crown_of_wisdom-coc-caseCROWN of WISDOM

Classification: Magic item;
    Talismans of Mystic Power;
    active in the
Hyborian era (present since the distant past; see comments)

Creator: Primal Gods (aka "Elder Gods"; see comments);
    if the Crown of Wisdom is an incarnation of the Serpent Crown, then it would have been created or re-created by Set;

User/Possessors: Conan of Cimmeria, Pau-Styss, Zoroaster;
    watched over by the Cult of Creation, notably its priestess,
    if the
Crown of Wisdom is an incarnation of the Serpent Crown, then it has also been used by numerous others; see the Serpent Crown for that listing

Group Membership (More of a collection): Cornerstones of Creation (Mirror of Beauty, Rose of Peace, Sword of Strength)

Base of Operations: Unrevealed;
Pau-Styss' castle, which floated over the Eiglopohian mountains that separated Cimmeria from Vanaheim and Aesgaard);
    formerly Zorazztor's mosque in the outskirts of Anshan, Iranistan

First Appearance: Conan the Barbarian I#128 (November, 1981)

Powers/Abilities/Functions: The exact nature of the Crown's power is unrevealed, but it presumably grants mental or psychic power. However, it has a seductive if not corrupting nature, even entrancing a powerful mystic such as Noyo.

    It is one of four items of magic power that collectively form the Cornerstones of Creation. Even when not in use it exuded powerful energies.


(Conan the Barbarian I#128 (fb) - BTS) - In the distant past, the Primal Gods (also sometimes referred to as "Elder Gods"; see comments) created four items, imbuing each of them with one of the four elements of the cosmos' creation: The Sword of Strength, the Crown of Wisdom, the Mirror of Beauty, and the Rose of Peace.

    Throughout the ages, the sacred Cornerstones of Creation were jealously guarded by the Cult of Creation. Knowledge of their Earthly hiding places was known only to the hand-picked priestess of the gods.

    Noyo was chosen as the Priestess of the Cult of Creation.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Because of the his wisdom, Zoroazztor was chosen as the keeper of the Crown of Wisdom.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Zoroazztor guarded the Crown for "untold ages."

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) <Circa 10,000 BC> - Zoroazztor dwelled within a mosque in the outskirts of Anshan, the thriving capital of Iranistan.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - The demon lord sorcerer Pau-Styss sought the power of the Cornerstones of Creation and kidnapped Laynnen to force his wife, Noyo, priestess of the Elder Gods, to recover the Cornerstones. She was joined on her quest by Laynnen's childhood friend, Conan; her and Laynnen's son, Dreeme, also came along.

(Conan the Barbarian#129 (fb) - BTS) - Having already obtained the Sword of Strength, Noyo, Conan, and Dreeme mystically traveled to Zoroazztor's mosque to obtain the Crown of Wisdom.

(Conan the Barbarian#129) - Challenged by Noyo, Zoroazztor  mystically neutralized the illusions that cloaked the Crown of Wisdom, exposing it, its cage, and the aura of energy it exuded. When the Crown urged her to place it upon her brow and it would make her a god, Noyo, trembling and vacant-faced, reached for it, but Zoroazztor stopped her, using a mystic shock to restore her senses and still the crown's call. Though he advised her of its potency and that none but the chosen one could ever wear it, Noyo insisted she needed and would have the Crown; Zoroazztor agreed that her need was beyond dispute, but made it clear that her having it was not.

    Zorazztor defeated Noyo in a challenge of mental power
, but then Conan torched at least three of Zoroazztor's bookshelves, and the ancient wood and tomes swiftly spread the fire. As Zoroazztor predictably flew down and desperately tried to stamp out the flames, Conan scaled another shelf, dove through the air, snatched the Crown (within its casing), and landed on Noyo's flying carpet.

    As Conan and Noyo prepared to depart, Zoroazztor cursed their treachery and caused the door to the mosque to vanish -- leaving Conan, Noyo, Dreeme trapped within -- before transporting
himself and his handmaidens away to parts unrevealed.

