Conan chronologies

Conan chronologies

Conan Chronologies have been prepared by a variety of people from the 1930s onward to provide a timeline into which to fit the numerous Conan the Barbarian stories by Robert E. Howard and later writers.

A completely consistent timeline that would accommodate every existing Conan story is impossible for several reasons. These include (a) errors that crept into the earliest chronologies, (b) subsequent disregard by the early chronologists of chronological evidence in later-discovered Conan material contrary to the existing schemes, (c) similar disregard for this contrary evidence in the writing of much post-Howard Conan material, and (d) disregard of both the existing chronologies and chronological information established in previous stories by Howard and others in the writing of other post-Howard Conan material.

The following are the major schemes that have been advanced over the years, with their strengths and weaknesses.

Contents

Miller/Clark/de Camp chronology

A Probable Outline of Conan's Career (1936), completed during Howard's lifetime by P. Schuyler Miller and John D. Clark, was said by Howard to follow his vision "pretty closely." The strongest point in favor of this chronology is the affirmation by Howard. The weaknesses are that it misses a few chronological points in the stories that point to a slightly different arrangement, and it does not cover all Conan stories by Howard, having been compiled before the entire corpus was published. It naturally omits all post-Howard writings. All of these weaknesses were subsequently rectified, as the Miller/Clark chronology was revised on numerous occasions over the years to take into account newly discovered and newly written material.

Notable among subsequent versions was An Informal Biography of Conan the Cimmerian (1952), a revision by Clark and L. Sprague de Camp used to bridge stories in the first hardcover edition of the Conan stories, published by Gnome Press. With further revisions by de Camp, the chronology performed the same service in the first paperback edition, the publication of which was begun by Lancer Books and completed by Ace Books. While these versions incorporated additional Howard stories that became known after 1936, the placement of these stories could not be vetted by the now-deceased Howard. De Camp's successive revisions incorporated all non-Howard material published through the time of each revision, as well as versions of Howard stories rewritten by de Camp to fit his view of the chronology. His final version of the chronology, Conan the Indestructible (1986), also incorporated the first seven volumes of the series of Conan pastiches published by Tor Books.

As the Miller/Clark/de Camp chronology has essentially been the official one for many years, most post-Howard stories were written in conformity with it. It has been argued that it perpetuates some inaccuracies of the 1936 version and force-fits subsequently discovered Howard stories into its scheme (e.g. "The Black Stranger," in which Howard indicated a new piratical career between Conan's stints as Aquilonian general and king of Aquilonia, but which was rewritten by de Camp to lead directly into Conan's kingship).

Order (earliest and latest forms)

All stories added after the earliest version are indented.

  • "Shadows in the Dark"
  • "Black Tears"
  • "The Star of Khorala"
  • "The Ivory Goddess"

Robert Jordan chronology

A Conan Chronology by Robert Jordan (1987) was the attempt of Conan writer Robert Jordan to create a new Chronology including all Conan material written up to that point, including the first sixteen volumes of the series of Conan pastiches published by Tor Books (although inexplicably omitting the eighth, Conan the Valorous). It was first published in Conan the Defiant, by Steve Perry (Tor Books, 1987). It was heavily influenced by the Miller/Clark/de Camp chronologies, though deviating from them in some respects. Its major strength is its inclusion of almost all existing works published at the time of its compilation. Its weakness is its occasional idiosyncratic departure from the Miller/Clark/de Camp chronology, for which Jordan seldom provided his reasoning.

