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IN PREPARATION - Project Visigoth and Barbarian Gold
Written by Val Wineyard, author and Secretary of the Centre for Visigothic Studies
When I felt compelled to research the Visigoths here in Languedoc, I discovered an amazing history, totally at variance with the official history in all the French books - life, death, love, golden treasure, intrigue - it was almost like a dramatic novel! Thus "The Visigothic Inheritance" was born. Did you know it was the Visigoths who founded Rennes-le-Chateau? Did you know they hid their treasure there and it has never been found?
Now there's great news - "The Visigothic Inheritance" sold out and we did a rapid reprint! Then it sold out again! This is the first of my books to go into a third edition. So many people have found this alternative history really interesting.
Extracts from The Visigothic Inheritance.
The founding of Rhedae
In 412AD the Visigoths were an advance party of soldiers who had women and children with them, for they came in covered wagons, wooden with a leather covering. Imagine the setting up of the camp, sending the servants out for wood, the smoke rising in the evening air, the smell of roasting meat, the leather bottles of water or wine being passed from hand to hand, the murmurs of women putting their children to bed in the wagons, the satisfied sighs of the travel-weary people who, fed and contented, settled down to sleep.
The next morning they saw the pink dawn, the long shadows, the wonderful landscape. They heard the sound of the tethered horses snickering to their owners and they picked out vital features of the view; the Roman road from Carcassonne to Spain alongside the River Aude and the other road heading east across the Col du Paradis for Narbonne and the Mediterranean coast.
This place was perfect!
Rennes-le-Château as it is today
The Treasure of Jerusalem
We know the treasure came to France with King Ataulf in 414AD and was placed in the treasury of the Visigothic capital, Toulouse. There were two treasures; the Royal Treasure and the Ancient Treasure. The first was the property of the King and the proceeds from taxes; the second was various booty's, which included the Treasure of Jerusalem.
After the defeat of the Visigothic King Alaric II, the French King Clovis moved from Toulouse, which he had taken, to Carcassonne. He knew the Visigothic treasure was there for as he rode towards Carcassonne he told his son all about it and the wonderful time they would have when they shortly became rich. But Carcassonne was so well defended the French could not conquer it.
And the treasure had already been moved to Rhedae and hidden in the crypt of the new château there.
I am a bee-keeper and am intrigued by the idea that entire nations - or large groups of them - swarmed out of Sweden on their way to the Midi - no change there then! But I recently heard of a mini ice-age that only ended in the early Victorian era - which might possibly explain the stuffed clothing worn by the Tudors and Stuarts - and killed off the Viking colony in Iceland. So perhaps in the early period the colder climate made Sweden's grazing too sparse, and off the Visigoths went. The Beekeeper
Dear Beekeeper, As far as I know, the Vikings attacked the coast of France, sporadically, in the 9th and 10th centuries, before deciding to go to Britain. So they couldn't have been killed off before the migration of our Visigoths. All the Scandinavians were a tough lot - they emigrated because they had decided life could be better elsewhere, and they were right, as we northerners who live by the Med can confirm!
I would have been comfortable as a Arian heretic, that is one who believed in Jesus and God but not that Jesus was divine; I would not then have to confront the tricky questions of Christ's peculiar birth or his ressurrection. I prefer to quote the Moslems who say God is God and Jesus was his prophet. Overall, "The Visigothic Inheritance" is an enormous achievement and a tour de force; you have put the Visigoths on the map! A lot of the detail about the Nazis could be missed out, we know they wanted treasure to help their war effort.
From Martin in Bedfordshire.
Dear Martin, I don't accept your criticism of my story of the Nazis in France. It was the Treasure of Jerusalem, for goodness' sake! Underlying the story, if you will read it again, is an strong criticism of the way religious feelings are used as a legitimate reason to obliterate people we don't like; such as Clovis converting to the Roman church so that he could destroy the Visigoths.
Here in France we have the Separation of Church and State; people are free to follow their religious consciences as long as they obey the laws of the land. This was exactly the law of the Visigoths, and the Catholic church resisted it then as they do now. The Visigoths were some 1,400 years "ahead of their time" yet they are still dismissed as barbarians.
"Project Visigoth." This unusual guide will cover the region of Septimanie, the ancient home of the Visigoths in France, between 412AD and 800AD. In simple alphabetical order, it will list the towns, villages and locations in Septimanie of specific Visigothic interest. Keep watching this space!
But our really big title - will be Barbarian Gold. It's all about TREASURE! Publication due in Autumn 2016
When the Visigothic king, Alaric l, took Rome in 410AD he also raided the treasury and took away the gold - which included the treasure of Jerusalem, stolen from the temple when Titus put down, viciously, the Jewish rebellion of 70AD.
Here's the opening words of the book;
This story starts and ends with golden treasure
It was late August in Rome, in the year 410AD. The impressive buildings of pale stone glowed in the yellow evening light, but in the poorer quarters, with their tiny houses and guttered narrow streets, the stink was appalling. Epidemics were rampant. It was hot. Humidity was at saturation point.
The city had been under siege for three months from an army headed by the Visigothic king Alaric I. This army included many soldiers with good reasons to hate the Romans and their exploitative empire. Alaric had blocked every route in and out of the ciy and had control of the river and the port. He had offered every negotiation ploy in the world, but the Romans wouldn’t give in.
Everyone was tense, nervous, and sweating profusely.
Alaric and his men breached the Sallust gate and set fire to Rome. The inhabitants, ill and starving, fled to the other side of the city and made no attempt to halt the army’s progress.
Darkness fell and the atmosphere was like an oven. The intolerable heat was made worse by fires and swirling smoke. In the noise of the battle nobody heard the thunder claps. Unseen black clouds crashed into each other, lightning struck and rain poured down.
But the fires were too strong to be doused.
The next day the Visigoths raided the treasury, and took the treasure they’d demanded as ransom, mostly in gold coins. They also took the incredible treasure of Jerusalem, that the Roman Titus had himself taken from the Temple of Jerusalem when he had quelled the Jewish Revolt in 70AD, violating the inner and most Holy Sanctum of the Temple for ever.
This was a sacred treasure; holy vessels and ornaments made of heavy solid gold, designed by Moses under the instructions of God, and to the Jews, incredibly symbolic of the one and only ancient religion, with its one and only God.
To the Visigoths the treasure wasn’t sacred; casually, as though it was a house clearance, they simply loaded it onto carts and took it away, to be hoarded and guarded.
They wanted the gold for the power it gave, so no-one could ever deceive them again, or reduce them to starvation, or oblige them to sell their children into slavery.
This book is the story, among other things, of that immense treasure. It was the booty of the barbarians; but it was sacred, holy gold. It’s fate is unknown; it has disappeared.
Tantalisingly, for more than 1,600 years, news of it has surfaced now and then, scraps of information in old documents from many countries. There have been theories and legends, often, as we shall prove, containing hidden truths challenging popular belief that the fate of this holy and barbarian gold rests a complete mystery.
Sometimes the veil is torn aside, and there’s a glimpse of glittering gold; then, as when a pebble drops into a pond, the ripples die away and everyone forgets what they saw.
Some things are better left forgotten. Governments take steps to make sure they are.
This book investigates the mystery of “Barbarian Gold”; and makes amazing discoveries along the way.
For further information, click here.