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The Aquitanian language was the language of the ancient
Aquitani The Aquitanians (Latin: ''Aquitani'') were a people living in what is now southern Nouvelle-Aquitaine and southwestern Midi-Pyrénées, France, called Gallia Aquitania by the Roman Empire, Romans in the region between the Pyrenees, the Atlantic oce ...

Aquitani
, spoken on both sides of the western
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to ...

Pyrenees
in ancient
Aquitaine Aquitaine ( , , ; oc, Aquitània ; eu, Akitania; Poitevin-Saintongeais Poitevin-Saintongeais (french: poitevin-saintongeais, link=no, ; autonym: ''poetevin-séntunjhaes''; also called ''Parlanjhe'', ''Aguiain'' or even ''Aguiainais'' in Fren ...

Aquitaine
(approximately between the Pyrenees and the
Garonne The Garonne (, also , ; Occitan language , Occitan, Catalan language , Catalan, Basque language, Basque, and es, Garona, ; la, Garumna or ) is a river of southwest France and northern Spain. It flows from the central Spanish Pyrenees to the ...

Garonne
, in the region later known as
Gascony Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region ...
) and in the areas south of the Pyrenees in the valleys of the
Basque Country Image:Euskal Herriaren terminologia.png, Map showing the geographical and political divisions of the Basque Country Basque Country may refer to: *Basque Country (autonomous community) (''Euskal Autonomia Erkidegoa'' in Basque; ''Comunidad Autónoma ...
before the Roman conquest. It probably survived in Aquitania north of the Pyrenees until the
Early Middle Ages The Early Middle Ages or Early Medieval Period, sometimes referred to as the Dark Ages, is typically regarded by historians as lasting from the late 5th or early 6th century to the 10th century. They marked the start of the Middle Ages ...
. Archaeological, toponymical, and historical evidence shows that it was a language or group of languages that represent a precursor of the
Basque language Basque (; , ) is a language spoken by Basques and others of the Basque Country (greater region), Basque Country, a region that straddles the westernmost Pyrenees in adjacent parts of Northern Spain and Southwestern France. Linguistically, Ba ...
. The most important pieces of evidence are a series of
votive A votive offering or votive deposit is one or more objects displayed or deposited, without the intention of recovery or use, in a sacred Sacred describes something that is dedicated or set apart for the service or worship of a deity A ...
and funerary texts in Latin, dated to the first three centuries AD, which contain about 400 personal names and 70 names of gods.


History

Aquitanian and its modern relative,
Basque Basque may refer to: * Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern European ethnic group, characterised by the Basque language, a Basque culture, common culture and shared genetic ancestry to th ...
, are commonly thought to be
Pre-Indo-European languages The Pre-Indo-European languages are any of several ancient languages, not necessarily related to one another, that existed in Prehistoric Europe Prehistoric Europe is Europe with human presence but before the start of recorded history, beginnin ...
, remnants of the languages spoken in Western Europe before the arrival of
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
speakers. Some claims have been made, based on supposed derivations of the words for "knife" (''aizto''), "ax" (''aizkora'') and "hoe" (''aitzur'') from the word for "stone" (''haitz''), claiming that the language therefore must date to the Stone Age or Neolithic period, when those tools were made of stone but this is not accepted by mainstream vasconists.


Persons' names and gods' names

Almost all of the Aquitanian inscriptions that have been found north of the Pyrenees are in the territory that
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
and
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Laz ...
sources assigned to Aquitanians. *
Anthroponyms Anthroponymy (also anthroponymics or anthroponomastics, from Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generall ...
: Belexeia, Lavrco, Borsei, Andereseni, Nescato, Cissonbonnis, Sembecconi, Gerexo, Bihossi, Talsconis, Halscotarris etc. * Theonyms: Baigorixo, Ilunno, Arixoni,
ArtaheArtaha (also spelled Artehe) is the name of an ancient goddess that was worshiped in Southern Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is on ...
, Ilurberrixo, Astoiluno, Haravsoni, Leherenno etc. Some inscriptions have also been found south of the Pyrenees in the territory that Greek and Roman sources assigned to
Vascones The Vascones were a pre-Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropol ...

