Ethnic Continuity in the Carpatho-Danubian Area

Elemér Illyés





This work examines the ethnic and linguistic history of the various peoples in the Carpatho-Danubian area (Southeastern Europe) from ancient times until the early Middle Ages. The ultimate fate of these peoples is also taken into consideration,, as well as some aspects of the current historiography of the area. The research for this book has required an eclectic approach, based on historical materials, archaeology, and philology; the scanty and fragmentary nature of written historical records (indeed, the often total lack of documentary evidence), together with the not always reliable archaeological data, has made scholarly research on this area extremely difficult. The most reliable knowledge has been gleaned from Balkan philology.


This book deals with the ethnogenesis of the Romanian people and the question of whether a Romanized population lived north of the lower Danube and has maintained continuity there, ethnically, linguistically, and in its settlements, since Roman times. This theme has been the subject of a spirited and long-standing controversy; and a great many of the works on the history of Southeastern Europe have been colored by political and ideological considerations.


The introductory chapter gives a general picture of the ethnic and historical relationships in Southeastern Europe in ancient and early medieval times. Chapter ÍI discusses the archaeological remains of peoples who lived or are still living in the Carpatho-Danubian area. Standard publications that appeared until the year 1986 inclusively have been considered here. It was, however, impossible to discuss all the work done in this area; and new writings on the subject are appearing continually. Chapters III and ÍV deal with main linguistic problems, with an emphasis on the importance of East and Late Latin on the early development of the Romanian language. The philological data derived from place and river names are also considered.


The appendix contains an index of names and a list of place names in three languages. The place names given here are those officially in use today; the Hungarian and German names are in part the major







historical forms and in part those most generally used. There is also a selective bibliography and, at the end of each chapter, basic references to useful sources.


Lago di Garda

June 1987


E. I.



[Back to Index]