Order

  1. "Legions of the Dead"
  2. "The Thing in the Crypt"
  3. Conan the Defiant
  4. "The Tower of the Elephant"
  5. Conan and the Sorcerer
  6. Conan the Mercenary
  7. Conan: The Sword of Skelos
  8. Conan the Destroyer
  9. Conan the Magnificent
  10. Conan the Invincible
  11. "The Hall of the Dead"
  12. Conan the Fearless
  13. "The God in the Bowl"
  14. Conan the Warlord
  15. Conan the Champion
  16. "Rogues in the House"
  17. Conan the Victorious
  18. Conan the Unconquered
  19. "The Hand of Nergal"
  20. "The City of Skulls"
  21. "The People of the Summit"
  22. "The Curse of the Monolith"
  23. Conan the Valiant
  24. "The Blood-Stained God"
  25. "The Frost Giant's Daughter"
  26. "The Lair of the Ice Worm"
  27. Conan and the Spider God
  28. Conan the Defender
  29. Conan: The Road of Kings
  30. Conan the Triumphant
  31. "Queen of the Black Coast" (Part 1)
  32. Conan the Rebel
  33. "Queen of the Black Coast" (Part 2)
  34. "The Vale of Lost Women"
  35. "The Castle of Terror"
  36. "The Snout in the Dark"
  37. "Hawks Over Shem"
  38. "Black Colossus"
  39. "Shadows in the Dark"
  40. Conan the Renegade
  41. "Shadows in the Moonlight"
  42. "The Road of the Eagles"
  43. "A Witch Shall be Born"
  44. "Black Tears"
  45. "Shadows in Zamboula"
  46. Conan the Raider
  47. "The Star of Khorala"
  48. "The Devil in Iron"
  49. "The Flame Knife"
  50. "The People of the Black Circle"
  51. Conan the Marauder
  52. "The Slithering Shadow"
  53. "Drums of Tombalku"
  54. "The Gem in the Tower"
  55. "The Pool of the Black One"
  56. Conan the Buccaneer
  57. "Red Nails"
  58. "Jewels of Gwahlur"
  59. "The Ivory Goddess"
  60. "Beyond the Black River"
  61. "Moon of Blood"
  62. "The Treasure of Tranicos"
  63. "Wolves Beyond the Border"
  64. Conan the Liberator
  65. "The Phoenix on the Sword"
  66. "The Scarlet Citadel"
  67. The Hour of the Dragon
  68. The Return of Conan
  69. "The Witch of the Mists"
  70. "Black Sphinx of Nebthu"
  71. "Red Moon of Zembabwei"
  72. "Shadows in the Skull"
  73. Conan of the Isles

William Galen Gray chronology

Timeline of Conan's Journeys (1997, rev. 2004), was fan William Galen Gray's attempt to create "a chronology of all the stories, both Howard and pastiche." Based on a close reading of all the stories and drawing on the earlier Miller/Clark/de Camp and Jordan chronologies, it represents the ultimate expression of their tradition to date. Gray follows sometimes one of his predecessors and sometimes the other, in each case supporting the story placement adopted, and his occasional departures from both are well-reasoned. The Gray chronology's major strength is its inclusion of all existing works published to date, including all the Tor pastiches. Its weaknesses are those inherent in its tradition, as it can only incorporate the complete corpus of pastiches by perpetuating the chronological scheme according to which they were written. It treats inconsistently four pastiches whose portrayals of Conan's early life contradict those established both by Howard and the Miller/Clark/de Camp tradition. Three of these, the movie adaptations Conan the Barbarian and Conan the Destroyer and the John M. Roberts novel Conan the Bold, Gray rejects as apocryphal "legends"; the fourth, Harry Turtledove's Conan of Venarium, he accepts.

Order

  1. Conan of Venarium
  2. "Legions of the Dead"
  3. "The Thing in the Crypt"
  4. Conan the Defiant
  5. Conan the Hunter
  6. Conan the Indomitable
  7. Conan the Free Lance
  8. Conan the Formidable
  9. "The Tower of the Elephant"
  10. Conan and the Sorcerer
  11. Conan the Mercenary
  12. Conan: The Sword of Skelos
  13. Conan the Outcast
  14. Conan the Magnificent
  15. Conan the Invincible
  16. "The Hall of the Dead"
  17. Conan the Fearless
  18. "The God in the Bowl"
  19. Conan the Warlord
  20. "Rogues in the House"
  21. Conan the Victorious
  22. Conan the Unconquered
  23. "The Hand of Nergal"
  24. "The City of Skulls"
  25. Conan the Hero
  26. "The People of the Summit"
  27. "The Curse of the Monolith"
  28. Conan the Valiant
  29. Conan and the Spider God
  30. "The Blood-Stained God"
  31. Conan the Valorous
  32. "The Frost Giant's Daughter"
  33. "The Lair of the Ice Worm"
  34. Conan the Relentless
  35. Conan the Savage
  36. Conan the Defender
  37. Conan the Triumphant
  38. Conan the Guardian
  39. "Queen of the Black Coast" (part 1)
  40. Conan the Rebel
  41. "Queen of the Black Coast" (part 2)
  42. Conan at the Demon's Gate
  43. "The Vale of Lost Women"
  44. "The Castle of Terror"
  45. "The Snout in the Dark"
  46. Conan the Gladiator
  47. Conan and the Emerald Lotus
  48. "Hawks Over Shem"
  49. "Black Colossus"
  50. "Shadows in the Dark"
  51. Conan: The Road of Kings
  52. Conan the Renegade
  53. "Shadows in the Moonlight"
  54. Conan of the Red Brotherhood
  55. Conan, Scourge of the Bloody Coast
  56. Conan the Champion
  57. "The Road of the Eagles"
  58. "A Witch Shall be Born"
  59. "Black Tears"
  60. Conan and the Manhunters
  61. "Shadows in Zamboula"
  62. Conan the Raider
  63. "The Star of Khorala"
  64. Conan and the Death Lord of Thanza
  65. Conan and the Amazon
  66. "The Devil in Iron"
  67. "The Flame Knife"
  68. Conan and the Shaman's Curse
  69. "The People of the Black Circle"
  70. Conan the Marauder
  71. Conan and the Mists of Doom
  72. "The Slithering Shadow"
  73. "Drums of Tombalku"
  74. "The Gem in the Tower"
  75. Conan and the Grim Grey God
  76. "The Pool of the Black One"
  77. Conan the Buccaneer
  78. "Red Nails"
  79. Conan and the Gods of the Mountain
  80. "Jewels of Gwahlur"
  81. "The Ivory Goddess"
  82. Conan and the Treasure of Python
  83. Conan, Lord of the Black River
  84. Conan the Rogue
  85. "Beyond the Black River"
  86. "Moon of Blood"
  87. "The Treasure of Tranicos"
  88. "Wolves Beyond the Border"
  89. Conan the Liberator
  90. "The Phoenix on the Sword"
  91. "The Scarlet Citadel"
  92. The Hour of the Dragon
  93. The Return of Conan
  94. Conan the Great
  95. "The Witch of the Mists"
  96. "Black Sphinx of Nebthu"
  97. "Red Moon of Zembabwei"
  98. "Shadows in the Skull"
  99. Conan of the Isles

