Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.
desiring them as allies, tempted the Lombards to enter his service; and, bent upon conquest rather than upon becoming settlers in the land which they had already acquired, these crossed over the Danube and left their associates, the Avari, in undisturbed possession.  The Avari ruled intermittently in Dacia from about A.D. 564 to 610-640, when, venturing to cope with the Byzantine power, they were first encountered and defeated by Priscus, a Greek general, and later on by the Emperor Heraclius (610-641), and from that time their nation was gradually dispersed.

[Footnote 112:  Between 453 and 469 A.D. according to different writers.]

IV.

But now we arrive at a period when there was some little interval in the successive inroads of barbarians, and a breathing time for the peaceably disposed inhabitants of Dacia; for the next race of wanderers who entered upon the fertile plains of the Danube succeeded in holding their ground almost as undisputed masters for three centuries.  Later on, as we shall find, they founded a second dynasty in combination with the Wallachs; and, although their rule was troubled by the incursions of other barbarians, and by wars first with the Byzantines and afterwards with the Hungarians or Magyars, yet they managed with some intermission to remain the governing power, and their descendants have ruled in various localities even down to the present day.

But what makes the history of this tribe, the Bulgari, so interesting, is not so much the domination which they exercised in the Danubian provinces, as the insight which it gives us into the condition of the people during the dark ages; and although we must content ourselves with a brief sketch of their career and a few incidents selected from it, we can confidently recommend our readers to prosecute the enquiry for themselves, with the certainty of being repaid for their labour and research.  The origin of the Bulgari, or Bulgarians, like that of most of the so-called barbarians, is more or less clouded in mystery.  According to some writers they were of Scythian origin, and comprised numerous tribes, amongst whom the Wallachs, the Croats, and the Moravians are the best known.[113] Gibbon says[114] that the Bulgarians and Slavonians were a wild people who dwelt, or rather wandered, on the plains of Russia, Lithuania, and Poland.  They were bold and dexterous archers, who drank the milk and feasted on the flesh of their indefatigable horses.[115] Their flocks followed, or rather guided, their movements, as it was in search of pasture for these that they roamed about from place to place.  They were practised in flight and incapable of fear.  Roesler is of opinion that they were an offshoot of the Huns, and in the earlier period of their career, he says, they adopted the costume of all the Ural races, and notably of the Avari.  The hair of the head was shorn off with the exception of a tuft. 

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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