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The San Francisco call. (San Francisco [Calif.]) 1895-1913, November 03, 1912, Image 2

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Edward Everett Hale discovered the
fifth romance of the "Amadls of Gaul"
series there was little in logio
to explain the name of this state
In which we live. Doctor Hale
first presented the results of his read
ings to the Antiquarian society In 1893,
and in the following year (March, 1864)
he published a more extended report on
the origin of the name of California,
with copious translations from the
romance of "Deeds of Esplandiai: 'In
the Atlantic Monthly. Subsequently he
issued thl«. article in book form. Ban
croft refets to Hale's work only in a
footnote, after citing reasons for the
naming of California more Ingenious,
it would seem, than those in the won
derful work of De Montalvo. Hlttel
gives more consideration to Hale's
studies, and the California Blue Book,
published by the legislature in 1909,
considers the Hale theory. But, as a
matter of fact, there is little general
knowledge of the subject, and prac
tically none regarding the romance
from which the name of California was
taken. On that account it Is justifiable
that extracts from Hale's translation
be given.
The theory of those who contend
that California, our country, was named
from the romance of Kspiandian is sup
ported by the fact that the romance
was first published in the year 1510, 25
years before Cortes' discovery, that
these romances of the "Amadls of
Gaul" series were the popular reading
of the young men of Cortex' time, and
that it is the most natural thing to
believe that Cortex or some member of
his band of adventurers had read the
story, and related the prodigious deeds
as they camped on the sultry shore* of
Mexico or sailed up the blue sea that
is now the gulf of California.
For more than a decade following the
year 1523, when Cortex had completed
his conquest of Mexico, he was planning
expeditions north of the Central Ameri
can point where he was quartered for
the greater part of the time. In 1622 he
established his first shipyard at Zaca
tula, where vessels were constructed
and whence several expeditions
set out, but it was not until 1534
that Fortuno Ximenes discovered Lower
California, and it was on May 1. 1535.
that Cortez himself lsnded In a bay
on the east coast of the peninsula,
which he named Santa Cruz, as the
landing was effected on the feast day of
the holy cross. Later the name of Cal
l was given to this small bay on
nia, an«i then ex-
Ito the whole land, Since Cali
TlfeJSfomanceM Splendid
fomla In the fable was the land of
gold and suffragism, the prescience of*
Cortez in giving that romantic name
to the golden land he discovered is
without counterpart in the history of
discovery. Cortez has been honored as
a discoverer, an explorer, a conqueror.
Now let his name be enrolled as a clair
voyant. It is not of record that Cortez
met any of the amazons mentioned so
glibly in the romance of the "Deeds of
Esplandian."' But what if he did?
What if the. romancer had been
a historian, and that the race
of warlike and brunette women,
mounted on griffins, had existed in this
country, and had been discovered by
Cortez. and at sisrht of him had "fled,
flown away on their griffins, leaving ryp
trace behind of their habitations, of
their creatures, of their golden civil
ization? Remains of the saber tooth
tiger hare been found In the purlieus
of Los Angeles and specimens of the
dog tooth violets abound in the vicinity
of San Francisco—why may not the re
mains of griffins be somewhere discov
ered? Also, today we have hundreds of
carnival queens, why not let the past
have a real queen?
The history of the deeds of Califia
and Esplandian depict an attack on
Constantinople, when in the hands of
the Christians, by the Turks or Mussul
Queen Califia was a heathen, neither
a devotee at the shrine of Mohammed
nor a Christian, but for some capri
cious reason she decided to cast her
lot with the infidel powers. Of her
and of the land Whence she came,
and of the curious armament she pos
sessed let us read from the transla
tion of the "Deeds of Esplandian."
"Now you are to hear the most ex
traordinary thing that ever was heard
of In any chronicles or in the memory
of man, by which the city would have
been lo?t on, the next day, but that
where danger came from there the
safety came «*% Know. then, that on
the right hand ||f the Indies there la an
Island called California, very close to
the side of the terrestrial paradise, and
it was peopled by black women, with
out any man among them, for they
lived in the fashion of amasons. They
were of strong and hardy bodies, of ar
dent courage and great force. Their
Island was the strongest in all the
world, with its steep cliffs and rocky
shores. Their arms were all of gold
and so was the harness of the wild
beasts they tamed and rode. For In
the whole island there was no metal
but gold. They lived in caves wrought
out of the rock with much labor. They
had many ships, with which they sailed
out to other countries to obtain booty.
