[Note: All Basque words are in Italics and Bold-faced Green]
Alcuin came to Charlemagne's Court to bring the very best of English learning to a country where most knowledge was retained in oral form. As in York, there was no regular Benedictine monastery in Aachen and therefore the large scriptorium was attached to the Palatine School of Charlemagne. The Benedictine monks who lived there were all linguists who worked with the grammarians to develop the German language. Already during the reign of Charles Martel and Pepin the Short a simple version of the Palace school had existed, but training had been restricted to court manners, procedures and protocol.
Irish monks had come to the continent in the 6th century to bring their brand of Gnostic Christianity and had brought along their own Gnostic Gospels. St. Columban had established monasteries in Luxeuil, Sanct Gallen and Bobbio and assisted in monastery construction at Faremontiers, Jouarre and Rabais. St. Gall had taken over at Sanct Gallen which was named after him. Virgil the Geometer, the nemesis of Bonifacius, had been bishop in Salzburg for many years. The scholar Donatus had been elected bishop of Fiesole and ruled there for nearly 50 years. St. Pirmin built Reichenau, Murbach and Amorbach. Many other religious houses had been started by the Irish such as Lumièges, Auxerre, Laon, Liège, Trier, Würzburg, Regensburg, Rheinau, Vienna, Lucca and many others, but none had taught secular or worldly learning.
The Gnostic monks had brought the simple message of Jesus, of peace and love, decency and caring, without applying coercion. Gnostic Christianity had evolved directly from the Ashera or Goddess religion, from ash-era, asho-era: axola (care) -era (ing): "Caring" and had retained the loving, caring deity of that religion, as opposed to pre-Hebraic Judaism in which a jealous and tribal god-king had married the chief priestess and placed her in an inferior position (see Raphael Patai, "The Hebrew Goddess"). The Gnostic type of Christianity was egalitarian and unstructured and therefore had no hierarchy of deacons, priests, bishops and pope. They prayed directly to their Deity, a right which was denied the people by the Roman Catholic missionaries. The Irish Gnostic Christian monks had made great strides in introducing a peaceful renaissance in the Ashera religion, aimed at modernizing the age-old habits and eliminating the human sacrifice of a young man, of which Jesus may have been the last one (see Tammuz in: Ezekiel 8:14). As such, the Irish monks, who were primarily converted clergy of the Goddess religion, had fitted in well, and were welcomed wherever they went. They had been given all help needed to establish their monasteries. The Gnostic Gospels they brought along did not include the Old Testament accounts of the brutal assault on the "Land of Milk and Honey" as documented in such graphic and gruesome detail in Numbers, Kings, Joshua and Judges.
This all changed with the coming of the priests of Orthodox Christianity, whose avowed duty it was to destroy the old order with all means at their disposal and to introduce Judeo-Christianity. Theirs was a belief that talked about love but did not accept a refusal of it. Charlemagne had even issued an Edict, some time between 782 and 785, which laid down his law among newly conquered people. The death penalty was prescribed for anyone refusing Christian baptism, for burning a Catholic church, stealing any of its contents, conspiring against Christian men and for disloyalty towards the King. No wonder the independent Germans and Friesians were disgusted and fought back, in the process creating a fair number of martyrs, Bonifacius among them.
The Benedictines had learned from the Irish experience and as soon as it was humanly possible to do so, under abbot Pirmin, the Reichenau monastery was taken over from the Gnostic monks who had built it on an island in Lake Constance, again on an ancient holy Ashera site. As did the name Monte before, the name Reichenau reflected the traditional Benedictine hospitality:
.re - ike - ena - au
St. Willebrord built at Echternach, in Luxemburg:
ek. - .te - er. - .na - ak.
St Chrodegang built at Lorsch near Mainz, a name which may come from:
St. Bonifacius established his monastery in Fritzlar in Hesse:
.f. - .ri - itz. - .la - ar.
Bonifacius' other favourite was Fulda in Hesse-Nassau:
fu - ul. - .da
Bishop Butchard's monastery was at Würtzburg:
urtz ' bu - urg
It was the same place where the Irish monk Kilian had built:
.ki - ili - an.
