|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|
Pascu, p. 16:
ROMAN RULE AND DACO-ROMAN CIVILIZATION (pp. 16 - 35)
Political, Economic, and Military organization
The conquered territories included what is now the Banat, Transylvania except the northwestern section, Oltenia, Muntenia, Dobruja, and southern Moldavia; these areas were integrated into the Roman Empire as the peripheral provinces of Dacia and Lower Moesia.
This description suggests that Roman Dacia corresponded approximately to present day Rumania. There are also maps in circulation on which these frontiers of the province are shown. However, this is not correct.
Istoria Romîniei [The History of Rumania], Bucharest, 1960, p. 350 - 352
gives the following account of the frontiers of Dacia Traiana:
(To Roman Dacia belonged, mainly according to the series of Roman castra built along the limes) ..."the Banat, most of present day Transylvania and Oltenia, where the Roman rule has everywhere left numerous and certain traces". Later, it is mentioned that the western part of the Banat (a region of marshes)
Map 1. - The south-east European provinces of the Roman Empire in the first century AD.
probably was not colonized by the Romans. IR 1960 (pp. 351-352) also stated explicitly which areas did not belong to the Roman Empire:
Thus, the province of Roman Dacia did not include present day Crisana, Tara Oasului and Maramures, and east of the Carpathians, entire Moldavia and Muntenia as far as to the Olt, with the exception of a short time, about a decade, when this last mentioned territory belonged to Moesia Inferior.
A Roman settlement on the southernmost border of Moldavia was described, but otherwise, the above definition is accepted by most Rumanian historians. 14 Of the territory of present day Rumania, at most 40% belonged to the Roman Empire, (actually somewhat less, because not the entire Banat was part of the province; the territory between the river Olt and the limes transalutanus belonged to the Empire only between 200 and 245 A.D., cf. Du Nay, 1996, map 1, p. 14; Istoria Romîniei, see above). But the former Roman territory should be compared with the entire territory where Rumanians are living today: thus, including the Moldavian Republic and parts of Bucovina. Then, it is seen that the territory of Dacia Traiana was less than 40% of the present day Rumanian territories (taking also into account that the population in the Szekler territory and in several other areas in Transylvania is not Rumanian). Thus, even if they would have originated from the Roman population of Dacia Traiana, the Rumanians must have migrated later to about two thirds of the area where they are living today.
The miners entered a kind of contract with the state in its capacity as owner of the mines. These contracts were written on wax tablets, of which a large number have been found in the Bihor Mountains, where the richest gold- and silver-mining operations were located. There were mines at Alburnus Maior (modern Rosia), Abruttus (modern Abrud), and Ampellum (modern Zlatna), which was also the headquarters of the mining administration.
1. The placenames: Roman Ampellum is now called Zlatna, derived from a Slavic word with the sense of "gold". Thus, between the Romans and the Rumanians, there were Slavs, who named the settlement in their own language; Rumanian Zlatna is borrowed from Slavic. The name Ampellum may have
survived in the river name Ompoi, Ampoi (Hungarian Ompoly); however, Rumanian Ompoi was borrowed from Hungarian or Slavic (Latin amp- would in Rumanian have changed to amp > împ-, cf. Latin campus > N. Rum. cîmp, quando > cînd, etc.).
Map 2. The relation between the area of Dacia Traiana and present day Rumania. The area occupied by the Roman Empire is less than 40% of the territory of Rumania. (Cf. also the explanation about the frontiers of Dacia, map 3, p. 15).
(From Du Nay, The Origins of the Rumanians, 1996, p. 203.)
*Abruttus is "assumed, but not attested". 15 The name of Abrud (Hungarian Abrud-bánya) is first mentioned in a document from 1271: terra Obruth, Abruth; in 1320, Obrudbania is written. - Abritus (in some texts, Abrittus, Abruttus) is documented on inscriptions found in Razgrad, a town in north-eastern Bulgaria, thus, a settlement with this name existed in Moesia Inferior. 16It is not impossible that Abrud derives from this name, but it cannot be inherited, because Latin b- disappeared in Rumanian in this position: Latin februarius, febrarius > Rumanian faurar.17 The a > o change occurred probably in Slavic and this form was originally borrowed by the Hungarians. In Hungarian, o changed in the 14th century to a; thus, Rumanian Abrud cannot have been borrowed (from Hungarian) earlier than in the 14th century.
2. Some data about the wax tablets give an idea about life in that remote mining area: these were found in the 19-th century, mainly walled up in pits. They contain commercial agreements, contracts of work, trading of slaves. The people here were very poor - a miner could earn during half a year his bread for one year. In the CIL, III, 25 documents are published, with clearly readable names of 68 free men. Only six of these may with certainty and another 10 - 12 with some probability considered to have been Roman citizens. 18 Most of the people here were thus peregrins, mainly from Illyricum, where they also worked in mines. The first document was written in 139 AD and the last in 167, the year of the Marcomann invasion into the province. In a document from 167, the society for burial is declared dissolved, apparently because most of its members (33 out of 50) have left Alburnus Maior.
Thus, mostly peregrins from the Balkan Peninsula worked in the region of the gold mines for some decades: the wax tablets known today comprise only 28 years, but even if we assume that they were there already before the first wax tablet was written (Dacia was occupied in 106 AD), this period of time was at most sixty years long. In 167, the Marcomann invasion extinguished this society.
...Dacian religious beliefs were infused with Roman deities, creeds, and customs. Progress was made in sciences such as astronomy and medicine. These and other effects eventually produced a thoroughly mixed Daco-Roman civilization. Pascu, p. 26:
[The Dacians] ... did borrow from the Roman colonists a few customs of a broadly Roman-provincial type unknown to them before the conquest: tombs with a burnt grave and a coin for Charon, the ferryman for the dead, are definitely attested on Dacian territory from provincial times. Furthermore, the well-known phenomenon of interpretatio Romana - the worshipping of non-Roman deities under Roman names - certainly occurred in Dacia as in other provinces.
