|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|
Pascu, pp. 36-37:
THE EMERGENCE OF THE ROMANIAN PEOPLE (pp. 36 - 41)
The evolution of the Romanian people and their language thus began to reach completion, and the new forms to emerge more clearly, until in the seventh and eighth centuries we see a qualitative change: the Daco-Roman population becomes the Romanian people, and their language, so-called Vulgar Latin, becomes Romanian. [...]
...the Romanians have never called themselves Wallachs or Vlachs, but rather Romani or Români. Likewise, they have never called their own political formation Wallachia, but Romania or Tara Româneasca ("Romanian country").
There are no written documents about the ancestors of the Rumanians in those centuries. From the language it may be concluded that they lived under the entire period of Late Latin (4th - about 8th century A.D.) in close contact with the other Neolatin populations, in the area of East Latin. Until the end of the 10th century, the Rumanian language was largely unitary: româna comuna (common Rumanian) or straromâna (ancient Rumanian). After the 10th century, four dialects developed: Northern Rumanian, now spoken mainly north of the lower Danube and in the Timok area of Serbia; Istro-Rumanian, on the Istrian peninsula; Arumanian, spoken in southern Macedonia and northern Greece, and Meglenitic, to the north-east of the Arumanians.
The Rumanians called themselves rumîni - this world derived from Latin roman(us) according to the sound-laws of Rumanian (Latin unstressed o > Rumanian u; Latin a in front of a nasal > a > N. Rum. î). The designation has nothing to do with Dacia; also a Romanized population on the Balkans may have called themselves Romans. 57 The designation "Tara Româneasca" (=Muntenia, by foreign authors called Wallachia) was not used before the 15th century; the territory in question was during the Middle Ages called Terra Transalpina or Ungrovlachia. 58 This term appeared for the first time in the Church hierarchy, as a title of some dignitaries of the Church: mitropolitul Ungrovlachiei. As late as in 1406, the Rumanian voivode Mircea the Old (1386 - 1418) called himself in a document, among other titles, the ruler of "the entire country of Ungro-Vlachia" - which is identical with what today is called Tara Româneasca. 59
(Priscus Panites, an envoy of the Byzantine emperor to the "court of Attila," wrote that as he travelled north of the Danube he was able to communicate with the local populace, who spoke a language he called "Ausonic," a Romance language.)
Much has been written about the statement of Priscus Panites, who travelled in the court of the Hunnish king Attila:
...the Scythians are a mixed people and besides their barbarian language, they try to speak the language of the Huns or of the Goths or of the Ausonians when some of them have to do with Romans. 60
The editors of Fontes Historiae Dacoromanae state in the introduction that
for us, the indication of Priscus that this language (Ausonian) served for the understanding with the Romans, and not with the Byzantine Greeks is sufficient. It was thus a Romance language, probably Latin spoken in the Romanized area of the Danube valley (the Moesia-s, the Dacia-s and Pannonia...) (p. VIII).
The reasoning is not quite logical, because the other two languages which the Scythians used, according to Priscus, in contacts with the Romans (Gothic and Hunnish) are not Romance languages. Moreover, Latin spoken south of the lower Danube in the 5th century was essentially not different from the Latin spoken in other areas of the Empire, there was in any case no need to designate it otherwise than simply Latin.
After having asserted that Arianism contributed to the "revitalization of Latin culture in the Daco-Roman areas", Pascu continues:
This is shown, among other ways, by the fact that Bishop Wulfila used Latin when bringing his Arian-tinged Christianity to the "Goths." Since the actual Goths did not know Latin, Wulfila had to have been preaching not to them, but to the Daco-Romans.
This theory is also quite old; it may be read for example in an article written by Constantin Daicoviciu in 1941 (in Dacica, 1969, p. 525):
Their Christianity, preached by Wulfila and other missionaries, is, rightly, connected with the Christian Daco-Roman population in the area of the lower Danube, for to whom would Wulfila have preached in the Latin language if not to these?
