- "Such temples are rare in Hyperborea now-a-days; but we knew it for a shrine of Tsathoggua, one of the elder gods, who receives no longer any worship from men, but before whose ashen altars, people say, the furtive and ferocious beasts of the jungle, the ape, the giant sloth and the long-toothed tiger, have sometimes been seen to make obeisance and have been heard to howl or whine their inarticulate prayers."
- ―Satampra Zeiros
Tsathoggua, also known by the name Zhothaqquah, is a monstrous extraterrestrial deity who came to Earth from Saturn in ancient times ("in years immediately following the Earth's creation", according to some) to dwell in the caverns inside Mount Voormithadreth, amidst the Eiglophian Mountains in the old Northern continent of Hyperborea.
On Earth, he was worshiped by primitive men and beasts. His cult was popular for some time, especially among sorcerers; before he became discredited and reviled as a heretic monstrosity worshiped only by the savage Voormis (believed by some to be his progeny); and served by the Formless Spawn.
Despite his slothful nature and demanding sacrifices to appease his hunger, Tsathoggua can be relatively amiable towards his followers as far as eldritch gods go, as demonstrated by the fact that he taught occult magic to Eibon the wizard in gratitude for his services, and presented him with a plate made of an extraterrestrial metal that can create portals to other worlds, such as from Earth to Saturn.
Biology[edit | edit source]
Tsathoggua, like the other deities that are related to it, is a shape-shifter. The form that he usually assumes on Earth is that of a squat, fur-covered black creature, with a body shaped like a sloth's, a head like a toad's, and the facial features of a bat. He has globular eyes, and has been represented with a tongue sticking out of his mouth.
Overall, his appearance tends to be described as fat, grotesque and sluggish. His description in the Pnakotic Manuscripts, on the other hand, emphasize his amorphous nature, although they still describe him as toad-like.
Truth to his sloth-like nature, it's been claimed that he will not rise from his position when at slumber, "even in the ravening of hunger", and prefers to wait for some sacrifice from his loyal followers who will eventually come to feed him.
History[edit | edit source]
In the ancient times, Tsathoggua has come to Earth from Saturn (a.k.a. Cykranosh), although that isn't his homeworld either. Some of his relatives have remained on Saturn and are still present on the planet, including his paternal uncle, Hziulquoigmnzhah.
He arrived on Earth in prehistoric Hyperborea, long before the emergence of mankind, and became known by the alternate name "Zhothaqquah". At some point, the cult of Zhothaqquah was discredited and largely replaced with a new religion centered around Yhoundeh, although the cult experienced a brief resurgence following the disappearance of the heretic wizard Eibon (who was about to be executed) and the Yhoundehian high priest Morghi.
Appearances[edit | edit source]
- "The Tale of Satampra Zeiros", by Clark Ashton Smith (1931)
- "The Whisperer in Darkness", by H. P. Lovecraft (1931) (Mentioned only)
- "The Testament of Athammaus", by Clark Ashton Smith (1932) (Mentioned only)
- "The Weird of Avoosl Wuthoqquan", by Clark Ashton Smith (1932) (Mentioned only)
- "The Door to Saturn", by Clark Ashton Smith (1932) (as Zhothaqquah)
- "The Ice-Demon", by Clark Ashton Smith (1933) (Mentioned only)
- "The Horror in the Museum", by H. P. Lovecraft (1933) (Mentioned only)
- "The Seven Geases", by Clark Ashton Smith (1934)
- "Through the Gates of the Silver Key", by H. P. Lovecraft and E. Hoffmann Price (1934) (Mentioned only)
- "Out of the Aeons", by H. P. Lovecraft and Hazel Heald (1935) (Mentioned only)
- At the Mountains of Madness, by H. P. Lovecraft (1936) (Mentioned only)
- "The Shadow Out of Time", by H. P. Lovecraft (1936) (Mentioned only)
- "The Mound", by H. P. Lovecraft (1940) (Mentioned only)
- "The Lurker at the Threshold", by August Derleth and H. P. Lovecraft (1945) (Mentioned only)
Notes[edit | edit source]
- H. P. Lovecraft, in a 1933 letter to James F. Morton, has drawn a family tree for the entities of his mythos, in which Cthulhu and Tsathoggua are cousins: the offspring of Nug and Yeb, respectively, and the first of their respective lineages to settle on Earth. Being spawned from Nug and Yeb also means that they are the grand-children of Shub-Niggurath and Yog-Sothoth; the great-grandchildren of the Nameless Mist and the Darkness; and great-great-grandchildren of the primordial god Azathoth. Furthermore, Lovecraft humorously includes himself and his friend Clark Ashton Smith in the genealogical tree: himself as a descendant of Cthulhu (as well as Nyarlathotep), and Smith as a descendant of Tsathoggua.