ALCUIN'S CO-WORKERS IN GERMANY
When Alcuin arrived at the Court in Aachen he met there the deacon Peter of Pisa, a specialist in grammar and correct usage of words, as shown in Greek and Latin texts. Peter also was one of the main grammarians of the German language. Alcuin had been hired to train the monks who would bring the newly made-up language to the people and soon wrote a textbook "for the use of his pupils and for the love of his lord" meaning Charles. Where the serious Alcuin became Charles' advisor in matters of education, civilization and government, Peter advised the king for a variety of gayer purposes and wrote a number of poems under Charles' name. When Alcuin met Peter, he was already aging and declining fast in health and influence but his funny streak stayed with him until the end.
Another teacher of grammar in the palace school was Paul the Deacon, who was also learned in Latin and Greek. To please Princess Adelga, the daughter of Desiderius (king of Lombard Italy), he translated and censored into suitable Christian language the "Roman History" written by Eutropius.
ade - el. - .ga
Paul also wrote the first commentary on the "Little Rule" of St. Benedict. In spite of being very productive and appreciated, Paul was quite unhappy at the Court and he eventually left to live at Monte Cassino. His unhappiness pours out of a letter he wrote to Abbot Theodemar:
"They are Catholics here, it is true, and they practice Christian ways; they welcome me, all of them and are kind to me, for the love of our Father Benedict and your own high fame. But in comparison with your monastery this Palace is a prison and when I think of the peace there, life here is one hurricane! Only in body I am here. Please dear brothers, please keep on asking our blessed common Father and Teacher St. Benedict that by his merits he may prevail with Christ and send me back without delay" (Duckett, p. 100).
Under Charles' constant urging, life in Aachen must have been like living in a pressure cooker, there was so much to do, so little time and so few of them to do it. Burnout was taking its toll. However, before Paul left for Monte Cassino he abridged for king Charles the Roman "On the meaning of words" by Pompeius Festus. He also wrote many little riddles, fables, reflections and happy guessing games all designed to familiarize the students with the newly created German language. He and Peter of Pisa exchanged poems and problems of the imagination, many of them written under the name of Charles. Of interest are Paul's fables on the sick lion, the vengeful fox, the hungry calf, and the thin-legged stork. He even wrote on gout and fleas and how to stop these plagues.
One of Alcuin's closest friends was Paulinus, a teacher of literature who had been in Aachen for several years before Alcuin came. When Paulinus had gone to live in Aquileia, Alcuin wrote: "I have always loved you dear friend, ever since I came to know you. I have inscribed the name of my Paulinus, not on waxed tablets where it could be rubbed out, but in my heart for always. Do not forget the name of your Alcuin in your prayers". Peter, Paul and Paulinus had been full-time teachers, leaders of discussions in the humanities, but there were others such as Angilbert, a young lad who became a Court poet and close associate of Charles.
Angilbert loved learning, the arts, the beauty of the world, but above all he loved king Charles' daughter. Charles did not approve and sent him to the abbey of St. Riquier near Amiens as abbot, where he contributed greatly to the glory of its architecture and the books with which he endowed the abbey at Centula.
Charlemagne proved to be a master of strong-handed tactics. He massacred tens of thousands of honest free people who had severe reservations about his aggressive form of Christianity. Had Christ been with King Charles on those forays, He certainly would not have recognized His own religion and would have been horrified of what had happened to the cause for which he voluntarily gave His life. However, Alcuin said nothing and took these brutalities in stride as an unavoidable evil necessary to force the people to accept Christianity. A look at the meaning of Charlemagne's name is worth while. The name Charlemagne comes from: Caroli magni rex; or written with the VCV formula: .ka-aro-oli .ma-ag.-.ni .re-ek.-.s.:
.ka - aro - oli
aka - aro - oli
akatsbako - arro - oliotu
perfect - proud – holy
"Perfect, proud and holy ...
