The Septimanie was initially called Narbonnaise at the time of the Roman Empire. It is at the beginning of the Middle Ages that the name of Septimanie appears. It is in a letter of the bishop " gallo-romain" Sidoine Apollinaire, gone back to 472, that one finds for the first time in the quoted history the expression “my Septimanie”. Septimanie is a province of the cruel and frank kingdoms of Ve in XIe century, corresponding roughly to current Languedoc-Roussillon except the east and the North-East of the Gard and the Lozere.
The name of Septimanie would come from the presence of the veterans of the seventh Roman legion who would have occupied the area, or of the seven évêchés seats cities the important ones which marked out the territory: Elne, Agde, Narbonne, Lodève, Béziers, Maguelonne and Nimes. With the passage " historique" of current Elne and Roussillon, Cerdagne and Capcir under Catalan influence, the town of Uzès became the évêché seventh.
The origin of the word
After the Roman conquest of Gaulle Mediterranean (122 av. J. - C.), this area had initially received the name of Narbonnese. The historians sure that Septimanie is not a Roman denomination because it does not appear in Notitia Dignitatum, are written a few decades earlier, about the year 400, which details the organization of the empire in a long list of all the civil and military stations of the East and Occident. It is probable that Sidoine Apollinaire is itself the inventor of this Septimanie nickname. It is besides only, at its time (Ve century), to use it and, which more is, only once in close to a hundred and fifty letters and twenty-four long poems which it left.: He writes: “ Fiez you in particular in Goths which very often goes until showing dislike for their Septimanie, provided that they take possession of this ground corner, even devastated, which is the object of their desire. ” One can suppose that it created a neologism by imitation of the name of the Roman province close to Novempopulanie , which means “the country of the nine people”. The historians do not know really the extent of the area that Sidoine Apollinaire indicates.
After the defeat wisigothe of Vouillé in 507, Septimanie remained the only part of Gaulle to the hands of the Visigoths, thanks to the intervention of Théodoric Ier king of Ostrogoths, which stopped the armies of Clovis to Arles into 508. It remained dependant on the kingdom Visigoth of Spain until the arabo-Berber conquest of 714. Gregoire de Tours, the author of the History of the Francs, uses the term of Septimanie only for the sixteen years, from 569 to 585, where the provincia comprises seven territorial units, évêchés or quoted comtales. And like Sidoine Apollinaire, Gregoire de Tours is only, at its time (the Life century), to employ the word Septimanie. Gregoire de Tours indicates, without possible confusion, the Gallic province of the kingdom Visigoth of Tolède. However Gregoire de Tours generally indicates this territory by its usual name of Province of Narbonne.
A province hingeThe Visigoth S called this part of the Narbonnese in north of the Pyrenees, Gallia, or provincia Galliae. They never gave him the name of Septimanie. The Francs, them, indicated this territory under the name of Gothie, i.e. the country of Goths. Because of its position offset in the kingdom Visigoth, the province is threatened by the Francs. In second half of the Life century, they launched several incursions in Septimanie, without never managing to reduce it. The inhabitants of the province, except exceptions, showed themselves indeed interdependent of the Visigoths. On the legal level, Septimanie is governed by the Roman law. The king Alaric II had made write, for his Roman subjects, the famous Breviarium legum romanae more known Wisigothorum under the name of Bréviaire of Alaric. When the wisigothic capital was transferred to Tolède, Septimanie expressed separatist inclinations. The nobility arienne refusing conversion with Catholicism took refuge there as well as the Jews persecuted in the remainder of the peninsula.