Vascones
: * Anthroponyms: Ummesahar, Ederetta, Serhuhoris, Dusanharis, Abisunhar etc. * Theonyms: Larrahe, Loxae / Losae, Lacubegi, Selatse / Stelaitse, Helasse, Errensae.


Relations with other languages

Most Aquitanian
onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An ''wikt:orthonym, orthonym'' is the proper name of the object in question, the object of onomastic study. Onomastics can be helpful in data mining, with ap ...
elements are clearly identifiable from a Basque perspective, matching closely the forms reconstructed by the vascologist for
Proto-Basque Proto-Basque ( eu, Aitzineuskara; es, protoeuskera, protovasco; french: proto-basque), or more accurately Pre-Basque, is the reconstructed predecessor of the Basque language before the Roman conquest of the Iberian Peninsula, Roman conquests in ...
: The vascologist Joaquín Gorrochategui, who has written several works on Aquitanian, and Mitxelena have pointed out the similarities of some
Iberian Iberian refers to Iberia (disambiguation), Iberia. Most commonly Iberian refers to: *Someone or something originating in the Iberian Peninsula, namely from Spain, Portugal and Andorra. The term ''Iberian'' is also used to refer to anything pertain ...
onomastic Onomastics or onomatology is the study of the etymology, history, and use of proper names. An ''wikt:orthonym, orthonym'' is the proper name of the object in question, the object of onomastic study. Onomastics can be helpful in data mining, with ap ...
elements with Aquitanian. In particular, Mitxelena spoke about an ''onomastic pool'' from which both Aquitanian and Iberian would have drawn: For other more marginal theories see Basque language: Hypotheses on connections with other languages.


Geographical extent

Since ancient times there have been indications of a relationship between present Southwestern France and the Basques. During the Roman conquest of
Gaul Gaul ( la, Gallia) was a region of Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rat ...

Gaul
by
Julius Caesar Gaius Julius Caesar (; 12 July 100 BC – 15 March 44 BC) was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ancient Rome *', shortened ...

Julius Caesar
,
Aquitania Gallia Aquitania ( , ), also known as Aquitaine or Aquitaine Gaul, was a list of Roman provinces, province of the Roman Empire. It lies in present-day southwest France, where it gives its name to the modern Regions of France, region of Aquitaine ...

Aquitania
was the territory between the
Garonne The Garonne (, also , ; Occitan language , Occitan, Catalan language , Catalan, Basque language, Basque, and es, Garona, ; la, Garumna or ) is a river of southwest France and northern Spain. It flows from the central Spanish Pyrenees to the ...

Garonne
and the
Pyrenees The Pyrenees (; es, Pirineos ; french: Pyrénées ; ca, Pirineus ; eu, Pirinioak ; oc, Pirenèus ; an, Pirineus) is a mountain range straddling the border of France and Spain. It extends nearly from its union with the Cantabrian Mountains to ...

Pyrenees
. It was inhabited by tribes of horsemen who Caesar said were very distinct in customs and language from the
Celts The Celts (, see pronunciation of ''Celt'' for different usages) are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time period: Second millennium B.C.E. to present ancestry: Celtic a collection of Indo-European peoples The Indo-European languages ar ...

Celts
of Gaul. During the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe The history of Europe concerns itself with the discovery and collection, the study, organization and presentation and the interpretation of past events and affairs of the people of Europe since the beginning of ...
, this territory was named ''
Gascony Gascony (; french: Gascogne ; oc, Gasconha ; eu, Gaskoinia) was a province A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region ...
'', derived from ''
Vasconia The Duchy of Gascony or Duchy of Vasconia ( eu, Baskoniako dukerria; oc, ducat de Gasconha; french: duché de Gascogne, duché de Vasconie) was a duchy located in present-day southwestern France and northeastern Spain, an area encompassing the m ...

