|Chalices of Cartagena|
|Behind the scenes|
The Chalices of Cartagena, also known as the Chalices of Ponce de León or simply the Chalices, were a pair of identical silver cups. Stolen from the city of Cartagena, the Chalices have seen many owners and much blood has been spilled in their name over the centuries. Inscribed with the words "Aqua de Vida", the Chalices were the symbol of the Fountain of Youth. The Chalices were one of the items required for the Profane Ritual most notably attempted during the quest for the Fountain.
Legends of the Chalices
It is unknown when and where the Chalices were made. Both Chalices appeared almost identical, except one of them was inscribed with the word "Aqua", and the other with "de Vida"; the Water of Life. Stolen from the city of Cartagena, the Chalices have seen many owners and much blood has been spilled in their name over the centuries. The Chalices would at some point be put inside a chest, which had the two Chalices designed onto its lid, and placed in the Captain's Quarters aboard the Santiago, a ship captained by Juan Ponce de León.
In the 1500s, Ponce de León was sent to explore the New World. During the journey, he kept the Chalices in the chest in his cabin, along with other treasures. But in 1523, while searching for the legendary Fountain of Youth, the Santiago was caught in a storm, and wrecked on the edge of the cliff on unchartered lands. The Chalices would be among the references of Ponce de León's voyage painted within the Mao Kun Map; it symbolized the struggle for eternal life by a tug of war between a skeleton and an angel, which is aligned with one Chalice, the symbol of the Fountain.
Quest for the Fountain of Youth
Two centuries later, in 1750, several parties embarked on the quest for the Fountain of Youth. The Chalices were sought by Angelica, who had learned of their purpose in the Profane Ritual, and the Spanish, who discovered the ship's log of the Santiago. When arriving to the island where the Fountain was located, Blackbeard made Jack Sparrow go and retrieve the Chalices from the Santiago. Climbing up the mountainside, Jack enters the captain's cabin, where he found Hector Barbossa waiting inside. When Jack inquired Barbossa's presence, Barbossa claimed to want the silver Chalices for his royal liege. But they both discover that The Spaniard's crew had already taken the Chalices from the chest.
Incident at Palm Tree Grove
Despite their differences, Jack and Barbossa decided to join forces and head to San Miguel, where they found an abandon fort that the Spanish made camp at. While Barbossa's crew stayed behind, Barbossa accompanied Jack to retrieve the Chalices in the enemy camp. The duo found the Chalices while they were being examined by a Spanish Officer. However, after retrieving both Chalices, they were captured by Spanish soldiers and tied to palm trees. It was in their captivity that Jack accused Barbossa of not wanting the Chalices, saying if Barbossa wanted them, he would have "seen they were missing and gone," but that he was waiting for Blackbeard. After Barbossa admitted his desire for revenge, Jack made a dazzling escape by swinging from palm trees, knocking out Spaniards, and retrieving the Chalices in the progress.
Jack returns to Blackbeard with the Chalices tied to a wild boar held back by Gibbs, with whom he had reunited while assisting Barbossa. Jack and Blackbeard bargained the Chalices for no harm to be brought to Angelica, the return of Jack's compass (which Blackbeard confiscated earlier), and Gibbs' release. Blackbeard agrees and took the Chalices from Gibbs, who Jack gave his compass to as he departed with Blackbeard's crew.
Battle for the Fountain of Youth
By the end of the quest, Blackbeard's crew had found the cave entrance to the Fountain of Youth, but had reached a dead end. When Jack Sparrow unsuccessfully attempted to gain entrance into the Fountain by hitting the two Chalices against one another, that Angelica and Blackbeard realized that Jack had never seen to the Fountain of Youth. Blackbeard then gestured the Quartermaster, who fired his pistol but Jack shielded himself with the Chalices and the bullet ricochets off them. Before Blackbeard could fire his own pistol, Jack read the words inscribed on the Chalices, "Aqua de Vida". Water gradually started rising up along the walls, collecting into a pool above their heads. Then Jack Sparrow had himself sucked into the water, and found himself at the Fountain of Youth.