.ma - ag. - .ni
ema - agu - uni
eman - aguregin - unibertsal
to be devoted - to worship – general
.... devoted to general worship, ....
.re - ek. - .s.
are - eko - osa
arretatu - ekoizpen – osatze
.... foresaw the creation of unity".
King Charles tried to be everywhere and be all things, a super-human effort in which he succeeded because of determination, a brilliant mind and an iron constitution. Barely back from his military campaigns, he would attend to his school, asking questions, encouraging, criticizing, always full of new ideas. If he had been near an established monastery, he would bring rare books and ancient poetry of his people that he ordered copied. At the king's request, the Benedictine grammarians were busily preparing a book of instruction in grammar for the new language. As illiterate as he was, he even took a personal interest in the word-invention process when he designed new names for the 12 months of the year and the directions of the winds.
Charlemagne's names for the months:
Charlemagne's names for the winds:
INTRODUCING THE NEW LANGUAGE
On March 23, 789 Charlemagne sent out a "General Admonition", a series of Edicts. They dealt with the duties and behaviour of the bishops, priests, deacons and monks. There is no doubt that Edict #72 was written by Alcuin who had long advocated the establishment of schools for the common people throughout the land. The new German language, having advanced enough so simple sentences could be spoken, King Charles decided that it was time to rule that:
"There be schools to teach boys to read. Correct, we command you, with due care the copies of the psalms, the written signs, the chants, the calendar, the grammar in each monastery and diocese, and the Catholic books, because often people wish to pray to the Lord, but do so badly, because the books are at fault. And do not allow your boys to corrupt the books by their own reading or writing" (Ducket p122).
Alcuin's residential schools proved to be very effective in spreading the new language and religion. The boys were like prisoners and often brutally and degradingly treated, especially if they tried to speak their mothers' tongue, the universal language, or reverted to "pagan" practices. This system of education was so successful that it continued in use. Centuries later the colonial powers applied it throughout the world by giving the churches the right to "educate" native children. The mere speaking of their native language often resulted in corporal and other punishment. Until the late 20th Century, Canada used this abominable system to force a European education onto its large native population. It was only abandoned after the boys' complaints of sexual harassment and gross indecency by many of the clergy were finally taken seriously.
As literacy spread among the people living near monks who had been trained by Alcuin, Charles' enthusiasm for the new language became infectious and popular. Many persons who still had knowledge of the Universal Language, started to use it to invent new words and names, but like Charlemagne, only rarely following the strict rules by which the Benedictine linguists worked. For many years to come, this word and name invention game would be a popular pastime until the new language was saturated with acrostically mutilated words and names, and the population in the main centers was comfortable with the new language.
The time had thus come for the final solution of the "Ashera Problem". Away from population centers, in many small isolated farming, herding and fishing communities, the universal language was still spoken, especially in southern Germany, the Alps and northern Italy, the very population from which the Benedictines for over 1,000 years had obtained the needed linguist/grammarians. These last pockets of Ligurian/Basque speakers were then removed around 1,600 A.D. by condemning all those women as witches who still taught the Ligurian language to their children. In the records of the Inquisition the women’s' speech is invariably recorded as "utterings" or "incantations", certain proof of witchcraft, which meant that Exodus 22:18 had to be invoked: "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." In fact, the church knew very well that witchcraft was impossible, that it didn't exit. Their witch hunt was just a cover for their incredibly brutal holocaust, designed to wipe out the last remnants of the universal language and with it the legends passed on by the women.
The operations manual of the Inquisition, The Malleus Maleficarum (Kramer), written by the Dominicans, provided all necessary justification for this terrible and incomprehensible injustice. It was estimated by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas at Stanford University, that up to nine million people, overwhelmingly women, were condemned to an excruciatingly painful and cruel burning death. To the eternal credit of the Benedictines, their Order appeared to have wanted no role in this holocaust. Those monks and priests who dared to speak out against this most horrible crime of all times were reminded of the Pope' warning: "People who hold that witches do not exist are to be regarded as notorious heretics" (Kramer & Spencer 1991, p.8 & 275) which meant burning at the stake. All Basque women on the French side of the Spanish border were also declared to be witches and many courageous Basque- speaking priests protested; they were subsequently tortured into confessing that they had conducted black masses and were also burned (de Lancre). Today many university linguists are still instructed to teach that the universal language never existed. They all meekly comply!