Apocryphal:

Dale Rippke chronology

Dale Rippke established The Darkstorm Conan Chronology (2003), a completely revised chronology, including only those stories written (or devised) by Howard. The Dark Horse comic series mostly follows this chronology. Its strengths are Rippke's various arguments supporting his story placement, based on the texts as Howard wrote them, which lead him to some of the same conclusions as Marek. Most of his significant differences with Marek come in the middle of their respective efforts. Works completed or revised by other hands and post-Howard works find no place in this chronology, but were not intended to, as the allegedly erroneous assumptions under which they were written preclude their inclusion. Rippke's placement of both “The Frost Giant’s Daughter” and “The God in the Bowl” before “The Tower of the Elephant” has been disputed as being erroneous due to a passage in the letter from Howard to Miller dated March 30, 1936, referring to “The Tower of the Elephant” as Conan’s “debut in print”. Others point to the disappearance and reappearance of Conan's horned helm from story to story.

Order

  1. "The Frost Giant's Daughter
  2. "The God in the Bowl
  3. "The Tower of the Elephant"
  4. "The Hall of the Dead" (synopsis)
  5. "Rogues in the House"
  6. "The Hand of Nergal" (fragment)
  7. "Shadows in the Moonlight"
  8. "Black Colossus"
  9. "Queen of the Black Coast"
  10. "The Snout in the Dark" (fragment)
  11. "The Slithering Shadow"
  12. "A Witch Shall Be Born"
  13. "The Devil in Iron"
  14. "The People of the Black Circle"
  15. "Shadows in Zamboula"
  16. "Drums of Tombalku" (fragment)
  17. "The Vale of Lost Women"
  18. "The Pool of the Black One"
  19. "Beyond the Black River"
  20. "The Black Stranger"
  21. "Red Nails"
  22. "Jewels of Gwahlur"
  23. "Wolves Beyond the Border" (fragment)
  24. "The Phoenix on the Sword"
  25. "The Scarlet Citadel"
  26. "The Hour of the Dragon"

