|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|
THE TRANSYLVANIAN VOIVODATE (pp. 65 - 72)
Pascu re-iterates (p. 65) his assertions about the assumed "resistance from the Romanian population" against the institutions of the Magyar feudal state and that the knezates, voivodates and districts were "deeply rooted indigenous institutions" from which the Transylvanian voivodate arose. These questions were discussed above.
Transylvania and the Kingdom of Hungary remained two separate countries.
The autonomy of the Transylvanian voivodate and its orientation toward Moldavia and Tara Româneasca can be explained further by the fact that all three regions were ethnically homogenous.
Pascu refers to the 19th century Hungarian historian Sándor Szilágyi. The assertion is based upon the frequent struggles for power between the king and the nobility, or the king and the prince, who, although he was given his position by the king, secured often as much power for himself as possible. The authority of the king declined strongly in the second half of the 13th century, because of weak kings. (Most conspicuous among these princes were the son of King Béla III, Stephen, and prince Roland Borsa, in the second half of the 13th century, cf. Pascu, p. 66.) This situation was usual in the Middle Ages in all European countries. It is important to emphasize that the struggles were fought between the highest chiefs: the king, the prince, and some powerful members of the nobility. In those times, the nationality or the language of the people had no significance, it was the social position that counted.
According to political law, Transylvania was never before the mid-16th century a country separate from Hungary. After the battle at Mohács in 1526, when the Hungarian army was defeated by the Turks and king Lajos II died, Transylvania became a principality, dependent to a certain degree on the Turkish empire but with its own ancient laws, administration and own (Hungarian) princes. It was never occupied by the Turkish army. Its status was thus in sharp contrast to the Rumanian principalities, which were Turkish pashalics for several centuries.
Most of the people in Moldavia and Tara Româneasca were Romanian, as were a majority of those in Transylvania. Of the approximately 550.000 inhabitants of Transylvania on the eve of the great Tartar-Mongol invasion of 1241, roughly 65 percent were Romanian and 35 percent Hungarian, Saxon, Szekler, or of other groups.
The reader may believe this or not. No references, no documents are given, only a theory based upon false premises (see below, p. 58). One is forced to turn to Voievodatul Transilvaniei, and there, the following information is found:
The demographic situation in the 13th century is discussed in detail in vol. I, pp. 152 - 159 and 228 - 229; and in vol. II, pp. 331 - 332. Pascu uses available documents and literature, and makes certain assumptions. The number of 550.000 inhabitants was arrived at by assuming a population density of 5 per square kilometer (the entire intra-Carpathian territory of present day Rumania is 102.000 square kilometers). This estimation is based upon the assumption of 20 houses - 60 people - in a village in the 12th century, an increase to 25 houses and 75 people per village in the first part of the 13th century, and 635 settlements (Voievodatul Transilvaniei, vol. I, p. 159). The population density in Hungary at the same time is estimated to 8 - 10 inhabitants per square kilometer (Voievodatul Transilvaniei, vol. II, p. 332). These estimations may be more or less correct, but it seems to be difficult to get more exact data.
But how did Pascu arrive at the proportion of 65% Rumanians? A study of the entire material used to elucidate the population density (see above), shows that there is not a single reference to the nationality of the population! Pascu thus asserts a Rumanian majority in Transylvania on the eve of the Tartar invasion without even an attempt at an analysis of the available data (documents, placenames, etc.). As it will be shown below, the number of Vlachs in Transylvania during the first half of the 13th century was very low, in fact, negligible.
It is very important to point out this, because after the Tartar invasion, the number of the Rumanians in Transylvania increased rapidly. To be able to understand the history of the following centuries, it is necesary to bear in mind that the territory had practically no Rumanian population in the first half of the 13th century.
Thus, by 1300 the population of Transylvania presumably had returned to the level of sixty years earlier. This population, however, may have been even more heavily Romanian, since fewer Romanian lives were lost during the invasion and the number of Romanians grew more rapidly afterwards.
Here, Pascu reveals two important circumstances: the Rumanians were in those days primarily shepherds, living in the high mountains. The invading Tartars, a people used to the plains north of the Black Sea, evaded these also because there was much more to plunder in the valleys and the plains. And after the invasion, when very large areas became depopulated, the Hungarian king made efforts to bring in new people in those areas - it was in that period that the number of the Rumanians began to increase more significantly.
On the basis of records of papal tithes for the years 1332 - 37, we can determine for Transylvania as a whole the approximate ratio of the Catholic population (Hungarian, Saxon, and Szekler) to the Orthodox (Romanian), since only the former were subject to papal tithes. The records show 950 Catholic parishes, and since at this time there were approximately 3.000 settlements in Transylvania (more than 2.550 are specifically mentioned in documents up to 1350), roughly 2.000 contained no Catholic parish.This in turn means that either those settlements had no Catholic inhabitants or too few to constit- ute a parish, and it therefore follows that 2.000 settlements were entirely or very largely only Orthodox. In other words, more than 65 percent of the inhabitants of Transylvania were Romanian, or, rarely, Ruthenian - and less than 35 percent were Catholic Hungarian, Szekler, or Saxon.
