Page images
PDF
EPUB
[graphic][merged small]

keeps his Tartar visage and superstitions. vacious eyes, set off with well-defined and He despises dogs, and holds the stork in beautifully-arched eye-brows, small lips, great reverence. His children are bap- and white teeth, when they are not distized at seven years of age. The Jews colored or spoiled by too frequent use of are either Spanish or Polanders; the for- the pipe or confectionery. Those of the mer are generally handsome, well-formed, class who reside in the cities are marked and easily refined under the influence by quite a Greek physiognomy, while those of European civilization, particularly in of the country preserve the Roman feaWallachia, where many of them are dis- tures accompanied with an air of languor, tinguished by their intelligence in the best perhaps produced not less by their society. Those who crowd together in insufficient nourishment and miserable Jassi, forming a third of the population, dwellings, than by the political yoke which have something of the Tartar in their ap- has weighed so heavily on them for more pearance, and they always recall to my than one hundred and fifty years. The memory. those Avars who embraced Ju- Wallachians are gayer, more intelligent, daism in the ninth century. The Scin- and more hospitable than the Moldavians; dromes, or Romans, descendants of Tra- but they are equally brave, sober, agile, jan's colonies, are called Tziganes, and adroit, and have as much military spirit. form an entirely separate class ; they are The upper classes of both provinces were generally tall, well-made, and robust. formerly frank, ardent, proud, enterprising, They have oval faces, black hair, vi- and even reckless in their daring : but the

influences of late times have rendered the sixteenth century. Besides the feathem, in prosperity, vain, dishonest, sus tures which are common to both sexes, picious, avaricious though with large pro- the Roman women are distinguished by fessions of generosity, cowardly, prond, their long eye-lashes, full throats, plump and insolent; in poverty or misfortune, hands and feet, with a skin of extraordithey are sullen and indolent. They as- nary softness and whiteness. They are sume the responsibilities of men at fifteen, amiable and spirituelle, less passionate become diplomatists at eighteen, lose all than the Spanish, less romantic than the their individuality of character and pur- German, less cold than the English, and pose at twenty-one, and are old at twenty- gifted besides with such correct good taste five. I may be thought severe in my that nothing but a better education is estimate of their character; but I have necessary to make them most charming found them incredulous, insincere, desti- creatures. They have better abilities tute of attachment to their friends or their than their husbands, and certainly show country, and ungrateful for the greatest themselves capable of more attachment benefits. No sentiment of union binds and greater devotion. They formerly them together unless it is an absurd pride appeared to best advantage in their orientin the native nobility, though there are al costume, which was considered finely scarcely a hundred who can claim a place adapted to set off their beautiful forms; in its ranks either by money, talent, or but French modes and French manners descent. Not more than a tenth of these have almost entirely displaced it. can date further back than the middle of No traveler who visits these beautiful

[graphic][merged small]
[graphic][subsumed][merged small]

provinces, can fail to be struck with the and point out the future; without it their sparseness of their inhabitants, and with actual condition is a dead letter, more the misery which meets him at every turn, obscure than the hieroglyphics of Egypt. notwithstanding the smiling landscapes As impending events are attracting the and universal luxuriance of nature. This eyes of the world to them, you will not splendid land should be the happiest and demur to a few historical glances over most densely populated country in the their checkered history - only glances, world, and the only reason why it is not, however, for I insist on retaining my must be found in the social and political desultory style of observation. condition of the people. The deplorable Wallachia and Moldavia are dismemberaspects everywhere visible, are only to ments of ancient Dacia, which included be explained by a knowledge of the his- also the countries now known under the tory of the Principalities, through their names of Banat, - Auraria, Lower Hunsuccessive developments to their origin. gary, Transylvania, Buseovine, and BessThe past alone can explain the present, arabia. Under the reign of Domitian,

