|Lajos Kazar: Facts against fiction|
(extracts and notes)
,,The inhabitants of this province are of no less than thirteen distinct tribes, according to their origin. The three most distinguished .... are called united (uniti). They are the Hungarians, the Szecklers, and the Saxons; which last were brought from the parts of Germany then called Saxony, near Liege, Luxembourg, and Treves, in 1143, by king Seysa [i.e. Geysa] the second. .... The remainder of the nation are denominated by their description Tolerati, consisting of Wallachians, Greeks, Armenians, Moravians, Poles, Russians, Bulgarians, Servians, Jews, and Gipsies. ... The Wallachians are the most numerous of these tolerated tribes. The richer part of them have acquired landed estates, but the lower classes are very ignorant, idle and filthy. The Armenians and the Greeks devote themselves chiefly to traffic".
N.B. The article plainly draws heavily on Austrian sources, whose authors were fairly well acquainted with local conditions in Transylvania (in German, Siebenbürgen), as Vienna then ruled there almost directly. Although the elaboration of the ,,thirteen distinct tribes" is long in the article, no word is written yet about the claim of the Wallachians/Rumanians that they should be regarded as the descendants of the colonists of Emperor Trajan in the erst-while Roman province Dacia.
Edinburgh, 9th ed. (1875-89), ,,Transylvania,,
(extracts and note)
,,Transylvania formed part of the roman province of Dacia. After the withdrawal of the Romans the country became for centuries the prey of the various peoples who swept across it in their restless migrations. At the beginning of the 11th century (1004) Stephen I. of Hungary made himself master of the land, which was thenceforward governed as an Hungarian province by a voivode".
,,Perhaps the most interesting point in connection with Transylvania is the variety of its population, which in 1880 numbered 2,084,048 in all. Until 1848 the chief influence and privileges, as well as the only political rights, were divided among the three 'privileged nations' of the Hungarians, Szeklers, and Saxons. The first are the descendants of the Magyar conquerors. The Szeklers, i.e. 'guardians', chiefly on the east borders, settled in eastern Transylvania to act as guardians of the frontiers. The Saxons are the posterity of the German immigrants brought by King Geysa II. (1141-1161) from Flanders and the lower Rhine to cultivate and repeople his desolated territories. At first these were known as Teutones, Teutonici Hospites, and Flandrenses, but since the beginning of the 13th century the general name of 'Saxons', as tantamount to ,,Germans", has prevailed. ... The Hungarians and Szeklers together number 609,208, and the Saxons 204,713, but by far the most numerous element, though long excluded from power and political equality, is formed by the Wallachians or Roumanians, 1,146,611 in number, a mixed race, not entitled to the descent which they claim from the early Roman colonists of Dacia. The Gipsies of Transylvania, who are heard of under a voivode or prince of their own in 1417, are estimated at 46,460; many of them have abandoned a nomadic life and have taken to agriculture or gold-washing. Jews, Armenians, Bulgarians, Ruthenians, and Greeks are also represented in the medley of peoples".
N.B. The Szeklers, in Hungarian Székelys, have always been known as speakers of Hungarian.
Chicago: Belford - Clarke Co., 1893, ,,Transylvania,,
(extracts and notes)
Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc. has recently advised that the above title was a pirated set. Under the entry ,,TRANSYLVANIA,, we find a presentation which is just a little shorter than the corresponding entry in the 1875-89 Edinburgh edition of E.B. Significantly, the Americanized Encyclopedia Britannica of 1893 also contains the telling sentence:
,, ... by far the most numerous element, though long excluded from power and political equality, is formed by the Walachians or Roumanians, 1,146,611 in number, a mixed race, not entitled to the descent which they claim from the early Roman colonists of Dacia,,.
Regarding the entry ,,ROUMANIA,,, the pirated version's text again does not significantly differ from that of Encyclopedia Britannica's 9th ed. Below follows an interesting passage:
,,Roumania, a kingdom in the south-east of Europe between the Carpathians, the Pruth, the Black Sea, and the Danube. ... The estimated population of the country is 5, 376,000, including about 400,000 Jews and 200,000 Gipsies. About four and half millions of the population belong to the Romanian branch of the Orthodox Greek Church, and there are 114,000 Roman Catholics and 13,000 Protestants,,.
