PART 5    Ch.XXXIII.10

The Pelasgians or proto – Latins (Arimii)

(The Pelasgians from the northern parts of the Danube and the Black Sea)

 

PART 5

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XXXIII. 10. Migrations of the Arimii in Thracia

 

Thracia, in the primitive times of history, comprised from an ethnographical point of view the entire north of Europe, above Thessaly and the Epirus.

Macedonia was considered only as a part of Thracia (Hecateus, fragm. 115).

And Herodotus writes that the Trojans, in their times of power and greatness, had conquered the entire Thracia, up to the Ionian Sea (lib. VII. 20). In the northern parts, the Scythians (TN – Scytii) were also considered as a people of Thracian origin (Stephanus Byz).

“The nation of the Thracians”, writes Herodotus, “is, apart from the Indians, the biggest among all the nations of the world, and if these Thracians were under the rule of a single man, or if they could agree among themselves, they would by impossible to defeat and the most powerful of all peoples. But this thing is not possible to ever happen, because of which they are weak. By the diversity of the regions in which they dwell, they bear various names, but they all have the same customs and the same institutions (lib. V. 3).

 

From the point of view of their ethnic origin, the ancient populations of Thracia belonged almost entirely to the Arimic family.

Homer mentions in the Iliad one Rigmus (‘Rigmon), who had rushed to assist the Trojans from Thracia, ex Thraches eribolaxos, where the plough furrows large and rich fields (XXV. 485).

In another place Homer characterizes the region called Thrache eribolax as mater malon, the mother of sheep (Iliad, XI. V. 222), words which could be in no case applied to Thracia from near the Aegean Sea, but only to the vast basin, fertile and rich in flocks of the lower Danube.

Another king, from the times of Alexander the Great, who had reigned over the Tribalii from the western parts of Mesia, is called by the historian Arrianus, Sirmus (De exp. Alex. I. 4. 6); a name which, from the point of view of its etymology, is identical with Rimus, but with the swapping of R (= Irmus), and with an S in the beginning, as a dialectal aspiration.

Pausania also mentions a king of the Tursenii, with the name Arimnestus, who had been the first among the barbarians to send pious gifts to Jove at Olympia (lib. V. 12. 5). If this Arimnestus had reigned over the Tyrsenii from the eastern parts of Macedonia (Herod. I. 57), or over the Trausii or Agathyrsii from the Carpathians, we could not know. Probably not even Pausanias knew more.

We also find with Suidas a mention about one ‘Ermon o Pelasgon basileus (Lex.), who lived in the times of Darius and reigned over the island of Lemnos, situated near the southern shores of Thracia (Diod. lib. X. 19. 6 – Fragm. Hist. gr. III. 643, 30). One Roemetalces was king of the Thracians at the time of Augustus, and another Roemetalces at the time of Caligula.

 

As we see, various kings of Thracia, some from the southern parts, others from the northern parts of the Hem, have Arimic names, beginning even from ante Homeric times. The fact in itself is quite remarkable and has as foundation an ancient historic tradition.

The king of Thracia, as Herodotus tells us, venerated most among all gods, ‘Ermas (‘Erman), who they considered at the same time as the beginner of their dynasty (lib. V. 7). It is the same Hermes, also called Hermias, Hermaon, Herman and Armis, whom we see also represented on the coins of Sarmizegetusa, identical with Armen, the divine parent of the Herminonii of Germany, with ‘Ermas (‘Erman), also called Faunus, the mythical king of the Aborigenes, and with Orman, who figures on the coins of the Ilergetii of Hispania.

 

Fillip II of Macedonia and his son Alexander the Great also considered themselves descendants of Hermes. Both these kings use on some of their coins the monogram AP, sometimes with the effigy, at other times with the attributes, of Hermes (Mionnet, Descrip. d. med. Tom. VI. pl. LXX. Nr. 2, 4, 9).

The powerful Romanian family from Tarnova, who had founded and re-founded the Romanian-Bulagarian Empire, seems to have had also the same genealogical traditions.

An Armenian chronicle pretends that the Romanian-Bulgarian king Samuil (976-1014) might have been Armean (TN – Armenian) of origin (Matei de Edessa, ap. Hilferding, Gesch. d. Serben und Bulgaren, Bautzen, 1864, p. 61; Hasdeu, Etym. magn. II. 1705). Hasdeu rightly believes that he hadn’t been Armeanian, but Arman, as are called the Macedo-Romanians.

We also add here that a son of Samuil “Armenul”, was called Roman (1015ad), that a cousin of this Samuil has the name Armonius (Wenzel, Cod. Dipl. Arpad. Cont. VI. 29), and that a son (976-1002) of the emperor Petru I was also called Roman (Wertner, A kozepkori delszlav uralkodok, p. 132, 145).

 

We also find important traces about the spread of the Arimic tribes on the territory of Thracia, in the names of localities.

The entire fertile region between the Hem and Adrianopol has on the Tabula Peutingeriana the name Rimesica (Segm. VIII. 3), a geographical name of ethnic origin, like Aremorica, Belgica,etc.

