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Vlach

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Vlach

"Wallach" and "Oláh" redirect here. For other uses, see Wallach (disambiguation) and Oláh (disambiguation).


Vlach (/ˈvlɑːk/ or /ˈvlæk/) is a blanket term covering several modern Latin peoples descending from the Latinised population in Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe. English variations of the name include Wallachians, Walla, Wlachs, Wallachs, Vlahs, Olahs or Ulahs. Groups that have historically been called Vlachs include modern-day Romanians, Aromanians, Morlachs, Megleno-Romanians and Istro-Romanians. Since the creation of the Romanian state, the term in English has mostly been used for those living outside Romania.

The Vlachs did not become easily identifiable before the High Middle Ages by George Kedrenos in the 11th century, and their prehistory during the Migration period is considered by some historians a matter of scholarly speculation[1] but according to some linguists and scholars, the existence of the present Eastern Romance languages proves the survival of the Thraco-Romans in the low-Danube basin during the Migration period[2] and some say that the Vlachs living outside Romania are descendants of Romanized Illyrians.[3]

The term Vlach always was an exonym. All the Vlach groups used words derived from romanus to refer to themselves, such as Români, Rumâni, Rumâri, Aromâni, and Arumâni. The Istro-Romanians also have adopted the names Vlaşi, but still use Rumâni and Rumâri to refer to themselves. The Vlach languages, also called the Eastern Romance languages, have a common origin from the Proto-Romanian language. Over time, the Vlachs split into various Vlach groups and mixed with neighbouring populations of South Slavs, Greeks, Albanians, and others.

Almost all modern nations in central and south-eastern Europe; Hungary, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Greece and Bulgaria have native Vlach or Romanian minorities. In other countries, the native Vlach population has been completely assimilated into the Slavic population and ceased to exist. Only in Romania and Moldova have Romanian ethnic majorities today.

Etymology

Further information: Walhaz

The word Vlach is ultimately of Germanic origin, from the word Walha, "foreigner", "stranger", a name used by ancient Germanic peoples to refer to Romance-speaking and (Romanized) Celtic neighbours. In turn, Walha may have been derived from the name of a Celtic tribe which was known to the Romans as Volcae in the writings of Julius Caesar and to the Greeks as Ouólkai in texts by Strabo and Ptolemy.[4] As such, the term Vlach shares its history with several European ethnic names, including the Welsh and Walloons.[5]

From the Germanic peoples, the term passed to the Slavs and from these in turn to other peoples, such as the Hungarians ("oláh", referring to Vlachs, more specifically Romanians, "olasz", referring to Italians) and Byzantines ("Βλάχοι", "Vláhi"), and was used for all Latin people of the Balkans.[6] The Polish word for "Italian", Włoch (plural Włosi), has the same origin, as does the Slovenian, vaguely derogatory word "lach", also for Italians. The Italian-speaking region lying south of South Tyrol, now part of Italy with the name "Trentino", was known as Welsch tirol in the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Word usage

Language Form Meaning
Albanian Vllah (Vllah/Vllehët) Vlach
Albanian Coban (Choban/Choban) Shepherd / Use to live mainly from tending and rearing sheep
Arabic الأولاق/ (al-Awlâq/al-Awlâk) Direct Arabisation of Vlach sing. Al-Awlaqi
Greek Βλάχοι (Vlákhi/Vláhi) Shepherd (occasionally pejorative)/Romanian/Vlach
Bulgarian влах Romanian/Vlach
Bulgarian влах man from Wallachia
Czech Valach man from Wallachia
Czech Valach man from Valašsko (in Moravia)
Czech valach shepherd
Czech valach gelding (horse)
Czech valach lazy man
Czech Vlach Italian
Hungarian vlach/blach Vlach/Blach
Hungarian oláh Romanian/Vlach
Hungarian olasz Italian
Macedonian влав cattle breeder, shepherd
Polish Włoch Italian
Polish Włochy Italy
Polish Wołoch Romanian / Vlach
Old Russian волохъ man speaking a Romance language
Russian валах Vlach
Serbian влав, Влах, Vlah Vlach
Serbian Влах, Vlah man from Wallachia
Serbian (Užice dialect) Вла(х), Старовла(х) medieval nomadic people from Stari Vlah and Mala Vlaška
Croatian Vlah Istro-Romanian
Croatian (Dubrovnik dialect) Vlah man from Herzegovina (pejorative)
Croatian (western dialects) Vlah Italian (pejorative)
Croatian влах, vlah medieval nomadic cattle breeder
Croatian (dialects of Istria) vlah new settler (pejorative)
Croatian (Dalmatian dialects) vlah (vlaj) plebeian (pejorative)
Croatian (Dalmatian insular dialects) vlah man from the mainland (pejorative)
Croatian (western and northern dialects) vlah (vlaj) Orthodox Christian, usually Serb (pejorative)[7]
Bosnian vlah, влах non-Muslim living in Bosnia, usually Serb (pejorative)
Bosnian vlah Catholic (pejorative)
Slovak Valach man from Wallachia
Slovak Valach man from Valašsko (in Moravia)
Slovak valach shepherd
Slovak valach gelding (horse)
Slovak Vlach Italian
Slovene Lah Italian (pejorative)
Turkish Ulah Vlach
Western Slovenian dialects Lah Friulian
Ukrainian волох Romanian / Vlach, in Roman period local Ostrogoths denoted Celts by this name

