dissabte, 15 d’octubre de 2011

By the name of the country - Pel nom del país.

The afternoon sun declined towards the horizon as the evening slowly overran the day, the last light of day pulling out golden reflections of the ochre facade of the magnificent building that housed the Academy of Good Letters. The great door opened and out came a man of middle age, wearing a brown coat and breeches of velvet of a darker shade of the same color. Turning towards the inside, made a salute with his hand and started to walk swiftly downwards to the street. Arnau de Cardona was an enlightened man, expert in several matters, who frequented the house to debate with other scholars about whatever.

That afternoon they had talked about origins. They had did so for all that Wednesday afternoon, as they had done so in the morning, speaking specifically of the origin of the name of their nation: Catalaunia. Since it was founded a dozen years ago, the Academy had seen between its walls a whole host of scholars and know-it-alls talking about and settling all kinds of things. Since that day, now distant about twenty years, when the end of the war brought the power to govern their own destiny, the most incisive minds in the country, and others which were not so, had assumed the task of returning it to prosperity after the arduous conflict and make of it an important crucible of culture.

The form of government adopted by the state, the republic, was the one which was more easily and better suited to the country's institutions and the people who were ruled and governed by them. The powerful middle class and the intense commercial activity of before the war had recovered and had got even more impulse. The state was now led by its citizens, a fact which had a multiplier effect on the activity of those same citizens. A side effect of becoming a fully independent nation, which did not share even its head of state with another, was the emergence of a stream of patriotic assertion that wanted to recover the memory of the country to strengthen the identification of its citizenship with the nation.

One of the investigations that had been done sought to ascertain the original meaning of the word which what used to name the country: Catalaunia. After several researching, a meeting was convened where the results would be made public. Arnau de Cardona had been invited, and now came out of it, quite satisfied. Some interesting hypotheses had been explained, and finally had come to conclusions.

On one hand, there were those who argued that the name descended from the ancient name of the territory that was the origin of the Visigothic kingdom and later reconquered tp the Muslims in the times of the Carolingian monarchs, the Mark of Gòtia: Gotholònia. Moreover, a large group felt that the name was derived from the characteristic abundance of castles and administrators of these (castlans) in a border land like Catalàunia. But most surprising was the final speech, vehemently defended, which said that the name was the result of consideration of the country as a land of the righteous or land of the pure.

The legend went that Mary Magdalene, who could have been the wife of Jesus of Nazareth, had landed with her family on the northern shores of the country. It had to be understood that, in times past, the country extended their territories further north than in the present times. So the wife and children of Jesus Christ should be established in those lands, as his followers did. The Greek word Katharos that means pure, would have been used to designate the land and its inhabitants. It was not surprising that much later the Cathars took this name also. And so the land known as Katharoilònia, or similar, would have ended deriving in the name Catalàunia. It was agreed that, for its implications, this could be problematic as a name, fact that later would have caused its association with a supposed Gothic origin.

All in all, quite interesting in view of Arnau de Cardona, who, while jamming on his tricorne hat and wrapping up himself with his cloak against the incipient cold autumn, was thinking that he had to meet up with a military officer with whom he had to have dinner that same night, one that would put him up with the difficult situation in the northwest part of the border where he had to be escorted to by the following week. A mission was waiting there, and one related to some strange way he had heard that afternoon at the Academy of Letters.

Sobre el nom del país.

El sol de la tarda ja declinava cap a l'horitzó, el vespre s'anava ensenyorint del dia i les darreres llums del dia arrencaven reflexes daurats de l'ocre façana del magnífic edifici que albergava l'Acadèmia de les Bones Lletres. La gran porta s'obrí i en sortí un home, de mitjana edat, que vestia casaca marró de pany fi i calces de vellut d'un to més fosc del mateix color. Tombant-se cap a l'interior, féu una salutació amb la mà i arrencà amb pas lleuger cap el carrer. N'Arnau de Cardona era un home il·lustrat, coneixedor de matèries diverses, que freqüentava aquella casa per a debatre amb d'altres erudits sobre el què fos.

Aquella tarda havien xerrat sobre els orígens. Portaven tota aquella tarda de dimecres, com havien fet també al matí, parlant, concretament, de l'origen del nom de la seva nació: Catalaunia. Des de que es fundà una dotzena d'anys enrere, l'Acadèmia havia vist com entre aquelles parets tota una munió de savis i saberuts xerrar i dirimir sobre tot tipus de coses. Des d'aquell dia, ara llunyà d'uns vint anys, en què el final de la guerra els portà la facultat de regir el seu propi destí, les ments més incisives del país, i d'altres que no ho eren tant, havien assumit la tasca de retornar-lo a la prosperitat després de l'arduós conflicte i de fer-ne també un important gresol de cultura.

La forma de govern adoptada per a l'estat, la república, era la que millor i més ràpidament s'adaptava a les institucions del país i les persones que el governaven i eren governades. La potent classe burgesa i la intensa activitat comercial d'abans de la guerra s'havien recuperat i havien agafat embranzida i tot. L'estat era ara dirigit pels seus ciutadans, i això havia tingut un efecte multiplicador a l'activitat dels mateixos. Un efecte col·lateral d'esdevenir una nació completament independent, que ja no compartia ni tan sols el cap d'estat amb cap altra, havia estat el sorgiment d'un corrent d'afirmació patriòtica que volia recuperar la memòria del país per a afermar la identificació de la ciutadania amb la nació.

Una de les investigacions que s'havia fet cercava d'esbrinar el significat original del mot amb què s'anomenava el país: Catalaunia. Després de diverses recerques, fou convocada una trobada on aquestes es farien públiques. N'Arnau de Cardona hi havia estat convidat, i ara en sortia, prou satisfet. Havien aparegut hipòtesis interessants, i finalment havien arribat a unes conclusions.

