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Edgar Rice Burroughs'
THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT
A Perspective on the World at War when Edgar Rice Burroughs wrote
THE LAND THAT TIME FORGOT
and a completely arbitrary exploration into the basis
for the names of the tribes used in the novel.
by Robert Allen Lupton
In September 1917, Edgar Rice Burroughs began writing “The Lost U-Boat”,
the first third of the trilogy that will become “The Land That Time Forgot”.
The trilogy was published as:
“The Land That Time Forgot": Blue Book Magazine: August 1918
"The People That Time Forgot": Blue Book Magazine: October 1918
"Out of Time's Abyss": Blue Book Magazine: December 1918
The first edition of the book, “The Land That Time Forgot” was published by McClurg on June 14, 1924.
The trilogy was reprinted by Amazing Stories in February, March and April, 1927.
Taliaferro reports in “Tarzan Forever” that TLTTF began to destroy ERB’s German audience. “Tarzan the Untamed” helped finish it off. At one point in TLTTF, Tyler Bowen says, damn the Kaiser and his Brood”. The Germans and the American traitor are portrayed as evil personified. By April 1925, ERB books had virtually vanished from German bookstores. In an effort to quell this uprising, ERB suggested that “Tarzan, the Untamed” and “The Land That Time Forgot” stop being sold in other countries. Burroughs suggested in an open letter to his German Readers that he, Burroughs, was practically German himself. ERB said that the Kaiser was one of his heroes. This letter was in response to a February 1925 telegram from Charles Dieck. Dieck never chose to release ERB’s letter to the German press. Dieck and Company published German language editions of ERB novels.
In defense of ERB, we must consider what was happening in the world when “The Lost U-Boat” was written. A quick review of the 1917 timeline leading is appropriate. Perhaps ERB chose to go war with German using his best weapon, the pen. To paraphrase one of the “Rhymes for the Irreverent” by the Chad Mitchell Trio, “I am not afraid of anything said the Kaiser, and they know it. I am not afraid of anything except, perhaps, a poet.”
January 31, 1917 Germany notifies USA that U-Boats will attack neutral merchant ships.
February 1, 1917
Germany Admiral Tirpitz announces unlimited submarine war.
February 3, 1917 US Liner Housatonic is sunk by a U-Boat. USA severs diplomatic relations with Germany.
Artist Rendition of the Sinking of the Housatonic
February 21, 1917 British Ship, Mendi sinks near the Isle of Wright. 627 lives are lost.
The Mendi, which sank in 1917, is one of South Africa’s most potent political symbols.
The illustration, by Robert G. Fresson originally appeared in The New Yorker.
February 22, 1917 The German navy torpedoes seven Dutch ships.
February 24, 1917 The Russian revolution begins. Remember that revolution is never bad in the first person. Our revolution is good, their revolution is bad.
The Revolution Begins
March 11, 1917 The British occupy Baghdad. What on earth were they thinking?
The British march into Baghdad – March 11, 1917
April 2, 1917 Wilson asked Congress to declare war on German. Omar Khayyam wins the Kentucky Derby.
May 10, 1917 Atlantic ships are given destroyer escorts.
May 13, 1917 Germany begins bombing London.
June 1, 1917 Hank Gowdy is the first professional baseball player to enlist.
Hank Gowdy takes oath of enlistment.
June 5, 1917 Ten Million American men begin registering for the draft.
Notice of Mandatory Draft Registration
July 9, 1917 The British ship, “Vanguard” explodes near Scarpa Flow. No cause is determined. 804 are dead.
Postcard of HMS Vanguard
September 3, 1917 First night German bombing raid over London.
September 11, 1917 French Pilot, George Guynemer shot down. He was an ace with 53 confirmed German “kills.” His body was never found.
French Pilot, George Guynemer
When ERB began writing “The Lost U-Boat”, the American expeditionary force was in France. Turkey, China and Italy have declared war against Germany. The Lusitania was torpedoed on May 7, 1914 by U-20. 1,198 lives were lost including 128 Americans. In spite of the outrage about the German’s sinking a passenger liner, it was later determined that the manifest of the Lusitania demonstrated that it was carrying bullets and ammunition for the Allies.
In his story, Edgar Rice Burroughs identifies the German U-boat as a type U-33. At the start of WW1, Germany had 29 U-Boats. Depending on sources, Germany built a total of 360 to 379 U-Boats during WW1. I tend to accept the 379 number as identified by www.uboat.net. Tyler Bowen identifies himself as a shipbuilder who specialized in building submarines for Germany, France, the USA, and England. U-Boat.net says that all the German WW1 U-Boats were manufactured in German at ten shipyards:
There were two shipyards in Brennan, A. G. Weser and Atlas Werke. Bremer Vulcan was located in Vegesack. Schiffbrau was home to the Flensburger shipyard. The two shipyards in Danzig were Germaniawerft and Kaiserliche. Hamburg was home to three shipyards, Reiherstiegw, Stuicken Sohn and Vulcan.
