Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.
(about 887), Peter (?  A.D.), and Samuel (about 976 A.D.), are conspicuous.  The first-named we find at war, first with the Grecian Emperor Leo (893 A.D.), whom he defeated; then with the same ruler and his allies the Ungri, under Arpad, their king.  Finding himself hard pressed, Simeon made peace with Leo, and turned his arms against the Ungri, whom he defeated with great bloodshed and drove out of his territories. (To the Ungri and their career we shall return presently.) These feuds continued for a long period, and about 970 A.D. the Bulgarians crossed the Balkans, but were beaten by the Greeks, whilst two or three years afterwards the Greek emperor (or rather one of them, for there were several pretenders to the throne), John Zimisces (? 972), attacked Marcianopolis, the Bulgarian capital, and took the king, Boris, prisoner.  Before the end of the century another Bulgarian king, Simeon, had fought the Greeks with varying success, but ultimately the Emperor Basilius II. (1014 A.D.) completely annihilated the Bulgarian army, and annexed the whole country as a province of the Greek Empire.  Thus ended the first rule of the Bulgarians.

[Footnote 113:  Le Sage, Table 8.]

[Footnote 114:  Gibbon, vol. vii. p. 104.]

[Footnote 115:  This character is by some writers given to the Wallachs or Roumanians, and Bonfinius (Book IV.) says that their name is derived from certain Greek words indicating their skill in archery.]

[Footnote 116:  Roesler, p. 234 et seq. It is necessary to add that Roesler derives much of his information from Turkish sources. (Appendix, pp. 359-361.) According to one writer, Abu-Ali-Ahmed Ben Omar Ibn-Dasta, the settled Bulgarians were an agricultural people cultivating cereals, in whose villages were mosques, elementary schools, &c.  Many, however, were heathens, who prostrated themselves whenever they met an acquaintance.]


Of all the tribes or hordes of the East who made the devoted plains of the Danube their highway into Europe, there were none who have earned a character so notorious for rapine and cruelty as the Ungri, or Hungarians.  Their origin is doubtful in the extreme, but it is probable that they were a Turanian race, and Roesler has found them an aboriginal home in Ugria, a country situated eastward of the Ural mountains and the river Obi.[117] Their savage nature, which long survived their advent into Europe, has been graphically described by several writers.  Roesler, who has carefully studied their early history, says that they were mare-milking nomads living in tents, that they ate the half-raw meat of game or fish without knives.  Mare’s milk appears to have been what we may call their temperance beverage; whilst stronger drinks were the blood of wild animals or of their enemies on the field of battle; and the hearts of the latter were considered a sovereign remedy for diseases.[118] Our own Hallam, in describing

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