PART 5    Ch.XXXIII.25

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. 25. Placi, Blaci, Belaci, Belce (Belcae), Feaci, etc.

 

Various Pelasgian pastoral tribes and populations appear with the ethnic names of Placi, Blaci, Belaci, Belce, etc, since very remote times.

Regarding this we shall reproduce here the following data:

A Pelasgian locality in Asia Minor, situated near the Olympus mountain in Bithynia, was called Plachia (Mela, lib. I. 19; Scylax, Peripl. c. 94; Pliny, lib. V. 40. 2; Burada, O calatorie la Romanii din Bithinia, Iasi, 1893, p. 3 seqq).

These Placi, as Herodotus tells us (I. 57), had once migrated from the territory of Athena, whose population had been formed in ancient times by the Pelasgians  According to Artemidorus though, who had lived around 100bc, the inhabitants near the Olympus in Bithynia had been a colony of the Mysii (Getae) from north of the lower Danube (Strabo, libr. XII. 8. 1). Suidas also mentions on the territory of Attica a locality called in its Greek literary form as Plachiadai.

The Placii near the Olympus mountain in Bithynia, venerated with special piety the Great Mother or the Mother of Gods (Terra Mater), the supreme divinity of the ancient Pelasgian world, venerated especially as the mistress of the mountains, woods and pastures, the lady of the flocks and the shepherds (mater oreia). The sanctuary of the Great Mother at Placia, called Mater Plachiana, had reached in antiquity a special celebrity.

 

An important Pelasgian group of Placi dwelt in prehistoric times near the Ida mountain, which dominated the fine plains of Troy. According to Homer, the southern part of Ida mountain was called Plachos. The main city of the pastoral population there was Theba, called by Homer Theba from under the Placos mountain, Thabe ypoplachie; sacred Theba, Thabe iera; Thebe Placia by Dicearchus (fr. 11 in Frag. Hist. gr. II. 238).

The historical beginnings of this “sacred” citadel, with “high gates” were reduced therefore to the mythical times of the Pelasgian nation.

From Theba under the Placos mountain, was originally Andromache, the fine wife of Hector, the first Trojan hero, whose devotion to family is presented by Homer as follows:

“And when Hector reached the Scheean Gate, his wife Andromache, who had brought him a large dowry, met him running. She was the daughter of Ietion, who dwelt under the woods called Placos, in Theba from under the mountain Placos, a prince who reigned over the brave people of Cilicia. His daughter had married Hector, he with the bronze weapons. Andromache, followed by a servant, ran to him, holding in her arms her little son, beautiful like a star … Spilling tears, she came close to Hector, and while he hold her hand, she told him these words: Oh, fine husband, your virtue will be the end of you, and you have no pity for your little son and for poor me, who shall become a widow, because the Greeks shall kill you, they who all rush against us; and without you, it would be better for me to enter alive into the ground, because I would not have any more consolation, if you died, but only anguish. Today I do not have a father anymore, or a beloved mother, because my father was killed by divine Achilles, when he devastated Theba, the city with high gates and full of people; he then also killed my father Ietion, but did not stripped him of his weapons, but having a pious sentiment towards him, burnt him together with his weapons…. And my mother, who reigned over the Placos woods, Achilles took captive, took her with all her wealth, and freed her only after he was paid a huge ransom price; but Diana, who sends arrows against people, struck her, and she stopped living in the houses of my father; so that today you are for me father, mother, and brother, and at the same time my husband, in the bloom of your life. Have pity now and stay in your high courts, so that your child will not be an orphan and your wife a widow” (Iliad, VI. 390 seqq).

 

The sad premonition of Andromache is soon confirmed. Hector is killed by Achilles, and when Andromache receives this terrible news she laments as follows: “Oh! Hector, Oh! Unhappy me, in what evil hour we were both born, you at Troy, in Priam’s courts, I at Theba under the Placos woods, in the house of Ietion, who reared me when I was young, unhappy he, unhappy I. Oh! If I were not born! You go now to the secrets of the earth, and leave me a widow in the house, in the greatest of grief; and your son, conceived by both of us, poor us, is only a very little child; and he will have no more help from you, neither you from him, because, although he will escape this deadly war of the Greeks, he will always suffer only calamities and evil. This unhappy day will take away from this child all those alike him; his face will be always sad and his eyes full of tears …Alone will go this child to the friends of his parent; but he will be chased from the table by another child, whose parents live, he will be pushed, and persecuted, and injured, in shouts of: go away from here, your father is not sitting at the table with us” (Iliad, XXII, v. 477 seqq).