The life of bishop Wulfila (or Ulfila) has been described by Auxentius Durostorensis, who lived south of the lower Danube and became bishop in Durostor around the year 380 A.D. At the beginning of this text, the author writes:
"Having made all this and similar things, [living] for 40 years in the bishopric, he preached, by Apostolic grace in the Greek, Latin, and Gothic languages." In a note to this text, the editors of the Fontes Historiae Dacoromanae, II, 1970, p. 111, remark: "His preaching in three languages and especially in Latin attests to the continued presence of a Latin-speaking population north of the Danube."
However, reading further in the text, it appears that Wulfila was initially bishop over the Goths. Auxentius Durostorensis recounts that Wulfila was 30 years old when he became bishop over the Goths (in gente Gothorum de lectore triginta annorum episkopus est ordinatus); "to lead and improve, to teach and to build in spirit the people of the Goths" (ut regeret et corrigeret /et/ doceret et aedificaret gentem Gothorum); "this saint, by the decision and order of Jesus Christ, led, according to the Evangelic, apostolic, and prophetic directory the people of the Goths" (iste sanctus ipsius Cristi dispositione et ordinatione ... agentem ipsam gentem Gothorum secundum evangelicam et apostolicam et profeticam regulam emendavit...).
Wulfila preached among the Goths for seven years; then a persecution of Christians was started in that territory and Wulfila was forced to settle, with a part of his congregation, south of the Danube, in the Roman Empire: "Living with his people in the territory of the Romans, he preached, besides those 7 years, another 33 years the truth..." (Degens cum suo populo in solo Romaniae absque illis septem annis triginta et tribus annis veritatem predicavit...).
Thus, Auxentius Durostorensis states clearly that Wulfila preached first among the Goths (this is in fact three times re-iterated in the text; and without any mentioning of "Daco-Romans"); then he was forced to settle in the Roman Empire and preached there for another 33 years - of course, also in Latin.
The developing language [româna comuna] was enriched by a few Slavic and Greek lexical elements, but its syntax and morphology was not at all affected by other languages, and the grammatical structure of modern Romanian is purely Romance.
How much the Rumanian language was affected by Slavic appears from any textbook of the history of this language. The ancestors of the Rumanians lived for several centuries in symbiosis with South Slavs. As stated by I. Nestor: 61"La dernière étape de formation du peuple roumain (entre le VIe et le Xe siècle) a revêtu, la caractère d'une symbiose protoromano-slave." Rosetti, in his discussion of the powerful Slavic influence upon Rumanian, states:
Rumanian presents in its structure non-Romance elements (which we will examine in the following pages), which are only explained by the Slavic languages and by the contact between these two languages. 62
A large part of the religious terminology as well as that pertaining to state organization derives from Bulgarian. In English, the Slavic impact upon the Rumanian language is presented in Du Nay, 1996, pp. 98 - 111.
The Bratei culture, the creation of the Daco-Roman people, is known from finds all over Romania: at Bratei, Ciumesti, and Moresti in Transylvania; at Costisa and Monoaia in Moldavia; and at Ipotesti and Stolnicesti in Oltenia and Muntenia.
(Ipotesti is in Moldavia [Moldova]). A monograph about the Bratei culture - the cemetery Nr. 1 at Bratei from the 4th - 5th centuries - was published in 1973 by Ligia Bârzu. 63 A presentation of this cemetery in English may be found in Du Nay, 1996, pp. 166 - 169. It appears that many elements in this cemetery are also found in the Sântana de Mures culture, as well as in the Sf. Gheorghe culture, in southeastern Transylvania. There are also material finds characteristic of the Dacian sites: pieces of pottery made by hand, for example the Dacian censer (catuia). There are large quantities of animal bones in this cemetery, which is not the case in Roman or Illyrian cemeteries, but is characteristic of Dacian tombs at Porolissum-Salca. The funeral rite of ritually burned cavities is found in Pannonia, Moesia, and Illyricum. Objects of glass were all imported, mostly from Pannonia. There are no signs of commercial contacts between these peoples and the Roman towns along the lower Danube. 64 According to Ligia Bârzu, the "Daco-Roman heritage" consists in this cemetery in the first place of large quantities of big vessels of supply. They are, however, not of the Roman type; and are also found among the material remains of the Sîntana de Mures culture.
