Ion Heliade Rădulescu

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Ion Heliade-Rădulescu

'Ion Heliade-Rădulescu (C.E.1802 – 1872), Romanian poet.

Dacia and Romania:


Wallachia, Moldavia with Bessarabia and Bukovina, Transylvania, the Banate of Temesvar and a part of Hungary, had the name of European Scythia in ancient times; then they were called Dacia or Davia.


  • The Dacians were a brave people, simple and jealous of their freedom, good arrows and good knights; mostly shepherds or nomads, like today's Mocani. Zalmose was their legislator, he instituted their customs and celebrations, made them believe in the unity of God and in the immortality of the soul. (p. 1)
  • The Dacians, according to the institutions of Zalmose, were divided into four classes: the families of the princes or royals; the priests, who were not allowed to marry; the old ones, from whom the Senate was formed; and the people in general, from which the three first classes were elected. (p. 2)
  • The Dacians were very rich; but they had a horror of luxury, which they considered as a vice of foreigners; and wine they abhorred on religious principle. (p. 4)
  • Boirebiste destroyed the vine in Dacia, trained the Dacians in arms, disciplined them and reorganized them; by these prudent means he succeeded in subjugating these peoples on this side of the Danube to his kingdom, in exterminating from Pannonia the peoples of Gallic stock, who were called Boii, and from whom perhaps Bohemia took its name, in subjugating the Gauls of here and there from the Danube, and to dominate many Hellenic cities of the Black Sea. (p. 6)
  • Orole, either to induce the Dacians to unite more closely, or to distract them from such a bold plan, he used the language of symbols, which is natural and very expressive among primitive peoples. He had two dogs brought before the Dacians who could not tolerate each other, and when they attacked each other with greater anger, he ordered a wolf to be set free. The dogs, as soon as they saw him, stopped fighting and both started chasing him away. Orole then said to the Dacians: «Cease the civil disputes; for if we show ourselves to the Romans in small numbers, they will leave their disputes and fight with us. If we are not all united we leave our enemies to fight among themselves." (p. 7)
  • Domitian was one of the most cruel and unbridled emperors of Rome, and persecutor of the first Christians; his name is placed next to that of Nero. (p. 10)
  • Far from blaming Decebalus, we find in him a high feeling; for great is that prince of a nation who does not suffer the yoke which oppresses those who have elected him as their leader. Oppression, injustice and kidnapping certainly cannot be tolerated. Decebalus felt that his duty to himself and to the people was to shake off the Roman yoke; and Trajan would not have been so great if he had not had such a great and formidable opponent as Decebalus. (pp. 13-14)
  • The Roman rustic language, or the dialects of the Italian peoples, were introduced into Dacia, and are preserved to this day as they were in the early times. But the Romans, finding local objects in Dacia, unknown in Italy, such as products, clothes, tools, and adopting them for their own use, also adopted the name that the Dacians had given them. Therefore, in today's Romanian language words are found which are neither Latin, nor modern Greek, nor Slavic, nor of any other neighboring people; If these words indicate local objects of Dacia, they give us every right to affirm that there are residues of the indigenous language, which the wise men of Europe do not yet want to affirm. Many want to demonstrate that the Dacians were of Slavic stock, and that today's Romanians are peoples produced by the mixture of the Romans with the Dacians; and that consequently we are Romano-Slavs. But the Romanians are Romans just as the Italians are, even though they had mixed with other neighboring peoples, just as the Greeks are Hellenes, as the Hungarians are Magyars, even though they had united with the Germans, with the Slavs and with the Romanians. When we talk about lineage, peoples and nation, we mean the dominant element in the language, in the character, in the right to govern and make laws. Because otherwise nature knows only men. (pp. 17-18)
  • The Dacians remained with their customs, with their customs, with their crafts, and because the ancient authors say that the Dacians were rather shepherds, it is probable that the Mocani of today are descendants of the Dacians who took refuge in the mountains and in the caverns; especially because their dress reminds us of the costumes of the Dacians who can be seen represented on Trajan's column. The Mocans ordinarily wear the Phrygian cap, the sarica and the hood; their art is shepherding; and Romanian farmers still do not willingly intermarry with them. (p. 18)
  • Among the Dacian weapons we see the spear and the halberd; their sword is usually found curved upwards and inwards like the sickle. The shield, the bow and the sling are of Scythian provenance; their helmets imitate the shape of the Phrygian caps. Since one man can be distinguished from another by the head, and so also by the clothes, the origin of a people can be better traced by the cap, if they still retain their primitive clothes. The Dacian standard was square in shape, like the standards of the eastern churches; and they represented a flying dragon. (p. 20)
