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Medieval and Byzantine History Medieval and Byzantine History Forum - Period of History between classical antiquity and modern times, roughly the 5th through 16th Centuries


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Old March 13th, 2018, 07:02 AM   #1

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Gascons, Basques, Spaniards: relationship between Southern France and Northern Spain


What were the cultural, linguistic, governmental, political and ethnic ties between the south of France and northern Spain during the medieval period? I discussed this before in another thread of mine but I'm much more interested in learning more about this dynamic.

Were both areas essentially one large contingent of peoples who spoke a similar language and shared a similar culture with one another once upon a time? What was the dynamic like? When did it change?

Are they all still classified as being Southwestern european today?

And if someone can answer whether or not the Gascon dialect is intelligible by people in northern Spain today, I'd appreciate it.

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Old March 13th, 2018, 07:53 AM   #2

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You have many questions here that are not easy to answer. In this post I will try to give a quick picture that I have about the languages. It is not a definitive view, and probably someone better acquaintance with these languages will correct me. I just recall from my college times that reading small sentences in Occitan for me was a headache.

About the Gascon as an Occitan dialect:

The Occitan is a Latin (Romance) language, and Gascon is a dialect of the Occitan with a strong pre-indo-European substratum (old Basque) and an also strong French superstratum. This means that the grammar and many words can be understood by other Romance speakers, most especially if they are reading the language, and not listening.

Today, the Basque speakers in France and Spain are all bilingual, so they also speak Castilian (itself with a old Basque substratum) or French. That means that the Basque speaker will have the possibility to understand better the Gascon that the others, even if the current Basque as many neologisms, since it is mostly a reconstructed language.
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Old March 13th, 2018, 10:06 AM   #3
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I mean that's a big question, all of the ethnic ties etc, relationships.

I think the main point is that every place that has a "border" (borders being more artificial than most artificiality) is probably actually sorta similar to places on both sides of that divide, you can read about it in a number of different places.

I think on the whole though this is actually one of two threads very specifically about Gascony and this situation in the giant expanse of history that's sort of interesting haha.. but it's under "Why are Gascon mercenaries so effective?" So maybe it would be interesting to check that thread since it's about the same sorts of things.
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Old March 13th, 2018, 11:16 AM   #4

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Like case in point, listen to this video of a girl speaking Aranese. It seems like Gascony are far closer to Spaniards than French people

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Old March 13th, 2018, 01:21 PM   #5

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Polynikes View Post
Like case in point, listen to this video of a girl speaking Aranese. It seems like Gascony are far closer to Spaniards than French people
Yes, I can understand all or almost all her words, there are many influences and similarities there with Castilian, Catalan and even French.

But since we are on the videos, let us hear two older men:




My understanding still exists but drops considerable… the second man has much more French influences.

Note: I am imagining that the two videos are well labeled.
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Old March 13th, 2018, 01:45 PM   #6

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Friend Tulis in the first video I only noticed 5 words the second video I only realized 7 words
third video I did not notice any words, it seemed to be Russian language I'm sorry the Russian people is no offense, my friend the Romanian language is easier to understand than these three languages in the videos

In portuguese

Amigo Tulius no primeiro video só percebi 5 palavras o segundo video só percebi 7 palavras
terceiro video não percebi nenhuma palavra,parecia ser lingua Russa me desculpem o povo Russo é sem ofensa,amigo a lingua romena é mais fácil de entender do aque estas três linguas nos videos
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Old March 13th, 2018, 02:09 PM   #7

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tulius View Post
Yes, I can understand all or almost all her words, there are many influences and similarities there with Castilian, Catalan and even French.

But since we are on the videos, let us hear two older men:




My understanding still exists but drops considerable… the second man has much more French influences.

Note: I am imagining that the two videos are well labeled.
I'm sorry to take a sidestep here, but I love linguistics, it's beyond fascinating to me.

Are most Occitan languages intelligible by native Spanish speakers? Is Gascon the most Spanish of the respective dialects?