There are very many foreign elements in this burial site and even several Rumanian archaeologists consider it non-Roman. (It must be remembered also that the material remains found here show that the cemetery was not in use during the Roman epoch but only thereafter, from the beginning of the 4th century.) Gheorghe Diaconu denied the "autochthonous character" of the Bratei culture mostly because of the funeral rites 65 and Kurt Horedt stated in Siebenbürgen im Frühmittelalter, Bonn, 1986, p. 65, that the burial ground at Bratei is Slavic and cannot be connected with a Romance population.
Material remains of Roman origin or made after the Roman style are very numerous in most European territories in the epoch in question. As we have seen, such remains are found in the Sântana de Mures culture as well as in the cemetery at Bratei. After the 5th - 6th centuries, this influence diminished and disappeared eventually entirely. The cultures enumerated by Pascu on pp. 38 - 41: Ipotesti-Cândesti-Ciurelu; Sarata-Monteoru-Balta Verde; Suceava-Sipot, also contain material imported from the territory of the former Roman Empire, although in general much less than earlier cultures. The material remains dated to the 6th - 10th centuries are characteristic of Avars, Gepidae, and Slavs.
Some remarks are necessary as regards the enumeration by Pascu of Rumanian words with the apparent aim of demonstrating a) that the early Rumanians (in Pascu's terminology: "Daco-Romans") were mostly peasants and b) that Rumanian is a Romance language: "Modern scholars unanimously accept the Latinity of the Romanian language"(p. 40).
The last-mentioned statement is obvious, although Pascu exaggerates the Latinity of Rumanian. Rumanian lacks considerably more Panromanic Latin words than any other Romance language. 66 Pascu also fails to mention the extremely powerful South Slavic impact upon Northern Rumanian.
The terminology pertaining to agriculture does not prove that the early Rumanians were mainly peasants. The large number of words pertaining to the shepherd way of life among the substratum words indicate that they were mainly shepherds, who also practised some relatively primitive agriculture.
The Romanian word for "village" itself - sat - is from Latin fossatum "area surrounded by moats or ditches"; likewise, when such villages formed a "popular Romania", it was known to the common people as tara " country", from the Latin term terra.
Latin terra "earth; land (in contrast to sea); country e.g., terra Gallia, terra Italia" was inherited by Rumanian (Northern Rumanian, Arumanian and Meglenitic): cf. N. Rum. tara "land, country". The notion of a Rumanian tara in the sense Pascu refers to above is not attested during the Middle Ages. Modern N. Rumanian sat "village", in the 16th century, fsat, was not inherited from Latin. Latin fossatum 67 "(small) settlement with a ditch around"(abstracted probably from terms such as locus fossatum, pagus fossatum) was borrowed by the Albanians: fshat (the loss of the first vowel occurred thus in Albanian) and then transferred from Albanian to Rumanian. The sense of "village" exists only in these two languages. In Arumanian, the first vowel is preserved: fusáti, fusati because the Arumanians borrowed this word from Greek. 68 The intimate relationships with Albanian belong to those facts which contradict the assumption that Rumanian is the descendant of Latin once spoken north of the Danube. The ancestors of the Albanians lived mainly east of Albania, in Macedonia and in parts of Serbia. 69
...the Romanian people and language evolved in the strongly Romanized regions along the Lower Danube (where there were about forty Romanized, Latin-speaking towns) and in Dacia north of the Danube, where Latin was likewise spoken in towns, military camps, mining centers, and craftsmen's collegiae. Summarizing the formation of the Romanian people and their language, one may say that the process proper began with the Romanization of the population north of the Danube in the second to fourth centuries; at the heart of it were the two main ethnic elements, Dacian and Roman.
