At its high point, circa 13,000 BC (before its Fall), Acheron went from the Western Ocean at south to the territory of the Gundermen and Cimmerians at north, bordered at southwest by the Zingg settlements, at west by the Bossonians and the Shirki, at west (from north to south by the Aquiloni, the Nemedi, the Corinthia, and the kingdoms of Ophir and Koth.
Foundation and early years (15,500 BC)
Circa 15,500 BC, thousand years after the Great Cataclysm. the ancient kingdom of Acheron was founded by a northern offshoot of the Lemurian survivors, Stygians from Khemi, who established an outpost at the embouchure of the Tybor and expanded up-river, while enslaving or destroying the small unclassified tribes it encountered. By that period, they worshiped Set.
The capital, Python, was likely set in southern Nemedia, possibly on the plain north of Hanumar though it could as well be located in Aquilonia. The claim of Acheron being set within the Shem-Stygia region on an ancient map was considered an error from the map-maker.
Acheron soon broke off Stygian control, though it remained Stygian in culture.
Expansion and encounter with the Hybori (15,000 BC)
Advancing still their frontier, they first encountered the wandering Hyborians circa 15,000 BC. Acheron extended its dominion over western Koth, Ophir, and Corinthia, the three nations that were at some point under Stygia's dominion, but apparently fell to Acheron at a later date, seemingly the empire overexpanded itself by annexing Stygian satellites.
An advanced nation, Acheron raided its more barbarous neighbors, such as the Zingg Valley, the Shemites, then the Hybori tribes that drifted south, using them both a slaves and human sacrifices.
As war approached between Acheron, Stygia, and Zamora (the pre-Cataclysmic Zhemri, re-invigorated by infusions of some unclassified race), the Hyborians, unable to penetrate Acherohn's and Zamora's borders, were led to Stygia with Acheron's connivance and Stygia's help, resulting inthe loss of the Stygian forts in northern Shem. The Hyborians subsequently settled in tribal clusters between Acheron and Zamora.
The dates of the rise and fall of Kara-Shehr remains unrevealed so far.
Though stated to have been already old when Set emerged from the sands of Stygia, Kara-Shehr, the City of the Dead, was an outpost of Acheron in what was during the Hyborian Age of Conan as in the desert between Turan and Khitai. The people of Kara-Shehr didn't seemed to worship Set, but instead erected statues of man-headed bat-winged bulls. The legends stated that the city wasn't governed by the gods, but by even more powerful demons.
King Bel-Hissar's rule
The span of Bel-Hissar's life and reign over Acheron remains unrevealed so far. During the reign of King Bel-Hissar over then-mighty Acheron, a diver for pearls named Naka recovered a great ruby from the clutches of a giant mummied king an undersea city, and passed it to Bel-Hissar, just before dying. Despite his lords' pleas, Bel-Hissar refused to throw away the gem, considering the jewel belonged to the sea-gods. He was slain soon afterwards in his very palace by an unnamed thief who stole the gem. The ruby became then known as the Blood of Bel-Hissar.
At some point, an Acheron explorer found a land across the Western Ocean. He fell in love with a native, Princess Matoaka but when she revealed the immense gold treasure of her people, he left and returned with a fleet of Acheronian vessels. They burned and slayed , but were all killed.
Circa 13,000 BC, Acheron fought the Cimmerians of the north, but the Kings of Acheron were never able to conquer them. However, and while their people were looked down upon in Acheron, some Cimmerians sought employment as mercenaries and guardsmen of Acheronian royalty.
Queen Xaltana's rule
King Bafomai's rule
Queen Xaltana's removal made way for Bafomai's ascension. Bafomai and Kheperu also wished to slay Xaltana's brother and high priest of Set, Xaltotun, but Xaltotun was himself leading a powerful faction. Xaltotun was also in possession of the Heart of Ahriman.
The Fall of Acheron
The Heart of Ahriman was stolen by the barbarians, and used against Xaltotun by a feathered shaman. Xaltotun fled the fall of Acheron.
Nemedia (where was likely set the capital) inherited some elements from Acheron, including its long tradition of scholarship and intellectual inquisitiveness, and possibly its emblem (a scarlet dragon).
Jewels of Acheron became fabled as well, and tied to histories of death around them:
- The Blood of Bel-Hissar, the jewel of jewels, was heard of even in far-off Hyborian Lands. For it, women gave up their virtues for it, and men their lives. It was taken by Skol Abdhur from a Himelian chieftain that he slew. Abdhur used it to ensure loyalty from the people of Bab-El-Shaithan using the jewel's mesmerizing capabilities. Conan's companion Turghol stole it, causing Bab-El-Shaitan to descend into chaos. Conan thought of taking it, but renounced and let Turghol keep it instead.
- The Azure Eye was said in legends to be worth its weight in stars, and laid in the lost city of Kara-Shehr, in the desert between Turan and Khitai, where it led to the death those who tried to acquire it.
- The Heart of Ahriman ended up int the Temple of Mitra in the capital of Aquilonia.
The people of Kara-Shehr didn't seemed to worship Set, but instead erected statues of man-headed bat-winged bulls. The legends stated that the city wasn't governed by the gods, but by even more powerful demons.
Politics and Rulership
The Acheronians spoke the Stygian-Acheronian tongue. The Cimmerians of the King Bafomai's Elite Guard spoke it with a distinctive Cimmerian accent (though they only spoke their own tongue when on duty, which was why Bafomai had surrounded himself with them).
Points of Interest
- Python, the City of Purple Towers - Capital
- Kara-Shehr - Outpost in the desert between Hyborian Age Turan and Khitai
- Robert E. Howard created Acheron in "The Hour of Conan"/"Conan the Conqueror" (Weird Tales; December, 1935 to April, 1936).
- He named this fictional country after the real-life river Acheron, located in Epirus, in the northwest regions of modern Greece, and flowing into the Ionian Sea.
- In Greek and Roman mythology, the river was to be an entrance to the underworld and to continue to flow through its regions, as one of the underworld's five rivers.
- In the adaptation of Robert E. Howard's Cthulhu Mythos story "Dig Me No Grave" (February, 1937) in Journey into Mystery (Vol. 2) #1 (October, 1972), written by Roy Thomas, the name-dropping was modified, notably replacing "Yuggoth" by "Acheron".
- As a Set-worshiping city, formerly set in what became the Hyborian Lands, Eidoran mirrored Acheron and Stygia.
- Though relations, if any, between Eidoran and its two fellow Set-worshiping nations, were unrevealed, it can be speculated that Eidoran was either a part of Acheron, enclaved by it, or a close neighbor to it by its eastern border, and presumably fell under the same alliance against Acheron and southward drift of the Hyborians that ended Acheron, as Eidoran was seemingly set in Argos (possibly in Eastern Argos), while Acheron occupied roughly the territory occupied during the Age of Conan by Argos, and considering that Eidoran stood at least from 15,500 BC (date of the attested worship of Set) until 13,000 BC (date of the estimated fall, see "Eidoran circa 13,000 BC" for more information),
- 5 appearance(s) of Acheron (Hyboria)
- 31 mention(s) of Acheron (Hyboria)
- 1 mention(s) in handbook(s) of Acheron (Hyboria)
- 1 invocation(s) of Acheron (Hyboria)
- 2 image(s) of Acheron (Hyboria)