The question of religious life in Roman Dacia is very complex and cannot be treated reasonably in a few sentences. If it is necessary to characterize it briefly, then quite a different statement would be adequate. For example:
...in the [urban] centers of Dacia, with a population formed by so many heterogenous elements, as was Sarmizegetusa, Apulum [...] etc., was found and will be found in the future an extraordinarily large number of inscriptions and monuments which truly reflect this bizarre mosaic of religious conceptions and beliefs. 19
Many assumptions have been made about Dacian gods hiding behind the Latin names of several gods, for example Liber. These have been proved wrong; thus, Liber appears very often also in Pannonia and even in Dalmatia. 20 There existed religious syncretism in Dacia, but the gods worshipped there were (besides Roman), Greek and Oriental, as shown for example by D. Tudor: Orase, tîrguri si sate în Dacia Romana [Towns, Market places, and Villages in Roman Dacia], Bucharest, 1968. Tudor gives in this book a very thorough account of the religious life in the province, of which we mention that of Apulum, where almost all of the cults practised in Dacia existed (p. 159). Aesculapius and Hygea were by some investigators considered to have been protectors of Apulum. Those who worshipped Mithras (an Oriental deity) have left in this town about 60 monuments of stone with inscriptions or sculptures and probably 3 cult buildings (p. 161). The domination of Eastern cults is to a large extent explained by the fact that Dacia was occupied by the legions Macedonia V and Gemina XIII, whose soldiers originated from present day Syria and Palestina. But gods from Carthago, Paphlagonia (Little Asia), from Galatia (Little Asia), from Palmyria; Cimistenus from Bitinia (p. 164), and many others were worshipped there.
In large groups or as isolated elements, these colonists brought the gods of their homeland to the heart of Dacia. Their great number and the similitudes of the cults hastened the relgious syncretism in Apulum, between these national gods and the official Roman gods. This process of syncretism is found especially with the gods brought here from the Orient, which held a large place in the Pantheon of Apulum. They made a real assault with the aim of conquering the"religious market" of the town. 21
The detailed description given by Tudor contains only one single deity possibly syncretized with a Dacian one:
As a singular deity, Diana mellifica ("producer of honey") appears. She would be syncretised with a Dacian one and her epigraphic dedication reflected the richness in bees of Roman Dacia (p. 165).
Map 3. - The Roman provinces in southeastern Europe between 106 - 275 AD. (From: A. Du Nay, The Origins of the Rumanians, 1996, p. 14.)
The frontiers of Dacia Traiana are given according to general consensus. 22
In reality, the territory of Roman domination north of the lower Danube was smaller. It is not quite certain that the entire area shown on the map was occupied in 106 AD. The organization of Dacia Superior and Inferior in 119 and the division of the province into Dacia Porolissensis, Apulensis, and Malvensis in the years 158 - 168 AD may suggest a gradual extension of the frontiers during several decades. The limes transalutanus was built around 200 AD and the area between this limes and the Olt was under Roman rule only between 200 and 245 AD. 23 Only the mountainous part of the Banat belonged to the Empire: Roman military stations and civil settlements exist only there. 24
Also Pascu aknowledges indirectly the lack of Dacian deities in the religious syncretism found in Dacia (p. 21):
Roman deities, however, such as Jupiter, Diana, Venus, and Mithras, "the invisible Sun"- brought by the Romans from the East - became more and more prevalent as time passed, especially east of the border between Noricum and Pannonia.
One should add, that interpretatio Romana, in which an indigenous god appears under a Roman name, occurred in most other Roman provinces; cf., for example Protase (referring to Fr. Drexel, W. Schleiermacher, G. Behrens and other authors): 25
In many parts of the Empire, including Italia, Hispania, Gallia, Germania, Britannia, there are numerous, certain attestations to the fact that the indigenous deities were, under Roman rule, worshipped for a long time under different forms, with their own names, alongside those of the Greco-Roman Pantheon or even fused with them, while in Dacia Traiana not a single name of a Geto-Dacian god which was continued to be worshipped by the autochthons is known. Here, everything is hidden under the Greco-Roman religious forms.
Thus, the fact is that no Dacian gods were worshipped in Dacia Traiana. Given the importance of religion in the society in question, this fact reduces considerably the probability of the development of a "thoroughly mixed Daco-Roman civilization" in that province.
Regarding the "coin for Charon", about 20 coins of bronze were found, each in a tomb (at Soporu de Cîmpie, Sighisoara, and Obreja, Protase, 1980, p. 129).
This Greco-Roman custom was imitated by many other populations of contemporary Europe, which, living outside the Empire, never adopted the Latin language, for example in eastern Preussia; and also in Moldavia, where coins were found in tombs of the Carps. 26
On p. 20, Pascu states that, in order to analyze the importance of the Roman conquest of any given indigenous population, "we need to know to what extent the people adopted the conquerors' language, thought, and culture", and that "we must provide concrete analyses of the specific historical conditions affecting one or another Romanized people."
One can only agree with this, but, unfortunately, not much of these principles is realized in Pascu's text.
The peaceful coexistence between Roman and native forms can be observed in place names, dress, customs and manners, and language as well. Latin inscriptions - roughly 3.500 of them, an impressive number considering the extent of the Roman provinces - maintained both Roman and native names for generations.
Of these, dress, customs and manners are not sufficiently specific and will not be discussed here. (Roman influence upon these is shown by most of the people of Europe of the period in question.)
The question of the placenames lacks in the following discussion given by Pascu.
