ZATH

Real Name: Zath

Identity/Class: giant spider; possible descendent or form of a deity

Occupation: Object of Worship

Affiliations: worshipped by the people of Yezud (Harpagus, many others), especially the Dancers of Zath (Hedamar, Rudabeh, six others), Feridun and the other Priests of Zath

Enemies: Conan

Known Relatives: Omm (possible father); Children of Zath (spawn)

Aliases: Omm (possibly, see comments)

Base of Operations: Yezud, a city in Zamora, during the Hyborian Era

First Appearance: (historical) Conan and the Spider-God (1980);
(Marvel Universe) Savage Sword of Conan#207, 210 (June, 1993)

 

Powers: Zath is an enormous spider of great, super-natural power. Its venom is instantly fatal, and it is strong enough to smash through solid stone walls. It fed off of entire cows. It is covered in dense chitin, although it is not immune to flame.

History: Zath's origin is unknown. It has some connection to the spider-god, Omm, but whether Zath is Omm's offspring or descendent, or whether it is the reincarnation of Omm itself, is unknown.

Zath was worshipped in Yezud, the City of the Spider-God, in the Hyborian Era. Priests of Zath arranged the raising of cattle, entire herds of which were used to sustain Zath. An immense statue was erected in its honor, featuring eight valuable jewels in place of its eyes.

Zath eventually produced hundreds to thousands of progeny. The Priests of Zath sought to raise the Children of Zath to use as an immense army to conquer all of Zamora, taken rule from King Mitradites.

(SSoC#207-210)-Conan returned to Yezud, hoping to rescue the kidnapped Jamilah, in the hopes of having her husband remove the bounty on his head. While freeing Jamilah, he learned of Feridun's plans for the Children of Zath, and subsequently encountered and incapacitated one of them. Conan fell in love with one of the Dancers, Rudibeh, who helped him hide out in the temple. In the basement, however, Conan encountered the monstrous Zath itself, and even his great strength seemed to be futile. Zath, however, turned upon hearing the voice of Rudibeh, who had come searching for Conan, and Zath instead found and slew her.

As Conan attempted to escape, he wandered into the lair of the Children of Zath. Conan managed to escape out of a trap door, and set the basement on fire. Zath burst through the temple walls, to escape the fire, although Feridun attempted to prevent Zath's exodus. Initially, Feridun's magical incantations were quite effective, until the smoke in the air choked him up--at which point Zath lunged forward and slew him. Conan threw several torches onto Zath's back, and, unable to put them out, its death-throws toppled the temple, slaying and/or trapping many of its children within. Conan convinced many of the soldiers of Yezud to attack the remaining, weakened Children of Zath, and they were apparently all slain as well.

After Zath's death, Harpagus inherited some tis powers and attempted to raise another army of its children.

Comments: Created by L. Sprague de Camp.
Adapted by Roy Thomas and John Buscema.

I place the Hyborian era @ 12, 000 BC-10, 000 BC. For a truly excellent pre-modern era Chronology of the Marvel Universe, check out Robert Wicks' Unofficial Chronology of the Marvel Universe.

Years after Conan#13, which featured Conan, Yezud, and the spider-god Omm, L.Sprague deCamp, a noted author of Conan lore, wrote "Conan and the Spider-God." This story told of Conan's first travel to Yezud, which was later adapted in SSoC#207-210. The adaptation was modified for the MU to have it be Conan's return to Yezud, having encountered Omm there two years before. It was left up to interpretation whether Zath was actually the recovered Omm, or whether it was his offspring. I'd go with offspring, and probably daughter.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Zath should not be confused with:
Zath, an alias of
Harpagus after gaining its powers, @ Conan: Lord of the Spiders#1
other giant spiders. see
Omm for a listing.


