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«De manibus Valachorum scismaticorum ... »

Romanians and Power in the Mediaeval Kingdom of Hungary- The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Centuries

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Ioan-Aurel Pop

The medieval history of the Romanians in the Hungarian kingdom still represents one of the most delicate subjects in European history. This book is the product of more than thirty years of research, and thus provides new and balanced insights into that history, revealing both the rise and the decline of communities and individuals, as well as the diversity of these borderlands of Christian Europe.

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5. “Masters of our own land for a thousandyears”: The ancientness of the Romanians as portrayed by the official documents

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5. “Masters of our own land for a thousand years”: The ancientness of the Romanians as portrayed by the official documents Projected into as distant a past as possible, national ideology played an im- portant role in the modern tendency to homogenise the states and to form compact nations. According to this ideology, the Hungarian nobiliary nation, considered to have become active shortly after the year 1000 (after the founding of the Christian kingdom), had to appear as the direct predecessor of the modern unitary nation, while the minorities were to be pictured as outnumbered, overshadowed or of more recent extraction than the majori- ty. In such a general context, the Romanians also had to be depicted, espe- cially in certain political and (politically subservient) scientific circles, as late and unofficial emigrants to Transylvania. They were therefore not entitled to con-civility, that is, to equality with the Hungarians, the Saxons and the Szeklers. Specialised research has shown, however–beyond any doubt–that it was not the tardy and covert arrival of the most numerous people in Tran- sylvania that had determined their inferior status, but altogether different facts and circumstances, which will be discussed below. Hundreds of narra- tive testimonies dating back to the Middle Ages and the Renaissance (chron- icles, histories, travelogues, reports, epistles, memoirs, and so on) reveal the ancientness of the Romanians north of the Danube (especially from Transyl- vania) and their descent from the soldiers and colonists brought here by the Roman emperors who had conquered...

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