Usage as autonym

The term was originally an exonym, as the Vlachs used various words derived from romanus to refer to themselves (români, rumâni, rumâri, aromâni, arumâni, armâni, etc.), but there are some exceptions:

  • the Aromanians of Greece, almost always use "Βλάχοι" (Vlachoi) rather than "Αρμάνοι" (Armanoi) in Greek-language contexts; in at least some communities (such as Livadhi Olympou), "vlachi" has completely replaced any "romanus"-based ethnonym (likewise for designation of the language), even when speaking in Vlach.
  • the Megleno-Romanians use exclusively the word Vlach (Vlashi) for auto-designation. The loss of the name derived from Romanus most likely concluded in the early 19th century.

History


The first record of a Balkan Romanic presence in the Byzantine period can be found in the writings of Procopius, in the 5th century, which mention forts with names such as Skeptekasas (Seven Houses), Burgulatu (Broad City), Loupofantana (Wolf's Well) and Gemellomountes (Twin Mountains). A Byzantine chronicle of 586 about an incursion against the Avars in the eastern Balkans may contain one of the earliest references to Vlachs. The account states that when the baggage carried by a mule slipped, the muleteer shouted, "Torna, torna, fratre!" ("Return, return, brother!"). However the account might just be a recording of one of the last appearances of Vulgar Latin. Florin Curta argued in his book that the Antes and Sclavenes could understand Latin.[8]

The Emperor Justinian I, during whose reign Procopius was writing, was a native Latin speaker and lamented the loss of Latin speech to Greek in his realm. He tried to reestablish the position of the Latin language with the legal compendia he ordered compiled; soon he was frustrated because they proved linguistically inaccessible to judges and lawyers alike, and grudgingly had his Novellae reissued in Greek.

Blachernae, the suburb of Constantinople, was named after a certain Duke from Scythia named "Blachernos". His name may be linked with the name "Blachs" (Vlachs).

The Armenian writer Moses Chorens, wrote in his book Geography, in the 7th century, about the Balak country. Initially, Chorens was wrongly considered by some Armenians as a 5th-century writer.

In the late 9th century, the Hungarians arrived in the Carpathian basin, where, according to the Gesta Hungarorum written around 1200 by the anonymous chancellor of King Bela III of Hungary, the province of Pannonia was inhabited by Slavs, Bulgars, Vlachs, and pastores Romanorum (shepherds of the Romans) (in original: sclauij, Bulgarij et Blachij, ac pastores romanorum). Between the 12th and 14th centuries they came under the Kingdom of Hungary, the Byzantine Empire and the Golden Horde.[9]

In 1185, two noble brothers from Tarnovo named Peter and Asen (their ethnicity is still disputed, some historians claim they were Vlachs, while others put forward different origins) led a Bulgarian and Vlach rebellion against Byzantine Greek rule and declared Tsar Peter II (also known as Theodore Peter) as king of the reborn state. The following year, the Byzantines were forced to recognize Bulgaria's independence and the Second Bulgarian Empire was established.

People


The Eastern Romance languages, sometimes known as the Vlach languages, are a group of Romance languages that developed in south-eastern Europe from the local eastern variant of Vulgar Latin. There is no official data from Balkan countries such as Greece, Bulgaria, Albania and Serbia.

