The castle is in a strategic position, dominating the village of Verteuil-sur-Charente and the Charente valley. In the past it controlled the road from Limoges to La Rochelle, on the route between the courts of France and Spain. The word "Verteuil" was often used in the Middle Ages to designate a fortified place. Jean Froissart (c. 1337–1405) described it as "un meult fort chasteau en Poictou sur les marches du Limousin et de la Saintonge" (a strong castle in Poitou on the borders of Limousin and Saintonge). The château, a few miles north of Angoulême and in fact in Angoumois, was later used as the country seat of the La Rochefoucauld family.
During the Hundred Years' War (1337–1453) the château was occupied several times by the English. It was demolished in 1442 but was soon rebuilt using the original stones.
The present château, designed on a triangular plan, has five conical towers and a watchtower capped by slate roofs. Archaeologists have uncovered traces of the older buildings on the site dating back to the 11th century. The architect Frantz Jourdain renovated the interior of the 14th-century tower as a library for the Rochefoucault family in 1893. The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries of the building, which hung in the master bedroom, were rediscovered in 1850; they were later sold to John D. Rockefeller, Jr. in 1923.
Rochefoucauld Wappen coat of armsLa Rochefoucauld was a French peerage belonging to one of the most famous families of the French nobility, whose origins go back to lord Rochefoucauld in Charente (department) in the 10th and 11th centuries (with official evidence of nobility in 1019). It became Rochefoucauld in the 13th Century.
Authors have advanced, but without evidence, that the first member of this family, Adémar, known as Amaury or Esmerin, by Viscounty of Limoges, or the son of the lord Hugh I of Lusignan. This last hypothesis could renforced by the armorial bearings of the family. Work of André Debord make it leave house of Montbron to the 12th century.
The seigniory of La Roche was originally a barony in the 13th century. The descendants of Foucauld I de La Roche and of Jarsande, united their name Foucauld.
Hugh I (fl. early tenth century), called Venator (Latin for the Hunter), was the first Lord of Lusignan. He is mentioned in the Chronicle of Saint-Maixent. It has been hypothesised that he was the huntsman, ('Le Veneur' in his native French), of the Count of Poitou or the Bishop of Poitiers on the basis of his epithet. He was succeeded by his son, Hugh II Carus, who built the Castle of Lusignan.
The title of Count of Poitiers (or Poitou, in what is now France but in the Middle Ages became part of Aquitaine). In the Middle Ages Aquitaine was a kingdom and a duchy, whose boundaries fluctuated considerably, and was an administrative region of France until 1 January 2016. It is now part of the new region New Aquitaine.
folklore, today largely forgotten.
Matriarchy - "form of social organisation in which the mother or oldest female is the head of the family, and descent and relationship are reckoned through the female line; government or rule by a woman or women."
The mythology of the ancient Basques largely did not survive the arrival of Christianity in the Basque Country between the 4th and 12th century AD. Most of what is known about elements of this original belief system is based on the analysis of legends, the study of place names and scant historical references to pagan rituals practised by the Basques.
One main figure of this belief system was the female character of Mari. According to legends collected in the area of Ataun, the other main figure was her consort Sugaar. However, due to the scarcity of the material it is difficult to say if this would have been the "central pair" of the Basque pantheon. Based on the attributes ascribed to these mythological creatures, this would be considered a chthonic religion as all its characters dwell on earth or below it, with the sky seen mostly as an empty corridor through which the divinities pass.
It is believed that Mari is a modification of Emari (gift) or Amari (mother + the suffix of profession) by losing the first vowel. The closeness in names between Mary and Mari may have helped pagans adapt their worship of Mari to undertake Christian veneration of the Virgin Mary. The first known written citation of the "Dame of Amboto" was made by Charles V's chronicler Esteban de Garibay Zamalloa in his Memorial histórico español.
Occasionally the figure of Mari is linked to the kidnapping or theft of cows. The presence of Christian priests in those myths may indicate that they are Christian fabrications or distortions of original material.
