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Turanian

  The Splendor of the East and Mistress of the Vilayet Sea, the Empire of Turan was fiercely proud of its Hyrkanian heritage. Turan was perhaps the greatest empire ever to rise in the ancient world of Hyboria; Koth, Shem, Brythunia, and Zamora all paid tribute to the Empire of Turan. The chief religious figures of the Turanians were the prophet named the Living Tarim and the dark god he served, Erlik the Shrouded One.

Turan was the wealthiest realm west of Khitai during the Hyborian Age, with the possible exception of Vendhya. The kingdom boasted a large, powerful navy and several large commercial cities like Khorosun, Sultanapur, Zamboula, Shahpur, Akhlat, Khawarizm, and Aghrapur that ringed the western shore of the great inland sea of the Vilayet. Skilled Turanian seamen aboard their famed war-galleys had made the Vilayet Sea a “Turanian lake.” Turan’s influence extended over most of the Hyrkanian heartland to the east of the Vilayet and its armies of powerful cavalry and horse-archers conquered many of the desert cities to the south like Zamboula, which had originally been established by the Stygians. During Conan’s lifetime, Turan was beginning to look westwards as well—casting covetous eyes at the rich farmlands and wealthy cities of Zamora, Shem and the eastern Hyborian kingdoms.

Turan’s capital city, Aghrapur, was the most glorious and teeming city of the Age of Conan, extending from the Vilayet Sea to far inland. The huge, magnificent palace of the Turanian king was called the Sunrise Court.

Turan’s eastern half was swallowed up by the Eastern Desert, which itself had no firmly established boundaries. It was simply the name given to the whole great sandy expanse that lay to the east of Stygia, Shem and the Hyborian lands. Beyond it to the east lay Turan, whose borders were always expanding  westward across the desert.

The “Inland Sea” as the Vilayet Sea was often called in the Hyborian Age, was both a barrier to and a catalyst for the relations between its two major coastal nations, Hyrkania on the eastern shore and Turan on the west. The sea itself was perhaps 300 miles across at its widest point and some 2,000 miles long. To any except the great vessels of Turan, it might as well have been an endless ocean, dotted with islands inhabited by savage peoples and grey carnivorous apes that dwarfed the gorillas of later ages in their size. Seafaring commercial traffic also often fell prey to the Red Brotherhood, the coalition of savage pirates  who hid among the Inland Sea’s many islets and river inlets.

The Turanian marketplaces were always filled with human “trade goods” and one could purchase slaves from Brythunia, Zamora, Ophir, Kush, Shem, and Stygia. The Turanian people were a self-assured lot, proud of their splendid nation, and supportive of their government’s policies of imperialism and expansion. The Turanians especially despised the Kothians, viewing them as needlessly arrogant and insulting. On more than one occasion, Turanian warriors had killed lone Kothians whose very existence insulted their honor.

Women in Turani society wore veils and were not allowed outside during the hours of darkness.  They only conversed with men when approved by the head male of their family. All Turani women were married under arrangements made by their fathers. No other person could make such decisions. If a man  was killed before his daughter reached the proper age, the decision rested with his eldest son. All Turani men of wealth maintained large harems populated with as many foreign women of beauty as they could obtain. Most Turani who did not live in the cities were shepherds and traded in animals rather than material objects. Despite this, some Turani merchants did manage to gain significant wealth, particularly due to Turan’s position astride the trade routes between Hyboria’s East and West.

Whenever two nomadic Turani clans met, each slaughtered one of its animals to prepare a meal for the leader of the opposite clan. In this manner, they honored each other. Richer clans also exchanged gifts, although this usually only occurred when the two clans shared roughly equal wealth. Otherwise, the richer clan gave a substantial gift to the poorer one.

Any traveler who wished protection might seek to join a Turani clan. None who requested protection were ever denied, but the traveler had to surrender all of his weapons and follow all instructions from the clan’s leader. The ambitious Turanians (often calling themselves Hyrkanians, after their ancestor race) made forays in all directions as they attempted to enlarge their empire. They had usurped most of the important caravan cities of the Eastern Desert by Conan’s time, crowded the eastern frontier of Zamora, taken over the caravan route to the Far East with the assistance of their kinsmen, the Hyrkanians of the far eastern steppe, and even invaded Vendhya.

The strongest monarch of Turan, King Yezdigerd, fought successful battles with the armies of Hyperborea and Stygia. After the reign of Conan as king of Aquilonia, the Hyrkanians of Turan took advantage of the disintegrating Aquilonian Empire to absorb Zamora, Hyperborea, Brythunia, and Corinthia. In the South, they fought with the Pictish invaders in Ophir, subjugated Shem completely, and overran Stygia. They had seriously overextended themselves by the time they marched into Kush and needed to withdraw to the north, settling down to a long series of wars against the Picts before the onset of the last Ice Age ended the civilizations of Hyboria once and for all.

Names:  The Hyrkanians evolve into the tribes known as Tatars, Huns, Mongols and Turks and their names reflect this. One man’s horse is called ‘Irem.’ Rulers often have titles such as Agha, Shah and Khan incorporated into their names. Examples: (male) Alafdhal, Amurath, Angharzeb, Aram Baksh, Atalis, Ghaznavi, Isparana, Jehungir, Jelal Khan, Jehungir Agha, Jungir Khan, Kerim Shah, Khosrun Khan, Than, Yar Afzal, Yezdigerd, Yildiz. Suggestions: (female) Conchaka, Khultulun, Mandughai, Orqina.