I am republishing this post with quite a bit of new information on Henry the Second, King of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Queen Consort of France, and the Lombard tribe and later royalty of Germany, Austria, Hungary and finally Italy.
The question has come up because some of the charming local anti-Semites are convinced that I must be part Jewish. They say that I look Jewish too. As far where I got the curly hair, I really have no idea. I think from my Mom’s side.
No, I am not Jewish at all, sadly. Though I wish I was; in a way, I want to be a Jew. I’m just a Judeophilic Gentile. My parents are both extreme Judeophiles who grew up with Jews and went to mostly Jewish schools. A lot of my Dad’s best friends were Jews, and those were some of the family friends that I grew up with. I even went to some kid’s bar mitzvah when I was a kid, and I thought it was really cool.
Later I hung around Hollywood and LA for years with the music crowd, the artist crowd, the movie crowd and the writer crowd. All those scenes are swarming with Jews, and Hollywood in general has Jews everywhere. I worked in Beverly Hills for a while, and that place is full of Jews too. What’s weird is that even though I’m a Judeophilic Gentile, lots of folks keeping calling me an anti-Semite. So really, I’m a self-hating Judeophilic Gentile.
We have done our genealogy going back a very very long time, and there is not the slightest trace of Jewish blood. I am 5/8 British (English, Scottish, Welsh and Scots Irish), 1/4 German (Swiss German and Bavarian) and 1/8 French. Some of my relatives came over on the 2nd Mayflower boat and others came over from Bavaria in the early 1700’s and became Pennsylvania Dutch. Others were the early French in Canada. The Scottish side comes from the Isle of Uist in the far North.
Going way back, I am related to some royalty named Eleanor of Aquitaine who was related to Charlemagne. Eleanor was Queen of the Franks, and her son was Richard the Lionhearted. The Franks were originally a Germanic tribe in far western Germany, but the Western branch, West Francia, later became the Kingdom of France.
She was a Capetian (Capetian Dynasty, Direct Capetians, otherwise known as the House of France), a large French family similar to the Carolingians, and was a Queen Consort of the King of France, in this case, Louis The Seventh, or Louis The Young. Queen Consort is not the same as Queen. The French did not allow Queens, so the high-ranking women had to be called Queen Consorts.
He later divorced Eleanor because they fought a lot, and she only gave him two lousy daughters and no sons. He had to divorce the biatch in order to keep the throne, so dump her he did.
Eleanor later married Henry II, King of England. This was a good marriage from his POV, since he gained 1/4 of France by marrying her. Henry is known in some English histories as “Good King Henry”, but this is controversial. Henry was a ferocious and hot-headed redhead, who was armed at all times with multiple weapons, moved continuously and exercised maniacally.
Henry had a great sense of humor and did not put on airs. He mingled well with the ordinary people and never acted like he was better than they were. An early proto-socialist, he ordered that 10% of the foods delivered to the royal palace be given to the poor.
Later he conquered Ireland, initiating an 800 year period of English rule over Ireland, so to the Irish, I am sure this guy is evil incarnate. He also conquered all of the forts in southern Scotland, so the Scots probably hate him too.
This was during a 200-300 year period (around 1100-1400) in which the Scottish were engaged in continuous wars of rebellion against the English. Robert the Bruce is possibly the best known of the rebels. By around 1300-1400, the Scottish had pretty much secured their independence. The first thing they did was destroy all their southern forts so the English could not reoccupy them.
Henry II tried to get rid of trial by ordeal and trial by combat, the standard ways of trying accused criminals, which were not exactly fair trials. He initiated something similar to a Grand Jury as early as the 1100’s.
His intemperate language incited his friends to kill Thomas Becket, a priest who had been constantly thwarting Henry’s efforts to reduce the influence of the Church in the affairs of the state. This murder outraged Eleanor and most of Europe, and most people blamed Henry. This famous event was fictionalized in a play and later a movie called Becket, which I have not seen.
Late in life, his own son made an alliance with his worst rival and overthrew him. Henry was forced to pay homage to this rival, Philip Augustus. All of his kids except his illegitimate son abandoned him late in life when he was in poor health. Lying in bed, ill, at this time, attended only by his illegitimate son, he noted that his legitimate kids “were the real bastards.” He died in 1189.
Eleanor always fought with Henry, but she bore him 8 kids. She encouraged her sons to rebel against her husband (What a bitch!) early on, and Henry appropriately sentenced her to house arrest for 15 years. Eleanor later assumed the throne after his death and pronounced herself Queen of England, and she expanded on Henry’s “grand jury” trials towards a more “ordinary citizens” type of trials.
At her court in exile in France, she reportedly held “love trials” presided over by juries composed of 12 peers, for couples in love. Eleanor was very beautiful, probably a redhead. At one time, a single heir to royalty with an extensive land claim in France, she was said to be the most eligible woman in Europe.
Henry and Eleanor were also portrayed in the Lion In Winter, a play and later a movie which I have also not seen. Peter O’Toole played Henry in both movies.
Before the Normans and Franks, we trace one of our lines all the way back to the Post Roman Empire to a royal family called the Lombards in northern Italy. This is another Germanic group that left southern Sweden about 2,500 years ago, moved to Germany, then moved down to northern Italy.