In various legends, Mari is said to have sons or daughters, but their number and character fluctuate. The two most well-known were her two sons, Atxular and Mikelatz. Atxular represents largely the Christianized Basque soul, becoming a priest after having learned from the Devil in a church in Salamanca and then having escaped. Mikelatz seems to have a more negative or wild character ; he is sometimes assimilated into the spirit of storms, Hodei, or embodied as a young red bull.
Another legend presents Mari as wife to the Lord of Biscay, Diego López I de Haro. This marriage may symbolize the legitimacy of the dynasty, much in the style of the Irish goddess marrying the kings of that island as a religious act of legitimacy. In any case, the condition that Mari imposes on her husband is that, while he could keep his Christian faith, he was obliged to keep it outside the home.
Other legends are more simple. For example, there is a legend that when one is lost in the wild, one only has to cry Mari's name loudly three times to have her appear over one's head to help the person find his or her way.
In Zeanuri, Biscay, they say that she would stay seven years in Anboto, then the next seven in a cave in Oiz called Supelegor. A similar legend in Olaeta, Biscay substitutes Gorbea for Supelegor.
Oiz is one of the most important places of the history of Biscay and the Basque Country. During the prehistory it was inhabited by shepherds that left an important legacy of megalithic monuments. Later they moved to the valleys where they left the necropolis of San Juan de Momoitio.
Oiz is one of the "Hornblower Mountains" from where the assembly of the Lordship of Biscay was gathered in the Middle Ages. This gathering was done by lighting fires and blowing into horns.
Gorbea - In 1899, Pope Leo XIII ordered crosses built on the highest Christian mountains as a sign of the new century. Due to the importance of Catholicism in the Basque Country the crosses were built.
Therefore, the commission of the Basque Country directed by Ceánuri decided to build the cross on the highest mountain of the Basque Country, Gorbea.
A legend from Otxandio, Biscay tells that Mari was born in Lazkao, Gipuzkoa, and that she was the evil sister of a Roman Catholic priest. In other legends, the priest is her cousin Juanito Chistu, rather than a brother, and is a great hunter. She was said to take a distaff by the middle and walk along spinning and leaving storms in her wake.
In Elorrieta, Biscay, it was said that she would be in her cave, combing her hair, and not even a shepherd could draw near to her. It was also said that her malign power did not extend to those who were innocent of sin.
Folklorist Resurrección María de Azkue ties Mari Urraca to a legend about a princess of the Kingdom of Navarre, originally the Kingdom of Pamplona, was a Basque-based kingdom that occupied lands on either side of the western Pyrenees, alongside the Atlantic Ocean between present-day Spain and France. A widow of a 12th-century nobleman who lived in the Tower of Muncharaz in the valley known as the Merindad de Durango. She vanished at the time of his death and was said to have headed for the cave of Anboto. According to Azkue, Iturriza tells this story in his Historia de Vizcaya. Labayru in her Historia de Vizcaya doubts it.
Mari was regarded as the protectress of senators and the executive branch. She is depicted as riding through the sky in a chariot pulled by horses or rams. Her idols usually feature a full moon behind her head.
Mari is the main character of Basque mythology, having, unlike other creatures that share the same spiritual environment, a god-like nature. Mari is often witnessed as a woman dressed in red. She is also seen as a woman of fire, woman-tree and as thunderbolt. Additionally, she is identified with red animals (cow, ram, horse), and with the black he-goat.
Santa Marina, a saint revered in the Basque Country, is a Christianized version of Mari. Basque women still invoke Santa Marina's protection against curses and for aid in childbirth.
The most accepted syncretism is with the Virgin Mary; she is widely venerated by modern Christian Basques.
In Basque mythology, Sugaar (also Sugar, Sugoi, Suarra, Maju) is the male half of a pre-Christian Basque deity associated with storms and thunder. He is normally imagined as a dragon or serpent. Unlike his female consort, Mari, there are very few remaining legends about Sugaar. The basic purpose of his existence is to periodically join with Mari in the mountains to generate the storms.
