Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bresciani nel Mondo - Northern California changes it's name, approach

Bresciani nel Mondo - Northern California has changed it's name to the Lombardian-American Alliance - Northern California. This is part of an effort to move towards the idea of a Tuscan American Association type of national organization. For further reading: 'From Bresciani nel Mondo to Lombardian-American Alliance.'

Saturday, March 28, 2009

From Bresciani nel Mondo to Lombardian-American Alliance

After much careful thought, we're changing our approach in this endeavor. "Bresciani nel Mondo - Northern California" was to be a very small group, and partly to encourage the idea of a worldwide Bresciani nel Mondo. However, we believe that it would be much more pragmatic to focus on the Lombardi nel Mondo concept, which would appeal to a larger group of people here locally, and in this country.

Lombardi nel Mondo is a worldwide association for people of Lombardian decent. Their linkup heritage groups are on five continents. In Argentina, there are many Lombardian groups, all over that country. However, in North America, the Chicago-based committee leaves a whole lot to be desired. They make almost no attempt to reach out to those who share their own heritage. Unless they don't really want to reach out to Americans, in which case: "why are they even here in the first place??" They have a very strange website, which 1) is only in Italian; 2) is offline most of the time; 3) is very difficult to navigate; and, 4) changes it's URL every few months. For this North American regional committee: the official languages here (N. America) are English, Spanish, and French. I think, but I'm not positive, that they're funded by the region of Lombardia. I don't get it. What are they trying to accomplish here?

One model for the Lombardi nel Mondo groups, is that they have two groups in one. Lombardi nel Mondo and, for example, Bergamaschi nel Mondo. I think for us here, we need to stick with one name, and that being with the larger quasi-ethnic group. Also, we're hyphenating it to "Lombardian-American." There are, for example, Sicilian clubs with this hyphenation, as they consider themselves, or it's at least put it out there, the concept of a separate ethnic group "Sicilian-American." Of course, they would outnumber us ten, or twenty to one in this country. It would be to our advantage to promote the concept of "Lombardian-American." A Lombardian-American should be a European-American of Lombardian or Italian Swiss decent. Therefore, for example, a person with connections to "The Hill" in St. Louis, with Sicilian and Lombardian roots, may consider themselves a "Lombardian-American." Or, Irish, Polish, Greek, etc., you get the point.

We would still like to associate with "our" (?) regional continental committee, but we don't really need to. It's a little embarrassing that we had set up some blueprints for networking that have quickly become defunct (ex-Camunari Circle - San Francisco Metro). The idea, as it now stands, is to form a national Lombardian-American Alliance, with a Lombardian National Council made up of regional leaders and other important individuals (ex-a professor). This may exist in thought-form only for now. A blueprint. Here, of course, we will be renamed to the "Lombardian-American Alliance - Northern California." Part of our goal is to facilitate this organizing process.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bresciani nel Mondo - Northern California: Official Website

Bresciani nel Mondo - Northern California now has a new official website. This blog will remain the active arm of the association however. We would like fit into the landscape of the Padanian-American League, Lombardi nel Mondo - Area Nord America, and the Lombardian American Alliance.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Radetzky March

From Wikipedia: "Radetzky March

"Radetzky March, Op. 228 is a march composed by Johann Strauss Sr. in 1848. It was dedicated to the Austrian Field Marshal Joseph Radetzky von Radetz, and became quite a popular march among soldiers.

"When it was first played, in front of Austrian officers in attendance, they promptly clapped and stomped their feet when the chorus was played. This tradition is carried over today when the march is played in classical music venues in Vienna, among members of the audience who are familiar with the tradition. It is almost always played as the last piece of music at the Neujahrskonzert, the Vienna New Year Concert.

"Despite its military nature, its tone is rather festive than martial, in accordance with its dedicatee's exuberant personality and popularity in the ballroom as well as the battlefield. It is usually played in under three minutes.

"Radetzky March consists of three main parts:

"* The introduction: The whole orchestra plays here and the brass section plays the melody.
* The first figure: This is played by the string section.
* At figure two, the whole orchestra plays until figure three when it repeats back to the D.S. (first figure.)
* The trio: This is played by the brass section and the trumpet plays three triplets in the last bars of the trio.
* Figure five: The whole orchestra plays here.
* Figure six: The whole orchestra plays here and then repeats back to figure 5.
* The orchestra plays on the last bar.
* They go back to the D.C. (beginning).
* They play until figure three; and the piece finishes with the Fine ("end") bar -- i.e., the direction is Da capo al fine (repeat from beginning up to the word fine).

