Exploring the Life and Works of Edgar Rice Burroughs
ERBLIST FEATURES FAQs, Articles, Reviews, Persona Directory, Hall of Memory SUMMARY PROJECT Summarizing ERB's works one chapter at a time FAN FICTION Shorts, Novels, Poetry, Plays, Pulps ERBmania! Articles, Contributors: Tangor Responds, Edgardemain, ERB: In Focus, Nkima Speaks, Beyond 30W, Tantor Trumpets, Dime Lectures, Korak in Pal-ul-don, Public Domain novels of ERB GLOSSARIES Worlds of: Barsoom, Pellucidar, Moon, Amtor, Caspak, Pal-u-don
Muviro - Waziri sub chief
Doctor von Harben - missionary
Erich von Harben - son
Gabula - Erich's body servant
Lukedi - Bagego tribesman
Nyuto - chief of the Bagego
Ogonyo - Bagego guard
Validus Augustus, Emperor of the East (Castrum Mare)
Rufinus - officer of the watch
Septimus Favonius - uncle of Mallus Lepus
Mallis Lepus - centurion of Castrum Mare
Aspar - officer of Castrum Mare
Honus Hasta - founder of Castrum Mare (mentioned)
Favonia - daughter of Septimus Favonius
Fulvus Fupus - patrician of Castrum Mare
Caecilius Metellus - centurion of Castrum Mare
Cassius Hasta - nephew of the Emperor of Castra Mare
Sublatus Imperator - Emperor of the West (Castra Sanguinarius)
Maximus Praeclarus - patrician, captain of legionaries
Fastus - son of Sublatus
Axuch - slave of Dilecta
Dilecta - patrician woman of Castra Sanguinarius
Mpingu - Bagego slave of Dilecta
Sarus - slave of Dilecta
Marcus Crispus Sanguinarius - founder of Castra Sanguinarius (read about not seen)
Dion Splendidus - Dilecta's father
Festivitas - mother of Maximus Praeclarus
wife - Dion Splendidus' wife
Appius Applosus - Colosseum guards commander at Castra Sanguinarius
Gayat - great ape
Zutho - great ape
Go-yat - great ape
Claudius Taurus - hero of the Castrum Mare games
son of Tabernarius - young criminal
EDGAR RICE BURROUGHS'
Tarzan and the Lost Empire
Copyright © 2000
David Bruce Bozarth,
Tarzan and the Lost Empire was written between March and May 1928. The original story was entitled Tarzan and the Lost Tribe. First published as a five-part serial in Blue Book, October 1928 to February 1929, Lost Empire is Burroughs' thirty-second hardback book and the first hardback published by Metropolitan Books. Grossett & Dunlap, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Dell, Ace, and Ballantine have done reprints. Whitman Publishing Co. issued a version in a Better Little Book. Dell printed a one-shot comic (#134) titled Tarzan and the Devil Ogre. The magazine chapter titles were dropped in subsequent printings.
Bibliographic information from Robert B. Zeuschner's The Exhaustive Scholar's and Collector's Descriptive Bibliography.
Managing Editor's Note: I held Duane Adam's wonderful pencil and color pencil illustration now covering this summary for nearly a year, waiting for an appropriate project to showcase his exuberant and youthful Tarzan of the arts. By happy coincidence "Ape-man Running" meshed nicely with his personal ERBList Summary of Tarzan and the Lost Empire — double Duane Adams, author and artist, in a single publication!
Muviro, sub-chief of the Waziri tribe, tells Tarzan that Nkima's agitation must mean that someone is coming. Tarzan already knew that a party of men was approaching. Tarzan greets Doctor von Harben as his party enters the camp. The Doctor is seeking Tarzan's aid in finding his son, Erich, who was searching for The Lost Tribe of the Wiramwazi Mountains. The Lost Tribe is rumored to be bloodthirsty ghosts. Tarzan decides to leave immediately in the darkness and alone. Before leaving, the jungle lord instructs Muviro to have his warriors prepared for battle. He will send them a message via Nkima if they are needed. Tarzan and Nkima depart for the Wiramwazi Mountains.