In 711, it takes only a few months for the Arab troops, to subject the near total of the Iberian peninsula. From there, the Moslems continued their irresistible dash and launched against Narbonne taken into 719, then against Carcassonne and Nimes into 725. In 719 the town of Toulouse was threatened and the Arab armies launched incursions to the Rouergue, the Quercy, and in Provence. Eudes, the duke of Aquitaine, managed to push back them into 721, the Arabs launched then into 725 a great forwarding along the Rhone-native corridor until Autun which they plundered and set fire to. When the Caliph Abd-Al-Rahman-Al-Ghafeki chooses of launching a large conquest campaign of the frank kingdom, it was intercepted close to Poitiers by Charles Martel into 732 and was killed during the battle. The great Moslem conquest of Europe was thus stopped. But in Septimanie, the attacks sarrasines continued and threatened Arles and the Provence. Narbonne was taken again after the Bataille of Birra into 737, and Islam gradually ebbed de Gaulle to be established durably in the Iberian peninsula with the powerful emirate of Cordoue. Pépin the Brief completed the conquest of Septimanie and Charlemagne administratively annexed part of the to him Marche of Spain, until the Èbre and called this area goes or Marquisat de Gothie. This walk was often victim of the Sarrasins raids into 793 for example. The latter were attracted by the prosperity of Septimanie at that time.
Septimanie knew great progress of the monachism Benedictine encouraged by Charlemagne. After the Division of Verdun (843), it belonged to the kingdom of Charles the Bald person, Francie Western. It was divided in 865 in two provinces with two capitals Barcelona and Narbonne. Charles Simple the (893-929), granted many advantages to the churches and monasteries of Septimanie. The first castles were built in the cities with Xe century and the laic ones took possession of the religious goods then: at the end of Xe century, the Guillaume Viscount bequeathed to his daughter Béziers and its évêché. Septimanie escaped in fact to the frank kings after the reign of Charles Simple the from the profit of the bishops, the counts of Provence and the dukes of Aquitaine.
At the time feudal, one spoke about “duchy of Narbonne” but this title, with the hands of the counts de Toulouse did not involve no real capacity, the political power being émietté between the various local lords (counts of Mauguio, of Saint-Gilles, Viscounts of Narbonne, Carcassonne, Razès, Béziers, Agde, Nimes, lords of Montpellier). Septimanie, integrated into the royal field, disappeared as a province, after the Albigensian Crusade (1215).
The posterity of the Septimanie termThey are the historians who will adopt and transmit the term of Septimanie that they found at Gregoire de Tours, whose books constitute the source to which all come to draw. One rather usually finds it during VIIIe, IXe, Xe centuries. It is in their writings that Septimanie starts to indicate the part of the Narbonnese at the time where it was under the domination of the Visigoths then Francs. One can imagine that the term of Septimanie was in their eyes more satisfactory than that of Narbonnese too related to the Roman empire or that of Gothie not rather frankly). In fact safe by two members authors of the clergy, the Septimanie term forever have real existence, of historical reality. But it has a cultural and literary reality, in which it was forged. In fact when one evokes Septimanie, one really does not know what it is question: Heritage of the Visigoths, of what was Gothie or of what Septimanie represents for the regional well-read men and scholars…
Domination wisigothe in Septimanie, it remains the cemetery Visigoth of Estagel with a very interesting funerary furniture but far from the splendor of the treasure of Guarrazar (overdraft close to Tolède). Certain Catalan family names “typically” have a Germanic root which one can attach to the Visigoths: Combined comes from Adalhaid (formed starting from the words adal, noble and haid, the moor). Jaubert is to be brought closer to formed Gautberht of gaut, the people goth and berht, shining… But it should be specified that one finds in all the areas of France of family names of Germanic origin. The wisigothe presence corresponds to the moment when the organization of the Church is set up. The Holy monastery Gilles of Gard, high place of pilgrimage in Languedoc-Roussillon, would have been founded on the spot where the king Wamba Visigoth, come to subdue the rebellion of the duke Paul, met the Gilles hermit.
Septimanie and Languedoc-RoussillonAfter its election with the head of the area Languedoc-Roussillon in 2004, Georges Frêche launched the idea to change the name of the area into “Septimanie”, term which it considered more judicious than his old designation, resulting from work of DATAR. The District council started to very largely use this name. He however met a frank opposition of a broad population, especially at the Roussillonnais which estimated that the name “Septimanie” could harm the Catalan identity and deny the double cultural identity present in the denomination even of Languedoc-Roussillon. Moreover old Septimanie did not recover exactly the limits of current Languedoc-Roussillon.
This opposition, crystallized by a demonstration gathering 8000 people in Perpignan, on October 8th, 2005, led Georges Frêche to give up this name change.
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