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Old 24.08.2021, 02:10
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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IDefinitely not "strongly refuted" as Urs Max has stated. Would be interested to hear his sources for this.
That's the opinion of private talks with two linguists. I was quite surprised when I heard about Muslim raids in the easternmost parts of Switzerland, so I enquired a bit a few years ago.

Their position can be shortened to: where's the supporting evidence? You never have isolated data points only with this kind of event. There's none, thus the claim is nonsensical.

A dominant culture leaves its traces in buildings and ruins, culture and customs, language, technology, etc. A murderous gang of raiders would have to use lethal force, and that requires a big number as well as fortifications. No such traces beyond a few similar words (which probability dictates must exist pretty much everywhere) can be found. And that doesn't even take into account the massive changes at least the German languages have been subject to during the thousand years since.

The Romans have left buildings/ruins, driven science and technology, and influenced languages all over Europe, to name just a few aspects of their influence. They "left" two thousand years ago yet we still see their influence to this day, each and every day. It's probably impossible to express yourself without any Latin-based word, for example. Likewise England under French rule and dominance, the English still raise sheep but eat mutton (just an arbitrary example). And oftentimes those influences are far from apparent, the name Mont Joux for instance is derived from the ancient Roman name Mons Jovis (Mount Jupiter).

If Pontresina were indeed named after the Muslims, there should be a massive amount of evidence. Least of all documentation in ancient scripts, and documentation of the various rights they took by force. And why is there a church in Pontresina if it were actually named after the raiding Muslim murderous benefactors?

Wouldn't they have a mosque built instead?

As for the aquaeducts:
The technology was, and still is in some cases, used or reintroduced in varous Alpine areas. A re-introduction by whomever would usually result in a common name (the inventor determines the name), yet they're named differently. Wuhr in Southern Germany for example, WasserWaal in Austria's Tyrol, Auale in Engadin/Grisons, Ru / Beai in Piemont.

Last edited by Urs Max; 24.08.2021 at 02:31.
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  #22  
Old 24.08.2021, 10:38
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

To be clear, I am not implying that the arabs/muslims were around here long enough or in sufficient enough numbers to create any lasting cultural impressions on Switzerland. I know somebody upthread is making some broader claims which I am not in agreement with. However, there does appear to be evidence of smaller groups of arabs that were in the alps (including Switzerland) that stuck around for a few centuries. These people seem to have been primarily shepherds and maybe they made the occasional foray into the valleys.

If we were talking about Greenland, this might seem far-fetched but the distances from the Swiss alps, to areas where the Arab populations are well understood (France, Italy, Spain), is negligible. Frankly, any claims made containing the words "indisputed" or "nonsensical" seem rather racist/xenophobic. The fact is, 1000 years ago, the sociological difference between a Swiss Shepherd and a North African shepherd was not that great. For a band of arabs to take over an alp from the locals wasn't such a huge feat. I still don't believe that the etymology of some of the locations in the Swiss alps should have their arab roots dismissed. I would agree with you if it was only one example but there appear to be quite a few.

I know nothing of the church in Pontresina. However, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of examples around the world where spiritual sites were taken over by the new religion. Loads of churches/mosques/temples have changed denomination around the Mediterranean. I can however see your obvious bias when you choose to use the words: "raiding Muslim murderous benefactors". Not long after this period, there were plenty of raiding Christian murderous benefactors operating a few thousand kilometers east of Switzerland. Fact is, there were murderous religious bastards operating worldwide at the time and they still are at it to this day.
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  #23  
Old 24.08.2021, 10:58
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

There are written and archeological (defense architecture) traces of the Muslim raids up the two main French river valley in the South-East and then in the South-West, until their defeat near contemporary Poitiers and final retreat south of the Pyrenees.

There is, to my knowledge, no such evidence for Switzerland. Even the evidence in Eastern Provence is thin.

https://commons.princeton.edu/mg/al-...nquest-44-732/

Last edited by XDr; 24.08.2021 at 11:16.
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  #24  
Old 24.08.2021, 11:02
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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If we were talking about Greenland, this might seem far-fetched but the distances from the Swiss alps, to areas where the Arab populations are well understood (France, Italy, Spain), is negligiblesociological difference between a Swiss Shepherd and a North African shepherd was not that great.
They were in England too and were not considered raiding 'Muslim murderous benefactors' but were traders, craftsmen and even nobility.