More than 3.000 inscriptions may be considered an impressive number. However, these inscriptions were rather different from those made in other Roman provinces, south of the lower Danube. There, inscriptions usually reflect the everyday life of the local population, while in Dacia, they are mostly of an official character:
In the inscriptions found in Dacia, mostly acts of administrative and religious character are reflected, or the public and private manifestations of the army. It is only on rare occasions that the sincerity and the kind of speech of the ordinary citizen or of the slave permeates through them 27
Then there is the question whether local Dacians raised inscriptions. One may assume that many of them appear under Latin names, but it is still astonishing to find that the proportion of Dacian or Thracian names on these more than 3.000 inscriptions is only about 70, thus less than 3%. This is really an insignificant number from which, moreover, should be extracted an unknown number of names which belonged to Thracians, coming from the provinces south of the Danube.
Thus, the inscriptions provide no evidence to strengthen the assumption of a (peaceful or otherwise) coexistence between Romans and Dacians.
The process [of Romanization] was fastest and most thorough in the section along the Danube - dotted with towns, rural settlements, and military installations for legions and auxiliary troops - and in areas with urban and military concentrations in the interior. Regions where rural life predominated were affected less, but by no means untouched.
One glance at the map of South-East Europe in the period in question shows that most of the territory of Dacia Traiana belonged to "regions where rural life predominated". The southern shores of the Danube were really dotted with towns, etc. But these towns belonged to Moesia Inferior, where a total of 28 Roman towns existed for several centuries. North of the lower Danube, there were, as Pascu also states, 11 towns. This is not a large number, and it should be added that these towns were not situated in a homogenous area, but spread from the south (Sarmizegetusa) through the valley of the Mures - Apulum and Brucla - then further to the north, Potaissa, Napoca, and Porolissum.
To this comes, that the Rumanian language lacks very many inherited Latin terms that designate urban culture. The majority of Latin words existing in most Romance languages (panromanic words) but lacking in Rumanian "regard technical terms of the different professions and, in general, words which presuppose notions of a certain level of material culture." 28 Also the changes of meaning in Rumanian of certain Latin words indicate that the ancestors of the Rumanians were a typical rural population: meridies "middle day" to mean "the place where the cattle rest at midday" (Rum. meriza); turma "unit of the Roman cavalry; 30 men" to "flock" (Rum. turma); minor "to rise, to menace" to "drive, urge on, goad" (Rum. mîna) etc. 29
D. Protase, one of the chief archeologists in Rumania, who has devoted a large part of his scientific work to the study of Roman Dacia, believes also that the towns did not take part in the development of "Daco-Romans":
...in contrast to Italy and the western provinces, where some oppidan or urban centres of the autochthons continued to develop into veritable Roman towns, in Dacia, the more important autochthonous settlements and oppidan centers ceased to exist after the Roman conquest. All of the towns of Traian's province have been created after the Roman colonization from civilian or military settlements, having only borrowed the names of the ancient Dacian settlements: Sarmizegetusa, Apulum, Potaissa, Napoca, Porolissum, Drobeta, Dierna, etc. In Dacia, there was no Daco-Roman urbanistic development. 30
Thus, besides the relatively short period of Roman domination (about 170
years), another circumstance diminishes the probability of the creation of "Daco-Romans:" the lack of a "Daco-Roman urbanistic development".
In order to provide a clearer, more exact understanding of the Romanization of Dacia, it is necessary to repeat a well-known general fact: the Dacian population north of the Danube was subject to Roman influence long before the beginning of Roman rule.
Some examples from Rumanian historical literature of the thesis that Romanization in Dacia started already before the occupation of the territory by Trajan in 106 AD: In an album of documents, published in 1981 by the Management of the State Archives and the Council of Socialistic Culture and Education, with the Foreword written by Stefan Stefanescu, Correspondent Member of the Academy of the Socialist Republic of Romania, a Latin inscription: DECEBALUS PER SCORILO found at Gradistea Muncelului (near ancient Sarmizegetusa), is commented as follows:
I-st century A.D. Inscription engraved on a jar discovered at Sarmizegetusa, attesting to the fact that DECEBAL was the son of Scorilo. The presence of this inscription in Latin proves that the Romanization process was started even before the Dacia conquest. 31
On the same vase there are two stamps, with the description DECEBALVS, and PER SCORILO, respectively. The meaning of this text is not clear, per may be Thracian per, par- "son"; it appears in Albanian family names: Lef Përdoda, Geg Përgega, etc. 32
Also in Istoria României, Compendiu, 1974, "the adoption of the Latin culture and language" is asserted to have started already when the Roman occupation reached the lower Danube, in the era of Emperors Augustus and Tiberius (1st century B.C. - 1st century A.D.). 33
However, other Rumanian historians abandoned these unfounded theories.
Radu Vulpe (born in 1899, archeologist and historian of the Antique Era) quotes Pârvan, Getica, p. 724. 34
The occidentalization of the Getians was started in the 4th century B.C. by the Celts and intensified, from the 2nd century on, by the Romans; it could only lead to one single result: in the very moment when the Romans deifinitively took the role of civilisers from the Celts, exposing even these, from Gallia to the estuary of the Danube, to the Roman way of life, Dacia was perfectly prepared to become Roman. The Romanization of Dacia was shown anthropo-geographically already from 1000 B.C., when the Villanova culture prevailed also over the entire Carpathian area. The Celts have, however, transmitted also the material elements of the Greco-Italic culture. And the Romans drew the conclusions: ethnographical as well as spiritual ones.
To this, Radu Vulpe, who translated Pârvan's work to Rumanian from French and commented it, gave the following commentary:
It is clear that Pârvan refers only to the process of Occidentalization which prepaired the later success of Romanism in Dacia, and not to a Romanization of this country before Trajan, as some of the thoughtless and superficial critics of Getica have thought in the past. Also for Pârvan, as for all specialists of ancient history, the Romanization of Dacia could not have taken place but after the conquest.
