|Lajos Kazar: Facts against fiction|
Roma: Istituto della ENCICLOPEDIA ITALIANA, 1929, 1937, 1950, ,,TRANSYLVANIA,,
(summary of translation; notes)
Transylvania (Transilvania; Rumanian Ardeal) is a central region of Rumania, with an area of 61,622km2 thus the largest among the historical Rumanian regions. As a part of the Dacian realm, Transylvania became a territory subjugated by Rome at the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. and remained so until the middle of the 3rd. During the barbarian incursions the Romanized original Dacians were overcome by Germanic (Goth, Vandal, Gepid), Ural-Altaic (Avar) and Slav tribes.
Those incursions and dominions profoundly altered the country's ethnic base. According to prevalent opinion the basic stratum of Romanized Dacians was not destroyed, but survived in the Wallachians who were first mentioned as inhabitants of Transylvania in a document dated 1222. According to another view that mention refers to immigrants into Transylvania from Wallachia proper (see Wallachia). - Transylvania's history began to take on a tendency toward autonomy only after the consolidation of Hungarian rule there which began toward the end of the 9th century. Transylvania elected a voivode as its head, but in feudal dependence from the king of Hungary. In the 11th and 12th centuries Transylvania strengthened its distinctiveness by settling new ethnic groups on its territory. In the eastern counties were settled members of the distinct ethnic group of the Székelys. Their origin is disputed. Tradition would have it that they are the descendants of the Huns of Attila. Most, however, consider them to be of Magyar/Hungarian origin who were planted behind the eastern border by László I as border guards. They formed an autonomous community with special rights. In the 12th century a second ethnic group formed itself, the so-called Saxons (people from Germany and Flanders) who had been called in by Géza II (1141-61); later they were followed by settlers from the central and northern regions of Germany. In the 13th century the earlier German settlers were joined by the Teutonic Knights.
The Székelys, Hungarians and ,,Saxons,,, the dominant feudal classes, formed the so-called three nations of Transylvania. They jealously watched over their privileges and enjoyed a dominant position over the Wallachian population that made up the inferior agricultural classes. In order to maintain their supremacy over these layers and to face the continuing menace of invasions, the three privileged groups felt it necessary to bind themselves together. The actual pact was signed at Kápolna in 1437. Through it they promised allegiance to the Hungarian Crown and mutual help against the Wallachian peasantry and the Turks.
In the 16th century Transylvania developed its proper autonomy both de facto and de jure.
N.B. The rest of Transylvanian history is described as in most other encyclopedias. Significant is the fact that this encyclopedia does not keep silent about the argument opposing the Daco-Roman continuity theory.
The reference to Wallachia - which was, in fact, for quite a while Ungro-Wallachia, i.e. 'Wallachia as a dependency of Hungary' - raises the question: why didn't the Rumanian ancestors ever call themselves Dacians, or why didn't their neighbours ever call them so? - Interestingly the writer of the long article of Enciclopedia Italiana only gives the Italian and Rumanian names of the area in question, but not the much older Hungarian one, namely Erdel/Erdély. Did he/she not know that Rumanian Ardeal is a slightly corrupted pronunciation of Old Hungarian Erdel? - The year 1222 is wrong instead of 1224. Wrong is also the statement that prior to the 16th century the Transylvanian population elected its own voivode or royal governor. Such officials, who were at times royal princes, were appointed by the kings of Hungary. Also wrong is the statement that in the 11th and 12th centuries Transylvania increased its distinctiveness by settling new ethnic groups. As the writer of the article admits, new population groups moved in, or to other areas, by royal command/permission. Indeed, the Hungarians, the Hungarian-speaking Székelys and the German Saxons guarded their privileges because they bore the brunt of the defence of that much threatened region of Hungary. The immigrant Wallachians quickly disappeared from sight when invasions occurred. If they had been the ,,original inhabitants" of the region, as their propagandists claim they were, then surely their settlements would have suffered as much in the Mongol invasion of Transylvania (1241-42) as those of the Hungarians and Germans. Yet no Wallachian/Rumanian village, let alone town, is on record among those destroyed by the Mongols.
Unfortunately, Enciclopedia Italiana is echoing Rumanian propaganda again when it states that the 1437 Union of the Hungarian, Székely and Saxon nobility was directed against the Wallachians who made up the inferior peasantry. What the writer of the article did not know, or did not want to admit, was that the very bloody uprising of 1437, which triggered the forming of the Union, was fought on the peasant side almost exclusively by Hungarians, and the spark of the uprising was the exaction of tithes which only the adherents of the Roman Church had to pay, but not the Wallachians, adherents of the Orthodox Church of Slav Rites rits:. But of course Bucharest propagandists always speak of the 1437 peasant uprising as the war of independence of the Rumanians against the Hungarian oppressors. By the way, in 1437 the number of Wallachians in Transylvania was still insignificant in comparison with that of the Hungarians and Germans.
Torino: (?), 1962, ,,Transylvania,,
(summary of translation; notes)
The territory which corresponds to present-day Transylvania was conquered by Trajan together with the rest of Dacia, at the beginning of the 2nd century A.D. Under Hadrian, Dacia was divided into Dacia Superior, Dacia Apulensis, and Dacia Parolissensis. In 270 the Romans gave up their territory north of the Danube, and it became the prey of the Goths. Subsequently, among others, the following peoples invaded it: Heruls, Vandals, Huns, Gepids, Avars. The latter created an empire which lasted until the final years of the 800's when it crumbled due to pressure from the Magyars who began their penetration into Transylvania.
From a smallish number at that time, Transylvania's population increased very considerably, especially after the region's integration into the Hungarian Kingdom (1003). Further population increases occurred in the 12th century with the arrival of various nuclei of Saxon colonists.
The three ethnically diverse groups, namely the original Rumanians, further the Hungarians and Germans existed together in the same areas, which is attested by the fact that many toponyms exist in three languages. In 1540 Transylvania became a principality.
In the second half of the 17th century it fell under the power of the Turkish Empire, to which it was obliged to pay tribute for several decades. Thereafter it became a part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From 1867 until the end of WW I it was governed directly from Hungary. In 1920 Transylvania was assigned to Rumania.
N.B. The Avars' Empire collapsed around 800. They were superseded by the Bulgars in the whole of the eastern half of the Carpathian Basin, from where the Hungarians pushed them out around 895.
The writer of the above article was wrongly informed also about the Wallachians/Rumanians having been ,,original inhabitants" of the area in question. As we have seen, Enciclopedia Italiana admitted that the proposition was open to debate.
No decisive scientific discovery had changed that position between 1950 and 1962. - Transylvania became a principality in 1541, and then under Turkish suzerainty which lasted until 1687.
Contrary to the statement of this encyclopedia, the fact that many Transylvanian toponyms exist in Hungarian, German and Rumanian today does not mean at all that many Transylvanian settlements have been inhabited by all three groups. It has been a deliberate policy of successive Rumanian governments since 1920 to give, if possible, every Transylvanian settlement a Rumanian name, thereby hoodwinking visitors not familiar with local conditions. Not a single town was ever founded in Transylvania by Wallachians/Rumanians. For centuries the Saxons excluded from their towns not only the Wallachians/Rumanians, but the Hungarians as well. Nevertheless in the course of time the larger settlements were given names by populations speaking languages different from the founders of the settlements in question. The writer of this article was either wrongly informed about conditions in Transylvania, or was biased in favour of Rumania.
|Lajos Kazar: Facts against fiction|