  • Daco-Romanians (Romanians proper) c. 23,623,890,[10] speaking the Romanian language (Daco-Romanian), known by that name due to their location in the territory of ancient Dacia, who live in:
    • Romania – 16,869,816 (2011 Census)
    • Moldova – 2,815,000 (2004 Census)
    • Ukraine – 409,600; in southern Bessarabia northern Bukovina and between Nistrul and Bug rivers (2001 Census)
    • Serbia – 35,330 (2011 census)[11]
    • Hungary – 7,995 (2001 Census)
    • Bulgaria – 3,584 persons counted as Vlachs (may include Aromanians) and 891 as Romanians in 2011.[12]
  • Aromanians up to 500,000 (c. 250,000 speakers of Aromanian)[13] live in:
    • Greece – 50,000,[14] mainly in the Pindus Mountains (Greece, like France, does not recognise any ethnic divisions, so there are no statistics kept and the Aromanians of Greece self-identify as Greeks and are accepted as such by the other Greeks. See Demographics of Greece)
    • Albania – 100,000-to-200,000 [15][16]
    • Romania – 26,500 [17]
    • Macedonia – 20,000 [18]
  • Morlachs – in the 1991 Croatian census 22 people declared themselves Morlachs.

Territories with Vlach population


Besides the separation of some groups of Aromanians and Megleno-Romanians during the Age of Migration, many other Vlachs could be found all over the Balkans, as far north as Poland and as far west as Moravia (part of the modern Czech Republic), and the present-day Croatia where the Morlachs gradually disappeared, while the Catholic and Orthodox Vlachs took Croat and Serb national identity.[20] They reached these regions in search of better pastures, and were called "Wallachians" ("Vlasi; Valaši") by the Slavic peoples.

Statal Entities mentioned in Middle Ages chronicles :

  • Wallachia – between the Southern Carpathians and the Danube ("Ţara Românească" in Romanian Language ; "Bassarab-Wallachia": "Bassarab's Wallachia" and "Ungro-Wallachia" or "Wallachia Transalpina" in administrative sources ; "Istro-Vlachia": "Danubian Wallachia" in Byzantine sources ; "Velacia secunda" in Spanish maps) ;
  • Moldavia – between the Carpathians and the Nistru river ("Bogdano-Wallachia" - Bogdan's Wallachia, "Moldo-Wallachia", "Maurovlachia", "Black Wallachia", "Moldovlachia" or "Rousso-Vlachia" in Byzantine sources, "Bogdan Iflak" or even "Wallachia" in Polish sources, "L`otra Wallachia" – the "other Wallachia]" – in Genovese sources and "Velacia tertia" in Spanish maps) ;
  • Transylvania (or "Ardeal", "Transylvanian vlachs"[21] – between the Carpathians and the Hungarian plain, also "Wallachia interior" in administrative sources and "Velacia prima" in Spanish maps) ;
  • Bulgarian-Wallachian Empire between the Carpathians and the Balkan mountains ("Regnum Blachorum et Bulgarorum" in the documents and letters of Pope Innocent III).
  • Terra Prodnicorum or Terra Brodnici, mentioned by Pope Honorius III in 1222.They participated in 1223 at the Kalka battle, led by Ploskanea and supporting the Tatars. It was a Wallachian land near Galicia in the west, Volania in the north, Moldova in the south and Bolohoveni lands in the east. It was conquered by the Galician state.[22]
  • Bolokhoveni is an old Wallachian population spread between Kiev and Nistrul river in the Ukraine. Toponymy: Olohovets, Olshani, Voloschi, Vlodava. They were mentioned in the 11th to 13th centuries in the Slavonic chronicles. It was conquered by the Galician state [23]

Regions, places:

Genetics

In 2006, Bosch et al. attempted to analyze whether Vlachs are the descendants of Latinised Dacians, Illyrians, Thracians, Greeks, or a combination of these. No hypothesis could be proven because of the high degree of underlying genetic similarity of all the tested Balkan groups. The linguistic and cultural differences among various Balkan groups were thus deemed too weak to prevent significant gene flow among the above groups.[27]

Culture

Many Vlachs in mediaeval times were shepherds who drove their sheep through the mountains of south-eastern Europe. The Vlach shepherds reached as far as southern Poland and Moravia in the north by following the Carpathian range, the Dinaric Alps in the west, the Pindus mountains in the south, and the Caucasus Mountains in the east.[28]

In many of these areas, the descendants of the Vlachs have lost their language, but their legacy still exists in cultural influences, customs, folklore, the way of life of the mountain people and in the place names of Romanian or Aromanian origin that are spread throughout the region, though notably few places names in Transylvania are of Romanian origin. .

