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Author Topic: Visigoths  (Read 400 times)
Description: Their sack of Rome 410 CE starts the Middle Ages
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« on: July 03, 2007, 12:57:10 PM »

"The Burial of Alaric in the Bed of the Busentinus" from Ridpath's Universal History

The Visigoths (Western Goths) were one of two main branches of the Goths, an East Germanic tribe (the Ostrogoths being the other). Together these tribes were among the loosely-termed Germanic peoples who disturbed the late Roman Empire during the Migration Period.

Most famously, a Visigothic force led by King Alaric I succeeded in storming Rome itself in 410 A.D.

After the collapse of the western Roman Empire, the Visigoths played a major role in western European affairs for another two and a half centuries.

Migration route

Thervings and Greuthungs
Jordanes identified the early 5th to early 6th-century Visigothic kings (from Alaric I to Alaric II) as the heirs of the 4th-century Therving kings (to Athanaric), and identified the late 5th to early 6th-century Ostrogothic kings (from Theodoric the Great to Theodahad) as the heirs of the 4th-century Greuthung kings (to Ermanaric). Jordanes therefore identifies the earlier Thervings with the later Visigoths and the earlier Greuthungs with the later Ostrogoths.

Some recent historians (notably Herwig Wolfram) also identify the earlier Thervings with the later Visigoths, but most recent scholars (notably Peter Heather) argue that Visigothic group identity emerged within the Roman Empire.

Gothic War (376-382)
The Goths remained in Dacia until 376, when one of their leaders, Fritigern, appealed to the Roman emperor Valens to be allowed to settle with his people on the south bank of the Danube. Here, they hoped to find refuge from the Huns. Valens permitted this. However, a famine broke out and Rome was unwilling to supply them with the food they were promised nor the land; open revolt ensued leading to 6 years of plundering and destruction throughout the Balkans, the death of a Roman Emperor and the destruction of an entire Roman army.

The Battle of Adrianople in 378 was the decisive moment of the war. The Roman forces were slaughtered; the Emperor Valens was killed during the fighting, shocking the Roman world and eventually forcing the Romans to negotiate with and settle the Barbarians on Roman land, a new trend with far reaching consequences for the eventual fall of the Roman Empire.

Extent of the Visigothic kingdom of Toulouse by 500

Visigothic Kingdoms

Kingdom of Toulouse
From 407 to 409 the Vandals, with the allied Alans and Germanic tribes like the Suevi, swept into the Iberian peninsula. In response to this invasion of Roman Hispania, Honorius, the emperor in the West, enlisted the aid of the Visigoths to regain control of the territory. In 418, Honorius rewarded his Visigothic federates by giving them land in Gallia Aquitania on which to settle. This was probably done under hospitalitas, the rules for billeting army soldiers (Heather 1996, Sivan 1987). The settlement formed the nucleus of the future Visigothic kingdom that would eventually expand across the Pyrenees and onto the Iberian peninsula.

The Visigoths' second great king, Euric, unified the various quarreling factions among the Visigoths and, in 475, forced the Roman government to grant them full independence. At his death, the Visigoths were the most powerful of the successor states to the Western Roman Empire.

The Visigoths also became the dominant power in the Iberian Peninsula, quickly crushing the Alans and forcing the Vandals into north Africa. By 500, the Visigothic Kingdom, centred at Toulouse, controlled Aquitania and Gallia Narbonensis and most of Hispania with the exception of the Suevic kingdom in the northwest, small areas controlled by the Basques and the southern Mediterranean coast (a Byzantine province).

However, in 507, the Franks under Clovis I defeated the Visigoths in the Vouill� and wrested control of Aquitaine. King Alaric II was killed in battle.

Kingdom of Toledo
After Alaric's death, Visigothic nobles spirited his heir, the child-king Amalaric first to Narbonne, which was the last Gothic outpost in Gaul, and further across the Pyrenees into Hispania. The center of Visigothic rule shifted first to Barcelona, then inland and south to Toledo.

From 511 to 526, the Visigoths were closely allied to the Ostrogoths under Theodoric the Great.

In 554, Granada and southernmost Hispania Baetica were lost to representatives of the Byzantine Empire who had been invited in to help settle a Visigothic dynastic struggle, but who stayed on, as a hoped-for spearhead to a "Reconquest" of the far west envisaged by emperor Justinian I.

The last Arian Visigothic king, Liuvigild, conquered the Suevi kingdom in 585 and most of the northern regions (Cantabria) in 574 and regained part of the southern areas lost to the Byzantines, which King Suintila reconquered completely in 624. The kingdom survived until 711, when King Roderic (Rodrigo) was killed while opposing an invasion from the south by the Umayyad Muslims in the Battle of Guadalete on 19 July. This marked the beginning of the Muslim conquest of Hispania in which most of peninsula came under Islamic rule by 718.

A Visigothic nobleman, Pelayo, is credited with beginning the Christian Reconquista of Iberia in 718, when he defeated the Umayyads in battle and established the Kingdom of Asturias in the northern part of the peninsula. Other Visigoths, refusing to adopt the Muslim faith or live under their rule, fled north to the kingdom of the Franks, and Visigoths played key roles in the empire of Charlemagne a few generations later.

The Visigothic Code of Law (forum judicum), which had been part of aristocratic oral tradition, was set in writing in the early 7th century� and survives in two separate codices preserved at the Escorial. It goes into more detail than a modern constitution commonly does and reveals a great deal about Visigothic social structure.

Belt buckle. Gilt and silvered bronze and glass paste, Visigothic Aquitaine, first half (?) of the 6th century. Found in 1868 in the Visigothic necropolis of Tressan, Provence. (Mus�e national du Moyen �ge)

Religion in the Visigothic Kingdom
There was a religious gulf between the Visigoths, who had for a long time adhered to Arianism, and their Catholic subjects in Hispania. The Iberian Visigoths continued to be Arians until 589. For the role of Arianism in Visigothic kingship, see the entry for Liuvigild.

There were also deep sectarian splits among the Catholic population of the peninsula. The ascetic Priscillian of Avila was martyred by orthodox Catholic forces in 385, and the persecution continued in subsequent generations as "Priscillianist" heretics were rooted out. At the very beginning of Leo I's pontificate, in the years 444-447, Turribius, the bishop of Astorga in Le�n, sent to Rome a memorandum warning that Priscillianism was by no means dead, reporting that it numbered even bishops among its supporters, and asking the aid of the Roman See. The distance was insurmountable in the 5th century.[7] Nevertheless Leo intervened, by forwarding a set of propositions that each bishop was required to sign: all did. But if Priscillianist bishops hesitated to be barred from their sees, a passionately concerned segment of Christian communities in Iberia were disaffected from the more orthodox hierarchy and welcomed the tolerant Arian Visigoths. The Visigoths scorned to interfere among Catholics but were interested in decorum and public order.

The Arian Visigoths were also tolerant of Jews, a tradition that lingered in post-Visigothic Septimania, exemplified by the career of Ferreol, Bishop of Uz�s (died 581).

