November 15, 2010

Interview with E. Aznar: Basque was spoken in La Rioja before the Romans arrived

La Rioja, Errioxa in Basque, is modernly a province and autonomous community of Spain and has been held by Castile since the 12th century, excepting minor parts still belonging to Araba. However it was earlier an important part of the Kingdom of Pamplona (later Navarre), which even moved its capital to Nájera (Basque Naiara), where many Pamplonese monarchs are buried. 

Previously it was maybe part of the Visigothic marche against Basques known as Duchy of Cantabria, which has left the toponym Sierra de Cantabria and the legend of the destroyed City of Cantabria, maybe Iruña-Veleia in nearby Araba and earlier part of the Roman province of Tarraconensis (earlier Hispania Citerior), a region sometimes known as Ager Vasconicum (the fields of the Basques or Vascones). From this period we know that three tribes inhabited it: Vascones at the East, Berones (believed Celtic) at the center and Autrigones at the West. In the Iron Age it was penetrated indeed by late Urnfield culture offshoots and evidence of violent struggles has been found, most notably maybe in the once prosperous town of La Hoya, whose upper layer is full of bodies slain on the spot, probably by Celtic invaders.

Follows direct translation (my work) from original interview in Basque language at Berria newspaper this Saturday (found via Ostraka Euskalduna):

According to some scholars, Basque language arrived to La Rioja in the 10th century, together with the Kingdom of Pamplona. However, there are also researchers who argue that Basque or proto-Basque was spoken there before Romans arrived. One of them is historian Eduardo Aznar (Barcelona 1977).

What have you gathered in the book "El euskara en La Rioja. Primeros testimonios" (Basque language in La Rioja. Earliest evidence)?

This book is the first part of a work explaining that Basque language had a presence in La Rioja. In these books, I research the oldest Basque indications, and later, the second part, which deals with Middle Ages and modern toponimy, will also be published.

Which are the first evidences that Basque language left in La Rioja?

In the first book, I work with some onomastic materials from funerary slabs that were uncovered in the 1980s. These slabs appeared at the district of Tierras Altas, in modern Soria province (Castile-León, Spain) but they fit in the geography of La Rioja. Of these slabs, so far 11 appear to be indigenous proto-Basque. We believe that they were indigenous people who lived under Roman rule: they look Basque by the nicknames. The most clear example is Sesenco[1], the slab with that nickname also carries an image of a bull at the base. In the book, besides funerary slabs, I work with ancient toponymy and data from the period, looking for Basque traces.
Nevertheless, some experts defend that Basque language only arrived to La Rioja with the repopulations organized by the kings of Pamplona.

In my opinion, evidence like these slabs do confirm that Basque language was in La Rioja before the kings of Pamplona and before the Romans arrived. After researching these slabs and the toponymy, to say that Basque language arrived only with repopulations is to play with preconceptions.

Some researchers say that at Roman arrival, Calahorra was the main city of the Vascones. 

Yes, of course. All classic authors say that Calahorra was a Vasco[2] city. Today a lot of experts try to claim that Kalagorri[3] was Celtiberian but there is no evidence to support that. Another thing would be whether the local language was only proto-Basque or more languages were also spoken. For instance, it has shown up that local coins with the legend Kalagorrikos. To Basque-origin Kalagorri, Celtiberian suffix -kos was added. We may think that, maybe, in spite the Vasco origins of Kalagorri it seems that there was a Celtic elite[4].

However, if you go to the Roman Museum of Calahorra the word Vasco(-nes) does not show up anywhere. Why?

In my opinion, it is something within the intent of the authors. Sadly, there are a lot preconceptions in this aspect, and all the evidence is against what some researchers claim about Vascones only holding at the Pyrenees. Seemingly, in all this matter scientists do not combine the ideas that actually exist.

In the past, were you defending the early Basque-ness of La Rioja?

There were other authors. But this research is the deepest and most developed so far. Following the books order, first resarch was done by Fray Mateo de Anguiano a Riojan erudite who published in 1704. Already by the end of the 17th century, Anguiano knew that there were many Basque toponyms in La Rioja. However, the one to get deepest in the matter was Basque academic Juan Bautista Merino Urrutia, who researched in the middle 20th century. He was the one to make know, for example, his native Ojacastro town's fazaña or sentence. In those documents from between 1234 and 1239 it is shown how the Supreme Judge of Castile jailed the Mayor of Ojacastro for allowing to make declarations before tribunals in Basque language. Luckily for him, he was later freed, as his stand was allowed by the local old law.


Appendix: Fernando Fernández Palacios, Actualización en onomástica Vasco-Aquitana. Acta Paleohispánica 2009 (PDF).  

The introduction is in Spanish but it is essentially an incoplete collection of onomastic and theonymy from the Southern Basque Country and neighbouring areas in Spain, and, curiously enough, a German and a Sardinian site. It includes some of the Riojan slab names. Thanks to Heraus.
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Translator's notes:

[1] Sesenco: must be little bull < zezen (bull) + -(s)ko (diminutive in Aquitanian epigraphy, now -txo or -txu)

[2] Vascones, singular Vasco per Wikipedia (properly sourced). From which modern Spanish and others Vasco (Basque). Typically in Spanish vascon (derived modern Basque baskoi) is used but this does not seem to be correct in Latin, only making sense via Romances, where plural is often made by the addition of -es or -s. However Vascon might have been correct in Vulgar Latin I guess, but still I'm sticking to classical Latin grammar while using English.

[3] See my brief discussion with Heraus on related Aquitanian (Gascon) toponym Calagorris Convenarum at his blog Discover Gascony!

[4] Definitively the advance of Iron Age Urnfields (influenced by Hallstatt) to the Iberian Plateau was through the Upper Ebro: La Rioja mostly and to some extent also Araba and the lowlands of Navarre. This was a crucial step in the eventual Celtization of the Iberian Plateau and Western lands (Lusitania, Gallaecia).

70 comments:

  1. I always thought Basque belonged to the ancient Iberian languages, so of course Basque was spoken all over the place. I also have read Latin was spoken in many other places before the arrival of Rome. a famous quote by Julius Caesar when he arrived in Gaul confirms it. "If only in Rome they spoke latin like they speak in Aquitania it's such a wonderful language" end quote. The same goes for Lusitania, the Romans only defeated the area around 70BC, but there's evidence of Latin script around 300,250BC. I could swear Romans spoke and wrote in Greek before they adapted to Latin around 70AD. The problem we have with Rome is they were great forgers, I would probably say 70/80% of their history is a lie. they were probably one of the first people to divide and conquer. And I would say too many historians rely on their lies,instead of facts, especially when historians get stuck with something and turn to Roman historical bs to claim their theories.

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  2. Yes, "of course" is the phrase. But there are many in Spanish historiography, specially, who have made an issue to "demonstrate" that everything was Celtic, specially West of the tribe of the Vascones (roughly modern Navarre).

    This kind of ideological bias is also seen in other issues such as the Iruña-Veleia Basque texts' controversy. Nowadays the idiotic "Indoeuropean Paleolithic Continuity" hypothesis is making inroads in Spain too, what has many allegedly erudite Spaniards claiming that Celts originated there and that Basque and Iberians are the invader peoples. Spanish Academy is full of that kind of liars, who are fed by the favoritism within universities and such. :(

    Aznar talks of "preconceptions" but this is just a too polite euphemism for outright lies and ideological corruption in the History departments.

    "a famous quote by Julius Caesar"...

    That cannot be Caesar's quote, please research it. Caesar called the Aquitani "non-Celtic" and "Iberians" and little more (he also mentions the Cantabri helping them because of relatedness, highly suggestive of the Cantabri speaking Basque as well).

    It must be from a later author from the times when the Roman Empire was already consolidated, when Latin had already spread. If you are correct, what I doubt, then he must have meant Latin as foreign language, what would be as good as praising the Dutch for their English language skills today.

    It is well known that Latin was just one of a number of Italic (Indo-European) languages and was originally only spoken in the land of the Latins (Latium), which was just the southern part of Modern Lazio with northern border at Rome precisely.

    However it is possible that languages that were neither this nor that by modern classifications were also spoken along the routes of Western IE expansion. Candidates are Lusitanian (arguably pre-Q Celtic but with Italic-sounding words and sometimes said to be Illyria) and Venetic (traditionally placed with Illyrian but now often claimed to be closer to Italic).

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  3. Anyhow, whoever made that comment was probably impressed by the affinity of sound that a simple five-vowel system, such as the one found in Basque (and by its influence in Castilian/Spanish) with Italian phonetic rules, also found in Latin (yet Latin has long/short vowel distinction, which Basque or Spanish or modern Italian do not). This fact alone should make Basque Latin sound more genuine than one using a French-like or English-like vowel system.

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  4. Also declinations (not prepositions, as in Vulgar Latin) and the fact that Basque can change the SVO order may have helped.

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  5. Note that in the 19th century, French scientists also believed that the Basque language was a late export originating from the "Saltus Vasconum" and that ancient Aquitanians - who spoke Celtic languages according to them - had all been romanized when the Vascones invaded Aquitania (thus renaming it Vasconia then Gascony). All these theories were refuted when linguists such as Sacaze began to get interested in ancient Aquitanian epigraphy and realized that most surnames and theonyms could be decyphered through modern Basque.

    As for Rioja, its ancient Basqueness is so obvious that it's amazing that people could reject it. A good website :

    http://www.errioxa.com/

    What amazes me most is that despite linguistic shift, Riojanos still felt a special kinship with Basque lands up to the 30s. Such situation really emulates what happened with Gascony in its relationship with Basque lands : a strong kinship that vanished after WW2 when the (legitimate) idea of a peculiar Basque identity emerged amongst French Basques while Gascon people eventually got frenchified. I cannot blame modern French Basques for rejecting Gascon people as "French", we missed something and that most Gascon patriots in the 20th century engaged into occitanism did not help.

    An interesting article dealing with ancient Basque epigraphy South of the Pyrenees :

    ACTUALIZACIÓN EN ONOMÁSTICA VASCO-AQUITANA

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  6. These days, I'm also very interested in architecture : I've noticed that along with Alpine chalets, Basque houses were the only remnant of ancient European gabled houses. Such houses are actually the main architectural type in Gascony vanishing as soon as you leave Gascony (with some minor exceptions : this style extends as far as Angoulême in the North through the Double forest and extends into the Lot valley up to Fumel when it disappears as one enters Massif Central in ancient Quercy). I'll make a post about that phenomenon on my blog.

    I have never been to La Rioja but searching for old houses in the area allows us to realize that such style is also widespread in the area.

    http://www.atlasrural.com/casas-rurales-La_Rioja.php

    Some examples :

    Casa Senderuela

    Posada de Urreci

    One can find such houses in Cantabria as well.

    La Ceña

    I don't know where such triangle-shaped gabled style ends in Spain. It's also prevailing in High Aragon as far as I know even though massive Pyrenean houses are competitors (see for instance Isaba where both styles meet as we gain altitude). IMO architecture also hints to a common cultural past like myths, cattle, placenames, ...

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  7. Thanks for the Fernández Palacios compilation, I will add it to the main article as appendix.

    What surprised me is the apperance of such a remote location as Hagenbach in Germany (bordering France) and Sardinia (less surprising to me but still). Hagnbach's list includes Senbi, similar to the attested Aquitanian name Senbe, alleged to mean "seme" (son) in ancient Aquitanian, right?

    (But it could be something Celtic instead?)

