|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|
Pascu, pp. 2 - 3:
PRE-ROMAN TRANSYLVANIA (pp. 1 - 15)
Paleolithic and Neolithic Man
Human settlements from the Neolithic period have been discovered throughout Transylvania. Artifacts that have been unearthed include hand-shaped ceramics of quite good quality, axes drilled for hafting, small iron objects, gold ornaments, and fired clay tablets with archaic script. The creators of these treasures were the indigenous tribes, though there were certain influences from southeastern Europe and even Asia Minor.
The Neolithic period lasted from around 5.500 to 1.800 B.C. The first 2.000 years of this epoch are named the early Neolithic. On the basis of the material remains, different cultures have been established. The Neolithic cultures spread in Rumania from the territories north of the western part of the Black Sea and Asia Minor. 5 The map given by Berciu (p. 35) shows the Hamangia culture covering the western coast of the Black Sea (eastern Bulgaria, Dobruja, and southern Bessarabia (the Moldavian Republic); 6 the Cris culture covered eastern Hungary, the southern part of the area between the Danube and the Tisza, the Banat, northern Serbia and Bulgaria, parts of Transylvania, and Moldavia (Moldova) "this culture expanded eastwards as far as the Bug valley where it came into contact with the Bug culture" (p. 39); the Linear Pottery culture existed in the area along the middle course of the Mures and the upper course of the Olt in Transylvania, and in Moldavia (Moldova).
The Middle Neolithic (3.500 - 2.700 B.C.)
Also in this period, the material remains show anything but a unitary picture in the territory of present day Rumania. The Tisza culture covered the area east of the river Tisza including the north-western parts of present day Rumania; Transylvania shows the Turdas culture, with the exception of the east, where remains of the Boian culture were found, as also in most of Moldavia (Moldova) and eastern Muntenia. The shores of the Black Sea and Dobruja were dominated by the Hamangia culture; southern Muntenia by the Vadastra culture, also found in Bulgaria; and western Oltenia and the Banat by the Vinca culture, which extended to these areas from present day Serbia.
The late Neolithic (2.700 - 2.000/1.800 B.C.)
The late Neolithic in the Carpatho-Danubian region and south-east Europe is distinguished by its magnificent painted ware, the designs of which are executed in various colours or in graphite. 9
The Tisza culture covers about the same area as in the Middle Neolithic. In most of Transylvania, the Petresti culture is found, with the exception again of the east, where the Cucuteni culture extends from Moldavia (Moldova), the Moldavian Republic, and the Ukraine. In the Banat and northern Serbia, remains of the Vinca culture prevail; in Oltenia and south of it in parts of the Balkan peninsula, the Salcuta culture is found and in most of Muntenia and in Dobruja, the Gumelnita culture, which also covers eastern Bulgaria.
The Bronze Age
Bronze Age civilization was established throughout the Romanian territories by the efforts and intelligence of the Dacian population, the branch of the great Thracian people north of the Danube.
Pascu quotes Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, 8 in whose opinion
the Thracians and the Dacian tribes were the ancestors of the Romanian people - that is, they constituted the ethnic substratum of Romania.
Also during this period (2.200 B.C. - 1.100 B.C.), the territory of present day Rumania was covered by many different human cultures. We refer, for the sake of brevity, only to D. Berciu, Romania, London, 1967. The map on p. 69 shows the tentative chronology of the Bronze Age in Rumania. The whole country is divided into six large areas, which are further divided; thus, Transylvania is divided into four areas (Southeast, Middle, Southwest, and West; and Maramures is treated separately).
The assumption of a single population (Dacian or any other specific, uniform people) is thus not warranted by the archeological finds.
The Iron Age (after 1200 B.C.)
Alongside the indigenous population north of the Danube, foreign peoples now began to settle. (The Illyrians, Scythians, Celts, and Bastarnae are mentioned.)
The first mentioning of a population of Getae is from the year 514 B.C. in Dobruja (Herodotos). They are described as a branch of the Thracians. On the basis of a statement by Strabo, to the effect that the Getae spoke the same language as the Dacians, certain authors have assumed that these were the same people. However, this is dubious; as stated by C. Poghirc, for example:
Strabo's affirmation about the Dacians speaking the same language as the Getae (VII, 3, 13) is of no greater value than the assertion of Italian travellers in the Rumanian countries in the 16th century about Rumanian being a dialect of Italian. 9
...reconstructions from modern Romanian words of Dacian origin prove that the Dacians spoke a dialect of Thracian. [...] Experts estimate that over 160 Dacian words are preserved in Romanian; these are mostly words denoting everyday life and social relations. [...] Many Dacian river names have also been preserved - for instance, Donaris (Rom. Dunare "Danube").
It is a widespread belief in Rumania that the substratum of the Rumanian language was Dacian and that there are Dacian words in modern Rumanian. This is taught in the schools, in some textbooks of history in a totally misleading way: 4 - 5 examples of "Dacian words" are given alongside 3 or 4 words of Slavic origin, so that the student is led to believe in a powerful Dacian and a less distinct Slavic influence upon Rumanian vocabulary. Rumanian linguists, however, have shown that this is wrong.