The Children of Zath were man-sized spiders, numbering in the hundreds, if not thousands. Although they lacked Zath's raw power, they were still quite a threat. In addition, they were notorious hard to kill and slow to die. Conan managed to hack off all eight of one of their number's legs, and skewer it through the mid-section, and it was still squirming, trying to reach him to put the bite on him. Feridun found that spider and disintegrated it with some kind of acid.
--SSoC#209 (210

 

 

 

 

The Dancers of Zath (Hedamar, Rudabeh, six others) were eight virgin women of great beauty who performed at the ceremonies of Feridun. They were under vows of chastity--breaking these vows would result in instant execution.
--SSoC#208 (209, 210

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dursa lived in Yezud, and was the mother of Lar and Rudibeh. She provided Conan with room and board during his brief stay. She hoped to pair up Rudibeh and Conan, although only in marriage, of course.
--SSoC#208 (209, 210

 

 

 

Feridun, apostle of Zath, was the High Priest of Yezud. He presided over the ceremonies, and was instrumental in the plot to use Zath and its Children to take over all of Zamora. He possessed limited magical abilities, and could even control Zath through certain magic words. He proved able to force Zath back within a burning temple, but when he was unable to speak for a few seconds after inhaling too much smoke, the spell was broken and Zath leapt forward and slew him.
--SSoC#208 (209, 210

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harpagus,
--SSoC#207 (208-210

 

 

 

 

 

Jamilah was the favored wife of Yildiz, the ruler of Turan. She was kidnapped by Harpagus and his men as part of a plot against her husband. Conan freed her and gave her to lord Parvez to return to Turan. Conan asked her to intercede with Yildiz, so that he would force Tughril, the priest of Erlik, to life the price on Conan's head.
--SSocC#207 (210

 

 

 

 

 

Kushad was an elderly sorcerer and the father of Tahmina. He was blind, and sat on the streets, offering to tell ones' future in exchange for a few coins. He befriended Conan after he saved Kushad from a robbery attempt. Kushad taught Conan a discipline to enable him to resist future attempts by Harpagus to control his mind. He also directed Conan to find the witch, Nyssa, for further assistance.
--SSoC#207

 

 

Lar was the son of Dursa, and the brother of Rudibeh. He worked as an assistant to Conan (who went by the name Nial to avoid attempts on his bounty), who became employed as the blacksmith in Yezud. Lar liked Conan much better than the previous blacksmith, who used to beat him regularly. However, after Rudibeh's death, Lar blamed Conan, and turned his back on him.
--SSoC#208 (209, 210

 

 

Nyssa was a witch, whom Conan saved from being burnt at the stake in the village of Zaminidi. She grew up alongside Kushad in Komoth. Although Conan saved her, she did get brained by a hurled rock as they were escaping. She used her abilities to hide them in a small cavern. She gave him the memory-removing dust to aid him in his quest, then went to sleep and died overnight
--SSoC#208

 

 

Psamitek was a Stygian priest, who came to Yezud apparently to study and worship the Spider-God. He could cast illusions and disappear from sight at will. He lured Conan to a graveyard to meet with Rudibeh, and then attempted to slay him while he was under his illusions. Conan was saved from a knife in the back by Captain Catigern, but Psamitek vanished again. This time Conan taunted Psamitek, ridiculing his studies, and when Psamitek responded, Conan hurled his sword in the direction of his voice, killing him.
--SSoC#208 (209, 210

 

 

Rudabeh was the daughter of Dursa, sister of Lar, and was one of the Dancers of Zath. Conan was quite taken with her beauty and the two fell in love. Rudabeh assisted him with his plots to free Jamilah, and agreed to flee Yezud with him, if he would not steal the eyes from the statue of Zath. Conan agreed, and ever pondered taking her as a wife. However, while she was helping him to escape the Priests of Zath, she herself was bitten and killed by Zath.
--SSoC#208 (209, 210

 

 

 

Tahmina was the daughter of Kushad. She was only sixteen, but thought Conan was quite dreamy, and attempted to jump into his bed. Conan swatted her on the rear and sent her back to her father, to wait for a better man when she is older.
--SSoC#207

 


Last updated: 04/20/02

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