". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Looking For Louie Louie : lwi - Louis

     . . . . As the France's Carolingian period isn't among my historical specialties, I have put in an inordinate amount of time these last few days trying to track down why the contemporary name Louis, for one of Charlemagne's sons, shows up in his family tree lines.

Why call him Louis when the other sons don't have latinized - frankified names? Before Louis shows up, and when he shows up, and after he shows up, one sees Lothars in the tree, but no Ludovics or Ludowigs etc. These are germanic forms of Louis, They Say.

But I had learned that Louis is derived from Clovis -- and as we know, of course, it is a Clovis who was the first Merovingian king, and there were many other Clovii in Merovingian history.  But no, no, no! exclaimed another friend.  From the dox we know that Ludwig and variations are the names from which Louis derives, she informs.  That was puzzling enough to make me doubtful. If Louis comes from Ludwig, why did so many other scholars and historians state so confidently that Louis, pronounced 'lwi', derives from Clovis?

No wonder it's so difficult for English speakers to get a handle on early French history -- especially if like me, they don't know latin, German and French!  I haven't had time yet to begin my short stack of Charlemagne books, beyond finishing Towns and Trade in the Age of Charlemagne (1994) by Richard Hodges. These books might have given me the clues to follow, but, as said, I haven't had the time to immerse yet -- though, yah, without a clue I did foolishly devote hours digging in the web. But I couldn't find anything until a friend gave me a couple of links.

These links didn't provide any linguistic information of the sort I was looking for -- but from them I did learn something fundamental -- so fundamental that it is duh -- but only if I'd read these Charlemagne books which I haven't yet read would it be duh --
i) WIDEGO (-[after 22 Jun 823]). "Widegowi filii Warini comitis..." witnessed the charter dated 6 Jun 799 under which “Bernherus” donated property "in pago Rinensi in Locheim" to Lorsch[781]. "Witegowo" donated property "in pago Wormat. In Albecher marca" to Lorsch by charter dated 784[782]. "Widegowo et soror mea Reginburc" donated property "in pago Gardachgowe in villa Francunbach" to Lorsch by charter dated 806[783]. Emperor Louis I confirmed the donation of " pago...Lobotengowe in villa...Siggenheim", previously acquired by "Warinus quondam comes ad partem fisci nostri" and granted to “Widegowo comes per beneficium largitioinis nostræ”, to Lorsch by charter dated 22 Jun 823 [784].
This is in the 9th century, so it is Emperor Louis the Pius, Charlemagne's son (r. 1814 - 1840). Louis the Pious (b. 778 – 20 June 840), also called the Fair, and the Debonaire, was the King of Aquitaine from 781. He was also King of the Franks and co-Emperor (as Louis I) with his father, Charlemagne, from 813.

Fibula of the Carolingian period: copper, gold, and turquoise found at Chalandry in the musée de Laon
The second link my amiga provided mentions "Louis" only twice, once in the description of his mother's family and antecedents via the biography of Louis I written by a churchman named Thegan of Trier (or Degan of Treves), and once in the footnote citation. Thegan was a Frankish Roman Catholic prelate, author of Gesta Hludowici imperatoris, a principal source for the life of the Holy Roman Emperor Louis the Pious, the son and successor of Charlemagne. Louis I's mother was thoroughly German as was all her family -- but, this was what mattered in my quest for lwi/Louis --I learned that this son of Charlemagne was born, not in the germanic regions of his empire, but on soil that would be France.

Louis the Pious

So, finally, I search Louis I. At this link, the following was at the top for Louis I:
Alternative Titles: Louis le Débonnaire, Louis le Pieux, Louis the Debonair, Louis the Pious (and in Germany) Ludwig der Fromme
The takeaway for me, in terms of Louis I being not only lwi, but the first lwi, besides actually being born in what we now call France, is this:
" . . . (born April 16, 778, Chasseneuil, near Poitiers, Aquitaine [now in France]—died June 20, 840, Petersau, an island in the Rhine River near Ingelheim [now in Germany]), Carolingian ruler of the Franks who succeeded his father, Charlemagne, as emperor in 814 and whose 26-year reign (the longest of any medieval emperor until Henry IV [1056–1106]) was a central and controversial stage in the Carolingian experiment to fashion a new European society. Commonly called Louis the Pious, he was known to his contemporaries by the Latin names Hludovicus or Chlodovicus, which echo the Latin name of Clovis (c. 466–511), the illustrious founder of the Merovingian dynasty. Louis was appointed king of Aquitaine in 781 and was already a seasoned 35-year-old politician and military commander when he became coemperor with Charlemagne in 813. He was the fourth monarch of the Carolingian dynasty, preceded by his father; his uncle, Carloman; and his grandfather, Pippin III, the Short."
Damn!  I DID NOT KNOW that Clovis, Hludovicus or Chlodovicus were latinized versions of germanic names!  I assumed they were germanic names.  How stupid is THAT? Answer: Very Stupid.