"In this island called California there
were many griffins, on account of the
great ruggedness of the country and its
infir.ite host of wild beasts, such as
never were seen in any other part of
the world. And when these griffins
were yet small the women went out
with traps to take them. They covered
themselves over wi # th very thick hides,
and when they had caught the little
griffins they took them to their caves
and brought them up there. And being
v'lves quite a match for the grif
flns, they fed them with the men whom
they took prisoners and with the boys
to whom they gave birth, and brought
them up with such art that they got
much good from them and no harm.
Every man who landed on the island
was immediately devoured by these
griffins, and although they had had
enough, none the less would they seize
them and carry them high up in the
air In their flight, and when they had
tired of carrying them would let them
fall anywhere as soon as they died."
It is reported apocryphally that on
New Year's day the ambitious mammas
of this Island of California invited a
number of young men from neighbor
ing Islands to have tea, and for such
time as the visit lasted the griffins
were subject to a severe muzzling ordi
nance. Many happy romances resulted
from these visits and marriages were
common and generally felicitous, until
the time limit on the muzzling ordi
nance elapsed,, when the young hus
bands had to return to their island.
The children were raised by the moth
ers without assistance from their hus
Continuing with the report on the
island, it is said:
"Now at the time when those great
men of the pagans sailed with their
great fleets, as the history has told
you, there reigned In this island of
California a queen, very large in
person, the most beautiful of them
all, of blooming years, and in her
thoughts desirous of achieving great
things, strong of limb and of great
courage, more than any of those who
had Ailed her throne before her. She
heard tell that all the greater part
of the world was moving in their on
slaught against the Christians. She
did not know what Christians were,
for she had no knowledge ef any parts
of the world, excepting those which
were close to her. But she desired to
see the world and its various people;
and thinking that, with the great
strength of herself and of her women,
she should have the greater part of
their plunder, either from her rank
or from her prowess, she began to talk
with all of those who were most skill
ful in war, and told them that it would
be well if, sailing* in their great fleets,
they also entered on this expedition,
in which all these great princes and
lord* were embarking. She animated
and excited them, showing them the
great profits and honors which they
would gain in this enterprise—above
all, the great fame which would be
theirs in all the world; while, if they
stayed on their Island, doing nothing
but what their grandmothers did, they
were really buried alive—they were
dead as they lived, passing their days
without fame and without glory, as
did the very brutes.
"So much did this mighty queen,
CalSfia, say to her people, that she
not only moved them to consent to
thoir enterprise, but they were so
eager to extend their fame to other
lands that they begged her to hasten
to sea, so that they might earn all
those honors, in alliance with such
great men. The queen, seeing the
readiness of her subjects without any
delay gave order that her great fleet
should be provided with food and with
arms all of gold—mure ot cverrthinc
than was needed. Then she com
manded that her largest vessel should
be prepared with gratings of the
stoutest timber; and she bade place In
It as many as 500 of these griffins of
which I tell you, that, from the time
they were born, they were trained to
feed on men. And she ordered that the
beasts on which she and her people rode
should be embarked, and all the best
armed women and those most skillful
In war whom she had in her island.
And then leaving such force in the isl
and that it should be secure, with the
others she went to sea. And they made
each haste that they arrived at the
fleets of the pagans the night after the
battle of which I told you; so that they
were received with great joy and the
fleet was visited at once by many great
lords, and they were welcomed with
great acceptance. She wished to know
at once in what condition affairs were,
asking many questions which they an
swered fully. Then she sai«:
"' 'You have fought this city with your
great forces, and you can not take it;
now, If you are willing, I wish to try
what my forces are worth tomorrow, if
you will give orders accordingly.'
"All these great lords said that they
would give such commands as she
should bid them.
'* 'Then send word to all your other
captains that they shall tomorrow on
no account leave their camps, they nor
their people, until I command them; and
you shall see a combat more remarkable
than you have ever seen or heard of.'
