R'lyeh

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{island, water, area}
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{church, century, christian}

R'lyeh or Relex (IPA: [ˈrəʔlʲɛx]; commonly pronounced /ˈruːli.ə/ or /rɨˈlaɪ.ə/[1]) is a fictional city that first appeared in the story "The Call of Cthulhu",[2] by H. P. Lovecraft. R'lyeh is also referred to in Lovecraft's "The Mound" as Relex. R'lyeh is a sunken city located deep under the Pacific Ocean and is where the godlike being Cthulhu is buried.

R'lyeh's bizarre architecture is characterized by its non-Euclidean geometry.[3]

Contents

Description

When R'lyeh rises in Lovecraft's short story "The Call of Cthulhu" (1928), the only portion of the city that emerges is a single "hideous monolith-crowned citadel" in which Cthulhu is entombed. The human onlookers are awed by the sheer immensity of the city and by the frightening suggestiveness of the gargantuan statues and bas-reliefs.

The city is a panorama of "vast angles and stone surfaces ... too great to belong to anything right and proper for this earth, and impious with horrible images and disturbing hieroglyphs." The geometry of R’lyeh is "abnormal, non-Euclidean, and loathsomely redolent of spheres and dimensions apart from ours."

In Lovecraft's stories, R'lyeh is sometimes referred to in the ritualistic phrase "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn", which roughly translates to "In his house at R'lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming".[4]

Location

Lovecraft said that R'lyeh is located at 47°9′S 126°43′W / 47.15°S 126.717°W / -47.15; -126.717 (R'lyeh fictional location (Lovecraft)) in the southern Pacific Ocean.[5] August Derleth later placed R'lyeh at 49°51′S 128°34′W / 49.85°S 128.567°W / -49.85; -128.567 (R'lyeh fictional location (Derleth)) in his own writings.[6] Both locations are close to the Pacific pole of inaccessibility (48°52.6′S 123°23.6′W / 48.8767°S 123.3933°W / -48.8767; -123.3933 (Oceanic Pole of Inaccessibility)), the point in the ocean farthest from any land. Derleth's coordinates place the city approximately 5,100 nautical miles (9,400 km), or about ten days journey for a fast ship, from the real island of Pohnpei (Ponape). Ponape also plays a part in the Cthulhu Mythos as the place where the "Ponape Scripture", a text describing Cthulhu, was found.

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