Chronology of the breakup of Common Romance [long]

Victor y Rosario vjpaniego at
Tue Aug 3 21:55:12 UTC 1999

Re: the name Vlach and its likely origin, a brilliant paper was written by
the Romanian linguist Mihai Isbasescu on *altnordischen Quellen u(ber Vlah*.
Some evidence is given as to identify the germanic word *blakumen* with

1. A c.1050 grave inscription in Gotland refers to two nobles killed when
battling against *blakumen*.

2. The Snorri Sturluson's Heimskringle illustrates a campaign by Alexios
Comnenos (early 12th century) in *Blokumannaland*, translated into Latin as
*in Blachorum terram*.

3. In the 13th century a reference is made in the Flatenyjarbok about a raid
against *Blo(kumenn*.

4. Another saga (Fornaldar Sogur Nordrlanda) gives *Blo(kumannaland*.

After calling again our attention on the many sources that use b- and -k-
for the name of this people (e.g. *Balak* in the Armenian Geography by
Chorenatzi, 9th century), Isbasescu concludes that either

a. These items represent more or less the word *Vlach* as heard by other
ethnic groups (access to written sources, especially in the case of the
Scandinavian inscriptions, is considered unlikely),


b. The word was coined by Germanic tribes, with the meaning of *the
black-haired or -skinned ones*.

This suggestive hypothesis, as far as I know well founded on linguistic and
historical data, is worth reading it.

Victor J. Paniego
Siles, Spain

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