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Basque Mythology

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« on: February 07, 2007, 02:02:46 am »

The Basques are the oldest people in Europe and share genetic traits in common with both the Guanches and Berbers, two other peoples long linked with Atlantis. The Basques themselves claim to be descendents of Atlantis, and yet, to my knowledge, there is no specific link of these people coming from a drowned continent…or is there?
« Last Edit: February 07, 2007, 02:06:54 am by Europa » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2007, 02:04:40 am »

Basque (Euskara)

Basque is a language with no known linguistic relatives spoken by about 660,000 people in Spain and France, mainly in the Basque country (Euskal Herria).

An ancestral form of Basque known as Aquitanian appears in Roman inscriptions in Aquitaine, in the southwest of France. The inscriptions consist of the names of people and gods plus a few other words and were inscribed during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

Basque first appeared in writing in Latin religious texts, the Glosas Emilianenses, dating from the 11th century. The first published book in Basque was a collection of poems entitled Linguae Vasconum Primitiae, published by Bernard Detchepare in 1545.

For centuries there was no standard orthography, and Basque was written with Romance spelling conventions supplemented by various additional devices to represent sounds not present in Romance languages. During the early years of the 20th century, a bizarre and impractical orthography employing a blizzard of pointless diacritics was widely used; this largely disappeared after the Spanish Civil War. In 1964 the Royal Basque Language Academy (Euskaltzaindia) promulgated a new standard orthography; this met some resistance at first but is now almost universally used.

Basque alphabet & pronunciation

Sample text

Gizon-emakume guztiak aske jaiotzen dira, duintasun eta eskubide berberak dituztela; eta ezaguera eta kontzientzia dutenez gero, elkarren artean senide legez jokatu beharra dute.


All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.
(Article 1 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2007, 02:06:15 am »



A Paleolithic Language

Linguists have believed for some time now that a language exists today which can be traced back to the Stone Age. Just how far back is uncertain, but at least as far back as the Neolithic Age (Renan, 1873; Ripley, 1899). Whether or not it can be traced further back into the Paleolithic (Old Stone Age) remains to be seen. The huge areas once covered by this language and its close relatives are the very same areas which were occupied by Cro-Magnon Man of the Paleolithic Age: a strong indicator that this language was that of Cro-Magnon Man. Since we are looking at a Stone Age language which survived to the present-day, in making our analysis of this remarkable phenomenon it will be helpful to know where the Cro-Magnon people still live today. So, who were the survivors of Atlantis?


Generally, Cro-Magnon people can be found in certain parts of Western Europe, North Africa and some of the Atlantic Islands today. Physical anthropologists agree that Cro-Magnon is represented in modern times by the Berber and Tuareg peoples of North Africa, the recently extinct Guanches of the Canary Isles, the Basques of northern Spain, some people living in the Dordogne Valley and in Brittany in France; and, some years ago, those living on the Isle d'Oleron. All have the distinguishing Cro-Magnon skulls (Howells, 1967; Lundman, 1967, et al.). Except for some shrinkage of areas, this is the same distribution pattern for Cro-Magnon as existed in Upper Paleolithic times. Many of these same peoples are distinguished by calling themselves by names using the suffix "tani," from the Mauritani of North Africa to the Bretani (thus also "Brittany") of the British Isles (Martins, 1930).

The important thing in regard to this particular pattern of distribution is that when the languages of these people are analyzed, it is apparent that they speak languages that are related to each other, but not related to the other languages spoken throughout Europe and the Near East. I have named this family of languages the Berber-Ibero-Basque Complex. The languages involved are very old, going back at least to the Neolithic Age, and possibly dating back to the Paleolithic cultures of the Ice Age.
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2007, 02:07:43 am »


What I will endeavor to show here is that the various dialects of what I believe was the original language of the Atlanteans accompanied the Cro-Magnon people as they swept into the western portions of Europe and Africa from Atlantis. The remains of this phenomenon exist to this day in what I call the Berber-Ibero-Basque Language Complex. This complex stretched from Morocco in North Africa, across Gibraltar into the Iberian peninsula, up into the Dordogne Valley of France, into Brittany, continuing northward to the British Isles. (Click for Map) If such an Atlantic language did exist, we will have identified the Atlantean language, at least provisionally. At the very least, we can ask if such a unified, widespread language did not come from Atlantis, from where did it come?

Professional anthropologists have already postulated, in a classic work on European ethnology, that the modern day Basque people of the Pyrenees Mountains (northern Spain/southern France) speak a language inherited directly from Cro-Magnon Man (Ripley, 1899). To give a couple of illustrative examples of the reasons for the above postulation, the Basque word for knife means literally "stone that cuts," and their word for ceiling means "top of the cavern" (Blanc, 1854).

Ethnologist Michael A. Etcheverry states his opinion that the Basques, having fought off assimilation by the Romans, Visigoths, Moors and Franks, were themselves the direct descendants of the Ice Age Cro-Magnon people who had, more than any others, avoided both the modification of their genetic makeup and their language during the following era of Neolithic expansion. (Ryan & Pittman, 1998)

Prof. Henry Fairfield Osborn (1915-1923), declared that the Cro-Magnon people of the Stone Age left two cultural "relics" that survived into modern times: (1) the Berber-speaking Guanches of the Canary Islands, and (2) the unique Basque language of western Europe. In regard to the extreme age of the Basque language, the distinguished British scholar Michael Harrison once wrote:

In support of the theory that Basque, if not an autochthonous language, is at least one of the most primitive languages of Europe, in the sense of its being here before any of the existing others, is the fact that Basque . . . is still a language with no proven congeners (Harrison, 1974).

If Basque was indeed the language of Cro-Magnon Man, it must have once been spoken over a much larger area of Europe than it is now. Today it stands isolated into two tiny linguistic "islands," surrounded by languages totally alien in vocabulary, syntax, and grammatical structure (Saltarelli, 1988). According to Harrison, who has done his homework, Basque did indeed cover a far greater area than it does today, reminding us that this fact was recorded by the ancient Carthaginians and Romans (Harrison, 1974).

