Here are a couple of fragments from Antoni Rubió i Lluch’s L’Expedició catalana a l’Orient vista pels grecs (The Catalan Expedition to the Orient as seen by the Greeks (1883, 2004 edition translated from Spanish into Catalan)). This is Rubió i Lluch quoting Epaminondas Stamatiades:
Is it necessary after all that we have said that we repeat that the Catalans wherever they went brought with them destruction, ruin, death and imprisonment? It it necessary that we enumerate the miseries suffered by the unfortunate inhabitants of these lands? Even today in some areas of Greece, as for example in Eubea, to reproach someone for an illegal or unjust act one says “Even a Catalan wouldn’t do that.” In Acarnania the word “Catalan” is currently considered a synonym for savage, thief, delinquent, and they call “Catalan” the man of lewd and cruel sentiment. Today also in Tripoli in the Peloponnese they use none other than the expression “like a Catalan” to indicate that a woman is irascible, uncouth and hard. The Catalan dagger … is synonymous with that of the murderer. Why tire ourselves, though, when the Spanish historian Mariana himself called the Catalan invaders of the Orient thieves, cruel and disobedient people?
Then Rubió i Lluch cites a friend, Nicolás Politis, who writes to him that
The word Catalan is considered in Athens as a terrible insult which may only be applied to cruel and barbarous men. “What a Catalan!” say the old people of Attica as an insult… In Messenia and Laconia they call Catalan a woman who is masculine, tall, bulky and ugly…
To be fair, I believe that “Catalan” in Greek was also used to refer to Valencians, and it may have covered a multitude of other sinners as well.
Rubió i Lluch (1856-1937) was a Catalan nationalist born in Valladolid who defied the trinity of blood, language and territory and wrote in Spanish. Kipling would have blushed at some of his opinions, but there’s some good history in there too.
- More Catalan thieves
I thought you’d like to know that the first bandoleros in the OED are Catalan and to be found in James
Antoni’s going to look at anti-Catalanism, which should be worth a read. The Wikipedia anti-Americanism entry is good, with quotes from
- The fire and the precipice
The following curious passage brought back memories of a quiet Tuesday several years ago: The sixty Catalans imprisoned in Adrianople, after the
- Final victory of the Catalans and Aragonese with their Turkish allies over the Duke of Athens
Expedición de Catalanes y Aragoneses al Oriente: Fué batalla muy terrible y sangrienta, y duró mas el alcance y el matar, que
- The perejil shibboleth
“Is it true about the parsley, Your Excellency? That to distinguish Dominicans from Haitians you made all the blacks say perejil?