  • The already Roman republic, losing the simplicity and virtues that made its greatness, fell weakened under the empire, and despotism and corruption reached their peak. The cruelty of the patricians towards the slaves and of the creditors towards their debtors; the right of the patrician to the life of the slave, and of the creditor to sell his debtor, the inhumanity of usury; the scandalous amphitheaters into which men threw themselves to fight with wild beasts and be devoured by them; these were all reasons why the frightened people were waiting for a liberator. Added to this were the baths in human blood that patrician women allowed themselves, believing they would thus keep their health in better condition, or to beautify their skin; the spectacle of seeing philosophers, mathematicians, rhetoricians, poets, artists, scientific men sold and bought as slaves, to form, with their schools, high schools, in which bought children of both sexes were educated, to then be able to sell them with great price as architects, professors, actors, courtiers, prostitutes; the right of the stronger over the weaker; the sovereign right of the emperor over every subject, whether slave, plebeian, citizen or patrician. In all the subjugated nations, from the palace to the hut, and to the limits of the empire, terrorism and horror reigned. (pp. 21-22)
  • If one were to consider the strength of Dacia at the time when imperial Rome was enervated and tributary to Decebalus, one cannot assume anything else other than that the legions which invaded Dacia were truly chosen from the Roman army, commanded by the best generals, and those heroes could not be enervated accomplices of despotism. Everything that was most heroic and strongest came to Dacia to conquer it, colonize it, and defend it later. (pp. 23-24)
  • No emperor did not subject with arms as many foreign peoples as he subjugated Tito with his meekness and his virtues. (p. 26)
  • Nothing binds men as closely as Truth and Virtue. Tito was compassionate and full of goodness; and Marcus Aurelius was educated and a true philosopher, that is, a friend of wisdom. He knew how to admire and imitate Titus, and together with virtue and science he combined the courage and genius of heroes, gods and great captains, as well as the art or qualities of great administrators. (p. 26)
  • Commodus, after the death of his father, ascended the throne at a very young age. He had been educated to recognize and appreciate the arts and sciences: but corrupted by the flattering courtiers, who always surround the young and inexperienced princes, he left the government in the hands of these, and occupied himself, as an amateur, in showing himself on the theater below. the likeness of Apollo with the lyre, in the amphitheaters as an athlete or gladiator, hunting like Diana and Apollo. Without perhaps being a tyrant by nature, he left the empire in the hands of the tyrants who are the flatterers and intriguers of the courts, and abandoned himself in the arms of debauchery and all the comforts of life. (p. 28)
  • The Roman empire designated by Caesar began with Augustus; but with the death of Marcus Aurelius, it declined. (p. 28)
  • Elagabalus reigned like an unbridled and miserable child, he committed all inhumanities; the excess of his wildness made him become the model of all wild young people. He could not reign for long, because, if the malcontents had not killed him, he would have been killed by his own vices, as always happens to unbridled young people. (p. 30)
  • The Romans of Dacia, full of regenerative beliefs and hopes, accustomed to raising the principle of freedom to dogma, sooner or later tried to do what the English colonized in North America did in the past century, shaking off the yoke of Albion. The Franklin of Romania was Duce Sava, plus the heroism of suffering martyrdom for the freedom of his homeland and for the law of Christ. Beautiful pages of the history of our ancestors! (p. 36)
  • The Romans of Dacia, becoming Christians, were nicknamed Goths, Getae... and they were content with this name only because it distinguished them from the other Romans; just as today the English in the United States are happy to call themselves Americans, abandoning the name of English. (p. 36)
  • Greece has its history, because its events were written by poets and historians; for the same reason Rome also has its history, and if the Church has written the biographies of the greatest and holy men of Romania, will we persist in saying that the beginning of our history is dark and unknown? (p. 40)
  • While Pharaonism, restored and renewed in the Rome of the Caesars, dared to profane the divinity, incarnating it in the most foul and monstrous individuals of the emperors and made the entire world tremble, from the patrician to the plebeian, from the mothers of the Caesars to those of the slaves; from the history of the Church we note that the first people who had the courage and strength to shake off the yoke of Caesarian paganism were the Romans of Dacia. (p. 40)
  • From the bottom of the altars the voice of the Church penetrates your souls, O Romanians, and shows you clearly that the blood of Apostles, Martyrs and great preachers flows in your veins; blood of heroes who continually defended their law and their homeland. The land of Romania is impregnated and fertilized by the most sacred blood of your ancestors. (pp. 41-42)
  • The light comes only from the East; From the West come nothing but storms and darkness. (p. 52)
  • [On Justinian I] He was a learned emperor, and busy with the study of law and laws, he appointed a commission of ten learned men to gather all the Roman legislations, and form codes. These were finished, and to this day serve as the basis of all the civil laws of civilized states. (p. 53)
  • Justinian had great and good qualities, but he also made some mistakes, including allowing himself to be deceived by those who envied Belisarius. (p. 54)
  • The Romanians either conquered or baptized the pagans, but their greatest evil came from those who called themselves Christians.
