[Table of Contents] [Previous] [Next] [HMK Home] THE ORIGINS OF THE RUMANIANS

D. The archaeological finds in post-Roman Dacia Traiana


The theory of Daco-Roman continuity is mainly based on archeological finds excavated in present day Rumania


As a matter of fact, earlier and more recent investigations have disclosed numerous direct proofs of the existence of the Daco-Roman population in Dacia in the centuries following the retreat by Aurelian from Dacia. They belong to archaeology and their number is increasing in direct proportion to the intensification of the investigations. [...]

As is natural, continuity was probably more intense and is easier to detect in the areas near the Danube, considering the presence of the Roman Empire along the northern shore of the river beginning with Constantine the Great. Thus, it has been fully proved in the Banat, on the basis of written records as well as by archaeological discoveries. Here, the products of late Roman origin and imperial coins from the period after Aurelian until the 6th century are present in almost all localities known from the Roman period, sometimes even in the ruins of the old buildings. [...]

In the rural areas, particularly in the eastern regions of Dacia, [...] a popular culture was formed already in the Roman period, in which the traditions of the autochthonous Dacian culture combined with Roman cultural forms. With this popular culture the Daco-Romans embarked upon the new historic evolution opened up by the liberation of Dacia from the domination of the Roman state.


A comprehensive survey of the archaeological finds considered to indicate the persistence of a Romanized population in the territory of former Dacia Traiana is Problema continuitii în Dacia în lumina arheologiei Ői numismaticii (The Problem of Continuity in Dacia in the Light of Archaeology and Numismatics) by D. Protase, Bucharest, 1966. In the Foreword to this monograph, the author states that Awe have collected and selected here all the archaeological and numismatic material published or yet unpublished which was known to us up to 1964B1965.@ According to the Preface written by C. Daicoviciu, Protase´s monograph is

... a systematic and critical presentation of the concrete proofs of the persistence of the Dacian and the Daco-Roman populations in the territory of our present socialist country, which is the fundamental premise of the autochthoneity of the Rumanians in their several thousand year old fatherland.

Protase gives a detailed presentation of what he calls Athe vestiges of the Daco-Romans in Dacia between 271 and 450 AD@ (pp. 103B198). In the intro-duction to this chapter, the following statement is made:


Emphasizing that the problem of continuity is not resolved by admitting only fragmentary remains of the Romanized population in Dacia, C. Daicoviciu showed convincingly that the Rumanian people could have been formed only by the survival en masse of the north-Danubian Roman population and by its development in uninterrupted contact with the Roman element south of the Danube, and supported (alimentat|) continually by them.


Protase´s monogaph is of great value, because it gives a systematic and exhaustive presentation of the archaeological finds existing up to the mid 1960s considered to prove Daco-Roman continuity. In the decades after the publication of this monograph, very much new material was excavated in Rumania. It would take too much space to discuss these; only some of these more recent finds will be used here. The nature of all the discoveries is essentially the same, in the sense that the material shows traits characteristic of Roman products, Roman provincial traditions, Roman style, etc.

The ethnic attribution of the different sites is mainly based on the style of the objects, often earthenware, and, in the case of the cemeteries, also on funeral rites and rituals. For each site, the relevant text will be quoted or summarized below. In the Foreword to his monograph (p. 10), Protase mentions that he in general adopted the opinions of the authors who described the material in question.

The possibilities of establishing the period in which the different settlements and cemeteries were in use are in many cases fairly good, since the style of the material contents often shows elements characteristic of a certain period. The maximum time span during which the different settlements and burial sites might have been in use is shown in Figures 2 and 3 (p.232) according to data compiled from the above-mentioned monograph by Protase.




Archiud (Erked):


The Roman earthenware and the late changes easily observed in their forms and style, the supply caves similar to those found in the Daco-Roman settlement at Obreja, as well as the absence of Gothic or Sarmatian cultural











Alba Iulia




















Cioroiul Nou




















LechinŰa de MureŐ
























ProŐtea Mic|
















Sf. Gheorghe




Porumbenii Mici












Soporul de Câmpie





































Soporul de Câmpie
























Table 8. Settlements and cemeteries where archeological remains attributed to ADaco-Romans@ were described. (On the basis of D. Protase, Problema continuitii în Dacia în lumina arheologiei Ői numismaticii, 1966, pp. 104B 132. The Hungarian names of the places in Transylvania are given in brackets.


elements justify the attribution of this settlement from the 3rd to the 4th centuries at Archiud to the provincial population to which probably groups of free Dacians were added, in the second half of the 3rd century.


Bratei (Baráthely): see below, p. 165.


Cioroiul Nou:


...fragments of bottles and of black earthenware of Roman style, similar to those discovered at Sucidava, in the cultural stratum of the 4th and the 5th centuries AD. The coins of silver and bronze form a continuous series from Nerva until the period of Constantine, and thus confirm the life of the Romam population in this settlement also after Aurelian.


Cluj-M|ntur (Kolozs-Monostor):


The earthenware, mostly made by hand, rarely on the wheel, is of grey colour, porous or fine, fragments of red vases are rare. Regarding the forms, grey jars (dolia) of the Roman provincial tradition predominate, as well as different kinds of grey-blackish pots without a handle and usually without ornaments. Among the few pieces of earthenware, there is none of the Sântana de MureŐ-Cerneahov type, while the forms and the techniques show the powerful tradition of provincial Roman pottery (puternice tradiŰii ale ol|riei romane provinciale).


Iernut (Radnót):


The pottery preserves to a large extent the style of the provincial Roman pottery, but shows at the same time non-Roman technical and ornamental elements, specific to the period immediately after the abandonment of Dacia by the Romans.


Mugeni (Bögöz):


Most numerous are the vases of Roman provincial tradition, grey and red, but fragments of vases showing the style of the Sântana de MureŐBCerneahov culture, as well as Dacian vases are also found. As shown by the material contents, elements from the Sântana de MureŐ culture penetrated to this settlement during the second phase of its existence.


NoŐlac (Nagylak):


In one of the cavities, a comb made of bone with a curved back was found, with characteristic rivets, and decorated on both sides with the usual concentric circles.

The earthenware from this settlement includes some red-yellow fragments of the Roman style, numerous fragments of grey, fine vases with a metallic shine and sometimes with shiny, geometric patterns, pieces of large, grey jars (dolia), decorated by strips of curly lines; and there is an appreciable quantity also of grey-blackish pieces, made by hand or on the wheel.

On the basis of the earthenware and the comb mentioned above, the settlement is dated to the 4thB5th centuries and is considered to have belonged to the Daco-Roman population.


Obreja (Obrázsa):


This settlement was inhabited during the Roman domination and also after, in the 4th century,

...which is proved by a fibula of the type Awith onion heads@, found among the pottery of the best Roman provincial style. The continuation of the settlement in the 4th century is also indicated by some grey, fine fragments, with patterns achieved by polishing, and also by the information that after the first World War, some coins (now lost) were found which, according to the description given by the villagers who discovered them, seem to be from the period of Constantine.


Porumbenii Mici (Kisgalambfalva):


...red and grey provincial Roman pottery and a large bronze coin of Commodus. Other objects discovered in this settlement are: a Denar of Vespasian, a funeral lion, and two rings of Roman type, one of silver with an inlaid stone and another of gold, decorated by two granulated triangles (the stone is not preserved), and also grey and red earthenware of strikingly Roman style. There is no grey earthenware of metalllic shine in this settlement.

In some sections, only GREY earthenware of Roman style is found, no red. This would be the only indication of the continuation of the settlement after the Roman retreat from these areas, until the end of the 3rd century.



During the Roman period, R|cari was a vicus on the way to become a town.

A Roman camp built of stone was found there.


...in the period after Aurelian, but probably not before Constantine the Great, the doors of the camp were blocked by Abarbarian@ walls and over the wall of enclosure, which has fallen into ruins, a wall of earth mixed with old debris was erected, at some places 2.5 metres high. Within the old military camp cabins were dug and huts of wood were constructed from which Tocilescu collected a rich archaeological material which dates from the 4thB6th centuries (fibulae, objects of bronze, and pottery) specific to this late period, which is deposited, still not published, in the National Museum of Antiquities. Regarding the period of Roman domination in Dacia, the coins found in the camp start with Vespasian and end with Decius, and then, after a pause of some decades, the bronze coins of Diocletian, Constantine I and his son, Valens, Theodosius II and Justinian I appear.


Sarmizegetusa (Gr|diŐtea) (Várhely):


The archaeological excavations made in the former capital of Roman Dacia revealed modest but incontestable vestiges of the poor, local population who, after the retreat of the Roman authorities, sought shelter among the ruins of the old town. In Sarmizegetusa, finds suggest that the forum and some buildings were used, for the needs of a shabby life, also AFTER Aurelian.


