Thursday, September 11, 2014

Historical survey of France

The first three weeks of the semester, we're looking at the history of France up to the time of Napoleon. Our main text is by The History of France by Scott Caine.

Last week, 5th September, we began by looking at how far the French language has spread in the world, thanks to this map by the OIF (Organization internationale de la Francophonie)

We also discussed the major themes such as:

a) Pre-Roman Empire period (with the Gauls and druids, made famous in popular culture by Asterix)
b) Origins of the French language (its Celtic and Latin roots)
c) The medieval period and feudalism
d) The French revolution
e) Napoleon
f) The Franco-Prussian war
g) French colonial history
h) The world wars, and their legacy
i) de Gaulle
j) May 1968


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  2. According to that map more than one quater of the African continent has French as one of the official languages. its one thing to associate West Africa with French influence and another to visualize the strong presence of the French language in Africa!

    Will be looking out for Scott Caines book. Thank you for the posts. Looking forward to the next one...

  3. My first two weeks of class enlightened me a lot. The french royals, that existed in the old order before the revolution which resulted in democracy had a sort of a strong rapport with the church which was then a very strong institution in France; one of the largest owners of land and were exempted from paying money to the government.The church was recognized as the government as during the revolution on of the acts that stood out was the protestant movement. You know the way paying tithes to the church is voluntary though a good christian would regularly do so? Well in France at that time it was compulsory I would say. The church got tithes regularly even from the peasants who were starving a the time and it was clear that it wasn't the voluntary form of paying tithes but oppression.
    Till to date as I've come to learn the french are completely against religion no pun intended. There is evidence of how they vandalized he churches
    . Another interesting bit is that the revolution included the french national anthem Le Marseillaise. The anthem came about as the angry citizens of France who had had enough of the aristocrats matched form Marseille to Paris which is quite a distance chanting the song which ends on the note that their impure bloods( the royals) should end up flowing through the trenches.
    On reaching the city they attacked the palace and proceeded to capture the royals who had not managed to escape yet and prepared to hang them oh forgot that part one of the rebel leaders had come up with the idea of building a guillotine to hang the royals. Maria Antoinette the one famously rumored to have been obsessed with cake. When informed of the starving peasants she suggested that they have cake instead. They were hanged.