Andromache (the Greek name, whose more correct form seems to have been Aromache (as a son of Priam was called AromachusHyginus, Fab. 90), whose mother was called Laothoe (Homer, Iliad, XXI. 85), appears as one of the most noble figures of the Iliad. She was a model of conjugal and maternal love, the type of the Blac woman from near Troy, religious, superstitious, and not trusting the strangers. Her laments sound exactly like the funereal lamentations of a Romanian woman of our own days [1].

 

[1. We reproduce here a few extracts from the lamentations (TN – bocete) of the Romanian women from the Carpathians (Marian, Inmormantarea la Romani, p. 123, 505 seqq):

 

At the gate of cemetery, we today part our ways,

Let’s pause and talk for a while, where shall we meet again.

 

My much beloved husband, how could you bear,

The little ones to leave, and make a widow of me.

 

We, from today onwards, father shall not have,

Neither father, nor pity, or life for me.

 

Who counseled you, this road to take, to go into the ground?

 

How could you bear, to leave your children,

Little and ignorant, nobody to care for them?

They will soon find out, there’s no pity without a father.

 

When you won’t be here, the strangers will berate us,

How could you bare, to leave us among strangers,

Always in torment and trouble, with tears on our cheeks.

As long as we shall live, nobody shall give us anything,

Always “go”, and always “come”, nobody to show us mercy ].

 

Another territory with the name Blacheia was, as Aristotle tells us (Suidas, see Blacha), on the shores of Asia Minor, close to the city Cyme, the country of Homer, north  of the mouths of the river Hermus or Hermuna.

The mother of Priam, the last king of Troy, is called Placia by Apollodorus (Bibl. III. 12. 3. 11; III. 12. 5. 1). She was the daughter of king Atreus of Mycenae, the ancient famous, rich in gold, cyclopean city of the Peloponnesus, the capital of Agamemnon.

 

In prehistoric times the Pelasgians had formed, as we saw (see Ch.XXXII. 4), the local population of Egypt. As Suidas tells us (see Blacha), in the prefecture of Alexandria, near the mouths of the Nile, a tax called Blachennomium was in force, introduced for sure in very ancient times, which the Egyptians astrologers had to pay to the Egyptian kings, in order to prophesize to the lower people the events that will take place in the course of their lives. We also note here that near the Nile delta were settled even since very obscure times, various Pelasgian pastoral tribes (Herodotus, II. 17. 164 – Boucholichon stoma). Blachennomium was therefore a tax on the income of the astrologers, received from the Pelasgian shepherds and peasants, always curious to know the succession of events, and of their fate.

The name “Blachi” appears to have once been a general name for the inhabitants of the plains of the Nile. The lower classes of the Egyptian population, from the countryside as well as the cities, especially the workers of the earth, still appear today under the name Felahi and Fulahi; a term which the Turks use only as an expression of contempt for the Egyptians.

These Felahii form, from an ethnographic point of view, the oldest nation of the population of Egypt; they are the descendants of the local inhabitants of this country. Their physical qualities are remarkable: a fine dolichocephalous head, with a wide protruding forehead, black shiny eyes and a well formed mouth.

Finally, the name Felahi is also applied to our days to the ancient inhabitants of Syria, near the shores of the Mediterranean.

In Palestine, which before the invasion of the Hebrews was inhabited by the Pelasgian Amoreii, the books of the old testament mention one Balac or Balacus, a king of the Moabii, near the mountain Abarimon (of the White Arimonii).

An island near the southern corner of India is called Balaca by Ptolemy (lib. VII. 4. 12).

Polybius mentions in the western parts of the Peloponnesus, in Trifylia, a town with the name Bolax (lib. Iv. 77, 80), identical with the name Balaci of a number of villages in Romania.

 

With Homer, the name Plachos also appears under the form ‘Ylachos (Odyss. XIV. 204), the sound y being often replaced with b, ou and o.

Often the name ‘Ylachos appears under the form Phylachos (Homer, Iliad, II. 705; Herodotus, I. VIII. 85; Apollod. Bibl. I. 9. 4), which corresponds from an etymological point of view to Vulacos. Localities having the Greek name Phulache appear in various lands inhabited in antiquity by Pelasgians, in Thessaly, Epirus, Arcadia, etc.