Erich von Harben awakens to discover the last of his frighten bearers have deserted him, leaving him armed only with a Luger pistol and a knife. He decides to continue on his own in the hopes of proving or disproving the legend of The Lost Tribe. A night passes uneventful. An experienced mountain climber, von Harben, travels into the Wiramwazi and discovers a deep gorge. Nighttime reveals fire lights twinkling in the valley far below. He can also hear men's voices. Starting to become weak from the lack of food, von Harben finds a fissure in the rock that may lead him down the wall of the gorge. As he is about descend, he hears a noise behind him. He spins around and draws his Luger.
Nkima alerts Tarzan of approaching Gomangani. Tarzan confronts the deserting members of von Harben's safari. The ape-man continues on and finds von Harben's last campsite. Heavy rains have obliterated any signs of the white man. As Tarzan climbs a steep slope, he is observed by a group of native warriors from below. A combination of a poor foothold giving way and Nkima leaping from his shoulder causes Tarzan to fall. Nkima attempts to revive the unconscious jungle lord. The native warriors scramble up the mountain towards Tarzan and Nkima.
Von Harben turns to find Gabula, his body servant, has returned to help him despite his fear of the spirits of The Lost Tribe. After eating food Gabula brought with him, they begin to descend a fissure in the rock. Soon, a large boulder blocks the way. They remove rocks from the backside of the boulder in an attempt to burrow their way around it. Far below in a dugout canoe, two black warriors notice rocks being thrown from the cliff. As von Harben and Gabula emerge around the boulder, the warriors spot them and decide to watch to attempt to discern if they are demons or humans. Von Harben and Gabula finally make it down to the river. They wade down stream in hopes of gaining access to the lake. Before they can reach the shore of the lake, armed warriors in a canoe surround them.
Lukedi, a young Bagego tribesman, brings Tarzan milk. The ape-man who is bound hand and foot asks to be freed so he can eat. Later they chain him about the neck. The Bagego believe Tarzan to be a member of The Lost Tribe and are afraid of him. The Bagego trade with The Lost Tribe once a year; otherwise they are at war with each other. Lukedi tells Tarzan that Nyuto, the Bagego chief, as well as others, believe that The Lost Tribe are ghost of their dead. They fear Tarzan but may have him burned alive anyway. That night Nkima tears a hole in the thatched roof and talks with the jungle lord. A guard, upon hearing Tarzan speaking to someone or something, enters the hut and sees the hole in the roof. Tarzan tells him that the spirit of his grandfather made the opening. Furthermore, the spirits will kill everyone in the village if Tarzan is killed. Nyuto is told of this but does not believe the tale. He would have Tarzan burned at the stake anyway. Later Lukedi and Tarzan talk. The noise of a battle is heard outside the hut.
Von Harben recognizes the Bantu weapons as ancient Roman in appearance. The language they speak is a hybrid of Latin and Bantu. Von Harben can make himself understood. Erich and Gabula are taken by canoe to the barbarians home. The next day the warriors, in their finest decorations, canoe their captives to Castrum Mare. They are presented to a centurion and Rufinus, a half-breed officer of the watch, who are dressed in ancient Roman clothing. They are suspected of being spies from Castra Sanguinarius (Castrum Mare's enemy). Von Harben is taken to the officer's quarters where he tells his tale. When relieved of duty for the day, Mallis Lepus, the centurion in charge, takes von Harben to his uncle's house, a patrician by the name of Septimus Favonius.
