Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.

And not only did learned writers recognise the descent of the Wallachs from the old Roman colonists, but crowned heads referred to it in their communications with the Bulgarian chiefs and with one another, as we shall see presently.  Lauriani, from whose work we have made these extracts, says that the Hungarian writers were nearly always silent on the subject, or spoke of it with the utmost bitterness.  He, however, quotes two who, in treating of the various nationalities, admit that Moldavia and Wallachia contain the descendants of the Roman colonists who speak a perverted Latin.  One of them gives an extract from a poem by Martin Opitz (1621), who describes the national dance of Wallachia, the Hora, or ‘Chora’ as he calls it.  After speaking of the vicissitudes through which the people have passed, he says of their language that the Roman tongue is still in vogue; and of the people who are dancing he says:  ’The men, who are almost made (? clothed) upon the Roman model, are bad, but witty, think much and say little.’[124]

We have already made a brief reference to the influence of the barbarian rule upon the language and habits of the modern Roumanians, and it is very interesting to find that in the seventeenth century, when Opitz lived, this fact had already been noticed.  Although it concerns chiefly the national sentiment of the Roumanians of to-day and is no doubt very fascinating for them, the enquiry still presents some interesting problems for readers of every nationality.

[Footnote 122:  Modern French and German writers called them Petschenigues and Petschenegen.]

[Footnote 123:  For further details concerning the Patzinakitai and Wallachs the student must consult the pages of Roesler, Pic, Engel, Lauriani, &c.]

[Footnote 124: 

    ’Die Menschen, die noch jetzt fast roemisch Muster tragen,
    Zwar schlecht, doch witzig sind, viel denken, wenig sagen.’
]

VII.

As the reader is already aware, the first domination of the Bulgarians in the Danubian provinces was followed by that of the Eastern Empire after the victories of Basilius at the commencement of the eleventh century, and as a change of rulers in those days usually meant a change of oppressors, it is not surprising to find, about a century and a half later, that all the populations were ready for revolt.  Amongst these, the most numerous and influential were still the conquered Bulgarians and the Wallachs.  The Wallachs are first distinctly mentioned in the time of Basilius, in whose armies they fought as allies or mercenaries.  Towards the end of the eleventh century they had spread widely; for mention is made of them as having settled all over the Balkan peninsula as far as Macedonia in the south, in Wallachia in the north, and in Moldavia, and perhaps even Bessarabia, in the north-east.[125] That is to say, they had either spread into those

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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