Mundaka is known as one of the most important places of the Lordship of Biscay, it was the birthplace of Jaun Zuria, the first Lord of Biscay, son of the Scottish princess who arrived in Mundaka escaping from an English King. The name of the town has Danish origin, it has been proven that the Vikings arrived there 900 years ago. According to the history of the Lordship, Mundaka has the oldest temple of Biscay, as a result, it has the first seat of the General Parliament.
It has been suggested that Jaun Zuria might have the same origin or be the same mythical figure as Olaf the White, an Irish Viking sea-king from the 9th Century.
The Basque chronicler Lope García de Salazar (1399-1476) mentions the Jaun Zuria on his Bienandanzas e Fortunas, book that he begins to write in 1471. He speaks of the daughter of a Scottish king, who arrives by ship to Mundaka and gives birth to a son in the village. Afterward, both mother and son move to Busturia, where the boy spends most of his childhood. When the son is 22 years old, the Biscayans choose him to be captain of their troops to stop the progress of the army of a Leonese king's son. He is chosen because of his royal blood, as it had been a requirement of the Leonese prince, in order to engage in a formal battle. The Leonese prince and his army are defeated in Arrigorriaga on the Battle of Padura or Arrigorriaga. Thus, the Biscayans choose him to be the first Lord of Biscay and Lord of Durangaldea, and give him the Basque name of Jaun Zuria, that is the White Lord, because of the whiteness of his skin and hair.
Shield: The coat of arms of Mundaka is formed by an oak in a gold farm with a wolf, surrounded by a chess game.
Flag: Red silk with gold thread embroidery.
There is a well-known legend that attributes the name "Mundaca" to the Latin phrase "munda aqua" ('clean water'). This legend appears in the Chronicle of Biscay written by Lope García de Salazar in the 15th century. According to this story, a ship from Scotland carrying a princess who had been banished from her homeland arrived on the coast of Mundaka. The Scots called the place "in their Latin language" (sic) "Munda aqua" since there they had found a source of very clean water that contrasted with the murky waters of the estuary of Urdaibai. This princess would have a son who would come to be called Jaun Zuria and would become, according to legend, the first Lordship of Vizcaya. This legend may also explain why Mundaca is ranked "first" among the anteiglesias of Biscay.
Ego Mome Nunnuç placuit in animis meis mitto in Sancti Johannis de Orioli de Aragone uno monasterio in Bickaga (Vizcaga) in locum quae dicitur Mondaka (Mondacha)
Some have sought a Norse origin for the name, based on the likely presence of a medieval Viking settlement in the area. In Danish, "mund" means "mouth", and "haka" means "promontory, cape". Mundaka lies precisely at the mouth of the estuary of the same Oka river .
Others have related the name "Mundaca" to a stock of Basque toponyms with the endings "-aka", "-eka", "-ika", which are especially abundant in Biscay and which can be linked with the Celto-Italic suffix "-aka". To some the origin of the name would be much older and it could be traced back to an era in which Vizcaya could have been populated by a Celtic people.
Traditionally the name was written as "'Mundaca"', but nowadays it is more commonly written as "'Mundaka"', which is an adaptation to the modern rules of spelling of the Basque language.
Mundaca, like Munitibar (Munditibar), stem Munio, Mundio (Muniozguren, Munitiz) which means Hill, hillock. Aka is a suffix known as slope, slope, as also is Ika and Eka. And seeing where Mundaca is located this is very logical: slope of the entangled or the Hill. Note the similarity of Mundi and Mendi, as well meaning a hill and a mountain.
The area has been populated since the lower Paleolithic, as attest the caves of Santimamiñe on the other side of the estuary and deposits found in Portuondo.
There are speculations with the arrival in the area of Vikings, who according to some authors justify the presence of blond types of blue eyes on the Basque coast, unlike the Basque type of interior.Anton Erkoreka asserts its presence in the 9th century based on Arabic chronicles, medieval stories and other anthropological data, while Jon Juaristi believed to have actually been a few exiled Saxons dethroned by the Vikings. Before them, the Romans arrived attracted by the marble of Ereño and whose presence bears witness to a branch of Roman roads in Balmaseda that reaches Bermeo.
