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Volume 3316
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HAIL THROXEUS: 
THE MARTIAN OCEANS AND THEIR CITIES 
The Eighth Runner-Up in the Seven Wonders of Barsoom 
Part One: Korad, Thark, and Warhoon 
Cartography by Larry Ivie for Readers Guide to Barsoom and Amtor
by
Woodrow Edgar Nichols, Jr.


INTRODUCTION

I’m reminded of the Donovan song, “Atlantis,” where at the end he emotes a haunting wail, “Hail, Atlantis!” ERB evokes this same kind of mystical past history in his creation of the ancient oceans of Barsoom, especially Throxeus, mightiest of the five oceans that once rolled upon the surface of the red planet millions of years ago. What follows will entail the history of 
the ancient oceans and their main cities, one occupied by Red Martians, two by the fair-haired, white-skinned ancient race most Martians believe are extinct, the others dead cities inhabited by the Green Hordes and the Great White Apes. 

The ancient race – which observant readers of the Tarzan saga will immediately recognize as associated with the Atlantean gold colony of Opar – that sailed the mighty five oceans, comprised the Golden Age of Martian history, as were the days of Atlantis on Earth. 

We will begin with the ancient cities surrounding several dead sea bottoms in the vicinity of Zodanga: Korad, Thark, and Warhoon. (See, ERBzine #2807.) 


DATA 

A) Korad: 

John Carter has his first advent on Barsoon near this ancient city when he awakens naked upon an ancient dead sea bed, as recorded in A Princess of Mars

“I opened my eyes upon a strange and weird landscape. I knew that I was on Mars; not once did I question either my sanity or my wakefulness. I was not asleeep, no need for pinching here; my inner consciousness told me as plainly that I was upon Mars as your conscious mind tells you that you are upon Earth. You do not question the fact; neither did I. 

“I found myself lying prone upon a bed of yellowish, moss-like vegetation which stretched around me in all directions for interminable miles. I seemed to be lying in a deep, circular basin, along the outer verge of which I could distinguish the irregularities of low hills. 

“It was midday, the sun was shining full upon me and the heat of it was rather intense upon my naked body, yet no greater than would have been true under similar conditions on an Arizona desert. Here and there were slight outcroppings of quartz-bearing rock which glistened in the sunlight; and a little to my left, perhaps a hundred yards, appeared a low, walled enclosure about four feet in height. No water, and no other vegetation than the moss was in evidence, and as I was somewhat thirsty I determined to do a little exploring.” (PM/3.) 

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From James Spratt's illustrated version of A Princess of Mars ~ ERBzine 1301

Carter adjusts to the lower gravity of Mars, discovering that he can leap thirty feet into the air. He meets a roving band of Green Warriors and agrees to be their captive. (The Green Martians will be dealt separately in a future runner-up.) They take him to the ancient city of Korad: 
“We had gone perhaps ten miles when the ground began to rise very rapidly. We were, as I was later to learn, nearing the edge of one of Mars’ long-dead seas, in the bottom of which my encounter with the Martians had taken place. 

“In a short time we gained the foot of the moutains, and after traversing a narrow gorge came to an open valley, at the far extremity of which was a low table land upon which I beheld an enormous city. Toward this we galloped, entering it by what appeared to be a ruined roadway leading out from the city, but only to the edge of the table land, where it ended abruptly in a flight of broad steps. 

“Upon closer observation I saw as we passed them that the buildings were deserted, and while not greatly decayed had the appearance of not having been tenanted for years, possibly for ages. Toward the center of the city was a large plaza, and upon this and in the buildings immediately surrounding it were camped some nine or ten hundred creatures of the same breed as my captors, for such I now considered them despite the suave manner in which I had been trapped.... 

“As we neared the plaza and my presence was discovered we were immediately surrounded by hundreds of the creatures who seemed anxious to pluck me from my seat behind my guard. A word from the leader of the party stilled their clamor, and we proceeded at a trot across the plaza to the entrance of as magnificent an edifice as mortal eye has rested upon. 

“The building was low, but covered an enormous area. It was constructed of gleaming white marble inlaid with gold and brilliant stones which sparkled and scintillated in the sunlight. The main entrance was some hundred feet in width and projected from the building proper to form a huge canopy above the entrance hall. There was no stairway, but a gentle incline to the first floor of the building opened into an enormous chamber encircled by galleries. 