The Bagego are quickly routed and strange men enter the hut where Tarzan is held captive. They smash the padlock that locks his chains and bring him outside. Upon hearing their language and seeing their clothing, Tarzan experiences deja vu. Tarzan recognizes them as ancient Romans. The Bagego captives are chained neck to neck. Tarzan is held apart from the natives, but he is still chained. As they march towards the Wiramwazi Mts., the Bagego complain that this enslavement is the result of taking Tarzan, a ghost person, captive. After many hours, the war party passes through an arched gateway in a gorge. On the other side of the gateway is a native village where they make camp for the evening. Nkima makes contact with Tarzan. The next morning Ogonyo, the Bagego who saw the hole in the hut, spies Nkima and spreads the alarm that he has seen the ghost of his grandfather again. The next day they march to a great city (Castra Sanguinarius) where Tarzan speculates as to the caste system in relationship to the color of one's skin. The prisoners are confined in the dungeons of a building resembling the Colosseum of ancient Rome.
Mallis Lepus has Gabula summoned so he can accompany von Harben and himself to his uncle's house. On the way, Erich attempts to explain changes that have taken place over the last eighteen hundred years since the founding of this city. (Castrum Mare has not changed from their ancient Roman heritage.) Lepus thinks von Harben will be great entertainment for his uncle. Lepus tells von Harben about the founding of Castrum Mare by Honus Hasta. Von Harben is introduced to Septimus Favonius and is given the clothing of a Roman patrician. Alone, Erich explores the house and garden where he accidentally meets Favonia, Favonius daughter. As they try to figure each other out, Fulvus Fupus, an unwanted suitor, disdainfully interrupts them. Erich realizes he is in love with Favonia and hates Fulvus. Mallis formally introduces Erich to Favonia. They all leave for the Baths of Caesar. Von Harben dives into the pool to be near Favonia. A jealous Fulvus attempts to dive as von Harben did; but instead, he does a belly flop. An embarrassed Fulvus leaves the baths and tells Caecilius Metellus, a centurion, that he is going to inform the Emperor that von Harben is a spy from Castra Sanguinarius.
Nkima visits Tarzan in the dungeon of Castra Sanguinarius. Using a Bagego interpreter Tarzan is questioned and suspected of being a spy from Castrum Mare. The jungle lord is led to the throne room of Sublatus Imperator, the Emperor of the West. Maximus Praeclarus, the captain of the guard, brings the ape-man forward to be presented to the Emperor. Tarzan demands his freedom. Sublatus becomes enraged and commands both the ape-man and Maximus to be taken away in chains. Tarzan disables his guards, grabs the Emperor, and uses him as shield. The jungle lord carries Sublatus over his head into the streets. When he approaches some trees that lead to the surrounding jungle, Tarzan releases the Emperor and leaps into the trees. Soldiers rush in to attempt a capture. Tarzan double backs in the trees over the city leaving the soldiers clueless as to his whereabouts. From the trees Tarzan witnesses a couple whose courtship has turned violent. Tarzan drops to the ground and hurls the man aside. Fastus, the unwanted suitor, draws his sword but is easily disarmed by Tarzan. Slaves come to aid the woman. Dilecta, the woman who was attacked, begins to question Tarzan through an interpreter. A loud pounding is heard at the door. Dilecta sends Axuch, her slave, to see who it is. He returns with Maximus Praeclarus. Maximus and Dilecta relate the recent events to each other. Mpingu, a slave of Dilecta, is commanded to show a belligerent Fastus out. The other slaves, Axuch and Sarus are send away. Because Tarzan saved Dilecta, his love, Maximus makes plans for Tarzan to escape to his house.