But what about the little-known Iberian language (generally believed to be related to the Berber language of North Africa)? The defunct Iberian language is known to us only through inscriptions (the Iberian script is mainly syllabic, but also partly alphabetic). It was once spoken throughout the entire Iberian peninsula, and through Iberian language specialist William J. Entwhistle (1936) we learn that this language is also related to the modern Basque language.

The famous German philologist Wilhelm von Humboldt was convinced of the existence of a single great Iberian people in ancient times, speaking a distinct non-European language of their own. He proposed that these ancient Iberian people once extended through southern France into Brittany, and on into the British Isles--he even included the Mediterranean islands of Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica. Humboldt also contended that the Basques of modern times are remnants of that "once wide-spread Atlantic seaboard population" (von Humboldt, 1961).

F. N. Finch, another German authority on comparative philology, asserted that modern Basque is simply "a continuation" of the older Iberian language--although this has been contested recently (Hualde, 1991). But even though recent investigators are reluctant to admit to vocabulary equivalence (attributing such to "borrowings" from the Basque), they also know that similarities in language structure (an extremely conservative trait, highly resistant to outside influences) is the most telling trait, and that to linguists it is the structure of these languages which is so transparent between them.

Harrison expresses the opinion that both Iberian and Basque originated in Berber country. Why? Because of the affinities which exist between those two languages and the modern Berber tongue.

Indeed that Basque should have many words in common with the member of all the North African group of languages is not surprising, since modern opinion ever more inclines to credit the Basque with a North African origin . . . (Harrison, 1974)

But even though these languages are apparently related, why imagine they all originated in North Africa? A quick look at any map will show the geographical proximity of these areas to Plato's Atlantis. It may be that none of these needed to "cross" the Straits of Gibraltar. If Cro-Magnon simultaneously appeared on the western shores of both continents, as most physical anthropologists insist, then so did his language. No evidence has been found to indicate that Cro-Magnon's origin was in North Africa (see my page on anthropology), so why would his language originate there? In other words, to bring it down to our terms, if Cro-Magnon originated in Atlantis, so did his language.

Linguists have been stunned by the lack of change in these languages over extremely long periods of time. It seems that, language-wise, Cro-Magnon was very conservative! Prof. Johannes Friedrich (1957), a leading linguist of the Free University of Berlin, says that the Berber language has not changed at all in the last two thousand years. From this, one might conclude that the ancient Atlantean language is well enough intact, even after 12,000 years, that even today it can be identified to a reasonable extent.

Linguists call Basque "primitive" in the sense of its being the "first" (i.e., the earliest) of the present-day European languages, and in no way implies that it is simple or undeveloped. Basque language authorities, such as S.H. Blanc (1854) and J. Morris-Jones (1940), describe Basque syntax as both "complex and orderly". Now to complete the picture. I haven't said anything about the British languages Welch, Erse and Gaelic. Let's take a look.
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« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2007, 02:08:57 am »


It appears that the peculiar Basque syntax (word order) is preserved in the modern Welch language. This much is certain. Someone, speaking some language (language X) was already in Great Britain when the first wave of Kelts arrived in about 1800 B.C. The questions are, who were they, and what was the language they spoke? Prof. Morris-Jones has answered the above questions by means of an intensive study of the Welch language. He explains the peculiarity of the Welch language by making the observation that it is composed mainly of a Keltic vocabulary, but having a non-Keltic syntax. After studying the language for most of his life, he has concluded that modern Welch is derived from a principally Keltic vocabulary which has been superimposed upon a much older syntax resembling Basque. He believes this happened as a result of conquest. His theory goes like this:

When one people is conquered by another, the conquering warriors usually make wives or mistresses out of the conquered people's women folk. The latter are more or less forced to learn the vocabulary of the conqueror; but syntax is a harder thing to learn, especially when the warrior-husband is gone a lot fighting other battles. The children of these unions are raised by their mothers, and therefore learn the "incorrect" version of the conquerors language from their mothers. Within a few generations the language as spoken by the women and children at home is considered "correct". This happened when the Lowland Scots had the English language superimposed on the older Gaelic, which gives the Scottish dialect of English its particular flavor.

Morris-Jones concluded that the syntax most closely resembling that of Welch is the Berber and Tamachek languages of North Africa (both closely related to Basque). In other words, language X is identified as belonging to our Berber-Ibero-Basque complex, i.e., the Atlantean language. It appears that the earliest language of Britain is found--almost hidden at the root of the Welsh, Erse and Gaelic languages--to be the Atlantean language. Some scholars tend to include certain pre-Indo-European Keltic languages of Northwestern Europe in this category (Renan, 1873).

The Basque language in the Pyrenees seems to be the last relic of a language which preceded the Indo-European in the western portions of Europe and the British Isles In addition to this, a number of physical characteristics (skin, hair, and eye colouring) of certain natives of western Britain and Ireland, are likely relics of what Huxley believed to be "an Iberian population" (Huxley, 1870).

The late Prof. Barry Fell of Harvard University reminds us that one of the ancient names for Ireland is Ibheriu (derived from Iberiu; Fell, 1976), further asserting that Gaelic histories point to Iberia as an earlier homeland of the Gaels. It certainly wouldn't be the first time in history that the name of an older homeland had been transferred to the younger? Many authorities, including some linguists, think this might indeed be the case.

So it is almost certain that from Morocco to the British Isles (almost "hugging" the Atlantic coast), we are dealing with basically a single language and a single people. If Cro-Magnon Man was as primitive as most people think, he would not have spoken only one language. Look at the uncountable languages of the American Indian, and the thousands of languages existing in equatorial Africa. Each tribe spoke its own language, and sign language had to be resorted to for communication between them.