A district with the name Placia also existed, even before the times of Trajan, in the Tauric Chersonessus (Crimea) (Pliny, lib. IV. 26. 7). A Scythian king from this locality, contemporary with Mithridates the Great (131 – 63bc), is called by the Greek authors Palacos (Strabo, lib.VII.4.3). The Greek forms Placos, Placia and Palacos correspond, from the point of view of etymology, to Blacos, Blacia and Balacos [2].

 

[2. The ancient Greeks changed often the original sound b with p. They said pallein instead of ballein, patein instead of batein, ‘Amprachia instead of ‘Ambrachia (Pherecydis, fragm. 101), etc. Ptolemy calls the Britannic islands Prettanichai nasoi, and the Byzantine historian Chalcocondyla, using the ancient Greek custom, writes Pogdanos instead of Bogdanos].

 

The Scythii, people with Pelasgian customs, institutions and religious beliefs, appear with the authors of antiquity under two general ethnic names. “The ancients”, writes Pliny, “have called the Scythii, Aramei”, meaning Aramani, which was without doubt their national name; and the geographer Mela tells us that almost all the populations of Scythia had been generally called Belcae (lib. III. 5), a name of foreign origin, which corresponds to the form “Belacae”, or “Balacae”.

We also find with Herodotus (lib. IV. c. 23) an important ethnographic note, about the so-called Arimphaei, who dwelt “on the foothills of the high mountains of Scythia” (near the Carpathians), note which says that these people, according to what the Greeks told, were phalachroi; a term which indicates in fact the race or family of this people, but which under this form had in Greek language also the meaning of people without hair, meaning bald.

An inhabitant of Dacia is mentioned on an inscription of Delos with the name Balacros (Pauly-Wissowa, Real-encycl. See Dacia).

A son of king Amynta III of Macedonia (392-368bc) is also called Balacros. Another Balacros from Macedonia was in the guard of Alexander the Great, and finally, a third Balacros was the commander of his light troupes (Arrianus, De exp. Llib. I. 29. 3; II. 12. 2; III. 12. 3).

On the triumphal arch at Susa, one of the Ligurian populations which dwelt in the western Alps, in the kingdom of Cottius, appears under the name Belaci (C. I. L. vol. V. 7231). On the inscriptions from Nicaea (Nizza), where dwelt the Deciatii or Decianii, we also find the name Vellacco, and Velacus Blaisicius (C. I. L. vol. v. 7845, 7888, 7897), otherwise identical with Belacus.

Almost all the populations of southern Gallia were known even since very obscure times under the general name of Volcae. Pliny mentions near the mouths of the Rhodan, the island Blascorum (lib. III. 79), meaning of the Blascii, called by Ptolemy in Greek form, Blaschon (lib. II. 10. 9).

In Hispania, an ancient nation from the province of Tarraconia had the name Vloqui (C. I. L. vol. II, nr. 6311, 1798, 2633). In Baetica we find a woman called Cornelia Vallata, and in Asturia one Blecaenus, and one Docius (C. I. L. vol. II. nr. 6311, 1798, 2633).

 

The name of the Belacii or Blacii also appears under various dialectal forms in the northern parts of Germania and Gallia. In the times of Charlemagne (797), the entire region comprised between the lower Rhine and Elba formed two provinces: one in the west, called Vestfalahia, the other in the east, Oostfalahia (Baluzius, Capitularia, Tom. I. Ed. 1687, p. 275), meaning the western and eastern Falahii.

An island near the mouths of the Rhine was called in the Middle Ages Walacra.

 

In Belgian Gallia, comprised of the lands between the rivers Seine, Rhine and the North Sea, the most numerous and powerful population was formed in the times of Caesar by the so-called Bellovacii, called by Strabo in two manuscripts of his, Balloacii (Geogr. Ed. Didot, p.173).These Bellovacii or Balloacii belonged without doubt to the same family of the Belacii of the Alps, and the Falahii of the eastern parts of the lower Rhine.

Finally, we also must add here that on some coins, predating the Roman domination, discovered in the regions of Armorica, or the north-west of Gallia, we find the name Vlatos (Revue celtique, t. XII, 404; t. XIV, 179), which is in fact identical with Vlacos.

 

In the Italic peninsula, the name of the Blacii appears under various forms, since very remote times. Some of these names are reduced to the times of the Pelasgian migrations, but others are introduced with the geographical writings of the Greek authors. In this regard the words of Pliny are memorable: that he is truly ashamed to make the geographical and ethnographic description of Italy by following the Greek authors (lib. III. 20. 8).

