During his visit to our neighboring Albania, the Romanian President’s request that the Vlachs be identified as Romanians was not as much palpable as his staff officials trusted, taken liberties with the unthinkable sliding of the past gibberish up to a recent comprehensive writing of a UNESCO publications series (Studies on Science and Culture, Politics and Culture in Southeastern Europe, Bucharest 2001) in which in a very sly manner the lineage of the Vlachs in Albania to the Transdanube Dacia is presented as the only sound theory -a theory superannuated even to the pure Romanian scientists.
Such an entirely groundless surmise originated from Vienna, chronologically coincided the pan-European revolution in 1848 during which also the regions on the Danube had taken part. They aspired to liberate Transylvania from the Austrians who in turn rushed to warn the former for the possibility of jeopardizing even their own freedom. At the same time the Austrians suggested them an exit plan by claiming the Vlachs living in the Sultan’s sovereignty who since then have been referred to as “Macedo-Romans”. M. Kogalniceanu, an expert and a protagonist in the question, is a scientific as well as a political persona who defines the venture’s duration until 1918 when Ardeal reunified with the newly-constituted Romanian state.
The above data passed completely unnoticed and unexploited. The Greek authorities apposite to handle it, did not publicize even significant evidence of the greekness of Vlachs living in Macedonia, Epirus, Thessaly and other areas even though such evidence was brought to light, already in 1832, through the special studies by the brilliant Greek historian K.M. Koumas (1777-1836), a doctor of German Universities and a corresponding member to Berlin and Munich’s Academies.
On the contrary, an Albanian discredits a Romanian claim using even Romanian editing means. In fact, Ecrem Vlora by ruling the Vlachs’ descent from Romania out asserts that Latinization as well as the birth of Vlachs in Albania by centuries precedes that of the Transdanube origin. (Noul Album, Macedo-Roman, Freiburg, 1959, p.159).
However Vlora’s idea, about the arrival of the Vlachs to Albania from Italy, voiced half a century before, comes up against demographic issues that are aroused by any populous migration as much in the departure point as in the arrival one. In no way has Rome ever allowed any such massive immigration about which duly write the Romanian academician Jorgu Jordan and the professor Maria Manolu. The other Romanian, Cicerone Poghirc ,our contemporary professor at Bucharest and Bochum (Germany) universities as well as Secretary General of the Institute of Romanian Studies in Paris, locates in N. Epirus already about 229 the beginning of Latinization of Greeks B.C. while according to the academician and professor at the Aristotle University Agapitos Tsompanakis the Latinization began in 239 B.C. subsequent of the Greco-roman military collaboration towards easier hindrance to Illyric raids, such Latinization requiring at least substantial introduction of the Greek fellow combatants to the martial Latin terminology. The same linguistic Latinization was imposed on other Greeks too, more specifically on Epirotans , extremely skilled mule-drivers, -admittedly being outright knowledgeable of circumferential and international roads, especially of the ancient Via Egnatia remarkably identified with the course of Genousos river that according to Strabo constituted a natural borderline between Hellenes and Illyrians, a borderline hard and acceptable even from Justinian’s era like the historian Procopius’ attested and Vl. Popovic confirmed at an international conference in 1988.
Thus, according to a large amount of scientific data by S.I. Oost, N.G.L. Hammond, G. Cheeseman, P. Gabanes etc such are the Vlachs in Albania, bilingual Greeks using a newly formed Latin-origin dialect as a linguistic tool! There exists an abundance and variety of documentation based on the uncontested Greekness of N. Epirus, admitted over all by the most eminent Albanian figure whose condensed essay “L’ Orient debalkanise et l’ Albanie, Origine des dernieres Guerres et Paix future” is not comprised either in Albanian or the Greek bibliography! It is about Basri-bey, numerous prizes’ holder and champion leader who doesn’t only admit the Greek character of N. Epirus but he also acknowledges the Greek cultural contribution to contemporary Albania’s acculturation. The chorea of Greek-Vlachs comprises also the National Benefactors to the Greek state which in turn fully ingrate subsides unions, institutes, legal persons, NGOs that range the Vlachs into a separate ethnic group.