“On the floor of this chamber, which was dotted with highly carved wooden desks and chairs, were assembled about forty or fifty male Martians around the steps of a rostrum. On the platform proper squatted an enormous warrior heavily loaded with metal ornaments, gay-colored feathers and beautifully wrought leather trappings ingeniously set with precious stones. From his shoulders depended a short cape of white fur line with brilliant scarlet silk. 

“What struck me as most remarkable about this assemblage and the hall in which they were congregated was the fact that the creatures were entirely out of proportion to the desks, chairs, and other furnishings; these being of a size adapted to human beings such as I, whereas the great bulks of the Martians could scarcely have squeezed into the chairs, nor was there room beneath the desks for their long legs. Evidently, then, there were other denizens on Mars than the wild and grotesque creatures into whose hands I had fallen, but the evidences of extreme antiquity which showed all around me indicated that these buildings might have belonged to some long-extinct and forgotten race in the dim antiquity of Mars.” (PM/4.) 

Slowly, Carter learns more about the city in which he is strangely imprisoned. A young Martian female, Sola, is ordered to watch over him and he resides in her room. 
“My fair companion was about eight feet tall, having just arrived at maturity, but not yet to her full height. She was of a light olive-green color, with a smooth, glossy hide. Her name, as I afterward learned, was Sola, and she belonged to the retinue of Tars Tarkas. She conducted me to a spacious chamber in one of the buildings fronting on the plaza, and which, from the litter of silks and furs upon the floor, I took to be the sleeping quarters of several of the natives. 

“The room was well lighted by a number of large windows and was beautifullly decorated with mural paintings and mosaics, but upon all there seemed to rest that indefinable touch of the finger of antiquity which convinced me that the architects and builders of these wondrous creations had nothing in common with the crude half-brutes which now occupied them.... 

“While Sola was away I took occasion to examine more minutely the room in which I found myself captive. The mural painting depicted scenes of rare and wonderful beauty: mountains, rivers, lake, ocean, meadow, trees and flowers; winding roadways, sun-kissed gardens – scenes which might have protrayed earthly views but for the different colorings of the vegetation. The work had evidently been wrought by a master hand, so subtle the atmosphere, so perfect the technique; yet nowhere was there a representation of a living animal, either human or brute, by which I could guess at the likeness of these other and perhaps extinct denizens of Mars.” (PM/4-5.) 

Dejah Thoris is soon captured and after Carter rescues her from the assault of a Green Martian, they explore some more mosaics together. 
“I accompanied Sola and Dejah Thoris in a search for new quarters, which we found in a building nearer the audience chamber and of far more pretentious architecture than our former habitation. We also found in this building real sleeping apartments with ancient beds of highly wrought metal swinging from enormous gold chains depending from the marble ceilings. The decoration of the walls was most elaborate, and, unlike the frescoes in the other buildings I had examined, portrayed many human figures in the compositions. These were of people like myself and of much lighter color that Dejah Thoris. They were clad in graceful, flowing robes, highly ornamented with metal and jewels, and their luxuriant hair was of a beautiful golden and reddish bronze. The men were beardless and only a few wore arms. The scenes depicted for the most part, a fair-skinned, fair-haired people at play.... 

“Dejah Thoris and I then fell to examining the architecture and decorations of the beautiful chambers of the building we were occupying. She told me that these people had presumably flourished over a hundred thousand years before. They were the early progenitiors of her race, but had mixed with the other great race of early Martians, who were very dark, almost black, and also with the reddish yellow race which had flourished at the same time. 

“These three great divisions of the higher Martians had been forced into a mighty alliance as the drying up of the Martian seas had compelled them to seek the comparatively few and always diminishing fertile areas, and to defend themselves, under new conditions of life, against the wild hordes of green men. 

“Ages of close relationship and intermarrying had resulted in the race of red men, of which Dejah Thoris was a fair and beautiful daughter. During the ages of hardships and incessant warring between their own various races, as well as with the green men, and before they had fitted themselves to the changed conditions, much of the high civilization and many of the arts of the fair-haired Martians had become lost; but the red race of today has reached a point where it feels that it has made up in new discoveries and in a more practical civilization for all that lies irretrievably buried with the ancient Barsoomians, beneath the countless intervening ages. 

“These ancient Martians had been a highly cultivated and literary race, but during the vicissitutes of those trying centuries of readjustment to new conditions, not only did their advancement and production cease entirely, but practically all their archives, records, and literature were lost. 

