Black, History, Royal Europeans, Moorish, David McRitchie

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Saracen, Vikings, Vernagu, Roland, Mediterranean, Moors

Jack Black Ystumllyn, Wales
Flavian Negro

Any comprehensive account of the African presence in early Europe should include England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and Scandinavia.

 

The history and legends of Scotland confirm the existence of "purely Black people." We see one of them in the person of Kenneth the Niger. During the tenth century Kenneth the Niger ruled over three provinces in the Scottish Highlands.

 

The historical and literary traditions of Wales reflect similar beliefs. According to Gwyn Jones (perhaps the world's leading authority on the subject), to the Welsh chroniclers, "The Danes coming in by way of England and the Norwegians by way of Ireland were pretty well all black: Black Gentiles, Black Norsemen, and Black Host."

 

There is also strong reason to suggest an African presence in ancient Ireland. We have, for example, the legends of the mysterious "African sea-rovers, the Fomorians, who had a stronghold on Torrey Island, off the Northwest Coast."

 

The Fomorians, shrouded deep in mist, came to be regarded as the sinister forces in Irish mythology. Bottom top right, "Negro" Roman ambassador of the Flavian period, Rome Albani, 209, Deutches Archaologisches Instituto, Rome and bottom left Family crest of; Bownell, Buckworth, Haliburton, Hallyburton, Soames and Stewart.

Moors also dominated the British Isles at one point in history. The archeologist and writer David McRitchie declared that the Moors dominated Scotland as late as the time of the Saxon Kings.

 

King Kenneth I, III, Constantine III

He stated with scholarly authority: So late as the tenth century three of these provinces [of Scotland] were wholly black and the supreme ruler of these became for a time the paramount king of transmarine Scotland. We see one of the black people ­- the Moors of the Romans - in the person of a King of Alban of the tenth century. History knows him as Kenneth, sometimes as Dubh and as Niger.

 

We know as a historic fact that a Niger Val Dubh has lived and reigned over certain black divisions of our islands and probably white divisions also, and that a race known as the "Sons of the Black" succeeded him in history.

 

Representation of Black Saracen giant in medieval literature begin with Vernagu found in the Pseudo Turpin Chronicle of Charlemagne. Dated to the fourteenth century, the Roland and Vernagu describe a duel between the black as pitch, Saracen Vernagu, and the Christian knight Roland.

 

 

 

Another towering figure was Alagolfare the Ethiopian giant of the Sowdone of Babylone,who’s "skin was black and hard." It is said that: This Astrogot (Alagolfare) of Ethiopia, he was a king of great strength; there was none such in Europe. So strong and so long in length, I trowe (?) he were a devil's son of Bezelbubb's line." There is also the legendary fight between William of Orange (an eleventh century count of Poitiers) and Ysore (a Black Saracen giant). Bottom left, Ysore the Black "Saracen" giant 1250 A.D.

 

Ysore the Black "Saracen" giant
Pope's coat-of-arms

The portrayals of Black Saracen giants in medieval literature thus reflect the realistic associations of "tall Africans in Saracen armies."

 

Blacks likewise appear as sea-roving Saracens in the early Viking sagas. For example, in the Orkneyinga Saga (a thirteenth century Icelandic account of the Earls of Orkney), references are made to a great battle on the Mediterranean Sea between Vikings and Black Saracens. It stated that:
Once both parties were aboard there was fierce fighting, the people on the dromond being Saracens, whom we call infidels of Mohammed, among them a good many black men, who put up a strong resistance.

 

Saxon coins
Negroid gold coin pendant

The fighting qualities of the Black Saracens must have been quite striking to the Earl of Orkney, who wrote:

 

Erling, honoured aimer of spears, eagerly advanced toward the vessel in victory, with banners of blood; the black warriors,brave lads, we cap¬≠tured or killed, crimsoning our blades. Busy with this dromond business our blades we bloodied on the blacks. After sparing some of the captives, including their leader, these Vikings fell into the hands of more Saracens, "who repaid them with similar generosity."Top left, Negroid English/Saxon coins, minted in England, between the 10th and 11th centuries and top right, Negroid gold coin pendant, about 590 A.D., found near St. Martin’s church, Canterbury.

 

Michael VII Doukas  Byzantine Emperor

The fact that Blacks had lived in some of the same Iberian regions later occupied by Islamic Moors suggests this. In 937, Ibn Hawkal noted that Blacks were very common in Palermo.

 

Regarding one of the city's main entrances, Hawkal wrote that it was called the "Bab es Soudan," or "Gate of the Blacks," so named after its ebony-hued residents.

 

Pope Leo III referred to these Blacks variously as Moors, Agareni, and Saracens. Islamic encroachment on the European mainland took place around 846. When "Saracens" landed at the mouth of the Tiber River and besieged Rome. Of this invasion, the German historian Hincmar (875 A.D.) wrote that:

 

The Arabs and Moors assaulted Rome on the Tiber, and when they laid waste to the basilica of the blessed Peter, the prince of the apostles, and carried off all the ornaments and treasures, with the very altar which was situated above the tomb of the famous prince of apostles, they occupied strongly a fortified hill a hundred miles from the city.

 

 


Isaac I Byzantine Emperor

In the invasion of Rome, Pope John VII agreed to pay an annual tribute of 25,000 marks of silver to the Saracens to retreat. Frederick It (1197-1250 A.D.), of the Hohenstaufen dynasty, developed especially close relationships with the remaining Blacks in Sicily, and retained a , Moorish chamberlain who was constantly in his presence.

 

While admittedly breaking the Islamic powerbase, he also solicited the aid of the Moors from Palermo in his intense struggle with the papacy. After resettling conquered Muslims on the Italian mainland at Lucera, the monarch recruited an elite guard unit of 16,000 Black troops.

 

One of the independent sovereigns of Moorish descent with whom Frederick II came into contact was Morabit, a name whose attachment may be found with the Sanhadja Berber tribes known as Murabit. Growing conflicts and rebellion against the expansionist policies of Frederick II eventually led to the death of Morabit.

 

Europe, Kenneth, the, Niger, Scottish, Highlands, Ireland, Fomorians, Rome, Pope, Leo, III, Italy, German, Frederick, II, Norwegians, Alfonso X, Portugal, Spain

 

 

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Nearly all the major universities in Europe sprung up around the same time, beginning in the second half of the 12th century right up through the 13th, a span of about one hundred and fifty years.

 

 

In 1239 A.D., however, another Black man, Johannes Maurus, attained a position of considerable authority at the Hohenstaufen royal court.

 

"In South Italy and Sicily," writes Paul Kaplan, "dark-skinned Moslems had already been visible for several centuries.

 

Spain and Portugal, a real renaissance, when other parts of Europe were spending a thousand years passing through the dark age which the destruction of Rome by the Barbarians.

 

Moorish domination extended to parts of Italy.

 

In 846 A.D., they held the city of Rome in a state of siege while in 878 they captured Sicily from the Normans.

 

Twenty years later the Moors took control of Southern Italy by defeating Otto II of Germany.

 

As in Spain and Portugal, miscegenation took place on a wide scale between the Moors and the Italians.

 

The Italians at that time had large infusions of Germanic blood due to the invasion of the Goths and Like Portugal and Spain the blood of Africa permeated through all Italian society.

 

And Africa blood found its way into the leading families, including the most illustrious royal family of the times-the Medicis.

 

van Asbroeck family crest

 

 

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