Posted by: rbbadger | February 27, 2012

Violent anthems

Some countries, such as France, have anthems which more or less capture the revolutionary struggles.  La Marseillaise, after all, includes phrases like “may their impure blood water our furrows” (‘qu’un sang impur abreuve nos sillons”).  There’s also mention of a bloody banner being raised (‘l’étentard saglant est levé).

Since we’re on the topic of Catolonia, thanks to my earlier post about Frederic Mompou, I thought I’d share with you the anthem of the Catalan Autonomous Community, Els segadors.  The name means in English “The Reapers”.  The anthem commemorates the War of the Segadors, a struggle between the Spanish King Felipe IV and the Catalan people in the 17th century.

The anthem includes the phrase “Bon cop de falç defensors de la terra” which means “A good blow with the sickle defenders of the earth”! 

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Responses

  1. I am one of the authors of the novel Bon cop de falç! (Columna, 2011) and I’m writing you in order to leave a couple of comments. The first one is that the War of the Segadors, even though its name may be confusing, was not a simple riot, but a war of separation. I mean that the intention of the Catalan government at that time was to create a republic such as the Venetian. It’s not me who defends this idea, but a Portuguese chronist who was embedded in the royal troops. The second comment is that the English translation of “terra” in this song must be “land”. The song is about the defenders of a concrete part of the world, a country (Catalonia), and not the “Earth” in general.
    Anyway, thanks for the effort of explaining our nation through its music.

    • You’re most welcome and thank you for your comments. I am very interested in the different cultures on the Iberian peninsula. Unfortunately, I haven’t spent much time in Catalunya, though I have visted Galicia. I very much like the sound of the Catalan language. I think it is very beautiful language. I am also a huge fan of one of Catalunya’s greatest sons, namely Frederic Mompou i Dencausse, not to mention Pau Casals, Salvador Dalí, and Joan Miró.

      I think many Americans tend to think of Spain as a monolithic culture. Actually, there are many different cultures and peoples in Spain, not to mention languages.


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