Unidentified WW1 U-Boat shipyard
It would appear that Tyler’s family would have operated more than one shipyard in more than one country in order for him to have built submarines for the four countries that he claims to have built subs for. For him to have been familiar with the German U-33 type submarine raises another issue. The Germans did not use a type U-33 submarine in WW1. However, there was a specific German submarine identified as submarine U-33. Submarine U-33 was a submarine type U-31. It was manufactured by Germanwerft. It was launched on May 19, 1914 and destroyed sometime after it surrendered on January 19, 1919. The ship had three commanders, Konrad Gansser, Sustav Siebt, and Hellmuth Von Doemming. U-33 sank 85 ships and damaged 8 more. It was the terror of the seas for a period of time.
Von Schoenvorts is able to leave Caspak with the U-33 to return to the war. If the U-Boat has been identified properly, it continued to patrol the seas until its surrender
Unidentified U-Boat U-31 Class
During WW1, the German U boat fleet sank 7620 ships. 5143 of those ships were sunk before ERB began writing “The Lost U-Boat”. The German submarine fleet was very effective. 379 U-Boats sank an average of over 20 ships each. Many of the ships were merchant ships. For ERB to have written a novel in America at this time that did not reflect the Germans as evil would not have been well received. The novel reflected the prevailing American attitude toward the German military. His post-WW1 letter to Charles Dieck trying to change the German perception of his anti-German writing was, perhaps, a matter of financial expediency. He wanted the German market back. Who really knows how ERB felt about the German military. All we know is that his portrayal of them reflects the “politically correct American attitude. His primary audience was, after all, the American male.
There was some conversation that “The land That Time Forgot” and the two novels that followed were too similar to “The Lost World” by Sir A. Conan Doyle”. Both stories contain dinosaurs and prehistoric men. Both stories use an inaccessible part of the world where modern civilization has not intruded. Both stories have modern man discovering a “lost world”. The books are only superficially similar. In “The Lost World,” a deliberately planned expedition finds its way to a plateau in South America. This is an area where evolution stood still. Burroughs story has evolution progressing at an alarming rate, and Doyle’s story is one of a place where evolution has stopped.
In “The Land That Time Forgot” a group of lost German sailors and the survivors of a submarine attack arrive at Caprona lost and ill equipped to survive. They have a brief encounter with dinosaurs. They encounter many other creatures from all periods of prehistoric time. There are many different types of prehistoric people. The Burroughs novel is not a novel of a world where evolution has stopped; it is rather a story of evolution is running rampant. To claim that “The Land That Time Forgot” plagiarizes Doyle is not valid. One could as correctly claim that all vampire novels plagiarize “Dracula”. By that logic, every mystery novel rips off Poe or Sherlock Holmes.
The Land That Time Forgot stands alone as a cliffhanger (literally), but it is the first third of a Trilogy. In discussions of this book it is almost mandatory to list the tribes located on Caspak. The tribes are”
Ho-lu - Ape Men
Alu – Speechless Men
Bo-lu – Club Men
Sto-lu – Hatchet Men
Band-lu – Spear Men
Kro-lu – Bow Men
Galu –Rope Men.
Where did these tribal or racial names come from? What are the source names? Where did ERB find the names? Did he pluck the names out of thin air? Probably not, writers don’t work in a vacuum and frequently place and character names rise from the subconscious. The possible explanations that follow are pure conjecture. I may even reach beyond a reasonable doubt. Some are coincidences, but maybe, or two could be spot on.
Well, the first name, Ho-lu could be derived from the Estonian “hullus” meaning mania or frenzy. Hullus is descriptive of the behavior of the caveman, hence the name, “Ho-lu.” Holo is a Bantu language of Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The Hawaiians use the term
www.urbandictionary.com defines ‘holu” a person who is not capable of understanding situations or executing tasks which an average being is capable of. The Urban Dictionary didn’t exist when Burroughs wrote this story, but its definition of the word certainly fits. Actually, could make the argument that ERB’s use of the term, ho-lu, to describe the lowest and least intelligent level of humanity on Caprona, could have in some convoluted fashion led to the slang definition of the word in urban dictionary. After all, more than a few million people read the book.
If any of these can be considered as the source of Ho-lu, my choice is the Bantu language. My reasoning will become clear as we look at the other tribal names.
Bantu Village Scene Circa 1915
Alu, the speechless men is the next step up on the high speed Caspak evolutionary ladder. Allu is a common surname used by members of many families in Andhra Pradesh, India. Doubt that’s the source for the name. Alu is the name of a volcano in Ethiopia and another in the Philippines.