    As for the gabled roofs I do not really understand the question (well I had to research what gable means in fact, first of all). Certainly in Mediterranean Iberia, specially to the SE, roofs are often flat, as rain is relatively scarce but otherwise sloped roofs are the common rule (and I'd say they tend to be gabled traditionally, though uncertain, really). Another issue is the slope of roofs, which is milder in the Cantabrian region (c. 30 degrees) and a lot more intense towards the Pyrenees (c. 60 degrees) but that's because of how snowloads are a conditionant for roof design. There are some classical architecture studies in that sense but there is no clear division that I know between Basque and non-Basque areas (of course these could have been formerly Basque).

    A division that is found to the West of Asturias is that of "horreo" (grain store on pillars) design. Up to most of Asturias they are more "squarish" (rectangular but maybe 1:2 or 2:3 apportions) instead in Galicia and in the Westernmost Asturian area (which is actually of Galician culture and origins) they are very narrow. But in general I'd say it's greater the commonality than differences in architecture, changes are gradual at best: not too obvious, maybe with some exceptions as the ones mentioned here.

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  8. See this is the problem a lot of people have, they can't distinguish the difference between Celtic culture and celtic blood, because obviously celtic culture spread from Iberia to the north, and not visa versa. The way I see it is, Celtic was a mountainous culture and Iberian was sea fairing culture who mingled with outsiders more then our mountainous culture, it still happens today through out Iberia. I really don't think Iberia has changed much in this respect.
    Where did Rome have the hardest time to divide and conquer? the North and North west of Iberia. Same with the Moors.
    So of course older traditions and languages have survived in the North in contrast to the south. No?

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  9. "... because obviously celtic culture spread from Iberia to the north, and not visa versa".

    I cannot agree with this. This is a modern hypothesis that in my opinion is much forced against the facts and related to the "Indoeuropean was always here" garbage pseudo-science, which is indeed popular from Galicia to Bangla-Desh.

    Celtic culture (language-plus) almost without doubt was one of several Western IE ones developing from Corded Ware+non-megalithic Bell Beaker in Central Europe. The exact details are not well known but it is generally accepted that they spread first within Urnfield culture, then within Hallstatt and finally with La Tène, which is the first one uniquely Celtic, it seems.

    In the case of Iberia, they arrived to the NE with Urnfield and expanded upstream the Ebro river, reaching La Rioja and such already in the Iron Age (since c. 1000 BCE), getting influences from continental Hallstatt. From there, they gradually absorbed pre-existant Palteau cattle-herding Cogotas culture and from the Plateau they invaded the Atlantic coasts.

    Soon after, they lost Catalonia and parts of the Ebro valley (if not all) to Vasco-Iberians, who seem to have found in the Greek colony of Massilia (Marseilles) an ally. The beginnings of Iberian culture in Catalonia are almost exactly coincident with the foundation of Emporion (which means trading outpost in classic Greek - and that's what it was originally), c. 550 BCE.

    This process of re-Iberization of NE Iberia (which nevertheless kept the Unrfield practice of cremation burials) cut Iberian Celts from the continent (except by Sea, but Celts were not really sailors), what explains why most of Hallastatt and specially La Tène influences never arrived south of the Pyrenees. This includes Druidism, which was adopted by Celts, it seems, only after the conquest of Britain, c. 300 BCE.

    So, while there is indeed a very old Celtic and maybe even proto-Celtic (Lusitanians) presence in Iberia, the core area was almost without doubt at the Rhine.

    Similarly Celtic expansion spared the Ligurians who lived East of the Rhône river and who may well have been related to the wider Vasco-Iberian substrate (explaining that way the presence of Vascoid toponymy in Italy).

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  10. "Where did Rome have the hardest time to divide and conquer? the North and North west of Iberia. Same with the Moors.
    So of course older traditions and languages have survived in the North in contrast to the south. No?"

    That's probably true. The Basque area was quite peripheral and we got surrounded by arrivals from the continent and the Mediterranean sea. However the Celtic penetration to the West does not really that book: it's more complex and involves the Ebro upstream route, as well as the civilized power of the proto-Iberian towns and cities of the SE of the peninsula, which no doubt thwarted their expansion southwards.

    The development of Atlantic routes under Indoeuropean leadership in the Middle Ages was probably something bad for us. Castile for instance invaded the Western Basque Country in 1199-1200 largely because it needed good ports for its wool exports to Flanders, eventually "founding" Bilbao. Nowadays the development of such routes such as the high speed train is destroying not just the environment but also the social ecology that allows the Basque language to persist.

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  11. Maju, the Julius Caesar quote, I found it somewhere when I was doing some research on the origin of the latin language, 4/5 years back, I just tried to find it with no prevail, but the quote has been stuck in head ever since, so I really have no source for say to prove this quote, only my word now it seems...
    very interesting, this is another question that's been mind boggling to me, "Indo-European" what dna would be mostly tied to this "Indo-European" hypotheses, or we really can't tie a genetic to Indo-European? most preferably y dna.
    I have also read, this Indo-European language hypotheses is full of holes, because linguists have only tied a few common European words with the so called Indo-European language. like pater=padre or father, I always claim it's more of a trade source then a complete language, in other words, these are just words that made it into languages, in the means of trade and commerce. It still happens today.
    have we also noticed the only claim on latin in Italy comes from a plaque called "Duenos Inscription" it's very similar to Iberian ancient text.

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  12. I challenge you to find it in the online version of Caesar's work in English (or any of the three Latin texts available at Project Gutenberg). I forewarn you that I made a quick search using the keyword "Latin" as could not find anything of the like.

    I believe that the quote does exist but does not belong to Caesar but to one of the three or so great geographers of antiquity and refers to a later period, when Aquitaine was already part of the Roman Empire. Herodotus maybe? Ptolemy? Pliny? They are all at Gutenberg Project so you may find the quote if you search (or read) enough.

    "what dna would be mostly tied to this "Indo-European" hypotheses, or we really can't tie a genetic to Indo-European?"

    I'd say that some clades like R1a7 do seem quite clearly associated with parts of the IE expansion, more precisely the part centered in Poland (Luboń, Globular Amphorae and Corded Ware cultures). The fact that R1a1 has been found in Kurgan-style burials in East Germany and other IE sites in Central Asia, suggests that maybe a good deal of R1a1 is indeed tightly associated to IE expansion but more research is needed. Other haplogroups certainly may have hitchhiked this cultural scatter, specially after what I call the "peace of the 1100 years" between Corded Ware and Urnfield cultures in the case of Europe. For instance Celtic expansions may well have carried other lineages such as R1b or I variants.

    But most of it anyhow happened by assimilation of subjugated peoples. Unlike previous migrants, IE were elite warriors essentially, not peasants nor foragers, so they needed many serfs and slaves to provide them with everything. These conquered lower classes eventually became Indoeuropean themselves and even Indoeruopean warriors looking for further conquests as well. This may well have been the case of the Celts and to a large extent also of Italics, Germanics, etc.

    Jamaicans are Indoeuropeans, to put a modern example. Mexicans are too, as well as South African Coloreds. For all them an Indoeuropean dialect is their mother language. For many other peoples Indoeuropean languages are now as important second languages, often locally official, that it is likely that their descendants will learn them as mother tongues. That's how languages expand, not too much to do with genes really.

    "I have also read, this Indo-European language hypotheses is full of holes, because linguists have only tied a few common European words with the so called Indo-European language. like pater=padre or father".

    That's not that way at all. Indoeuropean is the best researched language family ever. Nobody even half-serious doubts its existence. Furthermore, I have pondered quite in depth the related archaeology and fits very well the Kurgan model proposed decades ago by the Lithuanian genius Marija Gimbutas.

    Indoeuropeans conquered Danubians (in a complex process) but Danubians must have become Indoeuropeans to a very large degree then. In fact Bell Beaker probably express that last (not first certainly) "Danubization" of West Indoeuropeans, the same that Vuĉedol seems to represent the Indoeuropeization of the Danubian core and last stand.

    Yet many details, maybe key ones in relation to demography and genetics, are poorly understood.

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  13. "Castile for instance invaded the Western Basque Country in 1199-1200largely because it needed good ports for its wool exports to Flanders, eventually "founding" Bilbao".

    AFAIK there was not such a thing as Pais Vasco at this times.The end of the XII century were feudal times and in all Europe the suzerain political units were kingdoms, and within kingdoms the king lands, vasal lordships, cities (villas) and abbeys. In today´s spanish territory there were several kingdoms at this time: Leon, Castilla (both unified definitively in 1230), Navarra and Aragon and Islamic territory.

    To avoid war between this kingdoms semi-independent lordships were created, the holder of those beeing in general descendant of the lineages of both kingdoms of which the lordship was frontier. We can call these “tapón" lordships: Vizcaya, Cameros, Molina, Albarracín, Villena were lordships of this kind that separated Castilla and Navarra, and Castilla and Aragón during this times (not all of them contemporary).

    South of Vizcaya there was the minor lorsdships of Ayala, Llodio etc...

    There was a peace traty between Castilla and Navarra in 1179 but León and Navarra, allies against Castilla, attacked it in 1195 after Alarcos battle lost by Castilla to the almohades. Castilla, allied with Aragon answered in 1199 and as a result Alava, Duranguesado and Guipozcoa were conquered and remained in Castilla´s hand.

    There is a controversy regarding a possible collaboration of basques (mainly nobility, since only nobility counted at this time for war) with this conquest (as stated by Esteban de Garibay a few centuries later). The contemporary rise of the house of Mendoza, Guevara and others since then could be evidence for this collaboration, but clearly not definite. In any case i doubt the conquest was because Castilla were interested in ports in Vizcaya: the atlantic route was active and important several centuries later. At this time Castilla´s main interest was economic but territorial (Reconquista).

    A serious source about this:
    http://www.euskomedia.org/PDFAnlt/riev/45425438.pdf

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  14. 2. Regarding Aznar´s thesis i would like to see the evidence. It is truth that La Rioja has basque toponomy (mainly now at Valdezcaray) but from the rock solid evidence i know this could still be pre-roman, roman, visigothic or of medieval origin. I couldn´t find any academic paper from him.

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  15. Well, there's a term that comes from the night of times which is Euskal Herria, that translates as either Basque People, Basque Nation or Basque Country. So there was almost without doubt an ethnic/national conscience back then too.

    Also there were polities that better or worse represented this ethnic reality: there was a de-facto independent Duchy of Vasconia and, when this was annexed by the Caroligians, the Kingdom of Pamplona (later known as Navarre) arose in the southern part of the country.

    They were Medieval style monarchies but they were not your typical Medieval monarchy either. Feudalism, which was surely the trigger of the Basque Bagauda in the late Roman Empire, did not really develop properly. Earls and such were nothing but governors appointed by the King, who in turn depended on the Court (proto-Parliament).

    When our King Garcia III was killed at Atapuerca in 1504, the Army decided that his heir would not be his elder brother Ferdinand of Castile, their enemy, but they chose instead Garcia's minor son Sancho IV.

    Similarly the Court of Navarra rejected later the will of Alfonso the Battler to give his realms (Navarre and Aragon) to the Templars and instead proclaimed a new King, Garcia IV the Restorer, who was from an illegitimate branch of the dynasty. The first thing he did upon achieving independence from Aragon was to declare war to Castile, as acknowledged by Richard Plantagenet in the failed peace negotiations, with the support of the people (of the Western Basque Country).

    This lack of a true feudal system, actually brought some nobles towards Castile, specially the de Haro clan, because under Pamplona they had no hope of making their governorships inheritable.

    There were laws, there was local self-rule and there was very little (if anything) of the caste system typical of feudalism.