Pascu forgets that in that time, as also today, to most of the parishes, one or two affiliated churches (outparishes) belonged which had no priest (but may have had a church). Therefore, the total number of Catholic settlements could have been well above 2000. However, the number of settlements in the period in question in Transylvania was probably lower than 3000. 94 The number of Catholic churches in the same period is estimated to at least 2000. 95Thus, the testimony of the papal tithes suggests a predominantly Catholic population.
In the description of the development of the towns, Pascu mentions several German words - Bürgermeister, Hann; also the German proverb about legal freedom in the towns is quoted in the original language. This gives an idea about the great role of the Saxons in the building of the towns in Transylvania - as
also in many other territories of Central and Eastern Europe. Similarly, Pascu mentions Alba Iulia (pp. 70-71) as "the bishopric in central Transylvania" without giving the information that it was a Catholic bishopric.
After the Tartar invasion, the Hungarian kings changed their earlier methods in defending the borders. The fortresses at the place of the central settlements (county capitals) were not effective against invasions; the construction of new fortresses in strategically important places, e.g. at the estuary of rivers, or even in remote, mountainous areas started. The king gave an estate only with the condition that the new owner obliged himself to build such fortresses.These then needed people around them. Here was the chance for a population of shepherds: the habitat suited perfectly for the Vlach shepherds, who were settled in many areas around these fortresses and could continue their age-old occupation in the high mountains. Instead of imaginary nationalistic aims, based upon the superiority of Latin culture and the assumed ancient existence in the territory, the spread of the Vlachs in Transylvania during and after the 14th century is explained by this socio-economic circumstance. During the following decades and centuries, they spread gradually to the villages in lower regions, the valleys of the rivers and also to central Transylvania (Hungarian Mezoség, Rumanian Câmpia Transilvaniei).
However, the process was prolonged and gradual, going on for centuries. The documents show that colonization was actively promoted by the authorities of the Hungarian state. Thus, from 1495:
...the King as well as the voivodes, barons and other officials who rule those frontier areas [are] calling them and giving the Vlachs their guarantees (ad vocationem et assecurationem regie maiestatis ac vaivodarum, baronum et ceterorum officialium ista confinia regni tenentium). 96
The colonized Vlachs paid the typical Vlach tax: the quinquagesima ovium, i.e., one sheep and a lamb after 50 sheep. Only Vlachs paid this kind of tax in Serbia as well as in Hungary. They did not pay taxes in agricultural products, since their agriculture was of the primitive type, for their own needs only. 97
It must be emphasized also here that all these colonizations occurred entirely according to the customs of the period; the aim was economical. As pointed out for example by I. Iordan, Nume de locuri, 1952, p. 251, "Considerations about nationality (which were not possible in those times) had nothing to do in this problem, which was a pure 'affair' of the ruling class" (Iordan, discussing the situation in Muntenia, refers here to the creation of new villages in general in those times).
The leaders of the Vlach shepherds on the Balkan peninsula had several names, such as celnik (the most usual), sudce, premikjur, knez, vladika, katunar; in Hungary, they were only called kenéz. This is a designation of Slavic origin, and the Hungarian authorities used it since a long time for the leaders of the Slavs living in the kingdom. In Rumanian, there is cneaz (plur. cneji), borrowed from Slavic, but the Rumanians borrowed also the Hungarian form, as shown by the word chinez, used occasionally even today. The Hungarian authorities, by acknowledging them as kenéz-es, confirmed them in their role as leaders. Initially, a kenéz was "a locator; the settlers of the Vlach shepherds and serfs who moved from Muntenia and Moldavia to the estates of the Hungarian noblemen in Transylvania". They were thus intermediators between the landlords and the serfs. Later, they received, for their services, certain rights and even own estates and many of them also were taken up into the nobility (for example the Jósika-family in Karánsebes [Caransebes]). As shown by a number of villages around the mountain fortresses which were in the 14th - 15th centuries ruled by Rumanian cnez-es and have Rumanian names of Slavic origin, the chiefs of the fortresses gave these villages to the Rumanian cnez-es, who were more suitable for military services than the Slavs. 98 It were most probably also these cnez-es who, discovering that agriculture gave more stable incomes, disposed more and more people under their rule to pursue agriculture. To assure a stable, sedentary population, the chiefs of fortresses accorded a certain juridical status, including tax exemptions for new villages (villa libera); such villages were on both sides of the Carpathians called by a Slavic designation ohaba or slobozia. Later, when a number of cnez-es have risen into the Hungarian nobility, they received estates also on the basis of exemplary conduct in battle; this implied the right to inheritence of these villages, which were called uric (from Hungarian örökbirtok). The ius keneziale was synonymous with the hereditary ownership of the "free villages". 99
The testimony of the river- and placenames
Pascu does not give any data about the river names and the placenames of the territory in question, although he mentions the importance of the placenames (p. 57). The reader not familiar with four different languages: Slavic, Hungarian, German, and Rumanian, may have difficulties in understanding the real situation. It is, however, indispensable to give an idea about this aspect, since the river- and placenames represent a most important part of the facts we have regarding those early centuries, from which the documentary attestations are scarce. The question is discussed by Illyés, 1992, pp. 291 - 336, and Du Nay, 1996, chapter VI. We give here a short description of the main facts.
