Isis in Paris, The Black Madonna


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Image from www.pantheon.org

Most guidebooks will tell you that the early settlers along the Seine River were called Parisii. The Paris Blue Guides suggest that the Parisii or Quarisii were part of the Celtic population of the Second Iron Age, coming from Germany.

Today I read another theory: “By certain archeologists, the word Paris is supposed to be a corruption of the word ‘Bar-Isis becoming through Roman pronunciation ‘Parisii’, the name of the tribe that inhabited the site on which Paris now stands. The boat in the coat-of-arms of Paris is supposed to be the bark of the Negro goddess. Isis was the goddess of navigation. According to De Breuil, a statue of Isis existed in the Abbey of St. Germain-des-Pres, Paris as late as 1514, when it was ordered broken by Cardinal Briconnet.”

“The worship of Isis spread through the remainder of Europe and into Asiatic Russia. Ancient statuettes of her have been found in Northern France, in the the Rhineland, and on the Moselle. (Does this mean that a thousand years from now all we tourists who bring home souvenirs if Isis statues and ‘good luck’ charms will be designated as ‘worshippers’ by future generations?) Her temples were in all that region as well as in Britain. She is believed to have a temple in Paris, and another nearby at Melun.”

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Here is another quote of interest in the chapter entitled “The Black Madonna” from the book, “Sex and Race” by J.A. Rogers, 1940, 37 Morningside Ave. NYC

“St. Augustine himself says, “What is now called the Christian religion has existed among the ancients and was not absent from the beginning of the human race until Christ came in the flesh from which time the true religion existed already began to be called Christian.””

In this chapter, “The Black Madonna”, J.A. Rogers discusses the origins of the Black Madonna. If any of you have ever visited pilgrimage sites of Black Madonnas, for example in Montserrat or in Poland, you may have heard the explanation of the ‘blackness’ being caused by hundreds of years of smoke. Rogers offers some other possibilities to consider. He states that “During the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars there was a general destruction of Black Madonnas in Europe, two notable instances being Montserrat and Le Puys in France.”

Rogers goes on to describe two of the oldest Black Madonnas of Europe: the Black Virgin of Nuria, Spain and of Loretto, Italy. That of Loretto was destroyed in fire in 1930, but accorrding to Father Ledit, Pope Pius XI had ordered that the original color of the madonna should be preserved ( today the majority of the Black Madonnas have Caucasian features).