Occitania (Occitan: Occitània, IPA: [uksiˈtanjɔ], [ukʃiˈtanjɔ], [usiˈtanjɔ], [uksiˈtanja] or [utsiˈtanjɔ]), also sometimes lo País d'Òc, "the Oc Country"), is the historical region in southern Europe where Occitan was historically the main language spoken, and where it is sometimes still used, for the most part as a second language. This cultural area roughly encompasses the southern half of France, as well as Monaco and smaller parts of Italy (Occitan Valleys, Guardia Piemontese) and Spain (Aran Valley). Occitania has been recognized as a linguistic and cultural concept since the Middle Ages, but has never been a legal nor a political entity under this name, although the territory was united in Roman times as the Seven Provinces (Latin: Septem Provinciæ) and in the early Middle Ages (Aquitanica or the Visigothic Kingdom of Toulouse) before the French conquest started in the early 1200s.
Currently about a half million people out of 16 million in the area have a proficient knowledge of Occitan, although the languages more usually spoken in the area are French, Italian, Catalan and Spanish. Since 2006, the Occitan language has been an official language of Catalonia, which includes the Aran Valley where Occitan gained official status in 1990.
Under later Roman rule (after 355), most of Occitania was known as Aquitania, itself part of the Seven Provinces with a wider Provence, while the northern provinces of what is now France were called Gallia (Gaul). Gallia Aquitania (or Aquitanica) is thus also a name used since medieval times for Occitania (i.e. Limousin, Auvergne, Languedoc and Gascony), including Provence as well in the early 6th century. Thus the historic Duchy of Aquitaine must not be confused with the modern French region called Aquitaine: this is the main reason why the term Occitania was revived in the mid-19th century. The names "Occitania" and "Occitan language" (Occitana lingua) appeared in Latin texts from as early as 1242–1254 to 1290 and during the following years of the early 14th century; texts exist in which the area is referred to indirectly as "the country of the Occitan language" (Patria Linguae Occitanae). This derives from the name Lenga d'òc that was used in Italian (Lingua d'òc) by Dante in the late 13th century. The somewhat uncommon ending of the term Occitania is most probably a portmanteau French clerks coined from òc [ɔk] and Aquitània [ɑkiˈtanjɑ], thus blending the language and the land in just one concept. Occitan and Lenga d'òc both refer to the centuries-old set of Romance dialects that use òc for "yes".
- 1 Geography
- 2 History
- 3 Outer settlements
- 4 Today
- 5 Culture
- 6 Gallery
- 7 Notable people from Occitania
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Occitania includes the following regions:
- The southern half of France: Provence, Drôme-Vivarais, Auvergne, Limousin, Guyenne, Gascony, southern Dauphiné and Languedoc. French is now the dominant language in this area, where Occitan is not recognized as an official language.
- The Occitan Valleys in the Italian Аlps, where the Occitan language received legal status in 1999. These are fourteen Piedmontese valleys in the provinces of Cuneo and Torino, as well as in scattered mountain communities of the Liguria region (province of Imperia), and, unexpectedly, in one community (Guardia Piemontese) in the region of Calabria (province of Cosenza).
- The Aran valley, in the Pyrenees, in Catalonia (Spain) where Occitan has been an official language since 1990 (status granted by the partial autonomy of Aran Valley, then confirmed by the Catalan Statute)
- The Principality of Monaco (where Occitan is traditionally spoken besides Monégasque).
Occitan or langue d'oc (lenga d'òc) is a Latin-based Romance language in the same way as Spanish, Italian or French. There are six main regional varieties with easy intercomprehension among them: Provençal (including Niçard spoken in the vicinity of Nice), Vivaroalpenc, Auvernhat, Lemosin, Gascon (including Bearnés spoken in Béarn) and Lengadocian. All these varieties of the Occitan language are written and valid. Standard Occitan is a synthesis which respects soft regional adaptations. See also Northern Occitan and Southern Occitan.