SebeŐ (Szászsebes):


During the excavation made in 1960, at the Abridge of Pipoc@, a cavity was emptied which contained pieces of Roman bricks, a bronze fibula with the legs inverted below, as well as fragments of grey vases, intensively burned, with a surface of metallic shine. On the basis of the pottery and the fibula, the cavity dates from the 4th century AD. To the same period belongs a hut, on the side of a kiln with a cover of burned clay, fastened on the bank of the SecaŐ.

From the limited number of excavations made so far, one may conclude on the basis of the uninterrupted succesion of the remains of material culture, that the autochthonous element continued to exist here during the Roman occupation and that a Daco-Roman population was present here also after the retreat by Aurelian.


Sic (Szék):


A settlement inhabited during the Roman domination in Dacia and attributed to the Dacians was found on the territory of this village in 1963.


...Roman provincial pottery was discovered, associated by fragments of vases made by hand of rough paste of dark grey colour, some of them showing ornaments specific to the late Dacian La Tène.

In our opinion, the settlement in Sic continued to exist also after the abandonment of Dacia by the Romans, until the beginning of the 4th century. This is definitely indicated by the numerous fragments of vases made by hand of a rough paste characterized by the cut off (right) or arched form of the base, and the absence of ornamentation.


Soporul de Câmpie (MezĹszopor):


A small settlement used during a short period, probably in the second half of the 5th century. Fragments of vases of a greyish black colour, mostly without ornamentations, were found there.


The presence of the huts from the 5th century in the territory of the old, abandoned, Daco-Roman cemetery proves that its inhabitants did not know that the place was once used as a cemetery, and that they came from an other place, possibly from an adjacent area. Without having at present more exact material proof, the facts that these huts form a small group, are situated in a remote region and lack material characteristic of the migratory peoples, are valid indications that they belonged to some elements of the indigenous [btinaŐ|] population.




A settlement from the period of Roman domination Aand, possibly, also from the times following the official abandonment of the province.@


VeŰel (Veczel):


A fragment of a silver fibula, dated to the 4th century, with the inscription AQuartine vivas!@ was found there (cf. below, p. 180).


A general characterization of these settlements is given by Protase as follows:


It is interesting to note that this type of settlement ceased to exist after the end of the 4th century; there is no continuation into the following century. The disappearance of these settlements may have been caused, if not by economic circumstances, by the same disturbances which led to the termination of life in the towns. No doubt, the preservation of the Daco-Roman population in the old settlements after the evacuation of the Roman state apparatus from Dacia is a phenomenon of much larger proportions, something which will be brought to light by future archaeological excavations and investigations (care va fi pus în lumin| de viitoare s|p|turi Ői cercet|ri arheologice).




Alba Iulia (Gyulafehérvár):


In the years from 1898 to 1915, five tombs of inhumation were discovered

[...] among many other tombs with inventaries from the 11th to the 13th centuries, equipped with sarcophagi made of RE-USED Roman bricks. In the tombs, bracelets of the Roman style, bronze fibulae of the type Awith onion-heads@, necklaces of characteristic forms and two bronze-coins of Constantine I (306B337) were found.

The tombs, partly deranged by the burials in the 11th to the 13th centuries, are found in the territory of the former Roman town Apulum, in its very centre, and obviously date from the times following the retreat of the Romans from Dacia. The funerary inventary and particularly those two coins of Constantine I found IN THE TOMBS indicate that these are from the 4th century AD. The uniformly Roman style of the tombs and the total absence of any foreign element exclude their attribution to a migratory population.


Thus, as pointed out also by Kurt Horedt, the public buildings in the centre of the Roman town had lost their original function and were now used as cemeteries. Horedt summarized in 1982 the signs of life in the former Roman towns in Transylvania, stating that one finds a uniform, although fragmentary picture, determined by the same kinds of finds.


Siedlungsreste sind sehr spärlich und könnten nur in sicher datierten Schichten abgegrenzt werden. Sie müssten bei Stadtkerngrabungen fest- gestellt werden, die aber nur unter bestimmten Voraussetzungen bei gelegentlichen Bauarbeiten durchgeführt wurden und bisher keine Ergebnisse in dieser Hinsicht erbrachten.


Bratei (Baráthely):


A cemetery of cremation, which dates from the second half of the 4th century (and possibly to the beginning of the 5th). This is the largest cemetery from the period following the abandonment of Dacia Traiana by the Romans. It was found in Bratei, 7 kilometers east of MediaŐ (Hung. Medgyes), on the bank of the river Târnava Mare (Hung. NagyküküllĹ). This cemetery is considered particularly significant:


Of particular significance in proving the continuation of the Daco-Roman population is the cemetery at Br|teiu, along the Tîrnava Mare, a cemetery of cremation dated to the time span between 380 and 454...


Therefore, it will be described in some detail. But first, a survey over the material remains found at Bratei:

As on several sites in Transylvania, remains from many different periods and populations, from the neolitic to the 13th century inclusive, were excavated at Bratei. The following survey is based on the article by R. Harhoiu, in DicŰionar de istrorie veche a României, edited by D.M. Pippidi, 1976, pp. 99B102.


Settlement No. 1 (4thB6th centuries AD). Pottery made on a wheel (Aa development of Roman pottery@) and by hand (Aof Dacian origin@), and a small quantity of fine, grey earthenware, Aindicating the presence of a Germanic element@. Settlement No 2, in four levels:

(a) 4thB6th centuries, of the same character as settlement No 1.

(b) 6thB7th centuries, showing traits of the IpoteŐtiBCiurelBCândeŐti culture.

(c) 7thB8th centuries, showing traits of the first phase of the Dridu culture.

(d) 12thB13th centuries; pottery made on a wheel; agricultural and other kinds of tools; vases and cooking vessels of the Petchenegs.


Celtic tombs from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC.

Cemetery No 1, 4thB5th centuries (see below).

Cemetery No 4, similar to the preceding .

Cemetery No 3, 6thB7th centuries, with 300 tombs of inhumation; Gepidic.

Cemetery No 2, 8th century, showing the rite of cremation (85% of the tombs) as well as that of inhumation (15%). Considered to have belonged to the first phase of the Dridu culture.


Cemetery No 1 was described by Ligia Bârzu in a monograph published in 1973. The following survey is mainly based on this monograph.

Between the years 1959 and 1969, 353 tombs were excavated in this cemetery; another 100 were destroyed in 1970, in the course of work on this site, which now is a sandpit.

The cemetery is 72 meters long and 55 meters wide. At the beginning, the tombs formed regular rows, but this order was not always kept. Tombs placed one upon the other are especially frequent in the middle of the cemetery. This may be explained by the custom according to which members of one family were buried near to one other; after some time, space was no longer sufficient for this practice.

The funeral rite was cremation. The cavities in which the remains were laid down are of different types:

Ritually burned cavities are found in 270 cases (77.5%). Most of these tombs are rectangular or oval, but two are almost entirely round and one is cross-shaped.

Not burned are the cavities of 78 tombs (22.5%). Sixtyone of these are oval or rectangular, 9 are round, 6 are bottle-shaped and one is conical.

The size of the cavities is the following: length, 120 B 150 (180) cm, bredth, 40 B 60 cm, depth (measured from the original surface), 20 B 50 cm.

Orientation in space: in a north to south direction are placed 78% of the burned cavities of rectangular or of oval shape, and somewhat more than half of the cavities which are not burned. Twenty-two percent of the burned cavities and less than half of those not burned are placed in an east to west direction.


Contents of the tombs

A large amount of animal bones were found in these tombs. The figures given by Ligia Bârzu are based on the analysis of 220 tombs (about 63% of all) made in 1966 and 1969. Most of the bones belong to big, domesticated animals, the number of which is estimated by L. Bârzu as follows: 349 oxen (Bos taurus), 120 porcs, 77 animals like sheep and goats and 27 horses. Other animals are rare: there were 3 dogs, 4 deers, and one wild bore (Sus scrofa ferus).

1. Earthenware

I. Made on a wheel.

a. Of rough paste.

1. Pots, of Roman origin, also found in the Sântana de MureŐ culture.

2. Large storing vessels are found in almost all tombs. They are known from the Roman period and also from the Sântana de MureŐ culture.

