Τρίτη, 28 Ιουνίου 2011

Who (and when) were called Vlachs for the first time

~ Για ελληνικά:

It is clear that in 146 BC (Conquest of the Greek areas by the Romans) the language enlatinization of these areas starts. However, the name ‘Vlachs’appears later and it is used by the "Byzantine authors" for bilingual Latin-Greek. Nevertheless, they identify themselves as ‘Armani’. 
Until the reign of Justinian, Latin language was predominant in Greek and the rest Balkan people. In the era of this Emperor (5th century), the majority of inhabitants in the Balkans was Greek, who spoke ‘Italian’ according Lydos and ‘Latin’according to Prokopius. Historians of that era do not mention the term Vlach. 
The words "τόρνα φράτερ = turn brother" are the first Vlach written words, although the researcher and author G. Exarchos believes that the first words were those of Prokopius in his work "Περί Χτισμάτων = About Buildings" where Latin words became hellenized (e.g. Bερεδάριος = postal employee, Latin word: Verdarius . Λεγεών = legion, Latin word: Legio and α lot of others.).
Historian Kedrinos was the first who referred to Aromanian written word (Bλάχοι Οδίτες = Aromanian ‘streeters’, 10th century). Of course, most writers consider as Aromanians (Vlachs) the enlatinized and Latin speaking people mostly of the Balkans. There was linguistic Latinization of Greek people of Macedonia, Epirus, Thrace, Thessaly, Rumeli (Central Greece) and Morea (Peloponnese). 
There was linguistic Latinization of the Illyrians, part of which descended to the south, in Greek areas. There was linguistic Latinization of Thracian tribes, namely Moesians and Dacians, part of which also descended to southern Greek territories. There was linguistic Latinization of Triballians, Dardanians, Sagoudats and Richins, people of the Balkan Peninsula (we do not know the languages they spoke before Latinization), part of which also descended to the south in Greek lands. It is sure that Latins, Franks, Celts and Lombards were established to Greek territories and became the ‘dough’ of the linguistic Latinization of populations of Greek lands. There was a linguistic Latinization of Turkish tribes and Patsinaks, part of which also descended to the south, in Greek lands. We do not know how big or small were these groups of other race and language people because no historical source indicates the population of these moving groups. 
All these small in number descended groups came to intermarriage with mountainous Arimani-Armani, the ruling class as a class of armed soldiers. They also came to more intermarriage with the people living in the plain areas of Greek lands. The groups which were established in the mountains got the language and the customs of Arimani-Armani, while those, who were established in the plains, got the Greek language and customs of native people. Of course, those above the Danube became Romanians, the Vlachs of Aimos became Bulgarians and the Vlachs of Dardania became Serbs, Slav Macedonians, and Albanians. 
All data presented so far (from Giorgos Exarchos’s book) and everything we know about language treasure, customs, rituals that take place in the annual cycle of life, weddings, deaths, etc, the wealth of musical themes and songs and folk tales of the Armani-Vlachs, lead us to the previous conclusion. 
That's why Armani-Vlachs, as Greeks, are not a particular ethnic group or particular anthropological type, and neither have a common and uniform language, as imagined by lexicographers and linguists. However, they keep, from the ancient years of ultimate past, specific features in their social life, since they have been the prime cattle-raising people in Greece and the wider Greek area. And, undoubtedly, mountain homelands were their ancestral homes from pre-Omer years and were not created after the descent of foreign speaking people of other races and groups during Roman Empire and Romance (later Byzantium). 
Giorgos Exarchos, in his book ‘Ellinovlachoi’ Volume I, Athens 2001 after a quote of rich bibliography on the subject, concludes: 
Western and northwestern mountainous region of Thessaly was first called Wallachia. The names Wallachia, Great Walachia, Wallachia in Greece, were established since 13th century and "mean" whole Thessaly, the limits of which concur with the borders of the medieval Land of the New Patra-Ipati, from the Corinthian Gulf to Grevena and from the Aegean Sea to Mountain Pindus. Small Wallachia was the name for the area containing Aetolia, part of Akarnania, Doris and Lokrida. Upper Wallachia was the name for the area containing Aspropotamos, part of Akarnania, Agrafa and Epirus. The above the Danube region of Dacia was named Great Wallachia and Wallachia in the 15th century, while the name Wallachia is sporadic for Thessaly in «post-Byzantine" years».So from the above the conclusion is: WE FISRT NOTE WALLACHIA AND VLACHS IN GREEK AREAS (13th) AND 2 CENTURIES LATER WE NOTE WALLACHIA AND VLACHS IN ROMANIAN AREAS (15th century). 
Whenever modern writers use the terms Wallachia and Vlachs, rarely or never interpret them and thus contribute to the perpetuation and expansion of confusion. How and why there was a ‘misuse of title’ and Dacians were called with the nickname ‘Vlachs of Thessaly’ is a fact that does not fit easy answers. The only thing that is certain and well known is the repetition of the same "phenomenon" in recent years, since Dacians (Vlachompogdans or Moldovlachs) named their state Romania and not ‘Ρουμανία‘, as Greeks call it, stealing the name of Romance (Ρωμανία), the name of the one thousand years eastern Roman Empire of New Rome (Constantinople). 
If someone poses the question what was the relationship of the Vlachs of Dacia with the Vlachs of Greece, then we need to answer him what Miklosits said: The Vlachs, who emerged in the 10th century around Aimos (Balkan mount range), came from the south, from Thessaly, their great homeland-Byzantine chronicles used this name (See Konstantinos Nikolaidis, etymological Dictionary of koutsovlach language, published by PD Sakellariou, Athens 1909, p. λβ’). 
Furthermore, we should remember the following: Until the year 1561 the official language of the State and Church in Moldova, was Slavic because the Christianization of the Romanians was performed by the Slavs, Cyril and Methodius and originally Bibles and other religious books were known there by translations from Greek language to Slavonic. The first serious attempt of introduction of the Romanian language at the church was taken under Greek deacon, named Koressius, who came from the Greek island Chios. Koressius traveled from Terkovisti, the ancient capital of Wallachia to Brasov of Transylvania, typed numerous religious books in Romanian language. 
The philhellenes and christian rulers, Matthew Basarabas and Basil Lupus (Vlach from Epirus) supported the movement tended to the elimination of the Slovakian in Church "(Dim. Economides, "The true Fanariots", newspaper ‘Estia’ 13/06/1997).

TIME Original text by John Tsiamitros, translation in English by him, too. The article was published on 2010-06-03 in newspaper ‘LAOS’, Veria

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