CROM

Real Name: Crom

Identity/Class: Hyborian God; Pre-Cataclysmic God
likely one of the Celtic Gods

Occupation: God of Storms, Death, and Eternity

Group Membership: Hyborian Gods

Affiliations: Hyborian Gods (especially Lir, Manannan, and Morrigan); Conan; worshipped by people of Cimmeria; an unnamed shaman

Enemies: Kulan Gath, Shuma-Gorath, Vammatar

Known Relatives: (possibly) Gaea ("mother")

Aliases: Mountain God, Lord of the Mound, Lord of the Great Mountain; possibly Crom Cruiach (Bowed One of the Mound), Cenn Cruiach (Lord of the Mound), Crom Crioch, Crom Dubh (the Black Bowed One), Crooked One of the Hill, Bloody Bent One

Base of Operations: Crom's Throne, aka Mount Crom, a mountain in the Eiglophian Mts. of Cimmeria (now part of modern-day Germany)--active in the Pre-Cataclysmic Era and Hyborian Era

Powers: Crom was one of the very first immortals of Earth, possibly even before the Sumerian or Egyptian Gods (the two oldest pantheons known to Earth).  He has extra-ordinary strength (Class 100), endurance, and cosmic awareness.  As a god of storms, Crom can likely summon wind, rain, thunder, and lightning in any amount and intensity he desires.  He has incalculable mystical powers on an omnipotent level and the ability to grant power on mystics and sorcerers who know how to summon him.


Crom is a stern and unforgiving god that answers no prayers.  Conan and other Cimmerians saw Crom as dispensing two important gifts to all Cimmerians at birth: the strength in their sword arm and the fire in their hearts.  These are the ONLY boons he ever grants his worshipers.

First Appearance:  (historical) Robert E. Howard's stories...which one? beats me.
(Marvel Universe)

History: (Conan the Barbarian I#260 [fb]) - Millennia before the Great Cataclysm (which occurred @ 18, 000 BC), the demon Shuma-Gorath ruled Earth, or a large portion of it, from a mountain on the Thurian continent, in what would later become Cimmeria.

Ages later, but still before the Cataclysm, one tribe called out for help to some new godling whom they called Crom.  In return, a powerful storm rocked their land, after which one of their shamans received three iron bound books (the fact that no books existed back then is acknowledged, but it is magic we're talking about here) from which dangled a single key.  The shaman read from the three books, after which a flame-headed storm cloud issued from the tomes.  The storm streaked toward the mountain, despite the demon's efforts to stop it, and settled over the face and form of Shuma-Gorath.  Afterwards, the demon was imprisoned within the rocky fortress within what was renamed Mount Crom.  The books were kept by the tribe until stolen and lost for many an age.

(Official History of the Conan Universe#1) - Crom later served as one of the primeval gods of the Hyborian Age, a part of time that existed after Atlantis sank and before the Bronze Age (between 18,000 and 8,000 years ago). Worshipped by ancient Cimmerian tribes, Crom was a grim and savage god who cared little for mankind except to allow them to exist.  They believed he ruled a land where the souls of the dead wandered aimlessly for all eternity. Crom and his far flung brood of diverse immortals dominated much of prehistoric Earth from beyond a veil of mystery and with a silence unlike the later immortals of the Golden Age of Mythology.

(Conan the Barbarian#258 [fb] @ 10, 100 BC) - The sorcerers Kulan Gath and Vammatar attempted to use the recovered ancient iron bound books to release Shuma-Gorath.  As they approached Mount Crom, they were plagued by devastating thunder and tempest.  The two sorcerers shouted their defiance at Crom and received in return a lightning bolt which split solid rock, burying them in an avalanche of stone and snow.  The two sorcerers managed to shield themselves, but each believed the other to be dead, and with the books buried so deeply they both abandoned their quests.

(Savage Sword of Conan#110) - After raiding a merchant caravan with a gang of Kozaki, Conan and his fellow bandits were trapped by an avalanche amongst the snowy peaks of (possibly) the Himelian Mountains.  Realizing they could not retrace their path back to the desert, Conan tossed aside his portion of the loot, in order to save grain for his horse and dried beef for himself.  Maddened by hunger, their horses dead, Conan's former allies turned on him and the barbarian battled his way to freedom.  The fight set off yet another avalanche which buried all of the combatants; Conan almost outran it, but even he was buried.  Managing to dig his way to the surface, Conan found himself with no sword, no steed, no food, and only rags left to ward off the cold.  Later, huddled beneath an outcropping of rock, Conan, most likely suffering from hypothermia, struggled to not fall into the final fatal sleep that overtakes so many lost in the snow.

