The Romanians

….”Now we are beginning to realize that the story of a descent from the light of Rome to the darkness of Barbarian dominion is completely false. Archaeological discoveries have shed new light on the ancient texts that have survived, and this has led to new interpretations of the past. Rome used its army to eliminate the cultures that surrounded it, and paid its soldiers with the wealth it took from them. It ‘Romanized’ these conquered societies and left as little record of them as possible. The truth is that much of what we understand to be ‘Roman civilization’ was plundered from the Barbarian world. The Romans conquered with swords, shields, armour and artillery that were copied from the people they fought”…. Terry Jones’ Barbarians: An Alternative Roman History

The areas of Wallachia and Moldavia are historical Serbian territories and the earliest civilization of Proto-Europeans – indigenous people of the Slavic Dacians or Dacian Slavs with genetic haplotype that is regarded by scholars as the Mother of Old Europe – the cradle of Lepenski Vir, Vinca, Starcevo, Tropoja. In Antiquity, the Slavic-Thracian tribes dominated both the northern half of the Balkan peninsula and the present territory of Romania. The Slavic tribes who spoke the ‘Thracian’ language and lived in the eastern half of the Balkan peninsula, in the lower Danube valley, and Transylvania were called by a variety of names in Greek and Roman literature. The Thracians proper, who had very early contact with Greek culture, inhabited a region bounded in the north by the Balkan Mountains and in the west by Macedonia, while the Getae lived in a region north of the Balkan Mountains,  along the lower reaches of the Danube. The Dacians of Transylvania were the last Thracian-speaking people to come to the notice of Greco-Roman world, and are also called Getae in Greek sources, and Roman historians, who drew upon Greek sources, often – and arbitrarily – translated the appellation ‘Getae’ as ‘Dacin‘, even when, as it happened, they were referring to authentic Getae. Thus caution must be exercised when dealing with the fragmentary sources that mention Dacians in the context of the wars, waged by the Romans in the 2nd and 1st centuries BC, on the northern borders of Macedonia against various Thracian, Getian and Celtic tribes.

Source-courtesy of Isfan Marius

The territory of the present day Romania was inhabited by the Dacians and Getae in the 6th century BC. In 513 BC south of the Danube the tribal confederation of the Getae was defeated by the Persian Emperor Darius the Great during his campaign against the Scythians. Over half a millennium later, the Getae (also named Daci by Romans) were defeated by the Roman Empire under Emperor Trayan’s campaigns. “Bessi, as well as Getae, Dacians, Antes, were native Slavic inhabitants of Danube basin, and the Serbs were one of its huge branches, known under that name for a long time.”GENS VLACHORUM IN HISTORIA SERBORUMQUE SLAVORUM (Vlachs in the History of the Serbs and Slavs)

The first information we have about the Dacians comes from Herodotus who mentions them in relation to the Persian king Darius’ expedition against the Scythians, as the Getae were the only people among the Thracians that did not surrender to his army and had to defeat in battle, of exceptional military skills and great wealth. After this historical point we start having more records of them, even though they only start to attract the actual interest of the ancient authors in the 1st century B.C., when many of the Getic tribes were united under a single rule by King Burebista who got involved in the civil war in Rome between Caesar and Pompey. Burebista’s state was split however in four and then five smaller kingdoms after his disappearance in approximately 44 B.C. only to be followed by Decebalus’s Dacian state, towards the end of the 1st century A.D. The last Dacian Kingdom was defeated in two wars against the Roman conquerors, in 101–102 and 105–106, after which the Roman province of Dacia was established, the point which is used to mark the end of the Iron Age and start of the Classical period.

Roman expansion and the process of Romanization took place on both sides of the Danube River. Ancestors of the Romanians organized a separate country known as Dacia, which developed and prospered to the time of King Decebalus (AD 87–106). After Emperor’s Trajans two campaigns stretching from 101 AD to 106 AD, the core of Dacian kingdom was turned into the Roman province of Dacia. The Gothic and Carpic campaigns in the Balkans during 238–269 AD (from the beginning of the period of military anarchy to the battle of Naissus), forced the Roman Empire to reorganize a new Roman province of Dacia south of the Danube, inside former Moesia Superior. In either 271 or 275 the Roman army and administration left Dacia, which was invaded by Goths who lived with the local people until the 4th century, when another nomadic people, the Huns, arrived. However, most of the population, made up of Roman colonists and Romanized Dacians, stayed on and continued to keep up close relations with the South-Danubian Romans. These relationships were very close indeed, as attested by rich archaeological findings in Transylvania (Alba-Iulia, Bratei), Oltenia, Wallachia (Sucidava, Romula, Câmpulung-Muscel), and even in Moldavia, as well as by the wealth of coin hoards which can be found everywhere on present Romania’s territory.

