Stenay and the Myth

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Stenay and the Myth

Post by BASEL » Tue Feb 05, 2008 9:09 pm

I am native to Sedan in the Ardennes, some tens of kilometres from the good town of Stenay. A peaceful city, like many small province towns hardly attracting attention and often flirting with boredom. It is very just if its `Beer Museum' managed to extract of me, during one of my rare passages, a minimal interest; it is true the visit of an impressive series of stills ends generally with a degustation… of the fizzy fairy… Time does its work, and I've ended up forgetting this locality without particular relief. I recognize it nowadays endowed with the enviable status of `magic city', connected with mysterious networks to Gisors and its Templars, Rennes-le-Château and its treasure. I rediscover it struck by the seal of the Satan. I surprise it stifling in its breast the last sighs of Merovingian dynasty unwilling to go extinct. And I learn it hides a mysterious stone of heavy esoteric meaning. Let's stop there the description of the new sulphurous trumps of the Meusian city to look into the genesis of this strange myth.

Stenay and the Myth

Philippe Marlin

The 'official' history of Stenay is however simple enough… The excellent small guide [1] edited by the Cercle Saint-Dagobert II tells us: North-West of the forest of Woëvre, on the right bank of the Meuse, in the midst of a basin watered by this river, on on the canal of the East, the town was always an important place of war.

Known in the Celtic epoch already, become oppidum in the Roman period, the place was particularly in demand due to its significant position on the Meuse, at the entrance of Woëvre. Thierry, son of Clovis, become king of Austrasia, struck by the position of Stenay, had a palace built there; the borough became villa regia and centre of a county. Himself, his son and his grandson had themselves buried in the castral chapel. In 679, Dagobert II dwelt there.

In the 10th century, Stenay belonged to the house of Ardenne; next it became the possession of the dukes of Bouillon; leaving for the Crusade, Godefroy de Bouillon sold the town with the castle he had built in 1077, to the bishop of Verdun who pawned it to the count of Luxembourg in 1110. The latter sold Stenay to Renaud, count of Bar, and until 1641 the town remain almost constantly in the possession of the houses of Bar then Lorraine.

1609-1611 it received new fortifications and became a considerable place of war. Louis XIV gave its ownership in 1646 to the prince of Condé. As the latter had passed to the party of Spain, the king ordered its siege. Fabert undertook it in 1654 in presence of the sovereign himself; it lasted 56 days. By the treaty of the Pyrenees in 1659, he surrendered him Stenay that was nevertheless dismantled in 1689. His descendants held it until the French Revolution.

Stenay was a bailiwick centre 1639-1697, then a provosty and in 1790 a district comprising 75 municipalities. The town resisted the Austrians in 1792 and was occupied during the whole 1914-1918 war by the Germans. The Kronprinz had his Highquarters there.

There remain a metallurgical factory and a paper mill at Stenay.

In fact the myth will take shape in 1973 with the publication by Gérard de Sède of a `sensationally' entitled work, La Race Fabuleuse, extra- terrestres et mythologie mérovingienne (éditions J’ai Lu, collection l'Aventure Mystérieuse). De Sède is a well-known creator of legends, already holding sway over Gisors and its treasure as well as Rennes-le-Château and the secret of abbé Saunière. This time he relapses to explain us, substantially, the Merovingian dynasty was… of extra-terrestrial origin… And makes, within his demonstration, a great detour by Stenay. Let's try to resume the marking points of the work while specifying the author's source is largely speculative as resting on a series of interviews with a mysterious Marquis de B. whose identity will not be revealed to us…[2]

- On the town's blazon there appears the demon's grimacing and horned face, a figure however never utilized in heraldry… After local investigation, study of the works of an 19th-century archaeologist, a certain Jeantin, and talks to the Marquis de B., de Sède reaches the conclusion Stenay is formerly called Shatan, then Shatenay.

