Some of Nicholas Poussin’s works are part of the Rennes area mysteries. His father was uncle of Baron Arques, and financial advisor to Couiza’s Duke Anne (see another post; Joyeuse, palace of privilege, romance and tragedy). Poussin painted two scenes of shepherds at a tomb with Virgil’s Roman epitaph, citing the proverbial Greek Arcadia with its annual fires as metaphor for afterlife: “Mantua gave birth to me, Calabrians raped me, Parthenopa (Pozzuoli, Oracle of the Dead at Naples) comes back to me now. I have sung of pastures, country-sides and leaders, also in Arcadia I lived.” The last phrase became a popular epitaph, implying heaven and hell in life and afterlife.
To Spanish nobility, southern France was an underworld, south of the Pyrenees, towards infidels, illiterate backward Christians mustering forces, and Africa. Arcadia seems the opposite of cities, yet Delphi’s rural oracle became a densely built precinct of temples, embassies and treasuries. The Roman oracle of the Dead on the Bay of Naples became enclosed by Rome’s elite suburb (Paget 1967). The French arcadia in the Razes has a reputation for rebels, such as Spaniards, Cathars and Templars.
Nostradamus visualised graves and treasure here (see Rennes les Bains 3; and, Rennes le Chateau 11 and 11p, in other posts). The Midi canal from Thau on the Mediterranean, via part of the Aude at Carcassonne, to the Garonne at Toulouse, for small cargo barges of wheat, wine and wool, was studied by Augustus, Nero, Charlemagne, François I (who paid Leonardo Da Vinci for a survey), Charles IX and Henry IV; built under Louis XIV and finance minister Colbert, whose colleague Fouquet, a friend of Poussin, hinted at his lucrative secret in a letter, perhaps a canal solution.
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In ‘Travels at Rennes le Bains’, Labouisse-Rochefort (1832) again saw an Arcadia here. Jules Verne referred to this area in some of his novel codes. The Two Rennes is now a theme park for treasure hunters, fakers, conspiracy theorists, and researchers trying to separate fact from fiction. The Two Rennes live out two lives; eking out a rural living, and amusing tourists with the promise of a few cracks in the wall of legends and codes.
Legends and spiritual passions outnumber physical remnants and history here. But history and legends now enable revelation of the standard layers of subconscious expression of archetypal structure, and thus conscious access to our collective behaviour. Semi-conscious symbols are part of innate, natural, archetypal culture.
== Extract from STONEPRINT Journal Series. Supplement to Stoneprint, the human code in art, buildings and cities. $10 from Lulu.com
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1 Pictish beasts
2 Crop circles are natural artworks
3 Stoneprint tour of Paris
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5 Culture code in seals and ring stamps. Also from Lulu.com
6 Rennes le Chateau stoneprint tour, 20pp. Lulu.com, $10.