The road I used to live in the U.K. was named after a Black Moor and naming streets after people is normally reserved for the more important members of society.

As an aside, I met someone at a wedding here who's family came from the Alps. He was a friend's husband. I thought he was middle Eastern but no, his family had lived in the Swiss Alps for generations.
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Old 24.08.2021, 11:13
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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They were in England too and were not considered raiding 'Muslim murderous benefactors' but were traders, craftsmen and even nobility.

The road I used to live in the U.K. was named after a Black Moor and naming streets after people is normally reserved for the more important members of society.

As an aside, I met someone at a wedding here who's family came from the Alps. He was a friend's husband. I thought he was middle Eastern but no, his family had lived in the Swiss Alps for generations.
These were sea raids and invasions, not a likely route for Switzerland.
https://www.iceland.is/the-big-pictu...ay-home/13449/
The Muslims' main goal after 732, and into the late 18th-early 19th century, was capturing slaves which they indeed did all the way to Iceland. Over 1.2 million on the Atlantic and Western Mediterranean side (including Barbaries), plus at least that many on the Eastern European side (including Barbaries and not to mention Ottoman conquests). A nice addition to their main slave business in Africa through that period, where they added delivery service to the coast.
As for dark complexions in old Swiss families, immigration from Italy was one route, but another was the Roma (Gypsy) migrations from what is now Northern India.
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Old 24.08.2021, 11:24
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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A nice addition to their main slave business in Africa through that period, where they added delivery service to the coast.
OT, but Tippu Tip (or Tib), legendary Muslim slaver, makes a fascinating story in Charles Miller's "The Lunatic Express."
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Old 24.08.2021, 11:26
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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As an aside, I met someone at a wedding here who's family came from the Alps. He was a friend's husband. I thought he was middle Eastern but no, his family had lived in the Swiss Alps for generations.
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As for dark complexions in old Swiss families, immigration from Italy was one route, but another was the Roma (Gypsy) migrations from what is now Northern India.
An easy aside to the simple question: perhaps the friend's husband's mother went on a holiday to Tunisia? Not everything that happens in Djerba, stays in Djerba
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Old 24.08.2021, 12:16
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

I hopped into this thread mainly to refute mutabor’s spurious claims regarding Muslim technological achievements in irrigation and “heavy influence Alpine to Jura” in Switzerland. That Moorish influence ex their strongpoint Fraxinetum (La Garde-Freinet near Saint-Tropez) did indeed extend to some parts of CH is certainly not well known and few details seem easily available. I'd welcome anyone in the know to enlighten me...
My clumsy research shows a “Fraxinetum” timeline of 887 - 972 – not quite 100 years – before being terminated at the Battle of Tourtour 973. I doubt this short time lead to many Moorish shepherds populating alpine pastures and enriching Switzerland with “arabesque” place names. In all likelihood, we’re talking about soldiers (pirates/robbers/mercenaries) raking in whatever was available.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraxinetum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tourtour
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Old 24.08.2021, 12:56
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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I hopped into this thread mainly to refute mutabor’s spurious claims regarding Muslim technological achievements in irrigation and “heavy influence Alpine to Jura” in Switzerland. That Moorish influence ex their strongpoint Fraxinetum (La Garde-Freinet near Saint-Tropez) did indeed extend to some parts of CH is certainly not well known and few details seem easily available. I'd welcome anyone in the know to enlighten me...
My clumsy research shows a “Fraxinetum” timeline of 887 - 972 – not quite 100 years – before being terminated at the Battle of Tourtour 973. I doubt this short time lead to many Moorish shepherds populating alpine pastures and enriching Switzerland with “arabesque” place names. In all likelihood, we’re talking about soldiers (pirates/robbers/mercenaries) raking in whatever was available.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fraxinetum
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tourtour
That's the story in the detailed article shared by HickvonFrick. Saracens arrived to Provence from Iberian peninsula one day to colonize. King of Provence (Hugh) defends the territory. At the same time, King Hugh is worried about being invaded from Piemont by crossing the French Alps. King Hugh gives the Saracens control over the Alpine passes in the French Alps and they keep the Piemont invaders out and charge money to people crossing the passes. Damned rentiers 1000 years ago . Saracens take a bit more of what was granted to them (Swiss alpine passes ). Saracens get in trouble by pillaging and ransoming too much abbeys and monasteries. An alliance of neighboring kingdoms arises and Saracens get kicked out.