    Not all kingdoms were the same and certainly Navarre was very special: we had a parliamentary system long before the Magna Carta. The King could not do as he pleased, even if surely he was more powerful than most modern Presidents.

    "To avoid war between this kingdoms semi-independent lordships were created"...

    All those provinces were created by Castile, not to avoid war but to secure the loyalty of the natives. At the First Partition, the people revolted in favor of Navarre, as is well documented (nothing less than the testimony of famed Richard the Lionheart, who acted as mediator - Castile did not even bother to contest the legitimacy of the Navarrese claims, just argued that they were more determined crusaders), so Castile accepted in this Second Partition to concede ample self-rule and continuity of the Navarrese Law (fueros) to the Western territories, not before fragmenting them. All but Treviño, which refused to surrender and was made a feudal county.

    All these lands were since 1200 part of the Kingdom of Castile, even if with very special and large autonomy.

    ...

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  16. ...

    "South of Vizcaya there was the minor lorsdships of Ayala, Llodio etc..."

    Laudio (Llodio) had no autonomy other than being a municipality: it always belonged to Aiara (Ayala) and integrated into Araba with it. The only exception there was the City of Urduina (Orduña), which chose to join Biscay instead.

    "There was a peace traty between Castilla and Navarra in 1179 but León and Navarra, allies against Castilla, attacked it in 1195 after Alarcos battle lost by Castilla to the almohades. Castilla, allied with Aragon answered in 1199"...

    It seems that you have a one-sided view on this matter. Sancho arrived late at Alarcos, where he was ally with Castile what upset the Castilian monarch, and it was this anger from Alfonso of Castile what caused the subsequent war in 1195, which was a clear Navarrese victory but that provided with no returns for our country, not even La Rioja.

    So I think that once again we were just too generous and good hearted in our relation with these vile Castilians. We should have devastated the whole realm and split it with the Almohads when we could. No peace treaties with those who can't keep their word.

    In spite of this undeserved generosity and all promises made at Tarazona, Castile attacked Navarre as soon as it could, when our King was visiting Tlemcen in a diplomatic mission, probably trying to attract the Sultan against the Almohads in the benefit of Castile.

    Sancho may have been physically strong but he seems to me quite naive. In spite of all he still helped Castile again in 1212 at Las Navas de Tolosa. What the heck?! What did Castile for us? Nothing but treachery and aggression. Why to help them at all?!

    ...

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  17. ...

    "since only nobility counted at this time for war"

    There was nearly no Basque nobility... rather most were farmers, armed homeowners, what later Castile would acknowledge as "hidalgos" (gentry) but everybody was. "Hidalgos de abarca" (pampooty shoes' gentlemen) was said.

    Your source confirms clearly that most Navarrese troops were commoners. Even in Pamplona, "irá a la hueste quien tenga casa" ("whoever has a house will serve in the troops"... or may send a young man - "infante"), while in a defense call absolutely everybody able must go.

    And anyhow it was not only noblemen who counted. Most troops even in feudalist realms were peasants. Do you think they did not have infantry then? No archers? No shield bearers? Please!

    "In any case i doubt the conquest was because Castilla were interested in ports in Vizcaya: the atlantic route was active and important several centuries later".

    You doubt whatever you want but it's a widely acknowledged fact. First they used Bermeo specially but later, in 1300, they founded Bilbao. The whole economy of Castile was about exporting wool and the textile industry of Flanders was already active since the 10th century and very important at least by the late 11th century, which is the time of the Castilian invasion.

    Anyhow your reference has errors: Castile did not control Biscay between 1179 and 1200. There was not even anything called Biscay yet. Biscay was founded only after 1200 as a province of Castile, albeit autonomous. There is a vague claim to some "Lord of Biscay" earlier but seems to be an ex-post-facto construct by the de Haro clan in order to add legitimacy to their rather illegitimate title, just like the legend of Jaun Zuria (made to be son of nothing less than Sugaar). Griots and Heralds were paid for that kind of propaganda, you know.

    You should read Urzanqui and other modern Navarrese historians. A lot of pro-Castilian historiography, which is clearly dominant, is based on assuming a lot of things in favor of Castile when there is even the slightest doubt.

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  18. To your 2nd point, I think his thesis is precisely that these slabs' texts confirm that the Basque language was there in pre-Roman times.

    Anyhow, there is Vascoid toponymy all around Iberia, not just La Rioja and also in France and elsewhere. One just needs to speak some Basque to see it.

    I go to Castile and there it is, I go to Galicia and there it is, some other guy goes to Dordogne (cf. Orduña, Ordoñana but also Les Eyzies: leiziek: the caves! - and many others) and there it is... it is damn fucking everwhere, even in England (Adur) and Italy and, Venneman says, German-speaking countries. I find such toponyms even in the Balcans on occasion.

    Just learn some Basque and you'll see. But be careful... you may become Basque, like your ancestors probably were. :p

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  19. Besides of the European "universality" of the Vascoid substrate, there's an easy way to test the Basque-ness of Riojans: comparing their genetics.

    I know of no paper in this matter (the only paper on Spanish autosomal genetics I know of avoided anything in a wide circle around the Basque Country, what is simply ridiculous) but I know that their faces look mostly Basque. Much more than other Iberians, in a range I estimate similar to Bearnois. So they must be pretty much Basque, genetically speaking.

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  20. Your long answer calls for a long answer.

    1.” Well, there's a term that comes from the night of times which is Euskal Herria, that translates as either Basque People, Basque Nation or Basque Country. So there was almost without doubt an ethnic/national conscience back then too”.

    Hmmm...i see you are a primordialist, so let me first put the discussion in context.

    To simplify there are four kinds of identities (the way people see ourself and the way we see ourself): biological (for instance gender, race), sociogical (for instance in our days to be an entrepreneur or an employee), cultural (for instance to speak english or basque) and ideological (to be muslim or christian, communist or liberal). In each kind of society (hunter-gatherer, agricultural, industrial or postmodern) a differente kind of identity predominates. For instance in hunter-gatherer societies the biological identity predominates, in agricultural societies sociological identities predominates (to be noble or citizen (villano) or yeoman), in industrialized societies cultural (language) identity predominate (the reason beeing explained later) and in post-modern ideological (in fact there in previous societies there wasn´t too much room for ideological variety).

    Regarding the origin of nationalism (the identity that predominates in industrial societies) there are two main theories: primordialism (nations and nationalism exists since the begining of times, the one you seem to support) and modernism (nationalism arise after the french revolution included in the modernization package). I think facts support modernism (a good read is Gelner). See for instance Feudal europe (Spain can perfectly be included): a noble identified himself with his lineage, a citizen with its City and a yeoman with its rural community. Even if they spoke the same lenguage and lived in the same town, if a yeoman had said to a noble that they were identical in any sense he would had surelly killed him. The only interest of nobles was dinastic in all Europe (including basque area), and many politic unities at this time were multilingual without any problem (for instance in today´s Belgium Brabant, just an example within houndreds). In fact nobody cared about language (in general) because elites were cosmopolitan, and yeomans had very local relations and no political voice at all except maybe in their small local comunity. When the modern industrial State with a developped bureaucracy arises several problems with languages start: it is no doubt that a bureaucracy and a company can work more efficiently with only one language (whatever the language, even the basque that Unamuno judged so primitive) so the language of the majority is imposed to the minority and this causes the logical problem of comparative offence, specially in small bourgoiesie classes. In industrial societies clever proletarians are internationalists, elites cosmopolitan, small bourgeoisies nationalist (i predict you should be from small-bourgeoisie stock).

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  21. 2. Feudalism and nobility in Basque area. In your comments you are mixing (i suppose not deliberatelly but because of lack of knowledge, your expertise seems more archeology than history) several periods (late antiquity (IV, V, VI, VII centuries), early middle age (VIII,IX, X, XI, XII), late middle age (XIII, XIV, XV) and modern times (XVI, XVII, XVIII) and several completely different areas (Navarre and today´s Basque Country). Let´s treat separatelly Navarre and Basque Country area which in fact are totally different entities with different histories, though none of them really different from the rest of Spain or Europe

    Catalogne was literaly a frank wedge in spanish territories and there frank feudalism was in its purest form. Little is know about the “Navarra nuclear” but since 1134 (political union with Aragon) frank-like baronial nobility system was introduced (houses Almoravid, Lehet, Oteiza, Aibar, Rada etc...). This and new lineages created by new royal dinasties of french origin since 1234 (Evreux, Champagne, Foix...) or spanish (Trastamara-Aragón) were the high nobility: Gramont, Luxe, Medrano, Subiza, Montagut...later the Javier, Arellano, Lacarra...

    Today´s Basque country was more in Castilian orbit and the high nobility in basque area was not of basque origin (López de Haro), but during late middle there were middle nobility lineages (parientes mayores) in all provinces and nobility local riots (Oñacinos and Gamboinos) as in any other european area. Some lineages in this area were (Mendoza, López de Ayala, Mújica, Lazcano, Ladrón de Guevara...). Alava was the province most subject to nobility You can read Gerbet, Diaz de Durana or Dominguez Ortiz and others. All of them unbiased serious historians without any nationalistic interest. Later (from late XV´s on, i suppose) the “hidalguía universal” was stablished and there was not really high nobility in the area, except maybe in Alava. But again “hidalguia universal” and lack of high nobilty in modern times is not exclusive of basque area, it was also comon feature, for instance, in Asturias.

    In conclusion nothing really really different in the basque area (but the language, which at this time was not, in general, problematic for the reasons already explained).

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  22. 3. Regarding battles and alliances. You don´t seem to understand neither the feudal mentality. To take off primordialist glasses might help: these peoples (royals, nobility) did not think in terms of beeing Castilian or Navarre but in terms of dinastic interests.

    4. Wool atlantic trade: you say

    “The whole economy of Castile was about exporting wool and the textile industry of Flanders was already active since the 10th century and very important at least by the late 11th century, which is the time of the Castilian invasion”

    You have combined with an “and” two propositions which are truth independently but not comined in such a way.

    It is truth that low country areas were active in textile industries since X or XI century, but the share of castile of this trade was almost non existant. Their suppliers were the mainly the english.

    It is truth that one of the engines of Castilian economy was wool trade but this trade started later. Facts: mass wool production for exports was not possible until the mesta was organized. As you know the mesta was an institution which controlled the transhumant husbandry in Spain. Transhumant routes were from north to south (Andalucia) and could not be used safely until navas the tolosa. In fact the Mesta was organized by Alfonso X (1252-1284) in 1272. A quote:

    “Los ganaderos, entre los que destacaban los nobles y los establecimientos eclesiásticos, contaban con una poderosa institución que defendía sus intereses, el Honrado Concejo de la Mesta, creado por Alfonso X en 1272. Las condiciones del siglo XIV favorecieron el desarrollo de esta actividad, que requería poca mano de obra y amplios espacios baldíos. El resultado fue un incremento espectacular de la cabaña ganadera. Asimismo, la ruptura de Flandes con Inglaterra a principios de esta centuria posibilitó que Castilla se convirtiera en la principal suministradora de lana para los telares flamencos. En esta coyuntura, los grandes propietarios de ganado se decantaron definitivamente por el comercio de exportación de lana”. .

    So the activity started around 1300 and became prominent in the next centuries (mainly XV and XVI), not before.

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  23. 4. Aznar: ok, i think he is writing a book so i wait to see his evidence. I agree you can find basque tooponims everywhere in Spain and maybe Aquitaine but what remain to be explained is its period of origin. Of course my interest on this is purelly historical.

    P.s. I hate blogger system for

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  24. I have very clear that the identity of Basques is (or rather used to be) language based: all Basque ethnonyms derive from euskara (Basque language), Euskal Herria included. And the only term for foreigner is erdaldun which seems also language related (erdara: any language not Basque).