Also D. Protase (1980, p. 238) expressed his opinion that the assumption of Romanization in Dacia before 106 AD, put forward by some representatives of Rumanian historical literature, is wrong.
Thus the ground was prepared for the smooth, rapid acceptance of Roman culture, technology, and customs, and of the Latin language.
The decisive difference between introducing to a human society new technologies and customs, on the one hand, and the abandonment of the language spoken by the population on the other, is smoothed over by Pascu. Commerce, merchants, craftsmen and advisors travelling and working in Dacia, construction techniques, manufactured goods, coins, are given as evidence for
preparation of Romanization (Pascu, p. 23). But these could at most have had the effect that some Latin loanwords entered the language of the Dacians. Some other phenomena - also given as factors of preparation for the Latin language in Dacia - such as the supervision by populations serving the Empire of certain areas in Muntenia, or military raids, cannot be considered at all as factors of Romanization or to have had any cultural influence whatsoever. 35
In any case, the total military and civilian population that migrated to Dacia was certainly very large. [...] Thus, even in Trajan's time, the influx must have reached 500.000, which represents an increase of something like 50 percent over the preconquest population. - It is important to emphasize that the overwhelming majority of the newcomers to Dacian lands were Latin-speakers, lived according to Roman customs, and actively spread Roman culture among the original inhabitants.
That a large number of people migrated to the new province is obvious. But there are important aspects which do not appear from Pascu's description:
Although probably many of the newcomers spoke Latin, it is certain that Latin was not the mother-tongue of a large part of them. It seems not possible to determine how many people had Latin as their mother-tongue and how many spoke other (Greek, Illyrian, Oriental, etc.) languages. The following facts found in a thorough analysis made by D. Tudor, 1968, about the situation in Apulum, may throw some light upon the problem:
Municipium Aurelium Apulense was first mentioned in 180 A.D. According to inscriptions, "a powerful nucleus of Roman citizens existed there, who were colonized there officially (consistenses), from whom the decuriones for the communal council were recruited..."
Tudor states (p. 168) that "The onomastic study of the inscriptions shows that the great majority of personal names was Roman. There existed, however, also important contingents of nationes who came here by colonization and with the army."
He mentions 8 Illyrian, 10 Thracian or Dacian, 12 Oriental, and 10 Celtic names. There were Greeks as well as Hellenized Oriental or Balkan people. Greek names were "very numerous" ( 63 are given) and 11 inscriptions were written in the Greek language. They include votive altars devoted to the gods of health, to Athene, to Iupiter Sardendenos, to Mithras, Mater Troclimene; stamps upon bricks and vases, etc. "They contain personal names (often Roman or Oriental), of soldiers and civilians, very little affected by Romanization."
... "in Apulum, people wrote and spoke the Greek language much more than in any other town of Dacia, because of the great influx there of a large number of Greek, Oriental and Hellenized Balkan people" (Tudor, p. 169).
The association of the Augustales was powerful in Apulum, and its most splendid period of time was during the reign of the Severes (Septimius Severus ruled between 193 and 211 A.D.), ... "when many liberated slavs and rich peregrins belonged to it" (Tudor, p. 155). Tudor gives 11 non-Roman names of these people (p. 156). Also the "list of names of brick-making soldiers in Apulum is very rich, especially in Greco-Oriental names" (p. 158).
The geographical and economic position of the town has drawn to it many merchants, some of whom exported goods to other provinces. Those known today from inscriptions were all Oriental people... (Tudor, p. 159).
The Roman authorities' insistence that the indigenous population be integrated with Roman society corresponded to the Dacians' own wishes.
Pascu does not mention how the Dacians expressed this wish. Given the scarcity of written documents about Dacia Traiana, it is possible that documents from which evidence for this assumption could be found were not preserved. But there is ample evidence in historical records as well as in material finds, that uprisings by some subdued elements were common in Roman Dacia; the proportion of Dacians among them is not possible to elucidate. The fact remains that Roman domination was not appreciated by all of the inhabitants.
There are epigraphic attestations (in a note, CIL, III, 1448 is given)to that in the towns and villages of Roman Dacia, a poor population was successively formed, by liberated slaves, and impoverished colonists from other parts of the Empire. Later, important groups of barbarians were colonized from the territories outside the province, who had certain obligations. 36
IR 1960 gives an account of the many attacks by barbarians, among them, free Dacians, from the territories beyond the frontiers, often at the same time with uprisings: in 143, 156-157, 167, and during the epoch of Commodus (180- 192). In the first part of the third century, social unrest continues, as well as the attacks by the barbarian populations. This is indicated by numerous hoards of coins buried in that time. "In fact, here we find the fight between the exploited poor of the villages and the landowners, who, together with the enriched veterans seek shelter in the towns or start the exodus to the south of the Danube". 37
Thus, the relationships between the Romans and the Dacians who were living outside Dacia Traiana were not friendly - something which does not fit well with the theory of their Romanization after the Romans had abandoned the province.
After having asserted that, at the end of Roman rule in Dacia, the Dacians did use Latin instead of their mother-tongue:
the indigenous population was thoroughly assimilated, linguistically and otherwise, during the 170 years of Roman rule. It had become Daco-Roman
Pascu considers it necessary to affirm that after the Roman withdrawal in 271-274 A.D.,
Romanization of the territories north of the Danube did not cease, instead continuing in new forms through the sixth century.
This is not quite logical; - if the Dacians were, also linguistically, "thoroughly assimilated", i.e., they became "Daco-Romans", what means "continuing Romanization"? One gets the impression that Pascu himself is not quite sure about the "thorough Romanization of the Dacians" and feels therefore the need of strengthening it. Anyway, Pascu enumerates here the following circumstances: propagation of Christianity, continuing economic and cultural ties with the territories south of the Danube, the maintenance of economic life based on the Roman monetary system (i.e., the use of Roman coins); the return of Roman-Byzantine rule north of the Danube under Constantine the Great and Justinian; and bridgeheads maintained north of the Danube. - Nothing of all this belongs to circumstances which significantly affect the language of masses of people.
