Contributed by: Thulsa ()

"Burning censers bathed the interior in a soft weird glow that created an illusion of unreality. Near the rear wall, behind the black stone altar, sat the god with his gaze fixed for ever on the open door, through which for centuries his victims had come, dragged by chains of roses. (...) Bestial in the uncertain light Hanuman leered with his carven mask. He sat, not as an ape would crouch, but cross-legged as a man would sit, but his aspect was no less simian for that reason. He was carved from black marble, but his eyes were rubies, which glowed red and lustful as the coals of hell's deepest pits. His great hands lay upon his lap, palms upward, taloned fingers spread and grasping. In the gross emphasis of his attributes, in the leer of his satyr-countenance, was reflected the abominable cynicism of the degenerate cult which deified him." -- Robert E. Howard: "Shadows in Zamboula"

Hanuman, the ape-god of Zamboula

One "civilized" animal cult is that of Hanuman the ape-god, worshipped in Zamboula. Hanuman's priests are feared rather than loved, but worship of the ape-god is still supreme in Zamboula (much to the chagrin of the rival priests of Set and Erlik).

Hanuman's temple stands alone in the midst of a broad, marble-paved square in Zamboula, surrounded by a marble wall. The great bronze doors of the temple have stood open for centuries. In the day men and women come timidly into the shrine and place offerings to the ape-god on the black altar, but at night the people shun the temple of Hanuman as hares shun the lair of a serpent.

Hanuman worship is thought to have come from Vendhya. The dark ape-god is probably worshipped in Kosala and other remote parts of the East as well.

Status: Demigod
Spheres of Influence: Great apes, blood sacrifice
Symbol: Black simian hand


Hanuman is not known to manifest, but his idol is regularly appeased with human sacrifice. Although the statue of the ape-god is made from black marble, those who touch it quickly recoil from it, for the stone has the cold and sleek feel of a reptile.

The Priesthood

Hanuman has few, but powerful priests, who practice human sacrifice. One unusual ritual of the cult is the Dance of the Cobras, in which a young girl is made to dance between four live cobras, dodging their venomous fangs until, inevitably, she tires and falls to her death.

The current high priest of Hanuman in Zamboula is Totrasmek, who is reputedly a mongrel -- probably part Hyborian, part Shemite. He plays a very active part in the politics of Zamboula, having spun his slimy webs of power throughout the city for years.

  • Prerequisites: None
  • Domains: Beast, Illusion, Knowledge
  • Turning: None