“Dejah Thoris related many interesting facts and legends concerning this lost race of noble and kingly people. She said that the city in which we were camping was supposed to be have been a center of commerce and culture known as Korad. It had been built upon a beautiful, natural harbor, landlocked by magnificent hills. The little valley on the west front of the city, she explained, was all that remained of harbor, while the pass through the hills to the old sea bottom had been the channel through which the shipping passed up the city’s gates. 

“The shores of the ancient seas were dotted with just such cities, and lesser ones, in diminishing numbers, were to be found converging toward the center of the oceans, as the people had found it necessary to follow the receding waters until necessity had forced upon them their ultimate salvation, the so-called Martian canals.” (PM/11.) 

ERB has a way of capturing a tragedy of planetary magnitude in a haunting and poetic prose that may have been motivated by being paid for by the word, but still manages to carry an almost hypnotic quality. He not only creates a whole world out of the fabric of his imagination, but he also gives his world an Atlantean myth. We will deal with this myth at the end of this series. Meantime, Carter does some more exploring in search of new quarters: 
“Left alone, I ascended the winding corridor to the upper floors in search of suitable quarters. The beauties of the other buildings were repeated in this, and, as usual, I was soon lost in a tour of investigation and discovery. I finally chose a a front room on the third floor, because this brought me nearer to Dejah Thoris, whose apartment was on the second floor of the adjoining building, and it flashed upon me that I could rig up some means of communication whereby she might signal me in case she needed either my services or my protection. 

“Adjoining my sleeping apartment were baths, dressing rooms, and other sleeping and living apartments, in all some ten rooms on this floor. The windows of the back rooms overlooked an enormous court, which formed the center of the square made by the buildings which face the four contiguous streets, and which was now given over to the quartering of the various animals belonging to the   warriors occupying the adjoining buildings. 

“While the court was entirely overgrown with the yellow, moss-like vegetation which blankets practically the entire surface of Mars, yet numerous fountains, statuary, benches, and pergola-like contraptions bore witness to the beauty which the court must have presented in bygone times, when graced by the fair-haired, laughing people whom stern and unalterable cosmic laws had driven not only from their homes, but from all except the vague legends of their descendants. 

“One could easily imagine the gorgeous foilage in the luxuriant Martian vegetation which once filled this scene with life and color; the graceful figures of the beautiful women, the straight and handsome men; the happy frolicking children – all sunlight, happiness and peace. It was difficult to realize that they had gone; down through ages of darkness, cruelty, and ignorance, until their hereditary instincts of culture and humanitarianism had risen ascendant once more in the final composite race which now is dominant upon Mars.” (PM/12.) 

The Green Horde abandons Korad for the long trek to their capital city, Thark: 
“The remainder of our journey to Thark was uneventful. We were twenty days upon the road, crossing two sea bottoms and passing through or around a number of ruined cities, mostly smaller than Korad. Twice we crossed the famous Martian waterways, or canals, so-called by our earthly astronomers. When we approached these points a warrior would be sent far ahead with a powerful field glass, and if no great body of red Martian troops was in sight we would advance as close as possible without chance of being seen and then camp until dark, when we slowly approach the cultivated tract, and, locating one of the numerous, broad highways which cross these areas at regular intervals, creep silently and stealthily across the arid lands upon the other side. It required five hours to make one of these crossings without a single halt, and the other consumed the entire night, so that we were just leaving the confines of the high-walled fields when the sun broke out upon us.” (PM/16.)
B) Thark: 

The information we are given about Thark is sketchy in comparison to Korad, and, as we shall see, almost nonexistent for Warhoon: 

“Just thirty days after my advent upon Barsoom we entered the ancient city of Thark, from whose long-forgotten people this horde of green men have stolen even their name.... 

“We made our entry into the great central plaza early in the afternoon. There were no enthusiastic friendly greetings for the returned expedition.... 

“We were soon assigned to new quarters, and the balance of the day was devoted to settling ourselves to the changed conditions. My home now was upon an avenue leading into the plaza from the south, the main artery down which we had marched from the gates of the city. I was at the far end of the square and had an entire building to myself. The same grandeur of architecture which was so noticeable a characteristic of Korad was in evidence here, only, if that were possible, on a larger and richer scale. My quarters would have been suitable for housing the greatest of earthly emperors, but to these queer creatures nothing about a building appealed to them but its size and the enormity of the chambers; the larger the building, the more desirable; and so Tal Hajus occupied what must have been an enormous public building, the largest in the city, but entirely unfitted for residence purposes; the next largest was reserved for Lorquas Ptomel, the next for a jed of a lesser rank, and so on to the bottom of the list of five jeds. The warriors occupied the buildings with the chieftans to whose retinues they belonged; or, if they preferred, sought shelter among any of the thousands of untenanted buildings in their own quarter of town; each community being assigned a certain section of the city. The selection of building had to be made in accordance with these divisions, they all occupying edifices which fronted upon the plaza.” (PM/16.) 