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Written texts in Occitan appeared in the 10th century: it was used at once in legal then literary, scientific or religious texts. The spoken dialects of Occitan are centuries older and appeared as soon as the 8th century, at least, revealed in toponyms or in Occitanized words left in Latin manuscripts, for instance.
Occitania was often politically united during the Early Middle Ages, under the Visigothic Kingdom and several Merovingian and Carolingian sovereigns. In Thionville, nine years before he died (805), Charlemagne vowed that his empire be partitioned into three autonomous territories according to nationalities and mother tongues: along with the Franco-German and Italian ones, was roughly what is now modern Occitania from the reunion of a broader Provence and Aquitaine. But things did not go according to plan and at the division of the Frankish Empire (9th century), Occitania was split into different counties, duchies and kingdoms, bishops and abbots, self-governing communes of its walled cities. Since then the country was never politically united again, though Occitania was united by a common culture which used to cross easily the political, constantly moving boundaries. Occitania suffered a tangle of varying loyalties to nominal sovereigns: from the 9th to the 13th centuries, the dukes of Aquitaine, the counts of Foix, the counts of Toulouse and the Aragonese kings rivalled in their attempts at controlling the various pays of Occitania.
Occitan literature was glorious and flourishing at that time: in the 12th and 13th centuries, the troubadours invented courtly love (fin'amor) and the Lenga d'Òc spread throughout all European cultivated circles. Actually, the terms Lenga d'Òc, Occitan, and Occitania appeared at the end of the 13th century.
But from the 13th to the 17th centuries, the French kings gradually conquered Occitania, sometimes by war and slaughtering the population, sometimes by annexation with subtle political intrigue. From the end of the 15th century, the nobility and bourgeoisie started learning French while the people stuck to Occitan (this process began from the 13th century in two northernmost regions, northern Limousin and Bourbonnais). In 1539, Francis I issued the Ordinance of Villers-Cotterêts that imposed the use of French in administration. But despite measures such as this, a strong feeling of national identity against the French occupiers remained and Jean Racine wrote on a trip to Uzès in 1662: "What they call France here is the land beyond the Loire, which to them is a foreign country."
But from 1881 onwards, children who spoke Occitan at school were punished in accordance with minister Jules Ferry's recommendations. That led to a deprecation of the language known as la vergonha (the shaming): the whole fourteen million inhabitants of the area spoke Occitan in 1914, but French gained the upper hand during the 20th century. The situation got worse with the media excluding the use of the langue d'oc. In spite of that decline, the Occitan language is still alive and gaining fresh impetus.
Although not really a colony in a modern sense, there was an enclave in the County of Tripoli. Raymond IV of Toulouse founded it in 1102 during the Crusades north of Jerusalem. Most people of this county came from Occitania and Italy and so the Occitan language was spoken.
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There are 14 to 16 million inhabitants in Occitania today. According to the 1999 census, there are 610,000 native speakers and another million persons with some exposure to the language. Native speakers of Occitan are to be found mostly in the older generations. The Institut d'Estudis Occitans (IEO) has been modernizing the Occitan language since 1945, and the Conselh de la Lenga Occitana (CLO) since 1996. Nowadays Occitan is used in the most modern musical and literary styles such as rock 'n roll, folk rock (Lou Dalfin), rap (Fabulous Trobadors), reggae (Massilia Sound System) and heavy metal, detective stories or science-fiction. It is represented on the internet. Association schools (Calandretas) teach children in Occitan.
The Occitan political movement for self-government has existed since the beginning of the 20th century and particularly since post-war years (Partit Occitan, Partit de la Nacion Occitana, Anaram Au Patac, Iniciativa Per Occitània, Paratge, etc.). The movement remains negligible in electoral and political terms. Nevertheless, Regional Elections in 2010 allowed the Partit Occitan to enter the Regional councils of Aquitaine, Auvergne, Midi-Pyrénées, and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur.
Major demonstrations in Carcassonne (2005 and 2009) and Béziers (2007) and the week-long Estivada festivals in Rodez (2006–2010) suggest that there is a revival of Occitan language and culture. However, in France, Occitan is still not recognized as an official language, as the status of French has been constitutionally protected since 1992, and Occitan activists want the French government to adopt Occitan as the second official language for seven regions representing the South of France.
The Romantic music composer Déodat de Séverac was born in the region, and, following his schooling in Paris, he returned to the region to compose. He sought to incorporate the music indigenous to the area in his compositions.
The Occitanian gastronomy or occitan cuisine is considered as Mediterranean but has some specific features that separate it from the Catalan cuisine or Italian cuisine. Indeed, because of the size of Occitania and the great diversity of landscapes- from the mountaineering of the Pyrenees and the Alps, rivers and lakes, and finally the Mediterranean and Atlantic coast – it can be considered as a highly varied cuisine. Compared to other Mediterranean cuisines, we could note the using of basic elements and flavors, among them meat, fish and vegetables, moreover the frequent using of the olive oil; although also compound of elements from the Atlantic coast cuisine, with cheeses, pastes, creams, butters and more calorically food. Among well-renowned meals common on the Mediterranean coast includes ratatolha (the equivalent of Catalan samfaina), alhòli, bolhabaissa (similar to Italian Brodetto alla Vastese), pan golçat (bread with olive oil) likewise salads with mainly olives, rice, corn and wine. Another significant aspect that changes compared to its Mediterranean neighbors is the abundant amount of aromatic herbs; some of them are typically Mediterranean, like parsley, rosemary, thyme, oregano or again basil.
Some of the world-renowned traditional meals are Provençal ratatolha (ratatouille) and alhòli (aioli) and Daube, Niçard salada nissarda (Salad Niçoise) and pan banhat (Pan-bagnat), Limousin clafotís (clafoutis), Auvergnat aligòt (aligot), Languedocien caçolet (cassoulet) with some cunfit (duck confit), or again Gascon hidge gras (foie gras).
Occitania is also home of a great variety of cheeses (like Roquefort, Bleu d'Auvergne, Cabécou, Cantal, Fourme d'Ambert, Laguiole, Pélardon, Saint-Nectaire, Salers) and a great diversity of wines such as Bordeaux considered as one of the finest in the world, Rhône wine, Gaillac wine, Saint-Émilion wine, Blanquette de Limoux, Muscat de Rivesaltes, Provence wine, Cahors wine, Jurançon. Alcohols such as Pastis and Marie Brizard or brandies such as, Armagnac, and Cognac.
Notable people from Occitania
This is a non-exhaustive list of fellow French people who were born in the Occitania historical territory (although it is difficult to know the exact boundaries). Please take note that this article "Notable people from Occitania", is compound for a large-part of personalities from the historical region of Occitania and who own an Occitan patronym but belong for the majority of them to the French historical heritage, mostly due to their mother-tongue French.
Writers, playwrights and poets
- Bertran de Born, troubadour
- Arnaut Daniel, troubadour, famous for his appearance on the Divine Comedy of Italian poet Dante.
- Bernard de Ventadour, troubadour
- Fénelon, Renaissance writer
- Clément Marot, Renaissance poet
- Charles de Secondat, Baron de Montesquieu, an important writer and philosopher of the Enlightenment
- Fleury Mesplet, founder of the Montreal Gazette
- Théophile Gautier, 19th century poet and writer
- Alphonse Daudet, 19th century writer
- Paul Valéry, 20th century poet
- Frédéric Mistral, 20th century Occitan language writer and 1904 Nobel Prize in Literature winner
- Edmond Rostand, 20th century playwright and writer
- Jean Anouilh, 20th century playwright
- François Mauriac, 20th century writer and 1952 Nobel Prize in Literature winner
- Marcel Pagnol, 20th century writer
- Marcela Delpastre, 20th century Occitan language writer
- Joan Bodon, 20th century Occitan language writer
- J. M. G. Le Clézio, 20th century writer and poet, 2008 Nobel Prize in Literature winner
- Pierre Bayle, philosopher and writer, forerunner of the Encyclopedists and an advocate of the principle of the toleration of divergent beliefs, his works subsequently influenced the development of the Enlightenment.
- Michel de Montaigne, one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. He is known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His works influenced writers all over the world such as René Descartes, Jean-Jacques Rousseau or again Ralph Waldo Emerson and Friedrich Nietzsche.
- Blaise Pascal, mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher. He started some pioneering work on calculating machines as a teenager. After three years of effort and fifty prototypes, he was one of the first two inventors of the mechanical calculator. Later, he developed a method to solve the Problem of points, giving birth during the 18th Century to the probabilities calculation, his works still strongly influence modern economic theories and social science.
- Auguste Comte, philosopher, he was a founder of the discipline of sociology and of the doctrine of positivism. He is sometimes regarded as the first philosopher of science in the modern sense of the term.
- Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, philosopher and Jesuit priest, who trained as a paleontologist and geologist and took part in the discovery of Peking Man. He conceived the idea of the Omega Point (a maximum level of complexity and consciousness towards which he believed the universe was evolving) and developed Vladimir Vernadsky's concept of noosphere.
- Pierre Bourdieu, sociologist, anthropologist and philosopher, his sociological work is dominated by the analysis of the reproduction mechanisms of the social hierarchies.
- Michel Serres, 20th Century philosopher, his works are generally focused on the scientific progress and its effect on our society.
- Pope Sylvester II, Pope, prolific scholar and teacher who endorsed and promoted study of Arab/Greco-Roman arithmetic, mathematics, and astronomy, reintroducing to Europe the abacus and armillary sphere, which had been lost to Europe since the end of the Greco-Roman era.
- Pierre de Fermat, amtateur mathematician who is given credit for early developments that led to infinitesimal calculus, including his technique of adequality.
- Montgolfier brothers, inventors of the Montgolfière-style hot air balloon.
- Jean-Baptiste Dumas, chemist, best known for his works on organic analysis and synthesis, as well as the determination of atomic weights (relative atomic masses) and molecular weights by measuring vapor densities.
- Paul Sabatier, chemist, awarded of the 1912 Nobel Prize in Chemistry along with Victor Grignard.
- Jean Dausset, immunologist, awarded of the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Baruj Benacerraf and George Davis Snell
- Jean-Marie Souriau, mathematician, known for works in symplectic geometry, in which he was one of the pioneers.
- Jean-Pierre Serre, mathematician, who made fundamental contributions to algebraic topology, algebraic geometry, and algebraic number theory. He was awarded the Fields Medal in 1954, the Wolf Prize in 2000 and the Abel Prize in 2003, making him one of four mathematicians to achieve this (along with Pierre Deligne, John Milnor, and John G. Thompson).
- Jacques-Louis Lions, mathematician, awarded of the 1991 Japan Prize and Harvey Prize. He is listed as an ISI highly cited researcher. He was elected president of the International Mathematical Union in 1991.
- Albert Fert, physicist, one of the discoverers of giant magnetoresistance which brought about a breakthrough in gigabyte hard disks, awarded of the 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics, together with Peter Grünberg.
- Alain Connes, mathematician, who revolutionned the Von Neumann algebra, resolving major problems on this field, notably the classification of the Type III factors. He was awarded of the 1982 Fields Medal.
- Pierre-Louis Lions, mathematician, who received the 1994 Fields Medal for his works on nonlinear partial differential equations
- Cédric Villani, mathematician, awarded of the 2010 Fields Medal for his works on partial differential equations and mathematical physics
- Jean-Honoré Fragonard, 18th century rococo painter and printmaker.
- Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 19th century neoclassical painter.
- Auguste Renoir, 19th century artist, one of the leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style.
- Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, 19th century post-impressionist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and illustrator.
- Odilon Redon, 19th century symbolist painter, printmaker, draughtsman and pastellist.
- Honoré Daumier, printmaker, caricaturist, painter, and sculptor, whose many works offer commentary on social and political life in France in the 19th century.
- Paul Cézanne, 19th century post-impressionist painter whose work laid the foundations of the transition from the 19th-century conception of artistic endeavour to a new and radically different world of art in the 20th century.
- Antoine Bourdelle, 20th century sculptor, painter, and teacher.
- Yves Klein, 20th century artist, considered an important figure in post-war European art.
- Pierre Soulages, 20th century painter, engraver and sculptor.
- Guillaume Cammas, 18th century painter and architect, author of the Capitole de Toulouse's façade.
- Jean Nouvel, 20th and early 21st century architect, he obtained the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Wolf Prize in Arts in 2005 and the Pritzker Prize in 2008. Among his most acclaimed works, we can quote the Arab World Institute in Paris, the Torre Agbar in Barcelona or again the Louvre Abu Dhabi.
- Gabriel Fauré
- Déodat de Séverac
- Georges Brassens
- Mans de Breish
- Noir Désir
- Chinese Man
Statesmen and activists
- Richard I
- Eleanor of Aquitaine
- Henry IV of France
- Charles XIV John of Sweden (Jean Bernadotte)
- Olympe de Gouges
- Léon Gambetta
- Jean Jaurès
- Vincent Auriol
- François Darlan
- Jean Monnet
- René Cassin
- Georges Pompidou
- Valéry Giscard d'Estaing
- Simone Veil
- François Bayrou
- Ives Roqueta
- Max Roqueta
- Louis de Bonald
- Bernard Laporte
- Claude Onesta
- Claude Puel
- Jean-Pierre Rives
- Eric Cantona
- Renaud Lavillenie
- Tony Estanguet
- Gaël Clichy
- Charles Boyer
- Éric Rohmer
- André Téchiné
- Jean-Claude Carrière
- Bertrand Bonello
- Emmanuelle Béart
- Audrey Tautou
Men of war and explorers
- Raymond IV, Count of Toulouse, one of the leaders of the First Crusade.
- Jean Parisot de la Valette, 49th Grand Master of the Order of Malta, from 21 August 1557 to his death in 1568. Knight Hospitaller, he joined the order in the Langue de Provence, he fought with distinction against the Turks at Rhodes. He commanded the resistance against the Ottomans at the Great Siege of Malta in 1565. Valletta, capital of Malta was named after him.
- Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, explorer and adventurer in New France, In 1701, he founded Fort Pontchartrain du Détroit, the beginnings of modern Detroit, which he commanded until 1710. William H. Murphy and Henry M. Leland, founders of the Cadillac auto company in Detroit, paid homage to him by using his name for their company and his armorial bearings as its logo in 1902.
- Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, commander of the forces in North America during the Seven Years' War, whose North American theatre is known as the French and Indian War in the United States.
- François Joseph Paul de Grasse, admiral, known for his command of the French fleet at the Battle of the Chesapeake, which led directly to the British surrender at Yorktown.
- Jean-François de La Pérouse, officer of the Royal French Navy. He was chosen by the Marquis de Castries and Louis XVI to lead an expedition around the world to complete James Cook discoveries in the Pacific Ocean. This maritime expedition mysteriously vanished, body and soul, at Vanikoro (Santa Cruz Islands) in 1788, three years after his departure from Brest. Numerous places were named after him, including the La Pérouse Strait between Russia and Japan.
- Lafayette, general and key figure of the American Revolutionary War. He was a close friend of George Washington. He is sometimes known as the Hero of the Two Worlds.
