A Short History of Romania
A Short History of Romania
FROM THE EVACUATION OF DACIA BY AURELIAN (ABOUT 274 A.D.) TO THE END OF THE BARBARIAN RULE (ABOUT THE CLOSE OF THE THIRTEENTH CENTURY).
THE 'BARBARIANS'-BRIEF MENTION OF THEM by Romanian historians-The Goths-Their settlement in Dacia-Defeat by Theodosius and disappearance-The Huns-Their ferocity-Attila-His successes-Deserted and overthrown by the Gepidæ-His death, and expulsion of the Huns-The Sarmatians-The Gepidæ ally themselves with the Byzantines-Defeated by the Lombards under Alboin-The Avari-Settle in Dacia-Are defeated and dispersed by Priscus and Heraclius-The Bulgari-Their origin and that of the Slavonians-Their cruelty-Warlike habits-Severe punishment of criminals-Superstitions-Their 'Chagan,' or chief rider-Conversion to Christianity-Their chieftains-Improved habits-Curious superstitions-Career of the Bulgari-Invasion of the Eastern Empire and defeat by Belisarius-Supreme in Dacia, Moesia, and Servia-Vicissitudes-Story of Krumus-Daco-Roman princes-The Bulgarian territories annexed by Basilius to the Greek Empire-The Ungri, or Hungarians-Their supposed origin-Their cruelty and ferocity-Hallam's description of them-German account of their savage mode of warfare-Ravage Europe-Settle in Hungary and found a kingdom-Are driven over the Carpathians by the Bulgari-(Note: Story of their contests with the chiefs Gellius, Gladius, Mariotus, &c.,-The anonymous notary of King Bela)-The Patzinakitai-Scanty records concerning them-The Wallachs-Controversy regarding their origin-Daco-Roman descendants-Mediæval accounts of their origin and character-Anna Comnena-Bonfinius-Æneas Sylvius-M. Opitz-Their career in the Danubian territories-Revolt in alliance with the Bulgari-Foundation of the Wallacho-Bulgarian Empire by Peter, Asan, and John-The historical soufflet -Recognition of the new empire-Its duration-The Kumani-Their domination-The Teutonic Knights and Knights of St. John-Interesting correspondence between King Joannitz and Pope Innocent III.-Temporary conversion of the Bulgarians to Rome-Downfall of the Wallacho-Bulgarian Empire-Irruptions and retirement of the Tartars-End of the barbarian age.
If the reader will imagine a country somewhat larger than the United Kingdom situated in a part of the European continent which renders it accessible from almost every side, and can conceive of eight or nine great hordes of armed savages tens or hundreds of thousands strong, with many smaller ones, pouring intermittently, and even simultaneously in some instances, into that devoted territory, and there alternately burning and plundering or making slaves of each other or of the original settlers, during a continuous period of more than a thousand years, then he will have formed some idea of poor Romania (or perhaps it would be more correct to say of the territories north and south of the lower Danube) as it existed between the end of the third and of the thirteenth centuries.
It is not surprising that some of the historians of Romania, who have managed to fill volumes, should have slurred over what really constitutes half the period of her national existence in a few pages, nay even in some instances in a few lines; and that they should have substituted what one writer has called 'brilliant declamatory evolutions' for the conclusions of careful research. For the last method sometimes leads to the discovery of discrepancies between standard authors of fifty or a hundred years in the chronicle of events. For us the history of the so-called dark ages in that part of Europe is full of interest, inasmuch as the Danubian plains constituted the highway over which the barbarians wandered who were the ancestors of a large proportion of the existing population of Europe; and we have sought, in the table appended to this work, to bring some kind of order out of the chaos of events narrated by historians. Beyond this, it is true, we cannot do m