    In the East the Christians degenerated under the corruption of the Byzantine Empire; and the more they degenerated, the more Islamism spread. (p. 64)
  • [On the first crusade] More than 300 thousand men among various peoples of Europe, assured by their preachers that God would forgive their trespasses, took up arms, signed themselves with the sign of the cross, and they set out towards Jerusalem, devastating the countries through which they passed. In our countries and in Bulgaria they left behind them nothing but blasphemies and everywhere they were received with insults, like all revolutionaries, and beaten. (pp. 64-65)
  • We do not like to be fatalists, nor to believe that events are brought about by blind chance and without judgment. Seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, years and centuries follow one another without interruption, and similarly events follow one another; everyone has their own logic, their own reason for being; every effect has its cause. (pp. 71-72)
  • To this day, Romanians have not left themselves or let themselves be governed so easily by anyone. The Romanian's origins made him pretentious from the beginning and his pretensions even reached the proverb: You can carry the Romanian all day on your shoulders, and he will still complain of sore feet. It therefore means that you have to carry him on your shoulders for years and years so that he recognizes the service done to him. (p. 73)
  • History tells us that from Trajan to Radu-Negru and until later the Romanians no longer had peace, but they always had to suffer the incursions of many people, and to remain independent they always tried to either defeat or convert the Barbarians . Consequently their arms and their weapons were always led by the mind, and their mind was supported by the weapons. (p. 80)
  • Under Radu II began the propaganda of the papacy, and the tendency towards the introduction of feudal titles and privileges; and his death has great importance in the politics of the Romanians jealous of their freedom and their religion. (p. 100)
  • [On Radu II Chelul] With this prince ends the first era of the foundation of our grand duchy, which was an era of creation, struggle and independence. (p. 100)
  • While the whole of Europe lay under the feudal regime and under pagan law, Radu-Negru gave a model of constitutional government, founded on Mosaic law and evangelical charity. (p. 101)
  • Dan died and the worms of boyarism came out of his corpse, the nation began to divide into factions: Boyars and Ciocoi, the former conservatives of the nation's customs and liberties, and the others with innovations from foreigners, with the customs now of the Byzantines and now of the feudal barons. (p. 101)
  • [On the Battle of the Piana dei Merli] The battle was bloody and many people died on both sides; however the victory remained with the Turks. Then a young boyar of the Christian army, Serbian, according to some, name Milose Cobilovici, Romanian according to others and nicknamed Vitejescu (the brave), desperate, pretended to be a deserter, and entering the Turkish camp , was brought before Amurat. There the young hero killed the soldier and himself fell victim when attacked by the guards. (p. 104)
  • [On Vlad II Dracul] He was cruel indeed, but just and a good soldier. (pp. 114-115)
  • The Hellenes, from pagans becoming Christians and preserving the Hellenic language, not only did this not lead them back to paganism, but it also explained Christianity to them and made them retain their nationality. Thus also with the Romanians, the Latin language, as a cultured and precise language, could have better explained orthodoxy to them and prevented their nationality from being exposed to serious dangers. The Schiavona language, on the other hand, foreign, completely devoid of classic authors, set them back a lot. (p. 116)
  • About Vlad II Dracul] Vlad was one of the bravest soldiers of his time and knew how to start and continue a war. (p. 119)
  • [Over Vlad II Dracul] he reigned for 24 years, as a good governor, good general, defender of religion against Catholicism and defender of the Romanians against servitude. (p. 121)
  • Uniad was a great general, but as a renegade he fought both the Romanians and the Orthodox religion. His example was followed by many Romanians of Transylvania up to the present day, who abandoned their religion and their nationality; therefore the Romanians called them to this day, not Hungarians, but Hungurians. (p. 122)
  • [On Dan II of Wallachia] He was a cruel and vengeful prince, therefore he put to death all those who were suspected of being of the Dracu party, so that even the Turks became indignant against the cruelty of he. (p. 122)
  • [On Vlad III of Wallachia] Man full of energy and vengeful spirit, having suffered much on the side of the Danes allied and related to the Catholics; having to avenge the death of his father, that of the conservative boyars of the institutions of Radu-Negru and Mircea, implacable enemy of the novations and imitations according to the Catholic feudalism of Hungary and Poland, he determined to sacrifice together with his life, the name , honor and soul, only to purge the country from the great gangrene. (p. 125)