this warlike people invaded the Roman the bridge are the remains of some buildpossessions, and compelled the conquered ings, which, to any one who has seen emperor to pay tribute to them, Trajan, Italy, are readily recognized as the reon his accession, resolving to avenge this mains of a Roman city. affront, invaded Dacia with such success, The tourist, who descends the Danube, that its chief was forced to sue for peace, may see, between Skela, Gladova and which however was soon broken by a new Widdin, on the Wallachian side, one of revolt. The emperor, indignant at this these arches proudly standing near the want of faith, determined upon a con Seneria tower—the latter one of those quest which should be final, and consumed majestic monuments which the Romans a year in preparations; the most remark planted in deserts as well as in cities, able of these were the bridge constructed among the mightiest nations and amid the over the Danube by his order, and the most obscure tribes. wall, still so well known, bearing his name. Perhaps nothing is more significant of Nothing could resist this attack. The the character of the conquered people than Dacian chief, seeing his cause utterly lost, the memorials which perpetuate the vicpoisoned himself that he might not fall tory over them. The emperor, Septimius into the hands of his conqueror alive. Severus, erected this tower in rememThe inhabitants either took to flight or brance of their submission; bas-reliefs were exterminated, and Dacia was de have also been found at Rome, representclared a Roman province.

ing the Dacians in the very costume still Great rejoicings followed this victory, worn by their descendants in the mountnot only at Rome but in the camp; the sol. ainous regions where they dwell. These diers celebrated the glory of the emperor trophies of the glory of the conquerors imin military songs called ballettea, accom mortalize no less the valor of the conquerpanied by dancing. From this military ed. The victory must have been hardly term the Italian ballare is derived, and won, which was deemed of so much imfrom this amusement of the old Roman portance by the triumphant Romans. soldiers comes our ballet.

After the conquest, Trajan sent his The bridge over which the Roman le legions into the country to repeople it, gions crossed the Danube for the conquest and the present inhabitants, who are desof Dacia, was one of the chef-d'æuvres of ignated under the name of Romans, are the celebrated Damascus architect, Apol their descendants. Their language, which lodorus, who some years after immortal was evidently derived from the Latin, is ized himself by the Trajan column-one a convincing proof; while many of their of the wonders of Rome. It was built of sentiments, habits, and expressions, are inimmense bricks, and the famous Roman contestable evidences. The lapse of cencement which gave such solidity to all turies has not dimmed the remembrance their constructions. This bridge must of their origin. They have never forgotten have been a bold undertaking, and modern that they are the sons of Trajan and children times have few structures comparable with of Rome; and though they have yielded, it. An examination of its situation con- under the irresistible pressure of circumfirms the fame of the architect's genius, stances, and are still ready to suffer anyshowing that the course of the river must thing, they look forward to a future which have been carefully studied before the shall restore to them the glorious days of selection of the site. It is said to have Stephen and Michael, when they may been supported by twenty-one arches ; again prove themselves worthy of their but the whole structure was afterward illustrious origin. They have not forgotdestroyed by Adrian, through fear, it is ten the immortal names which are their supposed, of the barbarians.

proudest national boast. Galerius ArIn 1834, the river being very low, sev mentarius, the herdsman, who sat on the eral of the piers were discovered, which throne of the emperors; Dara, his nephew; had been concealed by the water. At the Constantine the Great; his wife, Faussame time many military relics were also tina; Licinius, who, though born a peasfound in the bed of the river-breast ant, led forth the Roman armies as a plates, swords, and pieces of money general; and Justinian, as famous as Roproofs of the life and activity which once man law-all of them were natives of peopled these now deserted shores. Near these provinces.

[graphic]

RUINS OF THE BRIDGE OF TRAJAN AND THE TOWER OF SEVERUS.

Their own valor was displayed in many | hausted in these successive attempts to hard-fought battles in their earlier his- degrade them. tory ; in their defeat of Alexis Commenes, The colonies thus planted by the misand the steady repulse of the Tartars in tress of the world were under the domitheir attempted passage toward Western nion of Roman governors, until two hunEurope. Their brave resistance to the dred and seventy-four years after Christ. Turkish encroachments in later times, During one of the barbarian invasions of claims our admiration : to their unconquer- the country, the inhabitants crossed the able bravery alone they owe their exist- mountains and settled in Transylvania, ence ; for the division of their territory where they established two important colowas several times arranged by Poland and nies. After several years of exile, two of Hungary. The process by which they their chiefs, assisted by the Hungarians, have been robbed of all their political drove out the Tartar possessors of their rights, and loaded with oppressions till country, and established themselves under they have at last sunk under the weight, the title of Vaivodes, which is still premust now be dismissed with a hasty served by their successors. It was at this glance, though centuries have been ex time the division of the provinces was

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »