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Reck and Tambu
From the Robert E. Howard Lexicon

"For they have their own tambus and they reck not the tambus of the civilized races nor care they..."

-The Cat and the Skull




recks (third person present) · recked (past tense) · recked (past participle) · recking (present participle)

pay heed to something:

(it recks)

it is of importance:


Old English, of Germanic origin; compare with reckless. The word became common in rhetorical and poetic language in the 19th cent.

"The tiger is my totem and is tambu to me save in self defense..."

-The Cat and the Skull

Tambu, in this instance, is used as a form of the word Taboo, but contextually seems to also reference a sense of racial power. So, the following is pure conjecture, that perhaps Howard infused this commonly understood concept of a cultural taboo with a metaphysic sense of race, perhaps influenced by the numerological term below.

The numerical value of tambo in Chaldean Numerology is: 9

The numerical value of tambo in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

A Well of Heroes: Two:

Literary Impressions of the Prose and Verse of Robert E. Howard

Add Comment
LynnJune 30, 2017 1:00 PM UTC

I recall the use of "tambo" in some of Jack London's work also. Will see if I can find it.