"Word was sent at once to the great
sultan of Liquia, and the sultan of Ha
lapa, who had command of all the men
who were there; and they gave these
orders to all their people, wondering
much what was the thought of this
"When the night had passed and the
morning came, the Queen Califia sallied
on shore, she and her women, armed
with that armor of gold, all adorned
with the most precious stones—which
are to be found in the Island of Cali
fornia like stones of the field for their
abundance. And they mounted on their
flerce beasts, caparisoned as I have told
you; and then she ordered that a door
should be opened In the vessel where
the griffins were. T„hey, when they saw
the field, rushed forward with great
haste, showing great pleasure in flying
through the air. and at once caught
sight of the hosts of men who were
close at hand. Ato they were famished,
and knew no fear, each griffin pounced
upon his man. seized him in his claws,
carried him high into the air and be
gan to devour him. They (the Chris
tians) shot many arrows at them, and
gave them many great blows with
lances and with swords. But their
feathers were so thick joined and so
stout that no one could strike through
to their flesh. For their own party,
this was the most lovely chase and the
most agreeable that they had ever seen
till then; and as the Turks saw them
flying on high with their enemies, they
gave such loud and clear shouts of joy
as pierced the heavens. And it was the
most sad and bitter thing for those In
the city, when the father saw the son
lifted in the air, and the son-his father,
and the brother his brother; so that
they all wept and raved, as was sad in
deed to. see. - '
The appearance of these griffins
routed the Christian defenders of Con
stantinople. They fled from the ram
parts and hid in the subways of the
town. This stampede of the Christian
knights filled the Turks with hope
and they agreed with Queen Califia
that the city was taken. The queen
bade the two sultans to bring out their
troops and charge the walls.
"At once," to continue the narrative,
"they all rushed forward, placed the
ladders and mounted the walls. But
the griffins, who had already dropped
those whom they had seized before, as
soon as they saw the Turks, having
no knowledge of them, seized upon
them just as they seized upon the
Christians, and. flying through the air,
carried them up, also, when, letting
them fall, no one of them (the Turks)
escaped death."
When Queen Califia saw that her
griffins did not have sense enough to
distinguish between the Turks and the
Christians, she became sad. Feeling
that her griffin test was a failure, she
called upon her amazons that they
"should mount the ladders and strug
gle to gain the towers and put to the
sword all those who took refuge in
.them to be secure from the griffins."
The romance continues. "They
obeyed their queen's commands, dis
mounted at once, placing before their
breasts such breastplates as no weapon
could pierce, and, as I told you, with
the armor all of gold which covered
their legs and arms. Quickly they
crossed the plains and mounted the
ladders lightly and possessed them
selves of the whole circuit of the
walls, and began to fight fiercely with
those who had taken refuge in the
vaults of the town. And those of the
city who were in the street below
shot at the women with arrows and
darts, which pierced them through the
sides, so that they received many
wounds because their golden armor was
so weak."
Queen Califia saw that her amazon
corps was gettting the worst of it, so
she called upon the sultans to send out
their soldiers. The moment these sol
diers appeared, the griffins turned on
them and chewed them up. Finally,
Queen Califia had to call off her brutes
and cage them up on shipboard.
With the griffins out of the way. the
Californians and the Turks joined
forces and attacked the city walls in
conventional form and there was bat
tle. Our queen was there, in the midst
of it. Of her particularly, the chron
icler say: "Then, I tell you, that the
things that this queen did in arms,
like slaying knights or throwing them,
wounded, from their horses, as she
pressed audaciously forward among
her enemies, were such that it can
not be told nor believed that any
woman has ever shown such prow
In the midst of the melee, Talanque,
cousin of Esplandian, ana Maneli, who
was son of a king of Ireland, rushed
to attack Califia, but she was saved
from their combined might by the aid
of her sister, Liota, wno "rushed in
like a mad lioness and pressed the
knights so mortally that, to the loss
of their honor, she drew Califia from
their power and placed her among her
own troops again." (Why does not
some Native Daughter parlor name
itself "Liota"?)
Then there was a truce and a con
ference, and during the negotiations
Califia heard of the great beauty of
Esplandian, son of the King Amadis.
She planned to see him under a flag
of truce.
