I propose the Pigafetta family has the key to understanding the cataclysm that disconnected Europe from the Americas and Africa until they were slowly rediscovered. Antonio Pigafetta, a man who survived the circumnavigation of the earth with Magellan, extensively detailed his trip and made many observations. His manuscript of his adventures was lost until it was conveniently discovered in 1797 by Carlo Amoretti (a member of the Augustinian Order).
Filippo Pigafetta a descendant of Antonio, went to Rome in 1585 with the Venetian ambassador to Sixtus V, and was placed in service to the Pope. In 1589, he was commissioned to collect testimony from a Dutch individual that was in the Congo. This led to his connection with the map of Africa below.
The map in question:
H.P. Lovecraft wrote a short story titled, “The Picture in the House.”
Plot summary – A genealogist seeks shelter from an approaching storm in an apparently abandoned house, only to find that it is occupied by a “loathsome old, white-bearded, and ragged man,” speaking in “an extreme form of Yankee dialect….thought long extinct.” The narrator notices that the house is full of antique books, exotic artifacts, and furniture predating the American Revolution. The old man is apparently harmless and ignorant, but shows a disquieting fascination for an engraving in a rare old book, Regnum Congo, and admits to the narrator that it made him hunger for “victuals I couldn’t raise nor buy”- presumably human flesh. It is suggested that the old man in the house was murdering men who stumbled upon the shack to satisfy his “craving”, and that the old man has extended his life preternaturally through cannibalism. The narrator realizes the old man has been alive for over a century. The old man denies that he ever acted on his desire, but then a red drop of blood falls from the ceiling, clearly coming from the floor above, and splashes a page in the book. The narrator then looks up to see a spreading red stain on the ceiling; this belies the old man’s statement. At that moment, a bolt of lightning destroys the house. However, the narrator manages to escape.
Lovecraft writes, “As I surveyed this quaint apartment, I felt an increase in that aversion first excited by the bleak exterior of the house. Just what it was that I feared or loathed, I could by no means define; but something in the whole atmosphere seemed redolent of unhallowed age, of unpleasant crudeness, and of secrets which should be forgotten. I felt disinclined to sit down, and wandered about examining the various articles which I had noticed. The first object of my curiosity was a book of medium size lying upon the table and presenting such an antediluvian aspect that I marvelled at beholding it outside a museum or library. It was bound in leather with metal fittings, and was in an excellent state of preservation; being altogether an unusual sort of volume to encounter in an abode so lowly. When I opened it to the title page my wonder grew even greater, for it proved to be nothing less rare than Pigafetta’s account of the Congo region, written in Latin from the notes of the sailor Lopez and printed at Frankfort in 1598. I had often heard of this work, with its curious illustrations by the brothers De Bry, hence for a moment forgot my uneasiness in my desire to turn the pages before me. The engravings were indeed interesting, drawn wholly from imagination and careless descriptions, and represented negroes with white skins and Caucasian features; nor would I soon have closed the book had not an exceedingly trivial circumstance upset my tired nerves and revived my sensation of disquiet. What annoyed me was merely the persistent way in which the volume tended to fall open of itself at Plate XII, which represented in gruesome detail a butcher’s shop of the cannibal Anziques.
From the source here:
The Spanish Lake – OAPEN
“Antonio” Pigafetta sailed with Magellan to the new world. “During the winter the little Santiago was lost on a reconnaissance to the south, but the crew was able to make its way back to San Julian; contact was made with the inhiabitants, to the delight of Pigafetta (who had the instincts of an anthropologist) and the tale of the Patagonian (“big feet”) giants was launched on its long history.”
I believe the artwork in Regnum Congo depicts the populus in South America and not the Congo and it was from work based on Antonio and not Filippo. It just makes more sense if you view the images without the words below them. See below:
So let’s get back to Africa and Lovecraft’s idea of this book being from antediluvian periods. The map of Africa shown during this period that is attributed to Pigafetta does not match anything from the same period of the later 1500’s. There’s just way too much water.
GIF of maps with river changes:
It has lakes with sea monsters, so I’m assuming this means a salt lake. Maybe it’s just dinosaur hippos.
Plus today it looks like this and has a giant salt mine:
A town that should be near a salt lake, and has no lake with only rivers on the 1570 map.
And many of the rivers are just so much bigger than any other map depictions.
One of the things throwing me off was the constant marking of deserts, however when looked at more critically I do not believe these are contemporary with the original map.
With the map everything NW, N, NE, and E of the Congo is identified with with cursive script. Including general area names:
While everything SW, and S seems to have been forgotten by the cartographer:
So either this cursive text was added later. Or it indicates that all of Eastern/Central/and Northern Africa were part of the same kingdom that extended into Saudi Arabia and around the Mediterranean coast, while the Western Coast and South were something entirely different…
And then I found this map:
From Wiki: Livio Sanuto came from the long-established (since about the 5th century) Venetian patrician family Sanudo (italisiert Sanuto), which has produced over the centuries a number of politicians (senators), soldiers, writers and scholars. For example, Marco Sanudo (c. 1153-1227), who by force founded the Duchy of Archipelago in the Aegean Sea in 1207 , or the writer and diarist Marino Sanudo d. J. (1466-1533). – The father of Livio Sanuto seems to have held a political office in the Venetian Republic. From other members of the family, only one brother is known: Giulio Sanuto (1540-1588), who was a draftsman and engraver and Livio Sanuto has stood by his life’s work as a valuable collaborator.
The map depicts Tenerifa erupting:
Historical eruptions in Tenerife
- Eruption of 1430: This eruption is only known by references of the Guanches. It took place in the area of the Orotava Valley, although it has not been located with exactitude.
- Eruption of Boca Cangrejo (1492): This eruption was seen by Christopher Columbus during his passage through the south of Tenerife towards the discovery of America.
- Eruptions of the years 1704-1705: It took place through three points of emission: Siete Fuentes, Fasnia and Montaña de Las Arenas.
So it’s either showing the eruption that Columbus “witnessed”, or it’s showing a completely different eruption that is not detailed in the main historical narrative.
Livio’s brother Giulio made some pretty interesting art:
The large variation between the Pigafetta maps and the late 15th century maps leads me to believe this eruption could have resulted in the draining and desertification of large areas of Northern Africa that has been hidden in history.