PART 5  –  Ch.XXXIII.11

The Pelasgians or proto – Latins (Arimii)

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





XXXIII. 11. Migrations of the Arimii in ancient Illyria (Rascia, Rama).


RASCIA – In the Middle Ages, the entire territory of upper Mesia, almost the same which the Serbs occupy today, was called Rascia (Thurocz, P. IV. 35; Densusianu, Documente, II. e. 522, 1563), Rasia, Raxia, Rassa, Rasa, terra Racy (Densusianu, Doc. I. 2. 268. 1379; Presbyter Diocleas, c. 9. 15; Philippus de Diversis, Situs Ragusii, p. 131; Anon. Bleae reg. notarius, c. 45; Fejer, Cod. Dipl. Hung. Passim; Wenzel, Cod. Arpad. Cont. T. V. 187, 1298), Racz-orszag (Hungarian).

The age of this geographical name can be followed back to the Roman epoch.

One of the most important cities of upper Mesia, situated on the right bank of the Danube, facing  Calafat of today Romania, was called Raetiaria, Retiaria, Reciaria, ‘Razaria (Ptolemy, Ed. Didot, III. 9. 3; Hierocles, p. 655; C. I. L. vol. IIIl p. 1020), later Colonia Ulpia Ratiaria.


After the abandoning of Trajan Dacia, the city Retiaria became the capital of Dacia Ripensa, which from the point of view of political administration, stretched from Cuppae (Golubati) to the river Utus (Vid), and southwards to the western Balkan mountains.

Exactly this important region of Aurelian Dacia – where Ratiaria had had a political and religious hegemony, where the Romanian element forms the majority even today – appears on the 1550ad map of Sebastian Munster, with the particular name of Rascia.

As a geographical area, Rascia of the Middle Ages comprised the entire territory of upper Mesia and a part of Illyria, up to the frontiers of Dalmatia.

In those times there existed a geographical and ethnic difference between Rascia and Serbia.

Ancient Serbia was not Serbia of today.

The true Serbia comprised only a small territory situated in the southern parts of Bosnia, and from a political point of view, constituted a simple subject territory of Rascia.

At 1298 the Pope Boniface VIII mentions some differences between Serbia, Rascia, Dalmatia, Croatia and Bosnia (Wenzel, Cod. Arp. cont. Tom. V. 187, 1298). And in 1443, Stefan Toma titles himself: Nos Stephanus D. G. Rasciae, Serviae, Bosnensium or Illyricorum, Primordiae, partium Dalmatiae, Corbaviae, etc. rex (Pesty, Az eltunt varm. II. 343. 1443).

In regard to the population of ancient Rascia, they appear in the official chronicles and acts of the West, until around the middle of the 19th century, under the traditional name of: Rascii, Rasciani, Rasceni, Rassiani, Russeny (Presb. Diocleas, c. 45; Mon. Hung, I. 49-50; Cod. Dipl. Andeg. I. 639, 1311; Chron. Dubnicense, c. 207; Hasdeu, Etym. Magn. IV. p. CCXXX), German Razen, Raitzen, Ratzen, Raizen and Rascier.


From a historical point of view, we have here the same ethnic name under which figure in Roman times the Raetii or Rhaetii of Switzerland, whose descendants are today the Romancii from the district Graubunden in Tyrol, and from northern Lombardy (Rhetii were considered even by the Romans as an Illyrian people – Appianus, De reb. Illyr. c. 29).

The ancient Etruscans belonged to the same family as the Retii from the Alps, as they, as Dionysius of Halik. tells us, had been called in the first times of Italic history, Rasennae [1].


[1. Two manuscripts of Dionysius Periegetus (Ed. Didot, v. 285) prove that the terms Rasciani (Risciani) and Arimani were homogenous and had the same meaning for the ancients: instead of aremaneon Germanon appears the version eristheneon Germanon. Here the epithet eristhenees, with the meaning of valde robusti, indicates by its form that the Germans were also a Riscian people].


From the etymological point of view, the geographical term Rascia is only a simple dialectal form of Ramscia, as various localities from the territory of ancient Dacia bear even today the name Rasca, a simple abbreviation of Ramsca (Dionysius Halik. Lib. I. 30).

We find on a Roman inscription from Iglita the patronymic names of Rascanius and Rascania (C. I. L. vol. III. nr. 6203), which indicate a certain Rascanus as originator of this family.

A king of Thrace from the time of Augustus was called Rhescuporis and Rascuporis, a name which corresponds from the point of view of its etymology and meaning to the Latin form Rasci-puer, meaning the son of Rascu. A brother of this Rascuporis was even called Rascus (Appianus, De bell. civ. Lib. IV. 87).


In regard to the historical origin of this name, a particular importance is presented by the fact that in the Balkan peninsula the term Risciani had always been synonymous with the term Vlasi (Kaznacic, Bosnia, 1862, p. 20-21). In a document of the tsar Dusan from 1348, Chrisciani is a Romanian village near Prizren (Hasdeu, Arch. Ist. III. 94, 95), the ancient site of his residence.

