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Call of Cthulhu Pirate One-Shot

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Antillia, Satanazes and Mayda


Antillia - Antilha, the opposite island, was said to have been sighted in 1414 by a Spanish vessel. It was deeded to the Spanish in the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494) as the parallel drawn to divide the world was placed halfway between the Cape Verde Islands and its commonly believed location; that is, Hispaniola, as identified by Columbus. Columbus, notably, identified Hispaniola with Ophir and Cuba with Cipangu (Japan) as well.

Antillia is also known as the island of the Seven Cities.


Antillia was supposedly an Iberian colony, founded by fleeing Christians from the Moorish invasion of the 8th century. The Seven Cities were first named in a map of 1482: Aira, Ansalli, Ansodi, Con, Anhuib, Ansesseli, and Ansolli.


Piri Reis, in the first part of the 16th century, linked ‘Antilya’ to the American mainland –i.e., Florida. Strangely, in the 17th century, Antillia was linked to a Protestant alchemical-utopian project in England and Germany, the Antilia society of Jacob Hartlib. By this time, the island was clearly mythical, and the projected Antilia was to be a colony in North America (or even the Baltic coast). The name, for Hartlib, symbolized a vanishing isle, that when approached, disappeared – both in fact and in his plans, as the colony was never established, though Hartlib kept up correspondence with the Puritan John Winthrop of Boston. Ultimately, the Seven Cities migrated from Antillia to the mainland, becoming the Seven Cities of Cíbola, in the interior West of North America. Sete Cidades is now the name of a small community located in a huge volcanic crater in São Miguel, an Azorean island; Brasil is the name of a summit in Terceira. The major islands of the Azores themselves are seven in number.


In Azorean folklore, the lake of Furnas was once a city or a convent, now drowned through an offense against the local water fairies. A more elaborate version calls the Azores the realm of one King Brancopardo (‘part-white’), haughty, but heirless. His queen was Brancoranza or Brancorosa (‘white and orange’ or ‘white-rose’). A genie finally gave them an heir, a daughter, named Verdazul (‘green and blue’), on the condition that the king did not look upon her until the age of 20; hence the city of Sete Cidades was built to serve and guard her. It was built of gold and gems, and surrounded by walls of bronze. But after many years the king could not resist the desire to see his daughter, attacked the city, and attempted to enter; it then fell into the earth, consumed by flames and drowned by the lake. His daughter became a watery ghost.


Al-Tin or El-Tennyn, or the ‘island of serpent queen’ of the Thousand and One Nights is apparently an Arabic precursor to Antillia, though the name resembles that of Atlantis as well, and the Ancient Egyptian ‘Island of the Serpent’ or Island of Ka, whose legend (the Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor) has marked similarities to that of Atlantis. The sailor, marooned on an island in the Red Sea (the Indian Ocean or modern Red Sea) is met by a gigantic snake, who prophecies to him.


Satanazes, known variously as the Island of Devils (otherwise a name for Bermuda), the ‘Hand of the Devil’ and as the island of St. Athanasius, was originally depicted in pre-Columbus maps as lying 60 leagues north of Antillia. Other names for this landmass included Saya, Satanagio, Salvaga, Salirosa, and Tanmar. A map of 1463 lists the settlements of Satanazes as Araialis, Cansillia, Duchal, Ymada, Nam, and Saluaga – names clearly at least partly identical in origin to those placed on Antillia itself in later maps.

The ‘Hand of Satan’ is said to be a legend, originally associated with the Indian Ocean – though of course prior to the discovery of the Americas, the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans were thought of as contiguous by the Arabs – the ‘Sea of Darkness’—of a great hand that reaches from the deep sea to drag hapless victims into the depths. However, the original name appears to mean ‘island of devils’ in various Mediterranean dialects.


Mayda, also called Ymana and Royllo (otherwise Reyllo), was shown on early maps as due west of Antillia.


A further association – with the island of St. Brendan – led to some interesting consequences. While by the 17th century, map-makers were connecting Brendan with the Fortunate Isles – the Canaries – a corrupt form of the name Brendan became Vlandaeres, the Flemish Isles – the Ilhas Flamengos.


The three or four islands, curiously, while associated with the Caribbean by the Spanish, are shown far north of the Caribbean at a time when latitude was a known measure for cartographers – they seem to correspond to the Eastern Seaboard of North America, with Satanazes as Newfoundland and Antillia as Nova Scotia and/or New England. Hence, it is no surprise that Cabot and other Bristol-based explorers were originally looking for Antillia and her sisters in the North Atlantic, rather than southwards in the Caribbean. It was claimed by a contemporary that the Seven Cities and the Yle of Brasil were found, in fact, by anonymous English ships in 1497, only a few years after Columbus. This can only be Cabot.