In 589, King Reccared (Recaredo) converted his people to Catholicism. With the Catholicization of the Visigothic kings, the Catholic bishops increased in power, until, at the Fourth Council of Toledo in 633, they took upon themselves the nobles' right to select a king from among the royal family. Visigothic persecution of Jews began after the conversion to Catholicism of the Visigothic king Reccared. In 633 the same synod of Catholic bishops that usurped the Visigothic nobles' right to confirm the election of a king declared that all Jews must be baptised.
« Reply #1 on: July 03, 2007, 03:30:11 PM »

Alaric's Sack of Rome, A.D. 410

Selected passage from History of the Wars III.ii, by Procopius of Caesarea (written c. A.D. 550)

From an English translation by H.B. Dewing
First printed 1916

But the Visigoths, separating from the others, removed from there and at first entered into an alliance with the Emperor Arcadius, but at a later time (for faith with the Romans cannot dwell in barbarians), under the leadership of Alaric, they became hostile to both emperors, and, beginning with Thrace, treated all Europe as an enemy's land. Now the Emperor Honorius had before this time been sitting in Rome, with never a thought of war
in his mind, but glad, I think, if men allowed him to remain quiet in his palace. But when word was brought that the barbarians with a great army were not far off, but somewhere among the Taulantii [in Illyricum], he abandoned the palace and fled in disorderly fashion to Ravenna, a strong city lying just about at the end of the Ionian Gulf, while some say that he brought in the barbarians himself, because an uprising had been started against him among his subjects; but this does not seem to me trustworthy, as far, at least, as one can judge of the character of the man. And the barbarians, finding that they had no hostile force to encounter them, became the most cruel of all men. For they destroyed all the cities which they captured, especially those south of the Ionian Gulf, so completely that nothing has been left to my time to know them by, unless, indeed, it might be one tower or one gate or some such thing which chanced to remain. And they killed all the people, as many as came in their way, both old and young alike, sparing neither women nor children. Wherefore even up to the present time Italy is sparsely populated. They also gathered as plunder all the money out of all Europe, and, most important of all, they left in Rome nothing whatever of public or private wealth when they moved on to Gaul. But I shall now tell how Alaric captured Rome.

After much time had been spent by him in the siege, and he had not been able either by force or by any other device to capture the place, he formed the following plan. Among the youths in the army whose beards had not yet grown, but who had just come of age, he chose out three hundred whom he
knew to be of good birth and possessed of valour beyond their years, and told them secretly that he was about to make a present of them to certain of the patricians in Rome, pretending that they were slaves. And he instructed them that, as soon as they got inside the houses of those men, they should display much gentleness and moderation and serve them eagerly in whatever tasks should be laid upon them by their owners; and he further directed them that not long afterwards, on an appointed day at about midday, when all those who were to be their masters would most likely be already asleep after their meal, they should all come to the gate called Salarian and with a sudden rush kill the guards, who would have no previous knowledge of the plot, and open the gates as quickly as possible. After giving these orders to the youths, Alaric straightway sent ambassadors to the members of the senate, stating that he admired them for their loyalty toward their emperor, and that he would trouble them no longer, because of their valour and faithfulness, with which it was plain that they were endowed to a remarkable degree, and in order that tokens of himself might be preserved among men both noble and brave, he wished to present each one of them with some domestics. After making this declaration and sending the youths not long afterwards, he commanded the barbarians to make preparations for the departure, and he let this be known to the Romans. And they heard his words gladly, and receiving the gifts began to be exceedingly happy, since they were completely ignorant of the plot of the barbarian. For the youths, by being unusually obedient to their owners, averted suspicion, and in
the camp some were already seen moving from their positions and raising the siege, while it seemed that the others were just on the point of doing the very same thing. But when the appointed day had come, Alaric armed his whole force for the attack and was holding them in readiness close by the Salarian Gate; for it happened that he had encamped there at the beginning of the siege.

Aug. 24, 410 A.D.

And all the youths at the time of the day agreed upon came to this gate, and, assailing the guards suddenly, put them to death; then they opened the gates and received Alaric and the army into the city at their leisure. And they set fire to the houses which were next to the gate, among which was also the house of Sallust, who in ancient times wrote the history of the Romans, and the greater part of this house has stood half-burned up to my time; and after plundering the whole city and destroying the most of the Romans, they moved on. At that time they say that the Emperor Honorius in Ravenna received the message from one of the eunuchs, evidently a keeper of the poultry, that Rome had perished. And he cried out and said, "And yet it has just eaten from my hands!" For he had a very large cock, Rome by name; and the eunuch comprehending his words said that it was the city of Rome which had perished at the hands of Alaric, and the emperor with a sigh of relief answered quickly: "But I, my good fellow, thought that my fowl Rome had perished." So great, they say, was the folly with which this emperor was possessed.

But some say that Rome was not captured in this way by Alaric, but that Proba, a woman of very unusual eminence in wealth and in fame among the Roman senatorial class, felt pity for the Romans who were being destroyed by hunger and the other suffering they endured; for they were already even tasting each other's flesh; and seeing that every good hope had left them, since both the river and the harbour were held by the enemy, she commanded her domestics, they say, to open the gates by night.

Now when Alaric was about to depart from Rome, he declared Attalus, one of their nobles, emperor of the Romans, investing him with the diadem and the purple and whatever else pertains to the imperial dignity. And he did this with the intention of removing Honorius from his throne and of giving over the whole power in the West to Attalus. With such a purpose, then, both Attalus and Alaric were going with a great army against Ravenna. But this Attalus was neither able to think wisely himself, nor to be persuaded by one who had wisdom to offer. So while Alaric did not by any means approve the plan, Attalus sent commanders to Libya without an army. Thus, then, were these things going on.

407 A.D.

And the island of Britain revolted from the Romans, and the soldiers there chose as their king Constantinus, a man of no mean station. And he straightway gathered a fleet of ships and a formidable army and invaded both Spain and Gaul with a great force, thinking to enslave these countries. But Honorius was holding ships in readiness and waiting to see what
would happen in Libya, in order that, if those sent by Attalus were repulsed, he might himself sail for Libya and keep some portion of his own kingdom, while if matters there should go against him, he might reach Theodosius and remain with him.

408-450 A.D.

For Arcadius had already died long before, and his son Theodosius, still a very young child [he ascended the throne at the age of seven], held the power of the East. But while Honorius was thus anxiously awaiting the outcome of these events and tossed amid the billows of uncertain fortune, it so chanced that some wonderful pieces of good fortune befell him. For God is accustomed to succour those who are neither clever nor able to devise anything of themselves, and to lend them assistance, if they be not wicked, when they are in the last extremity of despair; such a thing, indeed, befell this emperor. For it was suddenly reported from Libya that the commanders of Attalus had been destroyed, and that a host of ships was at hand from Byzantium with a very great number of soldiers who had come to assist him, though he had not expected them, and that Alaric, having quarrelled with Attalus, had stripped him of the emperor's garb and was now keeping him under guard in the position of a private citizen.