Carter, Dejah Thoris, and Sola plan to escape and to get his bearings, the princess draws a map on the floor: 
“‘The great waterway which leads to Helium is but fifty miles to the south,’ murmured Sola, half to herself; ‘a swift thoat might make it in three hours; and then to Helium it is five hundred miles, most of the way through thinly settled districts. They would know and they would follow us. We might hide among the great trees for a time, but the chances are small indeed for escape. They would follow us to the very gates of Helium, and they would take toll of life at every step; you do not know them.’ 

“‘Is there no other way we might reach Helium?’ I asked. ‘Can you not draw me a rough map of the country we must traverse, Dejah Thoris?’ 

“‘Yes,’ she replied, and taking a great diamond from her hair she drew upon the marble floor the first map of Barsoomian territory I had ever seen. It was crisscrossed in every direction with long straight lines, sometimes running parallel and sometimes converging toward some great circle. The lines, she said, were waterways; the circles, cities; and one far to the northwest of us she pointed out as Helium. There were other cities closer, but she said she feared to enter many of them, as they were not all friendly toward Helium.” (PM/16.) 

Carter comes to realize that their chances of escape are running out and the time to act is now: 
“My plan of action was formed upon the instant, and crossing the square and the bordering avenue upon the opposite side I soon stood within the courtyard of Tal Hajus. 

“The brilliantly lighted apartments of the first floor told me where first to seek, and advancing to the windows I peered within. I soon discovered that my approach was not to be the easy thing I had hoped, for the rear rooms bordering the court were filled with warriors and women. I then glanced up at the stories above, discovering that the third was apparently unlighted, and so decided to make my entrance to the building from that point. It was the work of but a moment for me to reach the windows above, and soon I had drawn myself within the sheletering shadows of the unlighted third floor. 

“Fortunately the room I had selected was untenanted, and creeping noiselessly to the corridor beyond I discovered a light in the apartments ahead of me. Reaching what appeared to be a doorway I discovered that it was but an opening upon an immense inner chamber which towered from the first floor, two stories below me, to the dome-like roof of the building, high above my head. The floor of the great circular hall was thronged with chieftans, warriors and women, and at one end was a great raised platform upon which squatted the most hideous beast I had ever put my eyes upon.” (PM/17.) 

This is, of course, Tal Hajus, who attempts to molest both Dejah Thoris and Sola until they are saved in the nick of time by Carter. Then they make their escape: 
“We finally came upon my thoats in the courtyard where I had left them, and, placing the trappings upon them we hastened through the building to the avenue beyond. Mounting, Sola upon one beast, and Dejah Thoris behind me upon the other, we rode from the city of Thark through the hills to the south. 

“Instead of circling back around the city to the northwest and toward the nearest waterway which lay so short a distance from us, we turned to the northeast and struck out upon the mossy waste across which, for two hundred dangerous and weary miles, lay another main artery leading to Helium.” (PM/17.) 

They are ambused by a Warhoon patrol and Carter stands them off to give Dejah Thoris and Sola a chance to escape. The Warhoons are a rival horde of the Tharks and have, like the Tharks, taken their name from the name of the ancient city. 

C) Warhoon: 
Carter makes a gallant stand but is eventually overwhelmed and taken captive to Warhoon. 

“We reached the city of Warhoon after some three days march and I was immediately cast into a dungeon and heavily chained to the floor and walls. (PM/18.) 
There he meets Kantos Kan, a fellow prisoner, who is a padwar in the navy of Helium and had been searching Warhoon for signs of Dejah Thoris when he too was taken captive: 
“Kantos Kan had been detailed to one of the small one-man fliers and had had the misfortune to be discovered by the Warhoons while exploring their city. The bravery and daring of the man won my greatest respect and admiration. Alone he had landed at the city’s boundary and on foot had penetrated to the buildings surrounding the plaza. For two days and nights he had explored their quarters and dungeons in search of his beloved princess only to fall into the hands of a party of Warhoons as he was about to leave, after assuring himself that Dejah Thoris was not a captive there. 