The sequence A-L-U is found in numerous Elder Futhark runic inscriptions from Germanic Iron Age Scandinavia (and occasionally in early Anglo-Saxon England) between the 3rd and the 8th century. The word usually appears either alone or as part of an apparent formula (such as on the Lindholm "amulet" (DR 261) from Scania, Sweden). The symbols represent the runes Ansuz, Laguz, and Uruz. The origin and meaning of the word are matters of dispute, though a general agreement exists among scholars that the word represents an instance of historical runic magic or is a metaphor (or metonym) for it. It is the most common of the early runic charm words. Common usage could have made ERB aware of the term. The term appeared in the epic poem, Beowulf, but it’s highly doubtful that ERB ever encountered “Beowulf” in Old Norse.
The word disappears from runic inscriptions before the Christianization of Scandinavia. It may have lived on beyond this period with an increasing association with ale, appearing in stanzas 7 and 19 of the Old Norse poem Sigrdrífumál, compiled in the 13th century Poetic Edda, where knowledge of invocative "ale runes" (Old Norse ölrúnar) is imparted by the ValkyrieSigrdrífa. Theories have been suggested that the unique term ealuscerwen (possibly "pouring away of alu"), used to describe grief or terror in the epic poem Beowulf, recorded around the 9th to 11th century, may be directly related.
Although the literal meaning of the word alu is generally accepted to be "ale," i.e. "intoxicating beverage," researchers have found it necessary to look deeper into the significance of the term. Earlier proposed etymologies for the word sought a connection with Proto-Germanic *aluh "amulet, taboo" from *alh "protect."
Linguistic connections have been proposed between the term and the Proto-Germanic term *aluþ, meaning "ale," and subsequently the word is sometimes translated as meaning "ale," though this linguistic approach has been criticized as having "crucial difficulties." Some scholars believe the word to belong to the "technical operative vocabulary" of the Germanic peoples, originally referring to "an ecstatic mental state as transferred to a potent drink" used in religious rituals in Germanic paganism.
Raetian North Etruscan dedicatory votive objects have been discovered featuring alu where the term means "dedication". Connections have been proposed between these objects and the term alu found on runic inscriptions.
In Akkadian and Sumerian mythology, Alû is a vengeful spirit of the Utukku that goes down to the underworld, Kur. The demon has no mouth, lips or ears. A speechless demon, if you will, and the Alu of Caspak are the speechless me. It roams at night and terrifies people while they sleep, and possession by Alû, the demon of the night results in unconsciousness and coma; in this manner it resembles creatures such as the mara, and incubus, which are invoked to explain sleep paralysis. In Akkadian and Sumerian mythology, it is associated with other demons like Gallu and Lilu. One of the definitions of “Alus” is bottom or underside. If we don’t consider the ape men as human, Alu is an appropriate name for the first or bottom level of mankind. I like this as the potential source word for “Alu”, especially in light of the association with another demon type, the Gallu. More on the Gallu later in this article.
Alu, the faceless and speechless demon.
The next step up the ladder, or river, of evolution is the Bo-lu, the club men. The first of the Caspak peoples to use weapons.
Bolu Province a province in northwestern Turkey. It's an important midpoint between the capital, Ankara and the largest city in the country, Istanbul.
The urban dictionary offers this definition, “A Yoruba demon in blood... He likes women and he loves sex. Is extremely well endowed and extremely fertile. Women should run away from this creature, but one of his powers is to enchant young women and make them fall hopelessly in love with him. He is normally hairy around the groin and chest. He is extremely aggressive, not unlike a bovine bull.
In today’s world a Yoruba, a member of an African people of southwestern Nigeria and Benin, demon is typically a young man of Yoruba descent who has the uncanny gift to effortlessly make ladies fall head over heels in love with him.
A bolas is a type of throwing weapon made of weights on the ends of interconnected cords, used to capture animals by entangling their legs. Bolas were most famously used by the gauchos (South American cowboys), but have been found in excavations of Pre-Columbian settlements, especially in Patagonia, where indigenous peoples (particularly the Tehuelche) used them to catch 200-pound guanaco (llama-like mammals) and ñandú (birds). The Mapuche and the Inca army used them in battle. Researchers have also found bolas in North America at the Calico Early Man Site. Bolas would make a better name for been the rope men, but that isn’t the way Burroughs wrote it.
A “Bolus” is defined as a single, relatively large quantity of a substance. This is usually applied to a pill taken for medical use. However, Bolus from the Greek means “a lump of earth”. A lump of earth could be loosely interpreted to mean a club. A club is, after all, a lump of rock on the end of a stick.
Meriam Webster defines bolo as a long heavy single-edged knife of Philippine origin used to cut vegetation and as a weapon. That shouldn’t apply here. The Bo-lu didn’t use knives.