The process of Romanization went on north of the Danube River after the 3rd century as well. This was largely due to the Christian faith which was spreading out from towns situated on the right bank of the middle and lower streams of the Danube. Some Roman emperors, and subsequently some of the Byzantine ones, would raid the north-Danubian areas, managing, under emperors Constantine the Great (307 – 337), Valens (364 – 378) and Justinian (527 – 565), to partially restore Roman rule over the former Dacia province. Gepids and Avars ruled Transylvania until the 8th century, after which Bulgarians included the territory of modern Romania into their Empire which lasted until 1018. Transylvania was part of the powerful Kingdom of Hungary from the 10-11th century until the 16th century, afterward the independent Principality of Transylvania was formed. The Pechenegs, the Cumans and Uzes were also mentioned by historic chronicles on the territory of Romania, until the founding of the Romanian principalities of Wallachia by Basarab I, and Moldavia by Dragos during the 13th and the 14th centuries respectively.

Evidences of the Serbs on the territory of present Romania should be traced at least from the 6th century, when part of the Slavic population let their homeland to settle down in the Pannonian Plain. Slavic people settled in the northern and eastern parts of today Romania, arriving in masses to the Banat, Krisana and Erdely, even before arrival of Avars, either independently or together with Huns and Gepids. At the beginning of the 7th century part of Slavic population moved from mentioned areas to the Balkan peninsula, but a significant portion of people remained in those areas. The earliest archives and documents of the Romanian history and a number of toponymes testify on the presence of the Serbs in those historical provinces of the present Romania. The present day Romanians of the Wallachia, Erdely /Transylvania/ and Moldavia – those creating Romania and the self-governed, are of the Serb origin, who were by assimilation turned into the Romanians and the Moldavians. Along with the assimilation of the Serbs, the Romanian historians most frequently use the terms “Slavic period of the Romanian history” or “Serbian period of the Romanian history”. The Serbian character of Romania and Moldavia – Bessarabia distinguished in language /the Serbian, Old Slavonic/, using of Cyrillic alphabet, reign of the Serb princesses and kings, and also in the specific identity. Jovan Brankovic /c. 1465 – 1502/, Despot of Serbia /reigned: 1496-1502/, i.e. the last Serbian despot of the Branković family shared the title of despot /in the period of 1493-1496/ with his brother Đorđe /1461-1516/, who became a monk later /1496/ under the name Maksim /Maxim/ and even the Metropolitan of Belgrade, and in 1503 moved to Wallachia.

Milan Oljača: “The settling of the Banat area in the medieval period – at that time within Hungary, started already after the defeat in the Battle of Maritza River in 1371. Historian Dušan J. Popović claimes that the Serbs lived in the Banat area lready during the arrival of the Hungars into the Pannonan Plain in 895. On this fact and event writes also Mile Tomić who records some 70 Serb settlements of which Bazias was the oldest Serb settlement of the gorge type, established in 1200. Among the earliest medieval rulers who received estates in Banat were Dmitar Mrnjačević, “highly respected ruler and son of King Vukasin”, the brother of Marko Kraljević. He received possessions in the Vilagos land properties and title of the High duke of the Zarandan county. After him follows also despot Stefan Lazarević, and after him also Vuk Branković came into possession of lands. The Serbs from the South and the East Serbia were settled on those estates”.

Wallachians and Moldavians of the present Romania used the Serbian-Slavonic language and Cyrillic alphabet from the 13th till the 19th century. Voivode-duke of Wallachia Radu IV the Great appointed Đorđe-Maksim Branković the Metropolitan of Ungro-Wallachia /in the period of 1507-1512/. Few years later /1507/ with the assistance of Metropolitan Maksim in Târgoviște /Wallachia/ came Hieromonk Makarije-Macarios, a Serbian typographer from the well known Cetinje Printing house. During his life in Wallachia /in the period of 1507-1512/ there were printed the first Romanian books ever. In the 16th century the Serb Dynasty of Brankovich ruled in Moldavia and the Erdely – Transylvania. A specific version of Cyrillic alphabet was used in Besarabia /part of Moldavia/ until the thirties of 20th century and this older-earlier form is a bit different from that Cyrillic alphabet used in the Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic /1924-1940/ that was used until 1989 in the Soviet Republic of Moldavia /1940-1989/ when part of the Serbian romanized population living there accepted the Romanian version of the Latin script. The Serbian character of Romania and Moldavia was fiercely destroyed in 1859 by creation of Romania out of two Danubian Princedoms – the independent Serbian states of the Princedoms of Wallachia and Moldavia. Although the Romanization of the Serbs of Wallachia, Moldavia and Erdely – Transylvania started much earlier, the creation of Romania by the foreign powers in Paris into the statehood and by policy and diplomacy of the new state under the Germans finally ended the Serbian character of those provinces /and on December 27th 1860 the imperial decision on abolition of the Serb Princedom was brought to life/. Centar akademske reči

