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Post-Roman Daco-Romans

The Romanians are today the only descendants of the Eastern Roman stock; the Romanian language is one of the major heirs of the Latin language, together with French, Italian, Spanish; Romania is an oasis of Latinity in this part of Europe. The natives, be they of Roman or Daco-Roman descent, continued their uninterrupted existence as farmers and shepherds even after the withdrawal, under emperor Aurelian (270-275) of the Roman army and administration, which were moved south of the Danube. But the ancestors of the Romanians remained for several centuries in the political, economic, religious and cultural sphere of influence of the Roman Empire; after the empire split in 395 AD, they stayed in the sphere of the Byzantine Empire. They lived mostly in the old Roman hearts that had now decayed and survived in difficult circumstances under successive waves of migratory tribes.

At the time when the Daco-Roman ethno-cultural symbiosis was achieved and finalised in the 6-7th centuries by the formation of the Romanian people, in the 2-4th centuries, the Daco-Romans adopted Christianity in a Latin garb. Therefore, in the 6-7th centuries, when the formation process of the Romanian people was done, this nation emerged in history as a Christian one. This is why, unlike the neighboring nations, which have established dates of Christianization (the Bulgarians - 865, the Serbs - 874, the Poles-966, the eastern Slavs - 988, the Hungarians - the year 1000), the Romanians do not have a fixed date of Christianization, as they were the first Christian nation in the region.

In the 4-13th centuries the Romanian people had to face the waves of migrating peoples - the Getae, the Huns, the Gepidae, the Avars, the Slavs, the Petchenegs, the Cumanians, the Tartars - who crossed the Romanian territory. The migratory tribes controlled this space from the military and political points of view, delaying the economic and social development of the natives and the formation of local statehood entities.

The Slavs, who massively settled since the 7th century south of the Danube, split the compact mass of Romanians in the Carpathian-Danubian area: the ones to the north (the Daco-Romanians) were separated from the ones to the south, who were moved towards the west and Southeast of the Balkan Peninsula (Aromanians, Megleno-Romanians and Istro-Romanians).

The Slavs that settled north of the Danube were assimilated little by little by the Romanian people and their language left traces in the vocabulary and phonetics of the Romanian language. To the Romanian language, the Slavic language (similarly to the Germanic idiom of the Franks with the French people) was the so-called super-imposed layer. The Romanians belonged to the Orthodox religion so they adopted the Old Church Slavic as a cult language, and, beginning with the 14-16th centuries, as a chancery and culture language.

The Slavic language was never a living language, spoken by the people, on the territory of Romania; it played for Romanians, at a certain time during the Middle Ages, the same role that Latin played in the West; in the early modern age it was replaced for ever, in church, chancery and culture included, by the Romanian language.

Owing to their position, the Romanians south of the Danube were the first to be mentioned in historical sources (the 10th century), under the name of vlahi or blahi (Wallachians); this name shows they were speakers of a Romance language and that the non-Roman peoples around them recognised this fact. After the year 602, the Slavs massively settled south of the Danube and they established a powerful Bulgarian czardom in the 9th century; this, cut the tie between the Romanian world north of the Danube and the one south of the Danube. As they were subjected to all sorts of pressures and isolated from the powerful Romanian trunk north of the Danube, the number of Romanians south of the Danube continuously decreased, while their brothers north of the Danube, although living in extremely difficult circumstances, continued their historical evolution as a separate nation, the farthest one to the east among the descendants of Imperial Rome.

In fact the Romanians are the only ones who, through their very name - roman - (coming from the Latin word "Roman") - have preserved to this day in this part of Europe the seal of the ancestors, of their descent, that they have always been aware of. This will show later in the name of the nation state - Romania.

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Page last modified: 21-11-2011 17:29:49 ZULU