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Old 02-27-2016, 05:28 PM   #1
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Australia
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Default Origin of Romanian people and language

Romania, a name used by the Byzantines to describe the territory under their control, and, more particularly, by the Western powers to describe the Latin empire of Constantinople (1204 – 61). The name is derived from “Rome,” the Byzantine Empire being the successor to the Roman Empire. Romania is also a variant of Rumania.


Ethnic Origins. The Rumanian people, like all national groups in Eastern Europe, are of extremely mixed ethnic origins in the main they appear to derive from the Thracian peoples who lived in the region in the late prehistoric and Roman times, but they incorporated many other elements: the Roman settlers of the second century A.D., the slave invaders of the 7th and 8th centuries, Magyar invaders of the 9thand 10th centuries, as well as Turks, Germans, gypsies, and Jews. Other groups, the Celts, Goths, and Tatars at some time occupied some part of Rumania, and must have influenced the racial composition of its people.

This variety of ethnic origin is reflected in the physical diversity of the Rumanian people. In terms of head shape there is a marked contrast between the brachycephalic peoples of the mountains and Transylvania, and the mesocephalic peoples of the eastern and southern plains. This division ignores language and ethnic tradition. In general the Rumanians are of medium height, 5ft. 5 1/3 in. - 5ft. 5 3/4in. (166-167 cm.) though somewhat shorter in the northwest. Pigmentation shows greater variation; coloration is predominately dark in the southeast, but over much of the country people are of medium to dark coloration, with a tendency for brunets to predominate. In a few areas, notably Transylvania, a blonde type is numerous.

At the time when much of Rumania was conquered by the Romans, it was thinly peopled by Thracian tribes, which have come to be known as Dacians. They already possessed a complex racial history, and to this complexity the Romans contributed other elements. According to Rumanian tradition, Romans settled there in sufficient numbers to impart a veneer of Latin civilization to the region. Supposedly after the withdrawal of the Roman armies the romanized provincials maintained their Latin language and culture in the fastnesses of the mountains, and from this stock was gradually fashioned the Rumanian nation. It is more commonly held that the Rumanians are a part of a wider group of romanized Dacians, known as Vlachs. Their language, like Rumanian, is largely derived from Latin, and they are the descendants of the romanized inhabitants of the Balkans, as the Rumanians also claim to be. There is, however, this important difference: the ancestors of the Vlachs of the Balkan peninsula lived under Roman rule for many centuries, whereas Roman occupation of Dacia was relatively short-lived. Vlachs of the Balkans are known to have migrated northward across the Danube, and at one time were numerous in Slovakia. Some writers, especially Hungarian and Slav, doubt whether the Rumanians are the descendant of the romanized Dacians and suggest that they derive from these Balkan Vlachs. The truth may perhaps lie between the two extremes, and the Rumanians of today probably derive from romanized Dacians, reinforced by Vlachs from beyond the Danube.

After the withdrawal of the Romans from Dacia, the region was invaded and probably also settled by Goths and other Germanic tribes, by invaders from the Russian steppe, and by peoples from central Europe. The cultural and linguistic pattern of many areas of Rumania was drastically changed, and undoubtedly many of these immigrant peoples were assimilated to the Rumanian people, losing their own linguistic and cultural traits in consequence. Nethertheless, the Rumanian language today has absorbed a great many Slavic and other elements.
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