It is right that the the northern part of the Balkan peninsula was strongly Romanized. One should add that Latin was spoken there during five to six centuries, that there was a rich Christian religious life for several centuries, and a numerous Latin-speaking population also in the countryside. Many Latin placenames were preserved (borrowed by the Slavs), and dozens of Northern Rumanian names of villages and geographical names were also borrowed by the Slavs when they, beginning with the 6th - 7th centuries, populated the peninsula. In Dacia Traiana, "Latin was likewise spoken" - but the situation there was totally different: eleven towns, only 170 years of Roman domination, no placenames preserved and not a single geographical name was inherited from Latin. In that territory, there is no evidence of the development of a Romanized indigenous population. It is obvious that Pascu's assertion: [the formation of Rumanian] "began with the Romanization of the population north of the Danube" is baseless.
58Treml, Ungarische Jahrbücher, 8, 1928, p. 32.
59 The document, written in Slavonic, is found in Archivele Statului State Archives , Bucharest, historical section 11. - Reproduced for example in Marturii ale trecutului. Album de documente Evidences of the Past. Album of Documents , ed. Ionel Gal, Bucharest, 1981, p. 55.
60Fontes Historiae Dacoromanae II, Bucharest, 1970, p. 264.
61Revue roumaine d'histoire, III, 1964, pp. 383-423, quoted by A. Rosetti, Istoria limbii române The History of the Rumanian Language , Definitive edition, Bucharest, 1986, p. 268.
62Rosetti ILR 1986, p. 268.
63Ligia Bârzu, Continuitatea populatiei autohtone în Transilvania în secolele IV - V (cimitirul 1 de la Bratei) The Continuity of the Autochthonous Population in Transylvania in the 4th - 5th Centuries (the cemetery Nr. 1 at Bratei) , Bucharest, 1973.
64 Bârzu, 1973, p. 95.
65 Studii si cercetari de istorie veche si arheologie Studies and Investigations in Ancient History and Archaeology , 30, 4, 1979, p. 550.
66 ILR, 1969, p. 123. Words existing in all Neolatin (Romance) languages are called "Panromanic words"; there are, of course, exceptions - each Romance language lacks a smaller or larger part of these words. The number of such exceptions is highest in the Rumanian language .
67 Rosetti, 1986, p. 182.
68 Matilda Caragiu Marioteanu, Compendiu de dialectologie româna (nord- si sud-dunareana ) Compendium of Rumanian dialectology (nord and south of the Danube) , Bucharest, 1975, p. 259.
69The first mention of Albanians in documents is from 1079 A.D. and refers to the territory between Ochrida and Thessalonike, and to Epirus. In present day Albania (in its northern part), they were for the first time described in the 13th century. The analysis of placenames and geographical names suggests that they lived, during the first centuries of Roman conquering on the Balkan peninsula, (also) in the northern part of present day Albania; according to Georg Stadtmüller, the center of the ancient Albanians was the area of the river Mati. There are a number of ancient Albanian geographical names in Albania, for example the river Bunë (cf. Albanian buenë, bujenë "inundation"), or Sar Planina, from Greek suggests that they lived in contact with Greeks. A large number of placenames in Macedonia and parts of Serbia show typically Albanian features: Stip, from Greek It is significant that, in contrast to Rumanian, there are Latin loanwords in Albanian which show a very ancient sound pattern, from the 1st century B.C.: Lat. cingula >Albanian qingëlë; vetus, veteris > vjetër etc. The Romance languages have inherited these words from Vulgar Latin, thus N. Rumanian chinga 'belly band, saddle girth', from *cingla; batrân 'old' from veteran, etc. - Cf. I. Popovic, Geschichte der Serbokroatischen Sprache, 1960, pp. 79-85; G. Stadtmüller, Forschungen zur albanischen Frühgeschichte, 1966; A. Rosetti, Istoria limbii române, 1986, pp. 195-197.
|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|