Fulvus Fupus goes to the Emperor and tells him that von Harben maybe a spy from Castra Sanguinarius and in league with Septimus Favonius. As the suspicious Emperor orders Septimus and Mallis Lepus arrest, the two in question arrive with von Harben requesting an audience. The Emperor questions von Harben. His fantastic tale that there is no longer an Emperor in Rome makes Validus think he is a lunatic. The story delights Mallis. Validus curiosity is peaked. He sends Fulvus away and questions von Harben further about Roman history. He commands Erich to write down all he can remember of Roman history plus a history of Validus reign. Septimus and Mallis are made responsible for von Harben. Erich reads the history of Marcus Crispus Sanguinarius and how he fled a jealous Caesar to establish Castra Sanguinarius in a hidden canyon deep in Africa. The ancient Roman traditions have been followed for the last eighteen centuries. Lepus tells von Harben about Honus Hasta's revolt from Castra Sanguinarius and of Hasta's founding of Castrum Mare. He also relates to him how Validus became Emperor and how the Emperor sent the popular Cassius Hasta, the direct descendant of Honus Hasta, on a secret mission from which he has not returned. In the garden von Harben considers escape until Favonia comes to join him.
On the way to the Colosseum, Maximus signals to Tarzan which house is his. This is where Tarzan can find sanctuary. He provides an opportunity for the ape-man to escape. After the escape Maximus leads his men in the wrong direction. Tarzan drops into the garden of Festivitas, Maximus mother, just as Mpingu is explaining to her to expect arrival of the barbarian Tarzan. Maximus returns later and talks with Tarzan. He explains to the ape-man that Dilecta is his finance and that he will hide him here for a few days. Tarzan says he will stay only because he is searching for von Harben. During his three-week stay Festivitas teaches Tarzan Latin. Meanwhile, von Harben becomes immersed in his work, and Nkima scampers through the trees.
Mpingu has dropped hints about things (Tarzan) that he hopes will impress people. He is arrested and brought before an official. Under the threat of torture Mpingu reveals Tarzan's hiding place. The Emperor orders the arrest of the entire households of Dion Splendidus and Maximus Praeclarus plus Tarzan. Fastus suggests a plan to have each family invited to separate banquets and then take them into custody. Mpingu tells Tarzan that Maximus wants him to go to the home of Dion Splendidus. The slave directs Tarzan through a side street where he is subdued by twenty soldiers and has his wrists shackled.
While Tarzan is brought to the dungeon of the Colosseum, Maximus becomes suspicious of Fastus and leaves the banquet to find his house empty. At the other banquet Sublatus tells Splendidus and his wife that Fastus should marry their daughter. He tells them about Tarzan's capture and Maximus arrest. Caesar again suggests that it would be advisable to have their daughter marry his son. He will give them a day to think it over. In the dungeon Tarzan is chained to a wall. He talks with a fellow prisoner, Cassius Hasta, who tells him his tale and about the games in which they will be forced to participate. Tarzan also talks with Lukedi and Mpingu concerning the amount of black prisoners and slaves. Tarzan tests his slave revolt theory with Hasta. Hasta believes they would need a white leader to make it work. Maximus is brought in and chained to a wall. Mpingu confesses his betrayal. Tarzan mentally reviews his fellow prisoners. Over the next two days Tarzan wins the confidence of the blacks; plus, he learns more about the two warring cities. A new prisoner is brought in. He is Caecilius Metellus, who tells Hasta about Mallis Lepus arrest, Validus adoption of Fulvus Fupus, and von Harben's appearance in Castrum Mare. Tarzan questions him to discover that von Harben has been imprisoned and is destined for the games. Tarzan states that he will leave for Castrum Mare. The others volunteer to go with him. The ape-man says they will leave when his chains have been taken off.
A parade to the Colosseum by the Emperor in a lion drawn chariot is followed by Tarzan and the other prisoners but not Maximus Praeclarus. Dion Splendidus and Dilecta are seated near the Emperor Sublatus at the Colosseum. Fastus tells Dilecta that Maximus will be held from the games if she agrees to marry him. Furthermore, he suggests that her decision will effect the fates of her mother and father as well as the fate of Festivitas. Planning to utilize Tarzan's popularity with the people, Sublatus pits him early in an easy contest with a burly murderer. Tarzan quickly defeats him and throws the criminal into the audience, knocking Caesar to the floor.