Today over one hundred settlements are known in Transylvania alone where traces of the Dacian culture of the second and third centuries A.D. have been found. Recent investigations have also unearthed many more of the rural communes where the Dacian population continued to live. Of the more important ones we may cite Casolt and Slimnic in southern Transylvania and Lechinta de Mures, Obreja, and Noslac in central Transylvania; Dacian funeral installations have been discovered in these settlements and in others. Finally, archeologists have discovered many settlements where the Roman and Dacian cultures coexisted in perfect harmony.
1. The assumption of Dacians living together with Romans in the same settlement is mainly based upon finds of pottery of the Dacian type. However,
it was not the Dacian pottery of superior quality - this disappeared completely in the time of the conquest - but more primitive forms, made by hand. 38It is difficult to determine, whether a vessel found in a settlement from the 2nd and 3rd centuries was made in those centuries or earlier. Most (about 90%) of the pottery is of the Roman style, and this type of pottery appears immediately after the conquest, without any transitional period. All this gives the impression that the Roman colonists lived in these settlements according to their customs, producing also pottery of their own. The small amount of primitive Dacian pottery, 10% of all, does scarcely warrant the statement of the "Dacian and Roman cultures coexisting in perfect harmony".
2. The assumption that Casolt (Hung. Hermány, German Kastenholz) etc. were Dacian settlements prevailed earlier in Rumania - see, for example, Istoria Romîniei, 1960. p. 391, or Istoria României, Compendiu, 1974, p. 50. However, it is now abandoned by Rumanian archeologists.
3. The settlements show a discontinuity of a very high degree: According to Protase, 1976, and 1980, 58 settlements in the province are assumed to have been inhabited by both Romans and Dacians. The material finds indicate that most of them were founded after the Roman conquest and existed only during the Roman domination: in 54, no signs of life may be detected after the seventh decade of the 3rd century. Of the remaining four, two (at Archiud [Erked], Bistrita county, and at Mugeni [Bögöz], Harghita county) were not ancient settlements but were founded at the end of the Roman domination in Dacia Traiana. They all were abandoned already during the 4th century. Only one settlement shows signs of life from the 2nd century B.C. to the 4th century (at Sura Mica [Hung. Kiscsur, German Kleinscheuern], Sibiu county [Szeben megye, Altland]), and one: Obreja (Obrázsa), Alba county, was inhabited from the mid-second century A.D. to about 370. 39 One could argue that the inhabitants of those 54 places may have settled after the Roman retreat, in other parts of Dacia, although there are no indications of this. This hypothesis would be reasonable if only a (smaller) part of the settlements showed discontinuity. But the disappearance of a so high number of the settlements indicates much more probably radical changes in the demographic situation: the inhabitants disappeared - were either killed or left the territory.
Daco-Roman civilization in the Age of Migration
The withdrawal of the Roman army and administration from the province of Dacia did not mean that the Daco-Romans abandoned their lands.
This assertion is bolstered in the following by a series of arguments. As we have seen, material evidence is not sufficient to prove the emergence of "Daco-Romans" - on the contrary, several circumstances make it very questionable indeed. Some of the inhabitants of Roman Dacia may, however, remained there; the question is then who they were, how many they were and how far can their existence in the area be traced? It is known, for example, that a number of Latin-speaking peasants remained in Noricum after the Roman withdrawal, there are even lists of names of them; but they eventually disappeared, being assimilated into the surrounding, mostly Germanic population. Assimilation was the ultimate fate also of the Latin-speaking population of England after 410 A.D., and there, several Latin elements in placenames survived, such as castra in Manchester, Lancaster, colonia in Lincoln, vicus in Warwick, etc. 40
General assumptions, such as "there is no historical evidence that an entire people has ever left its home in the face of invasion", or that "the territories south of the Danube were neither more peaceful nor safer than those to the north" (p. 28), etc., have not much relevance. However, the material evidence put forward in favour of the assumption of "Daco-Romans" living north of the Danube after the second half of the 3rd century should be examined.
Constructions and tombs in Sarmizegetusa, Apulum and other towns: even if we assume that these were made by a Latin-speaking population, it must be emphasized that they disappeared latest towards the end of the 4th century (the Hunnish invasion), when all signs of life were extinguished in the former Roman towns. Other material finds, such as two Roman pottery kilns, Christian artefacts, etc., may have been made, imported and used by any other population: the Goths or the free Dacians, the Carps. The Goths were Christian in the 4th century and bishop Ulfila preached, according to the sources (Auxentius Durostorensis, see below), both north and south of the Danube, in the Gothic language as well as in Latin. Latin inscriptions on two or three artefacts do not prove that they were imported by a Latin-speaking population, - such objects were also found in far away territories, where no Romanization was ever possible. Many of them were simply stolen from churches by barbarian soldiers who served some time in the Roman army. The Swedish archeologist M. Stenberger (Det forntida Sverige [Ancient Sweden], Stockholm, 1971, p. 371, describes a vessel with a Latin inscription found in Norway, east of lake Mjösa, and another vessel and two swords with Latin inscriptions found in Sweden. The inscription on the vessel found in Sweden is as follows: APOLLONI GRANNO DONUM AMMILIVS CONSTANS PRAEF TEMPLI IPSIVS VSLLM ("To Apollon Grannus was this gift given by his chief of temple Ammilius Constans"; the so called Apollo Grannus vessel). 41Stenberger states that these vessels must have been brought to Scandinavia by plundering soldiers.
...the Visigoths left traces primarily of their material culture, such as the great find at Sîntana de Mures in central Transylvania and the burial grounds at Spantov and Tîrgsor, south of the Carpathians on the Muntenian plain.
