19 Sep
19Sep

This strange sentence appeared in Cherisey's novel Circuit, to be exact, Chapter Five entitled 'The Pope'. Translated, it means something like: 'the mérou [grouper] is the fish which claims to be Merovingian'.

The remark is made by Charlot.

I thought it a strange comment to have in this novel. And this was one among many strange assertions. Was it a pun on the word Merou [grouper] which sounded like the first syllable of the Merovingian word? Had he associated Merou [Meroo phonetically] with MEROvingian? This, to me, seemed to simple. But perhaps that is all Cherisey meant anyway ...

However, it continued to bug me. Why would Cherisey want to equate the grouper fish with a claim to be Merovingian, that is that the origins and possible descent of the Merou [which is absurd, as its a fish!]  could be Merovingian? 

There are several theories regarding the ancestry of the Merovingians - the most famous being that mentioned by one contemporary historian where the ancestor of the Merovingians includes a Quinataur. The Quinotaur - almost now widely accepted to be based on a scribal error for the word Minotaur  -  is described as attacking the wife of the Frankish king Chlodio while the two visited a beach. The symbolism of the quinataur indicates that the rapist came from outside the family's clan. From the union of the Quinataur and Chlodio's wife, the creature sired was Merovee, founder of the Merovingian Dynasty. In this most academics see the co-mingling of two bloodlines. Looked at simply though if Chlodio’s queen had a child by a man who was not her husband then Merovech was illegitimate.

By a phrase commonly used to refer to it (Bestea Neptuni Quinotauri Similis, or "Beast of Neptune Which Resembles a Quinotaur"), it is speculated that the Quinataur was a divine son and/or emissary of the Roman god Neptune. It was supposed to be a large fish-like creature, similar to a Hippocampus, but instead with the foreparts of a bull. The creature's bull head also has five horns--two horns in the normal position, and three horns forming a sort of trident in the middle of its forehead. However the fact that it has bull parts might support the academics in their assertion that Minotaur us what was meant. You can see other ideas on their ancestry HERE.

Of course, from the best seller Holy Blood, Holy Grail the authors suggested that the ancestry of the Merovingians included another God, that of Jesus Christ. I had always thought that this idea only surfaced with Lincoln et al. 

Knowing how Cherisey likes his word play i investigated the above quote from Circuit, because it raised suspicions with me that Cherisey was claiming the same idea as Lincoln et al. 

Thus how does one get from MÉROU to Jesus Christ?

    •    MÉROU, subst. masc.

"ICHTYOL. Poisson marin de la famille des Serranidés, caractérisé par un corps massif de couleur brunâtre tachée de jaune, une tête épaisse et une bouche largement fendue. Mérou brun. On y trouve encore beaucoup de familles importantes: les Serrans, les Cerniers et Mérous (proie préférée des chasseurs sous-marins de la Méditerranée) (J.-M. Pérès, La Vie dans les mers, Paris, P.U.F., 1965, p. 65).De jeunes Thalassoma font la toilette de gros Mérous, pénétrant même dans leur bouche ou leur cavité branchiale pour les débarrasser des parasites qui s'y trouvent(Zool., t. 3, 1972, p. 1186 [Encyclop. de la Pléiade]).Prononc. et Orth.: [meʀu]. Étymol. et Hist. 1752 mero (Restaut, Traité de l'orth. françoise, p. 382); 1808 mérou(Boiste). Empr. à l'esp. mero (1611, S. de Covarrubias ds Cor.-Pasc. et Al., s.v. mero I); d'orig. obsc. (v. la discussion dsCor.-Pasc.). Bbg. Sain. Sources t. 1 1972 [1925] p. 412". [see HERE

Translated:

    •    MÉROU, noun. masc.

"Ichtyol Marine fish of the family Serranidae, characterized by a massive brownish yellow stained body, thick head and a widely split mouth. Brown grouper. There are still many important families: Serrans the Cerniers and Groupers (preferred prey underwater hunters of the Mediterranean) (J. - Mr Peres, Life in the seas, Paris, PUF, 1965., p 65). Young Thalassoma make the toilet big Groupers, even entering their mouth or gill cavity to rid them of parasites there (Zool., vol. 3, 1972, p. 1186 [Encyclop. of the Pleiades]).Pronounced. and Orth .: [meʀu]. Étymol. and Hist. 1752 mero (Restaut, the Treaty of Francoise orth., p. 382);1808 Grouper (Boiste). Pr. the esp. mero (1611 S. Covarrubias ds Cor. - Pasc. and Al., sv mero I); orig. obscene. (v ds discussion. Horn. -. Pasc). Bbg. Healthy. Sources t. January 1972 [1925] p. 412.

The fact that Merou also had a synonymous name of ICHTYOL set alarm bells ringing. Why? You may have already guessed it yourselves! ICHTYOL is the Ancient Greek ἰχθύς (ikhthús, “fish”) + -ol, for a substance that is extracted from shale tar, from the decomposition of fossil fish and sea animals, hence the connection to the root ichtyo-. Ichtyol is prepared by dry distillation of a bituminous mineral containing fossil fishes. 

