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Some thoughts on Hule

by Jennifer Guerra

As many of you already know, I've been working a lot lately on both Alphatian and Hulean history, trying to fill in the gaps, etc. Well, I had some ideas, and I've done a little homework, and I'd appreciate any feedback or additional information that anyone cares to give:) And (you know the line) I'll get back to you as soon as I can get to a computer. (Sorry about any typos!:)

A while back, Glenn Butcher ("knight") posted "The Hule Gazetteer," which did an excellent job of compiling all the canon info on Hule. I got to wondering, as I do, "where" exactly is it that Hule corresponds to in the RW. So I did some digging, and I came up with a few clues, all of which point to a very interesting place:

1.) Janissaries. Janissaries (Hulean cavalry) were an elite corps of young Christians recruited into the army of the Ottoman Empire under the devshirme system (recruiting young Christians to Islam) of the late 15th century.

2.) Desert Nomad Warriors. The Seljuks (pre-Ottoman Turkish dynasty, 11th-13th centuries) relied on an army of nomadic warriors until the development of armies of slaves (mamelukes) in the early 12th.

3.) A Highly Intricate Bureaucracy. Another Seljuk development, one which lasted into the Ottoman years and the Turkish Republic (modern).

4.) A Huge Inland "Lake" Surrounded by Dense Forest / The Black Mountains / Flora and Fauna. The Black Sea coast is the most densely forested region in Turkey, with both coniferous and deciduous trees. Much of the south, west, and northwest is covered by Mediterranean vegetation of thick, scrubby underbrush. Animal life is extremely diverse. The eastern highlands are dotted with peaks reaching elevations of 3,000-4,500 m (10,000-15,000 ft), including the highest, Mount Ararat (16,804ft) in the extreme east. The Pontic and Taurus chains are also important.

5.) Approximate Size. Hule: 256,000 sq mi; Turkey: 300,000 sq mi.

6.) Nearly Unchecked Expansion. Within a century of its founding (Osman I, 13th century), the Ottoman Empire comprised territory from the Danube to the Euphrates, including Greece. In 1453, Mehmed II conquered Constantinople, the last Byzantine stronghold. (It was Mehmed who founded the Janissaries). Suleiman I (16th century) took Iraq, Hungary, and Albania and established Ottoman naval supremacy in the Mediterranean.

7.) Nomenclature. The Byzantine Empire was a continuation of the Roman Empire which--converted to Christianity and using Greek as its principal language but Latin for most of its nomenclature--wasn't fully conquered by the Ottomans until 1453. So we're looking for Thyatian- or Traldar-style names here . . . how's "Hosadus"? (compare to Heraclius, Photius, Comnenus, Pontus . . . all BYZANTINE names, not Roman). Furthermore, what of the name "Bozdogan"? He is, after all, a Hulean version of "Loki." Because of the consonants, my first thought was perhaps Assyria or Babylonia, but that didn't quite pan out (see some thoughts on them, below). Then guess what? . . . I found out that the first people to unify Anatolia (ancient Asiatic Turkey) were the Hittites, an Indo-European confederation that subdued the kingdoms of the central plateau about 1750 BCE. Their capital was called BOGAZKOY (Hattusa). Well, that convinced me. (This also fits with the almost-but-not-quite Central European feel of many of the town names).

So what does this all mean? After all, it's just a little here and a little there, from the same place but in different time periods. Yeah, but I think it fits, if in a vague way. After all, isn't it apparent that Thyatis is modelled on Rome, although it certainly doesn't fit any set time period? So I think I have a "hit" as far as "where" is concerned. That should help fill in the cultural questions, with a little more research.

My second question was "Where in the KW?" That is, where did these Huleans come from? Glenn writes in his Gazetteer that "Much of Hule's history is shrouded in mystery. According to the teachings of the holy men, Hule was founded by human followers of the Immortal Bozdogan sometime before 1500 BC." Okay, so where did they come from? Well, relating them once again to the Byzantines, who came from Rome, I began to wonder if they weren't a reflection of that. But the time is way too early for Thyatis, so no easy answer there. Once more, I hit my resources (the KW ones this time). So what do we know?

1.) A great number of changes occurred between 1750-1500 BC: The human tribes along the River Nithia progress from Bronze Age to Iron Age technology. The Second Cataclysm irrevocably changes the shape of the continent of Brun. King Loark's Great Horde sweeps southward, ravaging Antalian Norwold and the modern Heldannic Territories.