Chicago, 1895, ,,VLACHS"
(extracts and notes)
Similarly to the 1893 Americanized Encyclopedia Britannica, the 1895 edition is also a pirated one. The material contained in the entry ,,VLACHS,,, in vol. 24, is essentially identical with that of its source, i.e. E.B.'s 9th edition (1875-89). The entry ,,VLACHS,, provides, inter alia, a long explanation about the etymology of the ethnic name VLACH, also written as Wallach, and Wallack. In relation to the earlier name of the Rumanians, it states:
,,The name is thus of foreign origin, the native Vlachs continuing to this day to call themselves 'Rumani', 'Romeni' or even 'Romani' and it is from the native pronunciation of the Roman name that we have the equivalent expression Rouman, a word which must by no means be confined to that part of the Vlach race inhabiting the present kingdom of Roumania,,.
Even more significantly we learn:
,,This Vlach or Rouman race constitutes a distinct division of the Latin family of peoples, widely disseminated throughout eastern Europe, both north and south of the Danube. North of the Danube the Roumans inhabit, besides Walachia and Moldavia, Bessarabia and the adjoining South-Russian districts, a large part of Transylvania and the Hungarian Banat, and extend sporadically from the Bug to the Adriatic. South of the Danube the central glens of Pindus form the principal nucleus of Rouman habitation, but there is besides a considerable colony in the Epirote district of Musakja, in Aetolia and Acarnania, in various districts of Albania, Thessaly, Macedonia, and the Bulgarian principality. In Servia this element is preponderant in the Timok valley,,.
Now we come to the part which is central to the Daco-Roman-Rumanian theory:
,,The centre of gravity of the Vlach or Rouman race is at the present unquestionably north of the Danube, and corresponds roughly to the limits of Trajan's Dacian province. From this circumstance the popular idea has arisen that the race itself represents the descendants of the Romanized population of Trajan's Dacia, which was assumed to have maintained an unbroken existence in Walachia, Transylvania, &c., beneath the dominion of a succession of invaders. The Vlachs of Pindus, &c., on this hypothesis, were to be regarded as later immigrants from the lands north of the Danube,,.
We read, further, that the historian Robert Roesler in Rumänische Studien ('Rumanian Studies', Lepzig, 1871):
,,absolutely denied the claim of the Roumanian and Transylvanian Vlachs to be regarded as Dacian autochthones".
In fact, as the article states,
,,Roesler's conclusions had to a great extent been already anticipated by Sulzer in his Geschichte des Transalpinischen Daciens ['A history of the Transalpine Dacia'], published at Vienna in 1781, and at a still earlier date by the Dalmatian historian Lucius of Trau in his work De Regno Dalmatiae et Croatiae ['The Dalmatian and Croatian Kingdom'], 1666".
Some details of the ensuing debate and its implications are also discussed. Reference is made, inter alia, to the Dictionnaire d'Etymologie Daco-Romaine ['Daco-roman etymological dictionary'] by Alexandre de Cihac, according to which
,,of the actual vocabulary only about one-fifth is Latin, and two-fifths, or about double the amount, Slavonic".
Similarly relevant is the information provided about GREAT WALACHIA, thus:
,,It is from Anna Comnena, in the second half of the 11th century, that we first hear of a Vlach settlement, the nucleus of which was in the mountainous region of Thessaly. Benjamin of Tudela, in the succeeding century, gives an interesting account of this Great Walachia, which was then completely independent. It embraced the southern and central ranges of Pindus, and extended over part of Macedonia, thus including the region in which the Roman settlers mentioned in the Acts of St. Demetrius had fixed their abode".