On the big road of Thracia, from Filipopol towards Adrianopol, we find in Roman times two localities with Arimic names, one Ramlum (Tab. Peut. Segm. VIII. 2) and the other Rhamae, today Hermanli (Itin. Hierosol. p. 269). Close to Mount Athos existed an ancient city called Sermulia and ‘Ermulia, mentioned even by Hecateus in the 6th century bc (Steph. Byz; Tomaschek, Sitz. – Ber. XCIX, Bd. 475), and on the southern shores of Thracia is mentioned Rumbodunum, situated between the rivers Nestus and Strymon (Itin. Hierosol. p. 284).

As we see, the regions from the southern parts of Hem, where had once reigned the Odrysii, the most civilized and powerful people of Thracia, present us today with a very ancient Arimic stratum, not only on the valleys of Marita (Hebrus) and Tunga (Tonzus), called in Roman times Rimesica, but also on the mountainous regions from near the Aegean Sea.

 

We arrive now to an important matter of prehistoric geography.

Even beginning with the 5th century, the entire eastern Roman Empire was also called Romania, Greek ‘Romania (Chron. Idatii; Jornandes, Get. c. 25; Malala, Chronogr. lib. XVI, p. 378; Du Cange, Gloss. Med. lat. see Romania), a geographical term which we find used for the Constantinopolitan empire during the whole course of the Middle Ages, by chroniclers, in Papal bulls, as well as in official acts of the western states (Fejer, Cod. Dipl. III. 1. 204, 1217; Mon. Germ. SS. Xiv. 660).

The origin of this name is very ancient. It is neither political, nor literary.

We find a precious indication in this regard: in his Aeneid, which treats the matter of the first times of Roman history, Virgil mentions two large geographical regions, which were destined as inheritance for the descendants of Aeneas, one with the name regnum Italiae, and the other with the name Romana tellus (IV. 274-276).

The name of tera rumica (Rum or Rum-ili) has been preserved by the traditions of the populations of Asia Minor, as a geographical name for the Balkan peninsula, even after the fall of the Byzantine Empire. Even at the early times of Turkish reign on this side of the Hellespont, Thrace, Macedonia and Mesia had the common name of Rumili, or Rumelia; and in the 19th century, the big government of Rumelia also comprised the upper and central regions of today Albania [1].

 

[1. For the Arabs and other oriental peoples, the geographical term Rum or Rum-ili (tera Rum) had, regarding Europe, two meanings. As a general name, Rum comprised, on the territory of Europe: the territory of Spain, France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Bohemia, England, Hungary and the entire Balkan peninsula. But in particular, under the name of Rum, or Rum-ili, were understood the European provinces subjected to Turkish domination. Finally, in a more reduced meaning, Rum, or Rum-ili, was the name applied to Thracia and Greece (Cantemir, Ist. Imp. Otom. Vol. I, Bucuresti, 1876, p. 27, 45, 101)].

 

On the eastern parts of Thrace, the ancient Arimic population had preserved its national character until around the beginning of the 14th century.

In the times of emperor Andronicus Palaeologus (1282-1328), as Pachymerus writes (De Andronico Palaeologo, Ed. Bonnae, lib. I. 106), the Blachii of Thrace extended from the suburbs of Constantinople, to Byzia and further. These Blachi dwelt mostly in mountainous regions, were people accustomed with weapons, rich in flocks and cattle herds. They had multiplied in such considerable numbers, that they inspired serious worries, that they shall ally themselves with the Scythians from the Danube (the Romanians of Basarab the Great), having the same life style and probably the same origin. In order to prevent such a danger, the emperor Andronicus believed that the best thing was to resettle these people, from the western continent to the eastern, beyond the Hellespont, on the shores of Asia, and in order to reduce their wealth at the same time, to impose on them various extortions, so that they would never become too daring, by knowing their real strength. Both these things, Pachymerus tells us, have been done with an extreme rigor. They had to pay huge sums of money, which had been collected with an unheard of severity. These Blachi were forced in the most inhumane way, to move beyond the Hellespont straight away, so that they had lost a large part of their wealth, which they could not transport. It also happened that this resettling of theirs had happened during the harsh winter, so that a large number of people and their herds had died.

 

Pachymerus calls these ancient inhabitants of Thrace, Blachi; but their national name had been Rami, Ramni and Armani. This results also from the description of the Arab geographer Idrisi (end of the 12th century), who mentions between Sumla and Sliven an important city with the name Agermini and another locality, situated between Sumla and Anchial, with the name Fremniac (Tomaschek, in Sitzungsberichte, CXIII, Bd. P. 301-317).

This also results, finally, from the fact that the various Romanian groups from Macedonia, Thessaly, Epirus and central Albania, are even today called Armani, Aramani and Arameni (Weigand, Die Aromunen, II. p. VIII).

According to ancient Greek traditions, the origin of the Thracian populations was on the northern parts of the Hem peninsula. In the genealogies of the antique peoples, Thracia appears as a daughter of the river Oceanos, or Istru.

 

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