Another part of the Vlachs, especially those in the northern parts, in Romania and Moldova, were traditional farmers growing cereal crops. Linguists believe that the large vocabulary of Latin words related to agriculture shows that they have always been a farming Vlach population. Cultural links between the Northern Vlachs (Romanians) and Southern Vlachs (Aromanians) were broken by the 10th century, and since then there were different cultural influences:

  • Romanian culture was slightly influenced by neighbouring people such as Slavs and Hungarians. The 19th century saw an important opening toward Western Europe and cultural ties with France.
  • Aromanian culture developed initially as a pastoral culture, later to be greatly influenced by the Byzantine Greek culture.

Religion

The religion of the Vlachs is predominantly Eastern Orthodox Christianity, but in some regions they are Catholics and Protestants (mainly in Transylvania) and around 500 Megleno-Romanians from Greece who converted to Islam and have been living in Turkey since the 1923 exchange of populations. The Istro-Romanians are mainly Roman Catholic.

See also

Notes

References

  • Theodor Capidan, Aromânii, dialectul aromân. Studiul lingvistic ("Aromanians, Aromanian dialect, Linguistic Study"), Bucharest, 1932
  • Victor A. Friedman, "The Vlah Minority in Macedonia: Language, Identity, Dialectology, and Standardization" in Selected Papers in Slavic, Balkan, and Balkan Studies, ed. Juhani Nuoluoto, et al. Slavica Helsingiensa:21, Helsinki: University of Helsinki. 2001. 26-50. full text Though focussed on the Vlachs of Macedonia, has in-depth discussion of many topics, including the origins of the Vlachs, their status as a minority in various countries, their political use in various contexts, and so on.
  • Asterios I. Koukoudis, The Vlachs: Metropolis and Diaspora, 2003, ISBN 960-7760-86-7
  • George Murnu, Istoria românilor din Pind, Vlahia Mare 980–1259 ("History of the Romanians of the Pindus, Greater Vlachia, 980–1259"), Bucharest, 1913
  • Nikola Trifon, Les Aroumains, un peuple qui s'en va (Paris, 2005) ; Cincari, narod koji nestaje (Beograd, 2010)[1]
  • Steriu T. Hagigogu, "Romanus şi valachus sau Ce este romanus, roman, român, aromân, valah şi vlah", Bucharest, 1939

Further reading

  • Theodor Capidan, Aromânii, dialectul aromân. Studiul lingvistic ("Aromanians, Aromanian dialect, Linguistic Study"), Bucharest, 1932
  • Victor A. Friedman, "The Vlah Minority in Macedonia: Language, Identity, Dialectology, and Standardization" in Selected Papers in Slavic, Balkan, and Balkan Studies, ed. Juhani Nuoluoto, et al. Slavica Helsingiensa:21, Helsinki: University of Helsinki. 2001. 26-50. full text Though focussed on the Vlachs of Macedonia, has in-depth discussion of many topics, including the origins of the Vlachs, their status as a minority in various countries, their political use in various contexts, and so on.
  • Asterios I. Koukoudis, The Vlachs: Metropolis and Diaspora, 2003, ISBN 960-7760-86-7
  • George Murnu, Istoria românilor din Pind, Vlahia Mare 980–1259 ("History of the Romanians of the Pindus, Greater Vlachia, 980–1259"), Bucharest, 1913
  • Nikola Trifon, Les Aroumains, un peuple qui s'en va (Paris, 2005) ; Cincari, narod koji nestaje (Beograd, 2010)[2]
  • Steriu T. Hagigogu, "Romanus şi valachus sau Ce este romanus, roman, român, aromân, valah şi vlah", Bucharest, 1939

External links

  • The Vlach Connection and Further Reflections on Roman History
  • Orbis Latinus: Wallachians, Walloons, Welschen
  • Vlachs in Greece
  • French Vlachs Association (in Vlach, EN and FR)
  • Studies on the Vlachs, by Asterios Koukoudis
  • Aromanian Vlachs: The Vanishing Tribes
  • Panhellenic Confederacy of Vlachs' Cultural Associations (in Greek)
  • Vlachs' in Greece (in Greek)
  • Consiliul A Tinirlor Armanj, Youth Aromanian community and their Projects (in Vlach, EN and RO)
  • Vlach in Serbia, Online Since 1999 (in Vlach, EN and RO)
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