The Double Shadow: A Clark Ashton Smith Podcast

Transcription for Interlude #2: HPL’s Reply to CAS

Show notes for HPL’s reply to CAS

Tim: [letter excerpt]

From the ruined brick tower, with the sealed door, hour of the black beating wings.

December 13th, 1933.

Dear Klar-kash-ton,

Regarding Roman Gaul, of course the people were of the Gallic race, but they had the culture of Rome and employed Roman names. Local municipal officials were native Gallo-Romans, but provincial governors, of god knows what racial stock in that age and period of mongrelism, and the army were sent out from Italy.

The matter of Druids is really quite all right. For although they were outlawed and officially obsolete, they really had tremendous influence in the remote backwaters. Even to the Romans in Italy, they represented something fascinating and forbidden. And furtive consultations of them, as modern dopes consult clairvoyants and other representatives of unofficial supernaturalism today, were no means infrequent among those supposed to hold them in abhorrence. For example, if we are to believe the account of Vopiscus in the Augustan history, at least two emperors, Aemilianus and X? [looking up], consulted Druid priestesses in Gaul despite the outlawry of the sect.

In the reggio Averoigne, of course, Druidism is stronger than anywhere else. A circumstance connected, perhaps, with the doubtful, and very strange origin of the old tribe of the Averoignes themselves. You, of course, recall that famous passage in Flavius where is suggested that the Averoignes, the dark race of the Aquitani, came from a great land in the Western ocean which had sunk beneath the waves. Alesius had some reference to a terrifying set of tablets, the Liber Ivonis, in the possession of the Averoignes, which was said to have been brought by them from that lost and ancient land from whence they came. Whether this could be identical with that infamous leaflet the “Eibon,” which in the 12th century the wizard Gaspard du Nord translated from some so-far-unascertained language into the French of Averoigne, is a problem with which scholarship must sooner or later wrestle.

But of the dark and curious reputation of the Averoignes, there can be of course no doubt. All scholars recall the references to this tribe and its hellish pre-Druidic deity in Valerius Traverius’s famous and rather sinister book circa AD 400, De Noctus Ribus, this rendered in Theobald’s translation, 1727, “black and unshaped, as pestilent as a clod Tsadoggua, Averoignia’s god.”

Yours, for the black catechism of primal Averoignia,


Show notes for HPL’s reply to CAS