    "... if a yeoman had said to a noble that they were identical in any sense he would had surelly killed him".

    Not among Basques. We are all like Lope de Aguirre, you know: don't tread on me!

    In fact there is strong archaeological evidence nowadays that Basques initiated a revolt against feudalism at the very beginnings of it, possibly by influence of the Gaulish bagaudae. That's probably the only reason why Basque exists today: because we rejected feudalism and all that nonsense you are throwing as "universal" categories.

    "In fact nobody cared about language"...

    LOL, they must have then been cursed with telepathy. A terrible malady I have read.

    Obviously people had to speak something: the language of the country. The mayor of Ojacastro indeed did not care about language but the authorities in Castile did.

    People did care about language. In fact it was my aptitude exam's matter the first Spanish language grammar, which was malevolently created in order to help the cultural genocide against Granadans, who were forced to become Castilians by forbidding their Arabic and Mozarabic languages.

    Another thing is that for long Latin and later Romances were used as main administrative languages, even in Basque speaking areas. Against this, the last independent Basques became protestants and began writing in Basque more regularly. That was a good Queen: Jeanne! Not that idiot of Sancho the Naive.

    "... even the basque that Unamuno judged so primitive"...

    Unamuno was a fascist jerk. I'm all for beheading his monument again. What an ignorant!

    "Let´s treat separatelly Navarre and Basque Country area which in fact are totally different entities with different histories"...

    I totally disagree: what you call "Basque Country" is nothing but Western Navarre and what you call "Navarre" is nothing but the Eastern Basque Country. The division is totally artificial: a historical accident.

    "... though none of them really different from the rest of Spain or Europe"...

    If you're going to make Nationalist Spanish propaganda... go to Libertad Digital or El Mundo. This is no the place for that junk. I already spend a lot of effort not watching TV and not reading Spanish media. I do not need them to get into my more private spaces, thanks.

    There are differences and there are indifferences. There are linguistic differences (at least historically and today), there are political differences, there even genetic differences as far as I can tell. These last may be not that important but they do exist and are clear and noticeable.

    Not everything is Salamanca.

    "Little is know about the “Navarra nuclear” but since 1134 (political union with Aragon)"...

    False. We have documents on the Kingdom of Pamplona since at least the wars against the Franks, when the state surely formed.

    Little is known... about Castile before it became a kingdom under a Basque monarch. Little is known about Aragon until it became a distinct realm in similar circumstances.

    Also you have a concept of "French" that I do not share. For me all the South of the French state is not France but Gascony and Occitania. And Gascony is a romanized part of the ancient Basque Country, as it name clearly indicates.

    Similarly Catalonia is part of Occitania and its language is barely distinct from Provenzal ad Languedocin.

    ...

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  25. ...

    "the high nobility in basque area was not of basque origin (López de Haro)"

    I would not consider a clan from High La Rioja to be neither "high nobility" nor to be non-Basque. The only title of "high nobility" they had was Lords of Biscay, which was nominal (in practical terms Biscay has always been a republic).

    "Alava was the province most subject to nobility"...

    This is possible but there's people questioning today what the categories often considered as assimilable to feudal castes were anything like that. There's not enough info so I'll pass.

    "“hidalguia universal” and lack of high nobilty in modern times is not exclusive of basque area, it was also comon feature, for instance, in Asturias".

    I did not know but fair enough.

    "... these peoples (royals, nobility) did not think in terms of beeing Castilian or Navarre but in terms of dinastic interests".

    I do not fucking care what the monarchs thought. I only care if they served well the interests of the people. This seems to have been important in the Basque case. At least Charles the Bad was called that for involving Navarre in our only imperialist war ever (other than Sancho's stupid support for the Castilian crusade): the failed conquest of Albania.

    "... but the share of castile of this trade was almost non existant. Their suppliers were the mainly the english".

    Possibly but Castile wanted to export that wool and that was eventually consolidated by the foundation of this city I live in: Bilbao. Previously (that means: between 1200 and 1300) the Castilians used Bermeo, and not Santander, for a very simple reason: better roads and lower mountain passes.

    Anyhow:

    "Since the thirteenth century, the kingdom of Castile has brought into being an important commercial development relating to wool"...

    (link)

    That's the 1200s! What a coincidence!

    "In fact the Mesta was organized by Alfonso X (1252-1284)"

    The Mesta was not but a consolidation of pre-existing dynamics. Or do you think of Alfonso X as some sort of Stalin armed with five-year plans to bring out economy where there was nothing?

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  26. To be sincere i´m not nationalist of any kind: i´m of the cosmopolitan kind, possibly pro a global government. You can not argue coherently against a nationalism based on the defence of another nationalism. This kind of discussions bores me and this is why the my last comment in this thread. In any case what i wanted to say is that except language there is not other clear institutional differences of basques with other europeans. I do not care about the other kind of differences...and yes computer science started with Babbage or maybe Antikythera mechanism but was not really important until almost yesterday.

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  27. But you are of the mislead school which claims that nations only formed in the Modern Age. This anyone can see it's false: Greeks and Etruscans had national identity, for instance. Latins had national identity as well... Sure, the concept of nation-state is modern more or less but modern nation-states are not nations (homogeneous ethnic groups) in most cases, so whatever.

    I think that there is a lot of people who hides in "internationalist" pretexts to effectively be nationalist of the state. I stopped twice my affiliation to CNT for that reason: you cannot work in the Basque Country with a Spanish structure, unless you are only targeting minorities. You need a distinct Basque organization, regardless of whatever international ties, because otherwise people will disdain you as Spanish Nationalist (and correctly so in my opinion).

    You can only be internationalist starting from the real nations, from the real peoples.

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  28. "This anyone can see it's false: Greeks and Etruscans had national identity, for instance. Latins had national identity as well...".

    Well, it seems that you are adopting a tone more suitable for a scientific discussion... Yes, Greeks, Etruscans, peoples from the antiquity in general, had some common identity but their primal identity was more to be Athenian, Spartan or whatever: that is to belong to a city. I think that Aristoteles was clear enough about this.

    This is how i see the issue of collective identities. There is an underlying symmetry principle: you identify yourself with other peoples with which you feel interchangeable, those whose life is as important for your life as yours. For obvious reasons Hunter-gatherers identify with people of their close clan (biological identity); in agricultural societies with the people you share some kind of territory (most ancient cities were founded by peoples of different tribes (gens) living in close territory affected by the same factors (environment, ennemies...). In industrial societies, more based on the division of labour and efficiency than in a given territory, people identify with those with which they are economicaly integrated, usually paying taxes to the same bureaucracy.

    In our days, (and this conects with your comment: "You can only be internationalist starting from the real nations, from the real peoples") i think it is clear the globe is more and more integrated: firstly we are all affected by some problems that cannot be solved at Nation-State level nor even at the Political Union-Economic Block level ((UE, USA, China, India, Brasil); secondly thanks to the transport revolution there is more and more economic integration and finally thanks to the information revolution (internet and others) more and more ideologicaly integrated.

    The target is free movement of goods, peoples, capitals and knowledge. And the first main obstacle the existence of so many different languages (you can just see the UE).

    Of course a global government must be constructed gradualy as a superstructure, not distroying present political peoples or units. Global unit will happen anyway, either naturally (and therefore trough war) or by design.

    Ps. Well, according to some sound line of logical reasoning nationalism is not a stable state, it must necessarily transform into anarchy (the maximum unit of government is the individual)or globalism (the minimum unit of government is the whole), so i guess you will be possibly a globalist in the future...

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  29. I do not think that the ethnic identity of Athenians and such was primarily the polis: it was the Greek nation, even if it was fragmented and even if they considered this fragmentation normal. Obviously language was the main element in such union as happens with modern nations. And for patriotic/nationalist feelings they all rallied against common enemies like Persia, and those who were weak in this patriotic commitment, like Thebans were then looked upon with some disdain.

    Unlike Greeks who only had the Olympic Games as national reference point (the had not many enemies to rally them together, it seems), Etruscans and Latins had leagues (confederations).

    In any case they all knew who was a member of their nation and who was a foreigner, this defined always by language on top of other cultural elements. Of course ethnic identity is fluid up to a point, specially in cosmopolitan (urban or border) contexts but only up to a point.

    As for globalization and all that, I am as internationalist as you may be and I was that before you were surely. I just happened to evolve from blind uprooted false "internationalism" to an ethnically rooted internationalism that is much better in all senses.

    And I have come to realize how the fallacy of "internationalism" or "globalism" is used to defend the actual imperialist states Spain and France against the actual peoples that struggle against them.

    In the Basque Country at least, but also in Ireland and elsewhere we have seen how internationalism, socialism and nationalism are not opposed but the same thing. Thanks to nationalism, we are more advanced and persistent in the other facets. We just have to understand things properly, because popular power, democracy, can only arise from the actual peoples, not from abstractions of them in some book.

    "a global government"

    That's a delicate matter: what we need is first of all popular power at all levels. Obviously we must coordinate at planetary level, there's no way out of that, but that should be always based on total democracy, including on the economy, respecting always local decisions and self-rule. Self-rule that must be always be deeply democratic.

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  30. Btw, I just spotted this most curious research news on how what language we are using shapes our preferences, even if we are bilingual.

    "It's like asking your friend if he likes ice cream in English, and then turning around and asking him again in French and getting a different answer".

    Actually instead of ice-cream the preference bias was shown to exist or vanish regarding to people who speak the same language. So language does seem to shape identity to incredible lengths.

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  31. 1. In order to argue against your thesis that the polis was not the main greek identity i would have to revise my nationalism bibliography but i have not time. The subject of nationalism interested me a lot several years ago and bought and red then all relevant literature. My conclusion then was that until the pair Bureaucratic Modern-state- Industrial society was pervasive (i.e. after french revolution) nationalism (i.e. language) was not the most important indentitary element. Of course that is not to say that language as a way to identify peoples was inexistent and that from time to time language issues could arise. So in stead of asserting i will ask:

    Consider for instance the model of the ancient empire of the first wave of globalization (400BC-400AC), the Antiquity Globalization. It started with Achaemenids and the ending equilibrium was the civilised axis Rome-Parts-Sasanids in Persia-Greco-Bactrio-Saka-Khusans-Guptas in Central-Asia and North India and Han China) ending in a period of chaos driven by barbarian invasions (germans,huns,turks...).Was really language the most important issue for identity in this civilization axis ?.

    Consider the second wave of globalization (600AC-1200AC), the Middle-Ages Globalization with the civilization axis: Carolingians-Byzantines-Islam-Gurjaras and others in India-Tang in China. Was really language the most important issue for identity in this civilization axis ?

    Consider the third wave of globalization (1400AC-1800AC), the Modern times Globalization with the civilization axis: Habsburgs/Bourbons-Ottomans-Safavids/Qadjars in Persia-Mogols in India-Turk kanats in Central asia-Mings-Qings in China. Was really language the most important issue for identity in this civilization axis ?

    But now, in the fourth wave of globalization (1800AC-?), the Contemporary wave, where all the globe belongs to the civilized axis language is the first issue to be solved. Differently from you my relation with language is practical not romantic so i do not care if the next generation speaks any other language than the one i speak.

    Disclaimer: above comment does not pretend to be an enciclopedy or history of civilizations just a very simplified view of several waves of globalization. My apologies to anyone that feels that his favourite civilization has not been cited, including basque civilization.