Also, mention is made of LITTLE WALACHIA, similarly on the Balkan Peninsula, in what used to be referred to as Aetolia and Acarnania. Again, one reads about THE BULGARO-VLACH EMPIRE the following:
,,After the overthrow of the older Bulgarian czardom by Basil Bulgaroktonos, the Vlach population of Thrace, Haemus, and the Moesian lands passed once more under Byzantine dominion; and in 1185 a heavy tax, levied in kind on the cattle of these warlike mountain shepherds, stirred the Vlachs to revolt against the emperor Isaac Angelus, and under the leadership of two brothers, Peter and Asen, to found a new Bulgaro-Vlachian empire, which ended with Kaliman II. in 1257".
Without doubt, the close church, language and other cultural links of the Rumanians and the Balkan-Slavs find their explanation in such co-existence. The migrations of the Vlachs have, of course, spread those common features.
,,The dominions of these half-Slavonic half-Rouman emperors extended north of the Danube over a great deal of what is now Roumania, and it was during this period that the Vlach population north of the river seems to have been most largely reinforced".
THE ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA
(extracts and notes)
,, ... by far the most numerous element, though long excluded from power and political equality, is formed by the Rumanians, 1,397,282 in number, who are spread all over the country".
N.B. The clause ,, ... not entitled to the descent which they claim from the early Roman colonists of Dacia,, no longer appears. On the other hand, the following clause is added: ,, ... who are spread all over the country".
Of course, the same could have been said of the Jews, Greeks, Armenians and Gipsies, who move about a lot in pursuit of their trade, as did many Transylvanian Saxons, Székelys and other Hungarians. It is clear that in 1911 comparatively few Rumanians lived in Transylvanian towns, and in any number of Transylvanian villages no Rumanians lived at all, except perhaps temporarily as travellers.
London, 13th ed. (1926), ,,TRANSYLVANIA,,
(extracts and notes)
In comparison with the 11th edition, this article is short. It treats Transylvanian history since October 1918 thus:
,,In Oct. 1918 the Rumanians of Transylvania formed a national committee at Oradea-Mare which, invoking the right of self-determination, claimed separation from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and separate representation at the Peace Conference".
It is then related that in November 1918 the same committee demanded from the Government of Hungary the surrender of executive powers ,,In the countries inhabited by Rumanians and eventually assumed administrative control throughout Transylvania and the Banat,,.
N.B. It is odd to refer to the town Nagyvárad, which in October 1918 was still almost entirely Hungarian, with the Rumanian mirror-translation Oradea Mare. At least, the former name could have been given in brackets.
The next sentence states:
,,On Dec. 1. 1918 a national congress, meeting at Alba Latia, proclaimed the union of Transylvania and the Banat with Rumania,,.
N.B. The geographic name ,,Alba Latia,, is incorrect. It should have been Alba Iulia, and that should have been adduced with its Hungarian precursor, Gyulafehérvár, as the town was still Hungarian in 1918.
The writer of the article, Mr. G(eorge) Bo(nescu) failed to mention that no plebiscites were held -- in the spirit of US President Woodrow Wilson's famous 14 points to make durable peace -- anywhere in Transylvania or the Banat. The ,,national congress" comprised mainly Rumanian activists who had travelled to Gyulafehérvár (Rum. Alba Iulia) free of charge on trains put at their disposal by the Hungarian government who had called the meeting to discuss disputed matters; the first decision called for autonomy for the Rumanians of Transylvania within Hungary as the participants were still Hungarian subjects.
The article states further:
,,The chief measures since introduced by Rumania consist of universal suffrage and land reform. The large estates were parcelled out, the previous owners retaining a maximum of 300 ac.; over 100,000 peasant families (2,700 of which were Hungarians) received arable land through this measure".
N.B. No mention was made of the fact that many poor Hungarian peasants received land only if they joined the Rumanian Orthodox Church, thereby virtually declaring themselves and their families to be ethnic Rumanians who would be counted as Rumanians at the census.