The Necronomicon


The feared Necronomicon, according to some accounts, was found in Algiers, during the captivity (1576-1579) of Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, the author of Don Quixote. Cervantes translated the volume into Castilian as El Libro de los Normos de Los Perdidos, the Book of the Names of the Damned. Cervantes had been captured by Mamí Arnaut, an Albanian Corsair en route from Naples to Spain in September of 1575. He was held in a cave with a high ransom set because he had in his possession official letters which suggested he was a person of some importance.


How he laid his hands on the book is uncertain. He was a friend of other captives and even of Renegades, like Murat Rais Maltrapillo (or Atarráez), who intervened to save his life following a failed escape attempt. Associating with Murat Rais would bring Cervantes in contact with numerous Renegades, European traders, and slave-captives from across the Mediterranean. Cervantes’ closest friend in captivity was Antonio de Sosa, a friar, who discussed poetry and writing with him frequently. Cervantes’ master, however, was Hassan III Baha or Pasha ‘the Venetian,’ the elected King of Algiers. Hassan Pasha had abdicated and intended to head for Constantinople with his possessions, including Cervantes, when the Spaniard was freed in 1579.


Hassan was reputed to be insane and cruel, though cultured, though he treated Cervantes well. It is indeed possible that he ordered his captive to undertake the translation and that its unfinished state was the reason for his clemency.


The translation, given the name, would have been from a Latinate or Greek edition, rather than from the original Al-Azif. In any case, the language of the Algerian elite was Lingua Franca, a creole based on a variety of Romance and Levantine tongues, not Arabic. Cervantes was aware of the dangers of the text, and explicitly warns against conjuring with the aid of Yog-Sothoth.


Ultimately, Cervantes was freed by Juan Gil, a Trinitarian, with the help of some European merchants, and returned to Spain.



Ile Ste-Marie

An infamous pirate haven, Ile Ste-Marie was a small island on the east coast of Madagascar. Its population ranged between 500 to 1,500; many native women settled here with pirate settlers, making for a thriving community.

The founder of Ile Ste-Marie seems to have been Adam Baldridge, in 1685 or 1691, who had murdered a man in Jamaica and was looking to lie low far from justice.  He built a fortress here and a trading post, with a large number of Malagasy wives, but was expelled from the town in 1697 after news that he had sold a group of natives into slavery. No less than 40 cannon defended Baldridge’s fort from attack, and large warehouses held stores of provisions and fenced goods – though some accounts claim it was a mere palisade and a handful of cannon. Baldridge’s business partner was a New York Dutchman named Frederick Philipse, who hawked the stolen goods in colonial markets.

Baldridge sold his property before leaving to one Edward Welch, who was residing there in 1698/9 when Kidd visited. It was at Ile Ste-Marie that Robert Culliford convinced much of Kidd’s crew to abandon their captain and join him, leaving the Adventure Galley damaged and lightly crewed. In 1699, however, the island was visited by a squadron of the Royal Navy, and many of the pirates there, Culliford included, accepted an offer of pardon. As it turned out, his pardon was ruled invalid and he was taken back to London for trial. He was not hanged, and vanished shortly thereafter.



Fort Dauphin

Fort Dauphin was originally a French colony, but by 1696/7, Abraham Samuel was its ruler. Known by the extravagant pseudonym of ‘Tolinar Rex,’ he was a part-Black pirate who was marooned on Madagascar following a shipwreck. He conducted trade with passing vessels in slaves, provisions, and stolen goods. Samuel died in 1705.

It had been settled by the French in 1643, but hostile relations with the Malagasy and disease caused the surviving colonists to be evacuated in 1674.


Ranter’s Bay

Ranter’s Bay (also known as Antongil or Ranger Bay) was north of the Ile Ste-Marie and was the site of another pirate colony. In 1715, James Plantain, a Jamaican pirate, settled here and declared himself king, ruling until ousted in 1728. He was encountered by Captain Cockburn and the Royal Navy in 1721, who gathered intelligence on him, but did not take action. The pirates in the vicinity, having been carelessly tipped off by a letter left by the commander, Commodore Matthews, at St. Augustine Bay for his subordinates, hid in the inland portions of the island, and the force was unable to root them out.


The name ‘Ranter’s Bay’ naturally leads to possible links to Libertatia, given that the word Ranter meant an outspoken egalitarianist in the English Civil War.

The Templars and the Brethren


The link between the Templars, the Masons, and the Brethren of the Coast is a tenuous one, but enduring in conspiratorial history.


The fully formed legend holds that the Templars, following or shortly before their suppression, sailed a fleet across the Atlantic to hid their treasure and build settlements in North America.


Entangled in this account are the Templar links of Henry Sinclair, Earl of Orkney (d.c. 1401), and the Zeno Letters and accounts of the kingdoms of Frisland, Icaria, Estotiland, and Drogeo, somewhere between Iceland and Canada. The map linked to this account resembles maps of the North Atlantic dating from the early to mid 16th-century.


Regardless of the accuracy of connecting the Templars or other European pre-Columbian explorers to the Zeno Letters, the gap between the appearance of the Brethren at Tortuga in the early 17th century and the 15th century is a good 200 years.