    2. I totally agree that global government does not mean global government of every little detail in every local territory and that it must be reached and once reached managed trough democratic means. I wonder how the world will look like geopolitically in 100 years. I see a world of interconnected megalopolis.

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  32. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  33. "Consider for instance the model of the ancient empire of the first wave of globalization (400BC-400AC), the Antiquity Globalization. It started with Achaemenids and the ending equilibrium was the civilised axis Rome-Parts-Sasanids"...

    Empires are not nations, even if they invariably have a nation at their core (Latins/Italy in Rome, Persia, Han...)

    "I wonder how the world will look like geopolitically in 100 years. I see a world of interconnected megalopolis".

    The way we go I see a nuclear desert or something even worse.

    Even if total catastrophe (which can come from several origins, including global warming) is finally averted, I understand that the main problem today is the non-correspondence between the consume (so-called "production") and the resources that Earth can provide and sustain. Today we are already beyond our realistic limits and we are nothing without an ecologically rich, living, Earth. We need to un-grow economically (but obviously not everywhere is the same, in some places they definitively need some growth), what demands a new socio-economical paradigm. I believe things like the Internet are here to stay (probably) but many other facets of globalization are simply impossible to sustain.

    That's why we are in this deep crisis after all. It's not just finances but a whole economic paradigm which has reached its absolute limits.

    So I rather think in a diffuse decentralized network of rural and smaller urban settlements as something viable. With less production and less consume and much greater focus on local and global sustainability, which is central to our survival as species (space colonization is not going to be viable in many centuries, maybe millennia).

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  34. It looks like this post has generated a long discussion. I'm adding some info about what I had previously stated :

    - About architecture : I don't know the precise terms in English, in French there is a classical dichotomy between "façade sous pignon" and "façade sous la retombée du toit". Houses with "pignon" were prohibited in the 17th century in French towns. In rural areas, each region had its vernacular way to build houses : in that respect, only the Alps and Basco-Gascon lands still exhibit rural gabled-houses.

    You might get what I mean with some illustrations :

    - An interesting article in Spanish about Basque architecture

    Arquitectura popular vasca

    - You can see the convergences with Alpine chalets : Link. Snowing conditions are rather indifferent to the angle of the roof. This is just a different technique : a gable (generally made of wood) is meant to support the roof contrary to "classical" houses the roof of which is supported by the walls.

    As I said, in SW France, "gabled houses" disappear as soon as you leave Gascony (with two minor exceptions : the Double forest in Angoumois and the Lot valley around Villeneuve-sur-Lot in Guienne). It looks like that there's not such division in Spain as I have found pics of houses in Asturias or Galicia that could be Basque : I read that Basque charpenters were hired in these lands and that architectural vocabulary was taken from Basque in these lands. Such phenomenon is also attested in SW France with Basque charpenters allegedly going to the Garonne valley teaching how to build wooden houses.

    - About the ancient Basqueness of La Rioja : Basque toponymy is very abundant in High Rioja, not so much in the Ebro valley (which is pretty understandable as romanization was made through fluvial valleys). But of course, it's not enough to prove that it's ancient (even though that makes it plausible). IMO Roman epigraphy proves that the existence of Vascoid languages in La Rioja predates the Reconquista. One might say that some isolated surnames are not enough or that they could be Iberian but :

    * Iberian and Basco-Aquitanian surnames are rather uneasy to distinguish (Iberian seemed to have been less reluctant to some letters such as initial t) from each other.

    ** Few written testimonies actually mean that autochtonous people had not been romanized in their customs as they did not write.

    - About Sembe : it is believe to be the etymon of modern Basque seme. It was the root of many Aquitanian surnames : Sembexon, Sembetten, Sembi, ... -mb- > -m- is a classical Basco-Iberian feature that also affects the modern Romance language spoken in Gascony, Pyrenean Languedoc and Catalonia. In Basque for instance, the Celtic word *kambo became gamu ("thermal waters"). Latin cumba "cumb" is "coma" in Catalan, Gascon and Pyrenean Languedocian. See maps of phonetic Basco-Aquitanian features : Link.

    ReplyDelete
  35. It looks like this post has generated a long discussion. I'm adding some info about what I had previously stated :

    - About architecture : I don't know the precise terms in English, in French there is a classical dichotomy between "façade sous pignon" and "façade sous la retombée du toit". Houses with "pignon" were prohibited in the 17th century in French towns. In rural areas, each region had its vernacular way to build houses : in that respect, only the Alps and Basco-Gascon lands still exhibit rural gabled-houses.

    You might get what I mean with some illustrations :

    - An interesting article in Spanish about Basque architecture

    Arquitectura popular vasca

    - You can see the convergences with Alpine chalets : Link. Snowing conditions are rather indifferent to the angle of the roof. This is just a different technique : a gable (generally made of wood) is meant to support the roof contrary to "classical" houses the roof of which is supported by the walls.

    As I said, in SW France, "gabled houses" disappear as soon as you leave Gascony (with two minor exceptions : the Double forest in Angoumois and the Lot valley around Villeneuve-sur-Lot in Guienne). It looks like that there's not such division in Spain as I have found pics of houses in Asturias or Galicia that could be Basque : I read that Basque charpenters were hired in these lands and that architectural vocabulary was taken from Basque in these lands. Such phenomenon is also attested in SW France with Basque charpenters allegedly going to the Garonne valley teaching how to build wooden houses.

    - About the ancient Basqueness of La Rioja : Basque toponymy is very abundant in High Rioja, not so much in the Ebro valley (which is pretty understandable as romanization was made through fluvial valleys). But of course, it's not enough to prove that it's ancient (even though that makes it plausible). IMO Roman epigraphy proves that the existence of Vascoid languages in La Rioja predates the Reconquista. One might say that some isolated surnames are not enough or that they could be Iberian but :

    * Iberian and Basco-Aquitanian surnames are rather uneasy to distinguish (Iberian seemed to have been less reluctant to some letters such as initial t)

    ** Few written testimonies actually mean that autochtonous people had not been romanized in their customs as they did not write.

    - About Sembe : it is believe to be the etymon of modern Basque seme. It was the root of many Aquitanian surnames : Sembexon, Sembetten, Sembi, ... -mb- > -m- is a classical Basco-Iberian feature that also affects the modern Romance language spoken in Gascony, Pyrenean Languedoc and Catalonia. In Basque for instance, the Celtic word *kambo became gamu ("thermal waters"). Latin cumba "cumb" is "coma" in Catalan, Gascon and Pyrenean Languedocian. See maps of phonetic Basco-Aquitanian features : Link.

    ReplyDelete
  36. It looks like this post has generated a long discussion. I'm adding some info about what I had previously stated :

    - About architecture : I don't know the precise terms in English, in French there is a classical dichotomy between "façade sous pignon" and "façade sous la retombée du toit". Houses with "pignon" were prohibited in the 17th century in French towns. In rural areas, each region had its vernacular way to build houses : in that respect, only the Alps and Basco-Gascon lands still exhibit rural gabled-houses.

    You might get what I mean with some illustrations :

    - An interesting article in Spanish about Basque architecture

    Arquitectura popular vasca

    - You can see the convergences with Alpine chalets : Link. Snowing conditions are rather indifferent to the angle of the roof. This is just a different technique : a gable (generally made of wood) is meant to support the roof contrary to "classical" houses the roof of which is supported by the walls.

    As I said, in SW France, "gabled houses" disappear as soon as you leave Gascony (with two minor exceptions : the Double forest in Angoumois and the Lot valley around Villeneuve-sur-Lot in Guienne). It looks like that there's not such division in Spain as I have found pics of houses in Asturias or Galicia that could be Basque : I read that Basque charpenters were hired in these lands and that architectural vocabulary was taken from Basque in these lands. Such phenomenon is also attested in SW France with Basque charpenters allegedly going to the Garonne valley teaching how to build wooden houses.

    ReplyDelete
  37. Many comments, yes, but you should divide by 3, because many are just too long for a single blogger comment and have been therefore fragmented. :)

    As for the ceiling I think that the main difference we make in Spanish language is "a dos vertientes" and "a cuatro vertientes" (two and four slopes), then of course there's the flat roof but this one is restricted to SE Iberia and modern urban construction.

    Most common is surely the two sloped roof, which indeed has gable. But four sloped ones also exist.

    I am pretty sure that there is a tendency in heavy snow areas to build roofs much more steep for a mere practical reason: snow does not slide easily and this design helps it to fall down and not get accumulated on top of roofs, with the subsequent risk of collapse. Examples from the Pyrenees: Aezkoa (horreo), unknown place with what seems to be a thatched roof, modern mountain house, a more classical house. I am also sure to have read about this tendency in anthropology essays (Caro Baroja?) in the past. I believe these must exist in Bearn too, as it's a central Pyrenean trend, rather than something ethnic.

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  38. 1. To finish with the discussion about nations in antiquity, middle ages or ancient régime from my side, i only can suggest some readings: the books from modernists (the historian Hobsbawn or the sociologist Gellner) and the more comprehensive, including perennialism or primordialists theorists, book from Anthony D. Smith from LSE. Also a warning to not confuse ethnicity with nationalism (which for me is the claim to base permanent political unity, not sporadic alliance, on a common language).

    2. Well, i´m far more optimistic than you about future. I agree that there is an economical asymmetry that will not last forever and that the ending equilibrium will not be reached trough poors getting the level of present richs (USA, EU or Japan for instance) but trough both extremes going to a middle point.
    In this middle point the main problem i see is first energy ( but experts do not seem too worried about this) and second is the lack of willingness to work on agriculture (i hope this will be done by robots if we do not stagnate at a suboptimal technological level). IMO demographics will not be an issue as soon as poors reach the middle point

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  39. I've read quite a bit from Hobsawn myself. But I make my own judgment: I follow no school. People have opinions... I do too, I just happen to think that my judgment in this matter is well founded not on others' opinions but on factual data, such as actual ethnic identity, which happens to be a rally point often in history and certainly a cultural, social and political frame, with or without ethnic state.

    "a warning to not confuse ethnicity with nationalism"...

    Nobody confuses ethnicity with nationalism: nationalism is an ideology, nation (ethnicity) is a social/cultural/linguistic reality. They are related because nationalism/patriotism is the ideology which enhances the nation (a nation in particular).

    Anyhow there are two types of nationalism: expansive nationalism such as that of Castile/Spain and defensive nationalism such as that of the Basque People. The first is illegitimate, immoral and criminal (and hard to differentiate from pure imperialism), the second is legitimate and democratic, in fact an expression of democracy and basis for genuine internationalism.

    As for the rest it's a complex matter. So I will not dwell in it here anymore.

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  40. 1. If you prefer to reinvent the wheel that´s up to you. But the mechanism of nationalism and its association with industrial society as explained by modernists, is very simple: agricultural societies are based on privilege(for instance in feudal regime, noble lineages, profesional guilds, rural comunities and religious comunities had their own private law, privilege). For reasons it would be too long to explain here but not dificult to understand to anyone, agricultural societies can not be organized otherwise.

    Industrial societies subvert this privilege principle and are based on an equality principle for all citizens living in a state/territory. Again this change from privilege to equality principle does not depend on desire of citizens, it has some causes too long to explain here, but very easy to understand. But in multinational (multilingual states) those belonging to minority languages feel a contradiction within this equality principle and the facts, specially small-bourgeois whose aspirations are to improve their social situation trough civil service or working in companies. They have to make additional effort (learn a new language, the official language) to obtain the same result: a position in publice service or private company.

    Objectivelly, that´s unequal and people whose maternal language is the one of the majority, the official can not understand this. But nationalist parties knows this fact and exploit it everywere. Their first target is to get the education local governement. Then they change the educational local language from the official to the minority language. People educated under this system localy will feel the contradiction and will become nationalists. As easy as this.