The unity expressed in all Cro-Magnon culture--in their art impulse, their tools and weapons, social organization, and in the language they spoke--is eloquent testimony of the high state of civilization attained in their original homeland before becoming refugees fighting for survival. And the evidence seems to indicate that this homeland was none other than the lost Atlantis.
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2007, 02:09:33 am »


Blanc, S. H., Grammaire de la Langue Basque (d'apres celle de Larramendi), Lyons & Paris, 1854.
Entwhistle, W. J. "The Spanish Language," (as cited in Michael Harrison's work, 1974.) London, 1936.
Fell, Barry, "America B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World," Simon & Schuster, New York, 1976.
Friedrich, Johannes, "Extinct Languages," (translated from German by Frank Gaynor) published by
The Philosophical Library, New York, 1957.
Gans Eric Lawrence, "The Origin of Language," Univ. of California Press, Berkeley, 1981.
Geze, L., Elements de Grammaire Basque, Beyonne, 1873.
Harrison, Michael, "The Roots of Witchcraft," Citadel Press, Secaucas, N.J., 1974.
Hualde, J. I., "Basque Phonology," Routledge, London & New York, 1991.
Huxley, Thomas H., "On the Ethnology of Britain," The Journal of the Ethnological Society of London,
Scientific Memoirs III, 1870.
Martins, J. P. de Oliveira, "A History of Iberian Civilization," Oxford University Press, 1930.
Morris-Jones, J., In Appendix to "The Welch Languages," by Sir John Rhys, London, 1939.
Osborn, Henry Fairfield, "Men of the Old Stone Age," New York, 1915-1923.
Renan, Ernest, De l'Origine du Langage, Paris, 1858; La Societe' Berbere, Paris, 1873.
Ripley, W. Z., "The Races of Europe," D. Appleton & Co., New York, 1899.
Ryan, William & Pitman, Walter, "Noah's Flood: The new scientific discoveries about the event that
changed history," Simon & Schuster, New York, 1998.
Saltarelli, M., "Basque," Croom Helm, New York, 1988.
von Humboldt, K. W., "Iberia," Encl. Brit., vol. 12, William Benton Publ., London, 1961 edition.

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« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2007, 02:11:02 am »



The Aquitanian language is only known by means of some proper names attested in Latin and Greek texts, that is, there aren't Aquitanian inscriptions. Besides a few place and tribe names transmitted by Greek and Latin writers, the main data come from Latin inscriptions found in Aquitania (mainly in the left side of the high basin of the Garonne), in which there are indigenous personal names and gods' names. But there are also a few very short votive lead Latin inscriptions found in the river Rhin (at Hagenbach) which show Aquitanian personal names; probably written by Aquitanian soldiers serving in the Roman army.

Ancient authors said that the Aquitanian people were not Gaulish speaking, and Strabo stated that by their language and their looks they were akin to "Iberians" but different from Gauls (IV,1,1). It must be noticed that in Strabo the word "Iberian" is ambiguous, as it refers to the Iberian people, but sometimes also to the inhabitants of the whole Iberian Peninsula, but in this passage is probable the reference to the Iberian people, as alternative identifications are more problematic.

As a matter of fact, the Aquitanian language is considered to be Old Basque. This is due to the coincidence between Aquitanian personal names bases and Basque lexicon. So among the Aquitanian men names we find CISON, HANNA, SEMBE and SENIUS, which can be compared with Basque 'gizon' "man", 'anai' "brother", 'seme' "son", and 'sehi'/'sein' (*'seni') "boy"; among women names we can compare ANDERE and NESCATO to 'andre' "lady" and 'neska' "girl". Also we have the town of ELIMBERRIS and the tribe of the AUSCI, to compare with 'iri-berri' "new town" and 'euskal' "Basque". Beside this, as stated by Gorrochategui, many of other Aquitanian names have admissible interpretations by the Basque lexicon, especially the gods' names, usually matching with Basque animal and plant names.

But with regard to the relations between the Iberian and the Basque language, the Aquitanian language is a kind of missing link, but a very special one. The Aquitanian names resemble to the Iberian personal names. Many of the Aquitanian, especially the god names, are compounded as the Iberian ones. Let's compare some Aquitanian names with the attested anthroponymical Iberian bases:


ILLURBERRIXO iltur-ber'i
HARBELEX ar's-beles'
BELEXCON-IS beles'-kon
ENNEBOX en(a)-bos'
LAURCO laur'-kon
TARBELLI (tribe) tar'-beles'
TALSCON- talsku
ERGE DEO -erker
DANN-ADINN- tan?-atin

But the problem is: what happens with those Aquitanian words clearly interpretable by the Basque language? There is no Iberian equivalence for CISON, ANDERE or NESCA. Only the Iberian base s'an(i) may be related with SENI and SEMBE (this probably from *'sen-be'). Also worth noting is Gorrochategui's remark that whereas those Aquitanian words that resemble to Basque adjectives (such as ILLUN 'ilun' "dark" and BERRI 'berri' "new") do are attested in adjective position (that is, as second member of compund), the presumed Iberian "equivalents" iltun and ber'(i) don't observe that rule!!. So, although the data on Aquitanian language resemble that on Iberian, probably they are not closely related. Aquitanian is Old Basque, but Aquitanian is not Iberian; they are two different languages.
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2007, 02:11:59 am »

From Cleasterwood:

Basque links to Atlantis, hm I got one from the Atlantis Encyclopedia. It's a long entry, so I just post pertinent information.
1. Stocky, with auburn hair and gray eyes, they are genetically distinct from both French and Spainish and speak a unique tongue totally unrelated to any European language. Euskara shares some affinity with Finno-Urgic Patumnili, the tongue of ancient Troy.
2. A revealing congate is "Atlaya," the name of a prehistoric ceremonial mound in Biarritz, in Basque country. "Atalaia" is also a site in sourther Portugal featuring a Bronze Age tumuli dating to the high imperial phase of Atlantis in the thirteenth century BC. Another "Atalya" is a Guanche region high on the central mountains of Gran Canaria. "Atalya" is the name of a holy mountain in the Valley of Mexico, venerated by the Aztecs. Clearly, "Atalya" carries the same meaning in Euskara, Iberian, Guanche, and Nahuatl (Aztec language); namely, the description of a sacred mountain, mound, or mound-like structure. They all preserved stories of a great flood that preceded the establishment of their own civilization.
3. Paralells between Euskara nd pre-Columbian speech are underscored by a traditional ball game known alike to Euskotarak and the ancient Maya. Rules of the Basqu Pelota are identical in numerous details to the otherwise unique Maya version.
4. Basque folkatles still recount the Aintzine-koak, their seafaring forefathers who arrived in the Bay of Biscay after "the Green Isle," Atlaintika, went under the waves. Atlnatida is a national Basque poem describing their ancient greatness in Atlaintika, its fiery collaps, and the voyage of the survivors to southwestern Europe. Composed in the 19th century, according to Readers Digest, "it is based on age-old flok belief and oral traditions."
Happy Researching,
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2007, 02:13:28 am »

From Aphrodite:

1 August 2003

Genetics helps scientists determine Basque origins

Genetics is helping researchers trace the migration of the Basque people, a culture that originated in East Africa tens of thousands of years ago. By first tracking the female gene back 150,000 years to East Africa, scientists then followed the male Y chromosome to determine human whereabouts.
As Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe, adjunct professor for the Center for Basque Studies at the University of Nexada, Reno (USA), explained at a recent presentation at Northeastern Nevada Museum as part of the National Basque Festival in Elko, "The Basque came out of East Africa 50,000 or so years ago and passed through the Middle East."
This explains why some Middle Eastern cities have names that could be Basque in origin, like Ur, Uruk, and Mari, which is the name of a Basque goddess.
According to Mallea-Olaetxe, linguists have long suspected such an idea since an old—now dead—language from Central Asia, Burushaski, "looks suspiciously like Basque". Genetic research is proving the linguists right.
After inhabiting Central Asia for about 10,000 years, Basque ancestors migrated to both the Americas and Western Europe, where they settled—and still live—in France and Spain. The cave paintings in southern France and northern Spain were likely painted by Basque ancestors 10,000 to 30,000 years ago, says Mallea-Olaetxe, which "fits perfectly" the timeline of their migration.
Since DNA research has also shown that the Celtic people’s genes are almost identical to the Basque’s, it is believed they may have migrated together to Western Europe 30,000 years ago.
Mallea-Olaetxe states that genetic research into Basque origins has been ongoing over the past decade or so; however, their conclusions have only been made public recently.
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« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2007, 02:14:36 am »

A little more:

Basque Mythology

39. Does there really exist a Basque mythology?
  • To answer this question, we should have some idea of the primitive religious traditions of the Basques. It is believed by many, Campion among them, that the Basques professed a naturalist religion. But of it, we know little to nothing concretely, supposing that it consisted in the adoration of the elements and the celestial bodies. Menendez Pelayo also suspected that the protohistoric Basques were adorers of the celestial bodies and, especially, the moon, but he adds that maybe resten vestiges of this cult in the Basque traditions, without acudir to the problematic Jaun Goikoa, Moon god. (Urroz).

Arana Goiri says: ``Are there traditions concerning the religious cult that the Basque race observed thirty or forty centuries ago? None.'' For Vinson, the Basques converted to Christianity around the tenth century. The P. Lhande opinions that in the language of our times there does not exist a single term that permits arriving to the conclusion that there were ancient divinities among the Basques. Another Basque-French writer, L. Apesteguy, affirms that the Basque race is so saturated with Christianity that it did not conserve any of the religious forms that preceded it. From there it is deduced that it completely renounced its prehistoric pass in favor of the doctrines and disciplines of the Church. All of the dogmatic, liturgical and moral vocabulary is taken from the Church.

Unamuno also recognizes that neither in the customs nor in the language of the Basques do there remain marks of an indigenous cult or of religious beliefs prior to the introduction of Christianity.

As historic testimony, there remains that of Estrabon, who says in his Geografia that the vascones (?) reunited with their families on the nights of the full moon, to venerate with songs and dances an unnamed god. (P. Lhande)
  • .

40. We will not repeat that said before about the adoration of the sun by the Basques, assumed by Arana Goiri, and about the Jaungoiko `lord (of the) moon', of Bonaparte and Vinson. Neither will we speak of the supposed Basque gods Asto ilunno deo, Baicorixo deo, Ilumbero, etc., of the votive stone tablets found in the Novempopulania, since such vestiges are more accurately signs of the relatively modern influence of foreign people and civilizations. (Urroz). However, in the opinion of Schuchardt, Asto iluno (name of a deity) is a synthesis of the Basque terms aste `week' and ilhun `night'.

The dolmenes of Eguilaz, Aralar, Aizgorri, and other places of Euskadi have been conveniently explored and studied, but by the fact that they have the entrance facing to the east, we cannot deduce with certainty that they were druidic altars, nor that the tribes that erected them worshipped the sun.

41. Neither in the swastika is it precise to see a survival of primitive paganism. The swastika, which for C. Jullian is the essential problem of Basque civilization, appears reproduced to the point of satiation, not only in the old steles discoideas of Basque cemeteries, but also in the furniture and façades of the houses. (Courteault).

Among the decorative motives of the Basque tombs, stars of six points, rosettas or daisies, and helices, that is, swastikas, are abundant. (Colas). All of them could be astral symbols. But it is also possible to suppose that these motives appeared about the stars responding to a need of the artistic spirit of the community, and far from being symbols of complex beliefs, they were simply rellenantes of the surfaces vacant/vacated by the lack of the forgotten anthropomorphic decoration. (Frankowski).
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« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2007, 02:15:48 am »

All that has a name exists
"izena duen gutzia omen da".