In this completely arbitrary assignment of potential source words for the tribal names, I’m going to stick with the demonic Bolu.
The process wheel of a Yorba Demon – a Bolu
Sto-lu, the hatchet men, are the next level of human development in Caspak,
Stolus is a genus of echinoderm in the family Phyllophoridae. Echinoderm is the common name given to any member of marine animals. The adults are recognizable by their (usually five-point) radial symmetry, and include such well-known animals as sea stars, sea urchins, sand dollars, and sea cucumbers. Interesting, but probably not the source.
Staying with demonology as the source for the tribal names, the demon Stolas appears in the grimoires The Discoverie of Witchcraft, The Book of Spirits, Pseudomonarchia Daemonum, The Lesser Key of Solomon, and Dictionnaire Infernal.
From The Lesser Key of Solomon, Crowley/Mathers edition:
The Thirty-sixth Spirit is Stolas, or Stolas. He is a Great and Powerful Prince, appearing in the Shape of a Mighty Raven at first before the Exorcist; but after he taketh the image of a Man. He teacheth the Art of Astronomy, and the Virtues of Herbs and Precious Stones. He governeth 26 Legions of Spirits.
The word, stolu, and some variants appears in some languages meaning stool or chair.
The Sto-lu used hatchets and axes, not chairs or five pointed throwing stars, so that leaves us with the demon Stolas. Not suggesting demonology in the Burroughs household, but the man was an avid reader.
From the Crowley/Mathers edition of The Lesser Key of Solomon.
I won’t send a lot of time recounted obscure uses for Bandlu, Bandlo, Bandla, or any other similar sounded foreign word or place. I believe the source is Bantu, an African people and language. Band-lu are the spear people and the Bantu traditionally used spears as their primary weapon to hunt and fight.
The next step up the ladder toward electricity, steel mills, and world wars is the Kro-lu, or bowmen.
Crull and variants appear in several European languages and means curly or curly. Its current usage is very limited.
The word, Krul, is Afrikaans and it also means “curl”. A curl is by definition a bow shape. In fact, Delano Cuzzucoli created an alphabet using only one shape, a curl. He calls his alphabet “Krul”. The Afrikaans word, Krul, is a potential source for the term Kro-lu, meaning the bowmen.
Krol is a Polish word and means king, overlord, and strangely enough, rabbit. None of these is a strong contender for the source of Kro-lu.
Air Marshal George Mitchell Croil CBE, AFC was a Royal Flying Corps pilot during World War I and a first cousin of US Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, a pioneer of American military aviation. He eventually became the first Chief of Staff for the Canadian Air Force, but that happened long after The Land That Time Forgot was written.
As a military man, Edgar Rice Burroughs, payed attention to the day to day happenings during World War One. He enlisted in the reserve militia May 28, 1917, was appointed a captain January 1, 1918 and a major on October 15, 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry, Illinois Reserve Militia, and proposed a National Reserve Army, in a letter to the editor of the Army and Navy Journal (August 31, 1918). It would not be surprising that he knew about the RFC Canadian pilot, George Mitchell Croil. To suggest that ERB based the tribal name Kro-lu is pure conjecture.
Krul, the Afrikaans word, is the most likely source for Kro-lu.
A Zulu with a bow, South Africa, circa 1900
In Sumerian and ancient Mesopotamian religion, gallûs, also called gallas, were great demons or devils of the ancient Mesopotamian Underworld. Gallu demons hauled unfortunate victims off to the underworld. They were one of seven devils, or "the offsprings of hell" of Babylonian theology and could only be appeased by the sacrifice of a lamb at their altars.
The goddess Inanna was pursued by gallu demons after escaping the Underworld. An especially fierce gallu demon, the monstrous Asag, was slain by Ninurta using the enchanted mace Sharur.
Dumuzi seeking help from the sun god, Utu, while being attacked by the gallu.
The simplest explanation for the name “Galus” for rope men is to just pronounce the word. It sounds a lot like gallows. Gallows is only the wooden portion of the hanging device. In its simplest version it is a pole and a cross piece. However, it is not that much of a “stretch.” (Pun intended) “Gallows” is an idiomatic term for the hanging rope and The Collins Dictionary defines gallus as a variant of “gallows” and means, fit for the gallows. It’s a small step from gallows, to gallus, to Galus.
So that concludes my reasonable analysis of the origins for the peoples of Caspak. Reasonable though it may be, it has no basis in reality. I expect that ERB simply made the names up. It is interesting, that all have a source word or term that would help explain or justify the name selections. I don’t believe for one minute that the sources and explanations for the tribal names have any basis in reality, but it was fun trying seeing if a plausible, though farfetched, source could be claimed. Again, no writer works in a vacuum, so who knows.
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