Quote1.png And in those days, the weak kingdom of Ophir did still remain independent, despite its rich gold and gemstone mines, its warriors wearing gilded armor, for this reason only: its more powerful neighbors Aquilonia and Nemedia, aye, and even avaricious Corinthia, all enviously watched both Ophir... and each other. Quote2.png
-- The Nemedian Chronicles src


Overview

Ophir was a very small[3] yet prosperous Hyborian kingdom, lying to the south of the major powers of Aquilonia and Nemedia.[4] as well as Corinthia, and north of Argos and Koth.[3]

Part of its borders is protected by a mountain range which hinders the passage of armies.

These same mountains are the main reason for its prosperity. They contain vast resources in gold and gemstones. The mines of Ophir have brought it wealth comparable to its more powerful neighbors. This wealth is reflected in the gleaming armor of its soldiers, which has a golden surface.

The capital and royal seat is Khorala. There are several autonomous city-states such as Pergona and Carnolla. The borders of Ophir include a system of fortified keeps, situated by all major passages. Aided by its mountains and other physical features, Ophir is well-prepared to face any potential invader.[4]

History

Pre-Cataclysmic Age and Great Cataclysm

A few landmarks from the Pre-Cataclysmic Age remained through the ages, despite the Great Cataclysm, into the Hyborian Age, including:

  • the Plain of Shamu, where was located a nameless city was originally a mountain-city set on the outer fringes of Valusia. During the Pre-Cataclysmic Age, its king, Thuron performed human sacrifices to elder gods, until his death, seemingly through the intervention of the Great Scorpion, as King Kull of Valusia marched on the city in his crusade against the elder gods worshipers that still sacrificed humans to them.[5]
  • a city of fishmen worshipers of Dagon west off the coast of Valusia, in the Western Sea, was leveled and ended up in Ophir.[6] For a time, the sorcerer Ohris Dehjmal's disembodied head led them into an failed attack on his enemy, King Kull. Defeated, the fishmen rejected Dehjmal.[7]

Foundation by Thanus

At some point, the Ophirean nation was founded by Thanus who became its first king.[1]

Ophir was possibly one of the earliest Hyborian kingdom. Though the scope of the claim was contested on the basis that Ophir was set far from the Hybori's homeland in the North, the assertion that Ophir became a Hyborian kingdom at a very early date was confirmed.[3]

Due to the statement that the Hyborian Kingdoms of Koth, Ophir, and Corinthia "regained their independence with the fall of the empire" of Acheron, a theory asserted that those three kingdoms may had not been founded by the Hyborians (unlikely to have dominated those kingdoms at the dawn of Acheron), but by refugees from Valusia, Thurania, and Zarfhaana, rebuilding their culture while the Hyborians were still in the Far North.[8]

It persisted in the ages despite its size thanks to the prosperity brought upon it by its mine.[3]

Under Stygia's and Acheron's dominion

At some point, Ophir, as well as Koth and Corinthia, were satellites of Stygia.

Later,[9] Ophir was annexed by Acheron.[10]

Having absorbed the nations of Ophir, Koth, and Corinthia, Acheron made its northern border vulnerable to the Hyborian invasions to come,[11] and by 13,000 BC, with the Fall of Acheron, Ophir regained its independence.[10]

Age of Conan

Verbatim from the Nemedian Chronicles, And in those days, the weak kingdom of Ophir did still remain independent, despite its rich gold and gemstone mines, its warriors wearing gilded armor, for this reason only: its more powerful neighbors Aquilonia and Nemedia, aye, and even avaricious Corinthia, all enviously watched both Ophir... and each other. Were one to attack the kingdom of gold, the other two would surely have formed an alliance to attack the invader. And so Ophir remained free, independent, and rich. Yet in the days before Conan was king, there was a change of rulers which did threaten to upset the delicate balance...[1]

Later, heading to Aquilonia to find the Devourer of Souls, Conan and his party dashed across the grassy pastures of Ophir toward the Tybor River, purposely avoiding normal roads and trade routes, hoping to avoid the attention and delay a group of armed riders such as they would undoubtedly attract.[12]

During the early days of Conan's rule over Aquilonia, his kingdom was allied to Ophir, but Ophir betrayed him just before a great battle on the Plains of Shamu, siding with Koth. Conan was captured and his army destroyed. Conan would have his revenge afterwards.[3]

End of Ophir

In the years after Conan's reign, Ophir was absorbed into the Pictish Empire.

Later, long before the Modern Age, its mines were swallowed by the Adriatic Sea.[3]

Facts

Geography

Ophir was a very small kingdom set south of Aquilonia, Nemedia, and Corinthia, and north of Argos and Koth.

The border with Aquilonia, delineated by the Tybor River was made of meadowlands.

The mountains between the border between Nemedia and Corinthia possibly continued into Ophir and included the mines producing Ophir's riches.

Save for the border with Koth, where guarding castles were built, Ophir was a small enclave easy to defend.[3]

Diplomacy

Despite its small size and its immense riches, Ophir remained independent from its neighbors[3] due to a few factors:

  • Aquilonia, Nemedia, and Corinthia all envied Ophir, but neither dared to invade it, in fear of having the two other nations to ally in order to repel the invader away from Ophir.[1]
  • Koth had too much trouble on other fronts to add a war with Ophir. Though, as the border the harder to defend, guarding castles had been set up.
  • Further, Ophir's riches allowed it to equip an army with the best equipment.[3]

Economy

Ophir was known for the gold and gems produced in its mines, which was likely the key to Ophir's very existence.[3]

Points of Interest

Residents

Notes

  • Robert E. Howard named Ophir after a namesake mysterious location in the Bible, where the kings of Israel, Judah, and Tyre reportedly send expeditions to acquire gold. Making the "gold of Ophir" proverbial to Bible readers.
  • Ophir is synonymous with the "Mines of King Solomon", because these mines were not placed in Israel. Several theories place them either in Africa, or in South Asia.

See Also

Links and References

Footnotes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Savage Sword of Conan #68; Black Cloaks of Ophir
  2. Conan the Barbarian #122; The City Where Time Stood Still
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 3.9 Savage Sword of Conan #38; A Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age Part VI: Ophir's entry
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Handbook of the Conan Universe #1; Ophir's entry
  5. 5.0 5.1 Conan the Barbarian #52; The Altar and the Scorpion!
  6. Savage Sword of Conan #186; Horror Out Of Time
  7. Savage Sword of Conan #132; The Sea King
  8. Savage Sword of Conan #33; A Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age, Part IV: Koth's entry
  9. Savage Sword of Conan #30; A Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age Part I: Acheron's entry
  10. 10.0 10.1 Giant-Size Conan #1; Conan the Conqueror - The Hour of the Dragon - Chapter One
  11. Savage Sword of Conan #30; A Gazetteer of the Hyborian Age Part I: Acheron's entry
  12. Conan the Barbarian #200; The Fall of Acheron
  13. 13.0 13.1 Conan the Barbarian #53; Brothers of the Blade!
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 14.3 Savage Sword of Conan #44; The Star of Khorala
  15. Savage Sword of Conan #3; At the Mountain of the Moon-God
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