Πέμπτη, 21 Δεκεμβρίου 2017

Aromanian Anthroponymy


Thessaloniki, ancient roman ruins
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The appearance of Aromanians [1], Latin-speaking ones, Vlachs [2], known more widely as Koutsovlachs [3], in north Greece territories dates back to the Roman conquest. This fact has been recognized by distinguished and special Romanian scientists such as Vasile Pârvan, Radu Vulpe, Gheorghe Brătianu [6], Take Papahagi [7], Emile Petrovici [8], Şextil Puşcariu [9] and Dumitru Maniu [10] eventually great Th. Capidan [11] has recognized it, too. Latey, not only Aromanians’ indigenousness but their greekness have been proved after interdisciplinary converging elements, too [12]. Competent Greek scientists have already accepted (the theory) of direct or indirect linguistic enlatinization of Greek people, while a similar possibility was earlier excluded because of the superiority of Greek culture over the Roman one [14]. It is well known that Romans, before being rulers of Greek territories, had sought to establish friendly relations with Greek cities and federations [15]. When they conquered Greece [16], not having the necessary manpower to govern the new countries, they first addressed to the ruling class of Greeks to use it for the state administration, the army and other levels of state and social life. At the same time they used every Greek element [17]. Besides, Greeks of all classes did not mean to abandon their numerous activities, in particular commerce [18], exploitation of transport means [19], execution of public works, etc. The social rise of Greek urban (mainly) class in Roman Empire was indeed significant, given the fact that Greeks became senators, others occupied the office of Roman Supreme and many of them became senior military and imperial administrative officers [20]. At the same time, Greeks of lower classes, people of mountains and lowlands, were the inexhaustible source of the manning of roman legions [21], where they distinguished themselves or at least they secured better living conditions.

Greeks took care on time to obtain the title of Roman citizen [22] because this title offered special privileges and it favored social development and proficiency without obstacles in trade and other profitable professions. Indicatively, we give a few examples:
From the island of Kos, brothers Gaius Stertinius Xenophon (doctor and secretary of Emperor Claudius) and Tiberius Claudius Cleonimus (military officer of Roman army). From the town of Mytilene Marcus Pompeius Macrinus (roman supreme). From the town of Ephesus Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemius, supreme, his son Tiberius Julius Akylas Polemius, also supreme, who founded the famous library in his hometown. From the town of Nicomedia, the well-known writer Flavius Arrianus, provincial governor and supreme. From the city of Pergamon, the history writer Avlos Claudius Harax, commander of roman legion and supreme. From the island of Limnos the well-known writer Flavius Philostratus, whose son was called Lucius Flavius Capitoleinus. From the island of Crete, Lefkius Flavius Sulpikianus (Dorion Polyknis), senator. From the town of Sparta Gaius Julius Euriklis, cashier, mayor, general and senator. From Athens, Marcus Ulpius Eviotis, supreme, and his sons Marcus Ulpius Flavius Tisamenus and Marcus Ulpius Pupinius Maximus. Also Herod Atticus, whose full name is Tiberius Claudius Herod Atticus Marathonius. From the town of Megara Komodos Komodou. From the island Amorgos Aurelius Octavius, Aurelius Ermeus’ son. Plutarch's nephew, stoic philosopher and Marcus Aurelius’ teacher, Sextus, and others. Consequently, as Ioannis Touloumacus also writes, “from the presence of Greeks in the Senate, the administration and the army of the Empire, one would also expect cultural influences - and of course, first of all in language. All Greek officers of the Roman Empire knew latin language pretty much, some even so good as to read latin classic writers comfortably, too. In fact, Latin was known by almost all Greek intellectuals of the Roman era, from Polybius and Posidonius (during the period of liberty) to Plutarch and Philostratus, during the imperial period [23]”.

As we move northwards to mainland of Greece, Latin influence becomes more prominent and more durable. French archaeologist and historian, Bruno Helly, who has studied the epigraphic material of Roman times in Thessaly, stresses the following recently: “After studying the inscriptions, we come to the conclusion that Greeks, who have Latin names, are multiplied, e.g. Salvia, Secunda, Marcus, Severus. At the same time, many bear names of Latin generations. These people, who become leaders (‘tagos’) in Thessaly, who win in inscription contests or in traditional sports, who free slaves in accordance with public law and who are connected, at the same time, with Ocius’, Titius’, Arudius’ Sempronius’ ‘campanian’ families, do not certainly come from Italy”. Helly continues saying that “a category of Thessalians was formed not only in the cities but also in the countryside, which is deeply influenced by Latin language. This influence should perhaps be related to the existence of imperial possessions in Feres and certainly northwest, between Olympus and Pindos (mountains), on the border of the province. It was there where most Latin inscriptions of Thessaly, boundary inscriptions, official texts (‘milliariums’) were found, the content of which was of course important for the description of everyday life of the inhabitants” [24].