Still after the archaeologist, "the appellation Shatan is at once geological, cosmogonic and Hebraico-Celtic, there is the most uncontestable patent of Stenay's antiquity". And effectively to see an obvious Hebraic connection with our peaceful region sheltering the villages of Baalon (the god Baal) and Avioth (av in Hebrew means ancestor)…

- Our romantic archaeologist, to take up the famous expression of Jacques Bergier,[3] next sets out to look for Saint Dagobert church, built on the ruins of a temple dedicated to Saturn but whose trace has been lost in the course of history. Thanks to an old engraving, he ends up localizing it under the houses Matton and Laplante.[4]

- As the connection was operated with the Merovingians, we are explained this dynasty was of Hebraic and sacred origin. The sources are still our good Marquis de B. and a work written under the pseudo Henri Lobineau,[5] "Généalogie des Rois Mérovingiens", found in the Bibliothèque Nationale. We are also told the Merovingian kings were `faits néant' as progressively forgotten by history… The last of sovereigns, Dagobert II, was murdered near Stenay, in the forest of Woëvre. And in fact, Dagobert well had a son, Sigebert, but he was killed during a boar hunt. There ends `official' history. But gives way quickly to `romantic' history as after a period chronicle, "Le Livre des Evêques de Strasbourg" by Bruschius, Sigebert was resurrected thanks to the intervention of Saint Arbogast. De Sède, well known for his rationalism, usefully specifies it isn't certainly necessary to believe this kind of legend, as the heir had probably fallen in coma next to the hunting accident. The affair ends, after some historians (not cited), with the exile of the monarch, shielded by his sister Irmine from the threats of the new leaders (the `Pepinists') in Septimania, i.e. in the Upper Languedoc area.

Let's give up reading this work here, as the following is a tracking of the Grand Monarch across the centuries leading to the ultimate revelation, of course made by the Marquis de B., namely the Merovingians' extraterrestrial origin. Let's specify however after an old work discovered at Brussels by the author, the tombs discovered in the 18th century in the crypts of Saint Dagobert church also revealed the Merovingians could have been of great height… The Giants come from Elsewhere…

Let's summarize the data of the myth:

In fact, no need to do laborious research. The key of the enigma is given us by the tourist information office in a small treatise "le nom de Stenay" perfectly summarizing the works conducted by the local historians.
The origin of the name Stenay is lost. But since a century, a battle of scholars was started trying to specify it.

In fact, the arms of the town (`d'argent au chevron d'azur accompagné en pointe d'un lion d'or armé et lampassé de gueule…', as described by Denain before the Revolution) are directly inspired by these of Godefroy de Bouillon (11th c.). But since the late 19th, and probably due to the publication by Jeantin in his "Manuel de la Meuse" (1860) of an article about SATHENAY or SATHANAY, one sees the town's shield rather showing a small figure of the devil, horned and grimacing. Jeantin yields in fact to the mania of his time: to explain everything `scientifically', and he writes:
"The appellation SATHAN is, at once, geological, cosmogonical and Hebraic…" Thence to make of Stenay the town of the Satan, there's but one step, quickly made by the lovers of originality. As early as 1885, the paper at the heading of the mairie bears this heraldic novelty and, when in 1925 the current Hôtel de Ville replaces the old common house of the Porte de Bourgogne, the architect means well carving on the fronton (but not in the great salon) the famous face of the devil.

Famous in fact as since then one talks of it a lot: historians, heraldists, linguists, even novelists, and citizens of Stenay too _ that don't however take seriously their claimed devilish origin, as the `Crottes de Satan' have become a specialty of the local candy store and the Mayor, wanting to brighten the institution with a commemorative medal of the town, makes of it the emblem of a `Confrérie des Diablotins de Stenay' created on the smiling method in June 1983…

The canon Vigneron, dean curate of Stenay 1941-1966, fond of local history and learned linguist,[6] wouldn't of course accept this etymology. He first draws up rather impressive a list of the ancient appellations of Stenay across authentic historic acts, then his deductions appearing well conducted, bring him to the conclusion Stenay could mean `Town of Setinius', individual of the 1st century A.D. native to the town of Setia (Sezze nowadays) 80 km SE of Rome…

Here are some versions taken in the table he makes of 25 names counted of the town, with their appearance era: SATENAIUM and SATANIACUM (10th c.), SATANACUM (1069), SATINNACUM and SATINIA CUM (1086), SETUNIA (11th c.), SEPTINIACUM (1107), SETENAE (1208), SETTENAI (1243). SATANAY (1284), without forgetting SATHANAI from the seal of the Provosty (1320) and STENA of the local dialect. But 1643 must be awaited last to find written the name STENAY.

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I obviously couldn't help but go back to the sources and obtain from the town's bookshop the reference work, "Grandes Heures de l'Histoire de Stenay" by abbé Vigneron.[7]

Then, it must be given up making of Stenay the `town of the Satan'. Never the word Satan must be kept to explain the name Stenay.