    2. I think you are confusing internationalism and globalism.As a nationalist, you might be internationalist, as you say you are. As anti-nationalist i´m a globalist and this is why, as i said in a previous comment, i won´t entry in the unscientific discussion of which nationalism is better. Both offensive or defensive lead to social suboptimum: just look at UE.

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  41. I do not follow Modernists. That should be clear by now. That's a qualified opinion with merits and limitations.

    And sure, I always prefer to know how "the wheel" is made and not just apply blindly others' opinions. I am very critical and I think of this as a virtue, a scientific attribute I would like to be more extended.

    "agricultural societies can not be organized otherwise".

    So how do you explain Medieval Basque or, say, Swiss democracy? How do you even explain ancient Mediterranean republics at all? None of them were industrialized, which is a circumstance only happening since the late 18th century and most seriously since the middle 19th century in fact.

    How do you even explain the Iroquois federation, with all its remarkable democratic and federative structures that even inspired the founding fathers of the USA?

    Sorry, but tribal democracy and even some instances of post-tribal ones are a historical fact.

    "Industrial societies subvert this privilege principle and are based on an equality principle for all citizens living in a state/territory".

    Do you mean like Hitler's Germany or Jim Crow USA? Today's 'internal colonialism' China with its caste-like division between urban and rural denizens? This you say is a Jacobin one-sided and highly idealized (Hegelian) perception of history. If you do not want to believe in Basque agricultural democracy, then look at Switzerland for instance: a bunch of backwater rural mountain districts able to defeat nothing less than the Habsburgian dynasty (as well as other powers).

    "Then they change the educational local language from the official to the minority language".

    Obviously a good deal of defensive nationalist politics revolves about the issue of preserving the ancestral language, often in danger of extinction or in any case marginalized by cultural imperialism of the aggressive nationalist entity (Spain and France in our case). Key to this is to provide the new generations with the ability to grow up (be educated) in the ancestral language and to provide services in this endangered tongue so it becomes useful for daily life again (but the other language is not persecuted, in fact it remains quite dominant in my experience).

    "People educated under this system localy will feel the contradiction and will become nationalists".

    You are again using the term nationalism only to describe defensive nationalism. This I cannot accept: Spanish and French nationalisms (imperialist nationalisms) also exist, and are promoted in the same manner (making minority languages semi-illegal or even totally illegal - or in the best case pointless). They are much more aggressive and their whole goal is to aculturize oppressed minorities into members of the central ethnicity.

    Being the dominant political entities they have all the resorts to do that: laws, schools, administrative language, media... and sometimes even colonists. It is in fact quite surprising that other languages have survived for so long against this aggressive nationalism.

    ...

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  42. ...

    "I think you are confusing internationalism and globalism".

    No, I'm not globalist (a Capitalist trend) but internationalist (a related but distinct Socialist ideal). Globalization is carried on in an imperialist manner by weakening nations and even states into the Capitalist Empire (US Empire as of now). Internationalism is the union of the peoples, of the working classes, against this Empire, in defense of total democracy and self-rule, while acknowledging the need of collaboration above local realities, starting from mutual respect.

    Globalization is, like the Capitalism and the Imperialist states (they all are the same thing), totally disrespectful with the peoples and Earth. Internationalism is the antithesis of this nightmare and is founded on mutual respect.

    Like most people raised in this apotheosis of Capitalism, you do not really realize how many elements of the Socialist antithesis are already inserted in the system, like Human Rights, one person=one vote, the right to strike and unionize, gender equality, etc. These insertions may help legitimize the Capitalist Empire but they are not its creation in fact, but mere concessions... concessions to its own unavoidable demise, which is happening as we speak.

    Unlike all other pillars of the System, which are clearly borrowed from the late Feudal system, including religion, the state (yeah! "l'état c'est moi!" is a pre-industrial idea), etc. these innovative elements are concessions forced by class war. They have not been invented by Capitalism (which has very narrow innovativeness, if any at all, in socio-political matters) and, while inserted in the Capitalist System (variably), they actually are its defeat: its acknowledgement of its inability to create anything socio-political on its own resources. As the old regime's resources are once and again corrupted and destroyed by the decodifying force Capitalism is, it becomes more and more single-handedly dependent on working class', often "primitivist", innovations (but is not everything in Capitalism made by workers anyhow?) such as universal democracy and national organization.

    You read too many shallow pseudo-deep institutional authors. I'd strongly recommend you to read the Situationists and the Autonomists, in particular which can be the most important book of the 20th century: "Anti-Oedipus" (by Deleuze and Guattari). I have gone in this discussion a bit beyond what they say but I think the fundamentals are all in it.

    We are not globalists but we do not (nor can we) really oppose globalization. Capitalism has one single virtue: it destroys all it touches in the realm of socio-political organization by means of corruption. This is destroying (and has already destroyed to a very large extent) all the ancien regime components, liberating a raw Humankind, that is not too different from our hunter-gatherer ancestors (after all 95% of human history is Paleolithic: we are still Paleolithic people in all non-cultural aspects), just that more advanced technologically and connected at global level.

    I think this has already been achieved and Capitalism has reached all its limits, internal (classical Marxist overproduction crisis) and external (the global ecological crisis). So it's time to move on and replace it with something better. Something built on the only thing that survives: the raw human essence, which has in fact already penetrated the system largely (for example we have the same family system, loose monogamy, nuclear family, than bushmen or inuits - for a reason).

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  43. Well, that´s supposed to be a blog about the sciences of history and archeology and maybe this discussion is going too far into politics. I love politics, i love political discussion specially if i almost completely disagree with my oponent, as it is the case i think, and maybe this discussion is more suitable to your other blog.... In any case i feel obliged to drop here just a few comments:

    First an asside methodological comment: nothing wrong to be critical in science, but to read what experts has wrote about a giving subject help us to not reinvent a squared wheel !

    1. I was expecting the Swiss case to come in your answer, but not as a a case of pre-modern democracy but as a case of succesfull multilingual society in modern times, as an exception to the modernist theory. In any case none of the examples you cite as equal societies with democracy are representative democracies based on equality as we understand today. Again i think you are confusing oligarchic or very restrictive voting in rural communities with democracy (by the way this kind of voting was not exclusive of the swiss or basques, it was pervasive in many rural communitiesin all europe at this time; again nothing exceptional). Antiquity, feudal and ancient regime societies were stamental not democratic: people living in a same territory had different status and different laws (criminal, civil etc...) applied to them according to their status. These kind of voting was more similar to the voting you can find in today´s corporations than in today´s societies. Not even Athens in its democratic times can be considered as a modern democracy based on equality of all adults living in a given territory. This corporative, stamental conception of society is what was subverted first by the french revolution (remember Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, to which capitalism has added Efficiency) and after, trough a domino effect that we still can feel today, in the whole world. I say we can still feel today because as you say there are regressions (Hitler´s) or even survival´s as today´s China whose dictatorship will surelly not las long.

    2. Again i repeat that my relation with language is not romantic but pragmatic (as my relation with any other cultural institution): if it makes me wiser, more attractive, richer or more powerfull i use it; if not i drop it. In our today´s world romantic relations with institutions creates poor citizens: you can for instance compare the economic performance of UE with USA or India with China (if China is doing so well beeing a dictatorship is only because they are an unified linguistic market; as soon as they drop dictatorship their economy will rocket. By the way, this is way all western powers are so indulgent with chinese dictatorship: they know it is bad for chinese economy). So for me the day all the humanity speaks an unique language (that implies the definite death of all these endangered languages you talk about) will be my happiest day in my life, and i expect to see it.

    (to be cont in next...)

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  44. Well, that´s supposed to be a blog about the sciences of history and archeology and maybe this discussion is going too far into politics. I love politics, i love political discussion specially if i almost completely disagree with my oponent, as it is the case i think, and maybe this discussion is more suitable to your other blog.... In any case i feel obliged to drop here just a few comments:

    First, nothing wrong to be critical in science, but to read what experts has wrote about a giving subject help us to not reinvent a squared wheel !

    1. I was expecting the Swiss case to come in your answer, but not as a a case of pre-modern democracy but as a case of succesfull multilingual society in modern times, as an exception to the modernist theory. In any case none of the examples you cite as equal societies with democracy are representative democracies based on equality as we understand today. Again i think you are confusing oligarchic or very restrictive voting in rural communities with democracy (by the way this kind of voting was not exclusive of the swiss or basques, it was pervasive in many rural communitiesin all europe at this time; again nothing exceptional). Antiquity, feudal and ancient regime societies were stamental not democratic: people living in a same territory had different status and different laws (criminal, civil etc...) applied to them according to their status. These kind of voting was more similar to the voting you can find in today´s corporations than in today´s societies. Not even Athens in its democratic times can be considered as a modern democracy based on equality of all adults living in a given territory. This corporative, stamental conception of society is what was subverted first by the french revolution (remember Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, to which capitalism has added Efficiency) and after, trough a domino effect that we still can feel today, in the whole world. I say we can still feel today because as you say there are regressions (Hitler´s) or even survival´s as today´s China whose dictatorship will surelly not las long.

    2. Again i repeat that my relation with language is not romantic but pragmatic (as my relation with any other cultural institution): if it makes me wiser, more attractive, richer or more powerfull i use it; if not i drop it. In our today´s world romantic relations with institutions creates poor citizens: you can for instance compare the economic performance of UE with USA or India with China (if China is doing so well beeing a dictatorship is only because they are an unified linguistic market; as soon as they drop dictatorship their economy will rocket. By the way, this is way all western powers are so indulgent with chinese dictatorship: they know it is bad for chinese economy). So for me the day all the humanity speaks an unique language (that implies the definite death of all these endangered languages you talk about) will be my happiest day in my life, and i expect to see it.

    (to be continued...)

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  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  46. Now it works. Maybe too long.

    Well, that´s supposed to be a blog about the sciences of history and archeology and maybe this discussion is going too far into politics. I love politics, i love political discussion specially if i almost completely disagree with my oponent, as it is the case i think, and maybe this discussion is more suitable to your other blog.... In any case i feel obliged to drop here just a few comments:

    First, nothing wrong to be critical in science, but to read what experts has wrote about a giving subject help us to not reinvent a squared wheel !

    1. I was expecting the Swiss case to come in your answer, but not as a a case of pre-modern democracy but as a case of succesfull multilingual society in modern times, as an exception to the modernist theory. In any case none of the examples you cite as equal societies with democracy are representative democracies based on equality as we understand today. Again i think you are confusing oligarchic or very restrictive voting in rural communities with democracy (by the way this kind of voting was not exclusive of the swiss or basques, it was pervasive in many rural communitiesin all europe at this time; again nothing exceptional). Antiquity, feudal and ancient regime societies were stamental not democratic: people living in a same territory had different status and different laws (criminal, civil etc...) applied to them according to their status. These kind of voting was more similar to the voting you can find in today´s corporations than in today´s societies. Not even Athens in its democratic times can be considered as a modern democracy based on equality of all adults living in a given territory. This corporative, stamental conception of society is what was subverted first by the french revolution (remember Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, to which capitalism has added Efficiency) and after, trough a domino effect that we still can feel today, in the whole world. I say we can still feel today because as you say there are regressions (Hitler´s) or even survival´s as today´s China whose dictatorship will surelly not las long.

