Vlahs :: The Vlahs of
Veria :: The Wallachian
Language :: The
The Vlahs (Armani)
the first written evidence of the Vlah' s language we have that of the
Byzantine collumnists, Theophanis is and Theophylactus (579 A.D.) while
the word Vlahs (Armani) was mentioned for the first time in 976 A.D. from
Kedrinos. He talks about Vlahs travellers in the region of
Vlahs (Armani) with a few exceptions were not known with this name but with the
world "Armani". This world derives from the "Romanus
lives" and it is related to the decree of Karakala (Edictum
Antonianium), 212 A.D. According to this decree, the right of the Roman
citizen was passed on to all the residents of the whole Roman province.
word Vlah according to recent research-originated from the German
language whereby Latin speakers are called Wolhrolc and it derives from
the words valon, valia, Wales etc.Besides the general name Vlahs
Latin speakers of South Balkans are called with other names too, (Farsiarotes,
Tsipani, Miglianiats=Moglenites, Grammoustiani, Mouzikiari or
Tsimoureani, Sarmaniotes etc.)
term Koutsovlahs that is used by scholars since the past century and
which very often has a humiliating character, is related to "Kioutsouk
Vlahia" as the Turks call Etoloakarnania. This is an area with many
(Vlah speakers) until the
years of Kosmas Etolos (Epigram of
this first evidence of Kedrinos, Vlahs (Armani) are repeatedly mentioned
indicatively: Sigilia Vassiliou B, Kekavmenos, Anna Komnini, Choniatis
Kinnamos, Halkokondilis, Frantzis, Latin sources, files of
Venice, Chanson de
Roland, a German epic, Nibelougen, chronical of Moreas, Erotokritos.
the historical presence of Vlahs (Armani) is intense. There are no foreign
sightseers -during the years of the Turkish domination- there is no
mention of them. We indicatively mention
the names of Pouqueville (Voyage en Grece) Leak (Travels in
Northern Greece), Heuzey (1858) Kouzinery (Voyages en Macedoine) Berard
(Turkish domination and Hellenism), Wace- Thomson (Nomads of Balkans)etc.
the 18th century, under specific circumstances like the fall of the
empire, successive tension of pashas, Orlophika, internal conflicts, big
cities of Vlahs (Armani) like Moshopoli, Nikolitsa, Linotopi, Grammousta and many
more were totally destroyed and the inhabitants were scattered towards
every direction: Vienna, Budapest, Belgrad, Boukourest, Thessaloniki,
Veria, Naousa, Serres, Philippoupoli, Konstantinopolis etc.
Serb Academic, Dousan Popovic in his work "O Cincarina"
mentions that Serbian markets were in undated by Vlahs (Armani) in the 18th
century and all the import and export trade was in their hands and they
created the bourgeois class of Serbia.
the dissemination of Vlahs (Armani) is due to their professional occupations as
they were stock-breeders wood-cutters and merchants. They were
constantly "on the road" they were conveyors on not only of
products but also of ideas. They connected the Greek area with the
Balcans and Europe. Their contribution to Hellenism is undoubtly
tremendous (armatolism, revolution, benefactors, economy, literature).
indicatively mention a few names Rigas, Georgakis, Olympios, Yiannis
Pharmakis, Hatzipetros, Vlahavei, (all the benefactors except Sigron),
Zappas, Averof, Sinas, Spiridon, Lambrou, Papagos, Svolos, Kristallis,
and all the others who with their strength, good spirit, money and their
donations secured financially the newly established Hellenic republic
and they founded it. Another aspect of the newly established Hellenic
republic that is not well known is that many modern artists are of Vlah
Origin just as Koutsomitis, Prokovas, Papatakis, Tsitsanis, Virvos,
Kaldaras, Mitropanos, Sgouros etc.
the enormous dissemination and the unfavorable conditions, even nowadays
thousands of Vlahs (Armani) live outside the Hellenic territory, Albania, the
region of Monastery-Scopia Bulgaria (only those that were not
assimilated) and Rumania
where these people deserted under various nationalistic and political
conditions during the first decades of our century.
these new homelands their contribution is priceless. We indicatevely
mention the names of George Mournou who translated "Iliada" in
the Rumanian language and that of the great comedy writer of Serbian
literature, Alkiviadis Nousia that is Vlah from Klisoura in Macedonia
and is well known in Serbia as Branislav Nushici. Moreover, we also
mention the siblings Manakia who were pioneer photographers and
film-makers from Avdella in Grevena and a considerable part of their
work is now at the Monastery of Skopia.
