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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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10. Knezes and their status as rulers and owners in the Romanian world

Extract

10.1. Preliminary considerations It has often been said and written–especially before the era of democracy and human rights–that there are peoples without a history or ahistorical (uncivilised) peoples and peoples with a history (deemed to be civilised). The reference here is not only to various extra-European societies, from ex- otic regions, where written sources date back to no earlier than the colonial period, but also peoples and populations that are familiar, known and close to us. For example, traditionalist historians of the Austrian monarchy, of the Roman-German, and then the Austrian Empire (after 1806) and even of the ephemeral Austro-Hungarian Empire (with a five-decade existence, between 1867 and 1918) classified the peoples that had been subjected, in time, to the house of Habsburg into those “with a history” and those “without a his- tory”. Beyond the inherent prejudices, the main criterion of division was state organisation, the perennial presence of power-wielding institutions, their official recognition and operation. According to these theorists, who voiced the dominant conception in their world, subjected peoples, whose structures were dissimilar to those officially accepted, and who were per- ceived as “different” or as “foreign” in relation to the hegemonic order, were peoples “without a history”. Beyond this brutal differentiation, the name does reflect a certain real backwardness of these groups (communi- ties), accumulated in time on account of their discrimination by peoples who were considered to be “historical”: in other words, by dominant peo- ples, who had had access to the benefits and...

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