Noun - ichthyol (plural ichthyols)

    1    (medicine) The ammonium salt of bitumen sulfonate; used to treat some forms of skin diseases. 

       ἰχθύς = (ikhthū́s) (genitive ἰχθῠ́ος); m, third declension

    1    fish  

To continue the ichthys or ichthus word (/ˈɪkθəs/), from the Greek ikhthýs (ἰχθύς, "fish"), it is a symbol consisting of two intersecting arcs, the ends of the right side extending beyond the meeting point so as to resemble the profile of a fish. It was used by early Christians as a secret Christian symbol and now known colloquially as the "sign of the fish" or the "Jesus fish".  Greeks, Romans, and many other pagans used the fish symbol before Christians. In pagan beliefs, Ichthys was the offspring of the ancient Sea goddess Atargatis [this sea goddess was known in various mythic systems as Tirgata, Aphrodite, Pelagia, or Delphine. The word also meant "womb" and "dolphin" in some tongues. Before Christianity adopted the fish symbol, it was known by pagans as "the Great Mother", and "womb". Its link to fertility, birth, and the natural force of women was acknowledged also by the Celts, as well as pagan cultures throughout northern Europe. In certain non-Christian beliefs the fish also has been identified with reincarnation and the life force. Atargatis  was the chief goddess of northern Syria in Classical Antiquity. Ctesias also used the name Derceto for her, and the Romans called her Dea Syriae ("Syrian goddess"). Primarily she was a goddess of fertility, but, as the baalat ("mistress") of her city and people, she was also responsible for their protection and well-being. Her chief sanctuary was at Hierapolis, northeast of Aleppo, Syria. She is sometimes described as a mermaid-goddess, due to identification of her with a fish-bodied goddess at Ascalon. Michael Rostovtzeff called her "the great mistress of the North Syrian lands".  As Ataratheh, doves and fish were considered sacred by her: doves as an emblem of the Love-Goddess, and fish as symbolic of the fertility and life of the waters. Her consort is usually Hadad. Hadad is a Northwest Semitic storm and rain god, cognate in name and origin with the earlier attested East Semitic Akkadian (Assyrian-Babylonian) god Adad. Hadad was also called "Pidar", "Rapiu", "Baal-Zephon", or often simply Baʿal (Lord), but this title was also used for other gods. The bull was the symbolic animal of Hadad. He appeared bearded, often holding a club and thunderbolt while wearing a bull-horned headdress. Hadad was equated with the Indo-European Nasite Hittite storm-god Teshub; the Egyptian god Set; the Greek god Zeus; the Roman god Jupiter, as Jupiter Dolichenus. The word Hadad-rimmon, for which the inferior reading Hadar-rimmon is found in some manuscripts in the phrase "the mourning of (or at) Hadad-rimmon" (Zechariah 12:11), has been a subject of much discussion. According to Jerome and all the older Christian interpreters, the mourning is for something that occurred at a place called Hadad-rimmon (Maximianopolis) in the valley of Megiddo. The event alluded to was generally held to be the death of Josiah (or, as in the Targum, the death of Ahab at the hands of Hadadrimmon). But even before the discovery of the Ugaritic texts some suspected that Hadad-rimmon might be a Dying-and-rising god like Adonis or Tammuz, perhaps even the same as Tammuz, and the allusion could then be to mournings for Hadad such as those which usually accompanied the Adonis festivals. (Hitzig on Zechariah 12:2, Isaiah 17:8; Movers, Phonizier, 1.196].

The symbolic meaning of the ichthys word for Christians of course is as follows: 

ΙΧΘΥΣ (Ichthus) is an backronym/acrostic for "Ίησοῦς Χριστός, Θεοῦ Υἱός, Σωτήρ", (Iēsous Christos, Theou Yios, Sōtēr), which translates into English as "Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour".

    •    Iota (i) is the first letter of Iēsous (Ἰησοῦς), Greek for "Jesus".

    •    Chi (ch) is the first letter of Christos (Χριστός), Greek for "anointed".

    •    Theta (th) is the first letter of Theou (Θεοῦ), Greek for "God's", the genitive case of Θεóς, Theos, Greek for "God".

    •    Upsilon (y) is the first letter of (h)uios (Υἱός), Greek for "Son".

    •    Sigma (s) is the first letter of sōtēr (Σωτήρ), Greek for "Savior".

    This explanation is given by, among others, Augustine in his Civitate Dei, where he notes that the generating sentence "Ἰησοῦς Χρειστὸς [sic] Θεοῦ Υἱὸς Σωτήρ" has 27 letters, i.e. 3 x 3 x 3, which in that age indicated power. 

So from a simple syllable and then a word for a fish family we have delved into Frankish mythology and other mythological Gods and Goddesses and ended up with the Merovingian' descent from the god, Jesus Christ!

The bizarre thing is that Cherisey put his novel into the French national library in around 1971, and it must have taken him several years to write it - perhaps taking its date origin back to the late 60's. This was long before the appearance of Plantard and Cherisey and the Merovingian ancestry and Holy Blood, Holy Grail!