Neagu Djuvara: 91 year old historian says nomads from the east played a key role in Romanian history

Historians in the News

The latest book by Neagu Djuvara has caused a stir in Romania's academic world. In it, the 91-year-old historian maintains that the founders of Wallachia in the 13th and 14th centuries were not descendants of the Romanised Dacians, but were of Cuman origin.

"For two centuries, our historiography has been obsessed with continuity, permanence and immobility, a narrow and static vision," says the author in his book, Thocomoerius, the Black Ruler: a Voivode of Cuman Origin at the beginning of Wallachia. "What created the new Europe, the one after the Roman Empire, was an ever moving history consisting of successive migratory waves."

The Romanian voivodeships (principalities) are the indirect result of one such wave, he suggests. The Cumans, a nomadic Turkic people, migrated westwards and established a strong presence in present-day Moldavia and Wallachia. Defeated by the Mongols at the Battle of Kalka (1223), they took refuge in Hungary, while some crossed the Danube into the Balkans.

Many place names in the region -- including Kumanovo in Macedonia and Comanesti in Romania -- reflect Cuman influence. Surnames derived from the word "Cuman" include that of famed gymnast Nadia Comaneci.
Read entire article at Southeast European Times

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