3. Bowls, very frequently found also in sites of the Sântana de MureŐ culture.

4. Amphorae are more numerous than the bowls. In the Sântana de MureŐ culture, amphorae are rare. According to L. Bârzu (p. 39), AThis form is provincial Roman and represents the realization of the red Roman amphorae in a grey paste, of a late period.@ They indicate, according to the same author, that workrooms which preserved the techniques of the Roman provincial pottery existed in Transylvania in the 4th century.

5. Jugs B a small number of fragments were found.

b. Of fine paste.

This type is represented less (about 15%) than the pottery made of a rough paste. The Bratei cemetery reveals in this respect a different situation as compared to the sites of the Sântana de MureŐ culture. The forms are largely the same as those in the group made of a rough paste. They must be products of local workshops, which thus produced pottery Aof purely Roman tradition@ in the 4th century and in the first 2 or 3 decades of the 5th. The pots and the bowls, as well as the jugs are similar to those found in the Sântana de MureŐ culture, but the jugs are also found in Roman cemeteries.

c. Imported earthenware.

About 5% of the pottery found at Bratei were imported. These vessels were made of a fine paste, burned red; there also are enamelled vessels, mostly amphorae and jugs. These were probably made in Pannonia, a province well-known of the production of enamelled vessels in the 4th century. At Bratei, there is a large variety of forms, while in the Sântana de MureŐ culture, the amphorae prevail. This is considered another indication suggesting that the population at Bratei was different from that of the Sântana de MureŐ people.

II. Earthenware made by hand.

Although present in almost all tombs, this type is not found in very large amounts. According to differences in the paste and the burning, 3 types may be distinguished. Regarding forms, the pot without handles is most frequent; there is also the censer (cuia) and the lid. The censer is of typical Dacian tradition:


These forms are of the most authentic Dacian tradition and confirm, in the possibly most certain way, the Daco-Roman character of the cemetery at Bratei.


One form of these vessels, of Roman origin, shows an ornamentation usual in the pottery of the free Dacians who migrated to Transylvania from the west. The significanec of this kind of pottery at Bratei is that it shows a clear influence from the free Dacians:


Regarding the similarities between this type of earthenware and that made by hand in the culture of the western Dacians, we believe that it is not wrong to affirm that one may regard in it a substantial contribution from the group Cip|u AGîrle@.


2. Pieces of metal


These are few in the cemetery No 1 at Bratei. There are pieces made of iron, silver, and bronze. Objects of iron include farming implements, handicraft utensils and other tools, one weapon, Afusaiol@-s, fibulae, clasps, etc. One entire plough-share and a fragment was also found; they are of the type of the provincial Roman style of Pannonia. Sickles are of the type found among the free Dacians as well as in the Roman world. Of some joiners tools, one is known from the material remains of the free Dacians, the rest from the Roman Empire. Of the awls, one variant, of Roman origin, as well as most of the fusaiol-s are also found in the Sântana de MureŐ culture. Only 19 fibulae were found at Bratei. All are of the type Awith the leg inverted below@; most of them have counterparts in the Sântana de MureŐ culture or in the territory of present day Hungary. The same is true about 8 clasps of iron.


3. Objects of glass


All objects of glass were imported; they are quite numerous. There are vases, bracelets and pearls. The vases are of several types, most of which have counterparts in Western Europe, in the Sântana de MureŐ culture and/or in the territory of present day Hungary. One of the centres of production of these vases was Cologne, but they were also made in Pannonia; those found at Bratei were most probably imported from that province. Pearls are also of several types, and almost all have counterparts in the Sântana de MureŐ culture and/or in Hungary (from the Hunnish period). Certain types were widespread in Europe, and are characteristic of the Abarbarian@ world of the 4th century (Bârzu Cemet p. 72).


4. Objects made of bones; tiles and bricks


These are mostly combs varying in size from 5.2 x 5.2 cm to about 10 x 8 cm. ACombs of this kind are characteristic of some late Roman settlements and cemeteries and particularly of the area of the Sântana de MureŐ-Cerneahov culture@ (p. 74). The number of tiles and of bricks is quite high. They are made of a very rough paste and are bulky. AThese tiles are different from the classical Roman tiles by the quality of the paste, the burning as well as by the bulkiness@ (p. 75). Ligia Bârzu assumes that their presence in this cemetery indicates the existence of an older settlement in the vicinity, from which those who used the cemetery took the tiles.


(End of the detailed report on the Bratei cemetery; the description of the other cemeteries continues.)


Cluj (Hung. Kolozsvár, German Klausenburg)


Roman sarcophags were re-used; material remains are scarce, but a Christian symbol (a plain cross), nails, and a pair of ear-rings indicate that these tombs date from the period after the Roman era.

In the territory of former Napoca and in present day M|ntur, 3 km from the centre of the town, a total of 26 Roman coins from the period after the Roman domination in Dacia (up to the end of the 4th century) were found.


Iernut (Hung. Radnót):


Not far from the place of a villa rustica, about 12 urns of cremation were found in 1961 during work on a thermo-electric power station. Only one tomb could be saved, the others were destroyed during the work. The urn preserved from this tomb, now in the Museum of Archaeology in Cluj, is described as follows:

Made on a wheel, of red-yellowish paste, with a rounded rim and a supporting




Period (centuryAD)










2nd 2 of 3rd, and 4th






Sântana de MureŐ; free Dacians ARoman provincial cultural influences@




2nd 2 of 3rd




95 tombs


free Dacians, Apowerful Roman influence@








5 tombs of inhumation


Dacians and ADaco-Iazyges@










Aof other ethnic character@




end of 3rd - 4th century






free Dacians




end of 3rd




1 urn of cremation






4th century




1 tomb of inhumation


Sântana de MureŐ or Daco-Carps




2nd 2 of 3rd




1 urn of cremation


free Dacians


Table 9. Settlements and cemeteries where archaeological remains of free Dacians and other non-Roman populations, who migrated to the territory of former Dacia Traiana after 250B275 AD, were found. (On the basis of D. Protase, Problema continuitii în Dacia în lumina arheologiei Ői numismaticii, 1966, pp. 104B132.)


ring on its base, the urn preserved is a pot without handles, which in shape,

colour, and paste technique, continues the series of the red Roman pots from the time of the province, and has close analogies in the cemetery at Soporul de Cîmpie. [...] A certain degeneration in the making of the paste, as compared to the red Roman provincial pottery, may be observed in the case of the urn from Iernut.


LechinŰa de MureŐ (Maroslekence):


A tomb from around 300 AD:


The urn, made beyond doubt in the Roman pottery-workshops at CristeŐti, contained cremated human bones and a silver fibula with the head made of a semicircular plate, and the leg inverted below. Analogous to some samples from the Gothic inhumation cemetery at Sântana de MureŐ, it represents one of the earliest of this type of fibulae. [...] The funeral rite and the style of the urn are clearly Roman provincial, which shows that the deceased belonged to a community of Daco-Roman population, in spite of the Gothic fibula, which came from the east.


Moigrad (Mojgrád):


Before the First World War, in the territory of the Roman municipium [...] among the ruins of a Roman building equipped with a hypocaust, A. Buday discovered 17 tombs of inhumation, of which 6 were boxes of bricks connected by mortar and 11 without a sarcophag, the deceased having been laid down directly in the cavity. The tombs, most of which were plundered and scattered, did not contain any objects. [...] The assumption that they date from the period after the retreat by Aurelian which is supported only by the fact they were found among the ruins of a building from the 2nd or the 3rd century, encounters real and multiple difficulties.


ProŐtea Mic| (KisekemezĹ)


A tomb with the skeleton of a man was discovered there in 1958. The pottery found in this tomb is described as follows:

...fragments of vases made by wheel, of fine or porous paste and well-burned; of red-yellowish or dark-grey colour. Among the fragments of vases there is also a rim which, as suggested by its form, seems to originate from a grey fruit-dish, of the kind known from the settlements of Roman Dacia.

According to the coin of Philip the Arab, the tomb is from the second half of the 3rd century AD, but according to the fibula, it must date from around 300. The contention that the deceased belonged to a community of Daco-Romans, as indicated by the pottery, whose forms and techniques strongly resembled the Roman forms and techniques, appears entirely justified.


S|reni (Sóvárad):


Two tombs of cremation, which date beyond doubt from a period when the Roman camp was abandoned, possibly the second half of the 3rd century or more probably the first half of the 4th. These tombs, as suggested


by the funeral rites and the vase made by hand, may belong to some elements of the Romanized provincial population, who stayed on in the eastern part of Dacia, abandoned by the Romans.


Sfântu Gheorghe (Sepsiszentgyörgy):


On a hill called AEprestetĹ@, on the eastern shore of the Olt, two tombs, one of cremation and the other of inhumation, were discovered in 1959. This type of tomb of cremation was usual in Dacia Romana, being found also at Apulum, Porolissum, MoreŐti, SebeŐ, and CinciŐ. The cemetery at Bratei, from the 4th century (see above), is of the same type. It is not found in areas which remained extra provinciam.


