View Full Version : May 2014 Entry: The Kraumayok Map

Corvus Marinus
05-27-2014, 08:31 PM
I realize I'm new to this art, but I couldn't resist my idea for this challenge. So here it is. Feedback is always welcome. :)

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The Kraumayok Map, with an explicatory page from the manuscript of Mernocatus

Abstract Concerning the Origins of the Kraumayok Map

The “Kraumayok Map” was discovered in Ireland in 1886 by Sir Arthur Flummery. It accompanied a manuscript, once thought lost, by the Irish missionary-adventurer Mernocatus (Mernoc) entitled De Populis Tulis. Mernocatus described his voyage in the mid eighth century to the Christian community on the volcanic island of Thule, where a prosperous agricultural society dwelt, and made observations about the people there.

The most important revelation within this volume was corroboration of the account of Eustathius of Thessalonica concerning the “pygmies” with whom the Thulites went to war. Mernocatus describes a map that corresponds to the object found with the book as belonging to these pygmies, whom he calls the Pueri Noctis Longae, i.e., Children of the Long Night; he also calls them by the name Craumaeci, or as scholars now call them, Kraumayoks. They were half of a man’s height, blue in color (whether naturally or by tattooing is unclear) and six-fingered, with no written language. Some stories also describe them as three-eyed and pointy-toothed—although most scholars declare the former unlikely, and views on the latter are mixed.*

The Kraumayoks inhabited a mysterious island chain north of Thule, though they were sometimes seen on the inhospitable coast, especially in winter, hunting and fishing. Northern Thule was known as Goetic Thule, or the place where land and water become one, and visits there by Thulites (except of the more daring species of magician) were rare. It was commonly believed that the Kraumayoks killed and ate any humans they found on the coast. Outside of Thule, in Britain and elsewhere, it was popular legend that the Kraumayoks knew a door to Hell and carried the souls of the wicked there. An early Norse poem furthermore describes “the night’s child, midnight-dark / low in his boat, he bore corpses / to circle the long night.”

The little knowledge we have of Kraumayok culture comes to us through Mernocatus, who repeated the narrative of the Thulite monk Cuimin, who reportedly met and dined with a group of Kraumayoks on the north coast. Cuimin affirms they were magicians and spirit-summoners, and they worshipped the moon as a goddess and the walrus as a god. They wore skins and spoke to one another in a series of barks, whistles, and guttural monosyllables. Cuimin failed to convert them, but he did exorcise a demon of total inarticulacy from one of them with the sign of the cross.

This particular map was retrieved from Thule by Mernocatus during his visit; he set about decoding it, identifying the dots with areas of human (Thulite) population, and noting the cross standing in for a monastery (indicating surprising familiarity with Thulite culture at the least, and possibly some contact between Kraumayoks and early monastics). The map corresponds to the north coast of Thule, emphasizing the major bays and peninsulas that Kraumayok hunters would navigate. The map does not include the Kraumayok homeland, nor has any map of it been found. Mernocatus suggests this is to prevent their enemies from finding it.

The map is made of interlocking pieces of driftwood (land) and whalebone (sea), glued together with a mixture of seal’s blood, clay, and hair. The whalebone piece was probably added some time after the creation of the driftwood piece. They are marked with slender incisions rubbed in with primitive, oil-based ink.

The map and the book were purchased from a private collection in 1994 and currently sit in the Hylky Museum in Finland.

Dr. J. Ransom Merrill :compass:
University of Brighton-Wick

* Three schools of thought predominate. The “genuine pointy” theory, the classical view that now finds itself increasingly in the minority, argues that the Kraumayoks did have naturally pointy teeth. The longtime challenger of the genuine pointies, the “apointy” school, argues that pointy teeth were a Thulite myth designed to attribute bestial characteristics to their enemies. The “revisionist pointy” theory, now dominant on the Continent, suggests the Kraumayoks practiced ritual tooth filing. Last year, however, the Journal of North Atlantic Cryptoanthropology published a much-discussed article by Dr. Maurice Sugarloaf postulating a fourth explanation: the Kraumayoks extracted their own teeth when reaching a mature age and fixed seal’s teeth in their jaws. Whether or not the “phocidean” or “dentured pointies” will gain traction remains to be seen.

05-28-2014, 01:58 AM
Delightful backstory - that's worth rep even without the map :-).

Corvus Marinus
05-31-2014, 12:09 PM
Darkened the background for higher contrast.

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Shall Teclex
05-31-2014, 10:17 PM
I like when I meet an illustrator who knows how to write a believable, competent, and amusing fiction. I like even more when they know how to do that in Latin.

The credibility of details on your map (drawings, scriptura continua, the initial) is great, so I presume that you are a professional philologist or historian. May I suggest that you add some color to the whalebone? Light yellowish or brownish hue would compliment the texture of the millennium old carved bone ...

Corvus Marinus
06-01-2014, 09:48 PM
I'm not really a professional anything at this point. I'm a lowly history adjunct (and my master's was in American history at that). Maybe someday.

But thank you for the praise and the recommendation on the whalebone. I'm new to GIMP and rely heavily on online tutorials at this point. I'll see what I can do to give it some color and any other aesthetic details that occur to me.