Subterranean Mythology and primordial religion of the Basque People

Carlo Barbera

The origins

While many European populations are linked to their original homeland because of historical reasons or the archaeological evidence of migrations that occurred in remote times, the origin of the Basque people were and still remain shrouded in mystery.
Something like two million and half Basques live nowadays along the Western range of the Pyrenees in a territory on the border between France and Spain.
Euskal Herria (the Basque name of the country) is formed by seven provinces: Bizkaia, Gipuzcoa, Araba and Navarra in Spain, Lupurdi, Bassa Navarra and Zuberoa in France. Though these provinces straddle the geo-political boundaries of the two European countries, their are independent from an ethnic as well as a linguistic point of view.

The Basques think of themselves as the original, prehistoric inhabitants of what is, today, Spanish territory. Some scholars think that the Basques may indeed be the descendants of the Cro-Magnon populations that occupied the area in prehistorical times and that made the famous rock paintings and graffiti discovered inside many caves in this territory. Physical anthropologists think that modern Basques and ancient Cro-Magnon men share many characteristics and physical traits.

On the basis of our current knowledge, the most ancient remains discovered in the land today occupied by the Basques date to the Lower Palaeolithic period and can be assigned to 200.000 - 100.000 BCE. The evidence is based on lithic and pointed tools in sandstone, quartz, silica and basalt, discovered in sites along the coast and in riverine settlements.

The origin of the language called ‘Euskara’, spoken by the Basques, is unknown. It is a pre Indo-European language, totally unique, that shares only a few analogies with Caucasic and Berber dialects. The Basques call themselves ‘Euskaldun’, from Euskara "Basque language" and dun "somebody who speaks". Modern linguistics try to discover the age of this language by investigating its most ancient root words.

For example, the word ‘axe’, haizkolari, derives from the root-word haitz, which means ‘stone’ or ‘rock’. This has lead many to think that it may be a linguistic reference to Neolithic stone tools.

In his studies, the abbot Dominique Lahetjuzan (1766-1818) came to the conclusion that the Basque language was the language spoken in the Garden of Eden. He showed how the names of the main chapters of the Book of Genesis were all Basque in origin and had their appropriate, specific meaning. For his theories, the abbot has been called “one of the strangest characters of the “theological era”. In 1825, the French abbot Diharce De Bidassouet wrote in his "History of the Cantabrians" that Basque was the original language spoken by God, a statement for which the abbot was soundly ridiculed. At about the same period, the Basque priest Erroa stated that Basque was the language spoken in the Garden of Eden. His colleagues thought he was a lunatic, but Erroa was so deeply convinced of being right in his hypothesis that he caught the attention of the Bishop of Pamplona: he, conversely, directed his appeals to the Chapter of the Cathedral of Pamplona. The ecclesiastical institution considered Erroa’s theories and, after many months of deliberations, established that Erroa was right and publicly supported his theory. However, in a short time all the reports and the registry containing the ecclesiastical deliberations disappeared mysteriously.

Many studies on the Basque people stress how deeply they are different and separated from other cultures. However, if we look closely we can see this is not completely true. In ancient times the Basques were known to the Greeks, who called them Ouaskonous (‘the people of the he-goat’), due to their habit of sacrificing goats to their gods. Later on, the Roman armies that passed through Iberia reported to have been in contact with a population they called Vascones.
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« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2007, 02:16:47 am »

The advent of Kixmi

The expansion of Christianity in the land occupied by the Basques was a very slow process. In the 9th century AD, in fact, in many areas of the country there were still many ‘Gentiles’, i.e., Pagans (the protagonists of a number of legends in which ‘Gentile’ is often the synonymous of a gigantic, wild man who has exceptional strength and who lives hidden in the mountains, away from the local communities). However, the presence of groups of Christianised people in certain localities from the 4th century AD testifies that the Christian religion had already started to spread in these areas since the beginning of the Christian era.
The mythological and folk lores will be deeply touched by the new religion.
To exemplify that, it suffices to mention the legend of the “mysterious cloud”. One day, in the vicinity of Ataun, a luminous cloud coming from the East appeared in the sky. The ‘Gentiles’ were frightened. They asked an old man what was the meaning of that omen, and he replied: “ Kixmi (Christ) has come. It is the end of our era, throw me down a precipice". This was done and then, followed by the cloud, they tried to hide themselves beneath a large stone: the refuge turned to be their grave.

Traces of this lost world can be found in the prehistory of the Basque people: when ordered chronologically, these traces could offer an idea of some of the most relevant traits of the Basque original religious beliefs. A lot, however, can be reconstructed analyzing the ethnographic data, the rites and the local folklore of the Basque people.

The Pyrenees are dotted with sacred sites: caves, springs, wells, valleys and mountain peaks. The mountains and the valleys were thought to be the abodes of divinities and Genies: the earth was believed to contain beautiful landscapes and green valleys hidden to mortals. The most famous of all these sites is probably a plain named Akelarre in the province of Navarra. The name comes from ‘aker’, he-goat and ‘larre’, pasture. For hundred of years, this place was connected to witchcraft and it has been probably chosen as the place where to celebrate ancient rituals and sacrifices. The Church has eradicated any information related to the pagan religion of the Basques, and has even denied the existence of such rituals. However, the Greek geographer Strabo reports beyond doubt that sacrificing goats was a ritual crucial in the religious beliefs of the Ouaskonous.

Due to the many mountains which characterize the Basque landscape, the Romans -and later on the Arabs, Spaniards and French. were not able to gain full control over the region. The Romans occupied only portions of the Basque land and imposed on them Roman law, but they did not succeed in subjugating completely the Basque people. It seems that the Basques have assimilated in their own culture only few foreign words and customs: they have been the last of all Western European people to be converted to Christianity. For centuries, the Christian missionaries and their new religion were ignored by a vast portion of the Basque people, who preferred to practice their traditional religion, full of magical beliefs. In the 14th century the number of Basques converted to Christianity had raised sensibly, but until the 17th century the non-Christian living in the area were still considerably many.