Because of this, we consider the tomb at AEprestetĹ@ to have belonged to a Daco-Roman, a supposition supported also by the style of the earthenware.


It is uncertain whether this tomb is really from the period after the abandonment of the province by the Romans:


If the fragment of the grey, polished vase, with a net-pattern, really belonged to the inventary of the tomb, then this must be dated to the end of the 3rd century or, more probably, to the first half of the following century, in any case, after the retreat of the Romans from this region.


Soporul de Câmpie (MezĹszopor):


Three urns of cremation were discovered in the territory of this village in 1960, but only one of them was preserved (without its contents), the others were destroyed and lost.


The urn which was recovered, 0.34 m high, without handles, was made on a wheel, of fine, hard and resistent paste, without a metallic polishing. In the Daco-Roman cemetery (2nd to 3rd centuries) discovered at ACuntenit@, this kind of pot is not found. According to its form and style, which shows strong reminiscenses of the Roman provincial pottery, the urn may date from the end of the 3rd century AD, after the official abandonment of the province. [...] The funeral rite of cremation and the style of the urn suggest that those buried here were Daco-Romans.





It seems that Dacia Traiana did not take part in the large-scale spread of Christianity during the 3rd century, which characterized the Balkan provinces and also Gallia, Britannia, and the Iberian peninsula. (In the western Asian and northern African territories of the Roman Empire, the new religion had been propagated effectively already before 200 AD.) Discussing the causes of this, Protase stresses the importance of the fact that the socio-economic structure of Dacia Traiana was different from that of other Roman provinces; it was closer to the Abarbarian@ form of life in free Dacia than to a system of a Roman community. Other factors, according to Protase, may have been the stronger supervision exercised by the authorities in this remote province as compared to other regions, and also the interruption of contacts with Asia Minor in the mid-second century.

Protase considers that the significance of the objects of Christian character from the 4th century is that they can be used as a Atestimony of the theory that a numerous Roman population existed in Dacia after Aurelian.@ In IR 1960, the fact is pointed out that, in the 4th century, Christian communities appeared along the Danube and that dioceses were founded in the Danubian provinces: in Marcianopolis, Naissus, Sirmium, Siscia, Durostorum, Tomis, etc. The gains of territory north of the lower Danube in the 4th century, during the reign of Constantine the Great are said to have made the propagation of Christianity in the regions north of the lower Danube possible.

Protase described ten objects of Christian use. Some more important data about these are given in table 10. (Protase omits objects found along the Danube, which may have been imported there during the years of domination by the Empire and are therefore not relevant in this context.)

The style of these objects is similar to those made in the period in question in Italy, northern Africa, the Balkan provinces and Pannonia; they were, Afar from











































being local products@, imported from some of these provinces.

Protase assumed, as other Rumanian archaeologists, that the owners of these objects were ADaco-Romans@. Other authors, e.g., A. Alföldi, considered that they belonged to the Goths or, as F. Lot, did not attribute any importance to them.



Protase gives the following arguments in favour of his opinion:

(1) All objects of Christian use f rom the 4th century were found in the territory of the former province of Dacia Traiana. It is true that two inscriptions were found also in Slovakia, but only one of these can be accepted as having been Christian, and they Abelong to Pannonia Romana, from where they may have been imported to Slovakia in a late period.@ Three objects of Christian character were found on the Great Hungarian Plain, but


...they are objects of precious metal and may have reached the places in question from the region of the Danube in Pannonia either as a result of the offensive of Constantine the Great or in connection with a possible Roman occupation of some areas on the northern side of the river during the same period.

(2) Without exceptions, the Christian relics from post-Roman Dacia were discovered in large urban centres (Apulum, Napoca, Potaissa, Ampelum) or rural settlements (Biertan) during the times of the Roman occupation in Dacia. On the other hand, they are (with the exception of the lamp from Dej) grouped in the central and in the southwestern parts of intra-Carpathic Dacia [...] where Roman life, in all its manifestations, reached the greatest development in the era of the province, and where no Gothic archaeological complexes from the period after the abandonment by Aurelian were found so far. On the other hand, unequivocally Christian objects are totally absent from the eastern parts of Transylvania, north of the Tîrnava Mare and in the upper valleys of the Olt and the MureŐ, where archaeological remains of the Goths are more frequent.

The vestiges of Christianity from the territories of the old province can in no case belong to the newly arrived Goths, and the assumption that they were left by some elements who came later from the Empire is plainly contradicted by the fact that they were discovered in former Roman towns and rural settlements. The only reasonable conclusion is that they belonged to some communities of Daco-Roman population which remained in their territories atfer 271 and which, by their Roman provincial life style constituted a favourable medium for the propagation of the new religion in Latin shape in a simple, popular form, without any higher ecclesiastic organization.





As in the case of the objects of Christian use, Protase excludes from the discussion coins found along the Danube (in the Banat and in Oltenia) since these territories were for some periods also after 271 AD occupied by the Empire.

The circulation of coins between 271 and 450 AD was subject to considerable fluctuation, by which three periods may be distinguished:

(1) 271-305 AD. The number of coins is very low, in absolute numbers as well as compared to the period of Roman domination. According to Preda, 60 finds were made in entire Rumania, i.e., about 17 finds for each decade of the period. The total number of coins from this period is somewhat more than 100. Two thirds of the finds were made in the area of the former Roman province and one third in areas which remained extra provinciam.

(2) 306-392 AD. The circulation of Roman coins increases sharply. Most finds are from the period of Constantine the Great, who occupied an area north of the lower Danube (cf. above, p. 154). Most of the coins were made in Siscia and in Sirmium. From this period, which ends with the Hunnish invasion, almost 300 isolated bronze coins were found in Transylvania. Ten hoards of coins, which were either entirely accumulated during this period or whose accumulation ends in this period were found in Transylvania, 19 in the Banat, and 2 in Oltenia. The total number of discoveries from this period is, according to Preda, Aabout 200" approximately 26 for each decade.

(3) 393-450 AD. The number of coins is much lower than it was during most of the 4th century. The proportion of gold coins increased. Thus, in Transylvania, at least 11 isolated gold coins, 11 isolated bronze coins, and about 30 gold coins in hoards were found. In the Banat, the number of gold coins is about 5, that of bronze only small and there are an unspecified, low number of gold coins in hoards. In Oltenia, about 40 isolated bronze coins, no gold, and about 480 bronze coins in hoards were discovered. However, the finds from Oltenia are almost exclusively from the surroundings of Sucidava and belonged to the soldiers of the Roman garrison stationed there.

The gold coins are considered to have been owned by the peoples who dominated the country B the Goths, the Gepidae, the Huns B representing tribute paid to them by the Roman or the Byzantine Empire. In the following, the circumstances will be summarized which, according to Protase,


...may be used as valid arguments in favour of the continued existence, in the territories north of the Danube and in the interior of the arch of the Carpathian mountains, of the Daco-Roman peoples, who always maintained monetary commercial contacts with the Romano-Byzantine world.


(1) The coins were found throughout a large territory and not restricted to some areas with one particular population: Athe attribution of the coins to a population which did not occupy the entire territory of the former province is a priori excluded.@

(2) In general, the Goths did not put bronze coins in their tombs, although a few such cases are known, for example, at Cerneahov. Several hoards of gold and silver (but no bronze) coins were found among the material remains of the Goths.


The bronze coins with a small, almost negligible intrinsic value, were used in the first place by the autochthonous population, accustomed from earlier times to the advantages of a commerce based on an exact monetary system, and to a lesser extent by the Goths, who appreciated not the coins as such but the precious metal it contained.


(3) The coins were mainly found in the vicinity of Roman camps, urban centres, rural settlements, or in places where vestiges from the Romans were found, or in settlements and cemeteries of the autochthonous population founded at the end of the 3rd century or in the 4th century. However, on the same page, Protase states that Alate Roman coins found in places where no kinds of remains from the 2nd and the 3rd centuries or from the following period are mentioned in the literature, are numerous.@ This may, according to Protase, in many cases be explained by our lack of knowledge of such remains because of lack of archaeological investigations in the places in question.