Vasconia
'' and cognate with the word ''Basque''. There are many clues that indicate that Aquitanian was spoken in the Pyrenees at least as far east as
Val d'Aran Aran (; ; ) (previously officially called in Occitan Val d'Aran, Catalan: ''Vall d'Aran'', Spanish: ''Valle de Arán'') is an administrative entity (formerly considered a Comarques of Catalonia, comarca) in Lleida (province), Lleida, Catalonia, Sp ...

Val d'Aran
. Place-names that end in ‑os, ‑osse, ‑ons, ‑ost and ‑oz are considered to be of Aquitanian origin, such as the place-name
Biscarrosse Biscarrosse is a Communes of France, commune in the Landes (department), Landes Departments of France, department in Nouvelle-Aquitaine in southwestern France. It is located southwest of Bordeaux, and inland from the seaside resort of Biscarross ...
, which is directly related to the city of Biscarrués (note the
Navarro-Aragonese Navarro-Aragonese is a Romance language The Romance languages, less commonly Latin or Neo-Latin languages, are the modern languages that evolved from Vulgar Latin between the third and eighth centuries. They are a subgroup of the Italic lang ...
phonetic change) south of the Pyrenees. "Biscar" (modern Basque spelling: ) means "ridge-line". Such suffixes in place-names are ubiquitous in the east of
Navarre Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ( es, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, links=no ; eu, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea, links=no ), is a Fuero, foral autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous co ...

Navarre
and in
Aragon Aragon ( or , Spanish and an, Aragón , ca, Aragó ) is an autonomous community In Spain, an autonomous community ( es, comunidad autónoma) is a first-level political divisions of Spain, political and administrative division, created in acc ...

Aragon
, with the classical medieval ‑os > ‑ues occurring in stressed syllables, pointing to a language continuum on both sides of the Pyrenees. This strong formal element can be traced on either side of the mountain range as far west as an imaginary line roughly stretching from
Pamplona Pamplona (; eu, Iruña or ; oc, Pampalona), historically known as Pampeluna in English, is the capital city of the Chartered Community of Navarre, in Spain , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = Escudo ...

Pamplona
to
Bayonne Bayonne (; eu, Baiona ; oc, label=Gascon dialect, Gascon, Baiona ; es, Bayona) is a city and Communes of France, commune and one of the two Subprefectures in France, sub-prefectures of the Departments of France, department of Pyrénées-Atla ...

Bayonne
(compare Bardos/Bardoze, Ossès/Ortzaize,
Briscous Briscous (Basque language, Basque ''Beskoitze'') is a town in the traditional Northern Basque Country, Basque province of Labourd, now a commune in France, commune in the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Departments of France, department in southwestern Fr ...
/Beskoitze), where it ceases to appear. Other than place-names and a little written evidence, the picture is not very clear in the west of the Basque Country, as the historical record is scant. The territory was inhabited by the
Caristii The Caristii were a pre-Ancient Rome, Roman tribe settled in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, in what today are known as the historical territories of Biscay and Álava, in the Basque Country (autonomous community), Basque Country, northern Spa ...
,
Varduli The Varduli were a pre-Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan ...
, and
Autrigones The Autrigones were a pre-Ancient Rome, Roman tribe that settled in the north of the Iberian Peninsula, in what today is the western Basque Country (autonomous community), Basque Country (western regions of Province of Biscay, Biscay and Province ...

Autrigones
, and has been claimed as either Basque or Celtic depending on the author, since
Indo-European The Indo-European languages are a language family A language family is a group of language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation ...
lexical elements have been found underlying or intertwined in the names given to natural features, such as rivers or mountains ( Butrón,
Nervión The River Nervión (; eu, Nerbioi) runs through the town of Bilbao, Spain, Bilbao, Spain into the Cantabrian Sea (Bay of Biscay). Its lowermost course, downstream of its confluence with the Ibaizabal River, is known as the Estuary of Bilbao. ...

