RE: [tied] Sarmatians in Hungary vs Székély/Sicui in Transilvanea

From: Rex H. McTyeire
Message: 7355
Date: 2001-05-22

Hello Alberto...
I am an American resident of Romania..trying to look at the peopling of this
area through time...rather casually though. I am not a linguist, and am
tolerated on this list because I only make small noises; infrequently :-)

I can give you my read on the Szeklers, flavored by local perceptions; and
certainly disputed often. I believe they were a nomadic Turkic
people..distinct at least in time from Cumans and Pechenegs (although
possibly originally linguistically and regionally related) as well as
direction of arrival and areas of occupation in Romania. My view is they
were allied with the Magyar intrusion into the Panonian Plain, but
segregated in identity from the Magyars, and the pre-Magyar Panonian locals
(who were a very mixed and disorganized lot at the time of the Magyar
intrusion.) Their claim to be descended from Attila's people may simply
stem from a similar regional origin as the occupants of Attila's
forces..Northeast of the Plain and the Danube mouth. After Magyar
consolidation..they were given a compensatory right (as allies in the
military effort) to occupy lands to the east of Magyar secured
territory..and well into Transylvania. This was (IMO) a political move
motivated by several objectives: it relocated a potential force (threat?)
to a flank, controlling it (and them) to some extent. It also placed an
ally in a less than well consolidated area as a buffer. It was also hoped
they would reduce local identity and resistance to later Magyar expansion
contingencies. Some Saxon tribes allied with the same Magyar effort were
moved into Transylvania as well. Most were easily assimilated into local
cultures..and became indistinguishably "Romanian" culturally and the point of later allying with local forces in resisting
easterly Hungarian expansion.

There are two main schools now on the Szeklers: 1)..They were Magyars. 2)..
They were Magyarized Turkics, but distinct from Magyars tribally. ( I favor
the latter)

There is confusion and speculation on the source of the name Szekler itself,
and it may have been applied only at the time of the "frontier posting" from
Panonia..simply meaning something very close to "frontier guard" in
Whether it entered the Hungarian language because self identifying Szeklers
were doing the frontier guarding in the east, or they took the name from the a question I will leave to the linguists. I feel that If they had
been Magyars proper..there would be no confusion on the name, language and
source. The often repeated claim that they are "true Hungarians" has little
meaning to me, and is largely a political argument. They were separated from
Magyars before as "Hungarian" came into being, then linguistically mixed
with later Hungarian settlers moving east.

A large area around the upper valleys of the Olt and Mures rivers in eastern
Transylvania was identified as a distinct minority group c.1970 numbering
about 890,000 people. I am convinced this is an area where the Szekler
language and Hungarian dominated unknown numbers of locals over time to
become an ethnic and linguistic pocket. The intrusive language repesented
here is alternately called a Hungarian dialect, and earlier Turkic language
with significant later Hungarian influence.(Again..I like the latter) (For
political reasons the Hungarians call the Szekler: Hungarian..and the
Romanians call them Szeklers..which they now self identify as.) In other
regions of smaller groups..their identity dissolved into
the local culture altogether. I have heard reports of a Turkic alphabet
still in use in the Olt river area. (Another planned trip I haven't yet

Sarmatians? I have no doubt that some pockets were in Panonia..I question
an Identity and language surviving into the XVII/XVIII. (Bt nothing would
surprise me at this point:-) and would charge that any group of later
eastern arrivals with an eastern language could have been called Sarmatian.
Regionally that label grew to mean: "not original and from the east" without
regard to time of arrival..period.

The Cuman..also considered Turkic..came into Hungary and Romania much
later..c. 13th., apparently displaced elsewhere by Mongol expansion.
Pechenegs are identified North of the Black sea from the 6th through 12th
centuries..Pushing the original Magyars in the NE, and so distinct from
them... but encountered the Panonian Hungarians much later than the
Szekler.. and as a threat..taking Hungarian lands and disrupting the region
just before the beginning of the twelfth century until Byzantine force
reduced their hold with annihilation of their army. This put Pecheneg
settlers into Hungary as well. My "guess" would be any groups surviving
with an eastern language and called "Sarmatian" as late as you reference; in
Hungary..would most likely be Cuman and Pecheneg. Both groups were slow to
assimilate inside Hungary as ancient enemies of the Magyar. I think true
Sarmatian pockets were more frequent on the lower Danube..and I doubt any
identity or language survived past the twelfth century here. The Oghuz
(Ogazi) also showed up from even further east, and in this period; as the
Mongols were displacing peoples. The Oguz influence was apparently fleeting
and they may have been totally chased out of the region by Byzantine action.
Anatolia, and Constantinople.. had less luck with the Oghuz branch of
cousins that migrated in the southerly direction: called the Seljuks.

Should start a few arguments :-)

Cu Stima;
Rex H. McTyeire
Bucharest, Romania

O-:From: Alberto Manzoni [mailto:ailbhe_cormac@...]
O-:Sent: Tuesday, May 22, 2001 11:58
O-:Subject: [tied] Sarmatians in Hungary vs Székély/Sicui in Transilvanea
O-:I have a question for you all. I had read anywhere that in the
O-:XVII/XVIII century, under the Habsburgen, were still alive in the
O-:Panonian plain villagers speaking an Iranian dialects, 'relics' of
O-:the Sarmatian established there in Roman era. Anyone could tell me
O-:anything about?
O-:Secondary: I was looking for informations about Székély/Sicui people
O-:of Hungary/Transilvanea. Descents of the Huns? Of the Avars? Of
O-:Cumans? Of Pechenegs? And what was really their original language,
O-:before magiarization?
O-:Sent by Go2net Mail!
O-:Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to