Days later Tarzan tells his remaining cellmates of his plan to storm the Emperor's loge in an attempt to take him hostage. Tarzan questions Praeclarus about the cell and manacle keys. Maximus says he hid his keys before being arrested. Fastus comes to torment Maximus with the news of his upcoming marriage to Dilecta. Maximus ignores him. This enrages Fastus. Fastus moves towards Maximus, which brings him too close to Tarzan who throws Caesar's son at the guards. Fastus threatens all of them. Appius Applosus, Maximus friend and fellow officer, tells them the truth behind Dilecta's decision to marry Fastus. Tarzan suggests that Applosus find Maximus cell keys and bring them to the dungeon. Applosus agrees to do the deed. The last day of the games begin and Maximus is once more left in the cell. Two groups of warriors (red and white) are formed. They will battle to the death. Quickly Tarzan dispatches his first opponent. While sizing up a skilled gladiator swordsman, a net is dropped over Tarzan's head and shoulders.
Cassius Hasta disposes of his opponent and rushes to aid Tarzan. Tarzan wheels around to face the man who threw the net. The ape-man rips open the net and kills his attacker but not before sustaining a wound to his chest. Hasta kills two more opponents but is struck in the helmet and drops to the ground. The attacker plays to the crowd before killing Hasta. The delay gives Tarzan enough time to come to Hasta's aid. After killing the gladiator, Tarzan organizes his surplus red troops to single out white gladiators. This tactic quickly results in a red victory. The crowd supports Tarzan. The enraged Sublatus has the others removed from the arena and Tarzan brought to a spot beneath the Emperor's loge. The crowd turns on the Emperor as he has a lion released onto the floor. Caesar has legionaries squash the agitators. The lion charges Tarzan. Tarzan charges the lion. The surprised beast soon finds the ape-man on its back with a knife plunging into its body. Tarzan gives the victory cry of the bull ape. The crowd goes wild. Caesar fear of Tarzan and Maximus are coming to a head. An additional event is added to the games much to the disapproval of the mob. The soldiers protect Caesar. The gates at the far end of the arena open.
Six great apes are released into the arena. The mob shouts, Death to Sublatus! The group of apes, including Zutho, Gayat, and Go-yad, recognize Tarzan as a friend. There will be no fight. Tarzan goes towards Caesar's loge and threatens to have the apes attack him. Thinking his plan would fail, Tarzan returns to his cell when order to do so. Back in the cell with only Maximus, Tarzan learns that no one was given their freedom after their victory in the Colosseum. Sublatus fears the popularity of both men. That night, Applosus, who has been removed as a Colosseum guard, brings Tarzan and Maximus the keys and the news that they are to be assassinated tonight. The assassin comes and opens the cell. Applosus stabs him from behind. They send Applosus away. Tarzan and Maximus find the other prisoners and release them. They also release any prisoner who will pledge to fight Sublatus. Tarzan goes to look for the great apes cell.
Erich and Mallis Lepus commiserate in the dungeons of Castrum Mare. Meanwhile, in Castra Sanguinarius they prepare for the wedding of Fastus and Dilecta. Pike men hold the menacing crowd from the palace. Dilecta contemplates suicide. Tarzan sends Lukedi to recruit warriors from the surrounding villages. Maximus persuades the men in the barracks to join the revolt. They all join the civilian mob outside the palace. Sublatus sends for reinforcements. Because the gates are holding them at bay, Tarzan forms a new plan. Dilecta walks down the wedding aisle and up to Sublatus. She asks him if he is a tyrant and demands to see an alive Maximus. Caesar refuses. Tarzan cries out from the balcony that Maximus is here.