Nervión
, Deba/Deva, suffix ‑ika etc.) in an otherwise generally Basque linguistic landscape, or Spanish, especially in Álava. Archaeological findings in
Iruña-Veleia Veleia was a Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Ca ...
in 2006 were initially claimed as evidence of the antiquity of Basque in the south but were subsequently dismissed as a
forgery Forgery is a white-collar crime The term "white-collar crime" refers to financially motivated, nonviolent or non directly violent crime In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. Th ...
. The
Cantabri The Cantabri ( grc-gre, Καντάβροι, ''Kantabroi'') or Ancient Cantabrians, were a pre-Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *, the capital city of Italy *, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *, the people of ...
ans are also mentioned as relatives or allies of the Aquitanians: they sent troops to fight on their side against the Romans. The
Vascones The Vascones were a pre-Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropol ...

Vascones
who occupied modern
Navarra Navarre (; es, Navarra ; eu, Nafarroa ), officially the Chartered Community of Navarre ( es, Comunidad Foral de Navarra, links=no ; eu, Nafarroako Foru Komunitatea, links=no ), is a Fuero, foral autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous co ...

Navarra
are usually identified with the
Basques The Basques ( or ; eu, euskaldunak ; es, vascos ; french: basques ) are a Southern Europe Southern Europe is the southern region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of ...
( in Spanish), their name being one of the most important pieces of evidence. In 1960, a stele with Aquitanian names was found in Lerga, which could reinforce the idea that Basques and Aquitanians were related. The ethnic and linguistic kinship is confirmed by Julio Caro Baroja, who considers the Aquitanian-Basque relationship an ancient and medieval stage ahead of the well-attested territorial shrinking process undergone by the Basque language during the Modern Age.


See also

* Iberian languages * Gallia Aquitania * Duchy of Vasconia * Basque people * Northern Basque Country * Vasconic languages * Neolithic Europe * Pre-Roman peoples of the Iberian Peninsula


References


Further reading

* Xaverio Ballester, Ballester, Xaverio (2001): "La adfinitas de las lenguas aquitana e ibérica", ''Palaeohispanica'' 1, pp. 21–33. * Gorrochategui, Joaquín (1984): ''Onomástica indígena de Aquitania'', Bilbao. * Gorrochategui, Joaquín (1993): La onomástica aquitana y su relación con la ibérica, ''Lengua y cultura en Hispania prerromana : actas del V Coloquio sobre lenguas y culturas de la Península Ibérica : (Colonia 25–28 de Noviembre de 1989)'' (Francisco Villar and Jürgen Untermann, eds.), , pp. 609–34 * Gorrochategui, Joaquín (1995): "The Basque Language and its Neighbors in Antiquity", ''Towards a History of the Basque Language'', pp. 31–63. * Hoz, Javier de (1995): "El poblamiento antiguo de los Pirineos desde el punto de vista lingüístico", ''Muntanyes i Població. El passat dels Pirineus des d'una perspectiva multidisciplinària'', pp. 271–97. * Michelena, Luis (1954): "De onomástica aquitana", ''Pirineos'' 10, pp. 409–58. * Michelena, Luis (1977): ''Fonética histórica vasca'', San Sebastián. * Luis Núñez Astrain, Núñez, Luis (2003)
''El Euskera arcaico. Extensión y parentescos''
Tafalla. * Rodríguez Ramos, Jesús (2002): "La hipótesis del vascoiberismo desde el punto de vista de la epigrafía íbera", ''Fontes Linguae Vasconum'' 90, pp. 197–219. * Rodríguez Ramos, Jesús (2002): "Índice crítico de formantes de compuesto de tipo onomástico en la lengua íbera", ''Cypsela'' 14, pp. 251–75. * Larry Trask, Trask, L.R. (1995): "Origin and relatives of the Basque Language: Review of the evidence", ''Towards a History of the Basque Language'', pp. 65–99. * Trask, L.R. (1997):
The History of Basque
', London/New York, * Trask, L.R. (2008): (edited for web publication by Max Wheeler), University of Sussex * Velaza, Javier (1995): "Epigrafía y dominios lingüísticos en territorio de los vascones", ''Roma y el nacimiento de la cultura epigráfica en occidente'', pp. 209–18. {{Authority control Extinct languages of Europe Pre-Indo-Europeans Vasconic languages Basque Aquitaine Gallo-Roman culture Paleohispanic languages