"Popular culture

"Lists of miscellaneous information should be avoided. Please relocate any relevant information into appropriate sections or articles. (March 2009)

"* Danish football club AGF Aarhus play the Radetzky March in their stadium every time a goal is scored by the home team.
* The 1932 book Radetzky March by Joseph Roth, depicting several generations of a military family in the last period of Austria-Hungary was inspired by the Strauss music.
* The march plays an important role in several armies around the world, and its presence demonstrates the influence that Austria made in the countries whose armies play it. Chile's Army's Officers' Academy "General Bernardo O'Higgins" plays the Radetzky March because of the system imposed in it by German officers in the between world wars era. Radetzky is one of the central parts of any of their ceremonies.
* In the film Battle Royale, the teacher Kitano plays the Radetzky March during his first report.
* In the film Werckmeister Harmonies, the march is played in two consective and constrating scenes; first, when Valuska visits Tünde and the drunken police chief, who are dancing to it, and in the following scene, when Valuska attempts to put the police chief's children to bed.
* In the TV series The Prisoner, the march is a notable part of the repertoire of the Village band.
* It was the theme song of the Finnish children's programme Pelle Hermanni, this version was played with a barrel organ.
* The song is played on all El Al flights prior to take-off.
* In Back to School, Mr. Bean, the Radetzky March is played over a horn speaker at the beginning of the episode, with a group of cadets marching.
* On Aristocrat Slot Machines[dubious – discuss], the introduction is played when a jackpot is won."

Further reading:

The Radetzky March (within the context of the Austrio-Hungarian or Happsburg Empire)

Cinque Giornate Revolt (Five Days Revolt in Milan - 1848)

I am not certain as to whether or not this march was composed before or after the Milanese revolt in 1848. It makes little difference, as it was in reference to Radetzky's army marching and conquering Lombardo-Venetia. It is frequently stated that "Italians hate the Radetzky March," which is understandable up to a point. I would think that it would only really be offensive to those of Lombardian, Tri-Venetian, and Trentinese descent. I don't even know if "offensive" is the word, but I do think that we should always be aware of this time period, which is really just one bleep within a historical perspective. We are as close as one or two great-grandparents away from this event. I guess it's possible that someone alive today could have had a grandparent who was alive during this time. That's amazing in of itself! The Brescians also had a big revolt against Radetzky's Happsburg army. The Ten Days Revolt during the same year, and was also victorious (but for only one year). I think that the march has transcended it's original meaning, and is used all over the world. It should be noted that the Venetians had their heel on the Dalmatian coast for a long time, just as the Austrians later had theirs on Lombardo-Venetia. It appears that Venetian colonies down along the eastern Adriatic coast to parts of Greece, were granted a little more political and economic inclusiveness, and less brutality (although the Venetians were brutal at times).

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Loose Ends: Valcamonica, Cernunnos, Wicca, Druids, and the Pentagram

We have covered some of the undeniable history of traditions of witchcraft in the Valle Camonica, and there are more areas to look at. This may not follow any consistent pattern, as we're tying in a number of related loose ends into one entry.

The above video is from the YouTube channel VeraMajestic, and is called 'Wicca vs Satanism.' It covers the issue well I think (3-2-12: this video was changed due to VeraMajestic closing her YouTube account). Wicca probably originated with the Celts, and goes back far before Christianity. A native European tradition. Intrinsically, there is nothing "Satanic" about Wicca/Witchcraft. Starting in the twentieth century, there exists some problems with undue influence in the "Wiccan Revival," with Illuminist type people infiltrating. However, the exact same thing has occurred in some areas of Christianity, and most other religions, as we have painfully seen in recent times. Also, it should be noted that the word "occult" merely means "hidden," and really has no meaning beyond that. It literally goes back to the idea of anything non-Christian being labeled "Occult!" For example, "He got involved in the occult!," has no meaning. Either he got involved in something specific, or not. Also, being called a "heathen" was once a major accusation, when it merely means something "non-Christian." An "infadel" if you will. The most important fact is that virtually all religions and faiths have had undue (mainly Illuminist) influence, and it certainly is a problem; but it's not just pagans. In fact, ironically, Wiccans have done a far better job of weeding out this negative influence than Christians have.

Following the lead of the video, I would like to cover the Pentagram, or also known as the Pentacle. It's basically a "Celtic Star Pentagon" (pentagon = 5 points). Satanists/Illuminists take already existing symbols and contort them to reflect the "evil side." As shown in the video, a Christian Cross, when put upside down, symbolizes Satanism. Nobody believes that the original cross is evil merely based on the fact that it can be turned upside down at any time.

The Pentagram goes back, probably with the Celts, thousands of years. Long before Christianity. It's is not at all Satanic... unless it's turned with one point downward into a "goat's head," at which time it does become a Satanic symbol, but not until. Now the above image probably isn't the best one to use because it's red and gives the wrong impression. A traditional non-Satanic/Celtic Pentagram is usually black I think.