Vlahs (Armani) of Veria
surprisingly, Veria saw the settlement of the Roman rules, finance
officers, tax reuters and other Roman officials. Taking for granted that
all these were speaking formal Latin, it was unavoidable that this
language was spread in Veria and thus from the beginning of the Roman
Domination Latin speakers appeared in Veria.
is proven that the massive inauguration of Vlahs (Armani) in Veria, from their
eternal Pindikes birthplaces, took place in the second decade of the
19th century. However , it is also proven that Vlahs (Armani) existed in Veria
during the Byzantine era and also during the Turkish domination. Thus,
we know that in 1350 AD the chief shepherd Margelatos, helped the
Byzantine emperor Ioannis Katakouzinos in the seizure of Veria which was
previously occupied for a short period, by the Serb Stefan Dousan (C.H.
Hionidis "History of Veria" volume two, Byzantine years,
Thessaloniki, 1970,p.48-41 and 100).
in 1627, Margelatos is refered to as a resident of this region.
According to the Vlah researcher S.Liakos and A.Vakalopoulos, professor
in the University of Thessaloniki, Martzelos was from an Arvanito-Vlah
tribe. This tribe would go down to the winter quarters of Veria and
Thessaloniki plane according to their long-lasting tradition while
during Spring time they would go up to the mountainous grasslands in
order to pass the Summer.(A.Vakalopoulos, Pankarpia, Macedonian land
the Turk sight-seer Evliya Tselempi mentions that among the residents of
Veria (1668) there were also "Latino" and it is a matter of
course that this information refers to the Vlahs (Armani) of Veria.
1770, after the massive catastrophe of Moshopolis, many residents of
Moshopolis -bourgeois- inhabited Veria too. The massive residence of
Vlahs (Armani) in Veria took place fifty years later, when Ali Pasha, brought on
war to the wallachian armatolikia, charged the Albanian with dervenia,
disrupted the economic and social status of Vlahs (Armani), sapped the tseligata
and offended their honour. Under these circumstances, chief shepherds
from the wealthy wallachian villages of Pindos and mainly from Avdella,
instead of going to Thessalia, went to Macedonia and they spent their
time between the winter quarters of Kassandra and the greenlands of
Beles and Vermion. There they made their "hats" of
Bandralexis today' s Seli, was enforced with other families from
Samarina and Perivoli.
about the same period, Vlahs (Armani) settled at Xerolivado too and a few years
later residents from Seli and Xerolivado, settled at Koumaria (Doliani).
Simultaneously the big tseligato of
Zega from Frasiari of south Albania and more than fifty thousands
sheeps and goats were installed in Ano Seli.
most significant source of the transition of
(Armani) from their eternal homeland in Pindos and their settlement
in Veria, is an extensive verbal tradition, the wallachian songs which
refer to those years, the historical notice about Vlahs
A.Papavasiliou, but mainly the "unpublished" memories of
Gioti Naoum which were published in 1984 by C.H. Hionidis with
in Veria, in 1878, played a leading part in the rebellion of Kolindros
with the Bandralexis leaders. Unfortunately this rebellion ended in the
holocaust in "At the All saints".
the years went by the changes in the structure of economy, the great
agricultural developments in the plain of Veria, the primitive
conditions in stock-raising, and industrialisation forced the Vlahs
move on from the mountain to town and plane. That is why the wallachian
villages of Vermio, Seli,
Xerolivado, Koumaria, developed into nice resorts.
the main bulk of Vlahs (Armani) in Imathia prefecture live in Veria. After the
decade of the 50s many other Vlahs (Armani) from Briaza , Armata, Smixi, Neveska,
Blatsi, etc. came especially to Veria. Many Vlahs (Armani) also live in old
villages at the plain of Veria, Perivoliotes mainly and Albanian Vlahs (Arvanito-Vlahs).
are a dynamic element of Imathia prefecture and they are distinguished
in many sectors: literature, science, economy, industry, trade,
stock-breeding and they are represented by three associations of Vlahs
(in Veria, Naoussa, Skilitsi and environs). These associations make
their presence felt with a great variety of shows and mainly with their
efforts for the preservation of the wallachian language.
scientific research has given an answer to the birth of the wallachian
language. The formal language of the eastern Roman State called
Byzantium many centuries ago, up to the years of
"Iraklios" (at the beginning of the 7th century AD),
was the Latin language.