In Voievodatul Transilvaniei, vol. II, pp. 473 - 494, Pascu states (pp. 473 - 474) that
...the placenames are more stable than those of persons, they are less exposed to the changes of fashion. Therefore, Dacian and Latin names have been preserved up to the present day. Especially names of rivers. Toponymy is also an additional argument for the continuity of the Rumanian people on the territories where these names have been preserved, north of the Danube and in the Carpatho-Danubian-Pontic area... [...]
those who have preserved the word which characterizes the basic settlements, the villages, from Latin fossatum (settlement surrounded by ditches) have never abandoned these settlements in order to migrate to other territories and to return, after centuries, exactly to those areas from which they have departed.
Pascu also affirms that some villages were given new names by the authorities. Then, the microtoponymy of the villages, i.e., the names of small hills, brooks, fields, is "mostly Rumanian in Transylvania," and Pascu asserts that this proves the priority of the Rumanians there.
Pascu, Voievodatul Transilvaniei II, p. 477:
The toponymy of Transylvania was, in the Middle Ages, exposed to a pressure from the authorities with the aim to change it. The most often used method for this aim was the translation or changing of the toponymy. In other cases, one has only put to the Rumanian names of villages the suffix "falva" (village) or "háza" (house)...
Examples are: Rumanian Marul was changed to Almafa "apple-tree", Mestecanis to Nyires "group of birch-trees", Câmpulung to Hosszúmezo "long field", etc. Direct borrowings: Rum. Lunca "waterside, river meadow" > Hung. Lonka, Mesteacan "birch" > Mesztákon. Among Pascu's examples of putting a suffix to a Rumanian name one finds Harnicsháza - from Rumanian Harnicesti, Bukurfalva - from Rumanian Bucur, etc. 100
Pascu mentions also villages which have names in two or three languages; parallel namegiving (pp. 477 - 478). Finally, about the microtoponymy:
Based on the thorough analysis of the toponymy of Rumania, the specialists have arrived at the conclusion that this is in 80% of Rumanian origin (Voievodatul, II, p. 478).
Pascu then gives a large number of placenames, divided into categories (those based on apellatives, personal names, social circumstances, etc.) for each county (pp. 479 to 494).
Most of these placenames are of Rumanian origin, but they appeared for the first time in the documents quite late, in the mid-14th century or later. A few of these settlements were recorded in the 13th century with a Hungarian name. Pascu puts in this list erroneusly also names of settlements which the Rumanians borrowed from Hungarian also in later periods. Thus, Rumanian Cauaci was, in 1405, mentioned as Kovachfalva. - Cauaci has no meaning in the Rumanian language and it is obvious that this name was borrowed from Hungarian: kovács "smith". The same is the case with Aghires from Hungarian Egrespatak "gooseberry-brook", Giulacut, Hungarian Gyulakuta "the fountain of Gyula", Hasmas, Hung. Hagimas (Hungarian hagyma "onion"), Sarsig Hung. Sarzeg (Hungarian sár "mud", szeg "small area, corner"), etc.
The word of Latin origin, not inherited in the Rumanian language but borrowed from Albanian (Alb. fshat > Rum. fsat, later sat) was discussed above, p. 38. The theory presented in Voievodatul Transilvaniei ("those wo have preserved the word fossatum did never abandon these settlements") is thus based on faulty knowledge of the history of the Rumanian language.
A general survey of the question of the placenames
Pascu's treatment of this question shows the following flaws:
1. Instead of investigating the totality of placenames, or at least a representative part of them, he choses arbitrarily those which agree with his theory.
2. He does not take into account the chronological aspect of the problem.
3. He ignores the significance of the sound pattern of the different names. In the majority of cases, these indicate the source of the name, from which important conclusions may be drawn about the situation in ancient periods, especially concerning the relations between different populations.
4. Pascu's theories about the authorities giving new names to villages and about the significance of microtoponymy are not acceptable.
5. The absence of an analysis of the river names.
In Voievodatul Transilvaniei, vol. II, pp. 31 - 54, Pascu reproduces maps of six Transylvanian counties, without mentioning that they were taken from Documenta Historiam Valachorum in Hungaria Illustrantia, Budapest, 1941. These maps show the villages existing in the 14th century, giving also the ethnic character of their population - Hungarian , Rumanian, or mixed, (but without their names; cf. above, maps 6 and 7, pp. 60-61). All these maps together demonstrate that in that century, in the Transylvanian basin, the Székely and the Saxon districts, on the plains west of Transylvania, only Hungarian and Saxon villages existed. Rumanian villages were found in Maramures (Máramaros), (and there, they were in the majority), in Caras-Severin (Hungarian Krassó-Szörény), also in a majority but to a lesser degree. But also in counties which later became mostly Rumanian, there were more Hungarian than Rumanian villages in that period: in Fagaras (Fogaras), 10 out of a total of 15, in Hunedoara (Hunyad), Hungarian villages are in the majority in the valleys and most of the Rumanian villages were in the area of high mountains around Hátszeg (Hateg).
