Sarajevo & Durmitor

Stari Vlah … around the city of Sarajevo, on the Drina and the Lim rivers’ valley …
In Serbia, 40 documents (deeds of gift, Ahrišovs@) are known which mention Vlachs living in different parts of the country, but the deeds of gift of the largest monasteries which had Vlachs in their territories have not yet been found. These documents were written by Serbian kings and noblemen. From the 12th century, one is known, from the 13th, six, from the 14th, 27, and from the first half of the 15th, six. The oldest hri-AÕov dates from 1198B1199 AD and mentions, among other things, that the Vlachs who belonged to the monastery of Hilander were organized in jurisdictions (sudstvo). They lived in the region of Prizren.  A deed of gift from about 1220 AD, written by the first crowned king of Serbia, Štefan, was preserved on the walls of the monastery of -Aði…a, founded by Štefan. This document mentions the names of 200 Vlachs who were living west of Kosovo Polje along the upper course of the river Lim. Dragomir states that Anot one of these names has an Arumanian character, on the contrary, the pattern of ´Mic´ compells us to think of the dialects in the north.@ Many names found in this deed of gift are Slavic but only a few are Greek. Of the placenames in this document, three survived to this day: Batina, Bukorovac, and Bun.The Northern Rumanian character of the language of these Vlachs is generally recognized: [the ancestors of the Arumanians] must be distinguished from the Rumanians in Serbia, recorded during the entire course of the Middle Ages in the Serbian kingdom. The language of the Rumanians in Serbia, as well as Istrorumanian, presents characteristic features of Daco-Rumanian and belongs to the northern group of the Rumanian language while Arumanian constitutes its southern group.   A deed of gift given by king Štefan Milutin about 1230 AD to the monastery of Banjska in Kosovo Polje describes the Alaw of the Vlachs@. From the text of this law it is apparent that the Vlachs were shepherds and occupied themselves with agriculture to a limited extent. Some of them also followed the trade of wayfarers (kjelatori). In the same document, the frontiers of a territory in Kijevo, called zemlja vlaška (-A´Vlach territory´) are described in detail.  Three of the deeds of gift written by Štefan Dušan distinguish between Vlachs and Serbs. The two populations are named separately: AVlachs as well as Serbs.
Several documents mention Vlachs together with Albanians, as two distinct populations, but living in the vicinity of each other.Concerning the Vlachs in Montenegro and Hercegovina, Dragomir gives the following account: They were exclusively shepherds and carters. The names they have left behind call to mind the life of shepherds: the mountains Durmitor, Visator (so called when first mentioned, the later form being Visitor) and -AÚipitor; Murgule, an elevated plain below Durmitor; Palator, a ford across the Drina, where wool was washed.
Vlachs have always been bilingual, and since they were never the administrators, the language which has survived in the records is never their own one.
As early as 1530, when the Habsburg official Benedict Kuripe?ic travelled through Bosnia, he was able to report that the country was inhabited by three peoples, One was the Turks, who ruled “with great tyranny” over the Christians. Another was “the old Bosnians, who are of the Roman Catholic faith.” And the third were “Serbs, who call themselves Vlachs . . . They came from Smederovo and Belgrade.” So important was the Vlach element in the creation of this Bosnian Orthodox population that, three centuries later, the term “Vlach” was still being used in Bosnia to mean “member of the Orthodox Church.”

About Alex Imreh 0742-669918
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