Mr. Hugh Seton-Watson, a staunch friend of Rumania, has written in an open letter addressed to the Rumanian editor of the Transylvanian newspaper PATRIA, among other things, the following (in translation):
,,The agrarian reform ruined not only the Hungarian landowners, but through its effect on the Churches the entire Hungarian intellectual class, too, and it sometimes gave the impression of a national revenge". [Imre Mikó: Huszonkét év -- Az Erdélyi magyarság politikai története 1918. dec. 1-töl 1940. aug. 30-ig. (Twenty two years -- The political history of the Transylvanian Hungarians from 1st Dec. 1918 till 30 Aug. 1940), Budapest: Studium, 1941, pp. 37, 38].
London, 14th ed. (years of printing 1929-73), ,,TRANSYLVANIA,,
(extracts and notes)
,,Until 1848 political rights belonged to the Hungarian and the closely-related Szekler and the Saxon inhabitants, the Rumanian majority having no recognition. These privileged elements formed rather more than 40% of the population, the Hungarians being Roman Catholics or Unitarians and the Germans Protestants,,.
N.B. The Hungarians and the equally Hungarian-speaking Székelys belonged in the 19th century and still belong to the roman Catholic, the Reformed/Calvinist, and the Unitarian churches; the Saxon Germans are Lutherans, the Germans of the Banat (Swabians) are roman Catholics.
,,After A.D. 103 Transylvania formed part of the roman province of Dacia (q.v.), and long supported a large roman or Romanized population. After Aurelian withdrew his legions (A.D. 271), its history remains a blank for many centuries. It was occupied or overrun by various Germanic (Goths, Gepidae), Ural-Altaic (Huns, Avars, perhaps Bulgars, Petchenegs), and probably also Slavonic tribes. The debated question whether a Roman population survived these storms is discussed elsewhere (see Vlachs)".
N.B. The sequence of the various peoples following the Romans' withdrawal is right with the exception that ,,the Pechenegs,, -- who moved to the plains which later became part of Wallachia and Moldavia, from where at the end of the 9th century they drove the Hungarians westward into the Carpathian Basin -- were never allowed by the Hungarians to settle there.
For extracts from a long discussion on the Vlachs, see above the pirated 1895 Chicago edition. Further pertinent information on the Vlachs may be read in the 14th edition of E.B.
,,The very few early documents on Transylvania mention Vlachs first in 1222, and then as shepherds; but they appear soon after as settled peasants; Vlach 'nobles' are specifically mentioned in the 13th and 14th centuries, after which they apparently became Magyarized; and at this period the Vlach population in Transylvania, the Banat and Maramures, was certainly considerable and increasin"G.
N.B. One Hungarian document dated 1210 mentions Vlachs as border guards on the southern Transylvanian edge of the Hungarian kingdom. Some Vlach leaders did, indeed, become members of the Hungarian nobility and reached very high office.
In the 13th and 14th centuries, the Vlach population in the Hungarian kingdom, according to Hungarian documents, was negligible in the Banat (Hungarian, Bánság) and Maramures (Hungarian, Máramaros), and it could not possibly have been so considerable in other parts of what is now known as Transylvania, either. For among the 511 villages which can be ascertained for the area in question by the end of the 13th century, only three were Rumanian, while no town was ever founded there by the Vlachs/Rumanians.
Again, while the Hungarians, Székelys and Saxons related their fierce fights against the Mongols/Tartars in 1241-42, not a single battle of the Vlachs against the Mongols/Tartars in those years is known to have taken place anywhere.
In fact, the Vlachs, although permitted to use the mountain pastures in summer for their sheep and goats, were allowed to settle further in the country than the border regions only after the terrible ravages wreaked by the Mongols.
,,A rising of the Magyar and Vlach peasants in 1437 caused the Saxons, Szeklers, and nobles to meet at Kapolna on Sept. 14 of that year and conclude a 'Brotherly Union' by which they swore fealty to the king of Hungary, promised to support each other against the peasants and the Turks, and agreed to settle disputes between themselves by arbitration".