It is a well-known fact that no ancient or Roman placename was preserved north of the lower Danube - in sharp contrast to the territory south of the river. North of the Danube, only the ancient names of the large rivers are extant. In the territory in question, there is Rumanian Mures, Hungarian Maros, German Mieresch; Somes, Szamos; Olt, Olt. Alt; and the name of the rivers Cris, Hungarian Körös. The ancient names are: Samu(s) - first mentioning in a Hungarian document in 1231: Zomus. Mures - Maris (Herodotos), later Morisos, Marisus, Marisia - Hungarian Moris (1044, S:t Gellert Deliberationes); Olt - Aloutas (Ptolemaios), Alutus (Peutinger-tablets), Aluta (Jordanes), in Hungarian documents Alt (1211) and Olt (1233). The Rumanian forms cannot have been inherited from Latin, since in that case they would show *Sames, *Mares, and *Alut. The a > o change must have occurred in another language -- most probably Slavic, and was from that language transferred to Rumanian. 101 The origin of the river-name Ompoi was described above, p. 11.
The ancient names of all other rivers in the territory in question are unknown.
||H>Rum or Sl>Rum
Table 1. The origins of the river names in Transylvania. (Szamos = Rum. Somes, Maros = Mures, Olt = Olt.) Of unknown origin are 1 of the tributaries of the Szamos and seven of those of the Olt. These may be of Turkish origin.
Table I shows the names of rivers that flow through at least 3 villages, tributaries of the Szamos (Rumanian Somes), Maros (Mures), and Olt. It appears that, as shown by the sound patterns, most (at least 48)of the Rumanian names of rivers were borrowed from Hungarian. Of these, 41 are original Hungarian names and seven were borrowed by Hungarian from Slavic. In 12 cases, the sound pattern of names of Slavic origin does not give any indication about the direct source of the Rumanian name (Hungarian or Slavic). There are two cases of certain Rumanian borrowings from Slavic. The Rumanians have also adopted three names of rivers from German.
Not a single of these 65 river names is of Rumanian origin.
The theory was put forward (Puscariu 102 ) that if the name of a river in the highest mountains, i.e., its beginning, is Rumanian, then this proves that Rumanians were the original population in the area, because earlier the entire river must have had that (Rumanian) name and it was only later that the Rumanians borrowed the name given by newcomers or by the authorities.
The translation of Latin names by Slavs was usual in the Balkan Peninsula. Thus, the name of a village in Dobruja is recorded on an inscription found there: Petra (cf. Latin petra "stone"). This village is now called Camena - a name of Slavic origin, the translation of Petra. In this environment, hypotheses of the kind Puscariu has put forward could be discussed but north of the Danube, where there is not a single example of such a translation (Puscariu was forced to give the example from Dobruja, in lack of such cases north of the Danube), they are of no value.
In the north of Transylvania, most of the river names of Slavic origin were borrowed in a sound pattern which indicates that they were handed down to Rumanian by Hungarian; in the south, there are a number of direct adoptations by Rumanian from Slavic. Taking into consideration all the rivers of some length (those which flow through at least 3 villages) in Transylvania, Kniezsa found 153 names. Of these, 39 are of Slavic origin, of which 10 are the tributaries of the Danube, all of which were probably tansferred to Rumanian directly from Slavic. Another 3 tributaries of the Danube have names of Hungarian origin, which were transferred to Rumanian directly from Hungarian. In the rest of the intra-Carpathian areas of present day Rumania, 29 river names of Slavic origin remain. Out of these, 8 were transmitted to Rumanian by Hungarian (for example Slavic Trescava > Hungarian Torockó > Rumanian Trascau (not *Treascava), Slavic Lovina > Hungarian Lóna > Rumanian Luna, etc.). In 7 cases, the sound pattern of the Rumanian name shows a direct borrowing from Slavic, for example: Slavic Vrbova > Rumanian Gârbova (the Slavic word means "willow", borrowed by the Hungarians in the form of Orbó); Slavic Trnava > Rumanian Târnava, etc. In the remaining 14 cases, the sound patterns of the names are comaptible with borrowing from both Slavic and Hungarian. 103
The Hungarian placenames
The names of eight Hungarian tribes that settled in the Carpathian basin in the 10th century were recorded by the Byzantine Emperor and scholar, Constantine Porphyrogenitus. These names became later placenames, and the distribution of such placenames indicates therefore the earliest Hungarian settlements (mostly in the 10th century). A difference between Transylvania and the plains of eastern Hungary is revealed in this respect: In the territory of the plains including the Banat, such names are frequent: Kniezsa records 16 of them (quoted by Illyés, 1992, p. 329). Only three of them are extant in Transylvania (all in its northern part): Keszi > Rumanian Chiseu in Satu Mare county, Jeno > Rumanian Ineu in Dabâca county and Keszü > Rumanian Chesau in Cluj county. As shown by the sound pattern of the Rumanian forms, all were borrowed by the Rumanians.