However, before using the Chalices, Blackbeard's crew battled against Barbossa's crew. The Spaniard later arrived to the Fountain, where his men forced Angelica down so he could have the Chalices. Holding the Chalices, The Spaniard said "Only God can grant eternal life, not this pagan water" before dropping the Chalices and stomping on them. Throwing the bent Chalices far into the water, the Spaniard ordered his men to destroy the Fountain. Shortly afterwards, Barbossa stabbed Blackbeard with a poisoned sword, and Angelica accidentally poisoned herself while removing it from Blackbeard. Seeing Angelica poisoned, Jack ran to where the Spaniard was and began searching desperately for the Chalices. Subsequent to Barbossa's leave with Blackbeard's crew following, the Spanish left with their mission successful, while only Jack was left to continue his search. A mermaid named Syrena emerged from the water, holding the silver Chalices in her hands. Jack looks at her in wonder and takes the Chalices as Syrena warned him to not waste her tear before disappearing back into the water.
With Angelica and Blackbeard wounded from the effects of the poison, Jack ran quickly to the fallen, cracked basin. Jack managed to fill each Chalice as the water was running out, getting the very last drop. He added the mermaid tear to one of the cups before going to Angelica and Blackbeard to perform the Profane Ritual. Jack brought the Chalices to them and tried to convince Angelica to drink from the one with the tear. Angelica said that Blackbeard should drink the cup with the tear so that he may earn more time to redeem his soul. However, Jack tried to convince Blackbeard to save Angelica, his own daughter, by drinking from the Chalice that takes life. But instead, Blackbeard quickly drank out of the cup with the tear and told Angelica to save him. Though she was shocked at her own father's betrayal, Angelica willingly drank from the other Chalice so that she could save her father's soul. However, Jack revealed that he may have made a mix-up on which cup was which.
Almost instantly, upon realizing that Jack had tricked them both, Angelica's wound heals and the flowing waters of the Fountain rushed towards Blackbeard. The Fountain's waters completely surrounded Blackbeard, entwining him as his flesh began to rot away. Angelica stared in horror as Blackbeard's skeletal arm reached out to her before his skeleton collapsed, dead.
Design and usage
The Chalices of Cartagena, while seemingly ordinary, were very powerful objects. They came as a pair with wrought silver bearing golden texture, linings, and heraldic design. The Chalices were very identical to each other, save for the fact that each Chalice bared one of two words engraved at the rims: "Aqua" and "de Vida". According to the Profane Ritual, the Chalices are needed in order to make the Fountain of Youth work. Two people must drink from the Chalices—both containing the Fountain water, one with a mermaid's tear and one without. Whoever drinks from the one with the mermaid's tear takes the years of the other.
The other known power of the Chalices is that they have the magic words to enter the Fountain's chamber inscribed; "Aqua de Vida". Then along the sides of the cave, the odd sight of water rising. Just a trickle at first, but as more water appears, moving upwards, rivulets turn into streams, collecting upwards into a pool above visitors. Going up into the rising water would lead them to the Fountain of Youth.
Behind the scenes
- The Chalices of Cartagena were referred to by several names in Pirates of the Caribbean media. Although the name Cartagena never appeared in the final cut of On Stranger Tides, it was mentioned in the film's visual guide and as "Cups of Cartagena" in a production draft. They were most often referred to as "Chalices of Ponce de León" or simply the Chalices.
- In the 2012 attraction The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow, a skeleton can be seen holding one of the Chalices.
- The Chalice from the Mao Kun Map appears different from the Chalices from On Stranger Tides, particularly on how Aqua de Vida was written. On the map, it was written on one Chalice, while in On Stranger Tides, "Aqua" and "de Vida" were written on two separate Chalices.
- The Chalices used to give and take life is similar to the Holy Grail in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
- The Legend of Captain Jack Sparrow
- Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End (on a map)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (First appearance)
- LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game (Non-canonical appearance)
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide
Notes and references
- ↑ "Ponce de León 1523" was written on the map, therefore, the Chalices would've been in Ponce de León's possession during his search for the Fountain of Youth.
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide, p.24-25 "The Secret of Eternal Youth"
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide, p.60-61 "The Santiago"
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
- ↑ Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides: The Visual Guide, p26-27: "Mao Kun Map"