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Bertan > The Basque language > The high middle ages
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The high middle ages

Sancho III (Sancho the Great) (reigned 1000-1035), controlled the territories of Burgos, Rioja, Navarre, Gipuzkoa and Biscay (Bizkaia), which also included today's Alava. In 1157, King García V of Navarre, (García the Restorer), re-established Navarre's independence after 58 years of union with the kingdom of Aragon. Ten years later, in a document signed by the King of Pamplona Sancho VI (Sancho the Wise), Basque is referred to as the lingua navarrorum (the language of the Navarrese). In the monolingual Christian Vasconia, the majority language was Basque, although scribes and the élite classes used Latin and later the Romance languages. In the eleventh century, a monk from San Millán de La Cogolla annotated the Glosas Emilianenses (Emilianian Glosses) in Basque.

70. Sancho III (Sancho the Great). 71. Pilgrim to Compostella. 72.…and if you were to hear them speak, you would be reminded of barking dogs, for they speak a barbarous language. In 1160, the French monk Aymeric Picaud, in his account of his pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostella, described Basque-speakers as being unsightly in appearance. He also noted down twenty valuable words in Basque. 73. Despite centuries of political division, the archaeological, anthropological and toponymic record all shows the relationship between the peoples of the Pyrenees and the modern-day Basques, now located at the western end of the Pyrenees. The population type of Upper Aragon and the Pyrenean areas of Catalonia as well as their traditional social organisation, popular beliefs and celebrations all bear similarities with their Basque counterparts. The places names are also revealing: Javierre, Arro, Esterri, Gerri, Isabarre, Sorre, Escalarre, Valle de Aran, Isobol en Cerdaña, Pla de la Muga and the Muga river in Ampurdán. 74. Arrano (eagle) on a document issued by Sancho the Strong. 1232. 75. Throughout his reign, Sancho the Strong (1194-1234) was a powerful figure, especially important for his military campaigns and the system of alliances he developed with other kingdoms. He commissioned Ferrando Petri de Funes to create the Pamplona Bible, completed around 1200, with 976 illustrations describing the known universe, including scenes from the Kingdom of Navarre. 76. Basque was the mother tongue of the majority of people living in the monolingual Christian Vasconia. However the Romance language was also spoken in a small part of the territory and an educated minority spoke Latin. The universal language of the church would later be replaced by Spanish and French as the language of administration and literature. Apart from a few notes and place names, it was not until the sixteenth century that the first written examples of Basque were produced. 77. Scribes wrote in the romance languages, although the everyday language of the people was Basque. The first extant written phrases in Basque, dating from the eleventh century, were glosses from the Monastery of San Millán de la Cogolla (in modern-day Rioja), where the first written Castilian was also found. The "Emilianian Glosses" are short notes. Numbers 31 and 42 read jzioqui dugu guec ...ajutu ez dugu. 78. During the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the term "navarro" (Navarrese) meant "Basque speaker", as can be seen in a concord on pasture land, in which the chiefs of the shepherds are referred to in lingua navarrorum (1167). The term Navarrese was also used with linguistic connotations in town charters. Centuries later, in the General Charter of Liberties, "navarro" and "vascongado" were also used as equivalent terms. (Roldan Jimeno). 79. Book from the Armoury of the Kingdom of Navarre. 80. Representation of Berengaria and Richar I. 81. For a century and a half after 1240, Occitan was also used in legal and official documents in Navarre and Gipuzkoa. It was also used from 1270 in Bearne and probably in Aquitaine, in the times of the English dukes. King Richard the Lion-heart of England married Berengaria, the sister of Sancho the Strong. Richard I was also the Duke of Normandy and Aquitaine, which encompassed the provinces of Labourd and Soule. The shield shows the coat of arms of the English crown. 82. Numerous epic songs about those battles (1321-1471) have survived to this day: Beotibar, Akondia, Urrixola, Aramaio, Arrasate, Mungia, Bereterretxen Kanthoria. 83. Information on medieval Basque is scarce and incomplete, coming mostly from the names of places and people, as well as a few words (such as the legal terms used in the General Charter of Liberties of Navarre) and some short phrases. 84. In 1394, municipal bylaws were passed into law in Huesca obliging inhabitants in practise to speak in the Romance Aragonese tongue and banning the use of Arabic (algaravia), Hebrew (abraych) and Basque (basquenç) in the market of Huesca on pain of a fine of 30 soles. 85. Knight jousting. He is wearing the heraldic colours of the Baztan Valley. 86. The few documented examples of medieval Basque, between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries, are found mostly in monastic sources. In 1239, Ferdinand III of Castile (Saint Ferdinand) gave the citizens of Ojacastro (Rioja) permission to speak Basque. In 1385, in the tax registry of Bearne, many houses in the Saison or Uhaitz valley are recorded with one name in Gascon and another in Basque. In 1415, an official from the Royal Treasury of Pamplona and another from Donibane Garazi (Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port) corresponded in Basque. 87. Wax seal of Diego Lope de Haro, Lord of Biscay. 88. In the summer of 1512, King Ferdinand II of Aragon sent the Duke of Alba with a powerful army to conquer Navarre. Castilian and Aragonese troops began the invasion. Finally in 1530, after several centuries of aggression, the sovereignty of the Basque-speaking lands south of the Pyrenees came to an end.
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