Sadness fell over the entire school when it was announced that the young Queen Hildegard had died. She was king Charles' third wife and had been only 12 years old when she married him and in the 12 years of married life had given birth to 9 children of which 3 had died in infancy. Alcuin had much appreciated the beautiful young woman. Her charming personality had enlivened the Court: Hildegard:
il. - .de - ega - ard.
Charles did not remain single for long. A year later he married an eastern Frank known now as Fastrada. As beloved as Hildegard had been, Queen Fastrada became greatly disliked. Einhard, Charles' biographer, relates stories about her cruelty that even made her own people, the eastern Franks, rise in revolt.
Fastrada was obviously not the name by which she called herself:
fa - aztra - ada
Although the uprising of her people was quickly squashed, a second, potentially more serious one started soon after. It was prompted by Charles' own son Pippin the Hunchback, because he and the Frankish nobles could not bear the cruelty of the Queen.
Charles was warned just in time about the revolt and the leaders died by the sword and the gallows. Charles could not kill his own son but banished him to the monastery of Prüm in Lorraine. Fastrada died after 11 years of marriage. She had given birth to two daughters, Hiltrud and Theodrada, both of whom became abbesses in France. The fifth queen of Charles was Liutgard, of German origin, according to Theodulf a gracious, courteous and generous person, delighting in books and the arts. Liutgard's name confirms this:
.li - ut. - .ga - ard
Where Queen Hildegard had been a much-appreciated student of Alcuin, Queen Liutgard became his friend and confidante. They helped each other whenever in need and he admired her greatly during the few years of her life at the Court.
Alcuin was an extremely devoted teacher, administrator and disciplinarian and a stimulator of young and old but he was neither an original thinker, a poet, nor a philosopher. He was content to compile his lessons by borrowing from established authorities, which often made his treatises dull and dry. However, he was rich in experience and knowledge of human nature, had an encyclopedic knowledge of available information, and knew exactly in which books this was to be found. Through prolific correspondence with his many friends, all over western Europe, he was knowledgeable about all that was going on in monasteries and schools and even in Rome.
To teach the new German language, Alcuin had adopted the method of dialogue, question and answer. He insisted on proper pronunciation in reading and gave careful instruction in the mysteries of metre and rhythm. In his book On Orthography he lists many words in alphabetical order and teaches proper form, declension and usage so that his students would write and speak correctly. He pointed out pitfalls in Latin such as the initial "a" in ara (altar) and hara (pigsty); the confusion of "b" and "v" in bile and vile, acerbus (harsh) and acervus (heap). His sources were Bede, Priscian and Cassiodorus with a little Alcuin added. He also compiled a long list of simple questions and not so logical answers, especially designed to increase the student's vocabulary and usage of the new language. The answers he devised were not so much intended as a good response to the questions as to familiarize the students with the usage of the newly invented words.
1. What is writing? the guardian of history.
2. What is speech? the revealer of the spirit
3. What gives birth to speech? the tongue.
4. What is the tongue? the lash of the air.
5. What is air? the guardian of life.
6. What is life? the joy of the blessed,
the sorrow of the sad,
the looking for death.
7. What is death? an inevitable happening,
an uncertain pilgrimage,
the tears of the living,
the basis of last wills and testaments,
the thief of man
8. What is man? the bondsman of death,
a passing wayfarer,
a guest sojourning on earth.
9. To what is man like? to an apple on a tree.
10. How is he placed? like a lantern in the wind.
30. What are the lips? the doors of the mouth.
31. What is the throat? the devourer of food.
39. What is the stomach? the cook of food.
49. What is day? the simulant of toil.
51. What is the moon? The eye of the night, the giver of dew,
the foreteller of storms.
