Anuarul Muzeului Etnografic al Moldovei – VIII / 2008


The study of agriculture in all its manifestations, over historical periods, requires a particularized approach and a methodology based primarily on an interdisciplinary research, required by the complexity of the proposed topic whose starting point is, mainly, the existence of ambiguities and numerous lacunae in the historical sources. Thus, a multidisciplinary treatment of agricultural tool terminology involves complex methods of investigation, frequently used in the social sciences and humanities.

Our initiative is meant to be a viable working instrument, bringing together historical, archaeological, philological, linguistic, and ethnographic theories on the development of the agricultural nomenclature in the Romanian territory, over the centuries. The importance of the ideas spread within the Romanian cultural society and the relevance of the historical, linguistic and philological analyses are data of major significance that supplement the current research.

Concerning our investigations on the research carried out so far, we notice that researchers from various fields (such as history, literature, linguistics, ethnography etc.) have established numerous and very complex connections between the development of the Romania agricultural nomenclature and historical changes in the ethnicdemographical, social-economical, political, cultural and religious spectrums which took place in the Carpathian-Danube area, during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages.

If so far researchers have focused more on the study of the phonetic aspect and word semantics, an important aspect is the determination of various modalities to convert language, under the action of external factors, thus determining the period in which there developed linguistic influences of foreign idioms. Phonetic investigations offer a special importance to the relative dating of the foreign words borrowed from the languages of the autochthonous populations having lived together over centuries in the intra- and extra-Carpathian Romanian space. Regarding the study of the Romanian agrarian and pastoral nomenclature, Romanian and foreign linguists argued for the Latin origin of the fundamental agricultural terms of the Romanians and, at the same time, they  accepted its enrichment with terms coming mainly from the Slavonic languages, but also from Hungarian, German, Greek, Turkish etc.

As a whole, the vocabulary used in agriculture has an important role. In particular, the complex and uniform character of the Romanian agrarian terminology legitimizes us to decipher the origin and understand the development and meaning of such words. At the same time, the study of Romanian agricultural and pastoral nomenclature brings up evidence and substantial data pertaining to the ancientness and continuity of the Romanians and of their language and traditional occupations that have not been interrupted by the civilization destroying factors (invasions, wars, pestilence, diseases, epidemics, natural disasters or climate changes). The fact that a number of important words from regular Latin were preserved and used in the construction of the basic Romanian agricultural language is another solid argument supporting our assertion.

Houses, yards, tilled soil, fields, garden tools, and domestic animals are all emblems of sedentary peoples and indicate the continuity of agrarian life in a rustic environment throughout the  Romanian Middle Ages.

Living together with other populations having showed proclivity towards sedentary life, such as the Slavs, the Romanians took over foreign terms that were employed in parallel with the vocabulary already in use. Therefore, for certain aspects and matters of Romanian agrarian life there are one, two, or even more terms. In time, one of the notions substituted the others, reflecting an irrefutable reality that is, the social-economic, political and cultural continuous development of the Romanian archaic society, which was in strong connection to the technical progress and diversification of the equipment, agricultural practices and pastoral traditional household universe.

Political dichotomy was not accompanied or preceded by ethnic and linguistic separations because the Romanians continued to exist on both sides of the Carpathian Mountains and beyond conventional boundaries that separated them, being united by language, shared traditions, Daco-Roman and Latin culture and confessional affiliation. In these circumstances, the civilization and  language of the ancient Romanians transcended the centuries, giving us the opportunity to continue the archaic and ancestral customs within the same territorial limits, speaking the language  similar to the one inherited from our predecessors.