“Diacronia” bibliometric database (BDD)

Toponime de origine romană în Transilvania şi în sud-vestul Moldovei

Publication: Anuar de Lingvistică și Istorie Literară, XLIX-L, p. 19
Publisher:Editura Academiei
Abstract:Although attempts have been made, Romanian toponyms of Roman origin have not been discovered yet. In the author's opinion, there are three reasons for this failure: a) the wrong premise that they have to be searched in the minor toponymy, the result of which has been to attribute Latin etymons to certain Romanian or Slavic derivatives; b) the postulate of “the normal phonetic evolution” of the place names, grounded on the presupposition of the “relentless continuity” of the Romanian population within the ancient settlements during the Barbarian invasions, which excluded the possibility of intervention of foreign channels in their conveyance; c) ignoring certain processes specifically toponymic allowing the reconstruction of the disappeared nuclei of certain toponymic fields or the stratification, according to their origins, of the major and minor hydronyms within the hydrographic basins. These reasons maintain their validity concerning the attempts to discover minor toponyms of Dacian origin as well, for instance names of localities preserved since ancient times, which are not confirmed by a solid scientific examination. According to the author, the following major toponyms have a Roman origin:
1. The oronym Bigla, designating one of the highest mountains in the Western Carpathians (1369 m) which dominate a large geographic area including the towns of Abrud (former Roman encampment), Zlatna (former Ampelum), Alba Iulia (former Apulum) and Aiud (former Brusca). It has to be connected to the series of oronyms Bigla in Bulgaria and Macedonia. The etymon is Vulg. Lat. *vĭgla (postverbal from *viglare < vigilare ‘to watch’), initially designating a guard, then a watchtower or an observation post. The Greeks took it over in the form βίγλα and imposed it as a military term to the Latin-speaking population, who, before the fourth century (when the evolution of β to v was produced), perceived it as bīgla. The Greek channel can also be noticed in other words of Latin origin, such as clusuraclisura > Bulg. klisura, axungia*assungia > Ro. osândză, mulsa*mursa > Ro. mursă, quadrum*codrum > Ro. codru, cohortem*curtem > Ro. curte. Between the fifth and the seventh centuries, the oronyms Bigla evolved in Proto-Romanian to *Bigl'a, but l' was depalatalized by the Slavic people, as in Lat. tēgŭla > Vulg. Lat. *tẹgla > Proto-Ro. *tegl'a > Bulg. tikla (present in numerous oronyms from the regions of Pirdop and Rodope).
2. Around the year 1200, two localities named Clus existed in Transylvania, separated by the Apuseni Mountains pass. The homonymy cannot be understood except by acknowledging that both of them have taken their names from that of the pass. It is the typical geographic context of the defense fortifications, called clausurae or clausae during the Roman age, which were protecting the town of Napoca, situated within a depression. A Lat. *clūsĭus or *clūsĭum, designating either the depression or the pass through which one entered it, could be preserved even after the Barbarian tribes destroyed the town, as long as the indigenous population continued to inhabit its surroundings. Having become *Cl'ușu in Proto-Romanian, the toponym was passed on to the Slavs in the second half of the seventh century; they depalatalized l' in the consonantal group cl' as in the case of other words borrowed from Proto-Romanian in Bulgarian, such as panicula > panucla > *panucl'a > panukla or buccula > *bucla > bucl'a > bukla. Subsequently, the sonorization of final preceded by a stressed vowel was produced in Romanian. Neither the name of the town of Cluj nor that of the village (nowadays: Cojocna) can be explained by other etymological hypotheses, extensively discussed and rejected by the author.
3. The reexamination of the royal diploma from 1211 proves the fact that another river from the so-called Burzenland was also named Bârsa. At a later time, this hydronym was slavicized in Brașov (through paronymic attraction to pers. n. Brasa/Braša) and substituted by the Transylvanian Saxons for Weidenbach (> Ro. Ghimbav). This old homonymy implies an etymological solution similar to that proposed for Cluj: the two rivers took their name from a Lat. *bersa (aqua), a betacized post-verbal form derived from versare, designating the great bend of the Olt River into which they flew. The appellative bârsă has the same etymon, denominating the plough tool turning the furrow, substituted afterwards by the word cormană of Slavic origin. A similar procedure of toponymic denomination was used by the Walloons, who came in the area at the beginning of the thirteenth century; the river which is called nowadays Târlung was named by them *Tortilleuwe (in 1211: Tortillou), not for having been “a meandering water” itself, but because it flew into the same bend of the Olt River. On this occasion, the author discusses other toponyms of Walloon origin as well, such as Toarcla < OFr. *Tortilleuwe; Noilgiant (in 1211) < OFr. noiale + galt “walnut grove”; Cârța, a transplant of Chercam < Lat. quercea.
4. An etymological examination of the names of the Trotuș River tributaries shows that the oldest ones (between the tenth and the twelfth centuries) are Old Bulgarian (Slănic, Dofteana, Cașin, *Bârzava – reconstructed from the diminutive Bârzăuța) and Old Turkish (Oituz, Uz, Tazlău), while the latest ones (following the thirteenth century) are Hungarian and Romanian (Asău, Ciobănuș). One may assume that the hydronym Trotuș is at least as old as the Bulgarian names of its tributaries. It can be explained from Lat. *tortuosus (amnis), which became *tortosu in Vulgar Latin and was slavicized around the tenth century in *Tortúș, by means of a suffix substitution. Its evolution is similar to that of the Dalmatian hydronym Trtuša, which has the same etymon according to Petar Skok. Therefrom, two metatheses were produced on the ground of the Romanian language: Totrúș (in the fifteenth century) and Trotúș (in the seventeenth century). The Southern area of Moldavia was annexed to the Lower Moesia and intensely romanized. A number of Roman encampments were protecting the strategic road towards Transylvania which went along the Trotuș Valley up to the Oituz pass, also protected by the Angustia Roman encampment (nowadays Brețcu).
Language: Romanian

Citations to this publication: 3

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