I also wanted to at least mention Cernunnos, Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism, Celtic polytheism, Celtic mythology. Unfortunately, these bring up many false images to most people. Lets separate a little fact from fiction. Some areas, both in the Middle Ages in Europe, and in the early American colonies (Salem witch trials), were exaggerated in their scope. In other areas, it wasn't. The persecution of other forms of Christianity and Protestantism were probably far more brutal. For example, the attacks on the Cathars or the Waldensians. What was not exaggerated was the elimination and demonization of the Wiccan and Druid traditions.

From Wikipedia: "Cernunnos is a pagan Celtic god whose representations were widespread in the ancient Celtic lands of western Europe. As a horned god, Cernunnos is associated with horned male animals, especially stags and the ram-horned snake; this and other attributes associate him with produce and fertility." What has to be understood is that this was from ancient pre-Christian Europe. Fertility, the success of crops, the weather, etc., were of utmost importance. From what I have been able to gather, it was usually deer antlers that men wore.

From Wikipedia: "Archaeological sources such as inscriptions and depictions from Gaul and Northern Italy (Gallia Cisalpina) have been used to define Cernunnos. ...... Several images without inscriptions are thought to represent Cernunnos. The earliest known probable depiction of Cernunnos was found at Val Camonica in Italy, dating from the 4th century BC, while the best known depiction is on the Gundestrup cauldron found on Jutland, dating to the 1st century BC. The Cauldron was likely to have been stolen by the Germanic Cimbri tribe or another tribe that inhabited Jutland as it originated from south east Europe."

I'm only briefly going into Cernunnos, as it's involved and may confuse the issues. What is amazing is that related occult traditions, like Cernunnos, go back thousands of years in the Camunian Valley.

From Wikipedia: "Neopaganism

"In Wicca and derived forms of Neopaganism a Horned God is revered, a divinity which syncretises a number of horned or antlered gods from various cultures, including Cernunnos. The Horned God reflects the seasons of the year in an annual cycle of life, death and rebirth.

"In the tradition of Gardnerian Wicca, the Horned God is sometimes specifically referred to as Cernunnos, or sometimes also as Kernunno.

"Modern Druidry, which derives from Celtic culture, honors Cernunnos in his ancient Celto-European form as the guardian of the forests, the defender of the animal tuatha (tribes), the source of the deep forest wisdom, and the masculine half of creative energy. His restorative work in the cycle of the year is particularly celebrated at Beltaine, and is often paired with one or another of the female deities in her maiden aspect. Druids may call upon him in reference to vital, non-violent masculine divinity."

Celtic polytheism, "sometimes known as Celtic paganism, refers to the religious beliefs and practises of the ancient Celtic peoples of western Europe prior to Christianisation" (Wikipedia). Also, Celtic mythology "is the mythology of Celtic polytheism, apparently the religion of the Iron Age Celts. Like other Iron Age Europeans, the early Celts maintained a polytheistic mythology and religious structure" (Wikipedia). Lastly, Celtic Reconstructionist Paganism "is a polytheistic, animistic, religious and cultural movement. It is an effort to reconstruct and revive, in a modern Celtic cultural context, pre-Christian Celtic religions" (Wikipedia).

It should also be noted that the old Greek and Roman deities were exchanged with Northern European traditions, which is too confusing to go into now. Also, don't be afraid to go to YouTube and look some of these things up. It doesn't mean that you're becoming a Druid, a witch, an Odinist, etc. I've said it before, and I will continue to say it, the Greek-Americans have no problem at all adhering to the Orthodox Christian sect while honoring their pagan past. I think that this is the way to go. Who said that there ever had to be any conflict? Why deny what our ancestors were for thousands of years?

I wanted to end this by briefly taking a look at Druidism. From Wikipedia: "A druid was a member of the priestly and learned class in the ancient Celtic societies of Western Europe, Britain and Ireland. They were suppressed by the Roman government and disappeared from the written record by the second century CE. Druids combined the duties of priest, judge, scholar, and teacher. Little contemporary evidence for them exists, and thus little can be said of them with assurance, but they continued to feature prominently in later Irish myth and literature. Most of what is known about them comes from the Roman writers." More subjects relating to the Druids can be found at Wikipedia's Druidry categories.

4-8-09 ADDITION: I think that there are several items that could use clarification here. First, if you are new to the LAA, this had been "Bresciani nel Mondo - Northern California," and focused on issues of Brescian or Camunian origin. One such subject was the deep roots of witchcraft in the Valle Camonica, likely of predominantly Celtic origin. We still want to cover this, and any other part of the history and tradition of any other province of Lombardia (including Ticino and Grigioni). You may send us items to post if you like.

