Sunday, December 16, 2012

From Bilbo to Conan


There used to be a site Nova Notes run by Al Schroeder that contained his Wold Newton-ish "Schroeder's Speculations." It's gone now, but I managed to dig up some gold from its heyday: a timeline combining the Lord of the Rings and Conan. Here's Schroeder's opening paragraph:
There are two major texts, at least, that deal with civilizations that existed in what today's anthropologists call prehistory: one is the Red Book of Westmarch, on which Professor Tolkien based his Lord of the Rings. The other is the Nemedian Chronicles, which deals both with the "Pre-Cataclysmic" age and the Hyborian Age, on which Robert E. Howard based his Kull and Conan stories. Looking into real prehistory, about the only place you can fit the over seven thousand years of Tolkien's history and eight thousand years of Howard's history, and have Cro-Magnon man functioning in a non-glacial environment, is in the relatively warm period of 50,000 to 25,000 years ago. Besides, as you'll see below, there is good reason, taking Tolkien at his word, to date the "awakening of the elves" as when the Big Dipper/Great Bear formed. Certainly, it is one of the few events that can be dated to our timelines...
 Check out the rest of Schroeder's rationale and his timeline here.



7 comments:

John Till said...

Thanks for posting this, Trey. I am familiar with the Wold-Newton Hyp but I was unaware anyone hs made this connection!

Brendan said...

Fascinating.

Jeremy said...

Tolkien though, put the end of the third age at 6,000 years ago, and Howard ended the Hyborian age in 9,500 BC.

Trey said...

@Jeremy - Did you read what he wrote? He suggests (rightly) that based on the current state of knowledge those dates don't seem realistic. The choice to make Middle-Earth older than the Hyborian Age was largely a matter of content, I imagine.

Simon J. Hogwood said...

Wow, I'd read this timeline long ago, but thought it was long gone. Thanks so much for resuscitating it!

Those maps are pretty sweet, too. I'd seen the Middle-Earth one before, but the Hyborian one is new to me. Personally, if I was going to use the timeline and maps as the basis for a setting I'd be a bit more flexible in letting variances from the "real world" creep in, but that's a mileage-may-vary issue.

Tim Ballew said...

I remember seeing this back in the day, but the map was new to me. Be fun to do a "sweep of history" game that includes time spent in both eras, as well as historical time. Or a pulp archaeology game where your dig up artifacts from both periods.

Trey said...

Yeah, there are really so many ways to use it.