Has there been any previous discussion about these guys?
My eye was drawn by Yazdegerd I.
They might've been mentioned here n' there. I've always been fascinated by all three of the Persian empires.
"Yazdegerd" means absolutely nothing (well, not quite, but not in the way some think) in a Hyborian Age sense. The Turanians are based on the Ottoman Empire, right down to them fighting "Cossacks" all the time:
The influence was so massive that one of the main titles of the Ottoman sultan was "Padishah". Kinda like Charlemagne calling himself a "Roman emperor". Props.
REH absolutely knew this. He had a Turk in "The Blood of Belshazzar" named "Kai Shah". As I recall, there is at least one other Turk in Howard's Crusader yarns that has the Persian "Shah" honorific in his name.
The Sasanians fought a unified Western empire while experiencing some minor raiding from their southern and northern fringes right up until their massive collapse from Arab assaults from the south. The Persians were also distantly related to the Byzantine Greeks by blood, a fact that REH knew.
The Ottoman Empire was aggressively expansionist, sending raids and invasions deep into a divided West, as well as spreading its influence far and wide to the south, east and northeast. That's what tales like "Shadow of the Vulture" and "Lord of Samarcand" are based on. The Ottomans were implacably opposed by Cossacks to the northwest. That's what tales like "The Road of Eagles" are about. The Turks were a completely different ethnic group from those they fought in the West, albeit, possessing some cultural and genetic influence from the Persians.
One scenario obviously fits what REH (as opposed to some pasticheurs) wrote about the Hyborian Age Turanians much better than the other scenario. Howard wrote numerous tales featuring Turks and zero tales featuring Persians from any of the three imperial periods, let alone the Sasanian. Howard told Lovecraft that he was basically uninterested in the Persians after the reign of Cyrus the Great.
Here's an excellent thread devoted to what REH thought of the Turco-Mongol peoples:
Thanks to some pasticheurs and others, there are fans who seem to think that Howard was highly interested in/liked the "Classical"/Greco-Roman period (of which the Sasanian Empire would kind of be a part). He wasn't and didn't and said so numerous times. He told Lovecraft that his favorite periods were the Ancient Near East (Egypt/Assyria/Babylon etc up to the time of Cyrus), the Middle Ages and the American frontier. We see this replicated, respectively, in Stygia/western Shem and then basically the rest of the known Hyborian Age world falls into the other two categories, overwhelmingly the former. Robert E. Howard seems to have had no respect for the concept of the "Renaissance". He counted the Elizabethan era as being in the "Middle Ages"(and likely somewhat later, almost to the 1700s). Direct quote.
I'll attempt, probably not too well, to add a few relevant posts.
To start off with I have an introduction from sasanika.org concerning the Sasanian-Roman/Byzantine peace treaty of 562 according to Menander the Guardsman (Menander Protector) of the late sixth century. I have added the introduction below and a PDF link to R. C. Blockley's English translation (from the original Greek).
Menander Protector, Fragments 6.1-3
History of Menander the Guardsman (Menander Protector) was written at the end of the sixth century CE by a minor official of the Roman/Byzantine court. The original text is in Greek, but has survived only in a fragmentary form, quoted in compilations and other historical writings. The author, Menander, was a native of Constantinople, seemingly from a lowly class and initially himself not worthy of note. In a significant introductory passage, he courageously admits to having undertaken the writing of his History as a way of becoming more respectable and forging himself a career. He certainly was a contemporary and probably an acquaintance of the historian Theophylact Simocatta and worked within the same court of Emperor Maurice. His title of “Protector” seems to suggest a military position, but most scholars suspect that this was only an honorary title without any real responsibilities. Menander’s history claims to continue the work of Agathias and so starts from the date that Agathias left off, namely AD 557. His style of presentation, if not his actual writing style, are thus influenced by Agathias, although he seems much less partial than the former in presentation of the events. He seems to have had access to imperial archives and reports and consequently presents us with a seemingly accurate version of the events, although at time he might be exaggerating some of his facts.
The following is R. C. Blockley’s English translation of the fragments 6.1-3 of Menander Protector’s History, which deals directly with the Sasanian-Roman peace treaty of 562 and provides us with much information about the details of negotiations that took place around this treaty. The Iranian characters are presented quite vividly and often in a sympathetic and understanding manner. Menander correctly renders some of the Iranian titles (or as closely that he would have known) and at times comes close to claiming that he could actually read Middle Persian, although this is unlikely. His account provides us with some very interesting details about the almost unknown subject of Sasanian diplomacy and in some cases - when either translating letters from Middle Persian or quoting negotiations between the Iranian envoy and the Roman one - even the language and construction of arguments themselves. In writing this account, Menander makes it clear that he has had access to the records of Peter, the Roman envoy, and is taking much of the information from this source. In this case, the account of Menander becomes even more important to us, being the remnant of one of the most interesting treaties between the two rival powers of late antiquity. The text is an exact reproduction of Blockley’s translation and thus preserves his style, as well as his pagination. The footnotes, however, are the present author’s and his direct responsibility. The point of providing new comments instead of reproducing Blockley’s own footnotes was to attract the attention of the reader to those instances in this passage that are more important for a historian of Iran, instead of the normal commentaries that are most concerned with Roman history. Khodadad Rezakhani (Department of History, UCLA)