Pascu does not mention that the Sântana de Mures culture (approximately between 270 A.D. and the end of the 4th century) was a complex of material remains stretching from Ukraine southward into areas of present day Rumania, among them also (especially northeastern and central) Transylvania. Its ethnic character was mainly Old Germanic, containing many elements of Roman provincial material culture - the Goths, as most of the barbarians, were strongly influenced by Roman culture and civilization.
The Goths lived in Transylvania for about a century (from the end of the 3rd to the end of the 4th century;) the Gepidae, another Old-Germanic people, for more than two centuries (from the early 5th century to the end of the 7th). Many settlements and tombs of the old-Germanic populations were found, showing that they not only ruled the territory but were living there. For a century, between the
Map 5. The Rumanian dialects in the Balkan peninsula.
Northern Rumanian Arumanian placenames of N.Rum. origin Istro-Rumanian Meglenitic the frontiers of the Bulgarian language
The area of Istro-Rumanian is shown according to a map by Puscariu, that of the Arumanians and the Meglenites, after a map by Weigand and Puscariu, the frontiers of the Bulgarian language after a map by Conev. All maps are given in A. Rosetti, Istoria limbii române, 1968.
(From: Du Nay, Origins of the Rumanians, 1996, p. 121.)
mid-5th and the mid-6th century, the eastern part of the Carpathian basin, including Transylvania, was called Gepidia.42
More recent Rumanian publications assume that Gepidae were living together with "Daco-Romans" in the same settlements in Transylvania (for example at Moresti and at Porumbenii Mici; Pascu p. 31-32). Earlier, the coexistence of
Old-Germanic peoples with "Daco-Romans" was generally denied because of the lack of Old-Germanic loanwords in the Rumanian language. Those historians who now assume such a symbiosis, should explain this phenomenon. However, Pascu does not even mention the linguistic problem.
As archeological research continues, new proofs of the nature of Daco-Roman civilization come to light. Roman coins of the fourth and fifth centuries, the great majority of bronze and a few of silver, have been discovered throughout the area. Bronze money reflects the humble socioeconomic status of its Daco-Roman users; the migrating peoples used only gold and silver coins. A more significant proof is furnished by the hoards of coins discovered at several Transylvanian sites: at Sarmizegetusa; in the Banat at Orsova and Racajdia; at Hunedoara; near Tîrgu Mures; in the northeast near Dej, and in other places.
It is an old assumption of Rumanian archeologists that bronze coins, i.e., coins of a lower value, must have been used by "Daco-Romans", since they are assumed to have been a poor population. Pascu re-iterates this view, disregarding some important facts: bronze coins were most abundant along the Roman limes, where small scale commerce flourished. Most of them are, in South-East Europe, found in Oltenia and in the Banat along the Danube. Many bronze coins from the 4th century were found between the Timis and the Mures rivers, where Sarmatian Iazyges were living in that period. 43- In Transylvania, such coins are numerous also beyond the territory which once belonged to the Roman Empire; in present day Crisana, at Cipau in the valley of the Mures, where a group of free Dacians were living, as well as in the Olt valley, populated at that time by the non-Roman people of the Sf. Gheorghe culture. Bronze coins which date from the 4th century were also found in the extra-Carpathian territory of Rumania - in Moldavia and on the plains of Muntenia. 44Thus, finds of bronze coins cannot be used to determine the ethnic character of their users.
The hoards of Roman coins are similarly non-specific and cannot be used to prove a special people in the places where they were found. (It may be added that most of these hoards were found long ago, mostly in the 19th century, they were partly plundered, descriptions about the exact place of find and other important circumstances are often lacking.)
The Daco-Roman population also passed on through the ages the most important Latin words and concepts pertaining to religious life: crestin (Lat. christianus 'Christian'), cruce (Lat. crux 'cross'), Dumnezeu (Lat. Dominus Deus 'Lord God'); înger (Lat. angelus 'angel'); biserica (Lat. basilica 'church'). The last of these is maintained only in Romanian and the Rhaeto-Romance dialects spoken by a small group in Switzerland; the name for a house of worship in all other neo-Latin languages derives from a Greek word, ecclesia (Ital. chiesa; Fr. église: Span. iglesia; Port. igreja). In Albanian, too, the word for church (chesa) been borrowed from Greek; this would also be the case in Romanian if the Daco- Romans had actually retreated south to the Balkan Peninsula. 45
Pascu gives here some examples of the Rumanian religious terminology of Latin origin. Since these terms show the sound changes of Late Latin, they must have been adopted by the ancestors of the Rumanians very early, in the 4th - 6th centuries. 46 There is no evidence in favour of the assumption that they were transferred in Dacia Traiana, by Christian missionaries. The Christianization of the ancestors of the Rumanians occurred in the Balkan Peninsula, where a very rich and powerful religious life is attested during the late centuries of the Roman Empire. More important is that Pascu forgets to mention a second group of Rumanian religious terms: those of Greek origin. Du Nay, 1996, (p. 113) mentions eight such terms which are also found in Bulgarian, and six of them also in Albanian. (The similarities between these three languages are very great, cf. Balkan Linguistic Union.) Greek lexical elements were thus borrowed by Rumanian, which invalidates Pascu's argument in connection with the word biserica. This word was otherwise used in the entire area of East Latin:
Basilica is preserved in the Rumanian, Dalmatian and Albanian languages, which proves that it was a popular and widely spread word.47