N.B. Political Rumania prefers to portray the 1437 peasant uprising as the first important deed of the Wallachians/Rumanians of Transylvania to regain their independence which they claim to have lost to the Hungarians in the 9th century. While there might have been some Wallachians/Rumanians among the risen Hungarian peasantry, the very nature of the cause of the uprising excluded the Wallachian/Rumanian masses. The real cause was that Bishop Lépes, bishop of Transylvania, demanded and began to exact the tithes in new money which most peasants did not yet have. Now, the Wallachians/Rumanians as adherents of the Orthodox Church were not among his flock, so they did not have to pay any tithes to him in any kind of money.
However, since the misleading notion has been disseminated worldwide that in Transylvania the peasantry has always been mainly Rumanian, the 1437 peasant uprising had to be mainly that of the Rumanians.
,,In Oct. 1918 the Rumanians of Transylvania announced their decision to direct their own destinies. On Oct. 27 a National Council was established at Arad; and on Dec. 1 a Convention assembled at Alba Iulia and proclaimed the union of Transylvania with the kingdom of Rumania, at the same time promising to respect the rights and liberties of the other nationalities. The Saxons adhered to this resolution on Jan. 21, 1919; the representatives of the Magyars not till 1921, and then under protest. The union was thus carried through without calling on the secret treaty of Aug. 17. 1916, under which the Allies had promised Transylvania to Rumania,,.
N.B. No plebiscites were held at all. Rumanian activists and, later Saxon activists (who bowed to the decision already made in Paris) decided to ,,join" not traditional Transylvania, but almost 1/3rd of Historic Hungary. Large tracts of predominantly Hungarian-inhabited areas were never given a choice, nor were the non-activist Rumanians, Saxons and Swabian Germans of the Bánság/Banat asked for their individual votes. Of course, the secret treaty of Bucharest played a weighty part in the ,,union with Rumania,,, especially in Paris, where the Treaty of Trianon was signed on June 4th, 1920.
ENCYCLOPAEDIA BRITANNICA -- A NEW SURVEY OF UNIVERSAL KNOWLEDGE
(extracts and notes)
Up to the description of the events in 1940, the text is practically identical with that of the 1920 printing, with some shortening of the treatment of the land reform hurting the Hungarian landowners. Regarding the changes during WW II. we read:
,,By the award of Vienna, Aug. 30. 1940, Germany and Italy forced Rumania to cede most of Transylvania to Hungary. The part awarded was the northern territory with a population of 2,392,603 and an area of 16,642 sq. mi., including Cluj. Throughout World War II the area continued to be a source of friction between the two nominal axis partners, and on several occasions open warfare was narrowly averted by Germany,,.
N.B. The area of Transylvania allotted to Rumania in 1920 comprised 39,452 sq. mi., or 102,787 km2. The second Vienna award (Aug. 30, 1940) returned to Hungary 16,642 sq. mi., or 43,104 km2. Does the relation 16,642 to 39,452, or 39,452 to 102,787 really justify the words: ,,Germany and Italy forced Rumania to cede most (emphasis added) of Transylvania to Hungary,,? And the cautioning words appearing at the end of the bibliographical notes as ,,the statements of all parties directly concerned in the Transylvanian conflict should be accepted with the greatest caution" -- should they themselves not be taken with the greatest caution?
Hungarians don't need to lie about Transylvania at all.
Chicago - London - Toronto, 1968, ,,TRANSYLVANIA,,, ,,VLACHS"
(extracts and notes)
With regard to Transylvania, this printing offers several corrected and/or new formulations. Thus we read:
,,Transylvania, a region of distinct geographical identity which from the 11th century until 1918 formed part of Hungary, but was then ceded to Rumania, of which it still forms a part.
The name which appears in the 12th century, signifies 'beyond the forest' (i.e. from Hungary); the Hungarian name, Erdély, means 'the land at the foot of the forest', and from this the Rumanian Ardeal is taken. The German name, Siebenbürgen, is usually derived from the 'seven principal fortified towns' founded by German colonists. ... Its area of 21,297 sq. mi. (55,160km2.) is contained on the north and east by the Carpathians, on the south by their continuation, the Transylvanian Alps, and on the west by the lower and more broken Bihor Mountains".