The last of his strength about to desert him and the cold slumber of death awaiting, Crom, seated upon a rude throne surmounted by a monstrous skull and surrounded by grim, dark eyed warriors, suddenly appeared to Conan.  Crom admonished Conan not to sleep, for to sleep is to die, proclaiming: "No fitting fate for one who is destined to be crowned king!  Rise, young warrior!  Rise and march!  Rise... and live!"  Conan suddenly awakened from what could have been his final rest to discover the deathly silent Army of the Dead tromping by his resting place, joining them on their march to the City of Life in turn.

(Savage Sword of Conan#157) - A Cimmerian sorcerer, Leir, called down the "Wrath of Crom" on a group of Hyperboreans led by Krakanites.  The Hyperboreans had kidnapped the Cimmerians' women, and the Cimmerians had rescued them, but the Hyperboreans had finally managed to catch up with them and threatened to overrun them with superior numbers.  The spell, by necessity, was performed within the boundaries of Cimmeria and required the "eyes of a dead enemy, the wings of a raven, the moss from the north side of a tree, and life's blood offered freely. "

For the final requirement, Leir directed his own grandson, Shaun, to run his grandfather through with a sword.  Leir leapt atop a burning pyre which exploded with a burst of flame and dark smoke.  Legions of dead Cimmerian warriors poured forth from a chasm in the Earth and overran the Hyperboreans.  When the black clouds vanished, the Hyperborians all lay dead, but there was not a single mark on them--as if they had been slain by their own fear.

(Conan the Barbarian#260) - Over 100 years after the sorcerers first attempted it, Shuma-Gorath was indirectly freed from Mount Crom through the efforts of Kulan Gath and Vammatar.  Conan was given the iron bound books by the one who had found them.  After ascending the mountain, Conan hurled the book into the storm.  In a burst of thunder, lightning, and flame, Shuma-Gorath was gone once again.  Conan and his allies wisely knew better than to overstay their welcome on Mount Crom, and they took off for warmer climes.

(King Conan#8) - As Conan was being banished to the underworld by Khitain sorcerer Yah Chieng, Crom summoned Conan to stand before him.  Conan recognized Crom.  Crom acknowledged his identity, saying he had intervened to save Conan, then returned Conan to face Yah Chieng.

COMMENTS: Created by Robert E. Howard. Adapted by Roy Thomas and John Buscema .

Crom could be one of the "Elder" or Primal Gods referred to in the Hyborian Age (See Clarifications)--Snood.

In Conan the Barbarian Annual#6, while being assaulted by an illusory storm conjured by the King of the Forgotten People, Conan refers to Crom as a Storm God.  The fiery storm cloud that helped to banish Shuma-Gorath is in keeping with this motif.

Gaea is the mother of all the Earth's gods, and thus would serve as Crom's ultimate maternal ancestor. She was worshipped as Danu (her Celtic name) as far back as the time of Kull per Kull II#2, and was also worshipped during the Hyborian Age as Danu per King Conan#2 et al. See also Hyborian Gods Page and Celtic Gods page.  

Crom could be the first god of the dead.  It is possible that he was slain by the Titans (Greek), The Ogdoad (Egyptian), Igigi (Mesopotamian), Fomore (Celtic) or Adityas (Hindu) once he was past his prime.
An even better idea as suggested by John McDonagh : Take a look at "They Who Sit Above in Shadow" @ X-Men/Alpha Flight I#1...pretty Crom-like.

 

 

(What If I#39) - In an alternate quantum reality, the Asgardian god Thor became lost in Asgard's Cave of Time and emerged in the Hyborian Age (his mainstream counterpart had emerged in the middle of the Trojan War).  Being so far removed from his time, he lost his memories and godly attributes and befriended the ancient warrior Conan after a brief skirmish.  Still partially connected to his godhood, Thor asked Conan to deliver him to Crom and the two set out to find the grim immortal.  Crom revealed to Thor his identity and past, but then asked that Thor relinquish his hammer Mjolnir as a price for doing so.  Refusing since it was his own way to return home, Thor was shocked when Crom overwhelmed the enchantments on it and stripped him of it, hiding it where Thor would never find it afterward.  (Thor later retrieved it from the mad sorcerer Thoth-Amon who was destroyed trying to understand it.  As a mortal, Thor died trying to reclaim his godly powers.)