In 1609, a controller sent from Bordeaux to check the state of the Christian church in the Basque territory under French rule reported that Witches’ Sabbath were often held in the churches themselves, with the approval, if not the participation, of the local priest. The French controller was shocked to see how sympathetic were the local Basque priests towards the old, pagan religion. The majority of the population still practised a religion which was a mixture of Paganism and Christianity. Such reports provoked strong reactions in France and in Spain which led to the systematic destruction of the Basque religion and culture. In this way the Catholic Church was able to reach the goal which the Romans and the Arabs had missed: full control over the Basque people.
Altogether, 2000 people were first accused of witchcraft and then executed: something like 50.000 people witnessed the trials, which were public and held in open spaces to facilitate the audience.

Pope Gregory IX instituted papal Inquisition in 1231 against heresy. In 1478 Pope Sixtus IV authorised the Spanish Inquisition to fight Jewish and Moslem apostasy. In 1483 he nominated the person who would organise the Inquisition in all the regions of Spain. This was the great inquisitor Tomas de Torquemada.

A hunting season was declared against women, especially those that gathered herbs, obstetricians, widows and spinsters. It has been estimated that 9 million people, above all women, were burnt or hanged in Europe at that time.
It appears that Franciscans participated in these trials against witchcraft helping the gathering and the building up of proofs.
They were particularly busy spying potential witches and denouncing them to the authorities. They tortured women obtaining from them false confessions.

At Logrono many people were tortured until they admitted anything they were ordered to say by the monks. It is recorded that one of the tortured women, Mariquita de Atauri, after she had denounced while being tortured, a great many innocent people she killed herself by throwing herself in the river near her house and drowning . When the Inquisition was established in 1231, it was the Dominicans who were in charge of the organisation and killing of heretics.

The Inquisition and the Dominicans concentrated themselves on the Alps of northern Italy. The use of torture was officially authorised by pope Innocent IV in 1252.
The Jesuits, many of whom were Basques like their founder Ignatius de Loyola, don't seem to have taken part in the witch hunting but on the contrary, it seems that they acted as mediators and translators with the local population. Maybe it was the Basque Jesuits who defended their ancient language that was, together with the Basque culture, one of the objectives of the Inquisition as it later was that of Francisco Franco from 1930 onwards.
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« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2007, 02:31:11 am »

Basque Pantheon

With the arrival of Christianity there also came the destruction of much knowledge of various rituals and magical arts that were common to all the valleys of Euskal Herria. Fortunately the Basques have a strong oral tradition that is celebrated even today with songs and competitions among storytellers. There is still a vast collection of ancient myths and legends although many of them have never been translated from Euskara.

According to the Basques there is a duality of beings and of worlds: on the one side the natural world (berezko), on the other the supernatural one (aideko); to operate in the first, one has to use natural instruments, one enters the second through magic. The magical means are many but they are all based on the ADUR, or magical virtue, that links things with their representations. Curses or birao are transmitted thanks to adur, to the person or thing which is signalled: a symbolic action towards an image emits its adur, that operates at a distance. Names are sound images of things. According to a popular Basque saying all that has a name exists "izena duen gutzia omen da".

The main gods are Ortzi or Eguzki, the sun god, Ilargia or Illargui, the moon goddess, Mari the earth goddess and Sugaar, the god both of the earth and of the sky. Ortzi, also called Ost or Eguzki, is the god of the sun, of the sky and of thunder and is often compared to Jupiter, Zeus and Thor.

Ortzi, and its western equivalent Osti are the first elements in a dozen words like "cloud storm", "thunder" and "dawn". For example "rainbow" is Ortzadar (adar means horn)and "daylight" is Orzargi (argi means light).
In many children’s rigmaroles there is mention of a female being, scion of the earth (Lur). According to an old way of thinking, the sun is born from the earth and goes back to it. It is believed that sunlight is not liked by witches or by certain categories of Lamies, as in a narration concerning a Lamia whose golden comb was stolen by a shepherd. He was about to take it back when a ray of the rising sun touched lightly the man’s clothes ...." thank the sun " she told him and retired in her cave.
Sun symbols are circles, swastikas, the flowers of thistles, very frequent in Basque popular funerary art.
The dolmen culture with its dolmens oriented from east to west are a proof of sun worship.
Unfortunately little remains of the god and of the myths and knowledge of whatever ritual was celebrated to adore it.

The moon goddess Ilargia or Illargui appears in many myths and legends. Because they are agriculturists and fishermen, the Basques are very close to the moon cycles. Ilargia is the guardian of death; lshe accompanies people on the way to the afterlife.

Ilargia regulates the world of the secret knowledge, of divination and magic.

Illargui like the sun, is of a feminine gender; when she appears on the eastern mountains one says:"Illargui amandrea, zeruan ze iberri?" (Lady, mother moon, what news do you bring us?). Friday is sacred to her in the same way as Thursday is sacred to the sky. According to an old belief, the moon is the light of the dead and to die with a waxing moon is considered a good omen for the afterlife. Sun and moon are children of the earth where they both go back after their run in the sky.

In traditional tales it is said that the face of the earth is unlimited in all directions and whoever wants to explore its borders is destined to fail. The earth contains treasures hidden in caves and mountains that often cannot be found because there are no precise indications useful to find them and also because menacing genies intervene and terrify those who seek the treasures and force them to abandon the search. It is the habitual dwelling of souls,of divinities and of most mythical beings some of which take on the likeness of bulls, horses, goats and other animals.

The mythical world of the Basques is peopled by genies or divinities that take on the shape of animals or of half human beings who live inside caves.