Templars were also linked (from 1160-1199) to Lundy Island in the Bristol Channel; and that island formed a Corsair base under the Dutch Renegade Murat Rais in the early 17th century. Lundy remained a pirate base under several different flags until 1634.


The most clear links are the common use of the skull and crossbones emblem in Templar, Masonic, and Piratical insignia, and the possible connections between the Templars and the chivalric orders connected to Portuguese and Spanish exploration of the New World.


While the Spanish orders inherited property and membership from the Templars, the Portuguese Order of Christ was merely a renamed Templar order under royal patronage. It was closely connected to the secret exploration of the African coast undertaken by the associates of Prince Henry the Navigator in the 15th century. It was maps that emerged from these explorations that popularized the placement of Antillia and Satanazes in the mid-Atlantic and suggest at mysterious voyages west to the Americas before Columbus. Sometime in the 1430s the Azores islands – linked to these lands – first appear in Iberian maps and seafaring accounts. The new discovery was assigned to the Order of Christ, and was administered by a Vicar on behalf of the Grand Prior until 1532. The authority of the Roman Church was resisted by the Order, who refused the extension of the Diocese of Tangiers in 1471 to include episcopal authority over the archipelago; in 1514 the Diocese of Funchal in Madeira finally gained supervision of the islands’ churches.


The Azores resisted the Spanish acquisition of Portugal in the 1580, and attempted to remain independent, proclaiming Antonio, an illegitimate member of the royal house, as their king. The Spanish defeated the Azoreans two years later and their French and English allies, and it is possible that some remnants of the rebels headed for the Caribbean. The surviving rebels were ceremonially hanged from the yardarms of the Spanish fleet, being officially declared piratas, and the pretender Antonio’s government at Terceira collapsed in 1583. The would-be king fled to England, and he eventually died in Paris in 1595. Simultaneously with the conquest of the Azores, the new king of Portugal, Philip IV of Spain, reformed the Order of Christ, making noble birth and military or naval service a prerequisite.


Azorean religion and culture was profoundly influenced by the Order of Christ. The local sect known as the Culto do Divino Espírito Santo, or Cult of the Holy Spirit (also called the Irmandade, or Brethren), was descended from the heretical Millennialist preaching of Joachim of Fiori, and made their way to the islands via the Order. The mystical center of the Culto is the headquarters of the Order in Tomar. The Culto was strongly egalitarian, and rejected barriers of wealth and class. Authority in the sect was determined by election, rather than appointment. The chief of any one group was the Mordomo, or Major-domo, who oversaw the division of food (primarily beef, soup, and rice) for the ritual feasts. Like the original Brethren of the Coast, the banner of the Culto was a plain red flag. The chapels of the Culto were Teatros – ‘theaters’ or Impérios – ‘empires.’


The Azores saw a good deal of emigration under the Spanish crown following the conquest, mainly to the still officially autonomous Portuguese colonies of Brazil; hence also scattered the Culto. Other aspects of Azorean culture also followed – such as the shared Azorean and Brazilian word for witch, feiticeira, which also is a word for the butterfly.


It was a Portuguese Buccaneer, Bartolomeu Português, who was to codify the unwritten buccaneers into the first Pirate Code, in the 1660s. In any case, the Brethren of this era were overwhelmingly French, English, or Dutch.


The Knights of Malta – partial inheritors of the Templars – were represented in 1638 by Bailli de Poincy, a knight of the order and a French soldier, who was appointed governor of St Kitts. After establishing himself on the island, he forswore his allegiance to the French King and declared the colony a personal – or perhaps Maltese – possession. De Poincy allied with the buccaneers, established religious toleration, and oversaw the building of a castle-palace for his use. De Poincy turned back an attempt in 1644 to recover the island for France, and established an alliance with the Capuchin order. St. Barts in 1648 and Sint Maartin in 1650 were annexed to his island kingdom. Finally, the French capitulated, allowing the islands to the Order of Malta under French sovereignty in 1653. De Poincy died in 1660, and the islands were purchased and taken over by the Compagnie des Indes in 1664, becoming royal colonies in 1674.



Though the Maltese period was short – 1638-1664 – it sat athwart the critical years that the French dominated Caribbean buccaneering. As a major power among the Corsair states, the potential for a link between the Maltese order and the Pirates is considerable. Even though formally Catholic, the Order of Malta actually encouraged Christian unity and tolerated Protestants among its knights. Sworn knights served mainly in the French navy as professional sea officers, trained by the sea war against the Barbary Corsairs.

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There is some great gear in there. Many thanks. I will have a second read through at the weekend. Thanks once again.

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I've often thought that Pirates of the Caribbean could be reskinned as a Cthulhu adventure. The movies have a lot of slapstick, but also skeletons, walking dead, a creepy tentacled Davy Jones, and other elements which could make decent horror.

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I am sure something will surface sometime soon.  Alas these things move slowly.  Not that I know anything of course. ;)

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