The primeval Kingdom of Pamplona was formed when the native chieftain Íñigo Arista was elected or declared King in Pamplona (traditionally in 824), and led a revolt against the regional Frankish authority.The kingdom of Pamplona and then Navarre formed part of the traditional territory of the Vascones, a pre-Roman tribe who occupied the southern slope of the western Pyrenees and part of the shore of the Bay of Biscay. The area was completely conquered by the Romans by 74 BC.
Íñigo Arista (Basque: Eneko "my little (love)", Arabic: Wannaqo, c. 790 – 851 or 852) was a Basque leader, considered the first King of Pamplona. He is thought to have risen to prominence after the defeat of local Frankish partisans in 816, and his rule is usually dated from shortly after the defeat of a Carolingian army in 824.
Aiza, literally 'the oak', meaning 'the resilient') or Latin Aresta ('the considerable').
The origin of Íñigo Arista is obscure. There is even disagreement regarding the name of his father. A charter preserved at Leyre describes him as Enneco ... filius Simeonis (Íñigo son of Jimeno) and another Leyre document reports the obituary of Enneco Garceanes, que fuit vulgariter vocas Areista (Íñigo Garcés [son of García], who is commonly called Arista). Many later historians have followed one or the other of these, but the reliability of both are questioned due to the possibility of later corruption or forgery.
It has been speculated that he was kinsman of García Jiménez, who in the late 8th century succeeded his father Jimeno 'the Strong' in resisting Carolingian expansion into Vasconia. A second dynasty of Pamplona monarchs that would supplant his, the Jimena, are usually made to be related to him.
The name of Íñigo's mother is unknown (she is sometimes called Onneca, without foundation).The name of the wife (or wives) of Íñigo is not reported in contemporary records, although sources from centuries later assign her the name of Toda or Onneca. There is also scholarly debate regarding her derivation, some hypothesizing that she was daughter of Velasco, lord of Pamplona (killed 816), and others making her kinswoman of Aznar I Galíndez.
The dynasty founded by Íñigo reigned for about 80 years, being supplanted by a rival dynasty in 905. However, due to intermarriages, subsequent kings of Navarre descended from Íñigo, and some accounts even wrongly showed them to descend from Íñigo in the direct male line. He is remembered as the founder of the nation of Navarre.
There are traces of human settlement by prehistoric peoples, especially in the Périgord, but the earliest attested inhabitants in the south-west were the Aquitani, who were not proper Celtic people, but more akin to the Iberians (see Gallia Aquitania). Although a number of different languages and dialects were in use in the area during ancient times, it is most likely that the prevailing language of Aquitaine during the late pre-historic to Roman period was an early form of the Basque language.
Whether this Aquitanian language (Proto-Basque) was a remnant of a Vasconic language group that once extended much farther, or whether it was generally limited to the Aquitaine/Basque region is not known. One reason the language of Aquitaine is important is because Basque is the last surviving non-Indo-European language in western Europe and it has had some effect on the languages around it, including Spanish and, to a lesser extent, French.
The original Aquitania (named after the inhabitants) at the time of Caesar's conquest of Gaul included the area bounded by the Garonne River, the Pyrenees and the Atlantic Ocean.
The Roman Aquitania Tertia remained in place as Novempopulania, where a duke was appointed to hold a grip over the Basques (Vascones/Wascones, rendered Gascons in English). These dukes were quite detached from central Frankish overlordship, sometimes governing as independent rulers with strong ties to their kinsmen south of the Pyrenees. As of 660, the foundations for an independent Aquitaine/Vasconia polity were established by the duke Felix of Aquitaine, a magnate (potente(m)) from Toulouse, probably of Gallo-Roman stock. Despite its nominal submission to the Merovingians, the ethnic make-up of new realm Aquitaine wasn't Frankish, but Gallo-Roman north of the Garonne and main towns and Basque, especially south of the Garonne.
In 781, Charlemagne decided to proclaim his son Louis King of Aquitaine within the Carolingian Empire, ruling over a realm comprising the Duchy of Aquitaine and the Duchy of Vasconia He suppressed various Basque (Gascon) uprisings.
