A prehuman race, so-called "Reptile People" because their own name has been lost to history and because of their resemblance to lizards or alligators. A diminutive race, they appear to be reptiles with a body shaped like a cross between a crocodile and a seal with a strange head common to neither of them, involving a protruding forehead, horns, lack of a nose, and an alligator-like jaw.
The Reptile People ruled parts of Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa, and what is today the Mediterranean Sea - the seat of their empire - at a time in the Thurian Age when that area was part of a contiguous landmass. The shifting continents and the fall and subsequent flooding of the Mediterranean landmass destroyed most of the civilization; one of the last great monuments to the Reptile People's civilization was their so-called "Nameless City", since buried in the sands of Arabian Desert, with the Reptile People themselves driven into the Hollow Earth by the blazing sun and advancing sands of a changing world.
The Reptile People were a violent, malevolent, and jealously territorial race, making constant war against their neighbors, including the Serpent People and humans, with which the Reptile People shared the surface world for a brief time at the twilight of their reign on Earth, when the very foundations of the antique and fabled human city of Irem was barely laid.
After retreating from the surface of the earth, the Reptile People dwelt underground beneath the deserts for a time in a vast, misty, twilit grotto, before vanishing mysteriously - some say retiring to specially-prepared crypts which would preserve their bodies against the ages until the time when the Stars are Right for their return to the surface world, while others suggest that the race temporarily shed their bodies to dwell in the depths of their secret hell until the time of their return and persist to this day deep in the underworld of the Hollow Earth in a malevolent, ethereal form, harboring a hatred for all material life and for the surface world which betrayed them so long ago. Either way, the "ghosts" of the Reptile People are said to haunt the ruins of their Nameless City by night to this very day coming and going with the cool desert breezes at twilight and dawn, sealing shut the mighty doors to their vaults and crypts with a mighty metallic clang before the light of dawn.
Heresies and Controversies
- The Reptile People seem to have been a remarkably clever race, building complicated devices of lost technology from metals, glass, and jeweled crystals, the remains of which can still by found by cultists and intrepid investigators who somehow make their way down into the depths beneath the Nameless City, most remarkably the vast and eerie mausoleum filled with ranks upon ranks of strange little glass caskets in which the little bodies of the dwarfish people were preserved. Many such treasures of the Reptile People were, however, looted by other subterranean races, dragged away into the depths of the Hollow Earth for the use of even stranger folk than the Reptile People. (YSDC)
- Some physical survival of the Reptile People may have retreated deeper into the Hollow Earth, into red-litten Yoth, where they may have warred with the Serpent People and the People of K'n-yan for territory; explorers in that region have noted the presence of grotesque, bestial, partly-reptile and partly-mammal creatures with delicate, human-like hands living like virtual animals in that strange land amongst the rudimentary fragments of long-abandoned civilization. These bestial remnants of the once-mighty Reptile People race are all the more terrible, for showing evidence of having been surgically and genetically tampered with in the past by the People of K'n-yan for breeding stock as slaves, food, and sadistic entertainment. (probably not intentionally suggested by The Mound (fiction))
- There may also be surviving Reptile People enclaves in the Dreamlands, and on Mars, where the cool, dry climate might suit the Reptile People well. (YSDC)
Associated Mythos Elements
- setting: Thurian Age, when the civilization seems to have been at its height
- location: Nameless City
- location: Hollow Earth
- location: Yoth, which may contain debased fragments of the Reptile People civilization, and K'n-yan bordering on that realm; the People of K'n-yan may have warred with the Reptile People (perhaps unintentionally suggested in The Mound)
- location: Irem, City of Pillars, which seem to be located near enough to the Nameless City for some confusion between the cities
- tome: Necronomicon (the story that the Reptile People come from, "The Nameless City", was one of Lovecraft's first uses for this tome, and the infamous couplet "That is not dead which can eternal lie / And with Strange Aeons even Death May Die" was used in connection with this race)
- race: Ghosts
- race: Serpent People, with whom the Reptile People seem to have warred (according to the Malleus Monstrorum)