Second, it should be noted that Druidism is not the same as Wicca, although both are mainly identified with Celtic tradition. Also, that's an area where we need a little help on. How did the two interact. I'm not certain, but Druidism seems more Patriarchal, while Wicca seems more Matriarchal, so it would be interesting to find out how the two interacted, especially within a single culture.

Lastly, and this is interesting. The Runes, of Etruscan origin, not only were adopted (and modified) and used by Odinist traditions, but also by Wiccans (not sure about Druids), who used them in their practices. That would be something to look into. As stated before, the Romans destroyed virtually everything Etruscan.

8-1-09 Clarification: The third sentence of the second paragraph begins "Wicca probably originated with the Celts...." Wicca is the modern incarnation of European Witchcraft, therefore was not in existence prior to the twentieth century. It was used here as a convenient term, rather than saying "European Witchcraft." Christians probably would not like a term like "Levantine Priestcraft," and the same for other religions.

3-2-12 Addition: Loose Ends: Valcamonica, Cernunnos, Wicca, Druids, and the Pentagram - Part II


Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Lepontii in Ancient Lombardy

This information was taken from a part of Insubria87's 'Early Celtic Presence in Northern Italy'


The Lepontii were an ancient people occupying portions of Rhaetia (in modern Switzerland and Italy) in the Alps during the time of the Roman conquest of that territory. The Lepontii have been variously described as a Celtic, Ligurian, Raetian, and Germanic tribe. However, most evidence, including recent archeological excavations, and their association with the 'Golasecca culture' of Northern Italy, indicates a Celtic origin although they might actually be an amalgamation of Raetians (who were of Etruscan origin) and Celts.

The chief town of the Lepontii was Oscela, now Domodossola, Italy, and their territory included the southern slopes of the St. Gotthard Pass and Simplon Pass, corresponding roughly to present-day Ossola and Ticino. See also: Lepontic language. This map of Rhaetia [1] shows the location of the Lepontic territory, in the south-western corner of Rhaetia. The area to the South, including what was to become the Insubrian capital Mediolanum (modern Milan), was Etruscan around 600-500 BC, when the Lepontii began writing tombstone inscriptions in their alphabet (one of several Etruscan-derived alphabets in the Rhaetian territory).

Lepontic language

Lepontic is an extinct Celtic language that was spoken in parts of Rhaetia and Cisalpine Gaul (today's Northern Italy) between 700 BC and 400 BC. Sometimes called Cisalpine Celtic, it is considered a dialect of the Gaulish language and thus a Continental Celtic language (Eska 1998).

The language is only known from a few inscriptions discovered that were written in the alphabet of Lugano, one of five main varieties of Northern Italic alphabets, derived from the Etruscan alphabet. These inscriptions were found in an area centered on Lugano, including Lago di Como and Lago Maggiore. Similar scripts were used for writing the Rhaetic and Venetic languages, and the Germanic runic alphabets probably derive from a script belonging to this group.

Lepontic was assimilated first by Gaulish, with the settlement of Gaulish tribes north of the River Po, and then by Latin, after the Roman Republic gained control over Gallia Cisalpina during the late second and first century BC.

The grouping of all of these inscriptions into a single Celtic language is disputed, and some (including specifically all of the older ones) are said to be in a non-Celtic language related to Ligurian (Whatmough 1933, Pisani 1964). Under this view, which was the prevailing view until about 1970, Lepontic is the correct name for the non-Celtic language, while the Celtic language is to be called Cisalpine Gaulish. Following Lejeune (1971), the consensus view became that Lepontic should be classified as a Celtic language, albeit possibly as divergent as Celtiberian, and in any case quite distinct from Cisalpine Gaulish. Only in recent years, there has been a tendency to identify Lepontic and Cisalpine Gaulish as one and the same language.

While the language is named after the tribe of the Lepontii, which occupied portions of ancient Rhaetia, specifically an Alpine area straddling modern Switzerland and Italy and bordering Cisalpine Gaul, the term is currently used by many Celticists to apply to all Celtic dialects of ancient Italy. This usage is disputed by those who continue to view the Lepontii as one of several indigenous pre-Roman tribes of the Alps, quite distinct from the Gauls who invaded the plains of Northern Italy in historical times.

The older Lepontic inscriptions date back to before the 5th century BC, the item from Castelletto Ticino being dated at the 6th century BC and that from Sesto Calende possibly being from the 7th century BC (Prosdocimi, 1991). The people who made these inscriptions are nowadays identified with the Golasecca culture, which has been ascribed a Celtic identity (De Marinis, 1991). The extinction date for Lepontic is only inferred by the absence of later inscriptions.