The form of a number of Hungarian placenames indicates that they were given in the period from the end of the 11th to the middle of the 13th century: personal names or the names of different ethnic groups without a suffix or with the suffixes d or i. The use of a personal name alone, without a suffix, as a placename is specific to the early Hungarians and is not found among the Slavs, Germans or Rumanians. The personal names may be Christian or from the pre-Christian era, and are, besides Hungarian, - Turkish, Slavic, or German. The names with the suffix i are also very numerous: a personal name + i: Tamási, Kovácsi; name of dignitaries: Apáti (apát "abbot"), Püspöki (püspök "bishop"), name of a population: Németi (German), Csehi (Czech), Horváti (Croatian) etc. (a total of 19 such place names are listed by Kniezsa (quoted by Illyés, 1992, p. 330). Placenames created with the suffix d are: Bánd, Bencéd, Diód, Koppánd, Peterd, etc.
These names are numerous over large areas of Transylvania and of course also on the plains west of it. The language of the personal names as well as the names of the various populations give an indication about the different peoples that lived during this period, from the end of 10th to the middle of the 13th century, in the area. As shown by the above enumeration, there were, besides Hungarians, - Turks, Slavs (Croatians, Czechs, Russians), Germans, and Petchenegs. Thus, before the mid-thirteenth century - the Tartar invasion - there is not a single one among these placenames which would suggest a Rumanian population in the area.
This does not exclude the possibility of Rumanians, although it argues strongly against a significant number of them, because very many placenames are involved and the chances are great that all populations of some significance in the area left some traces in these early Hungarian placenames. Kniezsa has also determined the number of names of settlements mentioned in documents in the 13th century and the proportion of Hungarian, Slavic and Rumanian among them. His list contains a total of 511 placenames in the entire intra-Carpathian area of present day Rumania. Of these, 83% are of Hungarian origin, about 10% derive from Slavic and 0.6% - 3 - are of Rumanian origin. 104
In the 12th century, compund placenames appeared with (1) name + (2) -laka, - népe, telke, -ülése, -soka and in the 13th century also háza, -falva; i.e., house, ground plot, village, etc. in the genitive.
It is not earlier than in the mid-14th century that Rumanian placenames appear in more significant numbers: the first of these are found in Hunyad (Hunedoara) county: Tamasasa (in 1341), Râu de mori (in 1359) and Rea (in 1360). It is also in Hunyad county and about the same period that the first Rumanian placename was borrowed by the Hungarians: Râusor (Rumanian râu "brook") > Hungarian Rusor (1377), Nucsoara (Rumanian nuc "walnut") > Hungarian Nuksora (1394: Noxara).
Among settlements mentioned in the first half of the 14th century, 36 (4.4%) have names of Rumanian origin (out of a total of 820) and in the following half century, their number increases to 76 - 4.3% out of a total of 1.757 names of settlements. 105
Pascu (Voievodatul, II, p. 457 - 473) enumerates a large number of villages whose names attest to the nationality of their inhabitants: Saxons, Croatians, Russians, Szeklers, Hungarians, Rumanians, etc. He states that the attribution "Vlach" appears in 80% of these, which should prove that the Rumanians were the majoritary population.
This is, however, erroneous. It must be stated, first of all, that the proportion of 80% is true in later centuries, perhaps in and especially after the 14th, when the village names with "Olah" were very numerous. In the 13th century, however, they were rare. To name a settlement according to the nationality of its inhabitants is only necessary and meaningful if the nationality is different from that of the surrounding territory. There are many villages designated "Saxon", "Croatian", "Russian", etc. but, beginning with the 14th century, the largest number of villages thus distinguished are Oláh - "Vlach". This means that in a number of cases, Croatians, Russians, etc. settled in a territory inhabited by people of other ethnicity, but Rumanians settled in a much higher number of cases among non-Rumanians. These non-Rumanians were most often Hungarians, who gave the name "Oláh" to the newcomers, and also Saxons: "Walachendorf." In many cases, two villages with the same name appear, distinguished by the adjectives Oláh (Rumanian) and Magyar (Hungarian), respectively; and in the Saxon areas, Szász (Transylvanian Saxon).
The first appearance of a village name in the documents of the Hungarian state gives an indication about the existence in a certain period of the village in question. The time elapsed between the establishment and the first mention of a settlement varies. It depends upon several circumstances - one of which is, as also stated by Pascu, the establishing of feudal relations with the settlement in question. Of course, there are other factors, and one should also reckon with the fact that not all documents were preserved to us. A few data have no value in themselves, but a large number of a certain type of names appearing in a certain era may give valuable information. The colonization of the German (Saxon) population in Transylvania gives a possibility to test this hypothesis, i.e., to get an idea about how reliably and how soon the names of new villages were recorded in documents. It is known that the Saxons were invited by King Géza II. and started to come around 1150; their colonization lasted about one century, going on also after the Tartar invasion. The colonization of the Saxons must have resulted in several settlements with the attributive of "Saxon". How is this reflected in the documents, i.e., do such names appear in them and how long after the period in which the Saxons were colonized? We use the list of placenames which include the name of a nationality, given by Pascu in Voievodatul, II, pp. 457 - 468.
