Cup of Gold - Glossary of Cultural References

Setting | Character Summaries | Plot Synopsis | Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts


Argot: Slang or idiosyncratic dialect of a particular region.

Avalon: Mythical island from the Arthurian legends.  Supposedly where Arthur's sword, Excalibur, was forged and a place of great healing and spiritual power.

Balboa: Vasco Núñez de Balboa (1475–1519).  Spanish explorer famous for crossing the Isthmus of Panama.

Bride of Orpheus: Eurydice; mythological nymph, daughter of Apollo, Muse.

Cadwallo: Legendary Medieval King of the Britons.

Cambria: Classical name for Wales.

Capstan: A rotating cylinder around which a ship's cable or rope is wound.

Cardiff: Capital of Wales.

Cato: (the Elder) Roman statesman.

Chagres: A river in central Panama.

Circe: Powerful witch in Greek mythology who turned men into animals.

Corpse-candles: Mythical lights often seen in churchyards and graveyards.  Presumed to be the souls of the dead.

Crimps: A person who tricks others, like sailors or soldiers, into service.

Cromwell: Oliver Cromwell (1599-1658) help to defeat the British Royalists (supporters of the King) and established himself as the "Lord Protector" of England, Ireland and Scotland during the Commonwealth period from 1653-1658.

Cumric: A Welsh dialect closely related to Gaelic.

An image of Sir Francis DrakeDrake: Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596). First English explorer to circumnavigate the globe.  He played a critical role in helping Britain defeat the Spanish Armada in 1588, which sparked Britain's role as a major colonial force.

Druids: Mythical race of wizards and sorcerers.

Duenna: Spanish for a female chaperon.

Edward Mansveldt: (Edward Mansfield of Rotterdam) 17th Century privateer who attempted to capture Costa Rica, Cartago, and Natá, in Veraguas.  Left Henry Morgan in charge of his fleet after his death.

Free Brotherhood: Band of pirates.

Freebooter: One who plunders treasure.

Image of a spanish galleonGalleon: Large European, multi-decked sailing ship in use from the 16th to 18th centuries.

Garotte: Implement for executing civilians in Spain.

Geoffrey of Monmouth: Born circa 1100 AD possibly in southeast Wales.  Monmouth, a Bishop and author, is credited as the primary originator of the Arthurian legends.

Gibbet: Gallows for hanging.

Glendower: Owain Glyndwr (c. 1354 or 1359 – c. 1416), Welsh noblemen; last Welsh person to hold the title of Prince of Wales.

Halberdier: Weapon with an ax-like blade and a steel spike mounted on the end of a long shaft.

Iolo Goch: (1320 – 1398) Medieval Welsh Poet.

Kraken: Legendary sea monsters that are historically rumored to exist off the coast of Norway.

Llew Llaw Giffes: Figure of Welsh mythology.

Lodestone: Magnetite used for magnetizing compasses.

L'Ollonais: (Francois L'Ollonais) Famed 17th-century pirate.

Miserere Domine: Latin for "Lord have mercy."  Part of the Kyrie Eleison prayer at the beginning of a Latin mass.

Morass: Low-lying, wet ground.

Nuncio: ecclesiastical diplomatic title.

Ora pro nobis: Latin for "pray for us"; supplication to the Virgin Mary.

Papist: Protestant's derogatory term for Catholics taken from Catholic loyalty to the Pope after Britain's break with Rome during the Protestant Reformation.

Pedrarias: Pedro Arias de Ávila (1440-1531). Spanish soldier and colonial administrator.  Ordered the execution of Vasco Núñez de Balboa.

Pierre le Grand: Possibly fictionalized 17th Century Privateer written about in Alexandre Exquemelin's Buccaneers of America (1678).

Pizarro: Francisco Pizarro (c. 1471 or 1476-1541).  Spanish conquistador famous for conquering the Incan Empire.

Roundheads: Parliamentarians or Puritans who supported Oliver Cromwell and Parliament during the English Civil War.

Savonarola: Girolamo Savonarola (1452-1498).  Italian religious and political reformer dedicated to defending Christian spirituality and morality against the growing movement of humanism.

Separatists: English Puritans who broke away from the Church of England in the 17th Century.  The pilgrims who settled in America where English separatists.

Tortuga: Part of the contemporary nation of Haiti.  Major center of Caribbean piracy in the 17th Century.

Taffrail: The railing around a ship's stern.

Tylwyth Teg: Welsh name for fairies.

Zeerover: Dutch word for pirate/privateer.


Setting | Character Summaries | Plot Synopsis | Reception
Cultural References | Key Terms and Concepts