However, the indigenesis of the N. Epirotans is promulgated by notable people from different countries. First, by N.L.Hammond, a famous British professor at Bristol University in a voluminous book titled “Epirus” whose scientific conclusions are gaudily acknowleded even by F. Papazoglou-Ostrogorci, corresponding member to the Academy of Skopjie and professor at the Belgrade University. Evenly lively Vladimir Georgiev, a Bulgarian academician and professor at the Sofia University supports the Greeknesss of the N.Epirotans by describing N. Epirus’ toponymy as ancient and entirely Greek. Entirely Greek is also the anthroponymy of the N. Epirotans, according to Olivier Masson, a reputable French professor at Nancy University. In that acknowledgement, precedes Radu Vulpe, a Romanian academician and professor at Bucharest University who handily compiles Latin anthroponomy by N. Epirotans.
The President of the Republic of Romania proved oblivious of A.A. Sturdza, first leader of the Romanian state who was monishing the nonexistence of Romanians in Albania as well as in any other Balkan countries through his excellent and comprehensive writing titled: Romania does not belong to the proper Balkan peninsula either as a land or a race or a state (Bucharest 1904). An additional monition, scientifically the most advised, comes from I. Hakin , “Romania is not a Balkan country” (Buletinul Societati Rgale Romane de Geografie, 38, 1919, 232). In a more noticeably specific manner we are informed by Joan Mitrea, according to whom the ethnogenesis of the Romanian people took place around the Carpathian-Danube area that corresponds to the land of ancient Dacia. (Caprica, 9, 1977, 39). A weighty opinion is expressed by a figure with dual capacity: scientific and political.one.Professor at Bucharest University and an academician who was appointed to the office of Foreign Minister as well as to that of Romania’s Prime Minister, with lineage to Albania, when invited by Al. Papanastassiou in Athens to participate to the Interbalkan Conference declined the invitation responding as following: ‘Regarding us, we are either Balkans and therefore we should migrate from the Carpathians or we remain Carpathians and thereof we have nothing to do in the Balkans. Although I am involved in politics,that should not compel me in such ignorance, like others who attended the Conference”.
Admittedly astonishing was the stance of a genuine Romanian professor at Copenhagen University who-during an international conference in Munich-gives forth that the Romanian language is not a Balkan one. Himself accepts the information coming from Ioannis Lydos, appointed by the Emperor Justinian to the commander of region Europe’ office -as the Balkan area used to be called at the time (A. G. Lazarou, “Les Valaques balkaniques”, EEBΣ, ΜΘ’, 19941996, 95¹)
Certainly Lozovan is not the only of Romanians who trust Ioannis Lydos’ attestation as credible and sound. Long before, reputed academicians like Vasile Parvan, R. Vulpe, G. Bratiaru, I.I. Russu, had released impressive publications and particularly Poghirc .,who vindicated the full Greekness of the linguistic and ethnological substrate of the entire Greek peninsula in which N. Epirus is comprised. Of course the primacy in evaluating the information holds the French Leon Lafascade in Sorbonne, member to the researchers’ circle of Yiannis Psicharis from Epirus while that of wider notification and publicity of the issue holds Michel Dubuisson, our contemporary professor at Lieges University. Unfortunately leftovers of the older propaganda have not faded away which in turn had nailed UNESCO and mislead the present President of Romania to a groundless step, who was withheld by Iorga’s scientific discovery -during his research through the Polish Archives- that the Vlachs of contemporary Albania’s Moschopolis, declared themselves as Graeci, Greeks to the local Polish Authorities.
By Ach. Lazarou
Romanist-Balkanist, Doctor of Athens University, ex-Charge de cours a la Sorbonne (Paris IV)
(Full documentation attested to whom may be interested: Index of the writer’s publications : 1) Origin and condensed history of the Vlachs in Albania, edited also in Albanian, Ioannina, 1994. 2) Hellenism and peoples of S.E. Europe, (Volumes A, B, C, D, Athens 2009-2010) by Ach. G. Lazarou