Oblacus was the name of an Etruscan man from Volsinii or Vulsinii (Dionys. Hal. lib.XIX.12). He had been a brave commander, who had distinguished himself in the war with Pyrrhus, the famous king of Epirus.

Divus pater Falacer was an ancient Roman divinity, with a particular cult. The great priest was called Flamen Falacer. The etymology of the name must be phalachroi, found near the high mountains of Scythia about which Herodotus speaks, and also Balacros, the proper names of ethnic origin which we find in Dacia and in Macedonia.

An ancient Etruscan city was called Felathri. Another locality called Falacrinum, Palacrinis in Greek form (Tab. Peut.) was on the territory of the Sabinii.

Other various Italic tribes, which belonged to the ancient Pelasgian family, had names like Volci in Lucania, Volsci in Latium [3], Volci, Vulci, Volsinii and Faliscii in Etruria.

 

[3. In the language of the Volscii, once named Volosci and Volusci, we find the forms: vinu instead of vino and fasia instead of faciat, where the guttural c(k) had changed in a sibilant consonant, and the final t, letter characteristic for the third person, had disappeared (Corssen, De Volscorum lingua, p. 1.48. 50)].

 

It is like an ethnographic thread, which passed through lower Italy, over Latium and Etruria; from here continued to the Belacii or Velacii of the Alps, to the Blascii from near the mouths of the Rhodan, to the so-called Volcae of southern Gallia, to the Falahii near the Rhine, and to the Bellovacii or Balloacii near the North Sea.

 

We have now to study here the origin and ethnic significance of the family name Flacus, which we often meet in Italy, and in various provinces of the Roman empire.

In fact, Flaccus, as family name, is only a simple literary form of Vlacus. In ancient Latin language, the sound v was often changed with f; so we find Folcatius and Volcatius, falvae and valvae, Felathri with the Etruscans and Volaterrae with the Romans, the native country of the famous satiric poet Aulus Persius Flaccus.

The etymology of this family name cannot be reduced in any case to the Latin word flaccus, “flap-eared man” (auribus flaccis), as some of the Roman authors had tried to explain it.

 

One of the most numerous and illustrious families of Rome had been the clan called Cornelia, of which came forth a significant number of great men, who had added to the glory of the Roman people, and among whom the most famous had been the Scipionii.

Some branches of this family had the co-names Blasio, Flaccus, Balbus, Barbatus, Dolabella, Lentulus, Lupus, Mammula, Maluginensis, Merula, Niger, Cethegus, Corculus, Crus, Rufus, Rufinus, Sisenna, Sylla, Vatia, etc. The name Blasio and Flaccus are synonymous, and both identical with Vlacus [4].

 

[4. In the language of the Slavs of the Balkan peninsula, the Romanians are called Vlasi.

In Anonymus Belae reg. notarius. c. 25, the Blacii of Transilvania are called Blasii].

 

For many centuries, the patrician Cornelii had kept their particular traditional feast days. They had preserved until the times of Cicero the ancient rite of burial, the inhumation of the bodies of the deceased, and the placing in front of the graves the inscription “Hic situs est” (here rests).

The dictator Sylla had been the first of this family who, as Cicero writes, had disposed that his body be burnt in fire, fearing that the enemies would disinter and scatter his bones, as he himself had done with the remains of Caius Marius. In regard with Cornelii Cethegii, these had always shown scorn towards the Greco - Roman tunic, which no member of this family had ever worn.

 

In the country of Fagaras (tera Fagarasului), still exist today the ancient boyar families which have the names: Cornea, Balbu, Barbu, Barbat, Lencul, Lupul, Mamulea, Marginean, Negrea, Cotiga, Cocora, Carsa (Carja) [5], Rosu, Sesarma, Silea, Batia. (For the noble families of Fagaras, see our publication, Monumente p. ist. T. Fagarasului, Bucuresci, 1885).

 

[5. The ancients derived the name of the family Scipio from the word scipio (schipon), long staff hold by an important person, scepter (Isid. Orig. XVIII. 2. 5). With this meaning, the name Scipio is synonymous with the name of the noble family from Tera Fagarasului, Carsa = Carja (in Romanian carja means staff, cane, of a wealthy man, or a high dignitary. It is possible that the name of the family Crus (from the Cornelia clan), which the ancients could not explain, had in the beginning the same meaning. In French, crosse = carja = staff].

