|Les Irréductibles Gaulois|
Today on the way to work, another "I'll be damned" moment, courtesy of Direct Matin (the free mini-newspaper available in the trains in Paris.) As I stated before here, Direct Matin has an item each morning wherein some bit of arcanum is explained - the origins of the croissant, the history of the galettes des rois, why the icons of saints have auréoles over their heads.
In the news today was the question as to why the image of France - in sport, for example; the football, rugby, basketball, and other team jerseys - is a rooster (le coq). If one visists the Palais de l'Eysée (the home of the president of France), the main, ornamented gate has a gold rooster above it.
Given the recent behaviour of President François Hollande, turns out that the choice may be appropriate.
According to the article, the rooster arose as a sort of insult from the Romans when they arrived in present-day France. Apparently, they found the French to be braggards and noisy ("frimeurs et bruyants"), whilst at the same time weak in comparison with the Roman Empire. Playing on the fact that the the local tribe of Gallic Celts had as a name the homonym "gallus" (in Latin, a sort of chicken), the Romans mocked the French people as puffed-up, noisome, but ultimately weak people.
Charles de Gaulle indeed...