Compared order

Story REH's
writing
order
Rippke de Camp Jordan Gray Notes
Conan of Venarium - - - - 01 final chapters contradict all other accounts of Conan's first entry into the civilized countries
Conan the Bold - - - A - contradicts all other accounts of Conan's first entry into the civilized countries; would go between Conan of Venarium and "Legions of the Dead" if anywhere
"Legions of the Dead" - - 01 01 02
Conan the Barbarian - - 02 - A
"The Thing in the Crypt" - - 03 02 03
Conan the Defiant - - - 03 04
Conan the Hunter - - - - 05
Conan the Indomitable - - - - 06
Conan the Free Lance - - - - 07
Conan the Formidable - - - - 08
"The Tower of the Elephant" 04 03 04 04 09
Conan and the Sorcerer - - 11 05 10
Conan the Mercenary - - 12 06 11
Conan: The Sword of Skelos - - 13 07 12
Conan the Destroyer - - 05 08 A
Conan the Outcast - - - - 13
Conan the Magnificent - - 06 09 14
Conan the Invincible - - 07 10 15
"The Hall of the Dead" * 04 08 11 16 early fragment
Conan the Fearless - - - 12 17
"The God in the Bowl" 03 02 09 13 18
Conan the Warlord - - - 14 19
"Rogues in the House" 11 05 10 16 20
Conan the Victorious - - 14 17 21
Conan the Unconquered - - 15 18 22
"The Hand of Nergal" * 06 16 19 23 early fragment
"The City of Skulls" - - 17 20 24
Conan the Hero - - - - 25
"The People of the Summit" - - 18 21 26
"The Curse of the Monolith" - - 19 22 27
Conan the Valiant - - - 23 28
Conan and the Spider God - - 20 27 29
"The Blood-Stained God" - - 21 24 30
Conan the Valorous - - - - 31
"The Frost Giant's Daughter" 02 01 22 25 32
"The Lair of the Ice Worm" - - 23 26 33
Conan the Relentless - - - - 34
Conan the Savage - - - - 35
Conan the Defender - - 24 28 36
Conan the Triumphant - - 25 30 37
Conan the Guardian - - - - 38
"Queen of the Black Coast" 06 09 26, 28 31, 33 39, 41
Conan the Rebel - - 27 32 40
Conan at the Demon's Gate - - - - 42
"The Vale of Lost Women" 12 17 29 34 43
"The Castle of Terror" - - 30 35 44
"The Snout in the Dark" * 10 31 36 45 early fragment
Conan the Gladiator - - - - 46
Conan and the Emerald Lotus - - - - 47
"Hawks Over Shem" - - 32 37 48
"Black Colossus" 07 08 34 38 49
"Shadows in the Dark" - - 35 39 50
Conan: The Road of Kings - - 33 29 51
Conan the Renegade - - - 40 52
"Shadows in the Moonlight" 08 07 36 41 53
Conan of the Red Brotherhood - - - - 54
Conan, Scourge of the Bloody Coast - - - - 55
Conan the Champion - - - 15 56
"The Road of the Eagles" - - 37 42 57
"A Witch Shall be Born" 16 12 38 43 58
"Black Tears" - - 39 44 59
Conan and the Manhunters - - - - 60
"Shadows in Zamboula" 20 15 40 45 61
Conan the Raider - - - 46 62
"The Star of Khorala" - - 41 47 63
Conan and the Death Lord of Thanza - - - - 64
Conan and the Amazon - - - - 65
"The Devil in Iron" 13 13 42 48 66
"The Flame Knife" - - 43 49 67
Conan and the Shaman's Curse - - - - 68
"The People of the Black Circle" 14 14 44 50 69
Conan the Marauder - - - 51 70
Conan and the Mists of Doom - - - - 71
"The Slithering Shadow" 09 11 45 52 72
"Drums of Tombalku" * 16 46 53 73 unpublished fragment
"The Gem in the Tower" - - 47 54 74
Conan and the Grim Grey God - - - - 75
"The Pool of the Black One" 10 18 48 55 76
Conan the Buccaneer - - 49 56 77
"Red Nails" 21 21 50 57 78
Conan and the Gods of the Mountain - - - - 79
"Jewels of Gwahlur" 17 22 51 58 80
"The Ivory Goddess" - - 52 59 81
Conan and the Treasure of Python - - - - 82
Conan, Lord of the Black River - - - - 83
Conan the Rogue - - - - 84
"Beyond the Black River" 18 19 53 60 85
"Moon of Blood" - - 54 61 86
"The Treasure of Tranicos"
"The Black Stranger"
19 20 55 62 87
"Wolves Beyond the Border" * 23 56 63 88 unpublished draft
Conan the Liberator - - 57 64 89
"The Phoenix on the Sword" 01 24 58 65 90
"The Scarlet Citadel" 05 25 59 66 91
The Hour of the Dragon 15 26 60 67 92
The Return of Conan - - 61 68 93
Conan the Great - - - - 94
"The Witch of the Mists" - - 62 69 95
"Black Sphinx of Nebthu" - - 63 70 96
"Red Moon of Zembabwei" - - 64 71 97
"Shadows in the Skull" - - 65 72 98
Conan of the Isles - - 66 73 99

References


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