Awesome Romanian research stuff:
According to many sources, the pastoral ballad Miorita encapsulates something essential about the Romanian soul. In the story, three shepherds tend their sheep on the same plain: a Vrancean, a Transylvanian, and a Moldavian. Since the Moldavian is the wealthiest, the other two decide that they are going to kill him and steal his flock. The Moldavian’s favorite lamb, Miorita, overhears them, and goes to warn her master. The Moldavian only wishes to be buried on the heath with his flute, and tells Miorita to tell all the other sheep and his poor old mother that he went away to marry a princess “at Heaven’s doorsill,” that the sun and the moon came down to hold his bridal crown, that the mountain was his priest, the stars his torches, and the birds his fiddlers.
Such stoic submission is totally incomprehensible from an American standpoint, and yet it is undeniably beautiful, and contains its own kind of strength.
Do not piss off Vlad the Impaler. If you are not sure why, see name.
An uncanny number of consorts of Romanian heads of state have my name. It’s a little spooky.
Medieval Wallachian king Michael the Brave owed the Ottomans a whole bunch of money. So he was like, “yo dudes, come get your money.” And then they showed up, and he was like, “see that building? Your money’s in there.” So they went in. And then he set the building on fire.
Huh. Think I could pull that off with student loan people?
The Ottoman Porte allowed Moldavia and Wallachia to each elect heads of state, but did not allow them to unify as a nation. In response, the two principalities both elected… the same guy.*
Ha! Well played, Romania. Well played.
* married to one of the Elenas. Yep.
In ancient times, what is now Romanian territory was inhabited by a people called the Dacians, who were eventually swallowed by the Roman empire. Very little is known about them–what is most interesting about them is how Romanians have chosen to fit them into their national narrative over the past couple of centuries. When they wanted to belong to western Europe, they surmised the the Romans had entirely eradicated the Dacians–essentially making modern Romanians descendants of Rome only. When they wanted to separate themselves from western Europe, they instead cast Rome as the outside oppressor, making modern Romanians plucky Dacian survivors. In the unwinding years of the Ceaucescu regime, it was affirmed that Romanian is such a heavily Latin language not because Dacians were romanized but because–hang onto your pants–Romans were dacianized. According to this theory, the Latin language was in fact descended from Dacian, and the origin of western civilization can be traced back to Romanian soil. The truth is, of course, that the Dacian language is completely lost–its only possible remnants being a small collection of modern Romanian words that are neither Latin nor Slavic.
The truth is that writing down what happened also erases what happened. The truth is that history writes history.