So Louis is king of Aquitaine, the least gothicized of western France. Where then, presumably, they spoke some sort of "french" that would make a lwi / Louis out of Clovis. In the end they didn't speak the same form of French as the rest of France, but the language King Richard I learned as a child, and so did his mother, Queen Eleanor. Even now, in this region:
Many residents also have some knowledge of Basque, of a variety of Occitan (Gascon, Limousin, or Languedocien), or of the Poitevin-Saintongeais dialect of French.
Louis I lived in Aquitaine from age 3. His nurse was, it appears, to have been from a regionally indigenous family -- at least indigenous since the days of the Roman conquest -- though that region was also the least latinized in the days of Roman Empire, if I recall correctly. He was thoroughly Aquitaine-ized not only in his name, persumably.

So, oddly, perhaps, did this liw-ization of Clovis started in a language that didn't become the mainstream form of French? He did bring his Aquitanians with him to Paris after Charlemagne's death, and as they were his cohort from childhood, presumably into the German regions of the empire. Presumably I will learn more when I get my Charlemagne, Capetians and middle ages stack read.

I have to find a good history of the Viking incursions into France. By the time the William invades England these Norsemen are already speaking the French of Paris -- they arrived first in the reign of Louis I's son, Charles II (the Bald -- Charlemagne is the first Charles). (The siege of Paris was 845.)


Something else I have grasped this last week btw, which previously I did not know, for reasons I do not know, except, most likely, I wasn't paying attention: the first two European actions that later got called the Crusades, and the history of what was Outremere, were very much French affairs. That the French were the dominant European power in what they came to call Outremere must have had so much to do with the shaping of not only the literature and language of the courtly romance -- but also that of their fairy tales. This is one of the reasons the consciously composed French fairy tale is so different from those that the Grimm Brothers printed.

Yet it still took me until this week to overtly understand that the English had nothing to do with early formation of Crusade politics, manners and literature. (The Spanish didn't contribute either, as they were thoroughly occupied with the Reconquista. That, at least, I always understood.)

Not until relatively recently -- o say the last couple of decades, did I overtly recognize that England didn't go on the First and Second Crusades. The civil war between Matilda and Stephen prevented English participation in the First Crusade. Then Henry II needed to put together and hold together his own empire, so though he contributed funds to the Second Crusade, he and his men stayed in Europe.

But we've so identified King Richard the Lion Heart with the third Crusade, that we / me English speakers have the unexamined presumption that the English were present in the earlier actions. It may also be partly due to Henry II's marriage to Eleanor -- who did go on the Second Crusade with her husband King Louis VII -- and that she was Richard I's mother, who did go as far as Sicily with his wife, Berengaria of Navarre, during the Third Crusade. It's in this era of Eleanor's daughter by Louis VII, Marie of France, the Countess of Champagne, and Richard, Duke in Aquitaine, we see the outpouring of courtly romances* (in the Holy Roman Empire too, because of Conrad and Tancred who were Crusade monarchs too). These are some of the roads to the romances' treatment of the Matter of Grail -- and how it enters into England, where it gets married to Arthur and The Matter of Britain. This, even though Richard spent barely any time there, and Henry didn't either. But Henry did have a continental empire, and the movement of churchmen and his administrators between the continent and England was constant.

Some nights ago all this came to mind while I watched the French live action La belle et la bête  / Beauty and the Beast (2014 France, 2017 US).  Live action, produced in France, it is so different from the Disney versions.  It was adult in attitude, and even more so, it contained in decor and manner a through line that I swear goes back at least to the Crusading era.

So that's my next French quest.  When did that transition happen, from Frankish to French?  It wasn't in the Carolingian era, which is its own distinct period from the Merovingian or the Capetian.

* Several of the most well-known French courtly love romances include events that were inspired by events in Queen Eleanor's and Henry's lives, such as The Knight of the Cart, in which Queen Guenivere is abducted, and rescued by Lancelot. After Eleanor's grant of divorce, as she traveled back to Poitiers, two lords – Theobald V, Count of Blois, and Geoffrey, Count of Nantes (brother of Henry II, Duke of Normandy) – tried to kidnap and marry her to claim her lands.

No comments: