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Gueuze ? Geuze ? Geus ?

by Elco B Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 11:35:34 AM EST

     

In the LondonMeet Shoe Blogging diary, Helen proves again she knows about beer, even Belgian beer. I must admit she demonstrates a more extensive knowledge than I have despite being Flemish and having three breweries 'around the corner'.
In the thread afew mentioned 'Gueuze' might be a Flemish word. Well he was right, partially ! But to explain we need a bit of history and we will discover multicultural influences already exist in Europe since a long time.

from the diaries


Indeed, the origin is the French word 'gueux' wich means beggar, vagrant but also rascal, wretch. But on 8 april 1566 (no typo, and yes we have a precise date!) the French 'Gueux' became the Dutch (the Netherlands) and Flemish 'Geus' (plural: Geuzen; adj.: Geuze- ).
This Dutch-Flemish word was used for de famous Belgian beer and re-translated for the French and the Enlish again as 'Gueuze'.
This is the short story. Of course you can read more about 'Les Gueux'(Geuzen) and a historical approach can be found in this excellent overvieuw: The Revolt of the Netherlands.

But both articles miss an important insight.

Let's go back to 1566 in the Netherlands;

  • The Netherlands were under Spanish rule (King Philips II)represented in Brussels by his half-sister, Margaret of Parma, governess of the Netherlands, with a Walloon noble named Granvelle as her chief adviser.
  • The Netherlands then contained roughly the area of Belgium and the Netherlands of now.
  • As everywhere in Europe then, protestant and reformist movements gained importance, and this was heavely persecuted by the Spanish who were catholic. This repression will deroriate in the famous Spanish  Inquisition
  • In april 1566 lots of important people of the whole area were in Brussels to attend  the marriage of yhe son of the governess, Margaret of Parma. So this was an occasion for meetings. The result was a 'petition' signed by thousands, in wich they demanded lower taxes and more religious freedom from the Spanish rulers.
  • On 5 april 1566, 200 noblemen delivered the petition  in Brussels at the governess at which occasion her adviser said (in French): "Madame, ce ne sont que des gueux" (they only are beggars).
  • Three days later 8 april, during a meeting between noblemen again and after drinking a lot of beer the slogan " We all are Gueux" was launched and the word took of in Dutch and Flemish : Geus! A movement of resistance was born, took the name of 'Geuzen' and after years of disputes, wars, massacres and diplomacy resulted in the independence of the Netherlands later in 1609.

So we see the French word,  with a negative connotation, became a Dutch word with positive meaning.
The word is still actively used both in the Netherlands and Flanders. 'Geus' stands for resistance against injustice, fighter for freedom and self government.
It has the connotation of the oppressed individual or minority opposing a stronger oppressor.
A pitty Nomad is not around to give his opinion about this, I'm sure he could explain this better.

And what about the beer?: well there are numerous story's about how Geuze became the name of a beer. In fact there are so many, nobody can tell for sure the real origin was.
In Belgium and the Netherlands 'Geus' or simular names still exist as family name, we have streets, parks and squares with 'Geus' or 'Geuze' in it.
Maby someone gave his name on the beer, or the brewer lived in 'Geuzestreet'.... somebody knows?

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Isn't that about the time tiel elenspiegel lived, or was supposed to live?

I remember the story from my childhood... not the spelling tho.

In France, there is one beer called Gueuze Becasse. Because becassine is a Bretagne character, I thought this kind of beer was from over there...apparently not. Thanks very much for this.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine

by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Tue Aug 22nd, 2006 at 04:36:54 PM EST
Till Eulenspiegel, though that seems to be a modern spelling. His adventures date from the 14th century, not the 16th.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 22nd, 2006 at 04:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, well... what's 2 centuries when you're 10?

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Tue Aug 22nd, 2006 at 05:20:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Apperently there is a comic book called, of which i sorta remember the graphics, 'the adventures of Thyl Ulenspiegel - The revolt of the gueux'... misleading I find.