65. What is spring? the painter of the earth.
67. What is autumn? the barn of the year.
Alcuin used a great many riddles for the same purpose, knowing that they had to be memorized by heart to be remembered,
such as his #42: A ladder has 100 steps. On the first sits one pigeon, on the second two, on the third three, and so on up to the
100th. How many pigeons in all? Alcuin's answer was: Step 1 plus step 99 = 100, step 2 plus step 98 = 100 and so on to come up
with: 49 x 100 + 50 + 100 = 5050. Working out their own solutions to the problem, this forced the students to use many words
and numbers, some not in common use, others were suggested as yet to be invented. It was just like the grammarian wrote in the
Auraicept: Berlan-etarscartha: .be-er.-.la-an. eta-ar.-.s.-.ka-ar.-.ta (lines 1317, 2526, 4635):
.be - er. - ,la - an.
obe - ere - ela - an
obetoezin - ereduztatu - ela - andana
perfectly - adapted - word - in groups
eta - ar. - .s. - .ka - ar. - .ta
eta - ara - asi - ika - are - eta
-eta - arazoi - asi - ikaskintza - arretazko - eta
abundant - reason - to begin - instruction - careful – afterwards
"Perfectly adapted words in groups (are) abundant reason to begin careful instruction afterwards".
It was the questions and riddles which provided the grammarians with goals to work towards, designing groups of words which could accommodate the discussions associated with the key-words in the riddles. This must have lead to endless testing among the grammarians to ensure that the riddle solving could be done with all the necessary words in place before the group of words was released. Charlemagne also needed Alcuin to eliminate the troublesome oral traditions of the people by replacing them with literacy. Written records could be easily manipulated, censored, copied and hidden or destroyed. They were far easier to influence than the age-old tradition of memorizing by professionals that memorized. Where memorizing had been a highly respected art, it now became a hazardous vocation, because after the priestesses and clergy had been disposed of by the church, the professionals came next.
The oral tradition had created the great stability of the ancient language. Its demise would leave a vacancy that could only be filled only inadequately by the introduction of writing. Alcuin was brought in to bring this change about and in the process, he was to get rid of the persistent ancient native language. Alcuin had started this task by vowing that he himself would never again speak the universal language of his ancestors and urged others to do the same. Being a man of high principles and great determination, he succeeded where everyone else had failed, but only after Charlemagne had extracted an incredible price in blood. Finally his efforts resulted in the Germans, Danes, Friesians and Hollanders accepting new and highly immature languages against their will, while the speaking of their own beautiful and mature language was forbidden.
When Benedictine abbeys had been established at places such as Pannonhalma in Hungary, Nidaros in Norway and Tyniec in Poland, the basic acrostic word-invention processes, proven so effective in England and Germany, were repeated there, only with drastic changes in basic syntax, characters and pronunciation. The methods Alcuin had developed were put to good use, when the Benedictines became established in these places. But what did the grammarian who made up the word "acrostic", tell us what he meant? The English word "acrostic", when analyzed, only makes partial sense because it is incomplete. The word must therefore have originated outside of England. In German and Greek the word is: "akrostichon", which is much more promising. When each consonant of this word is arranged with the VCV formula, it reads as follows: ak.-.ro-os.-.ti-ik.-.ho-on.:
ak. aka akabu perfect
.ro aro aroztegi forged
os. osa osagai component
.ti ati atxiki to agglutinate
ik. ika ikaskizun lesson to be learned
.ho aho ahohizkuntza spoken language
on. one oneratu to improve
Perfectly forged agglutinated components are the lesson to be learned to improve the spoken language.
This is not exactly a definition of acrostic as is taught today, but it tells us something; it does admit that acrostics was used to create a spoken language. In any case, it is usually possible, like the examples above, to identify the words which were used to assemble the new word.