The "Dacian river name Donaris" did not exist, it was created by modern philologists in order to explain Rumanian Dunare. The origin of the ending re is unknown and there are not even plausible hypotheses to solve this question. 10 The Danube between the Iron Gate and the Black See was in Antiquity also called Istros. This name was not preserved in any language spoken today. The absence in the Rumanian language of an inherited Roman name for this great river is not compatible with the theory of an ancient home-land of the early Rumanians along ("on both shores of") the lower Danube. They must have lived once at a considerable distance from the Danube. In contrast, the Rumanian language has preserved ancient toponyms in northern Greece, such as Saruna, Lasun, Flarina. - The ancient names of the largest rivers north of the lower Danube were transmitted to Rumanian by Slavs and Hungarians (cf. below, p. 65).
In the practical absence of Dacian words with known senses, the investigation must be made with Thracian words, which are preserved mostly in Greek or Latin texts. I.I. Russu has compiled them; 11 his list contains 196 words with more or less certain or assumed senses. If the substratum of Rumanian would be Thracian ("Thraco-Dacian"), there would be some chance that a number of these Thracian words are found among the substratum-words of modern Rumanian. Among these 196 Thracian lexical elements, there are seven for which a Rumanian substratum word exists: male goat; child; big; hamlet; tendril, stem; joy, and fence. Not a single of these have the same form in Thracian; although in two cases a connection between the two languages has been proposed: the Rumanian word mare "big" has been connected with a part of compound Thracian personal names such as Berimaros, Karsimaros; and Rumanian gard "fence" was suspected to be connected with Thracian names of towns: Gordion, Manegordum. Since we do not know the sense of any Thracian personal name or placename, these remain only hypotheses. The same may be said about attempts at explaining Rumanian substratum words from Thracian (and in three cases Dacian) lexical elements and placenames. This does not in itself exclude the possibility of Dacian words in Rumanian; it must be stated, however, that known facts do not support this assumption.
The Rumanian scholar I.I. Russu pointed out this:
...the Thracian language had not (as far as we know today) any exclusive phonetic feature, existing only in our autochthonous words and totally unknown in other Indo-European languages; the Thraco-Dacian language of the satem type had the same phonetic system as had Illyrian, and shared very many elements with other languages of the satem type (Iranian, the Baltic languages, Slavic). Therefore, if we possessed data indicating that the ethnic-social basis of the territory of Romanization in Moesia, Dacia, etc., was Illyrian, Iranian, or Balto-Slavic, one could admit the possibility of such an origin for the autochthonous Rumanian words, although it is little probable that one may reckon with such a possibility. 12
Russu has been vehemently criticized for this statement 13 but no critic can alter the facts. The assumption of a Dacian ethnic basis for the Rumanian people and language is based only upon the fact that the territory where Rumanian is
spoken today coincides partly with the territory of the former Dacians. The available linguistic material does not confirm this theory - on the contrary: it makes possible that the substratum of Rumanian - or, the ethnic basis of the Rumanian people - is, for example, Illyrian.
The essential feature of those pre-Roman words in the Rumanian language is that the majority of them exist also in Albanian. This indicates close relations between the ancestors of the Rumanians and those of the Albanians. Pascu's description of these words is misleading: many of them denote "everyday life", but the specific life of shepherds living in high mountains. Words pertaining to shepherd terminology and the life in a mountainous territory of forests are the largest semantic group among these lexical elements, indicating the main occupation of the ancestors of the Rumanians (cf. Illyés, 1992, pp. 211 - 249; Du Nay, 1996, p. 83).
6The provinces of Rumania are shown on map 14, p.163. Historical Moldova (Moldavia) is situated between the Eastern Carpathians and the river Pruth. East of the present day frontiers of Rumania, between the Pruth and the Dniester, there is Basarabia (Bessarabia). When Bessarabia was a part of Russia and later of the Soviet Union, it was by the Russian officials called Moldavia and Rumanian spoken there the "Moldavian language" - part of a policy aimed at making the land more Russian. Today this country is called the Republic of Moldavia, which should not be confounded with Moldavia, Rum. Moldova, the province of Rumania west of the Pruth.
7 Berciu, 1967, p. 56.
8Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, 1838-1907, was a poet, an author, a playwright, a historian, a philologian and a folclorist.
9Istoria limbii române The History of the Rumanian Language], red. I. Coteanu, vol. II, Bucharest, 1969, p. 318, note 2.
10Cf., for example, G. Schramm, "Der rumänische Name der Donau", Dacoromania, 1, 1973, pp. 228 - 236; G. Vékony, Dákok, rómaiak, románok Dacians, Romans, Rumanians], Budapest, 1989, pp. 237-238. - A. Rosetti, Istoria limbii române, definitive edition, 1986, p. 217, considers that the Rumanians borrowed this name from Slavic, as shown by certain sound-changes.
11 I.I. Russu: Limba traco-dacilor The Language of the Thraco-Dacians], 1967, pp. 138 - 143.
12 I.I. Russu, Etnogeneza românilor The Ethnogenesis of the Rumanians], Bucharest, 1981, pp. 115 - 116. (I.I. Russu, 1911 - 1987, philologist, who conducted research into the ancient languages spoken once in South-East Europe (Illyrian, Thracian, etc.), as well as the Latin and Greek inscriptions found in the territory of present day Rumania. (Indoeuropean languages are divided into two large groups: in contrast to the centum languages, Ancient Indo-European k changed to s or sh in the satem-languages; satem "hundred" in Avestic.)
13 Cf., for example N. Gudea: "Cîteva observatii si note critice cu speciala privire la partea istorica a monografiei Etnogeneza românilor de I.I. Russu Some Remarks and Critical Notes with Special Reference to the Historical Part of Rumanian Ethnogenesis by I.I. Russu]; in Acta Mvsei Napocensis XX, 1983, pp. 903-916.
|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|