After the Great Cataclysm, the Hyborians's ancestors, barely-human savages, fought the Snow-Apes and drove them from icy countries of the far north to beyond the Arctic Circle and the Icy Wastes to die, so thought the savages.
Over time, their descendants mutated into man-ape like men.
A thousand years after the Lesser Cataclysm, 1500 years after the proto-Hybori drove out the Snow-Apes, a wanderer to the North returned with news that the Icy Wastes were inhabited by the ape-like men descendants of the Snow-Apes. A small group of warriors followed the wanderer beyond the Arctic Circle with the intention of exterminate those creatures, but none returned. They were ambushed, outnumbered and defeated. They were not all killed, for the Beast-Men were shrewd. From their captives, they learned of weapons. They also found out that humans made good workers. In order to perpetuate their stock of slaves, they went on the edges of the ice-wastes to kidnap human females.
Conan the Cimmerian encountered the Beast-Men while in Aesgaard. After slaying Gan-Torr, the Giant One, he was captured by Moira (the human favorite of King Gha-Kree), Zha-Gorr and another of Gan-Torr's comrade of the Brutorian Guard. Brought to the city as a slave, Conan defied his masters and was to be killed in the games. Awaking the slaves' Chief Thrall Kiord's desire for freedom, he caused the slaves' rebellion and the death of many Beast-Men. Although Kiord died, all of the Beast-Men were either killed or fled the city.
The descendants of the Snow-Apes were created by Robert E. Howard in his essay The Hyborian Age (with the chapter relevant to the Snow-Apes adapted in Savage Sword of Conan #8. They were first adapted into the original story "Lair of the Beast-Men" (Conan the Barbarian #2) by Roy Thomas and Barry Smith.
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