to the Northern areas of what was left of the Thurian continent to escape the destruction. They discovered the areas to be safe but covered with snow, an area already inhabited by a race of carnivorous snow-apes. The apes were large with white fur and apparently native to their land. The stone-age invaders engaged in a territorial war with them and eventually managed to drive them off, into the white wastes. Believing their enemies had perished, they adapted to their new, harsh environment and their population started to increase.
Fifteen hundred years later, the descendants of this initial group were now called Hyborians. They were named after their patron god deity, Bori, thought to have been some great ancient chief. By this point various related but independent Hyborian tribes had spread throughout the northern regions. Some of them began migrating south at a "leisurely" pace in search of new areas in which to settle. The Hyborians had yet to encounter other cultural groups but warred against each other. They were a powerful and warlike race; tall, tawny-haired and gray-eyed. Culturally, they were already accomplished artists and poets. Most of the tribes still relied on hunting for nourishment, while their southern cousins had been practicing animal husbandry for a number of centuries.
With the population of the Hyborian tribes continuing to increase, the need for new lands also increased. The Hyborians started expanding outside their familiar territories and then started for them a new age of wanderings and conquests. For five hundred years the Hyborians spread south and the west.
They then encountered other tribal groups for the first time in millennia and conquered many smaller clans of varying origins, with whom they interbred.
The Rise of the Hyborian KingdomsEdit
The first organized Hyborian kingdom to emerge was Hyperborea. The tribe which established it entered their Neolithic age by mastering the secret of erecting cyclopean stone fortifications, abandoning their nomadic ways in favor of stone houses which were crude but durable.
The Hyperboreans were by then the most advanced of the Hyborian tribes and set out to expand their Kingdom by attacking their backwards neighbors. Many tribes lost their territories to them in wars and had to migrate away. Others fled the path of their expansion and started their own migrations before ever engaging them in war. Both migrating groups preferred this solution to becoming mere vassals to their powerful Hyperborean kin. Meanwhile the "apemen" of the Arctic Circle emerged as a new race of light-haired and tall humans. They started their own migration to the south, displacing the northernmost of the Hyborian tribes.
For the next thousand years the Hyborian peoples became the masters of the western parts of the world. They encountered the Picts and forced them to limit themselves to the western wastelands which would come to be known as the Pictish Wilderness. Following the example of their Hyperborean cousins, other Hyborians started to settle down and create their own kingdoms.
The southernmost of the early ones was Koth which was established north of the lands of Shem and soon started extending its cultural influence over the southern shepherds. Just south of the ictish Wilderness was the fertile Zingg valley. The wandering Hyborian tribe which conquered them found other people already settled there. They included a nameless farming nation related to the people of the Shem and a warlike Pictish tribe who had previously conquered them. They established the kingdom of Zingara and absorbed the defeated elements into their tribe. Hyborians, Picts and the unnamed kin of the Shemites would merge into a nation calling themselves Zingarans.
In the north of the continent, the fair-haired invaders from the far north had grown in numbers and power. They continued their expansion south while in turn displacing defeated Hyborians to the south. Even Hyperborea was conquered by one of these barbarian tribes, but the conquerors decided to maintain the kingdom in its ancient name, merging with the defeated Hyperboreans and adopted elements of Hyborian culture. The continuing wars and migrations would keep the state of the other areas of the continent for another five hundred years.