(4) Regarding the hoards of coins hidden in the 4th century, it has been pointed out rightly that there are some among these which by their particular composition may contribute the the solution of the problem of Daco-Roman continuity in Dacia.These are the hoards which IN A CERTAIN PROPORTION comprise silver and bronze coins also from the times after Aurelian. In fact, IF we exclude the import of these hoards from the Empire to the Daco-Roman territories and IF we do not take some reservations regarding their INTEGRITY or the UNITY of some of them into account, we have a group of hoards with a probatory value for Daco-Roman continuity. We talk about the generally known hoards of coins from Hunedoara, Pasul Vîlcan, Reghin (?), NireŐ, OrŐova, and Borlova.


These hoards contain mostly denarii from the 1st to the 3rd centuries and, after a gap, a few coins of bronze from the first half of the 4th century.


The successive owners of such monetary estates, transmitted from generation to generation within the same family or population, could not have been others than the autochthonous elements, people who lived in Dacia Romana and remained in their settlements after the abandonment by Aurelian.


To another group of hoards belong those which were accumulated exclusively during the 4th century and contain mostly bronze (and a few silver) coins.


It must be admitted that these, either because they are small, (Bran-Z|rneŐti, Sarmizegetusa, Ungurei, etc.), or because they were buried in places where no traces of Goths, Iazyges, or of Romano-Byzantine domination were shown, also belonged to the autochthonous population. The hoard which contains 15 pieces of bronze found at Cip|u in a hut which belonged to the settlement of the free Dacians who came from the west of the country confirms in general the view that the small hoards represent monetary collections of the autochthonous population.


The total volume of the monetary circulation does not seem to have been sufficient to satisfy the needs of the economy and it must be assumed that exchange in natura was used extensively in the entire period between 271 and 450 AD.



Two objects from the the 4th century AD with Latin inscriptions were found in Transylvania:

(1) An ex voto, made of a tabula ansata of bronze, with the inscription in three lines:




(Ego, Zenovius, votum posui ´I, Zenovius, have placed [this] present´), and a disc of bronze with the monogram of Jesus Christ (X + P). It was found in 1775 in the woods and fields, about 3 miles from Biertan, nearMediaŐ (Hung. Medgyes), together with fragments of a jar and a tureen of bronze. Made in the Roman Empire, these objects probably belonged originally to a bronze chandelier from an altar. The significance of this find is, according to C. Daicoviciu, as follows:


This Donarium cannot have been placed in Biertan for any other reason than the existence there of a Christian community around the sanctuary of a Christian cult place. Who were these Christians, is a question which must be discussed in more detail. In the first place, the Latin language used in the votive inscription gives us an answer sufficient in itself: the believers spoke Latin, i.e., [they are] ROMANS or ROMANIZED people. But these could not, in the heart of Transylvania, have been other than the Daco-Roman population who stayed on in spite of the order of retreat given by Aurelian.

Even if we would admit (in excessive prudence), that a Gothic Christian community existed at Biertan, we ask why Zenovius wrote the inscription in Latin and not in Greek, if he was a missionary from the Orient, or in the Gothic language, if he was a local Goth? The answer is easy to give: because he either was a Daco-Roman himself, or because he addressed himself to his believers in a language which they knew and spoke. These believers, even if they were Goths or only Goths (chiar dac| erau goŰi sau numai goŰi) could, however, know this language only from their subjects living in the region of Biertan.This also leads us to the only valid historical conclusion: the admission of the existence of a Daco-Roman population speaking Latin, which adhered to the Christian faith in Dacia Superior after Aurelian.


In Istoria României. Compendiu, 1974, these ideas are presented again:


...settlements and cemeteries of the Daco-Roman tradition, from the 4thB6th centuries AD, for example Bratei, Biertan, etc. These are rural settlements of a population of farmers who used pottery of Roman provincial or Dacian tradition, bread ovens, Romano-Byzantine coins and the Latin language. In this context, the bronze inscription from Biertan is very important which, besides the monogram XP, shows the Latin text EGO ZENOVIVS VOTVM POSVI. We conclude from this that at Biertan, not far from MediaŐ, a Christian community was constituted in the 4th century, using the Latin language, to which a person called Zenovius gave a chandelier with his name.


In Ancient Civilization of Romania, by E. Condurachi & C. Daicoviciu, 1971, (p. 179), the following may be read about the Donarium:

We now have a whole series of remains bearing witness to the continued existence of a population of Daco-Roman stock throughout the whole of the former province of Dacia Traiana. [...] ...only a Daco-Roman population could have produced the various objects of Christian use which are dated to the same century B for example the lucernae or, even more strikingly, an ex-voto (Plate 123) bearing the monogram of Christ and the inscription ego Zenovius votum posui.


(2) The arch of a silver fibula, later changed to a ring, discovered in 1865 in the MureŐ valley at VeŰel, west of Alba Iulia (Hung. Gyulafehérvár). It shows the inscription: QUARTINE VIVAS; it does not contain Christian features.




E. The Rumanian language




The appearance of the Rumanian Linguistic Atlas in the 1930s seemed to have provided linguistic evidence of the preservation of the Latin language in some regions north of the lower Danube. PuŐcariu argued that the presence of Latin forms in the Transylvanian Alps imply the survival of a Latin-speaking population:


...si nous considérons la carte de l´ancienne Dacie trajane ... nous voyons que la région où les établissements romains étaient plus denses, et par conséquent la romanisation plus intense, coïncident avec la région où les mots d´origine latin se sont le mieux conservés.


This theory has been accepted also by several other European scholars. E. Gamillscheg believed that two areas in Rumania might be considered core areas, AKerngebiet@-s of a Romance population: (a) a small strip of territory along the lower Danube, and (b) the region of the MunŰii Apuseni in western Transylvania. The consideration which led to the hypothesis of the MunŰii Apuseni as a Kerngebiet may be summarized as follows:

The Rumanian sub-dialect spoken there pronounces sclab instead of slab, scloat|, scloi, sclov|, sclug|, etc. instead of sloat|, sloi, slov|, slug|, etc. It is known that in certain areas of Vulgar Latin, k was put between s and l.


Wenn nun heute für das allgemein rumänische slab hier sklab(ß) gesprochen wird, dann bricht in dieser Aussprache das altlateinische Lautsystem mit der gleichen Stärke durch wie im 5. Jahrhundert auf dem Boden Südfrankreichs oder Oberitaliens.


Moreover, rinichiu ´kidney´ in Muntenia corresponds to the form r|runchiu in other parts of Rumania (also in the region of the MunŰii Apuseni). The origin of these two forms goes back to the period of the Roman Empire: reniculus was said in Gascogne, in Sardinia, and in the south of the Roman Empire, while renunculus was preferred in northern France, in the provinces of Raetia, Noricum, and part of the Balkan peninsula. This suggests that the Rumanian population originated from at least two areas, one connected with the south and another situated within the area of renunculus.

According to Gamillscheg, the hypothesis of the MunŰii Apuseni as an ancient dialectal area is strengthened by two names of rivers and two placenames of directly Roman origin in this region: Ampoi and CriŐ (rivers), and Abrud and Turda (placenames). The placenames in the valleys of the ArieŐ and the Ampoi indicate that 110 villages were founded by Hungarians, 87 by Rumanians, and 32 by Slavs. On the other hand, out of 17 names of mountains in the same region, only 4 are Hungarian, 13 are Rumanian, and none is Slavic. This would suggest that the mountains there were populated by Rumanians before the Slavs and the Hungarians settled in that region. To all this, Gamillscheg adds, with some reservation (Awenn auch seine Angaben durchaus nicht als einwandfreie historische Zeugnisse gelten können@), the text of Anonymus about a certain Gelu, a AVlachA, who is said to have been living in this region at the beginning of the 10th century. (The narrative of Anonymus is discussed above, p. 156, and below, p. 215B219).

The theory of an ancient Rumanian Core Area (Kerngebiet) in western Transylvania, put forward by Sextil PuŐcariu in the 1930s, was referred to in 1975 by Giurescu & Giurescu:


[the Rumanian Linguistic Atlas shows] ...the presence of some terms of Latin origin, such as for example nea, pedestru, and june only in the westen parts of Transylvania, from MaramureŐ and CriŐana to the Banat, which do not appear in the rest of the Carpatho-Danubian region. This would not be possible if the Ancient Rumanians (str|românii) would have come from the Balkan peninsula. This was revealed and stressed by the Rumanian linguists Sextil PuŐcariu and Emil Petrovici, as well as by foreign linguists. One of these, the Romanist K. Jaberg, showed that the map of the cited Atlas Aspeak a clear language: how could the Latin elements be preserved particularly well in the northwest of Rumania if the Rumanians would have come from Moesia?@ And another leading Romanist, Ernst Gamillscheg, stated B also on the basis of the maps mentioned above B that one of the centres of formation of the Rumanian people was exactly the region of the Apuseni mountains, from where the three rivers with such a characteristic Romance name as CriŐ, spring.