A significant part of the county Posega of Croatia, the so-called “little Valachia”, still had in the Middle Ages the particular name of Rascia (Pesty, Az eltunt varm. II. 206-207).

Another Rascia was near the south-western frontiers of today Serbia, and was characterized especially for its mountain group called even today Rasca, for the river, valley and little town called Rasca, or Rasa by Constantin Porphyrogenetus.

This beautiful region of ancient Serbia was called in the Middle Ages Stara-Vlaska. In this Rascia, or “Ancient Vlaska”, existed, as the Serb poems tell us, one of the most monumental churches, called Iania (Talvi, Volkslieder der Serben, II, 1826, p. 192). Today Ancient-Valachia forms an administrative district of Turkey, but it has also preserved its traditional name of Rascia. The capital of this district is Novibasar or Ienipasar.

Various localities of upper Mesia appear with Arimic names even in the Roman epoch.


In Mediterranean Dacia was Romesiana (Tab. Peut.), called in the Itinerary of Antoninus, Remesiana, by Procopius, Rumisiana. In the times of Justinian, the city Remesiana (situated where is today Ak-Palanca) had formed the capital of an important military district “Regio Remesiensis”, having 29 castles and defensive towers.

Near Serdica (today Sofia), the capital of Mediterranean Dacia, Procopius mentions the castle Romania. On the valley of Timoc still existed in Roman times the castle Romulianum (Romyliana), where had been born and buried the emperor Galerius; and near the Danube, facing Palanca-noua, still exist the ruins of an ancient castle, called during the Middle Ages Ram (Jirecek, Die Heeresstrasse v. Belgrad nach Constantinopel, p. 17), today Rama.

Finally, close to ancient Sirmius (Mitroviti), where had been born the emperors Aurelianus, Probus and Gratianus, exists even today a little town called Ruma.


We summarize: The entire territory of upper Mesia presents during the course of the Middle Ages also, the remainders of an ancient Pelasgian population, robust, martial, with simple customs, with superstitions and ante-Christian religious beliefs, crossing the mountains and valleys with their flocks and herds exactly as they had done in archaic times, and living according to certain traditional laws, which were neither Roman, nor Greek, or Slav.

These were the so-called Rasci or Vlachi, diminished by the Romanian wars and later conquered and stifled by the waves of Slav invasions.


RAMA – During the Middle Ages, Bosnia, and a large part of Hertzegovina, had the name Rama (Densusianu, Documente, Vol. II. 5. 1563, p. 522). This geographical term indicates that this territory of “Roman”, or “barbarian” Illyria had been inhabited in remote times by an Arimic population.

Hecateus, who had lived 70-80 years before Herodotus, mentions in the parts of Illyria a city with the name Orgomenae (fragm. 152).

A folk tradition from Bosnia tells us also about a famous city from those parts, called Ermenia (Sitzungsber. d. Wien. Akad. Phil.-hist. CI. XCIX, Bd. p. 884), which could have had 18,000 houses, and had been situated south of Sarajevo, on the banks of Drina, where is today Gorazda.

Near the north-western frontiers of Bosnia was in Roman times an ancient locality called in official geography Romula (Tab. Peut.).


Eastwards from Sarajevo rises the legendary mountain of Bosnia called Romania Planina, where, as the ancient Serb songs tell us, feasted once the Romanian hero Old Novac, with his son Gruita, and his brother Radivoiu (Gerhard’s Gesange der Serben, 1877, p. 160).

Another mountain of Bosnia, near Costainita, is called de Romanobreg, and in the southern parts of Montenegro, close to Dulcigno, rises the imposing shape of the mountain Rumia, which in the geography of Vibius Sequester (500 to 700ad) appears under the name Rhamnusium (Riese, Geogr. Lat. min. p. 157). Finally, in the upper parts of Hertegovina, the most beautiful and fertile valley is called even today Rama.


As we see, in prehistoric times, the Arimic tribes had given their name to various mountains, rivers and valleys, where the necessities of their pastoral life had forced them to settle with their houses, corals, huts and flocks and herds.


The shepherd Vlachs of Bosnia and Rascia appear often mentioned in the medieval documents of Ragusa under the name of Vlachi Regis Bossine, Vlachi domini imperatoris (Sclavoniae), and those from Hertegovina, under the name Vlachi de terra Chelmo, and Vlachi Sandali Voivodae, etc (Archiva Ragusei, An. 1361, 1403; Jirecek, Die Wlachen in d. Denkm. V. Ragusa, p. 3 seqq).

The ancient name of the pastoral population of Bosnia and Hertzegovina seems to have been Rami, Rumi and Armani, as results from the topographical names of Orgomenae, Ermenia, Rama, Rumia and ‘Ormos (Constantinus Porphyr., De adm. Imp. c. 31), or Vram in Serb documents, a locality situated eastwards of Trebinie. This is also confirmed by the Dalmatian chronicler of the 12th century, Presbiterus Diocleas, who affirms that during the invasion of the Bulgars, the so-called Morlaci of the mountains of Bosnia, Dalmatia and Croatia, were called Romani, certainly only a Latinized form of an older popular name.