411 A.D.

And afterwards Alaric died of disease, and the army of the Visigoths under the leadership of Adaulphus proceeded into Gaul, and Constantinus, defeated in battle, died with his sons. However the Romans never succeeded in recovering Britain, but it remained from that time on under tyrants. And the Goths, after making the crossing of the Ister, at first occupied Pannonia, but afterwards, since the emperor gave them the right, they inhabited the country of
Thrace. And after spending no great time there they conquered the West. But this will be told in the narrative concerning the Goths.
« Reply #2 on: July 03, 2007, 03:37:15 PM »

An anachronistic fifteenth-century miniature depicting the sack of 410

Sack of Rome 410 CE

The Sack of Rome occurred on 24 August 410. The city was attacked by the Visigoths, led by Alaric I. The Roman capital had been moved to the Italian city of Ravenna by the young emperor Honorius, after the Visigoths entered Italy.

This was the first time in almost 800 years that Rome had fallen to an enemy. The previous sack of Rome was by Gauls under their leader Brennus in 387 BC. Many historians see this as an end of the Western Roman Empire.

Troubles in the East

Barbarian tribes had been growing stronger for a long time, uniting in fear of the Roman juggernaut. However, in the late 4th century, the Huns began to overrun barbarian territories. In 376, they forced many Thervings, led by Fritigern to seek exile into the Eastern Roman Empire. Soon, however, high taxes, Roman prejudice, and government corruption turned them against the Empire. The Visigoths began looting and pillaging throughout the Eastern Balkans. In the Second Battle of Adrianople in 378, Fritigern decisively defeated the Eastern Emperor Valens, who died during or soon after the battle.

A peace was forged in 382, in which the new Eastern Emperor, Theodosius I, signed a treaty with these Goths (later known as the Visigoths) that recognized their claim to the province of Thrace.

Soon Alaric the Visigoth was rising through the Visigothic ranks. He became an important general in the army. However, at the Battle of the Frigidus, half the Visigoths present died fighting for the Romans against a rogue Roman general, by the name of Arbogast. This gave him the impression that Rome wanted the Visigoths to die as quickly as possible.

Alaric was practically ruler of the Visigoths by the time Theodosius died in 395; Fritigern had died in 380.

Return to hostilities

Alaric soon resumed hostilities against the Eastern Empire after Theodosius died. Flavius Stilicho, the Eastern Empire's top general, and later the Western Empire's top general, soon chased him into Italy. He then chased Alaric through Italy.

Fearing the Visigoths, the Western Roman Empire moved its capital to Ravenna. However, though Alaric was decisively defeated at the Battle of Pollentia and later in the Battle of Verona, Alaric continued to escape.

Stilicho continued to hold Alaric back, though Alaric's frequent escapes provoked rumors that Stilicho was allowing this to happen. Soon, Alaric formed a new alliance with both Empires for an expedition to the far reaches of the Eastern Empire, possibly a plan to take him as far away from Rome as possible. The alliance quickly broke down, however.

Widespread prejudice caused thousands of formerly loyal Visigothic Romans to join Alaric, greatly strengthening his forces. Stilicho was soon compelled to ask the Senate to pay tribute. The Senate was greatly angered and Emperor Honorius, of the Western Roman Empire, was convinced that Stilicho was plotting a coup. Stilicho, Rome's best hope against Alaric, was hanged on August 22, 408.

The Sack and its Aftermath

The angry Visigoths soon laid siege to Rome in late 408. They eventually withdrew after the Senate promised tribute, and as a parting gift Alaric sent 300 young men as slaves for the Roman Senate. However, Emperor Honorius refused to pay and the siege resumed in 410.

On August 24, 410, Alaric's "slaves" stormed the gatehouse and opened Rome's Salarian Gate and the Visigoths poured in and looted for 3 days. Though it was not a particularly violent looting with relatively little rape or murder, it had a profound effect on the city. This was the first time the city had been sacked in 800 years, and its citizens were devastated.

Tens of thousands of Romans fled the economically ruined city into the countryside. As the Visigoths had set the example, wave upon wave of barbarians attacked Rome.
« Reply #3 on: July 03, 2007, 04:03:38 PM »

Rock temples cut directly in the rocks at the Silsileh quarrying site, near Aswan

This account by Procopius seems to be largely forgotten.

Visigoth Tower, Carcassonne
Carcassonne is Carcasiana.

       History of the Wars, Books V. and VI.

But later on, when the power of the Germans was growing greater, they
began to think slightingly of Theoderic and the fear he inspired, and
took the field against Alaric and the Visigoths. And when Alaric learned
this, he summoned Theoderic as quickly as possible. And he set out to
his assistance with a great army. In the meantime, the Visigoths, upon
learning that the Germans were in camp near the city of Carcasiana,[56]
went to meet them, and making a camp remained quiet. But since much time
was being spent by them in blocking the enemy in this way, they began to
be vexed, and seeing that their land was being plundered by the enemy,
they became indignant. And at length they began to heap many insults
upon Alaric, reviling him on account of his fear of the enemy and
taunting him with the delay of his father-in-law. For they declared that
they by themselves were a match for the enemy in battle and that even
though unaided they would easily overcome the Germans in the war. For
this reason Alaric was compelled to do battle with the enemy before the
Goths had as yet arrived. And the Germans, gaining the upper hand in
this engagement, killed the most of the Visigoths and their ruler
Alaric. [Q] Then they took possession of the greater part of Gaul and
held it; and they laid siege to Carcasiana with great enthusiasm,
because they had learned that the royal treasure was there, which Alaric
the elder in earlier times had taken as booty when he captured Rome.[57]
Among these were also the treasures of Solomon, the king of the Hebrews,
a most noteworthy sight. [R]For the most of them were adorned with
emeralds; and they had been taken from Jerusalem by the Romans in
ancient times.
[58] Then the survivors of the Visigoths declared Giselic,
an illegitimate son of Alaric, ruler over them, Amalaric, the son of
Theoderic's daughter, being still a very young child. And afterwards,
when Theoderic had come with the army of the Goths, the Germans became
afraid and broke up the siege. So they retired from there and took
possession of the part of Gaul beyond the Rhone River as far as the
ocean. And Theoderic, being unable to drive them out from there,
allowed them to hold this territory, but he himself recovered the rest
of Gaul. Then, after Giselic had been put out of the way, he conferred
the rule of the Visigoths upon his grandson Amalaric, for whom, since he
was still a child, he himself acted as regent. And taking all the money
which lay in the city of Carcasiana, he marched quickly back to Ravenna;
furthermore, he continued to send commanders and armies into Gaul and
Spain, thus holding the real power of the government himself, and by way
of providing that he should hold it securely and permanently, he
ordained that the rulers of those countries should bring tribute to him.
And though he received this every year, in order not to give the
appearance of being greedy for money he sent it as an annual gift to the
army of the Goths and Visigoths. And as a result of this, the Goths and
Visigoths, as time went on, ruled as they were by one man and holding
the same land, betrothed their children to one another and thus joined
the two races in kinship.

            [Q]507 A.D.
            [R]410 A.D.

