Alexandru Florin CIOLTEI
Universitatea „Lucian Blaga“ din Sibiu, Facultatea de Științe Socio-Umane
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3-4 / 2015
The Vlachs in foreign chronicles
The paper represents an analysis upon the chronicles written by foreign medieval authors that are making references to the Vlachs’ population. Their interest regarding the Vlachs has been derived from the contact noted between both sides, namely between the Byzantine Empire and the Vlachs on the one hand, and between the Hungarian Kingdom and the Vlachs on the other hand. The information that surfaced out of these chronicles is of political, economic and social nature.
The paper will present the Byzantine chronicle of Kekaumenos, that of Ioan Kinnamos and the one written by Nichita Choniates. All of them, however ambiguous, or incomplete they may have been, are still portraying a more coherent and truthful image than any other of their contemporary, Eastern – European or oriental, chronicles. The time period that these three medieval authors approached was the period extending between the years 1066 – 1204. This period overlapped the Vlachs and the Bulgarians’ revolt in the town of Larissa and the fall of the great city of Constantinople during the fourth crusade. The area populated by the Vlachs mentioned in these writings was a wide one, which included most of the Balkan Peninsula. The Byzantine authors are wavering between a stereotype vision regarding the Vlachs, but a more complex one, thus creating a complex portrait regarding this particular population. The authors were directly influenced by the events developing during their efforts to write their chronicles and mostly by the relation between the Vlachs and the Byzantine Empire at that point in time.
The chronicle of the Hungarian notary Anonymus represents also a pillar for this research. He is the one presenting the Vlachs’ population living between the Pannonian plains and Transylvania. This writing tells all about the political – military events of the time but, more importantly, mentions the Vlachs living inside the Carpathian arch. The truthfulness of the events presented by Anonymus is proven also by a series of archaeological discoveries.
Keywords: chronicles, medieval authors, Vlachs, the Hungarian Kingdom, the Byzantine Empire.
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