Initially, the Lombards settled in the Lower Elbe River Valley in northern German near Hamburg. They were pagans, initially having a fertility cult religion (the cult of Vanir), but later becoming worshipers of Odin (the cult of Æsir). Vanir was a typical agricultural society religion, while Æsir was a typical religion of a warrior society.
They grew their beards very long, which is where their name “Longbeards”, from Langobards, or Lombards, is derived, according to Paul the Deacon in his Historia Langobardorum or History of the Lombards. The long beards were apparently a consequence of their Odin-worship, since the God Odin has a very long beard. They were also ferocious and fought with many of the surrounding tribes.
The first Lombard migration, from 489 to 493, was probably due to bad harvests. It took them south to the Danube, probably around Austria and western Czechoslovakia, place called Vergundaib (probably the ancient home of the Burgundes or Burgundy tribe). They stayed there for 33 years until they undertook another migration, this time taking them to Western Hungary, to a place called Pannonia. Map of Lombard migrations.
In Pannonia, the Lombards came into contact with the Sarmatians, an Iranian people (more probably related to Ossetians). From them, they added an element of religious symbolism, particularly a statue of a bird on the end of a long pole. When a warrior fell in battle and his body could not be returned for burial, his family would put this bird-pole in the ground near their home, with the bird’s head pointing towards the direction where the warrior was presumed to have fallen.
In 568, they moved again, this time over to northern Italy, where they quickly conquered most of northern Italy from the Byzantines. When they arrived in Italy, some Lombards were still pagans, while others had adopted Arian Christianity (see post on Arianism).
In the next 150 years, most Lombards had converted to Orthodoxy (Catholicism) and had taken Roman names, titles and traditions. Note that even after the Fall of the Roman Empire, it continued to exert influence both culturally and theologically through the Catholic Church.
The Lombards were completely converted to Christianity by around 650. Before then, in Italy they had practiced a nominal Christianity with many pagan elements.
The Lombards remained in northern Italy until 776, when they were conquered by Charlemagne.
In the 700’s, two Lombard kings, Aistulf and Desiderius, conquered almost all of Italy. Fullest extent of Lombard rule under Aistulf. Later the Lombards ruled a territory called the Principality of Benevento, in southern Italy. This lasted from 774-879. Benevento is now a town in southern Italy in Campania, 25 miles northwest of Naples.
In Beneveto, Lombard Catholicism reached its apex, shown by the archetype monastery of the period, the Monte Cassino. This abbey was destroyed during World War 2 where it was the site of a huge battle, the 5-month long Battle of Monte Cassino, between Nazis and Allied troops in the Allied invasion of Italy in 1944. The Allied forces thought incorrectly the the monastery had been turned into a fortress by the Nazis.
During this time Charlemagne (the Frankish Carolingians) was conquering much of Italy, but he was not able to conquer Benevento. At this time, Benevento was stuck in between two empires, Charlemagne’s to the north and the Byzantines to the east. During the 800’s, Benevento fought a series of wars against Byzantine-allied Duchys in southern Italy, eventually conquering much of Southern Italy.
In some of these wars, both sides hired Arab mercenaries called Saracens to fight for them. The Saracens soon went viral, splitting off from the men who hired them and attacking infidels all over Southern Italy. Islam eventually conquered all the way up to Capua, 16 miles north of Naples.
In 915, the Pope forged an alliance between all of the Christian forces of Southern Italy and Islam was defeated at the Garigliano River in Southern Italy. The Arabs, and Islam, were thrown out of Italy by the forces of the Cross.
Once again, mercenaries were to prove deadly. The Lombard states had called in Norman mercenaries to help them fight the Byzantines in Apulia. But soon the mercenaries had gone feral, just like the Arabs before them. By 1058, the Normans had conquered the Lombard state of Capua. In 1078, the Salerno Lombard state fell. The Capuans rebelled in 1091 and formed their own state that lasted for 7 years until the Normans reconquered it in 1098.
The Normans were not very good rulers, and their states were largely independent and tended to decline under their lackadaisical rule. The Lombards regarded the Byzantines as oppressors and the Normans as Northern Barbarians. At around 1100, the saga of the Lombards seems to fade into history.
As you can see, with the Norman conquest of southern and central Italy in 1050-1100, a linkage between Normans and Lombard royals becomes possible. Hence, this may be the historical linkage of my Norman line via Eleanor and the royal Lombards of Italy.
I believe there is some linkage between the Franks and the Lombards.
The Lombards would be considered Dinarics, racially, and so would the Bavarians on the other side, so if you go back 1,500 years, my stock is Dinaric or possibly Noric (in between Dinaric and Nordic). Later on, the Norman branch is Nordic.
If you are talking about non-Whites such as Black, Indian or Asian, there is none of that in me either, although there is a 50% chance that I am related to Pocahontas, since we trace our ancestry back to the First Families of Virginia (pre-1700), and if you can do that, there’s a 50% chance you are related to Pocahontas. She had one kid, Thomas Rolfe, and that kid had like 14 kids, and they married into lots of the few White families of Virginia.