But afterwards, Theudis, a Goth, whom Theoderic had sent as commander of
the army, took to wife a woman from Spain; she was not, however, of the
race of the Visigoths, but belonged to the house of one of the wealthy
inhabitants of that land, and not only possessed great wealth but also
owned a large estate in Spain. From this estate he gathered about two
thousand soldiers and surrounded himself with a force of bodyguards, and
while in name he was a ruler over the Goths by the gift of Theoderic, he
was in fact an out and out tyrant. And Theoderic, who was wise and
experienced in the highest degree, was afraid to carry on a war against
his own slave, lest the Franks meanwhile should take the field against
him, as they naturally would, or the Visigoths on their part should
begin a revolution against him; accordingly he did not remove Theudis
from his office, but even continued to command him, whenever the army
went to war, to lead it forth. However, he directed the first men of the
Goths to write to Theudis that he would be acting justly and in a manner
worthy of his wisdom, if he should come to Ravenna and salute Theoderic.
Theudis, however, although he carried out all the commands of Theoderic
and never failed to send in the annual tribute, would not consent to go
to Ravenna, nor would he promise those who had written to him that he
would do so.

[58] At the capture of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 A.D. The treasures here
mentioned were removed from Rome in 410 A.D. The remainder of the Jewish
treasure formed part of the spoil of Gizeric, the Vandal. Cf. Book IV.
ix. 5 and note.

Adorned with emeralds... this has the ring of authenticity.

EMERALD, a bright green variety of beryl, much valued as a gem-stone. The word comes indirectly from the Gr. if apay50s (Arabic zumurrud), but this seems to have been a name vaguely given to a number of stones having little in common except a green colour. Pliny's "smaragdus" undoubtedly included several distinct species. Much confusion has arisen with respect to the "emerald" of the Scriptures. The Hebrew word no phek, rendered emerald in the Authorized Version, probably meant the carbuncle: it is indeed translated avOpa in the Septuagint, and a marginal reading in the Revised Version gives carbuncle. On the other hand, the word baregath, rendered ap.fipaybos in the LXX., appears in the A.V. as carbuncle, with the alternative reading of emerald in the R.V. It may have referred to the true emerald, but Flinders Petrie suggests that it meant rock-crystal.

The ancients appear to have obtained the emerald from Upper Egypt, where it is said to have been worked as early as 1650 BCE. It is known that Greek miners were at work in the time of Alexander the Great, and in later times the mines yielded their gems to Cleopatra. Remains of extensive workings were discovered in the northern Etbai by the French traveller, F. Cailliaud, in 1817, and the mines were re-opened for a short time under Mehemet Ali. "Cleopatra's Mines" are situated in Jebel Sikait and Jebel Zabara near the Red Sea coast east of Assuan. They were visited in 1891 by E. A. 'Toyer, and the Sikait workings were explored in 1900 by D. A. MacAlister and others. The Egyptian emeralds occur in mica-schist and talc-schist.

Stone quarries of ancient Egypt
The Stone quarries of ancient Egypt (now archaeological sites) once produced quality stone for the construction of decorative monuments such as sculptures and obelisks. Some of these sites are well identified and the chemical composition of their stones is also well known, allowing the geographical origin of most of the monuments to be traced using petrographic techniques, including neutron activation analysis.

In June 2006 the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) of Egypt established a new department for conservation of ancient quarries and mines in Egypt. The new department will work in close cooperation with the regional SCA offices and special training programmes for Inspectors of Antiquities will be carried out to enable the regional authorities to tackle inventory, documentation, risk assessment and management of the ancient quarries and mines. 80% of the ancient quarry sites are in the Nile valley: some of them have disappeared under the waters of Lake Nasser and some others are disappearing due to modern mining activity.

Some of the most important ancient quarry sites in Egypt are:

The quarries of Aswan
The quarries are located along the Nile in the city of Aswan. There are a number of well-known sites: Shellal, the northern and southern quarries within an area of about 20 km� in the west bank and the islands of Elephantine and Seheil. One of the known directors of these Aswan sites was Hori during the times of Ramses III. In the present days, the quarry area is to become an open-air musuem[1].

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Red, grey and black Granite

Some of the monuments known to come from this site are:
    * Cleopatra's Needles
    * The unfinished obelisk still on site, at the northern quarry[2].
    * The unfinished partly-worked obelisk base, discovered in 2005 [3]
    * The sarcophagus made from granite at the burial chambers of Djoser and Sneferu at Saqqara
    * Many burial chambers, sarcophagus, columns etc. in the pyramids of Khufu, Khafre and Menkaure at Giza

Gebel el Ahmar
Gebel el Ahmar (30.05 N, 31.3 E) [4] is located near Cairo on the banks of the Nile, near Heliopolis. The name means "Red Mountains". The site was in full production in the times of Akhenaton, Amenhophis III, Tutankhamon and Ramses III. The quarry was directed by Huy also known as "Chief of the King's Works" and also by Hori.

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Celestine, Quartzite or red sandstone.

Some of the monuments known to come from this site are:
    * Colossi of Memnon

Gebel el-Silsila or Gebel Silsileh is 40 miles north of Aswan along the banks of the Nile and was a very famous quarrying area throughout all of ancient Egypt due to the quality of the building stone quarried here. The site is a rich archaeological area having temples cut directly on the hills. Examples include the rock temple of Horemheb on the west bank. Many of the monuments here bear inscriptions of Merenptah, Ramesses II, Hatshepsut, Amenhotep II and Ramesses III. The quarries and the stone temples here are visible from a boat when cruising the Nile.

Some of the monuments known to come from this site are:
    * Temple of Horemheb

These quarries are located 8 km north of Edfu.

Some of the monuments known to come from this site are:
    * Stone blocks used by the engineers of Septimius Severus to reconstruct the north colossus of Memnon.

Wadi Hammamat
Wadi Hammamat is a quarrying area located in the Eastern Desert of Egypt. This site is famous because it is described in the first ancient topographic map known nowadays: the Turin Papyrus Map describing a quarrying expedition prepared for Ramesses IV.

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Basalt

Widan el-Faras
Widan el-Faras on Gebel el-Qatrani, Faiyum. Located 60 km south-west of Cairo in the Western Desert. The quarry landscape of the Northern Faiyum Desert comprises both the Umm es-Sawan and Widan el-Faras basalt quarries, both exploited in the early 3rd millennium BC[5].

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Basalt
    * Gypsum

Muqattam hills
Muqattam hills is a site is located near Memphis.

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Limestone

El Amarna
Near El Amarna, a few hours walking.

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Alabaster

The site is located a few kilometers near Idahet in barren desert terrain. It was abandoned during the Middle Kingdom

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Diorite

Gabal Abu Dukhan
This site, near modern Hurghada was important above all for the Roman Empire. Pliny's Natural History affirmed that the "Imperial Porphyry" had been discovered at an isolated site in Egypt in AD 18, by a Roman legionnaire named Caius Cominius Leugas. The location of the site was lost for many centuries until it was rediscovered in the XIX century.

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Purple porphyry

Some of the monuments known to come from this site are:
    * The baptismal font in the Cathedral of Magdeburg, Germany

Koptos is located in Wadi Rohanu.

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Black slate

Qurna is located near Thebes. It was an active site during the reign of Amenhotep III.

Typical minerals known from this site:
    * Limestone

Other important quarry sites include:
    * Tura
    * Ed-Dibabiya, opposite Gebelein

    * R. F. Heizer et al. "The Colossi of Memnon Revisited", Science 21 December 1973: Vol. 182. no. 4118, pp. 1219 - 1225
« Reply #4 on: July 03, 2007, 04:12:30 PM »

Thoth, the ibis-headed god of Knowledge, closely related, if not equivalent, to Hermes Trismegistus

Though I do not believe a word of this - mysticism and the Cabala - there is a possible link between Alaric and the Cabala: the Temple of Solomon and emeralds therein.