- Several Marshals of France of the Napoleonic Era, such as Joachim Murat, Jean Lannes, Jean-Baptiste Bessières, Jean-Baptiste Jourdan or again André Masséna and Jean-de-Dieu Soult.
- Ferdinand Foch, Marshal of France, of Poland and of United Kingdom. Hero of the First World War, Addington says, "to a large extent the final Allied strategy which won the war on land in Western Europe in 1918 was Foch's alone."
- André Courrèges
- Christian Lacroix
- Marithé + François Girbaud
- Emanuel Ungaro
- Inès de la Fressange
- Christian Audigier
- Jean-François Champollion, decipherer of the Egyptian hieroglyphs
- Daniel Goossens, cartoonist
- Robert Lafont, linguist
- Nostradamus, apothecary
- Bernadette Soubirous, Christian mystic and Saint
- Clément Ader, aviation precursor
- Beatrice de Planissoles, Cathar minor noble
- Jean Moulin, hero of the French resistance
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Occitania.|
- Regional pronunciations: Occitània = [u(k)siˈtanjɔ, ukʃiˈtanjɔ, u(k)siˈtanja]. Note that the variant Occitania* = [utsitanˈi(j)ɔ] is considered incorrect, since it is influenced by French, according to Alibert's prescriptive grammar (p. viii) and to the prescriptions of the Occitan Language Council (p. 101).
- When speaking Occitan, Occitania can be easily referred to as lo país , i.e. 'the country'.
- Map of the Roman Empire, ca400 AD
- Map of the Visigothic Kingdom
- World Directory of Minorities and Indigenous People
- Jean-Pierre Juge (2001) Petit précis – Chronologie occitane – Histoire & civilisation, p. 14
- Joseph Anglade, Grammaire de l'ancien provençal ou ancienne langue d'oc, 1921, Part I, Chapter 1, p. 9: Le mot Langue d'Oc a d'abord désigné le pays où se parlait cette langue; c'était une expression géographique. Le pays de langue d'oc s'appelait en Latin Occitania (formé sans doute sur Aquitania) ("The words Langue d'Oc first designated the country where the language was spoken: it was a geographical expression. The land of the langue d'oc was called Occitania in Latin (probably coined from Aquitania").
- Frederic Mistral, Lo Tresor dóu Felibrige (1878–1886), vol. II, p. 1171: "Les textes abondent qui montrent l'origine française ou ecclésiastique des expressions lingua occitana et Occitania. Le pape Innocent IV (1242–1254), un des premiers parle de Occitania dans ses lettres; les commissaires de Philippe le Bel qui rédigèrent l'arrêt sanè des coûtumes de Toulouse se déclarent Ad partes linguae occitanae pro reformatione patriae designati et stipulent que leur règlement est valable in tota lingua occitaniae."
- Robèrt LAFONT (1986) "La nominacion indirècta dels païses", Revue des langues romanes nº2, tome XC, pp. 161–171
- "Occitan language - encyclopedia article - Citizendium". En.citizendium.org. 2013-11-01.
- Gerrie, Anthea (2012-05-18). "World's most beautiful towns | CNN Travel". Travel.cnn.com.
- Jean-Pierre JUGE (2001) Petit précis – Chronologie occitane – Histoire & civilisation, p. 19
- Frederic Mistral, Lou Tresor dóu Felibrige ou Dictionnaire provençal-français embrassant les divers dialectes de la langue d'oc moderne (1878–1886), vol. I, p. 1182: "Le poète Racine écrivait d'Uzès en 1662: «Nous appelons ici «la France» tout le pays qui est au-delà de la Loire. Celui-ci passe comme une province étrangère.»"
- Joseph Anglade, Grammaire de l'ancien provençal ou ancienne langue d'oc, 1921: La Langue d'Oc est parlée actuellement par douze ou quatorze millions de Français ("Occitan is now spoken by twelve or fourteen million French citizens").