Click to Subscribe
▶  More from
'Shadow Stalker'
Don Quotays Cues the Crackpot on Neanderthals and Orks in Fiction
Having recently completed Haft, a heroic treatment of the most reviled humanoid in classic fantasy, I received the following email from Don Quotays—i trust this is the correct Don. if not, please correct me. my mind is going and it has become a task to sort the various names and ranks of those of you who I commune with via this azurite crystal sphere within the shadow-haunted precincts of this dark and lonely tower...
Look, I am getting sick of going back and capitalizing i into I. it's not like I'm a lord or something. So, for these articles i write from the email box into the back end, please forgive me.

When Orcs were Real
Inbox
Wed, Jun 30, 5:51 AM (2 days ago)
to me
Basically reinforces the Neanderthals vs homo sap conflict.

The above piece uses material that I am familiar with from the first 500 words. I really can't read more than that and be able to write. I would recommend K[H/]eeley's War Before Civilization and a reading of any book on the Indian wars that raged from 1500 through 1891 in North America to anyone who doubts that stone age humans are better at extermination than recent modern humans.
The evidence will never all be in on the subject. Archeology is simply the worst science out there and owns this subject.
Michael Crichton in the Eaters of Men, made into the movie the 13th Warrior, postulated a realistic basis for the legend of Beowulf being based on Neanderthals. Elsewhere—actually on substack—I will get into what most likely happened to the Neanderthals, or rather how, because what happened to them was us. For this piece i would like to look at just two mythic strands of the many:
-Gilgamesh
-Beowulf
All else is ignored, except for the physiology of the Neanderthals.
Physiology compared to humans:
-Due to a much larger brain, children would be less numerous, as their infant state would have been more passively developmental.
-Four times as strong as humans at the same size.
-Unable to throw effectively, meaning missile technology was never developed. Try to field a baseball team of bodybuilders and power lifters and watch them get shut out by a girl's high school softball team. If you can't throw a rock effectively you will never make the mental leap to atlatls, bows and arrows, slings and guns or cruise missiles.
-Physiologically adapted to the cold, meaning hairy like a wolf. Traditional academics suggest that Neanderthals, with bigger brains could not develop clothing technology, though their blades were as good as ours until after we wiped them out.
-Adapted to evergreen forest [like Humbaba who lived in the cedars] which are better suited to nocturnal movement than leafy forests, offer better daytime cover in winter, with this adaptation being much larger eyes, which mainstream reconstructions insist on mis-representing.
It is obvious, and will be discussed elsewhere, that "man's best friend" the dog was key to the extinction of Neanderthals. This is supported in myth, by our two most ancient stories, Beowulf and Gilgamesh. The characteristics of Grendel and his mother do not make sense in the context of the reign of terror over Heorat until one considers really how ancient the story is. Living in the Rockies with hunters as well as the other evergreen forest of the cascades, i have been constantly reminded that beers and cougars and other beasties cannot get near me so long as i have a dog. Bob told me that two 70-pound dogs will do more to save you from a grizzly bear than all the guns in Wyoming, because the grizz comes at night.
Although we know that Gilgamesh is far more ancient a story than The Iliad or The Odyssey, Beowulf is more ancient still. The evidence is the lack of dogs in both stories. When Gilgamesh and Enkidu go hunting Humbaba they take no dogs. Enkidu's time in the story represents a far more ancient strand than Gilgamesh's search for immortality following Enkidu's passage into death.
In Beowulf there is not a dog to raise the alarm when Grendel and later his mother come stalking by night.
Further, Grendel rips men apart, just as chimps do when they attack us and just as Neanderthals could as they are as strong as chimps and would be able to rip a hand from our arm, an arm from our shoulder. This is exactly what Beowulf did to Grendel. This suggests that Beowulf was half Neanderthal.
Also suggestive of Neanderthal is the very low population density of the race of "Cain" represented by Grendel and his mother, who are lonely creatures, literally driven from the Middle East [where Humbaba was killed in Lebanon] which is the exact location where Modern Humans had originally pushed into Neanderthal territory from Africa before being driven back out.
Also, other than having thrived through numerous ice ages, cold adaptation is suggested by Grendel and his mother living in the fens, the marsh, in wetland dens. This is exactly the kind of place a humanoid being driven from evergreen forests by invaders would retreat to. Indeed, the Feugans were cold adapted enough that their women dived naked into the Antarctic waters for shell fish.
Grendel and his mother were nocturnal, which suggests Neanderthals, which had large night-adapted eyes. Further, Grendel did not fear fire and Humbaba the forest demon used fire. These suggestions, that Grendel was lonely out in the fens and sought the firelit hall and that Humbaba had a blazing power, does not fit with a bear or a wolf. However, this does fit with the werewolf, when one considers how hairy Neanderthals really would have been.
The large brain is suggested in the low population density of these monsters, outnumbered at least 2-to-1 in Gilgamesh and by hordes of humans in Beowulf. Also, these creatures are depicted as highly intelligent, with Humbaba being wiser than the heroes who assail him.
Finally, the fate of Beowulf and Enkidu, one slain by a dragon and the other tormented by a fantastical flying beast as he died from a god-sent plague, suggests divine punishment, guilt for the killing of these creatures.
Physically, dealing with a Neanderthal, who would have been armed with a razor sharp stone knife, would have been as terrible a challenge at night for an armed man as facing a grizzly. However, the attack would more resemble a combination of being rent apart by a chimp and butchered by a Gurkha in British service than of being mauled by a bear.

I explored Gilgamesh in the book He: Gilgamesh into the Face of Time
My first treatment of Neanderthals in fiction was Beyond the Ember Star, where I did explore the question of dogs but not their impact on Neanderthals.
My recent novel Haft, about an ork hero, has fun with depicting orks as black Neanderthals living in the woods and playing football with severed heads.
My final attempt at Neanderthals in fiction will be Dream Eater, which should comprehensively address the impact of dogs on the longest war in human history.
prev:  Beyond Rainbow Bridge in Print     ‹  fiction  ›     next:  Haft
eBook
book of nightmares
eBook
supplicant song
eBook
thunderbird
eBook
all-power-fighting
eBook
let the world fend for itself


Add a new comment below:
NAME  
EMAIL  
MSG