The main linguistic argument for the theory of continuity is that based on data revealed by the Rumanian Lingustic Atlas in the 1930s. Other arguments based on language are as follows:


a) Rumanian religious terminology


Linguistics shows that in the territory of former Dacia Romana, the bearer of Christianity was the Latin language. In fact, in Rumanian, the basic terms of the Christian doctrine are clearly of Latin origin: cruce, dumnezeu, creŐtin, înger, etc. derive from Latin.

Of most significance in this respect is the term biseric|. Only in the Rumanian language (and in Rhetoromance!) was this Latin word (from basilica) preserved, in the other Romance languages (French, Italian, etc.) the derivations of the Greek term ecclesia are used (in French, église, in Italian, chiesa). The explanation of this phenomenon is provided by the fact that in the 4th century, when the term basilica was replaced by ecclesia, the Daco-Romans no longer belonged to the Empire. If our Daco-Roman ancestors lived south of the Danube, in the Empire, that innovation would have penetrated also into the Rumanian language and the notion of ´church´ would also here have been expressed by a word derived from Greek ecclesia (as happened, for example, in the case of the Albanians, in the Balkan peninsula, who have the term ´qeshë´.


In the third (1974) edition of IR Compendiu, the idea that early Christianity was spread in the former province of Dacia Traiana in the Latin language appears again (p. 77), but the passage about the word biseric| is omitted.


b) A theory based on the Slavic influence


Emil Petrovici presented a theory summarized by IR 1960 as follows:

The treatment of št, ń d, (Rumanian Őt, jd) of the Common Slavic (slava comun|) groups *tj, (*kt´), *dj, the rendition of the Common Slavic vowels * , *, *X, *\ by în, ea, (a), o, e is found also in the Slavic placenames of Dacia, while these reflexes are not present to the west of a line corresponding to the present day frontier between Bulgaria and Yougoslavia, where the corresponding reflexes are …, k´, ƒ, dń,  , d, u, (< * ), e, (je, i) (< *), |, (> a) (< *X, *\). This fact is of decisive importance in establishing the territory in which the Rumanian language was formed.


It is claimed that this proves that Athe oldest and most numerous@ (cele mai vechi Ői cele mai numeroase) Slavic elements of Rumanian could only have been borrowed from the Slavs who lived east of the present day frontier between Bulgaria and Serbia, and north of the highest peaks of the Haemus mountains.

Petrovici remarks that this hypothesis is corroborated by the fact that the Greek language has a Slavic word (blacqi) to denote the Vlachs, which indicates that Ain the early Middle Ages, South Slavs were living between the Greeks and the Rumanians.@


c) The time span of the South Slavic influence


It is obvious that the South Slavic impact upon Rumanian must be the result of a close symbiosis lasting several centuries. Which centuries, and if there were periods of particularly strong influence, etc. are important issues in Rumanian history.

The sound patterns of loanwords and other circumstances indicate that already Balkan Latin was exposed to a certain Slavic influence, beginning with the 6th century. The number of words of South Slavic origin in Common Rumanian was relatively low (only about 70), and the South Slavic influence on Northern Rumanian became most intense AFTER the 10th century. All these facts are described by Rosetti.

In contrast to this, Rumanian historians and archaeologists affirm that the Slavic influence on Rumanian ended much earlier:


With the retreat of the Bulgarian Empire to the south of the Danube, the Slavic element, which until then had been dominant, became secondary in the regions north of the Danube, and the Slavic population left in the territory of our country was, in a relatively short time, assimilated to the Proto-Rumanian (str|româneasc|) population.


Giurescu & Giurescu affirmed approximately the same: the Slavs were assimilated to the Rumanians between the 6th and the 10th centuries. Eugenia Zaharia asserted that the archaeological finds indicate the complete assimilation of the Slavs to the Daco-Romans in the entire territory of present day Rumania already in the 8th century.


d) The territory of the Slavo-Rumanian symbiosis


A crucial problem of the history of the Rumanian language is WHERE the tremendous South Slavic influence was exerted upon it. No serious linguist can deny that such influence was exerted south of the Danube, but if the theory of continuity is to be sustained, also north-Danubian areas must be assumed. Rosetti (ILR 1986, p. 265) formulated the following statement about this:


The contact between the Slavs and the Romanized population of the Danubian provinces took place north of the Danube as well as south of it. Those who deny the possibility of the existence of these connections north of the Danube (Friedwagner, ZRPh., LIV, 659; Mustaf…iev, Bulg. et Roum., 70 ff.; Skok, Sl., VIII, 624 ff.; [...], on the grounds that Dacia north of the Danube was a territory through which the migratory peoples passed and that the Romanized population could not remain in its old settlements, are making a mere assumption because, in fact, we have no direct information on the connections between the Romanized population and these peoples. For those who admit that the Rumanian language developed in a large territory of Roman colonization, the existence of contact between the Romanized population and the Slavs south of the Danube as well as north of it appears to be beyond doubt (cf. Popoviƒ, GSKS, 118.)

Dr|ganu, Rom. s. IXBXIV, 28 ff., as well as Jung, admit that the Romanized population was preserved in Dacia after Roman domination ceased. For the borrowings from Albanian, see Mladenov, B|lg.-alb. otnoš: Seliš…ev, Slav. nas. Vlach. Alb. and Jokl, Slavic., XIII, 281 and 609 [..].

E. Petrovici considers that the territory Ain which the victory of popular Latin over the Thracian language took place ... must be placed along the lower Danube, from the estuary of the Tisza to the sea. The Roman domination there lasted for at least 600 years.@ ÔiŐmariov, Lb. mold., 26B28, states that the military units and the provincials crossed the Danube to the south but considers that the poor classes of the population could not have wanted to leave Dacia.



Above, arguments based on the Rumanian language in favour of the theory of continuity were presented. In the following, the arguments put forward with the aim of defending this theory against objections based on the Rumanian language will be summarized.

a) The correspondences between Rumanian and Albanian


In IR 1960, this problem is summarized as follows:


We have seen that the presence in the Rumanian language of some words which Rumanian shares with Albanian has been interpreted by some scholars who are against continuity as an indication that the fatherland of the Rumanian people was somewhere in the Balkan peninsula, in the vicinity of the Albanians. This argument is not valid. These words in common do not show the sound pattern and the sense they should as a result of living together (convieŰuire). On the other hand, the Bulgarian linguist De…ev has rightly pointed out that in the case of a symbiosis between Rumanians and Albanians in the Balkan peninsula, the result ought to have been one common or [two] related languages (o limb| comun| sau înrudit|) and not two totally different ones. In reality, those few words which the Rumanian language shares with Albanian are not loanwords but were inherited by both languages from the ANCIENT INDO-EUROPEAN, CARPATHO-BALKANIC WORD STOCK.


In the chapter on linguistic arguments for the theory of continuity, the following is added:


Regarding the Albanian territory, Albanologists agree that it extended far towards the northeast. It must be noted that the ancient name of the most important town in the centre of the Balkan peninsula, Naissus, was mediated to the Slavs by an Albanian population, which changed it according to the sound laws of Albanian.


Daicoviciu, Petrovici, and Ôtefan (La formation du peuple Roumain et de sa langue, 1963) also restrict their discussion of this problem to the WORDS from the substratum, without mentioning the correspondences between Rumanian and Albanian in other respects. They conclude, referring to I.I. Russu, Limba traco-dacilor, 1967, p. 220, that these words


...constituent un bien commun que l´une et l´autre ont hérité de fond linguistique archaïque indoeuropéen (thrace, respectivement thraco-illyrien), propre à l´espace carpato-balkanique.


Rosetti, in Istoria limbii române, 1986, presents the AlbanoBRumanian correspondences in great detail. His conclusion regarding the territory of contact between the two populations is cautious:


It is not necessary to assume that the borrowing of the terms took place in the vicinity of Albanian. In spite of this, there are reasons to believe that the linguistic territory of the Albanians once extended beyond their present day territory towards the north (cf. above, p. 195 ff.) and that, consequently, the ancestors of the Albanians were neighbours of our ancestors.

The very close correspondences between Rumanian and Albanian would not contradict the theory of formation of the Rumanian language north of the Danube if it could be shown that the same language was spoken in antiquity in Macedonia, in Serbia, western Bulgaria, Oltenia and Transylvania.In that case, the ancestors of the Rumanians could have inherited the ancient, pre-Roman elements from this language north of the lower Danube. (We disregard here the similarities also regarding the Latin elements.) This hypothesis is based on the ancient Greek and Roman terms AThracian@ and AIllyrian@; there is also the term ADaco-Moesian@:


Au fait, les éléments communs au romain et à l´albanaise s´expliquent parfaitment par parenté génétique, par le voisinage et la réciprocité d´influence possible dans l´antiquité entre l´illyrien ou thrace, comme ancêtre de l´albanaise, et le daco-moesien, substrat du roumain.