 

In the village Boteni near Campulung we also find the family Dolbea, and in the western mountains of Transilvania, the family Malageanu, the same names as Dolabella and Maluginensis.

 

The Cornelia clan, which belonged to the minores gentes, or those settled later in Rome, had been considered even during the times of the empire a foreign clan, which had not yet assimilated the customs, traditions and religious beliefs of the other ancient Roman families [6].

 

[6.The clan Cornelia formed, as we see, a social group composed of a number of patrician and plebeian families, which did not derive from a single common ancestor. They were united among themselves though by traditions, customs, traditions, religious beliefs, and common geographical origin, and certainly all acknowledged from the beginning the military authority of the Cornelia family.

The clan Cornelia had also close family associations with the clan Aemilia, a branch of which had the co-name Barbula. We note here that in Tera Fagarasului (Romania), in the village Ileni, the cradle of the noble family Cornea, still exists today the noble family Milea, which around 1711 had a branch with the name Barbu Milea].

 

The poet Juvenal, who had lived in the time of Domitian, presents Cornelia, the mother of the Grachii, as a superb woman who despised the Latinii. He compared her with Niobe, who considered herself more noble than the clan of Latona, and told her to take her Hannibal, to take Syphax, the defeated king of Numidia, whom Scipio had taken as a prisoner to Rome, finally, to take the entire Carthage (meaning all her family) and to emigrate (Sat. VI.169-170).

In another satire of his against the historic nobility, Juvenal alludes to the patrician families of Rome, who reduced their origin to the warlike tribes of the Titans from the kingdom of Atlas and to his brother Prometheus.

We can therefore suppose that the clan Cornelia, with its branches Flaccus and Blasio belonged to the ancient Pelasgian trunk from north of the lower Danube, and especially to the nobility of Dacia.

 

With this occasion we shall mention here one Publius Cornelius, a native of Dacia.

In 260ad, the emperor Valerianus fell in Persian captivity. A large number of contenders emerged in various parts of the empire, wanting to dispute the right of his son Gallien, to the purple, the throne, and the empire. One of these contenders was Regalianus (Regillianus), born in Trajan Dacia, who pretended that he drew his origin from the royal family of Dacia (T. Pollio, XXX tyr. 9).

In the times of Valerianus’ reign, Regalianus had been the general commander of the Roman troupes of Illyria; he had often defeated the Sarmatii Iazygi, and had conquered back for the Roman empire almost the entire Illyria. There exists a letter, which the emperor Claudius, while in private life, had addressed to Regalianus, in which he told him that it was a very good thing for the Roman empire to have a man so expert in military matters as he was, and that he would have deserved a triumph, if he had lived in the old times. Generally, Regalianus was considered in the army of the empire as a man with excellent military talents, and deserving the throne of the empire. The troupes from Mesia, to which the south-eastern parts of Dacia also belonged in those times, proclaimed Regalian as emperor around 263ad; but he was killed by the Roxolanii in connivance with the Roman troupes, who feared the reprisals of cruel Gallien.

 

A few silver coins (Eckhel, Doctr. Num. VII. 461; Arch. Epigr. Mitth. XVI. 239) exist from the time of Regalianus, which show on the obverse the face of the emperor with the crown of rays on his head and the inscription: IMP(erator) C.(Caesar, Caius, Cnaeus?) REGALIANVS AVG (ustus).

Some specimens of these coins present on the reverse the figure of the god Apollo-Sun, with the legend: ORIENS AVG(ustus). We understand that Regalianus had wished to form, out of the eastern Roman provinces, a separate empire of the Orient, from the Adriatica to the frontiers of Persia, from the Carpathians, to the cataracts of the Nile, an empire which was to exist alongside the empire of the western provinces, where other pretenders were active.

Gallien though, after defeating all his adversaries, minted some coins, on which wrote the inscription: restitutor Orientis (re-conqueror of the Orient).

 

Regalianus is in any case a Latinized name, but the historical enigma still endures: why Regalianus, this representative of the ancient royal family of Dacia, had associated himself with the Cornelia clan of Rome?

In cannot be contested though that some ancient traditions and new beliefs existed in Dacia, that the Roman empire owed in a large part his brilliant successes, even at its beginnings, to the energetic Dacian element.