Rien n'est gratuit en ce bas monde. Tout s'expie, le bien comme le mal, se paie tot ou tard. Le bien c'est beaucoup plus cher, forcement. Celine
by UnEstranAvecVueSurMer (holopherne ahem gmail) on Tue Aug 22nd, 2006 at 05:31:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Misleading?  Not realy: Charles Decoster

His masterpiece was The Legend of Thyl Ulenspiegel and Lamme Goedzak (1867), a 16th-century romance, in which Belgian patriotism found its fullest expression. In the preparation for this prose epic of the gueux he spent some ten years. Uylenspiegel (Eulenspiegel) has been compared to Don Quixote, and even to Panurge. He is the type of the 16th-century Fleming, and the history of his resurrection from the grave itself was accepted as an allegory of the destiny of the race. The exploits of himself and his friend form the thread of a semihistorical narrative, full of racy humour, in spite of the barbarities that find a place in it. This book also was illustrated by Rops and others.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Tue Aug 22nd, 2006 at 05:48:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, so Dyl Ulenspegel became Thyl Ulenspiegel in Flemish and Till Eulenspiegel in German... I had no idea that the legend, with the same name, was also part of Belgian floklore.

Nothing is 'mere'. — Richard P. Feynman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue Aug 22nd, 2006 at 06:45:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My first thought when I saw that and then a mention of the Wars of Religion was that some strange ironic twist had left a Flemish beer named after the Guise family.
by MarekNYC on Tue Aug 22nd, 2006 at 04:52:10 PM EST
The Guise were hardly gueux!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 23rd, 2006 at 01:01:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
When we were discussing (or, in my case, playing around) with the word in the London thread, I almost wrote: "Let's ask Elco B!" Which wasn't necessary, because here's a wonderful diary, thanks, Elco!

The name of the beer is sometimes spelled in France "Gueuse", obviously under the influence of the feminine form of the original word. Gueux and gueuse are no longer in use in modern French except as a conscious and usually facetious archaism.

I love the story of "We are all Gueux". (It's a similar reaction to injustice that the French students showed in 1968 when Danny Cohn-Bendit was expelled from France: "Nous sommes tous des Juifs Allemands!" (We are all German Jews!")) And what the word means still today in Flemish and Dutch. Great story.

Hats off to Helen's encyclopedic knowledge of beer, too!

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 23rd, 2006 at 01:20:14 AM EST
A quick look at a dictionary shows something astonishing: the French word gueux comes in its turn from a Middle Dutch word, guit, meaning "rogue, rascal".
The date for the first recorded use is 1452.

So it's one of those "ping-pong" words that are borrowed by one language and sent back again, sometimes twice over.

The first recorded use in the French language of Gueuze or Gueuse for the beer is 1900. There's a cross-reference to a similar beer, Faro (a Walloon word).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Aug 23rd, 2006 at 02:11:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
{blush} thanks guys.

Actually I just drink it, the history is a bonus.

Of those pictured, the 3Fonteinen is the classic astringent gueze but the Boon is the nicer drink. The Lindemans Faro I've only had once and remember it as a bit too sweet. Not Mort subite sweet, but my feeling is that a mature gueze shouldn't be sweet at all.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 23rd, 2006 at 05:11:46 AM EST
I sent the url to a belgian friend who made an interesting comment

actually there is a dutch expression now,  that something is a "geuzenaam", a "geuze name", it means you take a name that has a negative connotation, and turn it around, claim it and hence make it meaningful in a different way.

To which I imagine that in a modern context is the idea that you have a guezenaam to neuter a bad meaning used against you. Kinda like black people use the word nigger or gay people use the word queer to strip it of negativity.b

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Aug 23rd, 2006 at 05:29:45 PM EST
In The Netherlands there is a Geuzen Resistance 1940-1945 Foundation.
Their aim:
To preserve and promote democracy in the Netherlands and to increase alertness to all forms of dictatorship, discrimination and racism.