Among these one is particularly important.This is Mari, an anthropomorphic goddess, one of the most ancient chthonic female deities.
Mari’s husband is Maju, who also appears as a snake or Sugaar. Apparently they live separately.Mari lives on earth and Maju/Sugaar in the sea. This is for a good reason. When Maju and Mari meet they produce violent rain storms with hail, thunder and lightening.
A 16th century legend says that Mari is the founder of the House of the Lords of Biscay.
The " Lady " or the " Dame", as Mari is often called, lives in the regions of the deep, but also in grottoes and in precipices linked with each other by subterranean conduits, Mari’s shapes are diverse: in the subterranean regions she takes on zoomorphic shapes, on the surface instead she appears as a very beautiful lady elegantly dressed who is combing her hair with a golden comb; sometimes she moves in the sky in a chariot drawn by horses or surrounded by flames. She also appears like a flaming tree, a white cloud, a rainbow, a gust of wind, a bird, a sickle made of fire, moving from one mountain peak to another. Mari sometimes drives across the sky her chariot drawn by four white horses or she rides a white ram. Like Persephone she is abducted by a bull. She leads all subterranean genies. Sometimes she is not alone in her dwelling but is surrounded by animal-genies or by young girls.
Many of her attributes are those characteristic of witches. A legend narrates that Mari gave a piece of charcoal to one of her prisoners, Catalina. The coal became pure gold. The goddess often changes her dwelling place and for each of these places there is a corresponding different character, as if the goddess was not one and the same but a plurality of sister goddesses.
The caves where these live are often meeting places or witches’ Akelarre. Like Mari, the witches have power over natural phenomena.

The way the witches are called is Sorgin. Do witches exist? " One cannot say that they exist, one cannot say that they do not exist " according to a popular saying.On the other hand the witches themselves confirm their existence:" No, we do not exist, yes we do exist, we are fourteen thousand here ", thus they answered some women weavers at Eldauayen. In many popular tales there is mention of the abduction of people who disbelieved in them.
There are genie-witches and human-witches.
The first ones belong to Mari’s cortège. They take on many of her tasks and they build bridges and dolmen.
Men can also belong to the second category of witches but more often they are women with a bad character whose interventions cause death or infirmity.
The witches often transform themselves into cats, sometimes into dogs or rams and they very often move about from one place to the other by smearing themselves with an ointment and reciting a phrase that says:"Sasi guztien ganeti eta odei guztien aizpiti" ( Above all the thorns and through all the clouds).

Next to the subterranean and malevolent genies there are some who are helpful (familiarrak), some aquatic, rural, nocturnal, who fly, etc.

Between the world of the gods and that of man there is the Lord of the Woods, the Basajaun. He is semi-divine and a strong, hairy being with animal characteristics. Basajaun watches over the forests and all wild creatures. He is a rural genie, the lord of the woods or also the Wild Lord. He is considered to be the protector of flocks. When comes a storm he shouts warnings to the shepherds; he prevent wolves from approaching flocks. He is the first to have cultivated the earth. Human beings obtained the right to cultivate the earth when a man won a bet with Basajaun. He stole the seeds that Basajun was sowing and he came back to his peoples to teach them how to produce food.

The Lamie or Laminak have a particular importance. They are genies with a human shape although they have chicken, duck or goat feet.
In the coastal areas they are women with the lower part of their bodies in the shape of a fish. They are not of a specific sex, although they are mostly female genies. Some legends describe them as small people that live underground.
Caves are their dwellings but they can also live near puddles and river pools. They are in the habit of spinning with a spindle and a distaff, of building bridges, dolmen and houses.

Lamies often appear with a golden comb, they willingly accept offerings left by men on the window sill of houses; they fall in love and are loved by human beings. If people enter per chance in their dwellings they greet them kindly unless they are intrusive. In that case they abduct them.
The duplicity of their nature is obvious. They can be beneficiary or malevolent.
They can become extremely violent with those they abduct. They can drink their blood and also eat the flesh of their victims.
The cycle of the Lamies has many links with that of the witches or that of the Gentiles.

There are other deities, spirits, semi-divine beings like Intxitxu, the invisible spirit that builds the Cromlechs, the mysterious stone circles in the mountains that surround Oiartzun. Irelu is a subterranean spirit that abducts whoever disturbs it. Its mysterious footprints can be seen near the caves of Armontaitz and Malkorburu. If one climbs the mountain called Ubedi you can hear its singing mixed with the sound of the wind.

Near the caves of Balzola and Montecristo lives Erensuge, a terrible snake that attracts people with its breath only to devour them. In the area of Albistur and Zegama one can be frightened by the echo of strange laments and by some sheep nearby that is running away. It is Basajun that announces its presence and warns shepherds that a storm is about to come.

Near the caves of Santimamine, Sagastigorri and Covairadea, look for a cow that is completely red, a calf or a bull with ferocious eyes. It’s Beigorri, the guardian of many of Mari’s abodes. This animal is represented in many of the paintings found in the caves of this region.
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« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2007, 02:33:59 am »


Basques are attached to house cults, etxe. A home is not only the place of origin but a temple and a cemetery, a symbol and a common centre for the living and the dead of a family. The'"etxekandere" or lady of the house is the main priestess of domestic cults and she performs some rituals inherent with frequenting the dead and the training of living people.
These traditions bear witness to the great respect that Basques have for female roles, so much so that at the time of the fueros the choice of the heir would fall on the first born, boy or girl, contrary to the feudal laws that gave this prerogative only to male descendants.
Before the arrival of Christianity the house was used as a family burial place. Among the beliefs that are part of the religious rituals there is that it is forbidden to turn around a house three times. The Basque house was considered inviolable so much so that it provided the right of refuge, and inalienable because it had to be bequeathed whole and undivided to the members of a given family.
The souls of the dead were prayed to in the domestic cults, They have a particular importance in Basque culture. According to a widespread belief they appear in the shape of lightening,lights or wind gusts, sometimes like shadows. By night they often go back to their etxe through subterranean passages.