"the first Romanian period" of the neolatin languages (derived
from the folk Latin language of Balkans Latinum Balkanicum) four
neolatin languages (the wallachian and the Moglenitiki in the axis of
Egnatia and Istroroumaniki and Dakoroumaniki in the axis of
Dounabe). In an exactly
similar way the modern neolatin languages (Italian, French, Spanish,
Portuguese) derived from the western neolatin language. In this way, we
can explain the similarities among the wallachian, the previously
mentioned European languages and simultaneously with the corresponding
neolatin languages of the Balkans.
one tries to encounter the wallachian civilization with respect, as this
is expressed in the
wallachian language too, he will discover that the songs, traditions,
folk-tales and proverbs are filled with astonishing wealth. In recent
years, with individual or collective initiative, similar publications
see the light. These publications show a rich primary material,
linguistic, historical, social which consist an excellent "verbal
first written signs of the wallachian language have their roots in the
mid of the 18th century and they are mainly inscriptions of the Greek
alphabet and texts, by scholars and lexicographers who
used Greek and Latin alphabet.
The first grammar of
the wallachian language of M.Boyiatzi, was printed in 1813 in Vienna.
This grammar proposes the Latin alphabet so that the language would
acquire a literate form. This was also previously supported by other
"daughters" of the Latin language. In the recent wallachian
grammar of academic N.Katsani-K.Ntina (Thessaloniki 1990), the
wallachian language was written in Latin letters completed with letters
from the Greek alphabet.
The choice of the
alphabet of course even today, is not very simple as there are many
parameters (historical, religious, cultural, political) that must be
taken into account. However, an unbiased and without expediency approach
to science cannot deny that a neolatin language like the wallachian one,
can be written more efficiently in the Latin alphabet.
The wallachian language
which was once spoken widely in the
Balkans, is now lost day by day. The language was dwindled
not due to natural but historical and social reasons. Despite all
these factors the wallachian language even in today' s adverse
circumstances of immense antisocialisation, of dissolution of old close
social structures and communication is still a reality.
Man should learn to
consider as national whatever is real and this reality should not be
encountered with a negative mood because according to the great
contemporary intellectual Noam Tsomsky, there are not any good or bad
languages, superior or inferior, but there are advanced or not at all
advanced languages with which people communicate.
The present recording of the songs in the wallachian language with respect and sensitivity for our civilization, is a short collection of the Wallachian Association of Veria for the recording and presentation of the wallachian language.
The songs of the first
type are generally executed in unison and scarcely eterophonically or
polyphonically. The majority of executors
sing the basic melody and those who have a good voice move up and down
the basic melody. The polyphonic song is common with the Farsiarotes
while the individual execution almost
does not exist. The melody of the song is maintained by two main
singers, while the rest -choir- simply accompanies (ee...)
A characteristic of the
wallachian songs are the responses (antiphonies) mainly between men and
women. These were born due to the need of the two teams to rest or to
Although the team
polyphonic song of Wallachians is traditional and almost generalized
there are cases mainly in the songs of the first type that are sung
The wood-cutters songs, stock-breeders (picurarescu canticu) and other love songs (di vreare) belong in this category. The lonely life of the wood-cutters and stock-breeders is reflected in these songs. This record and CD contains songs of this kind of monophonic and duet songs. This new attempt aims to show that our association has already moved towards polyphonic songs which were mainly sung by Vlahs (Armani).
music follows and this is later followed by the melodies of the earlier
songs. The improvised flute accompanied the stock-breeders songs, while
the violin, according to verbal tradition, was the first among the
instruments of today’s
company troop, which accompanied the wallachian songs. This happened
because it could follow the variation in wallachian melodies. Later the
clarinet became the main instrument of the company troop which was
completed by a lute and a tambourine.
The copper instruments
came later on as a western influence related to military bands usually
found in urban and wallachian centers (Neveska, Klisoura, Bitolia,
etc.). Copper instruments that replaced the violin have prevailed in
Veria for the last decades since the song retreated too.
A few years ago, people
were singing, monophonic or polyphonic songs during feast time, copper
instruments would not accompany. In the present recording, incidental
music is played by violins. This happens because all the songs contained
are former to the use of copper instruments.
Professor at the seat
of linguistics at the University of Thessaloniki N.Katsanis notices that
the wallachian songs have hardly been subject to research by the science
of literature up to now in our country. Furthermore, the connection
between the wallachian songs in Greek and other wallachian songs has not
been studied yet. Many wallachian songs were sung in Greek and it is to
be expected that their original form did not survive. The evidence is
explicit as K.Kristallis has translated
many wallachian songs in Greek. At the same time, the fact that many
wallachian songs in Greek praise the beauty of the Vlah woman leads to
this thought too.
The study of the
wallachian songs by unforgettable Sam-Baud-Bovy has not been completed
because of his death. The Wallachian Association has many extensive
collections of songs in its files that wait for scientific approach by
ethnologists, musicologists and folklorists.