Tarzan and his band of six apes leap to the floor. The startled nobles and soldiers quickly reorganize and presses forward their attack. Maximus, Hasta, and Metellus join the battle only to be backed into a corner. Outside the mob has pulled down the main gates. Sublatus reinforcements attack from the rear and rout the mob. Tarzan and his band are forced into an anteroom. From a window they observe the failed revolt. They are trapped in the anteroom. The legionaries use a battering ram on the door and a ballista on the outside walls from the garden. The door collapses, and the wall is breached. Tarzan sends the apes and some men into the breached wall in the hopes of capturing the ballista. When the siege engine is captured, Tarzan and the remaining men quit the anteroom for the garden. Legionaries surround them. After a short battle and a rest period, the legionaries prepare to attack again. Dilecta once more speaks of suicide. The attack comes.
A savage cry causes everyone to pause - the Waziri had come. Nkima has brought the Waziri to save Tarzan. The Waziri and the Bagego warriors rout the legionaries. The Bagego go totally berserk and kill everyone in their path. Tarzan asks Lukedi to bring him the Bagego's greatest leader. Two chiefs are brought to Tarzan who convinces them that the killing must stop and that they will no longer be enslaved. Tarzan calls for a meeting in the throne room as he wishes to march on Castrum Mare immediately. Sublatus and Fastus have been killed. Dion Splendidus and others are brought to the throne room. A cry for Tarzan to be the new Caesar rises from the crowd. Tarzan offers Splendidus the throne if he will keep Tarzan's promise of not enslaving the outer villages. He accepts.
Von Harben is on display chained behind Validus Augustus chariot as they parade through the streets. Back in his cell Lepus tells Erich about the poor games that are conducted in Castrum Mare. He also relates the rumor of Gabula's escape. Erich, Lepus, and other political prisoners are brought to the Colosseum. They are to fight Claudius Taurus, hero of the games, and other professional gladiators. As Erich's eye wanders through the audience, he spies Favonia's despair and Gabula sneaking towards the imperial loge. Gabula assassinates Validus. In the confusion that follows von Harben, Gabula, and Lepus make their escape. They find a deserted house by the Colosseum. The house contains a false ceiling that they plan to use as a hiding place until dark.
Tarzan marches on Castrum Mare with five thousand men. A fearful Fulvus declares himself Caesar. A few escapees from the arena plan to kidnap Favonia and ransom her to the new Caesar. Hasta deploys Tarzan's army at the gates of Castrum Mare. Von Harben and company decide to wait until midnight before going to Lepus uncle's house. The son of Tabernarius, a young criminal, manages to get him admitted into Favonia's house under the guise of having Favonia inspect some fabrics. When the slave goes to talk to Favonia, the son of Tabernarius lets his cohorts into the entryway. When the slave returns with Favonia's refusal to see him, he claims to have a secret message for her. Favonia dismisses her slave, and the criminals capture her. They plan to split up. One of them is to carry a ransom note to Fupus, and the others are to meet at a deserted house near the Colosseum. The son of Tabernarius wants half of the ransom money. When they refuse his demands, he goes to Caesar's palace, tells the guards about Favonia's abduction, and informs them of her whereabouts. Erich, Lepus, and Gabula hear people approach. Favonia and her kidnappers enter the house. Von Harben leaps to her rescue. All the criminals scatter, except one. In the struggle Lepus stabs the kidnapper. They plan escape over the city wall, but soldiers come and surround the house. They hide Favonia under a pile of rags.
Tarzan, Hasta, Metellus, and Maximus approach the reinforced gates under a flag of truce. When the officer in charge recognizes Hasta, they throw open the gates. They want Hasta to be their new Caesar. Meanwhile, Fulvus soldiers enter the house and find Favonia under the rags. Their orders are to take Favonia to the palace and kill her abductors. Von Harben attacks the soldiers. The officer in charge is about to send all his men into the house when a procession parades down the street. They are informed of Hasta's triumphal return and that Fulvus has gone into hiding. Hasta and Lepus are reunited. Tarzan tells von Harben that he has come to bring him home. Erich thanks him. Tarzan tells him to thank Nkima.