This author (C. Poghirc) refers to the Balkan Linguistic Union and points out that the mutual influences among the Balkan languages must have been even greater during the first centuries AD than they are now. Finnish and Rumanian also have several words in common: Slavic words transferred to Finnish from Russian, and to Rumanian from Old Bulgarian. Poghirc argues that it would be unreasonable to conclude that Finns and Rumanians were neighbours as it is to assume that Albanians and Rumanians lived together.

Is there any material evidence in favour of the assumption of the same language in a very large territory: Thracian, Thraco-Dacian, Illyrian, Daco-Moesian, or a ACarpatho-Balkanic word stock@, as assumed by IR 1960? Unfortunately, very little is known about these ancient languages, which makes the answer to this question difficult. But Thracian and Dacian etymologies have been proposed for Rumanian words. Poghirc, in ILR 1969, pp. 329B335 and 355 considers that a Dacian etymology is possible in the following cases:


brusture ´common burdock´. Among other possibilities, the Dacian name of a plant ribobasta, peripobasta, peripomasta, (the name was preserved with an uncertain spelling), may come into question (cf. also Alb. brushtull(ë), above, p. 79).

mic ´small, little´ Aseems to be attested in ThracoBDacian@ in the placename Micia, in the name of a people Micenses, and in the personal names Miccos, Miccas, etc.

zîrn| ´black nightshade, Solanum nigrum´. The second half of the Dacian name pro-diarna may have had the meaning ´dark´. This word was connected with the Dacian placenames Dierna, Tierna, Zerna.

doin| ´elegiac song; doina´. Many etymologies have been proposed. A connection between this Rumanian word and Lithuanian daina, Lettish daina ´popular song´ is generally accepted by investigators of the Baltic languages. E. Fraenkel believed that doin| originated from Dacian.

This list of four words not only gives some examples of possible Dacian etymologies in Rumanian but contains ALL words for which such an etymology is discussed by Poghirc among words of unknown origin.

A Thracian etymology has been discussed, among other possibilities, in about twenty cases. Most of these are very uncertain, and there is no correspondence between the meanings of the proposed Rumanian words and that of the corresponding Thracian words. Many of these last mentioned words were preserved as placenames and their meaning is often unknown.

I.I. Russu has tried to compose a RumanianBThraco-Dacian glossary. The Thracian lexical elements were compiled from Greek and Latin texts; their meanings are either known with some probability or are assumed. Among the Rumanian words in this list, 11 probably originate from the substratum of Rumanian: balt| ´marsh´, brusture ´common burdock´, bucurie ´joy´, c|tun ´small village´, colib| ´hut´, copil ´child´, curpen ´tendril´, gard ´fence´, groap| ´cavity´, spânz ´hellebore´, Űap ´he-goat´.

In only one of these cases has the corresponding Thracian word a similar form: Rum. gard, Thracian Gordion (placename). The sense of this Thracian name is not known. Another Rumanian word of unknown etymology has been assumed to have a Thracian connection: Rum. mare ´great, large, big´, is similar to - maros, -merula in Thracian personal names; however, the sense of these is also unknown.

b) The relationship between Rumanian and Dalmatian


The fact that the Dalmatian language does not belong to the Balkan Linguistic Union is said to show that Athe Rumanian language was not formed near the Dalmatian@. Similarly, the differences between the two languages, for example those in the treatment of the Latin consonant groups gn, ct, and cs, are said to prove that the south-western part of Illyricum and Old Dalmatia had nothing to do with the formation of the Rumanian language. It is emphasized that Rumanian and Dalmatian were always separated from each other:


The Rumanian territory is isolated from the Dalmatian by an area occupied by the Slavic languages (Bulgarian, Serbo-Croatian, Macedonian, Slovenian) and Albanian. The isolation of the territories along the lower Danube does not, however, originate only from the period in which the Slavs migrated to the Balkan peninsula (the 7th century AD), but from the first years of Romanization of the regions along the lower Danube, starting during the reign of Augustus. [...]

Towards the west, Romanization affected very slightly the mountain region in which relatively few Latin inscriptions were discovered and in which non-Romanized Thracians and Illyrians prevailed, ancestors of the Albanians and, by Slavification, of the Serbo-Croatians. This large, weakly Romanized mountain region separated the two strongly Romanized narrow areas of the Balkan peninsula: the Danubian and the Dalmatian regions, the latter region having been connected to Italy by very intense navigation on the Adriatic Sea which went on in antiquity and during the Middle Ages. The intense Romanization of these two regions is attested by thousands of Latin inscriptions that have been discovered in Dalmatia, Dacia, and Moesia.


IR 1960 also contends that this intense Romanization along the lower Danube is indicated by the large number of Roman towns; about 40 are known to have existed between present day Belgrade and Tulcea on the shore of the Black Sea. In the 4th, 5th, and 6th centuries, eleven of these towns were residences of bishops: Singidunum, Margum, Viminacium, Aquae, Castra Martis, Ratiaria, Oescus, Novae, Abrittus, Appiaria, and Durostorum.






Old Germanic populations B in the first place, Goths and Gepidae B were living in several areas of present day Rumania for many centuries after the Roman domination. This is known from written records and from rich archaeological material characteristic of these peoples. On the basis of the theory of Daco-Roman continuity, one would expect some Old Germanic influence upon Northern Rumanian. It is therefore understandable that several authors have assumed an Old Germanic origin of many Rumanian words. Thus, Diculescu assumed that 16 words, 15 personal names, and 5 placenames derived from Old Germanic. It has been shown, however, that these etymologies are based on mere phonetic similarity.

According to M. Isbescu, there are ten Rumanian lexical elements of which Aa Germanic origin seems possible or at least more probable than the other etymologies which were proposed@: bâlc| ´jug; pitcher´, bulz ´chunk, lump; sawn log´, ciuf, ciof ´tuft of hair, shock´, nasture ´button´, rap|n ´scurf, scab´, str|nut ´star´, strugure ´grapes´ , targ| ´ barrow; litter´, tureci ´trousers´ , and zgudui ´to shake´. None of these etymologies is generally accepted and almost all were rejected by scholars who have investigated the problem.

Gamillscheg assumed that gard ´fence, enclosure, pilework´, was a loanword from Gepidic (gards; there is a similar word in Old Icelandic). This cannot be accepted, because the word also exists in Albanian (gardh) as well as in Old Slavic. The possibility that Rumanian gard is of Slavic origin cannot be excluded but Albanian gardh is not likely to have derived from Slavic because Old Slavic d corresponds to Albanian d, not dh. This word may derive from the substratum of Rumanian and may be related, on the Indo-European basis, with Lithuanian gardas, Gothic garps, etc.

The conclusion is given by Rosetti:


One may say that none of the proposed etymological relationships is valid; most of them are contradicted by a clear explanation of the Rumanian word from other languages. Because of this, those few words for which no other etymology has yet been proposed besides the Germanic, have little chance of belonging to this group of words.

The absence of Old Germanic elements in the Rumanian language is thus generally recognized. According to Daicoviciu, Petrovici & Ôtefan (La formation du peuple Roumain et de sa langue, 1963), this does not contradict the theory of continuity in Dacia, and the same opinion may be read in IR 1960.


Le caractère de la domination des peuplades germaniques sur la Dacie, leur nombre restreint, l´absence de toute vie commune de longue durée avec les Daco-Romans...


were not favourable for the penetration of Germanic elements into the Rumanian language. In IR 1960, it is also affirmed that AGermanic elements would have been transferred to Rumanian even in the case it had been formed in the Balkan peninsula.@

On the other hand, a ADaco-Roman@ element among the Gothic and Gepidic material remains in Transylvania is also asserted. Referring to IR 1960, p. 692, to investigations of Diculescu, Philippide, and Gamillscheg, Rosetti concludes:


The permanent habitation of the populations of Germanic language north of the Danube and their symbiosis with the local Romanized populations are, thus, well-proved facts.