Romanian historiography is currently in a phase of necessary critical revisions. Several competing theories have been generated to explain the origin of modern Romanians, although constant ongoing linguistic and geo – historical research and analysis tend to indicate that Romanians have coalesced as a major ethnic group both South and North of the Danube. Some historical evidences document that, prior the ‘Romanian language’ was imposed in the near history,  the Romanians obviously used the azbuka /Cyrillic/ script and had spoken the old-Serbian language.…  Under the terms of the Paris Peace Conference in 1919, some 50,000 Serbs distributed in about fifty settlements in the border areas of the historical Transylvania – Erdely /present west Romania/ found themselves within the borders of Romania. Between 1830 and 1860 the Cyrillic alphabet gave way to a mixed form of writing, a combination of Cyrillic characters and Roman letters, with a tendency for the latter to become more prevalent. In 1860 the Roman alphabet was established by law. By around 1830, young aristocrats had already adopted Western clothing.

Likewise their compatriots south of Sava and Dunube rivers, the Serbs in the southeaster part of the Pannonian plain were Christianized by the Byzantine Empire in the second half of the 9th century. In the Middle Ages, Byzantium offered the Romanians their principal political, cultural and religious model, largely through the intermediary of the Balkan Slavs. In the Middle Ages, the Vlachs and the Moldavians were members of the Serbian tribes, and their ruling dynasties were also Serbian. In the Middle Ages, Romanians lived in three distinct principalities: Walachia, Moldavia and Transylvania. Wallachia and Moldavia came under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire, and Transylvania came under control of Hungary. In 1475, Stephen the Great of Moldavia scored a temporary victory over the Ottoman Empire at the Battle of Vaslui, although the Romanians came under their domination for hundreds of years. However, Wallachia and Moldavia would come gradually under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire during the 15th and 16th centuries (1476 for Wallachia, 1514 for Moldavia). As vassal tributary states they had complete internal autonomy and an external independence which was finally lost in the 18th century. One of the greatest Hungarian kings, Matthias Corvinus (known in Romanian as Matei Corvin), who reigned from 1458-1490, was born in Transylvania. He is claimed by the Romanians because of his Romanian father, Iancu de Hunedoara (Hunyadi János in Hungarian), and by the Hungarians because of his Hungarian mother. Later, in 1541, Transylvania became a multi-ethnic principality under the suzerainty of the Ottoman Empire following the Battle of Mohács. Michael the Brave (Romanian: Mihai Viteazul) (1558-9 August 1601) was the Prince of Wallachia (1593-1601), of Transylvania (1599-1600), and of Moldavia (1600). During his reign the three principalities largely inhabited by Romanians were for the first time united under a single rule.

In 1775, the Habsburg Monarchy annexed the northern part of Moldova, Bukovina, and the Ottoman Empire its south-eastern part, Budjak. In 1812 the Russian Empire annexed its eastern half, Bessarabia, which was partially returned by the 1856 Treaty of Paris after the Crimean War. At the end of the 19th century, the Hapsburg Monarchy incorporated Transylvania into what later became the Austrian Empire. During the period of the dual monarchy of Austria-Hungary (1867-1918), Romanians in Transylvania experienced a period of severe oppression under the Magyarization policies of the Hungarian government.

The state of Romania was formed by the merging of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia in 1859. The present name of the country was first formulated by the Transylvanian Saxon historian Martin Felmer in the 18th century, and it was again employed in 1816 by Dimitrie Philippide, a Greek historian settled in Wallachia (in his History of Romania and Geography of Romania). In the middle of the 19th century the term Dacia was frequently used to refer to what we know now as Romania, that is, the entire territory inhabited by Romanians. In the middle years of the 19th century the term Dacia was frequently used to refer to what we know now as Romania, that is, the entire territory inhabited by Romanians. In their very tides, publications like Dacia literară (Literary Dacia), Magazin istoric pentru Dacia (Historical magazine for Dacia), and Dacia viitoare (Future Dacia) set forth a whole program of national politics. Even somewhat later, when the term Romania had been officially adopted to designate the little Romania resulting from the union of Wallachia and Moldavia in 1859, Dacia continued to serve as a name for the whole national space of the Romanians, the future Greater Romania. The title of A. D. Xenopol’s great work of synthesis, The History of the Romanians in Dacia Traiana (1888-1893), symbolizes the direct relationship between ancient Dacia and the modem Romanian nation. In World War II a great part of the country was occupied by the Soviet Union and in 1947 it became a communist state. The reign of Communism ended in 1989. Romania developed closer ties with Western Europe and joined NATO in 2004.

