Runes are not French… they say.
Above pictures belong hence they are copyrighted to a book called
Nos Ancetres les Barbares. Our ancestors: The Barbarians. Journey about the graves of three Frankish chieftains. Publisher Museum of Saint Dizier and Somogy Editions d’Art – Cecile Vareon Editor.
Shall I add that Patrick Perin the former National Curator for France National Archaeology and Jean Soulat have participated to this book.
May God help Eada who ordered this chrismale to be made.
Is it the gift of a Northumbrian noble, an object brought back from Britain by a Viking who later converted along Rollo of Normandy or is it the swan-song of a Frankish literacy which became extinct during the reign of Chilperic grand-son: Dagobert.
In 633 after Hatfield, the Dowager Queen of Northumbria Aethelburgh fled to Frankia. She feared for her son. Her brother the King of Kent may have proven to be unreliable or himself unable to protect her from the wrath of Caedwallon of Gwynnedd and Penda of Mercia. Maybe her brother Eadbald felt it safer for her to be in Gaul: one can imagine how Dagobert king of the entire Frankish Realm would have received the envoys from the two men who had slain his cousin’s husband. Both kings Eadbald and Dagobert were Chlothar the First great grandsons. Did the widowed queen bring along the crysmale? Or was it made by Eligius : Dagobert chancellor, minister, bishop and goldsmith. All the above in one man.
Runes. A Germanic writing. Which did not survive the persistent onslaught of Latin and its Roman alphabet. We are told that upon – firstly converting to Christianity Clovis followed quickly by accepting a Faustian deal : You will rule us and we shall pay taxes into your coffers without rebellion whilst you will worship our one and only God forsaking your paternal polytheist pantheon and you will speak our language.
Thus France was born. Esau got its riches and the Chosen One got the significant share of the inheritance. Franks lost their souls to a Gallo-Roman version of the Divine and more importantly lost their roots and culture as they swapped their tradition for the much vaunted Romanitas…
Thus Runes were not. Rues were either Anglo-Saxon with a bit more vowels and Scandinavian. France or rather Frankia as in the Frankish Realm was not to be Germanic.
Yet we have names given via Runes to jewellers and women they were. And on swords pommels similar to ones found in Kent. As time progresses and archaeological digs give a clearer picture, we come to realize some certainties are not so certain.
Cantwaras as in the People/the Men from Kent got their part of the bargain. Runes graved on swords and jewellery as in man bling may have been used as symbols of friendships between the two kingdoms. Both eager to trade and benefit from trade. It may even explain why the legitimate daughter of the late King of Paris was sent over to Canterbury to become the first known Queen of British History following the Roman departure.
And what if Runes were somehow French or Frank? Chilperic, one of her two guardian uncles wanted to have Germanic sounds/ vowels? consonants? to the Latin alphabet. Was he trying to add some runes to try and protect his native language from the ruthless Gallo-Roman tsunami?
near the Mont Saint-Michel there is a curious object from the 7th century: a chrysmale/crysmale/chrismale. A small gilded box to allow safely the transport of hosts. Some believe it was brought up by Anglo-Saxon missionaries travelling through Frankia toward Frisia and Germany.
But isn’t the Augustinian mission to the Cantwaras Roman? Runes Augustine did not use. As for the Irish monks of Saint Aidan or the Romano-Briton native church, again Latin was their root. Runes do not grace the Book of Kells nor the Lindisfarne Gospels. Runes yet are gracing the box.
Runes in France… another REAL mystery.