The Tav of Emerald Visions
the letter Tav (T) of the Hebrew letters of the word �emerald�, which will give you new keys of insight and understanding on how to open to experiencing more emerald rich preciousness in (your) life� Again the Hebrew alphabet has been known by Alchemists of old to hold the secrets of creative energy and is now recognized by science as a source of light. The word �Emerald� in Hebrew is BaReQeTh, which spells with the Letter Beth (B), Resh (R), Qoph (Q) and finishes in a Tav (T).

The Emerald Tablet
An introduction to Hermetic Philosophy

The text of the Emerald tablet is brief- only thirteen lines- but it is the cornerstone of the Hermetic movement. The origin of this mysterious text is shrouded in antiquity, and even its name is a mystery, yet is has been an inspiration for alchemists and magicians for hundreds of years. The well known Hermetic axiom, "As above, so below" is derived directly from the Emerald Tablet. It may be the oldest Hermetic text known, predating both the Corpus Hermeticum and the Christian religion.

The Tablet languished in relative obscurity until the middle ages, when it began to circulate throughout the alchemical community through contact with Muslim mystics. Scholars believe the original was written in Greek, but the oldest surviving copies are Arabic translations. Despite its mysterious origin, many have imputed great significance to the text- its famous translators include Roger Bacon, Isaac Newton, and even HP Blavatsky.

The philosophical ideas contained within are profound- influencing medieval alchemists, Jewish kabbalists, Masons, and ritual magicians alike.

Without lie, certain and most true:
What is below is is like what is above, and what is above is like what is below, to accomplish the miracle of the One thing.

The introductory stanza introduces the now well known concept of the macrocosm, or world of divinity, and its relationship to the microcosm, the world of matter and of man, and the union between them, as described by mystics throughout history.

In truth, and without Lie, And just as all things have been from the one, so also they are born from this one thing by adaptation.

This line describes a very kabbalistic world view: that of emanation. In Kabbalistic cosmology, all of creation emanates in ever expanding layers of complexity, yet all are at the same time part of an unknowable, limitless power. The nature of God is considered impenatrable, for every attempt to describe or name something imposes limits upon it, and seperates that thing further from divinty. There is also an eerie parallel to the current scientific cosmological model- beyond the veils of exitence and before the first emanation is the no-thing- the limitless light, or ain sof, which contracted into an infinite point to effect the creation of the universe.

Its father is the sun, its mother the moon. The wind has borne it, its nurse is the earth. This one thing is the father of all things in the universe.

This reflects another kabbalistic formula. "It" in this case refers to the perfected or reborn psyche. The Mother moon is Yesod, the ego, the sphere of reflection and illusion. The Sun is tiphareth, the 'Higher self,' which can be likened to the 'first face' in Buddhism. It is the immortal spirit. The wind is the divine breath, the spiritual life force. The earth that nurses it is the material body, the id, our animal nature.

Its power is perfect, after it has been united with the earth.

This refers to the experience of Divine Union spoken of in mystic tractates the world over. This union is achieved by uniting the divine essence with the physical body. It is the aim of Yoga, the goal of Ritual magick, and the essence of Satori.

Separate earth from fire, the subtle from the dense, with gentle heat and much devotion.

One must learn to diferentiate between the things of matter and things of the spirit, between the yearnings of the soul and the desires of the ego- the gross appetites and vanities must be sifted out to reveal the true self beneath.

In great measure, it ascends from earth to heaven, descends again toward earth, and recieves the force of the things above and below.

Thus you will possess the glory of the world, all obscurity shall flee away from thee.

The physical body is now integrated with the immortal soul, and the aspirant is awakened to the purpose of his existence.

This is the force of all force, it will overcome everything subtle, and penetrate everything solid.

In this manner, the world was created, but the map of this road is hidden.

This describes the personal nature of spiritual knowledge, which can only be gained through personal experience- it cannot be described accurately to one who has not yet exerienced it. Each aspirant must find the path on their own.

For this reason I am called "Hiram Telat Machasot"- one in essence, but three in aspect. In this trinity is the wisdom of the whole world. 

This curious phrase is Chaldean in origin, and has been suspected as the true identity of the Hiram Abiff of Masonic legend. Chiram means 'universal,' and contains the root letter of the elements of air, water, and fire, a play on words that echoes the Hebrew tetragrammaton, the four letter name of God which also incorporates the element,s and forms the basis for all kabbalistic doctrine.

The tablet closes:

And so I have been called: Hermes thrice greatest, having the three parts of the philosophy of the world.

The "three parts" refer to the mystery traditions of the three cultures represented by the Roman Mercury, the Greek Hermes, and the Egyptian Thoth, the composite deity Hermes Trismegistus (Thrice Great) to whom the authorship of many texts is attributed, hence "Hermetic" writings.
« Reply #5 on: July 03, 2007, 04:34:50 PM »

Right, now on to the end of the Visigoths in Gaul.

Alaric II

Alaric II, also known as Alarik, Alarich, and Alarico in Spanish and Portuguese or Alaricus in Latin (d. 507) succeeded his father Euric in 485 as eighth king of the Visigoths. His dominions included not only the whole of Hispania except its north-western corner but also Gallia Aquitania and the greater part of an as-yet undivided Gallia Narbonensis.


In 486 Alaric II denied refuge to Afranius Syagrius, the former ruler of the Domain of Soissons who was defeated by Clovis I. Alarmed by a summons from Clovis, Alaric imprisoned and repatriated Syagrius back to Clovis I, where he was decapitated.

In religion Alaric was an Arian, like all the early Visigothic nobles, but he greatly mitigated the persecuting policy of his father Euric toward the Catholics and authorized them to hold in 506 the council of Agde. He was on uneasy terms with the Catholic bishops of Arles as epitomized in the career of the Frankish Caesarius, bishop of Arles, born at Ch�lons and appointed bishop in 503. Caesarius was suspected of conspiring with the Burgundians to turn over the Arelate to Burgundy, whose king had married the sister of Clovis, so Alaric exiled him for a year safely at Bordeaux in Aquitania before allowing him to return unharmed when the crisis had passed (Wace, Dictionary).

He displayed similar wisdom and liberality in political affairs by appointing a commission to prepare an abstract of the Roman laws and imperial decrees, which should form the authoritative code for his Roman subjects. This is generally known as the Breviarium Alaricianum or Breviary of Alaric.

Battle of Vouill� and aftermath

Alaric endeavoured strictly to maintain the treaty which his father had concluded with the Franks. The Frankish king Clovis I, however, desired to obtain the Gothic province in Gaul and he found a pretext for war in the Arianism of Alaric. The intervention of Theodoric, king of the Ostrogoths and father-in-law of Alaric, proved unavailing. The two armies met in 507 at the Battle of Vouill�, near Poitiers, where the Goths were defeated and their king, who took to flight, was overtaken and slain, it is said, by Clovis himself. As a consequence of their defeat the Visigoths lost all their possessions in Gaul to the Franks, except Septimania (i.e. the western region of Gallia Narbonensis, which includes the contemporary Arles and the Provence). Alaric was succeeded by his illegitimate son, Gesalec, because his legitimate son Amalaric was still a child.