Pertaining to this visit, it was writ
"At once she (Califia) returned to
to her ships, and she spent the whole
night thinking whether she would go
with arms or without them. But at
last she determined that it would be
more dignified to go in the dress of
a woman. And when the morning
came she rose and directed them to
bring one of her dresses, all of gold,
with many precious stones, and a tur
ban wrought with great art. • » •
They brought out an animal, which
she rode, the strangest that ever was
seen. It had ears as large as two
shields; a broad forehead that had but
one eye, like a mirror; the openings
of its nostrils were very large, but
its nose was short and blunt. From
its mouth turned up two tusks, each
of them two palms long. Its color was
yellow and it had many violet spots
upon its skin like an ounce. It was
The San Francisco Sunday Call
larger than a dromedary, had its feet
cleft like those of an ox and ran as
swiftly as the wind and skipped over
the rocks as lightly and held itself
erect on any part of them as do the
mountain goats. Its food was dates
and figs and peas, and nothing else.
Its flank and haunches and breast were
very beautiful. On this animal, of
which you have thus heard, mounted
this beautiful queen and there rode
behind her two thousand women of
her train, dressed up in the very rich
est clothes."
Califia fell in love with Esplandian,
but he did not reciprocate. There was
too much of the masculine about the
Californian, as the narrative states:
"He (Esplandian} made no reply to
her. both because he looked at her as
something strange, however beautiful
she appeared to him, and because he
saw her come thus in arms, so differ
ent from the style in which a woman
should have come. For he considered
it eyery dishonorable that she should
attempt anything so different from
what the word of God commanded her;
that the woman should be in subjection
to the man. but rather should prefer
to be the ruler of all men, not by her
courtesy, but by force of arms," and,
above all. because he hated to plao»
himself in relations with her because
she was one of the infidels. Whom he
mortally despised—and had taken a
vow to destroy."
Esplandian rejected Califla's attrac
tive proposal. He married another
girl. Then, says the romance:
As soon as Califia saw these nup
tials, having no more hope of him
whom she so much loved (Esplandian).
for a moment her courage left her; and
coming before the new emperor and
How' Her Griffins
Ate the Soldiers
At the Jiege of
How Esplandian
Rejected Her
Love; How at
Last She Found
A Worthy Suitor
And Opened
California to Men
these great lords, thus she spake to
" 'I am a queen of a great kingdom.
In which there is the greatest abund
ance of all that is most valued in the
world, such as gold and precious
stones. My lineage is very old—for it
comes from royal blood so far back
that there is no memory of the be
ginning of it—and my honor is as per
fect as it was at my birth. My fortune
has brought me into these countries
whence I hoped to bring away many
captives, but where I am myself a
captive. * * *
" 'And since Eternal Fortune has
taken the direction of my passion, T,
throwing all my own strength Into ob
livion, as the wise do in those affairs
which have no remedy, seek, if it
pleases you, to take for my husband
some other man, who may be the son
of a king, to be of auch power as a
good knight ought to have; and I will
become a Christian.' "
The emperor then matched Califia
with Talanque, his cousin, eon of the
king of Sobradisa —"very large he was
of person and very handsome withal."
"The queen looked at him, and finding
his appearance good, said:
"Thou shalt be my lord, and the lord
of my land, which is a very great
kingdom; and for thy sake this land
shall now change the custom which for
a very long time it has preserved, so
that the natural generations of men
and women shall succed henceforth in
place of the order in which the men
have been separated s<o long. * • ••
"Then the Emperor Fsplandlan and
the several kings. serir, B their wishes
thus confirmed, took the queen and he*
sister, Liota. to the chapel, turned
them into Christians, and espoused
them to those famous knights," <CaUfl£
to Talanque and Liota to Manelt, son
of the king of Ireland.} "And thus
they converted all who were in the
fleet. And immediate cave order.
so that Talanque. taking the fleet of
Don Galaor. his father, and Maneli.
that of King Cildadan, with all their
people, garnished and furnished with
all things necessary, set sail with their
wives, plighting their faith to the em
peror, that if he should need any help
from them they would give as to their
own brother.
"What happened to them afterward."
the author concludes. "I must be ex
cused from telling, for they passed
through very man> strange achieve
ments of the greatest . alor, they fought
many battles ami gained many king
doms, of which, if we should give the
story, there would be danger that we
should uever have done."

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