Pascu forgets a third group of the Rumanian religious terminology - in fact, the largest one, those borrowed from South Slavic (most of them are originally Greek terms). Rumanian obtained them from Middle Bulgarian, a direct continuation of Old Slavic, and "the majority of these words were transferred to Rumanian after the period of Old Slavic (Old Bulgarian), respectively, after the 11th century..." 48 These words pertain to all aspects of Christian religious life, including 1) fundamental notions of the Christian religion: e.g., duh "soul, spirit", rai "Paradise", 2) bad ghosts, pagan gods: diavol "devil; naughty boy", idol "(statue of a) pagan god", 3) names of the saints: sfînt "saint", mucenic "martyr"; 4) church hierarchy: sobor "gathering, meeting; synod;" patriarh "patriarch", mitropolit "metropolitan /bishop/", popa "priest", ctitor "founder, benefactor"; 5) monastery life: staret "Father Superior", calugar "monk", pustnic "hermit, anchorite, recluse"; 6) very many words pertaining to the building of the church, clothes of the priests, cult objects: manastire "monastery", metoh, metoc, mitoc "small monastery, subordinated to a larger one", oltar "altar, communion table", potcap "cap used by priests and monks", icoana "icon", mir "sanctified oil used at the ritual; myrrh", 7) the religious ceremony, the main books: slujba "religious service", psalm "psalm", molitva "prayer used by the priest at certain circumstances, such as baptizing or for sick people", cazanie "sermon; book with sermons". 49
The Rumanians encountered a Slavic population in the territories north of the lower Danube, but they cannot have taken such a large number of words, pertaining to the entire field of the Christian religion, from them. Not even the Bulgarian domination over Muntenia and southern Transylvania in the 9th century is sufficient to explain such a powerful impact. It presupposes a stable church and state organization (and this existed in Bulgaria during the 10th - 12th centuries), as well as sufficient time. Together with a series of terms referring to state organization, the large group of Rumanian religious terms of Bulgarian origin indicates that the ancestors of the Rumanians lived, during the time in question, in close contact with the Bulgarians, in the Bulgarian state. 50
There are also Rumanian religious terms which testify to contact with Albanian. 51
Thus, the Daco-Romans were chiefly an agricultural people, and only to a much lesser extent craftsmen and miners. [...]
Again we see proof of the continuity of the Daco-Roman civilization north of the Danube, for Romanian jude "judge" is derived from Latin judex, and Romanian oameni buni si batrîni, roughly "wise old men", has its origin in Latin homines boni et veterani.
Much has been written about the occupation of the early Rumanians. Ovid Densusianu, for example 52 considered that the Rumanians were "in the first place a people of shepherds," and Capidan agreed. Rosetti, discussing the question, notes: "The affirmation is certainly exaggerated".
The Rumanians were in those ancient times shepherds and peasants. It must be stated, however, that their agriculture was rudimentary, practised in the mountains, with the hoe, probably mostly by women, the elderly and children. The crop they grew was the millet, which had the advantage of a short vegetation period: between May and July. 53
It is an enigma why Pascu asserts that the N. Rum. word judeca "to try (a case), to pronounce a judgment upon", inherited from Latin (judicare), (it exists also in the dialects only spoken south of the Danube; cf. Arum. udicu) "proves the continuity of the Daco-Roman civilization north of the Danube"? This fact is in accordance with the Latin origin of the Rumanian language and does not prove anything else. It is a Panromanic word, 54 cf. Italian giudice, French juge "judge", etc. - Also this theory has been put forward long ago, cf. A. Sacerdoteanu, in the volume: Unitate si continuitate în istoria poporului român [Unity and continuity in the history of the Rumanian people], Bucharest, 1963, p. 123:
(the Rumanian word judet "county", connected with Latin judex "judge") ...started as a juristic institution and, preserving this quality, became also the main administrative institution of the Rumanian people. By this, the Roman system is continued.
In the first Rumanian texts, from the 16th and 17th centuries, judet is used in the senses of "judgment; place where justice is made, tribunal; judge, chief, prince; chief of the municipality" 55 and on Slavonic maps from the 14th - 15th centuries, it means "rural functionary who has juridic attributions". 56
Although the empire no longer had direct authority over them, the "barbarian" territories still belonged to the Roman sphere of influence. This can be seen from the political organization of village communes into groups now known as "popular Romanias"; after the term coined by the great Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga.
Pascu does not give any reference regarding the basis of the term "popular Romanias" and there is no record on such "village communities" of "Daco-Romans" in the period Pascu talks about here (around the 6th - 8th centuries A.D.). In Voievodatul Transilvaniei, vol. I, p. 33, Pascu affirms:
VILLAGE COMMUNITIES. - The society was organized in village communities, in the valleys of the rivers and in the natural depressions. Such communities existed probably [vor fi existat] and were led by judges, patrons, and cnez-es, helped by "good and old men" in the valley of the Cerna, in the depression of Mehadia, in that of Nerei, in the valley of the Caras, in the depression of Carasova, in the valley of the Bîrzave, in the depression of Bozovici, in the depression of Caransebes, in the valley of the Timis, in the depression of Buzias, in the lowland of Timisoara, along the left shore of the lower part of the Mures, etc., etc., all in the Banat voivodate. This is the explanation of the existence, until late in the Middle Ages, of numerous Rumanian Banat-districts, of which some - about 7 - 8, had great privileges, others, about 15, had no privileges. It is the explanation of the semi-autonomous organization of the Banat during the entire Middle Ages.
We quoted the entire passage, because it reveals how Pascu argues. The large mumber of "village communities" is impressive. The reader must be very prudent to find out the real situation. How is all this documented? It appears that it is simply not documented at all, everything written here is sheer assumption! This appears in the text also, but in only three words: "vor fi existat" - i.e., "they probably existed". The later, documented Rumanian districts, beginning with the 14th century, were not the continuation of these early village communities - since they are only imaginary - it is the other way around: the documented Rumanian organizations are used to suggest that Rumanian village communities already existed there several centuries earlier.
