Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Alternate Origins of the Szeklers and Vlachs

Many historians are far more forgiving of the Szeklers, especially when they espouse a Hungarian point of view. Admittedly, many Szeklers also treated their land as communal. Under their system, every Szekly was free. Their agrarian efforts also succeeded admirably, especially in the art of stock breeding and horse breeding.

Each man had one major obligation to the state: In their feudal-military society, every man of age had to serve in the military. Considering this societal obligation and their excellent horse breeding techniques, it’s no wonder that the vanguards of the Szeklers’ light cavalry units were almost legendary. Despite this, many of the serfs they protected would have been more impressed with their prowess had they succeeded in repelling the Mongol invasions of 1241.

By the same token, there is a common argument among many Hungarian historians that the Vlachs may not have been present in Transylvania through most of the medieval era. For the sake of argument, this view is worth pursuing. By one account, the Vlachs may have been in Dacia as early as 271, but were later forced to the south by the influence of the Slavs. As a largely migratory tribe, they may indeed have been absent from Transylvania for centuries.

After being dispersed in turn by the Bulgars in the 10th century, they might have then migrated throughout much of Eastern Europe. A large force of Vlachs supposedly fought with the Byzantines during the invasion of Transylvania in 1166. If this is true, then the Magyars would have colonized the Carpathian Basin first, although by this interpretation, the Vlachs would still be the descendants of the original tribes in Dacia.

It should be noted that some of these invading tribes referred to themselves as the Rumin, which is taken by some to be the origin of the word “Romanian.” Some chroniclers still give opposing views of the origins of the Vlachs. In the Dark Medieval world, however, settlements of Vlachs were present from the days of Dacia to the time of the Arpad conquest and beyond.

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