42 years after the proclamation of Regalianus as emperor of the Orient, the throne of the Roman empire passed to Galerius Maximianus, a man excelling in the military art and full of courage. His mother had been a native of the lands on this side (TN – left bank) of the Danube. When the Carpii started to devastate the regions of ancient Dacia, she crossed the Danube and ran to new Dacia (Lactantius, De morte pers. c. 9).

Galerius distinguished himself quickly and passed quickly through all the military grades. The emperor Diocletian conferred him the title of Caesar, and gave him the general command over the troupes of Illyria and Thrace, then he made him his son-in-law. In 296ad Galerius was put in charge of the war against the Persians; he gathered in Illyria and Mesia a strong army, met Narse, the king of the Persians, in Great Armenia, pushed him back beyond the frontiers of the empire, and took huge war booty. But after defeating Narse, writes Lactantius, his ambition grew; he now wanted to be considered and called son of Mars, and another Romulus (Ibid. c. 9). Then, as soon as he became emperor (after the abdication of Diocletian), he declared himself an enemy of everything Roman, and wanted to change even the official title of the empire, which was not to be called the Roman empire any more, but the Dacian empire (ibid. c. 27).

 

We continue now with the matter of the ethnic term Flaccus instead of Vlacus.

In the second half of the 12th century, the crusaders praised the wealth of the region named Flachia, which was not far from Thessalonica (Ansbertus, Expedit. Friderici I imp. (Ed. Tauschinski et Pangeri).

Dominicus Marius Niger calls Flacci the Vlachi shepherds from the peninsula of Mount Athos, (Comm. Geographiae, Ed. 1557, lib. 11; Tomaschek, Zur Kunde d. Haemus-Halbinsel, c. 4).

In a 1534ad Latin document of Brasov district, we also find the form “flaccice” instead of “vlachice” (Densusianu, Documente p. ist. Romanilor, Vol. II. 4. 65), evident traces left in the Latin language by an ancient use of writing Flaccus instead of Vlacus.

In prehistoric traditions, Flaccii or Vlacii from north of the lower Danube, also appear under the name Feaci (Phaiaches, Phaieches).

In his Odyssey (VI. v. 4 seqq), Homer tells us about a people called Feaci, who dwelt in a far away island, Scheria; which is the same as the beautiful island Veglia in the Adriatic, named in roman times Curicte and Corcyra (Caesar, B. C. lib. III. 10; C. I. L. vol. III. p. 398).

These Feacii, the author of the Odyssey says, had dwelt earlier en eyruchoro ‘Ypereie, the wide country Hyperia (from beyond), near the superb Cyclops. But being in a continuous state of unrest because of those, they had migrated and settled in Scheria island, where they later became famous navigators [7].

 

[7. Dacia was the country of the Cyclops (see Ch.XIX). The emperor Maximinus the Old (235ad), whose parents had been originally from Trajan Dacia, a harsh, arrogant, scornful man, loved only by the Getae, as he was their co-national, as J. Capitolinus writes (Maximini duo. c. 1-8), was also ironically called Cyclop, Typhon and Gyges, meaning a man from the people of the Cyclops and the Titans].

 

By their type, mores and customs, the Feacii belonged to the Pelasgian family from the eastern parts of Europe. Homer presents the Feacii as a people of heroes. They had 12 leaders (agatores), over whom reigned king Alcinous (Altinous?); they had a forum, or a common place for assemblies (agora); the private council of the king was formed of the wisest old men (gerontes); they venerated especially Hermes and believed in the predestined fate of man; had an aversion for strangers, but were merciful; pitied the unhappy ones, whom the waves of the sea threw on their shores, and gave them all the possible help to return them to their country. Their women were very skilled in the art of sewing and weaving. In the council hall of Alcinous, various weavings and ceremonial clothes were hung around the walls. In the palace of king Alcious, everybody could enter, without waiting at the door. The Queen of the Feacii usually sat near the hearth, reeling red wool. A stranger who entered into the house, sat near the hearth, and if he was a more important man, he was invited to sit on the chair. At the feasts of the Feacii, praises were sung to renowned men. The youths celebrated with fights, games and running. The Feacii had large orchards alongside their yards, with pear, apple, fig, olive trees, grape vines and all sort of fruit; and at the extreme part of the orchards were the beds for vegetables. It is the same civilization, the same type of domestic life, the same political and military organization which had existed, and still exist in large part today, with the Romanian people from the Carpathians.

