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Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua

Theodor de Bry's Engravings of the Timucua


Plate XI
Ceremonies Performed by Saturioua Before Going on an Expedition Against the Enemy

It is reported in the account of the second expedition, that the French made a treaty of alliance and friendship with the powerful king of the vicinity called Satourioua, in order to be able to erect a fort on his territory. It was agreed that their friends and their enemies must be the same, and in time of need they must lend each other support. Now, about three months after this treaty was made the king sent to Laudonnière for arquebusiers as he wanted to make war on a neighbour. Laudonnière despatched Captain Caillot with several soldiers to him, telling the captain to say that at the moment he could not supply him with men because he hoped he would be able to make a reconciliation with this enemy. Indignant with this reply, the king decided to leave immediately (he could not defer his expedition because he had collected all the necessary provisions and summoned the neighbouring kings). So, in the presence of the soldiers sent by Laudonnière, he assembled his men, all decked out in feathers and other ornaments of Indian fashion, and they sat down in a circle around him. A log fire was lit at his left, and at his right two big vases of water were placed. As if seized by a violent anger, the king, rolling his eyes terribly, began making a deep throaty sound and then, gesticulating wildly, let out some horrible cries which his soldiers repeated, striking their hips and rattling their weapons. Next, the king took a wooden bowl full of water and turning towards the sun worshipped it and asked it for victory over his enemies; that he might spill their blood as he was going to spill the water with which he had filled his bowl. With a quick movement he threw the water in the air and as it fell upon his soldiers he cried out ‘May you do with my enemies' blood the same as I have just done with this water.' The water from the second bowl was thrown in the fire and the king cried out ‘May you thus extinguish my enemies and return with their scalps.' Then they got up and set off on their expedition.

All transcriptions are taken from Discovering the New World, Based on the Works of Theodore de Bry, edited by Michael Alexander (New York: Harper & Row, 1976).