“During the period of our incarceration Kantos Kan and I became well acquainted, and formed a warm personal friendship. A few days only elapsed, however, before we were dragged forth from our dungeon for the great games. We were conducted early one morning to an enormous amphitheater, which instead of having been built upon the surface of the ground was excavated below the surface. It had partially filled with debris so that how large it had originally been was difficult to say. In its present condition it held the entire twenty thousand Warhoons of the assembled hordes. 

“The arena was immense but extremely uneven and unkempt. Around it the Warhoons had piled building stone from some of the ruined edifices of the ancient city to prevent the animals and the captives from escaping into the audience, and at each end had been constructed cages to hold them until their turns came to meet some horrible death upon the arena.” (PM/19.) 

There is some very exciting fighting in the arena before Kantos Kan and Carter agree to fake Carter’s death, leaving Kantos Kan as the last man standing and the victor allowed to have his freedom. Night falls, the arena empties, and Carter climbs out of the arena and escapes to safety. 
“When the amphitheater had cleared I crept stealthily to the top and as the great excavation lay far from the plaza and in untenanted portion of the great dead city I had little trouble in reaching the hills beyond.” (PM/19.) 
After a sojourn at the atmosphere factory and as an air scout for the Zodangan navy, Carter flies to Helium to see what he can do to save Dejah Thoris from marrying the son of the Jeddak of Zodanga, who has declared war upon Helium, but is willing to settle for peace if the Dejah Thoris consents to marry his son, which she does, believing Carter is dead. 
“Helium lies a thousand miles southwest of Zodanga, and with my compass intact I should have made the trip, barring accidents, in between four and five hours. As it turned out, however, morning found me speeding over a vast exapanse of dead sea bottom after nearly six hours of continuous flight at high speed. Presently a great city showed below me, but it was not Helium, as that alone of all Barsoomian metropolises consists in two immense circular walled cities about seventy-five miles apart and would have been easily distinguishable from the altitude at which I was flying.” (PM/24.) 
Carter comes across a great battle between the Tharks and Warhoons and, shoulder-toshoulder with Tars Tarkas, they beat off the Warhoons. Carter unites the green hordes and leads them to sack Zodanga and then on to Helium where the combined forces of Helium and the green men defeat Zodanga and crush the once rival of Helium to the status of a third world nation on Barsoom. 


ANALYSIS 

The location of Zodanga proved to be problematic for cartographers after ERB came out with Swords of Mars, for in that novel he describes the location of Zodagana thus: 

“Over nineteen hundred miles east of the Twin Cities of Helium, at about Lat. 30 degrees S., Long. 172 degrees E., lies Zodanga.” (SM/1.) 
This differs from his description in Princess where Zodanga is a thousand miles to the southwest of Helium. This has led some cartographers to put a “New Zodanga” on their maps, which I believe they have done in error. (See, ERBzine #2807.) It is like the magic Christians use to explain away the myriad contradictions in the Bible in the hopes of keeping their delusion in tack that it is the inerrant word of God without contradiction. ERB may be the true creator god of Barsoom, but he was far from inerrant. The fact is that he made a mistake. 

The maps mostly accurately depict the location of Korad, Thark, Warhoon, the atmosphere factory, and Zodanga, in the same proximity. Since Carter started out in one dead sea bottom and crossed two more with the green horde, we can deduce that three of the five ancient oceans of Barsoom were in this area, none of them even approximating the size of the mighty Throxeus, which we will begin to survey in Part Two. 

And there you have it,
ERB’s Korad, Thark, and Warhoon: Part One of the Eighth 
Runner-Up in the Seven Wonders of Barsoom! 

THE SEVEN WONDERS OF BARSOOM SERIES
7 WONDERS: I | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII

RUNNERS UP: I.a | II | III | IV | V | VI | VII | VIII.2.2b.3a.3b | IX | X.2.3.4 | XI.2.3.

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WEB REFS
www.johncarterofmars.ca
James Killian Spratt's Jetan
Rick Johnson
A Princess of Mars
Gods of Mars
Warlord of Mars
Thuvia, Maid of Mars
Chessmen of Mars
Mastermind of Mars
A Fighting Man of Mars
Swords of Mars
Synthetic Men of Mars
Llana of Gathol
Skeleton Men of Jupiter
John Carter and the Giant of Mars


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