The name Feaci (Phaiaches) is identical with Flacii or Flaci. It derives though from the forms Balaci=Falaci, with the changing of the suffix ac in iac (as in Rom. Poliac, Ital. Polacco, Germ. Palak), and the disappearance of l (as in Ital. bestemmia, Lat. blasphemia; Ital. mai pensieri, tai cose, instead of Lat. mali, tali; Rom. aiu, Lat. alium).

 

In the Roman epoch, the populations from the southern parts of Dacia also appear under the name Bastarnae and Basternae. This name appears in history for the first time around 182bc.

The dwellings of the Bastarnii were on the north shore of the Danube. Livy tells us that the Bastarnii were neighbors with the Thracii and Scordiscii (lib. X L I. 19; Strabo, VII. 3. 2), meaning that they were spread along the course of the Danube, from the Black Sea to the regions of south Panonnia. Dio Cassius also tells us (lib. LI. C. 23) that the Bastarnii were facing the province of Mesia. Ovid also mentions them near the lower Danube (Trist. II. 1. 197).

The Bastarnii formed a numerous and warlike people, which disposed of a great force in cavalry and pedestrians. Around182bc, Filip of Macedonia had asked the Bastarnii for help against the Romans, and his plan was to send the Bastarnii to devastate Italy after exterminating the Dardanii, the enemies of the Macedonians (Livy, lib. XL. 57).

On the Tabula Peutingeriana, the Bastarnii appear under the name Blastarni (Tacit and Pliny also call Bastarni the inhabitants of Dacia on the parts towards Germania).

In the cosmography of Julius Honorius, they are called also Uasternae = Vasternae (Riese, Geogr. Lat. min. p. 40. 84). All these are more or less altered dialectal forms of the name “Blaci”.

The term Blastarni – or Blasterni, is the less corrupt version, which corresponds to the form Blasca(n)ni, Blasce(n)ni (Rom. Vlascani, Vlasceni).

In the language of the Slav populations from the Balkan peninsula, the Romanian country (TN – Valahia) is called Vlaska zemlia; a district of Romania near the Danube still has today the name Vlasca; and a Romanian tradition tells us that the people from the mountain called Vlasceni those from the valley (Cest. Ist. Raspunsuri).

The Great Mother of the Gods, Mater Plachiana, or a ech Plachias (C. I. L. 3657), was also called Plastena mater, as Pausanias writes (Descr. Gr. lib. V. 13. 7), meaning Mater Plastena = Blastena, name identical with Blascena or Vlascena.

 

Before ending this study about the forms of the name “Blac” in antiquity, we must also mention here the epithets bellax and bellaces, which some Latin authors used with a certain intention, in order to indicate the ethnic characteristics of some barbarian populations of Pelasgian origin.

So, we find with Priscianus the names: Sarmata bellax, Germanii bellaces and Pannonii bellaces (Descr. Orb. v. 274, 294, 314). The same term is used by the epic poet Lucanus for the inhabitants of the island Curicte (Veglia), under the form “bellaci genti curictum” (Phars. IV. 406).

In antiquity, almost all the Scythian populations, according to Mela, were known under the name Belcae. The same name appears with Priscianus under the form Sarmata bellax.

Two significant groups of Falahi existed on the territory of Germany between the Rhine and Elba. Priscianus tells us about the Germanii bellaces. The oldest chronicles of Hungary mention the Blacii of Pannonia (Anonym. Belae reg. not. C. 9; Simon de Keza, Chron. Hung. 3. 4), and Priscianus spoke of Pannonii bellaces. In the texts above, the epithets “bellax” and “bellaces” indicate without doubt not only the martial character of the Sarmatii, Germanii (Herminonii) and Pannonii, but at the same time their antique nationality.

We find an allusion to the name Valaci given to the Ligurii of upper Italy with the Roman Nigidius Figulus, who had lived around 59ad.

The Ligurii of the Alps and Apennines, who until the times of Augustus still wore long tresses and were named Capillatii and Comatii, appear with Nigidius Figulus with the epithet fallaces (Micali, Italia av. il dom. d. Romani, t. 1, 1826, p. 89), although these Ligurii, as Diodorus Siculus writes, led a very tough life; they were poor people, but hard working. It is without any doubt that by the term “fallaces”, applied to the Ligurii, Nigidius Figulus indicates, in a scornful way, their ethnic name of Belaci, which we had become, we do not know how, an expression of scorn for the Pelasgian pastoral populations, ever since very obscure times.

 

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