Aquitaine passed to France in 1137 when the duchess Eleanor of Aquitaine married Louis VII of France, but their marriage was annulled in 1152. When Eleanor's new husband became King Henry II of England in 1154, the area became an English possession, and the cornerstone of the so-called Angevin Empire. Aquitaine remained English until the end of the Hundred Years’ War in 1453, when it was annexed by France. From the 13th century until the French Revolution, Aquitaine was usually known as Guyenne.
The Basques are an indigenous ethnic group characterised by the Basque language, a common Basque culture and shared ancestry to the ancient Vascones and Aquitanians. Basques are indigenous to and primarily inhabit an area traditionally known as the Basque Country (Basque: Euskal Herria), a region that is located around the western end of the Pyrenees on the coast of the Bay of Biscay and straddles parts of north-central Spain and south-western France.
Some scholars have suggested a Celtic etymology based on bhar-s-, meaning "summit", "point" or "leaves", according to which barscunes may have meant "the mountain people", "the tall ones" or "the proud ones". In Basque, the people call themselves the euskaldunak, singular euskaldun, formed from euskal- (i.e. "Basque (language)") and -dun (i.e. "one who has"); euskaldun literally means a Basque speaker. Euskara would literally mean "way of saying", "way of speaking".
In the 19th century, the Basque nationalist activist Sabino Arana posited an original root euzko which, he thought, came from eguzkiko ("of the sun", related to the assumption of an original solar religion). On the basis of this putative root, Arana proposed the name Euzkadi for an independent Basque nation, composed of seven Basque historical territories.
Since the Basque language is unrelated to Indo-European, it has long been thought to represent the people or culture that occupied Europe before the spread of Indo-European languages there. A comprehensive analysis of Basque genetic patterns has shown that Basque genetic uniqueness predates the arrival of agriculture in the Iberian Peninsula, about 7,000 years ago.
Pre-Indo-European languages are any of several old languages, not necessarily related to one another, that existed in prehistoric Europe and South Asia before the arrival of speakers of Indo-European languages. The oldest Indo-European language texts date from 19th century BCE in Kültepe in modern-day Turkey, and while estimates vary widely, spoken Indo-European languages are believed to have developed at the latest by the third millennium BCE (see Proto-Indo-European Urheimat hypotheses). Thus the Pre-Indo-European languages must have developed earlier than, or in some cases alongside, the Indo-European languages.
A handful of these languages still survive. Some of the pre-Indo-European languages are attested only as linguistic substrates in Indo-European languages; however, some others (like Etruscan, Minoan, Iberian etc.) are also attested from inscriptions.
The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries were recorded in a 1680 inventory of the Paris possessions of Duke Francois VI. From various symbolic motifs the tapestries seem to have been made to celebrate a marriage, probably that of Anne of Brittany (1477–1514) and Louis XII of France (1462–1515). The royal arms of Louis and Anne would have once decorated the sky in most of the tapestries. The 1728 inventory recorded five of The Hunt of the Unicorn tapestries hanging in the château's master bedroom. The tapestries, which were well over two hundred years old, were almost half worn out. Two more of the tapestries were in "a large lower hall near the chapel, presently serving as a storage place for furniture." They were described as "two pieces of tapestry of the Unicorn, torn in various places."
During the French Revolution Ruffec's Comité de Surveillance ruled that the old tapestries of the château could be preserved since they bore no royal insignia. It seems that the insignia had been cut out so the tapestries would not be destroyed by the mob when the château was looted in 1793. They were taken by peasants who used them to protect their potatoes from freezing and to cover their Espalier trees. Count Hippolyte rediscovered the Unicorn tapestries of the château in the 1850s, being used by a peasant to cover vegetables in his barn. After being restored they were hung in a salon of the château in 1856. Xavier Barbier de Montault saw the tapestries at Verteuil in the 1880s, and said that although "somewhat restored, [they] are of a freshness and of an incomparable grace".
Love and light,