Winter festivals
According to tradition death does not break family links. The memory of the dead lives in the magic rite of lighting thin candles, the argizaiolak. The 1st of November is the day when the Winter Festival begins. In places like Amezketa in Gipuzcoa the argizaiolak light the tombs to keep alive the spirit of the dead.
The winter solstice has become part of the long Christmas festivities. A character named Olentzero announces this season and seems to have originated in some pre-Christian rituals. He is described as a simple coalman who was the first to hear the good news. Maybe he is what remains of a character that was linked with the ceremony of the lighting of the fire in a remote past.

An interesting custom is that of "beating the Yule log ". The log is brought to the house under a cloth blanket. The relatives and the children say a prayer towards the log, then each of them beats the log three times with a small branch. When the blanket is removed the Yule log is exhibited together with candles and cakes.

The most important winter festival is Carnival. In many cities this festivity is announced by strange processions during which the participants are dressed like gypsies, a reminiscence of the time when large tribes of gypsies used to come to the Basque carnivals. In the province of Gipuzcoa the children of the two villages of Amezketa and Abaltzisketa dance around all the houses to awaken the generosity of their neighbours. In the city of Lasarte-Oria the dance of the witches 'Sorgin Dantza' is performed on the Sunday of Carnival..

Summer festivals

While the ancient rituals of the winter solstice have almost entirely been absorbed by Christianity, the traditions of the summer solstice have remained strong and intact. The celebrations emphasize the purification and the exaltation of summer and the sun. On the night of the solstice practically in all the villages, city or farm, a fire is lit. In the countryside these can be seen on the mountains and in front of the farms. In the towns they are lit in the middle of squares or in a nearby field. A very popular custom is that of jumping over the fire. In the country fires burning branches are taken from the fire and dragged in the fields to cast off any form of evil. The day after the summer solstice the markets of the towns exhibit " lucky branches", pieces of wood that have not been entirely burnt in the fires. These are considered to be protective against fires.


This is only a brief research on a very old and little known Tradition. There is much to learn concerning the mythology and the magic-spiritual practices of the Basque peoples. They contain the archetypes from which all the knowledge of the world has emerged. Within the deep knowledge of this people it seems that are hidden the keys to open the secret doors of all the world Traditions.

The genetic and ethnic-cultural constitution of the Basques, the remote origin of their language that seems to stem directly from the ancestral memory of the earth and possibly from words, sparks of life fallen from the gods of heaven, allow us to perceive a remote enchanted garden, beyond

the barriers of time, inhabited by fantastic and wonderful creatures.

The attempts at erasing the signs of the Great Origin have not been capable of shadowing the intact consciousness of reality that appears in the folds of a world as modern as it is unreal and ferocious.

The Lamies of the Baia still sing their melodious whispers in the gusts of winds coming from the ocean and Mari still travels in the starry sky of the nights in Euskal Herria, with her flaming chariot leaving behind her on the top of the mountains tokens of her love for her wonderful kingdom.
And in the streets of the villages, in the countryside and in the towns one can still hear the agonizing laments for a Peace that has never been acquired and of a Freedom forever negated to the Euskaldunak people, those that speak the Basque language.
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« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2007, 02:36:35 am »

From Jennie McGrath:

3 April 2001
Genes link Celts to Basques
—from BBC

The Welsh and Irish Celts have been found to be the genetic blood-brothers of Basques, scientists have revealed.

The gene patterns of the three races passed down through the male line are all "strikingly similar", researchers concluded.

Basques can trace their roots back to the Stone Age and are one of Europe's most distinct people, fiercely proud of their ancestry and traditions.

The research adds to previous studies which have suggested a possible link between the Celts and Basques, dating back tens of thousands of years.

"The project started with our trying to assess whether the Vikings made an important genetic contribution to the population of Orkney," Professor David Goldstein of University College London (UCL) told BBC News.

Statistically indistinguishable'

He and his colleagues looked at Y-chromosomes, passed from father to son, of Celtic and Norwegian populations. They found them to be quite different.

"But we also noticed that there's something quite striking about the Celtic populations, and that is that there's not a lot of genetic variation on the Y-chromosome," he said.

To try to work out where the Celtic population originally came from, the team from UCL, the University of Oxford and the University of California at Davis also looked at Basques.

"On the Y-chromosome the Celtic populations turn out to be statistically indistinguishable from the Basques," Professor Goldstein said.

Pre-farming Europe

The comparison was made because Basques are thought by most experts to be very similar to the people who lived in Europe before the advent of farming. "We conclude that both of these populations are reflecting pre-farming Europe," he said.

Professor Goldstein's team looked at the genetic profiles of 88 individuals from Anglesey, North Wales, 146 from Ireland with Irish Gaelic surnames, and 50 Basques.

"We know of no other study that provides direct evidence of a close relationship in the paternal heritage of the Basque- and the Celtic-speaking populations of Britain," the team write in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Viking TV

But it is still unclear whether the link is specific to the Celts and the Basques, or whether they are both simply the closest surviving relatives of the early population of Europe. What is clear is that the Neolithic Celts took women from outside their community. When the scientists looked at female genetic patterns as well, they found evidence of genetic material from northern Europe.

This influence helped even out some of the genetic differences between the Celts and their Northern European neighbours.

The work was carried out in connection with a BBC television programme on the Vikings.

Eirlys Gruffydd, who has also written books on witches, said: "They were poor people who were scapegoats for all the misfortunes in society.

"I think people probably needed the wise woman and herbalists because there were no doctors."

In many cases, wizards were even religious ministers with a druidic past.

Descendents of Carmarthenshire wizard John Harries, who practised in the 19th century, are still rumoured to possess mystical powers, according to the author.

And acceptance for magick remains — outside of fashionable forms of Wicca and paganism, acts prohibiting practice of witchcraft were repealed only in the 1950s.

Meanwhile, the "wizard" Harry Potter phenomenon is keeping the paranormal popular, with the first of a series of movies slated for UK release on 16 November.

As Halloween falls, we are all still spellbound by the spooks.
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