Today there are two Romanian nations who were Christianized in the Serbian languages – the Romanians and Moldavs that spread from the left lower course of the Danube River to the northern Carpathian mountains. According to the Medieval linguistic data on Moldavia and Romania it is clear that those nations were created from the Serbs – the Slavic people, by the national engineering of the Roman-catholic and Protestant churches, the Hapsburg Monarchy- Austria, Germany, France, London… when the population of Romania and Moldavia became the part of the Romance group. Creation of the “Romanian“ and the „Moldavian“ nations was conditioned by the change of the Serbian language into the created mixture with the Latin, that was imposed, along with the concealment of the antique and Medieval documents which testify that the original population was the Slavic Dacians or Dacian ‘Slavs’. The Slavic foundations of today’s Romania are no secret for any serious historian, but they are still very well hidden through forging (renaming) the names of settlements and historical figures, and in the past it was done through the Latinization of the letter.

To distinguish Romanians from the other Romance peoples of the Balkans (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians, and Istro-Romanians), the term Daco/Romanian is sometimes used to refer to those who speak the standard Romanian language and live in the territory of the ancient Dacia (today comprising mostly Romania and Moldova), although some Daco-Romanians can be found in the eastern part of the Central Serbia, which was part of the ancient Moesia. In English, Romanians are usually called Romanians, Rumanians, or Roumanians except in some historical texts, where they are called Roumans or Vlachs. Vlach is a Slavic-derived term, originally borrowed from Germanic Walha, which is used to designate the Romance speaking peoples of the South-Eastern Europe – Romanians, Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians and Istro – Romanians. Some historical evidences testify that the term Vlach is the ancient common designation for people of hills, mountains and forests who believed in protection of the God Vls (Veles or Volos in the population of Rasians). Vlachs – Aromani have generally been identified with the indigenous pre-Slavic populations of Dacian and Thracian origin. The Rasians /Rasi people/ are the real name for the Russians. Nevertheless, the God Veles is protector of fields, pastures, forests, domestic animals, and represents relatively known pre – Christian Old-Serbian deity, along which the Wales was named. While historically, the term Vlach /Wallach/ was used to refer to all the Balkan people who spoke the common language /practically the remnants of Romanized Illyrians, Thracians and Dacians/, nowadays, this term is only rarely used to refer to the Romanians, but is instead used to refer to the other Eastern Romanic peoples, living outside Romania.

Romanians are strongly influenced by and confess the Romanian Orthodox Church practices, which emphasizes humility, love, and forgiveness in one’s relationships, making Romania today the most religious country of Europe. Religion in Romania is Romanian Orthodox 86.7%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, Protestant 3.7%. The construction of Orthodox churches in Romania did not only have a religious purpose, but it was also a way of the Romanian people to keep their identity and unity of culture and language in front of Islam and catholic pressures, both of whom tried to absorb the Romanian identity. It is rarely known that until the 19th century the Orthodox faithful people in Wallachia were in full communion with the Serbian Orthodox Church, with more than 20 Orthodox monasteries and churches established by the Serbian Medieval rulers and nobility of Wallachia.

Source-courtesy of Isfan Marius

Romanians typically offer warm greetings and a willingness to serve others /in the fields, while building/. Romanians are by nature fun loving, warm, hospitable, playful, with an innate sense of humor. Romanian women are usually described as elegant, educated, active, caring, emphatic, feminine, developing positive attitudes and promoting traditional values. The Romanian women have all that a man is searching when choosing a wife. They are also known for their native intelligence and for giving priority to culture and personal development during their life.

Population of Romania is 21,698,181 of which Romanians make 89.5%, Hungarians 5.6%, Roma 2.47%. Language spoken in Romania is Romanian, a language of the Italic subfamily. Some Hungarian and German are spoken in Transylvania and along the border areas, while mainly English and some French and German are spoken by those involved in the tourist industry. Most Romanians living in towns and cities are able to communicate in English, French or German. In smaller villages only younger people and children usually speak foreign languages. Around 80% of Romanians speak one foreign language, 25% of Romanians speak at least two, 4% of Romanians speak three or more foreign languages.