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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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17. The image of the Romanian countries in the Hungarian consciousness and its impact on the status of the Transylvanian Romanians

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17.1. “Our country across the mountains”: the Hungarian political and military policy concerning the Romanian countries As rendered in the Latin documents from mediaeval Hungary, the name ara Româneasc is not a Romanian translation of the two words in its componence, nor is it conveyed in a form that is even remotely close to the name used by foreigners when referring to the Romanians–Vlachs–as was the case of most of the peoples around. In other words, it is not the name of Wallachia or the Wallachian Country. Most of the times, the name of this country is Transalpina, which literally means “Across the mountains” or, more clearly, “The country across the mountains”. This seems to be an exact copy of the Hungarian form “Havasföld”, following the model of Transylva- nia (“Beyond the forest”), whose Latin name probably also derives from an old Hungarian version, prevalent in the period when the Hungarians had to wait for a while before the forest of Igfon.1 They waited there before launching their raids against the country lying beyond the forest, where the Romanian Gelou had the “rule”. The inhabitants of ara Româneasc were, nonetheless, constantly called Wallachians, especially in the Latin-Hungarian form Olachi, like the Romanians in Transylvania. Why was ara Româneasc not actually called Valachia or Wallachia in the Latin-Hungarian chancellery documents, as would have been natural? It is difficult to say. Perhaps be- cause there were so many Romanian countries, both inside and outside the Hungarian...

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