N.B. The area described here is far smaller than that which Rumania received, not in 1918, but in 1920. The explanation of the origin of the Rumanian name Ardeal and of the Latin translation of Hungarian Erdély is correct. The origin of the German name, Siebenbürgen, is debatable. The way in which the names of the Transylvanian towns are adduced is exemplary, e.g., Herrmanstadt (Hungarian Nagyszeben; Rumanian Sibiu). The description of Transylvania's early history follows previous patterns. To seek an answer as to whether ,,a Daco-Roman (Vlach) population" survived after the roman withdrawal in 271, the reader is referred to 'Vlachs'.
There are some significant changes between the text relating to the ,,Vlachs" here (p. 93) and the one in the 9th edition, quoted and commented above, at the end of which the following important sentence stands:
,,A glance at the ethnographic map of eastern Europe shows that the reconquest (emphasis added) of Trajan's Dacia Romana under a single sceptre cannot long be deferred".
N.B. This prophetic sounding sentence gives the impression that it had been formulated in one of the numerous Western European ,,think tanks" promoting Rumanian propaganda. Such promotional centres became, in time, the cradles of the network of the Rumanian Liga Culturala, established since 1891 by the Kingdom of Rumania to promote its territorial claims to all lands around itself, even where Vlachs/Wallachians/Rumanians appeared as refugees or immigrants as late as the 19th century. However, by 1968, four years into Nicolae Ceausescu's reign, many formerly obscured facts began to transpire. Thus in the 1968 E.B. we read:
,,The Vlachs, who traditionally insist on their Latin origin, claim to be descendants of the ancient Romans who occupied Illyria, Moesia, and Dacia (qq.v.). When allowance is made for the fusion of the Romans with the original inhabitants of these provinces and for the later introduction of alien strains by invasions (Goths, Slavs, Avars, Bulgars, and Magyars), this claim must be conceded. Illyria and Moesia, however, to the west and to the south of the Danube, were occupied by the Romans far longer than Dacia, which the emperor Aurelian evacuated c. A.D. 270, and in the Middle Ages, when the Rumans or Vlachs as such emerge into history, their centre of gravity was south of the Danube,,.
And here we come to the real point of the article:
,,The shift of their centre of gravity to the north, that is, to its present position (in political Rumania) took place later in the Middle Ages, most probably through migration and colonization rather than through the natural increase of any Daco-Roman population surviving there continuously from Aurelian's time".
As regards the subsection ,,Hungary and the Hungarian Border", where reference is made to Magyar historians writing about Vlachs in connection with the Hungarian conquest of the Carpathian Basin in the 9th century, a critical evaluation of the source itself is very necessary. Such an evaluation has been carried out by Hungarians and others [see Erdély története, I, II, III. (The history of Transylvania, I, II, III.), editor-in-chief Béla Köpeczi, Budapest; Akadémiai Kiadó, 1986].
Chicago - London - Toronto, 1969, ,,Transylvania,,
(extracts and notes)
As regards the result of the (2nd) Vienna Award, we read:
,,In July 1940 Hungary took advantage of the international situation to press its claim, which had never been dropped, and forced Germany and Italy to impose on Aug. 30, 1940, the Vienna Award, which restored to Hungary about two-fifths [16,830 sq.mi. (43,588 sq. km)] of the enlarged Transylvania, with a population of about 2,500,000, composed of Magyars and Rumanians in about equal numbers".
N.B. The Vienna Arbitration of 1940 had, in fact, been requested by Rumania, after direct negotiations had been entirely fruitless.
In contradistinction to the 1950 E.B. article (see above), here we see no such words as ,,Germany and Italy forced Rumania to cede most (emphasis added) of Transylvania to Hungary,,. -- It is stated further:
,,Both countries were dissatisfied with the partition, and Rumania in particular thereafter based its policy largely on the hope of increasing the award. The Allied - Rumanian armistice of Sept. 12, 1944, promised Rumania the restoration of all or the greater part of the territory lost in 1940. The peace treaty of Feb. 10, 1947, finally re-established the 1920 Rumanian-Hungarian frontier".
|Lajos Kazar: Facts against fiction|