Also the very close relationships between the Balkan languages (Greek, Albanian, Rumanian, Bulgarian, and Serbian) are in contradiction with the idea that the ancestors of the Rumanians lived as far away from the areas of these populations as present day Rumania. Explanations: a ACarpatho-Danubian language@, lively contacts between the Empire and the territories north of the lower Danube etc., were discussed above, p. 186. But also the idea itself of a Balkan Linguistic Union has been questioned (cf. above, p. 87). However, Rumanian authors in general accept the idea of Balkan Linguistics (cf., for example A. Rosetti´s volume entitled ´Balkan Linguistics´).







a) Placenames


ARumanian placenames which continue autochthonous antique names ... exist.@ Eighteen such names were assumed by Poghirc to belong to this type of place- names; of these, a geographic correspondence (besides the phonetic similarity) may exist in the following cases: Drencova, HîrŐova, Mehadia, Oltina, and B|roi. Drencova, in the Banat, is believed to continue Dric(c)a, mentioned by Iordanes and possibly a tributary of the Danube. Another river, a tributary of the Tisza, is Dregkwn or Drhkwn. HîrŐova is assumed to continue ancient Carsium in Dobrogea. Mehadia is assumed to originate from Latin Ad Mediam; although not from Latin medius but Aprobably from an autochthonous *Mehedia, Mehadia, with an intervocalic h not recorded by the Romans.@ Oltina in Dobrogea continues ancient Altina, and B|roi, ancient Birea, Beroe. (This question is discussed in more detail below, pp. 244.)

These hypotheses are not generally accepted, on the contrary, there is general consensus that no inherited Latin placenames exist in the toponymy of the territories north of the lower Danube. This is not, of course, favourable for the assumption of the persistence of a Roman population there until the arrival of the Slavs. However, several explanations have been offered:


If examined critically, also toponymy gives the same answer in favour of continuity and an argument can by no means be constructed against this continuity from the absence of placenames directly inherited from the Geto-Dacian or the Latin language. This is because, in the first place, although its documentary value cannot be denied, the probatory value of toponymy (as also that of personal names) is not absolute. The giving of names in the Middle Ages to people as well as to places, was subject to many conditions and factors. Very often, personal names and placenames are translated from one language to the other, and the original name does not always remain in use. In the second place, the fact should be remembered that in the entire Balkan peninsula, all placenames and names of small and large rivers and streams are non-Rumanian, with the exception of some cases, such as S|runa (Salonic), PeŐter(i), and Durmitor (mountains in Yougoslavia), etc. All these names, spread over a large territory and of relatively recent origin (with the exception of the important centre of S|runa) originate from the Vlach shepherds of the Peninsula and do not prove that the primitive fatherland of the Rumanian people was in the Balkan peninsula.

The fact that placenames of Slavic origin dominate in Rumania is explained as follows:

A valid explanation of this phenomenon in our country may be found in the temporary political, military, and social domination of the Slavic conquerors over former Dacia, as well as in the result of the Slavo-Rumanian symbiosis and of the bilingualism which was created. Because of these circumstances, the Slavic placenames were able to supersede the Latin, the indigenous population (btinaŐii) adopted them, either by abandoning, in part, the old Daco-Roman names or adjusting part of these to the Slavic sound pattern. This may have been the case particularly in regions in which the indigenous people at a certain time were not in the majority among the sedentary farmers.


Another possibility is mentioned by Rosetti:


The fact that the majority of Rumanian placenames north of the Danube are Slavic is explained by the fact that the very numerous Slavic population translated older names of villages, as Frumoasa into Dobra, Piatra into Kamenu, Repedea into BistriŰa, Cîmpulung into Dulgopol, etc. [Rosetti refers here to PuŐcariu, Capidan, and Iordan] and that the towns were founded BY FOREIGNERS, THUS, THE TOWNS ALONG THE NORTHERN FRONTIER OF ÚARA ROMÂNEASC{ WERE FOUNDED BY TEUTONIC EQUESTRIANS AND THE MARKET-PLACES OF MOLDAVIA HAVE A MIXED POPULATION (FOR EXAMPLE BAIA).


Also PuŐcariu wrote about the translation of Rumanian placenames by the Slavs, and, in Transylvania, by the Hungarians:


Le cas du fleuve BistriŰa est instructif. Son nom est d´origine slave, et il signifie ´rapide´, en roumain ´repede´. Mais Repede est auhjourd´hui encore le nom d´un des affluents de ce fleuve, dans la région montagneuse de son cours, et que ce nom a été traduit par des Slaves établis plus tard sur ses rives par l´équivalent Bistryca. Il est arrivé ensuite ce qu´on peut observer bien souvent chez nous et dans d´autres pays: la population ancienne accepte la nouvelle dénomination officielle donnée par les conquérants.


And in a note:


De même le nom du village de Dobroudja Camena n´est qu´une traduction slave, étendue aujourd´hui à la langue des Roumains, de l´ancien Petra , qui apparaît dans une inscription latine trouvée là-bas (C.T. Sauciuc: O inscripŰie latin| dans ´Analele Dobrogei´, XV (1934), pp. 93B112).@


Not all placenames based on Slavic lexical elements were given by Slavs. There are Rumanian derivatives of Slavic names: Cern|teŐti (cf. Old Slavic …rßnß), PleŐeni (cf. Old Slavic plš/) Awhich may have been given by the respective Rumanian population.@ Also placenames derived from personal names of Slavic origin may have been given by Rumanians: AIf a name of river, such as DîmboviŰa originates from a population which spoke the Old Bulgarian language, the placename Cr|eŐti (Tecuci), for example, does not permit the same explanation because it derives from a personal name (Craiu), from the name of the owner of the estate (Iordan, Rum. Top., 53).@

There are also placenames of Slavic origin given by Rumanians: for example Baia or Bivol, from words of Slavic origin borrowed by Rumanian. However, the number of placenames given by a Slavic population B such as for example Cobia (cf. Old Slavic kob/), Crasna (cf. Old Slavic kras/na) B|lgrad, BistriŰa, IalomiŰa, Ilfov, Prahova, Predeal, Râmnic, VlaŐca, Zlatna, etc. is extremely high in entire Rumania.


(b) River names


The following hypotheses have been presented concerning the names of the great rivers in Transylvania:


Linguistic research has established that the names of the rivers Olt, MureŐ, SomeŐ, etc. derive from the names used during the Roman period: Alutus, Maris, Samus. These names preserve vestiges indicating that they were used by the Slavs who settled in our country during the 6thB7th centuries, but do not show any traces of having passed through a Germanic medium (filier| germanic|). This fact shows that the Slavs did not learn these names from a Germanic population but from one which spoke Latin and which preserved the names of rivers used during the Roman domination.


In this passage, it is accepted that the names of these rivers were borrowed by a Rumanian population from the Slavs. However, also attempts at explaining these names without borrowing from Slavic or Hungarian have been made. The argumentation is based on certain sound changes: -si- > š and a > o (or, sometimes, u). Thus, ancient Marisia and Timisia would have changed, in Alate Daco-Moesian@, to Mureš and to Timiš, respectively; ancient Samus to Someš and Alutus to Olt. A difficulty is Tisia which, according to this hypothesis, would have changed to something like *Tiš (instead of Tisa). Poghirc, who put forward this theory, assumed that the -si- > š and the a > o (u) changes occurred in Alate Daco-Moesian@, between the 3rd and the 6th centuries. He explains the form of the Tisa by the possibility that the Aautochthonous population@ did not have the same sound on the place of -si- as in Marisia, Timisia, etc. The writing of this name (with tz) by Constantinus Porphyrogenitos in the 10th century is said to support this view.

In the 1968 edition of ILR (p. 288), Rosetti mentioned the explanation given by E. Petrovici in 1951of the toponymy of Slavic origin in Rumania:


The contradiction between the Romance character of the Rumanian language and the non-Romance B primarily Slavic, but also Hungarian, Cumanian and other B character of the old toponymy in the territory of the Rumanian language cannot be explained, I believe, other than by assuming the spread of the Romance (Rumanian) language in a territory where mainly Slavic was spoken (Petrovici, Lingv. R.P.R. [1951] 91.)


Rosetti commented upon this as follows: Awhich is not our opinion about the Slavo-Rumanian contacts and the explanation of the Slavic toponymy north of the Danube.@ He continues, however, with discussing certain regions, where, also according to Petrovici, Athe population that spoke Rumanian settled among a relatively sparse Slavic-speaking people.@ Also the hypothesis that Athe Rumanian element penetrated to southern Moldavia, coming from Transylvania, in the 11th and 12th centuries,@ is mentioned in this context. Regarding the toponyms of a Serbo-Croatian or Bulgarian sound pattern in Moldavia and Bucovina (e.g. Sl|nic), Rosetti considered that these Awere introduced in this area by the Rumanian population in Moldavia in the 13th century.@ All these reasonings, beginning with the quotation of Petrovici (1951), are omitted from the definitive (1986) edition of Rosetti´s Istoria limbii române.

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