Here are three peremptory reasons to exclude this explanation:

1) The name Satan was wholly unknown among us when the name Stenay took shape, for the good reason Satan is a Hebrew word that only reached us with the Gospel, so hardly before the 5th century for our region: too late to enter in the name of a Gallo-Roman locality going back to 50 B.C.

2) Impossibly showing one could lodge this Hebrew word (Satanas) in our town's name, this name would have been so easy to keep then that we wouldn't have 25 forms but a sole form of this name in the archives, and the name «Stenay» itself whose penultimate form was Settenay, couldn't have existed phonetically or historically as the mediaeval Stenaisians wouldn't have admitted their town were called the city of the Satan. The French Academy only admitted the word «satanic» in 1798 and «satané»/damned/ in 1878.

Each of these two reasons was enough alone to exclude this explanation of the name Stenay. And here's a third however.

3) NEVER ANYBODY before 1850 seriously thought to lodge Satan in the name Stenay; there had to be found at Montmédy a former president of the tribunal who was the first to write on North-Meusian history a sizeable three-volume book. Jeantin, as his name is, had an insane manner to explain placenames that was the despair of his family. His niece, late Madame Pérot de Médy-haut, regarded him as totally misled in his aberrant mania to explain all placenames by Hebraic roots and geological considerations so harebrained nobody cannot take them seriously…

«BUT A RECENT BOOK HAS KEPT JEANTIN'S OPINION!» _ It's true in a way, Gérard de Sède, in a pocket book entitled «La race fabuleuse» has raised on the history of the Merovingians a whole series of questions he doesn't try to solve in this thin book; G. de Sède was quite careful not to claim writing a book of history. Admittedly he doesn't invent but his manner to present «what he has read» isn't that of a critical researcher but of a man who above all desires to astonish and make his readers dream about what others were able to write on the issue of poorly known events. Possibly he was amused being the first to discover what has been written by the authors of all times on the subjects he tackles; and he prefers the oddest. For him, A BOOK OF JEANTIN IS GODSEND: as regards oddities and uncontrolled solemn assertions, he'll make them, but he isn't fooled and sometimes it's shown.

That's well the case for the explanation of the name Stenay: do you believe he could seriously write this real phrase of Jeantin (promoted archaeologist by him) «The appellation Sathan is at once geological, cosmogonic and Hebraico-Celtic, there's the most unquestionable patent of antiquity for the town of Stenay» (page 20). In page 13, de Sède asserts the name Stenay derives both from Sathan and the Stone (Stein in German). Let's say improbabilities pile up as in the same page 13, the former name Stenay means, further, «Residence of Saturn»… Let's conclude neither Jeantin nor de Sède bring any light to the explanation of the name Stenay. They both elude the question; de Sède doesn't want to explain, Jeantin doesn't know.

Saint-Dagobert II crypt of Stenay shows us a mysterious stone, restored by Gino Frua, member of the Cercle. Here's what says Abbé Vigneron in his "histoire de Stenay":

The SATOR square Documents taken from "Histoire de Stenay" by the Abbé Vigneron .

It seems us this mysterious rock can be explained as a Christian's gesture at a time when there was only a small number of Christians at Stenay.

For explaining it, it must be recalled all the carved stones found at Stenay were found in the foundations of St-Rémi basilica, prior to St-Dagobert church that replaced it in the 9th century.

These stones, reemployed in the foundations, were funerary stelae: the one of which we talk is also a stela but of a particular kind. Mr Plantard, working on the history of Stenay, studied this stela: he considers the letters engraved left and the herringbone pattern traced right of these letters were a "key" able to allow the initiates to refer to the famous `Sator Square'.

That's why opposite we reproduce this well known Sator square. Our drawing of the square has voluntarily increased some letters to help the explanation of M. Plantard to be understood: these letters SRNPR, put back to their place in the square, exactly describe the herringbone pattern engraved on our stone. M. Plantard so has well found the key explaining the mysterious letters of the stela of Stenay.


The sator square contains 5 words that can be read in all directions: SATOR, AREPO, TENET, OPERA, ROTAS. The pagans who used the square before the Christians, placed the word ROTAS in the beginning, in lieu of the word SATOR (so at Pompeii). This inversion of two words doesn't change the meaning :

The creator (SATOR), past AREPO, that only makes sense the other way, holds (TENET) with care (OPERA) the wheels (ROTAS). Otherwise said: Who has made, who has `sown' (life, the man, the world) oversees, carefully directs its proceeding. And for the Christians: the Creator of the man has also created Providence.


