Koth was one of the oldest countries of the West, pre-dating the Hyborian invasions. It may have been established by refugees fleeing the devastation wrought in the ancient Thurian kingdom of Valusia by the Great Cataclysm. Despite its landlocked status, Koth was among the greatest commercial nations of the age, dominating much of the overland trade routes.
The land of Koth included meadows in the west and farms to the east, and at least one thousand miles of hills separating the Kothian Uplands from the pastoral lands of Shem. The Flaming Mountains, an impenetrable volcanic range, lay in these hills. Shamla Pass to the east was the most important break in the extensive Kothian Hills and Escarpment, though a second pass was thought to exist near the city of Eruk in Shem. The capital of Koth was Khorshemish, a walled city of spires, minaret temples, markets and broad white streets. It was dubbed “the Queen of the South.” Koth’s other major settlement, a commercial center along its northeastern border near the Road of Kings was called Daramish.
The Kothians were a mixed people of Hyborian and Shemitish strains, with a touch of Stygian blood. They were of medium height and build, although they tended to be overweight because of their more sedentary lifestyles. Koth’s people were much like those in other Hyborian nations, albeit more heavily taxed.
Kothic law was like that of most other Hyborian lands. There was a system of justices and courts and a fair number of professional lawyers, particularly in Khorshemish. The primary distinction was the tax laws, which had increased taxes almost to the point of causing armed insurrection. The King of Koth during the time of Conan, Strabonus, was notable for several reasons. He repeatedly broke treaties with Ophir, Shem, Corinthia and Nemedia; he invaded Argos twice, and Shem and Ophir once each. Most serious, however, was his association with the sorcerer Tsotha-Lanthi. This secretive being inhabited the Scarlet Citadel, which adjoined Strabonus’ palace in Khorshemish. Tsotha-Lanthi’s citadel contained supernatural horrors that those few who entered and returned only hinted at. After Conan became the King of Aquilonia, his kingdom was attacked by an allied Koth and Ophir—with catastrophic results for the invaders.
The Kothians worshiped the gods of Shem, and chiefly the cult of Ishtar the Earth Mother. This worship, however, was still tainted with the beliefs of the ancient empire of Acheron, giving Kothian religion a Stygian cast. Mitra was not a popular deity in Koth.
Names: Kothic names are Middle Eastern, Byzantine, Etruscan and Biblical in tone. Examples: (male) Akkutho, Almulric, Altaro, Arbanus, Constantius, Galacus, Khossus, Pelias, Sergius, Strabonus, Tsotha-lanti, Zorathus; (female) Lissa.