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  47. 2. Again i repeat that my relation with language is not romantic but pragmatic (as my relation with any other cultural institution): if it makes me wiser, more attractive, richer or more powerfull i use it; if not i drop it. In our today´s world romantic relations with institutions creates poor citizens: you can for instance compare the economic performance of UE with USA or India with China (if China is doing so well beeing a dictatorship is only because they are an unified linguistic market; as soon as they drop dictatorship their economy will rocket. By the way, this is way all western powers are so indulgent with chinese dictatorship: they know it is bad for chinese economy). So for me the day all the humanity speaks an unique language (that implies the definite death of all these endangered languages you talk about) will be my happiest day in my life, and i expect to see it.

    3. As you say globalization is an irreversible natural economic process that is beeing executed with undesired effects for some weak parts. These weak parts are preciselly nations which stick to their traditions, not well adapted to this process. Globalism is preciselly the social philosophy adopted by those who anowledge that globalization is irreversible that nationalism (and its consequences, that is the existance of frontiers which restricts freedom or the movement of goods, capitals, knowledge and peoples) is in contradiction with this process and therefore a global government is needed so that the process is made in a controled minimizing its consequences for weak parts. Internationalism is a regression. Ideally we all like a meritocracy (don´t you ?): same starting conditions and same rules for all...y que gane el mejor ! of course it is better this is done gradually.

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  48. (This was pretending to be the first part of the comment)

    Well, that´s supposed to be a blog about the sciences of history and archeology and maybe this discussion is going too far into politics. I love politics, i love political discussion specially if i almost completely disagree with my oponent, as it is the case i think, and maybe this discussion is more suitable to your other blog.... In any case i feel obliged to drop here just a few comments:

    First, nothing wrong to be critical in science, but to read what experts has wrote about a giving subject help us to not reinvent a squared wheel !

    1. I was expecting the Swiss case to come in your answer, but not as a a case of pre-modern democracy but as a case of succesfull multilingual society in modern times, as an exception to the modernist theory. In any case none of the examples you cite as equal societies with democracy are representative democracies based on equality as we understand today. Again i think you are confusing oligarchic or very restrictive voting in rural communities with democracy (by the way this kind of voting was not exclusive of the swiss or basques, it was pervasive in many rural communitiesin all europe at this time; again nothing exceptional). Antiquity, feudal and ancient regime societies were stamental not democratic: people living in a same territory had different status and different laws (criminal, civil etc...) applied to them according to their status. These kind of voting was more similar to the voting you can find in today´s corporations than in today´s societies. Not even Athens in its democratic times can be considered as a modern democracy based on equality of all adults living in a given territory.

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  49. (this is a continuation of the first part)

    This corporative, stamental conception of society is what was subverted first by the french revolution (remember Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, to which capitalism has added Efficiency) and after, trough a domino effect that we still can feel today, in the whole world. I say we can still feel today because as you say there are regressions (Hitler´s) or even survival´s as today´s China whose dictatorship will surelly not las long.

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  50. (This is a continuation of the first comment starting with "2.Again..."

    On the other hand i agree that we live in a mixed world: most economies (included USA) are produced approximatively 1/3 by the state, 1/3 by private corporations and 1/3 by third sector organizations. That´s also unavoidable since private companies are only interested in benefit yielding activities and many economic activities does not yield benefits. On the other hand idealy we would like a system where meritocracy is compatible with life, so que gane el mejor...pero que no mate a los demás por ello.

    4. The authors you suggest are some of my black beasts (i´m a scientist and an entrepreneur !). In any case to show my open mindness i promise i will try to read it (i do not know how soon).

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  51. Just because now and then a discussion goes off topic is no big deal, really. However...

    "... an asside methodological comment: nothing wrong to be critical in science, but to read what experts has wrote about a giving subject help us to not reinvent a squared wheel!"

    Here is where you are most wrong. A lot of people with doctrinary ideologies speak as you do: Jesus/Socrates/Mao/Starostin/Zilhao/my favorite pet author said so, so it's that way.

    That's doctrine, not science. Though it's difficult to determine if there is a possible scientific approach to social sciences beyond the general application of the method, there is no point in repeating what others said without critical thought. That's not science but religion, scholasticism.

    "Again i think you are confusing oligarchic or very restrictive voting in rural communities with democracy"..

    It is the basic bourgeois kind of vote: homeowners vote. It's not advanced proletarian democracy (one person=one vote) but it's extremely more advanced than the "one person=one pillory" of feudalism.

    I recognize no status nor merit to feudalism, real life has nothing to do with "dungeons and dragons". Feudalism was nothing but criminal warlordship, blessed by neoplatonian semi-illiterate monks.

    It was like Somalia: perpetual pointless war for lands and slaves (serfs). The Metal Ages altogether were ages of darkness when people were oppressed mercilessly. But that's not what people wanted... and sometimes they manged to change things, and they were fought for that reason. That's exactly what the Visigoths were doing in SW Europe: to fight the Basques and some random non-approved warlords (Vandals and such, who we allowed to cross our passes once the Romans were gone).

    "These kind of voting was more similar to the voting you can find in today´s corporations than in today´s societies".

    No. Not at all. One household one vote, that was the method. It was still imperfectly democratic but every independent farmer could vote. Much better than feudal law in any case. In corporations it goes by money and money did not matter much in the Middle Ages.

    Any social system is based on consensus: consensus of raw military terror (feudalism), consensus of brainwashing and doctrinal terror (theocracy) or consensus built by the majority of the people (democracy). Not all historical democracies were up to modern standards (mostly they were not) but still their assemblies and elections served the same purpose: create consensus horizontally rather than vertically by mere systemic violence against the masses.

    Lacking a powerful military or religious caste, all societies tend to democracy. The anomaly of the European Middle Ages, like some others, was that the military and religious caste were overtly powerful in general. But not everywhere was the same.

    And as we know, societies that were "underdeveloped" by feudalist standards (for example England), were able to reach modernity faster. That was also the case of Switzerland and that was also the case of the Basque states, Netherlands, etc. It was the weakness of military and religious castes which allowed such progress.

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  52. You are also wrong in proclaiming that the French Revolution established universal vote. It was still a macho thing.

    The first universal vote was established in the Corsican Republic in 1755, which was a more advanced state than the French one, but was eventually invaded by the French bullies.

    The first persistent universal vote was implemented in Wyoming in 1869. As far as I can tell, next case was New Zealand in 1893, South Australia in 1894 and then autonomous Finland in 1903.

    Essentially that was it until the Russian Revolution of 1917, which, as we all should know, began with a feminist protest in March 8th. Suddenly, in few decades it became something generalized, thanks to women-specific and general workers' struggle.

    I must say that your ideas lack of originality: they tend to repeat the official propaganda (version of history) instead of having original research on them. You should be more actively critical and you should think more on yourself, drinking not from one school but all.

    "... my relation with language is not romantic but pragmatic"...

    Well, that's not the relationship most people actually have with their language(s) and their roots, so it may be politically wrong.

    "So for me the day all the humanity speaks an unique language (that implies the definite death of all these endangered languages you talk about) will be my happiest day in my life, and i expect to see it".

    I hope this never happens. What a terrible loss of knowledge and even of different approaches to reality! Even the richest language is very poor compared with the set of all human languages.

    One thing is to have a "Latin" (or "Esperanto" or "English") for inter-communitarian communications and another, a very sad one, is to totally lose the ancestral languages.

    You undervalue the importance of roots and identity: these make people more centered in life. Your vain dystopia of a totally uprooted humankind would only cause more trouble than it can solve: you'd get the "spiritual desert" my cousin always complains about existing in Valencia, where he lives for professional reasons: "AIDS, talcum powder and techno music". :(

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  53. "I´m having problems in commenting. I´ve sent twice the sme comment and both have been lost...Any problem ?"

    That's the fucking Blogger comments' spam filter. There were seven comments in the spam folder (two of them apparently duplicated), some of which were yours. They should be all published now. Sorry.

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  54. "As you say globalization is an irreversible natural economic process that is beeing executed with undesired effects for some weak parts. These weak parts are preciselly nations which stick to their traditions, not well adapted to this process".

    I do not think Basques are ill-adapted to globalization. At least we are not religious nor authoritarian, which are the main issues being sabotaged by Capitalist globalist corruption. What we are ill-adapted is to being ruled from abroad. We need our own self-rule and we need it now.

    "Globalism is preciselly the social philosophy adopted by those who anowledge that globalization is irreversible that nationalism"...

    "Globalism" is not any "social philosophy" (ideology) that matters. Globalization is an objective process caused by objective factors (Capitalism). By turning it into an ideology, you become a romantic.

    We should treat globalization the same we treat quantum mechanics and not as if it was a god to worship. With quantum mechanics you can achieve a large array of different results, depending on what you want, your stand in this matter is similar to arguing that... because of quantum mechanics, then nuclear desert.

    Not necessarily. Even if it is a possibility indeed.

    "Internationalism is a regression".

    LOL.

    Actually Internationalism is the antithesis of Globalization, the same that Working Class' struggles are the antithesis of Capitalism.

    This is no regression: both (which are one and the same) are the only ones giving still some structure to the huge void created by Capitalism. Capitalism cannot build: it just organizes the workers' power at the mere economical level (real economy, not financial, which is virtual and effectively religious). Capitalism does not create social structures nor gives people any incentive to behave ethically (rather the opposite). In the social and ideological planes, Capitalism either recycles ancien regime's ideas (absolutism, religion) or has to do with that stuff workers create as antithesis (democracy, human rights).

    Capitalism is transitional, not any stable stage. Capitalism is crisis.

    "Ideally we all like a meritocracy (don´t you ?)"

    I am a commie, hence I think that "each one according to his/her capabilities, to each one according to his/her needs". This is not meritocracy, which enhances parasitism, but socialism, which enhances cooperation.

    A you may know, humankind is largely defined by its social cooperation abilities. And if you look at this matter from an anthropological point of view, all primitive (forager) human societies discourage excessive individualism and greed and encourage cooperation and solidarity. That's the difference between morality and immorality, between good and evil, so to say.

    "The authors you suggest are some of my black beasts"...

    You should also read Marx, which is the only economist worth that name, at least among the classics. I come from a different tradition (anarchism) but I have to acknowledge Marx nailed it pretty much and it is impressive how theories developed 160 years ago are still totally valid. He was the best analyzing the entrails of Capitalism. His main limitation is probably that he did not realize the destructive aspect of Capitalist predation on Earth (ecology).

    This aspect was first recognized by an eclectic author: Karl Polanyi, I believe.

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  55. Who wants (can) to be original regarding stablished facts ?. I´m just telling how things really happened in the past: collective identities are based in equality; pre-contemporary societies were unequal (different status/different law) so identities were corporative, stamental. These corporative collective identities were organized politically in an oligarchic way, not democratic (only proprietors in cities or rural communities, only masters in guilds etc...could vote; most other people were excluded from political decisions at any level) and this situation was happily superseded by several "revolutions" (American Independence, French Revolution etc...). People involved in such revolutions (ideologues, leaders etc... did not realize (that was Napoleon´s mistake, and still people/politicians does not realize as we all can see) that language was the new source of inequality and therefore the new source of collective identity. Mainstream contemporary ideologies (liberalism and communism) does not know how to handle with nationalism. In any case, as a result of these revolutions a world with maybe thousands of political independent units was transformed into a world of houndreds.

    (to be cont.)

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  56. What is the problem today with this status quo ? A quote:

    “It has been said before that a typical international transaction requires 35 documents across 25 parties complying with more than 600 regulations and more than 500 trade agreements. (SC Digest, June 2008)”.

