Files from the Whispered History of Romanians (1)

Basarab I,

the founder of Wallachia,

had most probably and Cuman origin

      Our history, of Romanians, gives us clear evidence that we were led by heads of state of foreign origins, of which it is spoken well documented and unanimously accepted about the Phanariot rules in the Principality of Moldavia and in the Principality of Romanian Land, about the Hungarian rules in the Principality of Transylvania, about the German kings in Romania.

Instead, if there are voices saying that, for example, Basarab I had and Cuman origin, then the reactions are violent, as a kind of desperate cry at something above affordability; I heard some respectable ladies and gentlemen saying: “is lacking to hear one day that Basarab I was also of Romani origin or that our country, in its history, was led by Romani people (n.a. Romani people are also known under the name of Gypsies)! ”

In that regard, which is not part of this file from the whispered history of Romanians, to avoid any confusion between Cumans and Romanis, given the confusion propagated internationally between Romanians and Romanis, confusion sustained by hostile circles to Romania, it is necessary to precise the great difference: the Cumans are a people of Turkic origin, and Romanis – a people of Hindu origin.

As a personal observation, most Romanians accept stranger heads  of states, but with origins in the Occident, an eloquent example being the winning of presidential elections, on 16 November 2014, by Klaus Werner Johannis, the president of a party much less numerous, than of his counter-candidate, Victor Viorel Ponta.

The first between the important Romanian historians, who was sezed of the Ciman origin of the name Basarab was Nicolae Iorga: “The name is cuman (…)”. Then, in the same phrase, Nicolae Iorga put a question remaining rhetorical for him, but also for many generations of historians who followed him: “(…) only the name?”

It is obvious that a name with foreign origin does not necessarily means that the person is of foreign origin.

He was followed by Neagu Djuvara, who claimed that Thocomerius, father of Basarab I, known also as Basarab the Founder, had also Cuman origin and Negru Voda is a nickname given by the people to Thocomerius, due to his skin (n.a. Negru means Black); the dark skin was confirmed in the writings of Miron Costin and Paul Aleppo. Thocomerius can be translated as “hardned steel”, coming from the Cuman terms “toq” and “tamir”, and Basarab may come from Cuman words “bas” and “ab”, which means “father of who is governing”.

The same Neagu Djuvara showed that Cozia Monastery (n.a. consecrated on May 18, 1338, by Mircea the Elder) and Horezu Monastery (n.a. consecrated on September 8, 1693 by Constantin Brancoveanu), the biggest constructions of the followers of Thocomerius have Cuman names, which are translated as “walnut forest” and “ural owl”. Also Neagu Djuvara, based on historical mentions that in the victory at the Battle of Posada, from the period 9 – 13 November, 1330, against the army of Charles Robert of Anjou, the King of Hungary, the army of Basarab I had Tatar support, and  that many Tatar rulers of the Golden Horde had Cuman origin, concluded that just the possible Cuman origin of Basarab I favored the ties with the Tatars.

The historian Matei Cazacu, I had the opportunity to know him at the Book Fairs in Paris, the editions of 2014 and 2015, he being always included in the project developed with these occasions by the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris, criticized Neagu Djuvara arguing that in “Lex Antiqua Valachorum” collection of Vlach laws and traditions, for example, for Gorals in Poland, Vlachs elected their rulers in their lineage. However, in 1291, Thocomerius changed residence from the Land of Fagaras, crossed the Carpathians (n.a. known also as Transylvanian Alps) and “dismounted”, meaning that he has been established as the head of a state entity, with the residence in Campulung, which shows, according to Romanian historian in Paris, he could not be with Cuman origin because Wallachian would not have chosen him at this high position.

The surprise came from the historian Denis Capraroiu, who made the following observations: 1. Thocomerius obtained the Land of Fagaras  at the expense of the rightful owner, Ugrinus Csáki, through the support he had from Ladislau IV, also known as Ladislaus the Cuman (n.a. in Hungarian, Kun László; his mother was Elizabeth Cumana, in Hungarian, Erzsébet Kun), king of Hungary in the period august 6, 1272 – July 10, 1290;

2. After the assassination of Ladislaus IV, Ugrin Csák asked this property back and Thocomerius, lacking royal patron, was forced to leave the Land of Fagaras and reached Campulung;

3. Also it is documented that in 1290 there was a great invasion from the mouth of the Danube to the Black Sea, till the Iron Gate, from the part of the Golden Horde, especially from the emirate led by Nogai (n.a. the name comes from “nohoi”, which in Mongolian means “dog”), emir residing in the Danube town of Isaccea; this invasion, very important to mention, has imposed Thocomerius in front of the heads of the small Vlach state formations, such as those in Oltenia and Land of Hateg. Only his son Basarab I became ruler of a much larger state with borders close to those of the future Romanian Land, known throughout history and as Ungro-Wallachia or Wallachia.

Thus, falls the argument that Thocomerius, through the fact that, being elected head of a new state formation, could not have foreign origin, in this case, Cuman; actually, Thocomerius was imposed in this position by the emir Nogai.

As an aside, the method of the emir Nogai to govern the invaded territories through some princes with Cuman origins was used a decade earlier, in 1280, when he imposed at the throne in Tarnovo (n.a. Tarnovo was the capital of Bulgaria) George Terter I (n.a. in Bulgarian writing Георги Тертер I, in the transliteration Georgi Terter I), akin to a Cuman clan, Terteroba.

So, by simple deduction, if trough the documents appears highly likely that Thocomerius had and Cuman origin, that is, if he was not fully Cuman, he came at least from a Wallachian – Cumanian symbiosis, implicitly and his son, voivod Basarab I, the Founder, came at least from a Wallachian – Cumanian symbiosis.

Symbioses with a Cuman component at the origin of sovereigns were also produced around the same period and at our Bulgarian and Hungarian neighbors, as in the cases already mentioned George Terter I, respectively, Ladislaus IV.

I hope that this deduction will not be followed by uncontrolled reactions, generating personal enmieties or “metaphorical” allusions with shots, as they are hearing sometimes since 1990 in Romania, or even facts of shots, as did the Legionary Police in the interwar period, which has, important to note, many nostalgics after the 1989, police which assassinated Nicolae Iorga, on November 27, 1940, who, among others, put the problem of the possible Cuman origin of Thocomerius and, implicitly, of Basarab I.

Patriotism does not mean to string lies about the history of the nation, but to assume this history and, based on learne lessons, to fight so that the events from the history, we do not agree, do not happen again.


Doru Ciucescu


The text is part from the volume in course of translation “Files from the Whispering History of Romanians”

(The translation from Romanian and the adaptation are realized by the author himself)