So, it seems the Saracens that knew how to produce food, make buildings and the rest of cultural baggage stayed in Provence near the coast. The guys waging war in the Alpine passes and Switzerland were warriors.....not exactly the kind of guys who say let's build an aqueduct and teach the children a new language and culture.
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  #30  
Old 24.08.2021, 14:03
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

The detailed article shared by HickvonFrick https://www.jstor.org/stable/4057147...n_tab_contents is not accessible w/o restricted registration. In case you have access, could you post a PDF here?
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Old 24.08.2021, 14:29
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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The detailed article shared by HickvonFrick https://www.jstor.org/stable/4057147...n_tab_contents is not accessible w/o restricted registration. In case you have access, could you post a PDF here?
My reply to Hick has the link, once again here: https://sci-hub.se/https://www.jstor.org/stable/4057147 try https://sci-hub.se/ for your inquiries for scientific articles behind paywalls
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  #32  
Old 24.08.2021, 14:59
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

Thanks a lot - looks like I wasn’t that far off either

"The Arabic sources are almost completely silent about this episode, probably because it involved only irregular troops-mercenaries, pirates, adventurers - who received neither the blessing nor the attention of the North-African empires (Aghlabids, Fatimids, Zirids). The relations with the Cordovan caliphate are a different matter; we shall see below that this is a controversial issue"
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Old 24.08.2021, 16:48
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

To return to the initial topic, there is no evidence that the bisses have any connection with Muslim invaders.
The known history of the bisses starts in the 13th century, well after Muslim invasions were repulsed north of the Pyrenees and for reasons having to do with population, disease and climate change then. They may have been extensions of previous systems, but these were local and there is no connection to Muslim conquests.
https://houseofswitzerland.org/swiss...ls-tourist-hit

The urban legend may arise because one of the bisses is known as "bisse des sarrasins":https://www.les-bisses-du-valais.ch/...des-Sarrasins/
Tellingly, there was another bisse by the same name in another remote valley, which bisse has now all but disappeared. But in both cases the sarrasins ("saracens") in question designated indigenous farmers who resisted Christianization, not Muslims from far away: https://www.payot.ch/Detail/nos_ance...-9782882953605
The remaining bisse des sarassins is actually comparatively recent, being carbon-dated to 1415.

The myth got picked up again in romantic writing of the 18th century, largely by German speakers who tended to disdain the Romandie farmers (with hints of racism). There the legend puts the invaders as descendants of Atilla's tribe, which incidentally contradicts the connection with al-andalus or Arab invaders. But again there is no proof for the bisses region. Dixit Laurent Nicolet (the historian, not the namesake humorist):

Quote:
[In addition to no genetic trace...] There is a total absence of archeological evidence.
https://www.letemps.ch/suisse/valais...oire-dun-mythe

And dixit the social scientist (and Africa specialist) Max Liniger-Goumaz, there may have been Muslim raiding in the lower Valais and Western foothills of the Jura, but:
Quote:
By contrast with Celts, Romans etc. there is a complete absence of Saracen or Hun artifacts...
There is a complete lack of evidence in the written record of the period.
https://www.sac-cas.ch/fr/les-alpes/...s-alpes-10792/

Some historical (as in early 20th century) footage of the bisses here: https://www.rts.ch/archives/tv/infor...-de-bisse.html

Last edited by XDr; 24.08.2021 at 17:14.
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  #34  
Old 24.08.2021, 18:11
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Re: Medieval glacial irrigation in Valais

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These were sea raids and invasions, not a likely route for Switzerland.
https://www.iceland.is/the-big-pictu...ay-home/13449/
The Muslims' main goal after 732, and into the late 18th-early 19th century, was capturing slaves which they indeed did all the way to Iceland. Over 1.2 million on the Atlantic and Western Mediterranean side (including Barbaries), plus at least that many on the Eastern European side (including Barbaries and not to mention Ottoman conquests). A nice addition to their main slave business in Africa through that period, where they added delivery service to the coast.
As for dark complexions in old Swiss families, immigration from Italy was one route, but another was the Roma (Gypsy) migrations from what is now Northern India.
And just normal genetic variation. I've been asked several times if I have any middle eastern blood, but am just a very olive skinned white bloke.
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