    What is the deep cause of this situation, the greatest obstacle for a global union ? The fact that today the world is becoming an unique economic network but we still use houndreds of different systems of conventions (languages) which divide this economic network in different collective identities, in comunication cliques. Anyone who thinks that this situation is desirable has a regressive ideology. Think about it otherwise: if you had the power to design a global society, would you design it with houndreds of different languages ? (i guess your answer will be yes)

    These past revolution were surprising for most contemporaries, specially for elites which were blind and could not read correctly their times. Exactly as today: nobody talks about the main problem (existence of different conventions in a connected network ); on the contrary some peoples (for instance basques) the problem is not that there are houndreds of languages, the problem is that there are not enough different languages

    (To be cont.)

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  57. On the other hand you seem to me naif thinking that a system that endured thousands of years was agaisnt people´s will (antiquity, feudalims, ancient régime):everybody realized that it was the unique possible way of organizing agricultural societies (i let you as an excersice to find which was the mechanism that made this kind of society to endure) and only when industrialization came into the scene the situation could change. It is a matter of critical mass. The same is happening now: as soon as the critical mass is reached the change will come. As said we can let it happens in a natural (and possibly catastrophic) way, or by design (and hopefully soft) way.

    P.s. for every social event, you can always find a foreruner nobody knows about because it did not lead to any consequences...so let´s focus as usual in the las inventors, those whose invention impacted definitively and in a irreversible way the society.

    About the comments, that´s what i hate, the bloggers system for commenting...

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  58. You are telling me/us YOUR VERSION of history. In fact history is always how we tell ourselves things happened.

    Maybe what you say is valid for Castile or France but it's not something universal but at best ethnocentric and IMO more ideological than anything else.

    "pre-contemporary societies were unequal"

    And modern societies are equal? WTF! There's no equality at all, just a pretense of it. There's discrimination on grounds of earnings primarily but also of ethnicity, language, beliefs and skin color... Please!

    Still people do not necessarily identify themselves by class or only by it, they identify themselves primarily by ethnicity. And that was much more true in the blatantly non-cosmopolitan past you like to rant about without real knowledge.

    So when the Franks set up the duchies in Germany or Brittany or Vasconia, do you think these had nothing to do with ethnic identity? Please! Why would the Saxons revolt against Charlemagne if it was all about caste? Why would the Basques do the same? Why would Charlemagne bother setting up clearly tribal duchies instead of mere counties as he did in ethnically amorphous France? Why would he tolerate in some cases an elected non-Frankish Duke?

    You just repeat once and again what is a doctrine and not any objective analysis of historical facts. Enough!

    ...

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  59. ...

    As for the other issue, it's trivial because economic globalization is already a failure. The interesting stuff is not trade but peripheral stuff like the internet or the right to travel in some cases without need of visa/passport. Things that cannot be monetized, really.

    "if you had the power to design a global society, would you design it with houndreds of different languages ? (i guess your answer will be yes)".

    It's ridiculous to think anyone can "design" a society but society itself. And societies have their own languages, histories, customs, roots...

    I realize now that your problem is one of megalomania. You think you can design, forge... but you cannot. As Kropotkin put it of the Bolsheviks in 1917, all they did was riding on a tsunami wave, never able to control it. The same can be said for the Rockefellers and such... all they do is to ride on top of currents and waves that have their own dynamics. If you try to contain them, you can't but be swallowed by them. At best you can canalize some of their force or exploit it but don't even think in ruling the elements (society) as if you were a god.

    And it's good that people have roots anyhow. It's important: it gives them (us) a sense of belonging that your cold megalomaniac project nor all the compulsive purchasing can replace. When you belong, you care. When you care, you take part, you behave civically, you don't become a parasite so easily.

    That's why I also advocate communism, because I understand it gives a greater sense of belonging when you can participate in the local and wider political and economic decisions. When you cannot, then you become alienated and fall apart from society becoming anti-social and extremely selfish. Society then degenerates even further.

    That's what you advocate in fact: Los Zetas, the Cali Cartel and stuff like that. People so uprooted that they can only care about money and power and don't love anything, not even themselves.

    That can only bring us back to feudalism... but luckily I think that such a degenerate trend has no future.

    "Exactly as today: nobody talks about the main problem (existence of different conventions in a connected network )"

    That's not a problem. In fact it helps protecting diversity.

    "on the contrary some peoples (for instance basques) the problem is not that there are houndreds of languages, the problem is that there are not enough different languages"

    Actually we'd be happy if you learned Basque. That way you'd become a Basque probably.

    Personally I'd be glad if all Europeans learned Basque and dropped their exotic IE languages, languages imposed by invasion and slavery.

    But well, that's surely not realistic because the memory of your pre-IE history has been erased, so better each one stays to their languages and we use a second language like English for communicating beyond our local communities.

    Anyhow if a single language would be imposed somehow, it'd fragment immediately. It happens all the time. Maybe in the time of the mass media it was possible to conceive that people would listen/watch certain centralized uniformized sources of propaganda. Not anymore. Now it's the time of decentralized networks. Your dream (nightmare) is obsolete.

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  60. 1.You want facts ? Go to your nearest library and buy this book: “Atlas Histórico Mundial”, author Julio López-Davalillo. This is the best book i have ever bought about history. When i found it i could noot beleive it: i started to dance a Jota in the library. Not because of the text but because of the maps. It gives you the sense of globality in history, it helps to relate facts of the past every 100 years. Now open it at page 148 were he describes the geopolitical situation of the world of years 1750 to 1780. Now open the same book at page 22 that describes the geopolitical situation at year 2000. Does not the facts i have described followed the path i´ve told ? And now aren´t the new organization in Unit-Blocks trying to surpass this undesirable Nation-State situation ?

    I´m not denying that tribal ethnicity existed in the past. All these ethnic units you quote existed, but: first, they were located in places where the impact of Roman empire was not that strong (Britain, Aquitaine) or were located out of the Roman Empire (most of the Chalemagne german duchies); second some emerged during the collapse of Roman empire and third none of them lasted long and fourth none of them were societies based on equality principle. You should know this better than me since you are the expert in prehistory.
    (to be cont.)

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  61. 2. Contemporary societies are equal by principle in the political area (one man one vote, no matter if you are the richest or the poorest), but unequal by result. Past societies were unequal by principle. I would dye to assure equality of principle, and once this is guranteed i would kill to assure unequality of result.

    3. “As for the other issue, it's trivial because economic globalization is already a failure”. Who says that ? It´s just starting. Interesting stuff is free movement of goods/services, capital, peoples (not only for tourism but for working anywhere) and knowledge. The existance of different languages is a barrier for all of this. Not the only barrier of course, but if the dog is dead the rabies disappear.

    4. I knew you would try to skip this “design” question one way or the other. There is no megalomania; i only see the obstacles that a pragmatic mind trying to do business in our global world finds and since obviously these obstacles are not necessary but only an historical contingence, i do my best (which of course is close to zero in impact) to try to change it. Regarding communism i can not disagree more: as history has shown us, it is clearly correlated with poverty, as to much stress in roots (i.e. nationalism) are in our present society.

    (to be cont.)

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  62. Language fragmentation follows political fragmentation, tha tis empires collapses. This is nothing necessary, just an historic contingency.

    Finally how do you know i don´t speak basque ?

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  63. "Finally how do you know i don´t speak basque ?"

    I do not know but I'd say you are from Spain by the way you think. Those ideas you put upfront are nothing but a cover for Spanish imperialism and, nowadays maybe for its replacement: Anglo-Saxon imperialism. However both are moribund.

    "I knew you would try to skip this “design” question one way or the other".

    I did not. I'm a pragmatic, an eclectic, and I know that "the best laid schemes of mice and men"... This applies to everything: there are no formulas, even if it's often convenient to have some sort of draft plans, just in case.

    "only see the obstacles that a pragmatic mind trying to do business in our global world"...

    Problems of the bourgeoisie. Not my problem. Not most peoples' problem, really.

    "Who says that ?"

    I say so. Just look around you: the USA and EU are not just in total economic collapse but they are also morally bankrupt: robbing from workers to pay bankers, driving whole nations scenarios of no hope. It's over: the only problem is to see for how long it rots before a revolution takes over.

    Because revolutions, as we all know, only throw down rotten houses.

    "Contemporary societies are equal by principle in the political area"...

    That's false: here a whole sector of society is banned from voting since some 10 years ago. And this is not the only place: in Spain itself in the last EU elections there was widespread rigging. I can of course mention so many other situations like the USA, where non-system parties are pushed out with all the means of the system, all the southern Mediterranean countries, Israel where Palestinians are dumped in pseudo-autonomous bantustans, Turkey, where Kurds can't vote freely, Russia, Mexico (vote rigging), Colombia (whole genocide of leftists), etc.

    Where that happens, it's a concession to long working class struggles, not a natural attribute of the system. It's a concession to keep social peace, just like welfare.

    Anyhow, this system does not apply for the crux of the matter: the economical aspect. And that's what we want to change: one person one vote also in business. Anything else is oligarchism.

    "Atlas Histórico Mundial" (two volumes) used to be a German book. A nice one indeed.

    "And now aren´t the new organization in Unit-Blocks trying to surpass this undesirable Nation-State situation ?"

    Look: I'm more Europeist than you are. But I want a democratic Europe, what means a communist Europe (economic democracy) and a Europe of the Peoples (ethnic democracy). I do not want Europe to be the doom of my nation and I do not want Europe to be a bloodsucking bureaucracy at the service of the banksters (neologism from bank+gangster). I want a genuine democracy where 300-plus million people can work together from their different local realities for the common good and not for the good of some fat vampires.

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  64. Anyhow, I think we should just drop this side discussion. It's not really central to the topic and we won't convince each other in any case.

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  65. 1. ""Atlas Histórico Mundial" (two volumes) used to be a German book. A nice one indeed.".

    I have that one too and i agree it is a good one. The one i suggest is much better, at least on the maps side. Buy it if you have chance, it´s not expensive i think.

    2. "Anyhow, I think we should just drop this side discussion. It's not really central to the topic and we won't convince each other in any case".

    I agree. Just two points. First i do not think that the problems of thousands of peoples that want to migrate from poverty are problems of the bourgeoisie. Second,i won´t discuss the examples of lack of democracy you point to (though i clearly disagree). Even if they were truth, some extreme cases of bad realizations of the principle does not deny it.

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  66. I am dropping the discussion, as said before. But I think you may want to read this paper (in Spanish), which should help shatter your mislead dreams of a techno-paradise in any near future.

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  67. "I am dropping the discussion".
    Yes moreover this is a different discussion.

    The document you suggest is biased. The author is a member of Ecologistas in Acción, and environmental activist NGO. Its main thesis is energetic collapse.

    Just to equilibrate, read this one:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/nov/03/scientists-answer-energy-questions

    If i may i´ll give you one advise: never construct your life based on catastrophism. Catastrophes might happen, but what if they don´t ?

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  68. Not any different discussion in fact because it goes to core issue of your developist faith, which is clearly utopic and already a big problem in itself. You said, for instance, that you are concerned about people being forced to emigrate but this is largely a product of your dark dreams of globalism, developism and every day more and more: global warming.

    I don't see anyhow how the various opinions gathered in the The Guardian article are in essential contradiction with what the paper I suggested says: both discuss the crucial problem of unsustainability of "growth" (predation of nature) from different and complementary perspectives. Ecologist in Action are anyhow a very respectable NGO, and given that ecology is not studied in the faculties of economics anywhere, yielding the discipline nearly useless, I'd rather listen to a learned ecologist than to the usual ignorant scholastic economist.

    Well, more than enough for this offtopic discussion.

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  69. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  70. Octaviá: you know well you are NOT ALLOWED here, go troll somewhere else

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