The decisive period is the 13th century, because this was in and immediately after the period of the Saxon colonization. In that century, there are 9 names of settlements mentioned in the documents (in Pascu's list) in which "Saxon" or the names of other populations from Western Europe appear. The first one is from 1215: Aldorf, (German Wallendorf, with Walloon settlers) in the area of Bistrita; followed by Silivasul Sasesc (<Hungarian Szász-szilvás, from Hungarian szilva "plum" and szász "Saxon") in Solnoc-Dabâca; in 1238 Saxons are mentioned in the district of Orastie; and in 1248 in county Alba. In 1269, there is Nemty (Hungarian német "German") in Solnoc-Dabâca; in 1290: terra Sospatak, 1503: poss. Zazwelgye, Hungarian Szászvölgye, Rumanian Valea Sasului, in the county of Târnava; in 1291, terra Saxonum - (translated by Pascu as Pamântul sasilor). From 1292, Saxon villages are mentioned in counties Alba and Cluj. - Thus, in most of Transylvania proper, the settlement of Saxons is reflected in the names of villages found in the documents of the period of colonization and some decades later. - In the same century, the presence of Russians is indicated by the names of four villages, all at the end of the century, in counties Bihor, Cluj and in the Saxon area. The attribution Székely "Szekler" is found in two cases, in counties Bihor and Trei Scaune, and that of Magyar "Hungarian" in one, in county Alba, where they are mentioned together with Vlachs.
What is the situation with the villages designated Oláh "Vlach"?
Their total number in the 13th century is seven. The first of them is from the year 1252 (terra Olachorum) in the region of Brasov, the southern frontier-area, the rest is from the end of the 13th century: Olahtelke in 1294, also in the region of Brasov, Elye, Vlach and Hungarian, in 1292 - 1350 in the county of Hunedoara, Olahgorbó from 1292 in county Cluj, Olah Scekas from 1293 - 1294 in county Alba and a mentioning together with Hungarians is from the county Bihor, from 1294 - 1397.
This situation must be compared with that in the following 14th century, when there are a number of indications of Slavs, Germans, Turkish peoples, but the number of villages called Olah "Vlach" shows an enormous increase. Only in county Bihor, several dozens of such names are given in Pascu's list for the 14th and the 15th centuries. This great difference as compared to earlier periods can only be explained by the creation of new settlements mostly by Vlachs. It is also in the 14th century that a significant number of Rumanian placenames appear (after only 3 in the preceding century), as well as the first Hungarian borrowings of placenames from Rumanian (see above). It was in those centuries that the number of Rumanians became significant in Transylvania.
An analysis of the sound pattern of a group of place names
More historical conclusions may be drawn from an analysis of the origins of the placenames. For the sake of brevity, we take only those villages which in the 13th century were indicated to have Rumanian inhabitants. Are their names of Rumanian origin?
In Hunedoara, there are the villages Elye, one Hungarian and one Rumanian in 1292 - 1350. The Hungarian name was adopted by the Rumanians: Ilia, mention is made of "Rumanian villages which belong to Ilye". In county Alba, Olahlapod is mentioned from 1299, borrowed by Rumanian in the form of Lopadea. In the county of Cluj, there is 1292 Gorbo Walachalis, today Gârbaul 106 Român, and in Bihor county, ungaris sive olahis infra indagines Solumus, valahi de Solmus are mentioned, i.e., Hungarians and Rumanians living in the village named Solymos (Hungarian sólyom "falcon"), Rumanian Soimus. The word soim is Rumanian (of Hungarian origin, appearing in documents from the second half of the 15th century). However, us in this name cannot be a suffix, Soimus is a borrowing of Hungarian Solymos. The two mentions in the area of Brasov are: in 1252, terra Olachorum de Tyrek and in 1294: terra seu villa Tohou <=Tohan> alio nomine Olahteleky.107 Tohan probably derives from the language of the Petchenegs, while the origin of Tyrek is uncertain.
Thus, out of seven names of settlements in which the documents from the 13th century tell us about Rumanians, the origin of five may be determined. All these Rumanian names were borrowed from Hungarian.
The arguments against the obvious conclusions to be drawn from these data are of no value. The assumption that the authorities re-named a number of Rumanian villages is based upon present day circumstances. Aspects of nationality or language were in those times of no importance, the economic and political interests of the nobility and of the king (the state) decided the policy. The struggle for power was waged not between different nations but between more or less powerful lords. But there is also more direct evidence against the above argument: if the practical absence of Rumanian village names before the Tartar invasion and their low number also during the following century was caused by the policy of the Hungarian authorities, then this policy must have been strongest during the 10th - 13th centuries and then gradually decreasing. This is very unlikely. Even more important is the recording of the Slavic place- names: Out of 511 names of settlements recorded in the 13th century, about 50 are of Slavic origin - if the Hungarian policy was to re-name non-Hungarian villages, why did they not re-name also the Slavic villages?