The foundation has his origins in the resistance groups during WWII.
Although the first Geuzen (`Beggars') were not able to keep up the fight for long - many of the first group died or were sent to concentration camps - it was they who lit the flame of freedom and passed it on. The Geuzen Resistance 1940-1945 Foundation is charged in turn with keeping the fire burning, especially among Dutch youth.

The Geuzen Resistance 1940-1945 Foundation (Stichting Geuzenverzet 1940-1945) was established to keep alive the ideals and memory of the `Geuzen' (`Beggars') resistance group from the Second World War. Since 1987 the foundation has awarded a Geuzen Medal every year as a tribute to individuals or institutions that have, in some special way, devoted themselves to fighting for democracy or against dictatorship, discrimination and racism.

Some of the laureats of the 'Geuzenpenning':

  1. Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic
  2. Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo (Madres de Plaza de Mayo)
  3. European Roma Rights Centre and National Sinti Organisation.
  4. Asma Jahangir, Pakistani lawyer and women's rights advocate.
  5. Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio.
  6. Haitham Maleh from Syria for his courageous fight for human rights.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 01:20:21 PM EST
Wow! Uncork a Geuze and what do you find?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 02:48:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Elco B: "As everywhere in Europe then, protestant and reformist movements gained importance, and this was heavely persecuted by the Spanish who were catholic. This repression will deroriate in the famous Spanish  Inquisition."

While the Spanish inquisition is "famous" (most would say "infamous") it has an undeserved reputation for cruelty and ruthlessness, which was actually the result of Protestant propaganda, and is still the way most people in Anglo-Saxon countries think about it. The link given above tends to reflect the conventional view. But historians have shown that the reality was very different from the "Black legend". So this isn't quite an example of a complete reversal of meaning, but pretty close:

"... In 1998 the Vatican opened the archives of the Holy Office (the modern successor to the Inquisition) to a team of 30 scholars from around the world. Now at last the scholars have made their report, an 800-page tome that was unveiled at a press conference in Rome on Tuesday. Its most startling conclusion is that the Inquisition was not so bad after all. Torture was rare and only about 1 percent of those brought before the Spanish Inquisition were actually executed. As one headline read "Vatican Downsizes Inquisition."

The amazed gasps and cynical sneers that have greeted this report are just further evidence of the lamentable gulf that exists between professional historians and the general public. The truth is that, although this report makes use of previously unavailable material, it merely echoes what numerous scholars have previously learned from other European archives... Simply put, historians have long known that the popular view of the Inquisition is a myth. So what is the truth?

... Compared to other medieval secular courts, the Inquisition was positively enlightened. Why then are people in general and the press in particular so surprised to discover that the Inquisition did not barbecue people by the millions? First of all, when most people think of the Inquisition today what they are really thinking of is the Spanish Inquisition. No, not even that is correct. They are thinking of the myth of the Spanish Inquisition. Amazingly, before 1530 the Spanish Inquisition was widely hailed as the best run, most humane court in Europe. There are actually records of convicts in Spain purposely blaspheming so that they could be transferred to the prisons of the Spanish Inquisition. After 1530, however, the Spanish Inquisition began to turn its attention to the new heresy of Lutheranism. It was the Protestant Reformation and the rivalries it spawned that would give birth to the myth.

By the mid 16th century, Spain was the wealthiest and most powerful country in Europe. Europe's Protestant areas, including the Netherlands, northern Germany, and England, may not have been as militarily mighty, but they did have a potent new weapon: the printing press. Although the Spanish defeated Protestants on the battlefield, they would lose the propaganda war. These were the years when the famous "Black Legend" of Spain was forged. Innumerable books and pamphlets poured from northern presses accusing the Spanish Empire of inhuman depravity and horrible atrocities in the New World. Opulent Spain was cast as a place of darkness, ignorance, and evil.

Protestant propaganda that took aim at the Spanish Inquisition drew liberally from the Black Legend.