Per un costat, hi havia qui defensava que el nom descendia de l'antiga denominació del territori que fou l'origen del regne visigot i més tard reconquerit als musulmans en temps dels monarques carolingis com a Marca de Gòtia: Gotholònia. Per altra banda, un nombrós grup opinava que el nom era derivació de la característica abundància de castells i administradors d'aquests (castlans) d'una terra fronterera com la de Catalàunia. Però el més sorprenent havia estat la intervenció final, que havia defensat de forma vehement que tal nom era resultat de la consideració del país com a terra de justos o terra dels purs.

Deia la llegenda que Maria Magdalena, que podria haver estat la muller de Jesús de Natzaret, havia desembarcat amb la seva família a les costes del nord del país. Calia entendre que, en temps pretèrits, el país estenia els seus territoris molt més al nord que a l'actualitat. Així, la muller i els fills de Jesucrist s'haurien establert a aquelles terres, com els seus seguidors. La paraula grega katharos, que significa pur, s'hauria fet servir per a designar aquelles terres i els seus habitants. No fou gens estrany que molt posteriorment els càtars prenguessin també aquesta denominació. Essent la terra denominada com Katharoilònia, o semblant, hauria acabat derivant a Catalàunia. Hom estava d'acord què, per les seves implicacions, podria resultar problemàtica tal denominació, fet pel que més endavant s'hauria associat amb una suposada procedència gòtica.

Tot plegat, força interessant en opinió de l'Arnau de Cardona, que mentre es calava el tricorni i es cobria amb el capot del fred de la incipient tardor, anava rumiant que havia de retrobar-se amb un oficial de l'exèrcit amb el que havia de sopar aquella mateixa nit, que el posaria al dia de la difícil situació a la part de la frontera nordoest a on l'havia d'escortar la setmana següent. Una missió els esperava, allà, relacionada d'una certa i curiosa manera amb el que havia sentit aquella tarda a l'Acadèmia de les Bones Lletres.

9 comentaris:

  1. Salvador,
    *Great* decision: a warm welcome to the 'bloggingverse' of 18th C. Imagi-Nations!
    Actually I'm following 'La Santa Espina', and added a 'Fict' link to it on MC, as soon as you gave the url of this new blog.


    Btw, if you with to encrust a directly functional link in a blog post or comment, I can't give you the information in this comment (and neither in a blog post: naively, i tried!) because it implies html codes which once 'published' become invisible, are rejected or make the text unreadable.
    Thus I added it as images to an old post, already dealing with blogging issues, on MC (scroll down).
    By clicking on the image you come to an enlarged, readable version, but it would be more handy to download it and read it at leisure on screen or even to print it?

    Hoping to be helpful,
    cheers,
    Jean-Louis

    PS: sorry for the delay, but for 48h for some reason I could not post comments on your blogs... and actually this one disappeared again after a few minutes, so I re-post it?

    ResponElimina
  2. :-D
    Problem fixed. Blogger looked like it did not like your comments and categorized them as spam. Being suspicious of this I checked it and found the comments. I reclassified them as not spam and so here they are. I also did not erase any comment as I find it can noly be praised that you have had both the patience and kindness for insisting.
    Already answered about the encrusted link, I'm on it. Thank you! Merci beaucoup!

    ResponElimina
  3. Also, I've seen the link at your blog -merci! I have to say that I think that this Catalaunia may be more of an ImagiNation than Msr. Vilalta's Galatea. While he deals with a good many historical characters, I'll keep those people's involvement to a minimum, choosing instead fictitious people to play as main characters.

    Moreover, while Lluís Galatans have to fight against Spanish and French, Catalaunians will have different neighbours. For example, Scandalusia (if it ever flourishes again) or other Hispanic ImagiNations (including a Gallia like Spain; it could well go by the name Hispania itself and have Aragonia or Valentia as vassals of Castilia and, of course, an ever rebellious basque ImagiNation in Euskadi and Navarre) and Poictesme.

    Always in wait of your letters (even if they are virtual). Cheers et au revoire!

    ResponElimina
  4. So promising! A fascinating aspect of the Imagi-Nations 'Blogverse' is the so rich diversity of personal approaches.

    Thus eventually all my comments appeared.
    Please delete the redundant ones using the trashcan icon. Ticking the 'delete forever' option the deleted comment leaves no trace at all, and thus leaves a 'clean' thread post + comments.
    Sorry for my... impetuousness.

    Cheers!
    How do you say ¡Hasta la victoria, siempre! in Catalan?

    ResponElimina
  5. Thank you! Redundant comments erased, problem fixed.
    Don't be sorry; one can't be wrong to keep trying to communicate and you 've been most helpful for without your comments I could not have solved such an annoying problem.
    We'd say "Fins a la victòria, sempre!" (Note the exclamation mark only at the final part, contrary to the spanish putting it both at the start and end).
    BUT we should use an expression which was (almost) contemporary and which the Catalans embroidered in their black flags:
    Viurem lliures o morirem!
    (We will live free or we will die!)
    A reveure! (Catalan for Au revoire!)

    ResponElimina
  6. I confess that the Monte-Cristan motto would be closer to 'We will live lazying(*) or die fighting!' :)
    --
    * Feast and fun / Sea, sex and sun...

    ResponElimina
  7. Ah Monte Cristo, the XVIIIth century ImagiNations Eivissa (Ibiza)! Party, lust and happiness!
    La vie en rose!

    ResponElimina
  8. Monte-Cristans are fully aware that to break interdicts can lead to death as likely as to liberty. That's why -while as a rule favoring merry stories with happy endings- they cherish the sad tale of the Donna di Scalotta 'the Lily Maid of Astolat'; and cherish their own freedom.

    ResponElimina