In Voievodatul Transilvaniei, vol. I, Pascu continues the enumeration of these imaginary village communities in Crisana (13 village communities, all with names), in Transylvania (12), in Maramures and surrounding areas (9), in the eastern Carpathians (12), in the depression of Bârsa (5), in Fagaras and surroundings (7), and in Zarand (10). It must be stated again, that not a single of these is documented, all "existed probably". In the English translation, this "probably" ("vor fi existat") is omitted.
15 C. Suciu, Dictionar istoric al localitatilor din Transilvania Historical Dictionary of the localities of Transylvania , Bucharest, vol. I: 1967, p. 23; (vol II: 1968).
16Cf., for example, V. Pârvan, Dacia, translated from the French by R. Vulpe; 5th edition, Editura stiintifica, Bucharest, 1972, pp. 150, 221-222.
17ILR 1969, p. 143.
18 E. Pólay, A dáciai viaszostáblák szerzodései The Contracts on the Wax-tablets from Dacia , Budapest, 1972, p. 69 - 71.
19 C. Daicoviciu, Dacica Studii si articole privind istoria veche a pamîntului românesc Dacica. Studies and articles on the ancient history of the Rumanian Land , Bibliotheca Mvsei Napocensis, Cluj, 1969, p. 201.- C. Daicoviciu, 1898 - 1973, was a historian and archeologist, "an impassioned research worker and a very good connoisseur of the Antique Era" ( Enciclopedia istoriografiei românesti The Encyclopedy of Rumanian Historiography , Bucharest, 1978, p. 117).
20 Daicoviciu, 1969, p. 201.
21Tudor, 1968, p. 165.
22Cf., for example, Istoria României. Compendiu, 1974, p. 45; Protase, Problema continuitatii în Dacia în lumina arheologiei si numismaticii, 1966, p. 156; Condurachi & Daicoviciu, The Ancient Civilization of Romania, 1971, p. 253.
23Tudor, "Romanizarea Munteniei" The Romanisation of Muntenia , Apulum, XII, 1974, p. 114.
24 Tudor, Orase, tîrguri si sate în Dacia romana Towns, market-places and villages in Roman Dacia ,1968, p. 55; Tudor also mentions that this part of the Banat was part of Moesia Superior, as judged by the frequent finds of epigraphic material with the name Legio IV Flavia.
25 D. Protase, Autohtonii în Dacia The Autochthons in Dacia , I, Bucharest, 1980, p. 252.
26 G. Bichir, Cultura carpica The Carpic culture , Bucharest, 1973, p. 132.
27 H. Mihaescu, Limba latina în provinciile dunarene ale imperiului roman The Latin Language in the Danubian provinces of the Roman Empire , Bucharest, 1966, p. 278; quoted in Du Nay, 1996, p. 206.
28 Istoria limbii române The History of the Rumanian Language , red. I. Coteanu, Bucharest, 1969, vol. II, p. 126.
29Du Nay, 1996, pp. 54 - 55.
30 Protase, 1980, p. 252.
31 Marturii ale trecutului. Album de documente Evidences of the Past. Album of Documents , ed. Ionel Gal, Bucharest, 1981, p. 26.
32Popovic, I, Geschichte der Serbokroatischen Sprache, 1960, p. 82.
33 S. Pascu (red.), Istoria României. Compendiu The History of Rumania. Compendium , 3rd edition, Bucharest, 1974, p. 70.
34 In Pârvan, Dacia, 5th edition, 1972, Bucharest; notes of the translator, note 273, p. 203.
35Illyés, 1992, pp. 80-81.
36 Istoria Romîniei The History of Rumania , red. C. Daicoviciu, Bucharest, 1960, p. 427.
37 IR 1960, p. 434.
38Cf. Protase 1980, pp. 157-165; Illyés 1988 and 1992, p. 89.
39 See Table II, p. 94, in Illyés, 1992.
40Cf., for example, Du Nay, 1996, p. 209.
41 Du Nay, 1996, p. 222.
42Illyés, 1992, p. 141.
43Cf. Protase, 1966, p. 197: "In the Banat, where the Iazyges have abundantly and for a long time used the Roman coins, the ethnic attribution of the monetary material is possible only taking into consideration the archaeologic surroudnings in which it appears".
44 Cf. Illyés, 1988, p. 124, with references.
45Rum. cruce < Latin cruce(m); Rum. Dumnezeu < Latin Domine Deus (vocative!) (note of the present authors).
46Du Nay, 1996, p. 111-112.
47 Haralambie Mihaescu, Limba latina în provinciile dunarene ale Imperiului roman The Latin Language in the Danubian Provinces of the Roman Empire , Bucharest, 1960, p. 277; Du Nay, 1996, p. 112.
48 G. Mihaila, Studii de lexicologie si istorie a lingvisticii românesti Studies of Lexicology and the history of Rumanian Linguistics , Bucharest, 1973, p. 126.
49Ibid., pp. 127-132; a total of 79 words are given.- Some of these terms gave rise to everyday Rumanian expressions and sayings, such as metoh, metoc, mitoc > mitocan 'cad; boor, churl, lout'; a unge pe cineva cu mir si cu tamâie (din crestet si pâna în talpi) fig. 'to heap exaggerated praises on somebody who does not deserve it'. - Cf. also Du Nay, 1996, p.114.
50A. Du Nay, 1996, pp. 114 - 115.
51Ibid., p. 106.
52Pastoritul la popoare romanice Shepherding in the life of the Romance populations , Bucharest, 1913, p. 16, quoted by Rosetti, 1986, p. 576.
53Rosetti ILR 1986, p. 380.
54 ILR, II, 1969, p. 112.
55 Ovid Densusianu, Histoire de la langue roumaine ed. V. Rusu, Bucharest, 1975, pp. 756 - 757.
56 Rosetti,A., Istoria limbii române definitive edition, Bucharest, 1986, p. 749.
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