Septimania was the western region of the Roman province of Gallia Narbonensis that passed under the control of the Visigothic kingdom in 462, when Septimania was ceded to Theodoric II, king of the Visigoths. It corresponded roughly with the modern French region of Languedoc-Roussillon.

The name derives from part of the Roman name of the city of B�ziers, Colonia Julia Septimanorum Beaterrae, which in turn alludes to the settlement of veterans of the Roman VII Legion in the city. Another possible origin of the name is a reference to the seven towns of the territory: today's Elne, Agde, Narbonne, Lod�ve, B�ziers, Maguelonne and N�mes. Septimania extended to a line half-way between the Mediterranean Sea and the Garonne River in the northwest; in the east the Rh�ne separated it from Provence; to the south its boundary was formed by the Pyr�n�es. After the Visigothic defeat by the Frankish king Clovis in the Battle of Vouill� (507), the child-king Amalaric was carried for safety into Spain. Aquitania passed into the hands of the Franks, and Septimania, with other Visigothic territories in Gaul, was ruled by the boy's maternal grandfather, Theodoric the Great, who created the first kingdom of Septimania in 509, retaining its traditional capital at Narbonne, and appointing as his regent an Ostrogothic nobleman named Theudis. In 522 the young Amalaric was proclaimed king, and four years later, on Theodoric's death, he assumed full royal power in Spain and Septimania, relinquishing Provence to his cousin Athalaric. He married Clotilda, daughter of Clovis, but found, as other royal husbands of Merovingian princesses found, that the entanglement brought on him the penalty of a Frankish invasion, in which he lost his life in 531, and Arian Visigothic Septimania, the last part of Gaul to remain in Visigothic hands, was officially converted to Catholicism.

The Moors, under Al-Samh ibn Malik the governor-general of al-Andalus, sweeping up the Iberian peninsula, by 719 overran Septimania; al-Samh set up his capital from 720 at Narbonne, which the Moors called Arbuna, offering the still largely Arian inhabitants generous terms and quickly pacifying the other cities. With Narbonne secure, and equally important, its port, for the Arab mariners were masters now of the Western Mediterranean, he swiftly subdued the largely unresisting cities, still controlled by their Visigoth counts: taking Alet and B�ziers, Agde, Lod�ve, Maguelonne and N�mes [1]. By 721 he was reinforced and ready to lay siege to Toulouse, a possession that would open up Aquitaine to him on the same terms as Septimania. But his plans were overthrown in the disastrous Battle of Toulouse (721), with immense losses, in which al-Samh was so seriously wounded that he soon died at Narbonne. Arab forces soundly based in Narbonne and easily resupplied by sea, struck eastwards in the 720s, penetrating as far as Autun (725). But in 731, the Berber wali of Narbonne and the region of Cerdagne, Uthman ibn Naissa, called "Munuza" by the Franks, who was recently linked by marriage to duke Eudes of Aquitaine, revolted against C�rdoba, but was defeated and killed. But that is how the relatively small Arab force under Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi encountered Charles Martel between Tours and Poitiers, and was defeated and killed in October 732, the "Battle of Tours" celebrated in popular history and traditionally credited with stopping the Moorish advance.

After the territory round Toulouse was taken by the Franks in 732, Pippin III directed his attention to Narbonne, but the city held firm in 737, defended by its Goths, and Jews under the command of its governor Yusuf, 'Abd er-Rahman's heir. Around 747 the government of the Septimania region (and the Upper Mark, from Pyr�n�es to Ebro River) was given to Aumar ben Aumar. In 752 the Gothic counts of Nimes, Melguelh, Agde and Beziers refused allegance to the emir at Cordoba and declared their loyalty to the Frankish king�the count of Nimes, Ansemund, having some authority over the remaining counts. The Gothic counts and the Franks then began to besiege Narbonne, where Mil� was probably the count (as succesor of the count Gilbert) But Narbonne resisted. In 754 an anti-Frank reaction, led by Ermeniard, killed Ansemund, but the uprising was without success and Radulf was designated new count by the Frankish court. About 755 Abd al-Rahman ben Uqba replaced Aumar ben Aumar. Narbonne capitulated in 759 and the county was granted to Mil�, the Gothic count in Muslim times. The region of Roussillon was taken by the Franks in 760. In 767, after the fight against Waifred of Aquitaine, Albi, Rouergue, Gevaudan, and the city of Toulouse were conquered. In 777 the wali of Barcelona, Sulayman al-Arabi, and the wali of Huesca Abu Taur, offered their sumission to Charlemagne and also the sumission of Husayn, wali of Zaragoza. When Charlemagne invaded the Upper Mark in 778, Husayn refused allegance and he had to retire. In the Pyrenees, the Basques defeated themselves in Roncesvalles (15 August 778).

The Frankish king found Septimania and the borderlands so devastated and depopulated by warfare, with the inhabitants hiding among the mountains, that he made grants of land that were some of the earliest identifiable fiefs to Visigothic and other refugees. Charlemagne also founded several monasteries in Septimania, around which the people gathered for protection. Beyond Septimania to the south Charlemagne established the Spanish Marches in the borderlands of his empire.

The territory passed to Louis, king in Aquitaine, but it was governed by Frankish margraves and then dukes (from 817) of Septimania.

The Frankish noble Bernat of Gothia (also, Bernat of Septimania) was the ruler of these lands from 826 to 832. His career (he was beheaded in 844) characterized the turbulent 9th century in Septimania. His appointment as Count of Barcelona in 826 occasioned a general uprising of the Catalan lords at this intrusion of Frankish power. For suppressing Berenguer of Toulouse and the Catalans, Louis the Pious rewarded Bernat with a series of counties, which roughly delimit 9th century Septimania: Narbonne, B�ziers, Agde, Magalona, Nimes and Uz�s. Rising against Charles the Bald in 843, Bernard was apprehended at Toulouse and beheaded.

Septimania became known as Gothia after the reign of Charlemagne. It retained these two names while it was ruled by the counts of Toulouse during early part of the Middle Ages, but the southern part became more familiar as Roussillon and the west became known as Foix, and the name "Gothia" (along with the older name "Septimania") faded away during the 10th century, except as a traditional designation as the region fractured into smaller feudal entities, which sometimes retained Carolingian titles, but lost their Carolingian character, as the culture of Septimania evolved into the culture of Languedoc.

The name was used because the area was populated by a higher concentration of Goths than in surrounding regions. The rulers of this area, when joined with several counties, were titled the Marquesses of Gothia (and, also, the Dukes of Septimania).
« Reply #6 on: July 03, 2007, 04:47:51 PM »

Visigothic coinage: Sisebut

After the territory round Toulouse was taken by the Franks in 732, Pippin III directed his attention to Narbonne, but the city held firm in 737, defended by its Goths, and Jews...

Spanish Jews once constituted one of the largest and most prosperous Jewish communities under Muslim and Christian rule, before the Jews of Spain were expelled in 1492.