What If? I#39 diverges from Thor Annual#8 for Thor, for Conan it seems to diverge after Conan the Barbarian I#7.

 

 

 

 

 

 

According to Homer, the Cimmerians were an ancient race that occupied Northwestern Europe but were wiped out by the Seventh Century BC.  Homer referred to it as a land of perpetual mist, cold, and gloom which might go a long way to explaining the dour nature of its people and the grimness of their god.

"Chrome" was referenced by Rasheed ven Garmchee of the dimension of Perrinois in Spider-Man Team-Up#3.  One can only guess if this was a reference to Crom or not.

More info about Crom

Many references in oaths Conan utters refer to "Crom's eye!"  implying that Crom only has one eye. In Savage Sword of Conan #157, while struggling against demons in a dream, Conan told Crom that if he ever met up with him, he would take his other eye.  This is a common motif in Celtic and Germanic mythologies.  I would imagine at one point Crom had two eyes but either gave one as payment for something or lost it in battle.  I believe Crom comes from the Irish pagan deity Crom Cruaich or Cremm Crioch and is usually translated as the Lord of the Mound (as listed under aliases) and less often as 'the bloody bent one'.--Greg O

Crom Cruaich - "Bowed One of the Mound," Irish; also known as Cenn Cruaich, "The Lord of the Mound" or Crom Dubh, "The Black Bowed One" and "The Crooked One of the Hill."  An ancient sacrificial God (God of death and rebirth) who is particularly associated with Lughnassad, or late July, early August.  The last Sunday in July is still called, "Domhnach Crom Dubh" (Crom's Sunday) even though it has been Christianized as the day of the spectacular pilgrimage up St. Patrick's Mountain.....information from High Priestess Green Hag's site on Crom.
She further speculates the Crom was, in fact, the Dagda.

Allegedly, worship of Crom was abolished by St. Patrick.
Crom was situated in within the sidhe
[sic] of the subterranean mounds in Tullyhaw, but St. Patrick traveled there and had his idols destroyed.

Yet a
nother source reports him as "one of several gods of agriculture and fertility, Crom was distinctive in the fact that he was crippled, supposedly as the result of a magical blow dealt him by St. Patrick."

"...the bloody cult of Crom Cruaich in County Caven demanded human sacrifice to a serpent deity and the dismantling of this cult by Christianity <St. Patrick> is now remembered as the 'snakes being driven from Ireland.' "

An amusing sidebar; in Savage Sword#51 or #52, after Conan has been poisoned by Alcina on the orders of Thulandru Thuu, he makes a reference to Crom coming to him during a battle in Khitai. The problem: Of the only recorded instances I know of where Crom comes to Conan, one of them was in King Conan#8, which takes place years *after* the story SSOC#51 or 52! (Conan becomes a king in the SSOC storyline, while King Conan-no surprise-takes place during his kingship.) Crom did visit Conan in SSOC#110-which takes place before SSOC#51. That was in Khitai/the Himelian Mountains, though it was not quite while Conan was in a battle. (Actually, the appearance in SSOC#110 could just be a dream, but I will let it slide).
--John McDonagh

Profile by William Uchtman, with input/update by Greg O' Driscoll and Per Degaton and editing/images by Snood and Kyle Sims.

Clarifications: Crom, the Elder God of the Hyborian Era, should not be confused with...

The Elder Gods (Set, Chthon, and Gaea).  For further information/clarifications regarding the Elder Gods click HERE


images: (without ads)


Other appearances:
King Conan#8 (December, 1981) - Roy Thomas (writer), John Buscema (pencils), Ernie Chan (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
Savage Sword of Conan#110 (March, 1985) - Bill Mantlo (writer), Gary Kwapisz (artist), Larry Hama (editor)
Official History of the Conan Universe#1 (June, 1985)
Savage Sword of Conan#157 (February, 1989) - Don Kraar (writer), Dale Eaglesham (pencils), Pat Redding (inks), Craig Anderson (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#258 (July, 1992) - Roy Thomas (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)
Conan the Barbarian I#260 (September, 1992) - Roy Thomas (writer), Mike Docherty (pencils), Ricardo Villamonte (inks), Mike Rockwitz (editor)


Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

Last Updated: 07/16/04

Non-Marvel Copyright info
All other characters mentioned or pictured are ™  and 1941-2099 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. If you like this stuff, you should check out the real thing!
Please visit The Marvel Official Site at:
http://www.marvel.com

Back to Characters