Pascu also asserts that the microtoponymy has more historical significance than the placenames and the names of the rivers. This is true to some extent, but it should be taken into account that the names of very small brooks, fields, small hills, the properties of the individual peasants, etc., are much less stable. Pascu gives the proportion of Rumanian microtoponymy in entire Rumania: 80%, but this figure is irrelevant for Transylvania. If a village was devastated by invading Tartars or Turks, and re-populated by Rumanians, it is obvious that these newcomers could not have been told the names of all the surroundings, although they probably knew the name of the village itself. But also a gradual change of the inhabitants may in the long run led to the loss of the original microtoponymy, since these names, used by a restricted number of people, are much more unstable than the names of settlements or of rivers.
As was shown above, there is no example of Hungarians borrowing a Rumanian placename before the end of the 14th century. What is the case with the Germans, who settled in several areas of Transylvania between the mid-12th and the second half of the 13th century? They were a population speaking a language different from all those spoken in the territory and their settlement was going on in a fairly short period of time. They were bound to borrow river names and placenames in large numbers from the population they found in their new places.
In the list of Pascu (Voievodatul II, pp. 457 - 468), no answer is found to this question. There are German names: Reusdorf, Reussen, Walachendorf, Dettschpien; and Hungarians: Orozfalw, Olah Egres > Rum. Agrisul Românesc; Olahzentmiklos > Rum. Sînmiclausul Român; Zaazkyzd > Rum. Saschiz, etc.
A general survey and a summary of the problem is given by Illyés, 1992, pp. 332 - 333. 108 The majority of the placenames in the Saxon areas are of German origin. This suggests that the statement found in several documents, asserting that these territories were terra deserta et inhabitata ("desert and uninhabited area") is not entirely wrong. Several German names were also borrowed by Hungarian as well as by Rumanian: German Burgberg "mountain where the fortress stands" > Hungarian Borberek (popular etymology: bor "wine", berek "riverside coppice, grove"); the Rumanians borrowed this German name in the form of Vurpar. German Katzendorf > Rumanian Cata; German Kaltwasser "cold water" > Rumanian Calvasar (Hungarian by parallell namegiving: Hidegvíz "cold water"); German Weidenbach > Hungarian Vidombák > Rumanian Ghimbav; German Rotbach > Rumanian Rotbav; German Weisskirch > Rumanian Viscri, etc.
Thomas Nägler determined the origin of a total of 242 placenames in all areas in which Transylvanian Saxon dialects were spoken in the 20th century. He found 140 names of German origin (58%), 16 were from Hungarian (6.6%), and 8 were from Slavic (3.3%); 78 (32.2%) were of unknown origin. 109 There are no early German placenames borrowed from Rumanian. 110
Thus, on the territory of the Transylvanian Saxons, who settled there in a well-defined period (between approximately 1150 and the end of the 13th century), there is not a single early example of Germans having borrowed a Rumanian placename.
Conclusions to be drawn from the study of the river- and place-names The data shown by the river names and the placenames exclude the possibility that Rumanians lived in Transylvania before the Slavs and also before the Hungarians and the Saxons. One wonders how it is possible at all that this hypothesis has been put forward. In fact, even Rumanian scholars have expressed their doubts. Thus, for example, E. Petrovici stated the following as regards entire Rumania:
The contradiction between the Romance character of the Rumanian language and the non- Roman, in the first place Slavic, but also Hungarian, Cumanian, etc. origin of the old toponymy on the territory of the Rumanian language cannot be solved, I think, other than by assuming that the Romance language (Rumanian) spread over a territory where mostly Slavic was spoken. 111
This was said only 7 years after the war, in an era when the propagation of the importance of the Russians and of the Slavs in general was the official policy in Rumania, and the glorification of I.V. Stalin had reached its apogee. In spite of great ambitions, I.V. Stalin's contribution to linguistics was not very brilliant, and the fact that the above statement was made in a meeting where this was praised decreases its value. Rosetti, quoting it, added that it "does not correspond to our opinion". However, in the following section Rosetti discussed the situation in different areas in the extra-Carpathian territories of Rumania, and stated that in large areas of Rumania "the Rumanian-speaking population has settled over a relatively sparse Slavic-speaking population," referring again to E. Petrovici ("comunic. acad. E. Petrovici"). 112 This suggests that Rosetti did not entirely oppose the idea and that Petrovici has sustained his opinion even later. It is characteristic of the situation in Rumania during the 1980-s that this entire section is omitted in the definitive (1986) edition of Rosetti's History of the Rumanian Language.