Visigoth rule (fifth century to 711)

Barbaric invasions brought most of the Iberian Peninsula under Visigothic rule by the early fifth century. Other than in their contempt for Catholics, who reminded them of the Romans, the Visigoths did not generally take much of an interest in the religious creeds within their kingdom. It wasn't until 506, when Alaric II (484-507) published his Brevarium Alaricianum (wherein he adopted the laws of the ousted Romans), that a Visigothic king concerned himself with the Jews.

The tides turned even more dramatically following the conversion of the Visigothic royal family under Recared from Arianism to Catholicism in 587. In their desire to consolidate the realm under the new religion, the Visigoths adopted an aggressive policy concerning the Jews. As the king and the church acted in a single interest, the situation for the Jews deteriorated. Recared approved the Third Council of Toledo's move in 589 to forcibly baptize the children of mixed marriages between Jews and Christians. Toledo III also forbade Jews from holding public office, from having intercourse with Christian women, and from performing circumcisions on slaves or Christians. Still, Recared was not entirely successful in his campaigns: not all Visigoth Arians had converted to Catholicism; the unconverted were true allies of the Jews, oppressed like themselves, and Jews received some protection from Arian bishops and the independent Visigothic nobility.

While the policies of subsequent Kings Liuva II (601-604), Witteric (603-610), and Gundemar (610-612) are unknown to us, Sisebur (612-620) embarked on Recared's course with renewed vigor. Soon after upholding the edict of compulsory baptism for children of mixed marriages, Sisebut instituted what were to become an unfortunate recurring phenomenon in Spanish official policy, in issuing the first edicts against the Jews of expulsion from Spain. Following his 613 decree that the Jews either convert or be expelled, some fled to Gaul and North Africa, while as many as 90,000 converted. Many of these conversos, as did those of later periods, maintained their Jewish identities in secret. During the more tolerant reign of Suintila (621-631), however, most of the conversos returned to Judaism, and a number of the exiled returned to Spain.

In 633, the Fourth Council of Toledo, while taking a stance in opposition to compulsory baptism, convened to address the problem of crypto-Judaism. It was decided that, if a professed Christian were determined to be a practicing Jew, his or her children were to be taken away to be raised in monasteries or trusted Christian households (Assis). The council further directed that all who had reverted to Judaism during the reign of Swintila had to return to Christianity. The trend toward intolerance continued with the ascent of Chintila (636-639). He directed the Sixth Council of Toledo to order that only Catholics could remain in the kingdom, and taking an unusual step further, Chintila excommunicated "in advance" any of his successors who did not act in accordance with his anti-Jewish edicts. Again, many converted while others chose exile.

And yet the "problem" continued. The Eighth Council of Toledo in 653 again tackled the issue of Jews within the realm. Further measures at this time included the forbidding of all Jewish rites (including circumcision and the observation of the Shabbat), and all converted Jews had to promise to put to death, either by burning or by stoning, any of their brethren known to have relapsed to Judaism. The Council was aware that prior efforts had been frustrated by lack of compliance among authorities on the local level: therefore, anyone � including nobles and clergy � found to have aided Jews in the practice of Judaism were to be punished by seizure of one quarter of their property and excommunication.

These efforts again proved unsuccessful. The Jewish population remained sufficiently sizable as to prompt Wamba (672-680) to issue limited expulsion orders against them, and the reign of Erwig (680-687) also seemed vexed by the issue. The 12th Council of Toledo again called for forced baptism, and, for those who disobeyed, seizure of property, corporal punishment, exile, and slavery. Jewish children over seven years of age were taken from their parents and similarly dealt with in 694. Erwig also took measures to ensure that Catholic sympathizers would not be inclined to aid Jews in their efforts to subvert the council's rulings. Heavy fines awaited any nobles who acted in favor of the Jews, and members of the clergy who were remiss in enforcement were subject to a number of punishments.

Egica (687-702), recognizing the wrongness of forced baptism, relaxed the pressure on the conversos, but kept it up on practicing Jews. Economic hardships included increased taxes and the forced sale, at a fixed price, of all property ever acquired from Christians. This effectively ended all agricultural activity for the Jews of Spain. Furthermore, Jews were not to engage in commerce with the Christians of the kingdom nor conduct business with Christians overseas. Egica's measures were upheld by the Sixteenth Council of Toledo in 693.

As demonstrated, under the Catholic Visigoths, the trend was clearly one of increasing persecutions. The degree of complicity which the Jews had in the Islamic invasion in 711 is uncertain. Yet, openly treated as enemies in the country in which they had resided for generations, it would be no surprise for them to have appealed to the Moors to the south, quite tolerant in comparison to the Visigoths, for aid. In any case, in 694 they were accused of conspiring with the Muslims across the Mediterranean. Declared traitors, the Jews, including baptized ones, found their property confiscated and themselves enslaved. This decree exempted only the converts who dwelt in the mountain passes of Septimania, who were necessary for the kingdom's protection.

The Jews of Spain had been utterly embittered and alienated by Catholic rule by the time of the Muslim invasion. To them, the Moors were perceived as, and indeed were, a liberating force. Wherever they went, the Muslims were greeted by Jews eager to aid them in administering the country. In many conquered towns the garrison was left in the hands of the Jews before the Muslims proceeded further north. Thus was initiated the period that became known as the "Golden Age" for Spanish Jews.

Moorish Conquest

With the victory of Tariq ibn Ziyad in 711, the lives of the Sephardim changed dramatically. In spite of the stigma attached to being dhimmis (non-Moslem members of monotheistic faiths) under Moslem rule, the coming of the Moors was by-and-large welcomed by the Jews of Iberia.

Both Moslem and Christian sources tell us that Jews provided valuable aid to the invaders. Once captured, the defense of Cordoba was left in the hands of Jews, and Granada, M�laga, Seville, and Toledo were left to a mixed army of Jews and Moors. The Chronicle of Lucas de Tuy records that "when the Christians left Toledo on Sunday before Easter to go to the Church of the Holy Laodicea to listen to the divine sermon, the Jews acted treacherously and informed the Saracens. Then they closed the gates of the city before the Christians and opened them for the Moors." (Although, in contradiction to de Tuy's account, Rodrigues Toledo's Historia de rebus Hispaniae maintains that Toledo was "almost of completely empty from its inhabitants," not because of Jewish treachery, but because "many had fled to Amiara, others to Asturias and some to the mountains," following which the city was fortified by a militia of Arabs and Jews (3.24). Although in the cases of some towns the behavior of the Jews may have been conducive to Moslem success, such was of limited impact overall. The claims of the fall of Iberia as being due in large part to Jewish perfidy are no doubt exaggerated.

In spite of the restrictions placed upon the Jews as dhimmis, life under Moslem rule was one of great opportunity in comparison to that under prior Christian Visigoths, as testified by the influx of Jews from abroad. To Jews throughout the Christian and Moslem worlds, Iberia was seen as a land of relative tolerance and opportunity. Following initial Arab victories, and especially with the establishment of Umayyad rule by Abd-ar-Rahman I in 755, the native Jewish community was joined by Jews from the rest of Europe, as well as from Arab territories, from Morocco to Babylon. Thus the Sephardim found themselves enriched culturally, intellectually, and religiously by the commingling of diverse Jewish traditions. Contacts with Middle Eastern communities were strengthened, and it was during this time that the influence of the Babylonian academies of Sura and Pumbedita was at its greatest. As a result, until the mid-tenth century, much of Sephardic scholarship focused on Halakhah. Although not as influential, Palestinian traditions were also made manifest in an increased interest in Hebrew language and biblical studies.