It was the awesome task given to the Benedictines to re-make the culture, religion and language of this ancient and happy society which had a highly disciplined civilization, no weapons or fortifications, had a marvelous work-ethic and led a life of caring communal solidarity. It was a fore drawn conclusion that the indoctrinated Benedictines would not be welcome. Literally every aspect of the old order was overturned by them with enormous and tragic consequences for the population. It may be said that the Benedictines tore down, re-organized, re-built and re-inspired the west, just like the Ligurian/Basque word erald expressed: from eraldatu (to transform) the first part erald then became the Dutch word "wereld" and, slightly manipulated, the English word "world."
The profession of the language inventor was already ancient by the time Benedict of Nursia built his monastery on the rocky hill half way between Rome and Naples. Language invention had always been the manipulating of the versatile Saharan language which the Basque of today is a close relative. This is mentioned in Genesis 11:1: "...now the whole earth had one language...” Such manipulating may have started at the time of Pharaoh Djoser, around 3,200 bce. in an effort to create a form of magical writing which would be reserved for scholars, not to be read by the common masses. The genius that invented the VCV agglutinating system created something that is used (even to this day by a few scholars in the know) to make up names, which could not be deciphered, until Edo Nyland cracked the ancient code (see Saharan). The system was taken over by those who wanted to destroy the Ashera religion and used to create a plethora of unstable languages. Where the ideology used to be "make love, not war", this was turned around to "make war, not love" by removing the feminine aspects from the new polytheistic proto-Judaic religion.
In those early days before 3,000 bce., Judaism was a missionary religion. Groups of missionary linguists and clergy followed the trade routes to far-away places and created new languages with associated scripts. Some of these were Akadian (Iraq), Sanskrit (India), Tocharian (China), Iberian (Spain), Ge'ez (Ethiopia), Hebrew (Palestine) and possibly even Japanese and Quechua, the Inca Language (ainkoa is Basque for the god), This enormous linguistic effort had already created many languages by the time Benedict set up his linguistics-training center at Monte Cassino abbey. The patriarchal insistence on confusing the one and only universal language had been repeated later in Genesis 11:7: "Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech" and was closely tied in with the patriarchs' determination to destroy the ancient pre-Christian religion, so clearly expressed in the Bible. The decision to invent new languages may therefore have been made about 3.200 years before Christ was born. When the Benedictine monks invented English, they had created a winner; it still is England's most successful export.
One of the invented languages was Latin, which had been pioneered by a highly educated missionary group of Luwian clergy who appeared to have settled in Italy and had started what later became known as the Etruscan culture. They brought pre-Hebraic Judaism of the jealous sky God to their new homeland of Tuscani and along with this created a form of writing that still defies complete deciphering. They laid down firm rules of syntax and grammar for the new liturgical language called “Latin This development work was going on when the Romans took over Tuscani and adopted the new and still immature Latin as their own language of state and general use. They also introduced a different type of script, possibly borrowed from the Phoenicians, which we still use today.
The meaning of the word "Latin" tells a story:
Their linguists exploited the unique characteristics of the Ligurian/Basque Language, still spoken in Northern Italy, by applying the VCV formula, as described in previously. The result was a beautiful sounding and elegant language that was considerably easier to learn than the complicated but very logical Ligurian Language. The highly structured Latin language, which appeared and sounded quite different from the "pagan" language it originated from, appealed to the newly established Christian community in Rome. The Roman Catholic church leadership then ordered it and its script to be adapted for use as their own liturgical language. Eventually Benedict was given the task to use the same agglutinating formula as the basis for developing the Romance group of languages including Spanish and Catalan, French and Provençal, Italian and Rumanian, which therefore became second level invented languages (see Classifying the Worlds' Languages). Thus Latin became the communication language of the Benedictines. This was a very necessary decision because the efforts to create new regional languages, which only the local Benedictines could understand, were not suited for international communication between the many monasteries and Rome.
For further detail, please refer to:
Nyland, Edo. 2001. Linguistic Archaeology: An
Introduction. Trafford Publ., Victoria, B.C., Canada.
Nyland, Edo. 2002. Odysseus and the Sea Peoples: A
Bronze Age History of Scotland Trafford Publ., Victoria,