(Conan the Barbarian#130) - Noyo mystically transported herself, Conan, Dreeme, and the Crown to Khitai; she placed the Crown in a realm between time and space so it could not try to seduce them again.

    After Conan and Noyo and recovered the Mirror of Beauty and the Rose of Peace and then confront Pau-Styss, the sorceror defeated Conan and then forced Noyo to bring forth the Cornerstones; Styss transformed the Cornerstones into their sidereal states and spoke the chants to claim their power. Ultimately, however, the power consumed him, leaving him a skeleton before that crumbled to dust.

    Noyo then revealed that she had recalled/appreciated Laynnen's true nature as the child of the Elder Gods, and Laynnen revealed how, upon learning Noyo's nature, he had understood that only the "chosen one," the one pure in heart, could tap into the Cornerstone's power without harm; he indicated that Dreeme could be that chosen one, though he, Dreeme, and Noyo would have to work on drawing out even the limited stain of violent thoughts on Dreeme's soul.

Comments: Created by J.M. DeMatteis and Gil Kane.

Elder Gods and Cornerstones of Creation

blackmirror-darkhold-acewandsSome insight courtesy of creator David Sexton:

     I discovered the original Cornerstones of Creation on your Appendix website as I was investigating magic in Marvel and the idea of the number 4 as a repeated theme in Marvel. And, of course, the way that Tarot fits into all that.

     When I saw the C of C on your site I connected it to Tarot and then the 4 Elder Gods. I knew that Gaea was Earth and Rose fit with her, that the crown was the Serpent Crown, and that the Sword which signifies intellect and the mind was Oshtur.

     So then I was like how would a mirror work with Cthon and I realized that the Darkhold was the mirror of Chthon. A reflection of his twisted vision for the world.

     In Marvel Tarot, it appears as the Ace of Wands (see image on right--Snood; the Ace of Swords is the Sword of Bone, the Ace of Cups is the Serpent Crown, and the Ace of Pentacles is the Ebon Rose)

     In the image of Ian McNee using the Cornerstones of Creation, the Black Mirror is just a magical construct to symbolize the Mirror.

     In my mind, the Darkhold itself is the Cornerstone. Possessing the Last Chronicle of Chthon / Darkhold page allowed Ian to access the Darkhold's power (as far as the Cornerstones of Creation is concerned).

The Serpent Crown. The Ebon Rose. The Sword of Bone. and the Darkhold. Those are the four Cornerstones

The Cornerstones of Creation received a mini-profile in the Talismans of Mystic Power of the Mystic Arcana handbook. It stated:

The Cornerstones of Creation refers to a set of four unique artifacts of the ancient world. The Sword, the Rose, the Crown, and the Mirror are related to air, earth, water, and fire, respectively, and some ancient texts have connected them with four entities known as "Elder Gods." Individually possessed of vast power, some have theorized that if the four Cornerstones were gathered together and used correctly, the very fabric of reality could be altered. This is why the true names of the items have been obscurred throughout history...

After re-re-re-re-reviewing all the stories and speaking to the creator, it seems clear that the Handbook entry offers the best solution...the Cornerstones' reality-altering power changed their nature...or their natures were altered.

Profile by Snood.

The Crown of Wisdom may or may not be connected in some fashion to:

images: (without ads):
Conan the Barbarian#128, pg. 14, panel 4 (unencased);
    #129, pg. 17, panel 6 (encased)

Conan the Barbarian#128 (November, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#129 (December, 1981) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (pencils), Gil Kane & P. Craig Russell (?) (inks), Louise Jones (editor)
Conan the Barbarian#130 (January, 1982) - J.M. DeMatteis (writer), Gil Kane (artist), Louise Jones (editor)

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

First posted: 09/07/2019
Last updated: 04/10/2020

Non-Marvel Copyright info
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