In northern Greek area itself, the participation of native population (in other words Greeks) in Roman administration and above all in Roman army was more extensive. Some Roman emperors, admiring the army of Alexander the Great, hurried to enlist as many Macedonians as possible, to train their army according to Macedonian system, its phalanx, and to equip it with the same (Macedonian) weapons. Dion Cassius refers to Caracalla as following: «φάλαγγα τέ τινα έκ μόνων των Μακεδόνων ές μυρίους και έξακισχιλίους συντάξαι, και αυτήν ’Αλεξάνδρου τε επονομάσαι καί τοίς όπλοις οις ποτέ επ’ εκείνου εκέχρηντο οπλίσαι» (Αποσπ. 77, 7, 18). The anthroponymy of Macedonians, who served in the Roman army, is very interesting: From the town of Dion Μ. Valens Verona and C. Pomponius Aquila. From the town of Veria Μ. Aurelius Fabius and Iulius Aufidius. From the town of Lyhnidon Μ. Reginius Eutyches and G. Signius Valens. From the town of Heraclia (of Lyngestid) C. Signius Valens and Vetilius Sedatus. From the town of Heraclia (of Sintiki) C. Iulius Montanus, C. Iulius Gemellus, C. Cornelius Longinus and Ti. Claudius Messalinus. From the region of Pelagonia C. Dornitius Pudens and P. Aelius Mestrius. From the town of Philippi M. Aurelius Aprilis and C. Iulius Longinus. From the town of Thessaloniki M. Aurelius Cassianus, M. Fulvius Maximus, T. Flavius Sebastianus, C. Iulius Pudens and others [25]. French Romanist Fr. Taillez [26] names the first two Aromanians, that is the first two Latin-speakers of East, as he thinks, Gaius from Doberus (ancient town) of Macedonia and Secundus from Thessaloniki. Obviously, the first Greek Christians of Macedonia, especially these in Thessalonici, had the ‘primary prize’ of ‘Latinophony’ (use of Latin language).

Romanian (scientist) I. I. Russu, dealing with the Romanization of Thracians, mentions Peter Patricius from Thessaloniki [27] ˙ Procopius writes that he (P. Patricius) was Illyrian in origin. Although Russu admits clearly that the meaning of the term ‘Illyrian’ is purely geographic-administrative, as it results from the expression: ‘Θεσσαλονίκην την Ιλλυρίδα πόλιν’ (Thessaloniki-Illyrian city) and although he knows for sure that Peter Patricius was not only Latin but multilingual, as his diplomatic missions and his Greek writings prove, he (Russu) attempts to join him (Peter) ethnically into Thracians [28], while it is more reasonable to characterize him as a Greek speaker of Latin language, that is Aromanian. Moreover, when it is recognized that many Greeks, before and after Roman conquest, had penetrated and settled across the borders of Macedonia, in the peninsula inland till the Danube [29] and the Danubian countries, where they constituted the most vital element, A. Keramopoullos’ view seems reliable, according which emperors, like Diocletian, Constantine, Justin, Justinian, must have been ‘latinophones’ (vlachophones), that is Aromanians (Vlachs) [31].

Anthroponyms of Illyrian origin do not appear in the inscriptions of northern Ipirus [33]. These inscriptions show clearly the coexistence of greek and roman elements there (N. Ipirus) as Contantine Porphyrogenitus refers and as nowadays both these elements still survive: the Greek element in greek-speaking North Epirotes and the roman-vlachic element [32] in Farserotes, people from Moschopolis, Aromanians (Vlachs) etc. Romanian academic P. Vulpe, in a work of his especially dedicated to Illyrians, writes selectively: “non si incontra neppure un nome illirico, ma solamente nomi romani e greci” [34]. Also, Italian A. Brunialti calls ‘l'illirico greco’ this region of the Adriatic, completing it as “La lingua, gli usi, i costumi, la religione dei Romani vi divennero dominant”. Latin anthroponymy is decreasing gradually because of Christianization, during which Hebrew names and names in a lesser proportion Greek are introduced. However, Latin is maintained at least as long as Latin language serves for daily use (of speech). This happens until 6th century, if there is (scientific) confidence in I. Lydos’ (written) testimony, where he reveals numerical superiority of Greeks in the Balkan Peninsula and he confirms their speaking in Latin language, at the same time.

Source: A. G. Lazarou, 'Balkans and Vlachs', edition by ‘Parnassos’ Literary Association, Athens 1993, pp. 221-235.
Translated -from Greek to English- by Tsiamitros Yannis, English teacher.

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