The occultism of this stela presumes it has been engraved at a time when Christians couldn't show themselves openly: we would readily date it to the late 5th century or the early 6th, era when an upsurge of pagan zeal is expressed, as reaction, after the conversion of Clovis in 496.

Unfortunately the said stone of Stenay is no more at Stenay. It would have been deposited about 1910 by M. Rivart at Mgr Mangin, curate of Stenay, then dwelling at the Market square. M Mangin, died in 1914, didn't witness the removal of this stone in 1917 by the famous Kronprinz who would have it broken declaring (curiously) he was the "Master of the Cross). So it has disappeared (once an interesting monument for History).


The reconstruction of the stone of Stenay is the work of Gino Frua, member of the Cercle.

This stone is exposed in Saint Dagobert II crypt.

The ineffable Plantard obviously prevailed in this interpreting. the Sator square is however well known to the Cabalists and other alchemists of the word. For example we find in "L'Actualité de l'Histoire Mystérieuse":[8]


With the Sator square one recognizes the original temple and project. Many are the manners to decipher it and still it keeps its enigmatic character. Cabala of letters or hidden sense, its meaning remains still uncertain.


5 words, 5 consonants and 3 vowels, already the 8 of the infinite. The cross of TENET can tell to some it was about a Christian symbol. Let's not be misled: it's about the Great Work. Who signs the SATOR square, knew to realize the Stone.

SATOR is the Ploughman. Those who work the wet way, slow but skilful, claim to be gardeners, working with diligence, as for them time is only the alteration of seasons turning around. On a more subtle level, he is the Creator.

AREPO would be a ploughing tool in the Celtizing languages. The Gauls invented the plough, more efficient than the gardener's hoe, to slit the Earth or materia that must be taken hold by a magic operation at a favourable time.

But it most be held firmly and here's TENET. The ploughman holds the cross that structures the edifice or plough with which he works.

OPERA: it's the work, realization on a material level _ the Stone _ as well as another, more ethereal _ the bel canto. Our gardener is at work and on the way to complete the Work. Rotas, the wheels, corresponds to an inverted SATOR. In fact, the SATOR square should be called the ROTAS square if it were conceived in a language read from right to left. The inversion evokes the Hanged Man of the Tarot and a knowledge of the law of the inversion of poles.

The art of the SATOR is to put the subtle below and the thick above. SATOR masters the plough, the work and the wheel that means the secret Fire. He achieves his dream on the material level.



In the Sator square, the consonants structure space by the major diagonals and key points they occupy in every line. It's the skeleton of the divine name. The vowels are the soul. Those are developed in secondary dialogues, giving rhythm to the edifice.

For the equivalent the latter has the triple enclosure and as three- dimensional development, the stage-pyramid. SRN or RPN constitute its fish- bones while the letter T opens its gates. These four cardinal gates relate to the four ways awaiting who chooses himself for initiation or alchemy.

Right way, left way, passage through death and royal way chosen by few of the elected.

The first degree appears in the Rotas of the Sator, traced by the plough Arepo. That's also the priests digging the first groove, delimiting the enclosure or the student opens the Earth, for beginning his work.

The second enclosure is exactly that of the Work, still incomplete, still unfinished. REP and PER participate in the word Opera, and the Work without finishing it. Here, the materia is ready to be fertilized.

The secret Fire is standing on the third stage, in the N. Vibratorily this N corresponds to fire. In certain Sator squares, this N is drawn the other way, increasing its operative ability and making it the secret fire of the operator, the mystery of his success.

Isn't the Sator square a futile game? Beyond pure arithmetical research the magical squares of numbers have a metaphysical meaning. The same, the Sator square becomes the reduced structure of the temple, and for the adept, an athanor and a simplfied image of the completion of the Work.

Well, the `mystery' remains deepl, and it can be deepened at leisure while adding with G.C.Mouny (Rennes-le-Château, un autre regard sur l’Enigme, cp. our chronicles)

- this mysterious stone would have been halved, and the second piece would have been introduced at Alet-les-Bains, near RLC.
- that the towns of Jarnac-Champagne, Montrevel, Gisors, Stenay and RLC have not only got a representation of the magic square but were all the seat of a commandery of the Priory of Sion.


The preceding matters are only starters, all minor. The Merovingian problematic is certainly the heart of the myth and the most obvious connection with the affair of Rennes-le-Château. If it is summarized roughly, risking to deform it, abbé Saunière would have discovered:

- the parchments mentioning an occult survival of the Merovingian dynasty, through the son of Dagobert II, Sigebert, who would have escaped in the Razès.
- indeed even the tomb of the sacred heir.