If so, why is that the case? Are they more ethnically or culturally Spanish than any other part of France?


And getting back to the OP, would someone like Richard the Lionheart, someone who was very proud of his 'southern heritage' identify more with broadly speaking 'Spaniards' than for example broadly speaking 'Dutch' people or northern French people?
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Old March 13th, 2018, 06:52 PM   #8

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Quote:
Originally Posted by LatinoEuropa View Post
Friend Tulis in the first video I only noticed 5 words the second video I only realized 7 words
third video I did not notice any words, it seemed to be Russian language I'm sorry the Russian people is no offense, my friend the Romanian language is easier to understand than these three languages in the videos
Possibly to the influence of the old Basque in it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Polynikes View Post
I'm sorry to take a sidestep here, but I love linguistics, it's beyond fascinating to me.

Are most Occitan languages intelligible by native Spanish speakers? Is Gascon the most Spanish of the respective dialects?

If so, why is that the case? Are they more ethnically or culturally Spanish than any other part of France?


And getting back to the OP, would someone like Richard the Lionheart, someone who was very proud of his 'southern heritage' identify more with broadly speaking 'Spaniards' than for example broadly speaking 'Dutch' people or northern French people?
I really don’t have answers for you on this. You saw here, that I and LatinoEuropa had different understandings of the videos, but we are both Portuguese.

Anyway, we must not forget than in the high and late medieval period, also the Occitan had a strong cultural influence with the troubadours, which helped in its diffusion and understanding: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troubadour and that music influenced much the Iberian Peninsula and helped in the creation of the Portuguese-Galician songs, quite famous in the Iberian Peninsula, like for instance the “Cantigas de Santa Maria”, written in the court of Alfonso X, the wise, king of Leon and Castile.

For instance, in the route in Pilgrimage to Santiago:



His behaviour with wine and women is not the usual image that today we have of a peregrine. But this kind of song are quite amusing, with themes of love, desire and sex.

About Richard the Lionheart, I will not comment. I know about him probably more trough the media! Not the best source.
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Old March 14th, 2018, 03:58 AM   #9
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Sorry this is kinda off the original question, but this thread just got me wondering if the regional differences among Basques/Catalans/Castilians etc. were enough to cause incidents of factionalism/rivalry among early colonists in the Americas (1400s-1500s)? I know the 'conquistador' calling attracted guys from different parts of the country, just wondering what it was like when they got thrown together in the 'New World' after having lived in separate states during the middle ages?

Last edited by Komi; March 14th, 2018 at 04:08 AM.
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Old March 14th, 2018, 05:01 AM   #10

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Originally Posted by Komi View Post
Sorry this is kinda off the original question, but this thread just got me wondering if the regional differences among Basques/Catalans/Castilians etc. were enough to cause incidents of factionalism/rivalry among early colonists in the Americas (1400s-1500s)? I know the 'conquistador' calling attracted guys from different parts of the country, just wondering what it was like when they got thrown together in the 'New World' after having lived in separate states during the middle ages?
There were rivalries among the first Spanish colonists, and even cases of “civil war”, let us recall the imprisonment of Columbus, Hernán Cortés fight against Pánfilo de Narváez, Pizarro fights against Almagro, just to mention the most know examples.

But America belonged to the Crown of Castile. Not to the one of Aragon. Aragon, to whom the Catalan territories belonged, had its own empire in the Mediterranean Sea.

As for the Basque, they were present in the emergence of Castile since the beginning, the Castilian was influenced by the Basque languages, but they were spread for several kingdoms, Castile, Navarre (that was integrated in the Castilian crown in 1512/1524), and France.

So, to answer to your question, no, as far as I know there were no problems in that regard, with the mentioned speakers or with the Galicians, Leonese, or Aragonese. The ones that came from those regions would also spoke Castilian, and were fully integrated.

If I recall well there were also some laws to grant that the new territories would speak Castilian and not other of the Spanish languages, but here I would request some help of another member, because I can’t see where I read this.
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