The river names and the placenames in Transylvania, as well as early documents indicate that the Rumanians appeared at the beginning of the 13th century in some areas of the high mountains (the southern Carpathians) which were partly uninhabited, partly inhabited by a sparse population of Slavs and Hungarians. After the Tartar invasion in 1241 - 1242, the Rumanians were colonized initially around royal fortresses in the frontier region of the high mountains, a habitat which perfectly suited for this population of shepherds. Probably beginning in the late 13th century, they were settled also in villages inhabited mostly by Hungarians, but also by German and Walloon settlers who were invited by the Hungarian king in the period between the mid-12th and the late 13th century. In several parts of southwestern Transylvania, they lived for some time in symbiosis with the Slavs they found there.
95 Á. Kosztin, A dákoromán legenda. Keresztény kultuszhelyek Erdélyben The legend of the Daco-Romans. Christian places of worship in Transylvania , Budapest, 1989, p. 81.
96 Köpeczi, 1986, p. 313.
97 Ibid., 313.
98 Köpeczi, 1986, p. 315.
99 Ibid.,p. 316.
100 Pascu refers here to
E. Petrovici, "Toponimia ungureasca în Transilvania medievala"
Hungarian toponymy in Medieval Transylvania , in Transilvania
101 Köpeczi, 1986,
102 S. Puscariu, "Le
rôle de la Tranylvanie dans la formation et l'évolution de la
langue roumaine", in La Transylvanie , 1938, p. 41.
103 Illyés, 1992,
pp. 318 - 319.
104Illyés, 1992, p. 331.
Gorbó, (<Slavic Grbova); as indicated by the absence of
the Slavic ending ova in the Rumanian name.
107Suciu, II, 1968, p. 199.
108 Based mainly upon Urkundenbuch zur Geschichte der
Deutschen in Siebenbürgen vol. I,
1191- 1342, compiled by Franz Zimmermann and Carl Werner (Hermannstadt: 1892);
Thomas Nägler, Die Ansiedlung der Siebenbürger Sachsen, Bucharest, 1979; István Kniezsa,
"Keletmagyarország helynevei" The Placenames of Eastern Hungary , in:
Magyarok és románok
Hungarians and Rumanians , József Deér, László
Gáldi (eds.), Budapest, 1943; Coriolan Suciu, Dictionar istoric
al localitatilor din Transilvania
Historical Dictionary of the Localities in Transylvania , Bucharest, vol. I,
1967, vol. II, 1968.
109 Thomas Nägler,
Die Ansiedlung der Siebenbürger Sachsen , Bucharest, 1979, pp. 174-179.
Kniezsa, "Keletmagyarország helynevei" The Placenames of Eastern
Hungary , p. 139; in: Magyarok és románok111 E. Petrovici, "Invataturile lui I.V. Stalin cu privire la
stiinta limbii si sarcinile lingvistilor din R.P.R." The teachings of I.V.
Stalin about linguistics and the tasks of the linguists of the R.P.R. , in
Problemele stiintelor sociale în dezbaterea Academiei
R.P.R. The problems of the social sciences
in the debate of the Academy of the R.P.R. , March the 21- 25th, 1951,
Bucharest, 1951; quoted by Rosetti, ILR 1968, p. 288.
112 Rosetti, 1968, p.
102 S. Puscariu, "Le rôle de la Tranylvanie dans la formation et l'évolution de la langue roumaine", in La Transylvanie , 1938, p. 41.
103 Illyés, 1992, pp. 318 - 319.
104Illyés, 1992, p. 331.
106From Hungarians Gorbó, (<Slavic Grbova); as indicated by the absence of the Slavic ending ova in the Rumanian name.
107Suciu, II, 1968, p. 199.
108 Based mainly upon Urkundenbuch zur Geschichte der Deutschen in Siebenbürgen vol. I, 1191- 1342, compiled by Franz Zimmermann and Carl Werner (Hermannstadt: 1892); Thomas Nägler, Die Ansiedlung der Siebenbürger Sachsen, Bucharest, 1979; István Kniezsa, "Keletmagyarország helynevei" The Placenames of Eastern Hungary , in: Magyarok és románok Hungarians and Rumanians , József Deér, László Gáldi (eds.), Budapest, 1943; Coriolan Suciu, Dictionar istoric al localitatilor din Transilvania Historical Dictionary of the Localities in Transylvania , Bucharest, vol. I, 1967, vol. II, 1968.
109 Thomas Nägler, Die Ansiedlung der Siebenbürger Sachsen , Bucharest, 1979, pp. 174-179.
110 István Kniezsa, "Keletmagyarország helynevei" The Placenames of Eastern Hungary , p. 139; in: Magyarok és románok111 E. Petrovici, "Invataturile lui I.V. Stalin cu privire la stiinta limbii si sarcinile lingvistilor din R.P.R." The teachings of I.V. Stalin about linguistics and the tasks of the linguists of the R.P.R. , in Problemele stiintelor sociale în dezbaterea Academiei R.P.R. The problems of the social sciences in the debate of the Academy of the R.P.R. , March the 21- 25th, 1951, Bucharest, 1951; quoted by Rosetti, ILR 1968, p. 288.
112 Rosetti, 1968, p. 289.
|Stefan Pascu: A History of Transylvania|