Catalan historical revisionism

Manuel Capdevila occasionally comments here but now has his own blog, Revised Catalonia History, whose goal is to remedy what he believes is the deliberate obfuscation of the Glorious History of the Catalan Nation and its Contribution to Civilisation and create a correct, Catalan-centric view.

One of his early claims is that the English paper comes from the Catalan paper, rather than “1341, from Anglo-Fr. paper, from O.Fr. papier, from L. papyrus ‘paper, paper made of papyrus stalks’“. Whatever the role of the Moorish paper factory in Játiva/Xàtiva, the Académie française seems perfectly happy with medieval Latin as the origin of their papier. Moreover, if Iberian origins were feasible then there is as much reason to suspect they were “Castilian” as “Catalan” (the distinction is ridiculous, but whatever): the first Castilian usage I know of is some 80 years previous to the date of 1330 which he gives, being more or less contemporaneous with the first recorded Catalan use (ca 1253 vs 1249).

It’s in a collection of misogynist tales translated from Arab sources and entitled El libro de los engaños y de los ensañamientos de las mujeres, The book of women’s deceits and vexations. “[A]unque se tornase la tierra papel, e la mar tinta e los peçes d’ella péndolas, que non podrían escrevir las maldades de las mugeres,” it says: though the earth turn to paper, and the sea to ink, and the fish to pens, it would be impossible to write the evils of women.

One might nowadays apply the same compliment to nationalists.

[I’m not going to get into whether the Armada was Catalan, but the idea of the ponies of the New Forest having escaped from Armada wrecks has been regarded as a charming fiction for as long as I can remember, which is roughly two weeks at the moment.]

[Some vaguely anti-misogynist counterblasts from Javier Álvarez.]

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  1. This reminds me of a man who once told me, straight-faced, that “Camp Bell”, of Campbell’s soup fame, was a native of Reus.

    Capdevila’s quite convincing on the Valencian origin of the Spanish word for gunpowder though. And to his credit, he just about stops short of claiming the substance itself was a catalan invention.

  2. Transcribe the phrase were I’ve said gunpowder it’s a catalan invention..

    Michael Scott documents saying that on 1212, you could find salpetre only in Catalunya, are in de Bodleian..

    About the word paper, it’s not me who says that, but Coromines, the filologist, who knew about languages quite a bit more than those that may only pretend it..

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