2.) Nithian culture begins its climb to greatness in 1500 BC. The Traldar settle modern Karameikos and Darokin then.

3.) Bozdogan was Loki, a fire-mage in one of the Antalian tribes in what became the Northern Reaches. He was corrupted by Thanatos, and achieved Immortality in the Sphere of Entropy, betraying Rathanos, although he never allied himself with Thanatos again (or anyone else, for that matter). He had very few followers in the Northern Reaches, the Isle of Dawn, and the HW, but he has found his empire in Hule, where he has found a way to gain power directly from his followers' treachery and deceit. In order for him to have been sponsored by Rathanos in the first place, he must have had some contact with the budding Nithian Empire, as Rathanos was by then one of theirs (he was originally Oltec).

4.) Someone else wrote that by 1000 BC the Nithians had explored the ruins of Blackmoor and travelled the world . . . That kind of adventuring spirit doesn't just spring up out of nowhere. Someone long before then must have thought of just striking out to see what he could see, even before the Traldar settlement.

5.) Fabrizio Paoli has identified 4 main languages in Mystara: Oltec/Azcan, Tanagoro, Neathar, and Nithian. He lists Hulean as a separate language, but neglects to say where the heck it came from (please mail me, Fabrizio, if you're reading this!:). My guess is that it's descended from Neathar through Antalian (hence the initial relation to Thyatian), with perhaps some Nithian influence. Any additional Thyatian-type influence comes from contact with Slag. So, going by that, Huleans are Nithian/Antalian descendants of some sort.

So how's this?: Loki, tired of competing with the growing Nithian Immortals, not to mention Thanatos, for followers, convinces his followers to strike out looking for a new home, a "holy land," sometime just before 1500 BC, as they are already struggling with endless humanoid raids, Nithian expansion, and whatever remains of the fallout from the "Elven Cataclysm." The group of pilgrims consists of both Antalian and a few Nithian followers. They set out, heading west. Along the way they pick up a few more Nithian-descended believers (maybe of the migrating Traldar), and perhaps just a few Sindhi/Atruaghins and a great deal of desert nomads. This motley group settled in the area west of the treacherous Black Mountains and built their holy land. As with the Alphatian-Cypric civilisation, sometimes the lesser influences the greater: although there were more Antalian pilgrims than any other group, the pilgrims assimilated the Nithian/Traldar culture enough over time that it became dominant (the Byzantines becoming more "Greek" than "Roman," if you will). Of course, Hule developed its own, unique society and traditions, owing to religious influence.

What do "y'all" think? Plausible? I have two big catches, though: Where does the name "Hule" come from? And how do you think Bozdogan (affectionately, "Bozie") got that name, precisely?

Well, there it is. FEEDBACK, PLEASE!!!!!

Oh, here's that thought I promised on the Assyrian/Babylonian/Sumerian/Mesopotamian thing: Is that winged human-bull on the cover of the DotE Book Three ("Player's Guide to Alphatia") meant to be representative of Alphatia, the way the eagle is of Thyatis? If so, hmm. . . That is distinctly Babylonian. Also, in my research, I found that the Babylonians borrowed an old Mesopotamian custom of naming their children according to what they thought he or she would grow up to be, or according to an augury. SOUND FAMILIAR? (BTW, my "anonymous" source, in his "On the Imperial Period of Taymoran Culture," says "As the Nithians are to the RWs Ancient Egyptians, so are the Taymorans to the RWs Sumerian/Babylonian/Assyrian/Mesopotamian cultures." Could this have later slightly influenced the Alphatians, via Nithia, and added to their culture?) Just a thought . . .

Anyway, I'm looking forward to hearing from anyone who's interested, with feedback, comments, jeers (!), etc. I'll incorporate all the ideas and maybe do a pre-Hosadus timeline. Till then . . .

Sources: "Ancient Anatolia";

"The Hule Gazetteer, 1013 AC version 1.0" compiled by Daniel Boese, "On the Imperial Period of the Taymoran Culture", "Languages of Mystara," by Fabrizio Paoli, "Tale of the Classical Hattians" by James Mishler, and "The Thanegioth Archipelago" by James Mishler;

TSR Dawn of the Emperors Boxed Set; Hollow World Boxed Set; PWA III.