By This Axe I Rule!

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"By This Axe I Rule!"
Author Robert E. Howard
Country United States
Language English
Series Kull
Genre(s) Sword and sorcery
Published in King Kull
Publication type Paperback
Publication date 1967

"By This Axe I Rule!" by Robert E. Howard is the last of Howard's Kull stories, set in his fictional Thurian Age. It was first published in the Lancer Books paperback King Kull in 1967.[1]

This story was rejected by the pulp magazines Argosy and Adventure in 1929,[2] after which Howard rewrote it as the Conan story "The Phoenix on the Sword", substituting a new secondary plot and adding elements of supernatural horror. The main shared elements of the two stories are the conspiracy and the king's defeat of it. The Conan story was published in December 1932.

Plot summary[edit]

Kull laments that the laws of Valusia hamper his rule, and do not allow him to govern as he wants. A nobleman enters who wants to marry a slave girl, but Kull is advised that this is impossible under the law and the nobleman is sent away with regrets. Later Kull is attacked in his private chambers by a band of conspirators seeking to overthrow him, an attempt he barely defeats. After the assassins are killed, the nobleman shows up again and Kull smashes the tablets of the law with his axe, proclaiming "By this axe I rule!". He gives the suitor permission to marry whoever he wants.


The first comic book appearance of King Kull was in "Kull the Conqueror" (1971) published by Marvel Comics. The first issue was in part an adaptation of "By This Axe I Rule!", and issue #11 (1973) was more specifically based on that story and had the same title. The 1997 movie Kull the Conqueror starring Kevin Sorbo was partly based on "By This Axe I Rule!".

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Howard Works, retrieved 2 January 2008
  2. ^ REHupa: REH Fiction Timeline, retrieved 2 January 2008

External links[edit]