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Old 01-19-2022, 03:54 AM   #56
Soldier of Macedon
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Originally Posted by Carlin
Is this the time period of interest? Between 8th and 10th c.? As we discussed previously there is an 8th c. 'anachronistic' reference regarding the "Vlachs" in connection with 'the Vlachs of the Rynchos' river; the original document containing the information is from the Konstamonitou monastery. (I am not sure and don't remember when the manuscript was actually written.) Is there an 'anachronistic' 8th c. equivalent (or earlier) that mentions the Albanians in a similar manner?
Apparently, the manuscript is from the 17th century and was discovered by Uspensky in the 19th century. The monastery itself was founded in the middle of the 11th century and it has few documents prior to the Ottoman era (Kazhdan, 1991. p. 1110.). Not suggesting a connection, but Stephen III of Moldova provided financial support to that and other monasteries at Mount Athos in the 15th century (Sullivan, 2019. pp. 9, 11). Anyway, a late manuscript like that may mention Vlachs near some Macedonian river in the 8th or 9th century, but chroniclers from the time, like Theophanes and Nicephorus, do not. Similarly, Scylitzes may mention Vlachs between Kostur and Prespa in 976, but contemporaries of that period, like Leo the Deacon and John Geometres, do not. I would not discount anachronistic references entirely, but doubts about their validity are inevitable when sources from the period in question fail to corroborate some of the simplest of details. As for the Albanians, there are some references that may be considered anachronistic (Elsie, 2003. pp. 24, 80.), but they are not of a similar manner and cannot be taken seriously.
Regardless, there is no mention of "Vlachs" during this 3-century epoch, but that doesn't imply they were absent. They were Roman provincials, or inhabitants of Roman empire.
If there was a native Latin-speaking community that continued to live as provincials within the Roman Empire following the 7th century and were thus a familiar presence, is it not odd that Greek-speakers who lived among them would suddenly adopt a Germanic term (via the Slavonic variant) for these people, one that would not be recorded until the second half of the 11th century?
I believe it's been settled in favour of early eastern Romance, but I can't talk about Mauros, since there is no dialogue or words recorded that he used.
Fair enough, although I would posit that your belief appears to be based on a certain interpretation of the context and the presumption of continuity, not on the actual word itself, which has no peculiar quality that would distinguish it from Latin. Consequently, I do not find that position conclusive and if I had to guess, I would probably default to Latin given the word was still in use as a command in the army and the grey area preceding the transition to Eastern Romance.
According to Constantine Porphyrogenitus (via P. Komatina), the inhabitants of the Dyrrhachion Theme in the middle of the 10th century were Romans as well as those who inhabited Dalmatian cities.
Porphyrogenitus differentiates between the Romaious (i.e., Romans in general, citizens) and the Romanous (i.e., ancestrally from Rome, Latin). He states that incursions by the Avars and their allies forced the Romanous who were in the Dalmatian hinterland and elsewhere to flee for the coastal areas and Dyrrachium, where they were still living during his time. He also states that Dyrrachium (or Bar) may have been the southernmost point of Dalmatia at some point (DAI, 29-32.).
Why / how is Dalmatia a different story?
By dint of geographic proximity, the Latin-speaking people of Dalmatia were subject to the cultural influence of the Latin Church and Latin-speaking people from Italy. This contributed to the survival of their language, even though the territory they controlled was reduced to a handful of maritime city-states. The population who lived east of the Adriatic coast, aside from some who fell within the peripheral territories of the Frankish realm, did not benefit from the same circumstances. Most of the Balkans was subject to the cultural influence of Constantinople and it was not until the beginning of the 11th century, during the reign of Stephen of Hungary, that Latin would regain a formal presence in Dacia. Furthermore, although Dalmatian may share a few corresponding sound changes with Eastern Romance, they do not form a dialect continuum like that which still (loosely) exists in much of the Western Romance sphere.
In various regions of the Roman empire there probably existed different forms of "local Latin", and each developed in their own unique way, i.e. Gaul, Iberia, etc.
Whilst that may be true, the situation of Vulgar Latin as a primary spoken language changed drastically in the Early Middle Ages. In Britain, Anatolia and the Middle East, it disappeared. In western parts of North Africa, it continued to be spoken for a few more centuries, probably because the diminishing number of Christians still maintained ties with their counterparts in Iberia and the Latin Church on the one hand, and were distinct from the new dominant religion on the other. If you read into the history of those regions, there are various reasons why their respective situations turned out the way they did. When looking at the breadth of the Roman Empire in Europe, Latin largely survived in the Italian peninsula and the contiguous western regions that were once predominantly Celtic, in addition to some nearby territories and islands like those in Dalmatia, Sicily, etc. Comparatively, the case of the Vlachs is unique.
Gaulish was a Continental Celtic language, whereas Breton belongs to the Brittonic group. Supposedly, at some early point, all Celts must have spoken some form of 'common Celtic'. I feel that you should have compared, for example, "Gaulish" and "common Celtic" in order for it to be analogous.
Perhaps I should have been a bit clearer. What I had in mind with that analogy was Gaulish and Brittonic being equivalent to Vulgar Latin developing in two separate regions (the Balkans and let us say the Po Valley, just as an example), with the first one becoming extinct, and a branch of the second one migrating to the region of the first one a few centuries later, then developing into a daughter language (Breton/Vlach). The broader point was to demonstrate how two related languages spoken in the same area, at different times, does not necessarily mean that one descended directly from the other. There are similar examples.
But, I'll wait to hear your response about where exactly do the "Vlachs" come from?
Where exactly, I do not know, but in my subsequent post, I will provide some further thoughts.
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