On these allegations _ never confirmed _ is developed an extraordinary mythology, referring the origin of the Merovingian dynasty to the extra- terrestrials (cp. supra) or farther still, to Christ himself.
The `beautiful history' is well known and has been widely popularized by the work of Lincoln & co, "L'Enigme Sacrée": Christ didn't die on the cross; he married Mary the Magdalene with whom they had children; the said Mary the Magdalene escaped to France… etc. This occulto-divine filiation belongs besides in the framework of a mysterious secret society, the Priory of Sion that would be at the origin of the Order of the Templars. The Priory would still be active nowadays, under the leadership of Pierre Plantard de Saint Clair, hidden pretender to the throne of France. Let's add still strange documents, deposited at the Bibliothèque nationale (Dossiers Secrets, Le Serpent Rouge, Généalogie des rois mérovingiens) under divers signaturs, like that of Henri Lobineau, would attest to this fabulous descent. Here isn't the place to show the said Priory has no historic existence or these famous documents are forged. Others have done it better than me, and notably Gérard de Sède who in an 1988 work narrated how "it was done" by a disturbing team of mystagogues (cp. our Chronicles, infra).

So let's return to history and our Merovingians of Stenay. A special number of "Etudes Mérovingiennes", bulletin of the Cercle Saint Dagobert II (June 2000) so explains the end of the dynasty:

Dagobert II is born towards 650 and succeeds on the throne of Austrasia to his deceased father, still a child, after the period custom. The Mayor of the Palace (kind of almighty prime minister) GRIMOALD imagined a trick to move away the child to exile in Ireland, hoping the young king would be forgotten. But, DAGOBERT was noticed by the future bishop of YORK, WILFRID. The latter educated and instructed the young prince. Informed by WILFRID, Austrasia's lords called for the king's return. DAGOBERT II, returned to his States ravaged by wars and rivalling factions during his exile, restores peace and prosperity. He founds many monasteries and churches.

However, his success provoked the jealousy of EBROIN, Mayor of the Palace of NEUSTRIA and BURGUNDY. Learned of DAGOBERT's stay, during December 679, at STENAY, a plot aiming to murder the king was organized and succeeded near the FOUNTAIN of ARPHAYS, nowadays FONTAINE SAINT DAGOBERT.

The king's body was brought to CHARMOIS, then buried in St Rémi basilica of Stenay. His son SIGEBERT IV, heir of the throne, disappeared the same time as his father or, after the legend, was exiled in the RAZES where he had offspring.

The memory of the pious Dagobert was kept long by the people, so well that the Carolingian king CHARLES Il «le CHAUVE» took a personal part in the homage paid to the martyred king.

In the year 872, on the 10th September, he calls together a council to DOUZY (Ardennes) that under the aegis of HINCMAR, archbishop of REIMS, beatified DAGOBERT II.

At the same date was erected a new basilica at Stenay, later a priory was added to the chapel. A pilgrimage would last until the Revolution. It mustered about 36 neighbouring parishes. The portal stores many of the best.

So it must be noted the Merovingian `survival', in the Razès or besides elsewhere, is the field of legend. But as I'm regularly told by one of my contacts in the `esoterico-journalistic' ambience, that's not because it isn't proven that it is false.

So act.

[1] Guide des Chemins du Roi Dagobert, par Jean-Pierre Bousigues, Editions du Cercle Saint-Dagobert, 3 place Poincaré, 55700 Stenay, 2001.
[2] In fact it's about Marquis Philippe de Chérisey, sidekick of Pierre Plantard.
[3] For example see "Les Livres Maudits" in the same collection J'ai Lu (Aventure Mystérieuse)
[4] In fact this discovery was made in 1965 by Laplante, local architect. The church portal was dismantled in 1972 under the supervision of abbé Vigneron to be preserved in a secure place.
[5] This document is a `forgery' fabricated by Pierre Plantard's team to give credence to the latter's Merovingian descent; cp. infra.
[6] The commune of Stenay was eager to pay homage to him baptizing with his name in 1983 the small place ending the rue de la Citadelle before l'Hôtel du Gouverneur become Musée Municipal.
[7] Le Livre d'Histoire, Paris 1998 (Monographies des Villes et Villages de France).
[8] Actualité de l’Histoire Mystérieuse, HS 22 ©
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