This is not intended to hammer down the “Fourth Age” of Glorantha, but let’s look a little bit at our King of Sartar sources. Now remember, I edited this book and work with Greg on the revised edition, so I have the decoder rings (and tried to make sure that the revised edition had enough information that it was possible to glean our version of events).
Our anonymous writer of “King of Sartar” is writing somewhere between 600 and 1000 years after the Hero Wars. He relies on a number of sources written after a long “Illiteracy Age” that starts about a century or three after the Hero Wars. Our writer thinks this Dark Age lasted about three hundred years, although others claim it lasted about six hundred years. We don’t know.
Our writer claims there was no writing from that period, although all we really know is that nothing from the period was available to the writer. This Dark Age ended about 250 years ago, and that’s when dating becomes possible again.
So our writer is looking at things like a Classical Greek trying to piece together the events of the Heroic Age. Maybe the Trojan War was six hundred years ago, maybe a hundred. Everyone knows the story, even if we have very few if any primary sources.
Our poor writer gives a whole bunch of different dates for Argrath’s apotheosis. Maybe it is 1658 or maybe it is 1733. Queen Inkarne lives to 1743 or maybe 1843. We don’t know. We do know that the we have at least a century after Argrath’s apotheosis before we stop having written sources. We know that there were rulers in Dragon Pass after Argrath, although we don’t know if they were Prince, King of Dragon Pass, Sacred Kings, or what.
The point is that King of Dragon Pass is deliberately sketchy and contradictory about post-Argrath history.
SPOILERS: CHDP is pretty accurate, like Thucydides, and was compiled about 1640. The Argrath Saga, on the other hand, was first put together about three or four centuries after Argrath’s apotheosis. It is about as removed from the events described as Homer’s Iliad was from the Mycenaeans, or Egil’s Saga was from Egil Skallagrimson. With the annotations, the Argrath Saga is a pretty good guide to the Hero Wars, although it has deliberate repetitions, contradictions, and so forth.
Now it is also worth mentioning that 600 to 1000 years after the Hero Wars, we all know that Prince Argrath “ended history and brought the Red Moon down from the sky.” We all know that “an empire which had withstood the Sun falling from the sky, an invasion of monsters, an Ice Age, fell to him.” Also that Argrath the Hero “is the wellspring of our modern mythology” – popular folk drama competitions are about Argrath and his companions, etc.
And we’ve got this great bit: “The old ruling class loved to quote Fearless to Death as they rode down the rebels. Those poems were said to have been originally extemporised by Argrath before each of his great battles.” Now this “old ruling class” might be from the Illiteracy Era, or perhaps post-Illiteracy Era. A lot of time passes.
So we know that 600 to 1000 years after the Hero Wars, Argrath the Hero is a foundational mythological and cultural figure for the writer’s people.