...In time, Spain's empire would fade away. Wealth and power shifted to the north, in particular to France and England. By the late 17th century new ideas of religious tolerance were bubbling across the coffeehouses and salons of Europe. Inquisitions, both Catholic and Protestant, withered. The Spanish stubbornly held on to theirs, and for that they were ridiculed. French philosophes like Voltaire saw in Spain a model of the Middle Ages: weak, barbaric, superstitious. The Spanish Inquisition, already established as a bloodthirsty tool of religious persecution, was derided by Enlightenment thinkers as a brutal weapon of intolerance and ignorance. A new, fictional Spanish Inquisition had been constructed, designed by the enemies of Spain and the Catholic Church.
Now a bit more of the real Inquisition has come back into view. The question remains, will anyone take notice?"

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/madden200406181026.asp

Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sat Aug 26th, 2006 at 07:07:40 PM EST
I'm not a historian but I now about the 'black legend'. But The Spanish Inquisition did exist:
Modern historians have begun to study the documentary records of the Inquisition. The archives of the Suprema, today held by the National Historical Archive of Spain (Archivo Histórico Nacional), conserves the annual relations of all processes between 1560 and 1700. This material provides information about 49,092 judgements, the latter studied by Gustav Henningsen and Jaime Contreras. These authors calculate that only 1.9% of those processed were burned at the stake.

But, as with the Holocaust we also see denial and revisionism:
The last 40 years have seen the development of a revisionist school of Inquisition history, a controversial field of history whose purported aim is to re-examine the traditional history of the Inquisition.


The struggle of man against tyranny is the struggle of memory against forgetting.(Kundera)
by Elco B (elcob at scarlet dot be) on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 05:30:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Nobody is claiming that the Spanish Inquisition didn't exist, simply that all most people know, especially in Protestant countries, is the Protestant propaganda about it, which, not suprisingly, is not accurate. The writer of the piece I quoted is:

"Thomas F. Madden is professor and chair of the department of history at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri. He is the author most recently of Enrico Dandolo and the Rise of Venice and editor of the forthcoming Crusades: The Illustrated History."

and note that he says:

"The truth is that, although this report [based on Inquisition records] makes use of previously unavailable material, it merely echoes what numerous scholars have previously learned from other European archives. Among the best recent books on the subject are Edward Peters's Inquisition (1988) and Henry Kamen's The Spanish Inquisition (1997), but there are others. Simply put, historians have long known that the popular view of the Inquisition is a myth."

http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/madden200406181026.asp

Also, "revisionism" is another example of a word that has an undeserved bad name because in terms of history many people associate it with Holocaust denial. But most good history revises previous accounts, taking into account new evidence - as in the case of one of the authors cited above:

"Thirty-five years ago Kamen wrote a study of the Inquisition that received high praise. This present work, based on over thirty years of new research, is not simply a complete revision of the earlier book. Innovative in its presentation, point of view, information, and themes, it will revolutionize further study in the field."

http://yalepress-test.its.yale.edu:81/yupbooks/book.asp?isbn=0300078803

Cf:

"Edward Peters in "Inquisition" (University of California Press, Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA, 1989) explains how the myth of the all-embracing inquisition developed in European thought.
 ...  Spain became the symbol of all forces of repression, brutality, religious and political intolerance, and intellectual and artistic backwardness for the next four centuries. Spaniards and Hispanophiles have termed this process and the image that resulted from it as `The Black Legend,' la leyenda negra. It is this post-Reformation anti-Catholic "black legend" that created the myths surrounding the Spanish Inquisition. Serious historical studies in the 20th Century have debunked these myths, but they continue to persist in popular imagination."

http://www.speroforum.com/wiki/default.aspx/SperoWiki/TheBlackLegendTheSpanishInquisition.html


Maybe it's because I'm a Londoner - that I moved to Nice.

by Ted Welch (tedwelch-at-mac-dot-com) on Sun Aug 27th, 2006 at 04:36:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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