Friday, May 28, 2010

Royal Armies of the Hyborean Age: Robert E. Howard's description of Shemites

Here's an excerpt from "A Witch Shall Be Born":

"That Smile was on the lips of Constantius at that very moment. He sat his horse among a cluster of his men -- thick-bodied Shemites with curled Blue-black beards and hooked noses; the low-swinging sun struck glints from their peaked helmets and the silvered scales of their coselets."

I haven't found a lot of descriptions of the armies of Shem, but I'll post more as I come across them. It seems that the Shemites are a cross between semitic nations and some mediterranean cultures from the bronze age. In my opinion, ancient Assyrians work really well for Shemites.

Although Assyrians used chariots in their cavalry, I don't believe there is any descriptions of the Shemites using chariots.


  1. While Assyrians (specially as featured in popular illustrations and early 'biblical' movies, I suspect) correspond indeed to the 'bulk' of Howard's 'Shemites', his conception was more inclusive. Other types associated with the area and or with the 'arab / muslim' complex, such as Beduins and Tuaregs, contributed to his 'Shemitic' ethno-cultural group.

    And I've always be intrigued by the extra-heavily armored 'Assuri', specially their 'cylindrical helmet'?

    Your blog brought me back (for a part) to Hyboria, after years of exclusive '18th C.' interest: just discovered these Army lists.

  2. Yes! I've seen this army list, it's pretty good. I was thinking of getting a copy of Vis Magica, but I've got so many rule sets that I haven't used yet. I may decide to forsake the actual rules of Royal Armies just because they're not that great. I may use Fields of Glory, HOTT, or Armatii (which Kobold, a.k.a. David did a great Army List for the Hyborian nations).