Arabic culture, of course, also made a lasting impact on Sephardic cultural development. General re-evaluation of scripture was prompted by Moslem anti-Jewish polemics and the spread of rationalism, as well as the anti-Rabbanite polemics of Karaite sectarianism (which was inspired by various Moslem schismatic movements). In adopting the Arabic language, as had the Babylonian geonim (the heads of Babylonian rabbinic academies), not only were the cultural and intellectual achievements of Arabic culture opened up to the educated Jew, but much of the scientific and philosophical speculation of Greek culture, which had been best preserved by Arab scholars, were as well. The meticulous regard which the Arabs had for grammar and style also had the effect of stimulating an interest among Jews in philological matters in general. Arabic came to be the main language of Sephardic science, philosophy, and everyday business. From the second half of the ninth century, most Jewish prose, including many non-halakhic religious works, were in Arabic. The thorough adoption of Arabic greatly facilitated the assimilation of Jews into Arabic culture.

Although initially the often bloody disputes among Muslim factions generally kept Jews out of the political sphere, the first approximately two centuries which preceded the "Golden Age" were marked by increased activity by Jews in a variety of professions, including medicine, commerce, finance, and agriculture.

By the ninth century, some members of the Sephardic community felt confident enough to take part in proselytizing amongst previously Jewish "Christians". Most famous were the heated correspondences sent between Bodo Eleazar, a former deacon who had converted to Judaism in 838, and the converso Bishop of Cordoba Paulus Albarus. Each man, using such epithets as "wretched compiler," tried to convince the other to return to his former religion, to no avail.
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2007, 04:54:00 PM »

We can now return to the theme of emeralds in the Temple of Solomon, brought by Alaric I to his capital at Carcassone, and the emerald motif in hermeticism.

The period and region incorporated Goths, Jews and Arabs and out of this fusion appeared the Cabala.


Kabbalah (Hebrew: קַבָּלָה, Tiberian: qabːɔˈlɔh, Qabbālāh, Israeli: Kabala) literally means "receiving", and is sometimes transliterated as Cabala, Kabbala, Qabalah, or other spellings. It is held authoritative by most Orthodox Jews. According to its adherents, intimate understanding and mastery of the Kabbalah brings man spiritually closer to God and as a result humanity can be empowered with higher insight into the inner-workings of God�s creation.

The origins of the actual term Kabbalah are unknown and disputed to belong either to the Spanish philosopher, Iba Gabriol, Solomon ibn Gabirol, (1021 - 1058) or to the 13th century CE Spanish Kabbalist Bahya ben Asher. While other terms are used in many religious documents from the 2nd century CE till the present day, the term Kabbalah has become the main descriptive of Jewish esoteric knowledge and practices. Main Kabbalistic literature that served as the basis for most of the development of Kabbalistic thought divides between early works such as Bahir and Heichalot (believed to be dated 1st Century CE, and later works dated 13th century CE of which the main book is the Zohar representing the main source for the Contemplative Kabbalah ("Kabbalah Iyunit").
« Reply #8 on: July 03, 2007, 05:07:49 PM »

The Jewish Quarter in Gerona

In Girona, we see the fusion of Goth and Jew.


Girona is a city located in the northeast of Catalonia, Spain, at the confluence of the rivers Ter and Onyar.


The first inhabitants in the region were Iberians; Girona is the ancient Gerunda, a city of the Ausetani. Later, the Romans built a citadel there, which was given the name Gerunda. The Visigoths ruled in Girona until it was conquered by the Moors. Finally, Charlemagne reconquered it in 785 and made it one of the fourteen original countships of Catalonia.Thus it was wrested temporarily from the Moors, who were driven out finally in 1015. Guifr� I incorporated Girona to the countship of Barcelona in 878. Alfonso I of Arag�n declared Girona to be a city in the 11th century. The ancient countship later became a duchy (1351) when king Pere III d' Arag� gave the title of Duke to his first-born son, Joan. In 1414, King Ferran I in turn gave the title of Prince of Girona to his first-born son, Alfons. The title is currently carried by Prince Felipe, Prince of Asturias, the first Borb�n to do so.

The 12th century saw a flourishing of the Jewish community of Girona, with one of the most important Kabbalistic schools in Europe. The Rabbi of Girona, Moshe ben Nahman Gerondi (better known as Nahmanides or the Ramban) was appointed Great Rabbi of Catalonia. The history of the Jewish community of Girona ended in 1492, when the Catholic Kings expelled all the Jews from Spain. Today, the Jewish ghetto or Call is one of the best preserved in Europe and is a major tourist attraction. On the north side of the old city is the Montju�c (or hill of the Jews in medieval Catalan), where an important religious cemetery was located.
« Reply #9 on: July 03, 2007, 11:55:27 PM »

Ha! I have the connection.

The courtyard at Jose�s Kabbalah Centre in Girona (� Patrice Chaplin)

The Girona Enigma by Patrice Chaplin

Sauni�re in Girona

"Tour Magdala" at Rennes-le-Chateau
Built as a library for Sauniere.

The tower in Rennes-le-Chateau was built to the plan of that in Girona.

According to Chaplin, Sauni�re attended kabalistic meetings in Girona.

Rome sacks Temple of Solomon - Alaric I sacks Rome - Temple treasures to Visigoth capital of Carcassonne - arrival of the Jews - the kabala - Sauni�re.

Now, was the kabala based on an early discovery of the Temple treasures?
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2007, 02:52:49 PM »

An underground chamber, entranced through the Tour Magdala

Yes, you got it in one, Sovereign.

After becoming fabulously wealthy - supposedly through finding the Visigothic treasures - Sauni�re began attending kabbalistic meetings in Girona.

He got the archaitectural plans for the �House of Canons� tower in Girona and had an identical copy built in Rennes-Le-Chateau. Nominally, it was his library and in the evenings, climbed into the small turret atop the tower and stood looking out.

A Spanish Connection:

According to Chaplin and the information she was able to recover, Sauni�re built the Tour Magdala as a �balance� to the �House of Canons� in Girona. From what little we know at present, Sauni�re became immersed in a magical experiment, practiced by this group in Girona and apparently previously practiced by Bigou � either when in exile in Spain, or before, when he was still an acting priest in Rennes-le-Ch�teau. For Sauni�re, the construction of the Tour Magdala was a key factor in an experiment he intended to perform�

Girona has a strong connection with the Cabbala and the Zohar, the Book of Light, the latter which was penned down in Spain.

Now, that Sauni�re took part in this cabbalistic hoohah after gaining his wealth means, to me, that it is unrelated to his discovery of the source of his wealth - Visigothic or otherwise. The group in Girona appear to me as  a bunch of Parisian sophisticates who hooked Sauni�re in an attempt to gain his wealth for themselves. Much as mediums have leeched off the bereaved since the mid-19th century.

Tags: barbarian rome Visigoth Alaric Middle Ages 
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