  • [On Vlad III of Wallachia] Right to the end he determined not to forgive anything anymore. He swore on the stake with all the fire of hatred, as not even a pious person would swear on the cross. Wretched is the enemy of the country, of religion and of his plans! he waits for his pole. (pp. 125-126)
  • [On Vlad III of Wallachia] Organizing the country militarily, punishing with rigor and justice, not forgiving any bad deed, like a second Dracon of Athens, applying the death penalty at the slightest neglect of the laws, by means of terror he managed to moralize the country and establish public safety. But if Vlad was terrible towards the Romanians, yet there was never a tiger who defended his sons with more fury against their enemies than Vlad V defended the Romanians against the Turks and other enemies, both external and internal. (p. 126)
  • [About Radu III the Handsome] It is said that this man was Vlad's brother, but living with the Turks he had bargained for their clothes, and he would have liked to make the country a pashal. He was therefore a favorite candidate of the Turks because he had promised to submit the country to them. (p. 129)
  • As for Mattia in Hungary and Transylvania, if as king of Hungary he had an interest in enlarging this kingdom with the loss of the Romanians on this side of the Carpathians, where was his feeling of nationality towards those there ? No political rights for them, except if they abandoned Orthodoxy, and consequently their nationality. Because of this persecution, all the illustrious Romanian families of Transylvania, having become Catholic, are today considered as Hungarian families. Let those who have an interest in John and Matthias Corvin be glorified, for the Romanians in general cannot say anything more about them than what the Greeks can say about those among them who have embraced Islamism and are now Pashas and Viziers. (pp. 130-131)
  • [On Ștefan III cel Mare] He had seen many things and many had happened to him; he had become disillusioned with all those who called themselves Christians; and upon his death he left in his will to his son Bogdan to no longer rely on either the Poles or the Germans, but to try to reach an agreement in the East with the Turks, who are more tolerant, more constant and more primitive; to also try to ensure that the country does not lose either its autonomy or its religion; to fight to the death for these two principles. (pp. 138-139)
  • [On Bogdan III cel Orb] he Was not much like his father. He also wanted to wage wars, but these were wars out of whims and not out of defense needs. (p. 142)
  • The Bogdan wars did not have the seal of paternal heroism; against the Turks he did not exchange even a spear. His motto against Poland was: "Love me or I'll cut you"; while his wars against Muntenia, and those of Muntenia against Moldavia may resemble those of the Italian and Greek cities of antiquity. (p. 142)
  • Vlad V and Stephen V preserved the independence of the countries; their sons Rudolf V and Bogdan III began the submission, and they were truly submissive. (p. 143)
  • [About Ştefan IV of Moldavia] He was very similar to his grandfather Stephen the Great, both in military art and in the choice of opportunities for waging war. (p. 146)
  • All men reach greatness from nothingness, but above all those who reach greatness and are unable to maintain the dignity of their high position are said to have achieved it. Pietro Rares began well, but towards the end of his career he fell to a status lower than that of a fisherman. His cruel conduct towards the country, his going to Constantinople and his fall under the feet of the sultan, as the Moldavian chronicler says, his carefree conduct in his second reign degraded him completely. (p. 151)
  • [On Ilie II Rareș] This prince was a scandal in the history of both countries, a second Elagabalus. (p. 151)
  • The Romanian people were great, purged and sanctified by the fire of suffering; and he only needed a valiant man. Michele had all the courage and all the bravery desired, he understood the character of his era, and all that remained was for him to take the necessary measures. (pp. 157-158)
  • Whoever looks at Michael sees a man who, if he had not been able to resemble the archangel Michael, would not have remained lower than Lucifer. (p. 165)
  • These are the causes that brought Michele so quickly to the edge of the precipice; he had no other friends left except his courtiers, and where there is no virtue there is no friendship. (p. 173)
  • Michel's contemporaries and posterity gave the name Valiant, but not Great, because there is no greatness where there is no justice and virtue. (p. 177)
  • If anyone were to compare the prowess and cruelties of Vlad the Impaler with those of Michael the Brave, he would see that the Impaler was cruel to purge Romania of its external enemies, to moralize it, and so that posterity would find, as Michele found, free men to defend it. Michael fought many battles and exploits with men trained by the old institutions, he breathed terror into Turkey and Transylvania, to finally deal a blow to the old institutions, believing himself to be strong, and turn every soldier's and every peasant's son into a serf. . From then on Romania no longer had soldiers, but foreign mercenaries. The Impaler prepared the era of Michael, and he prepared the era of the Bei of Phanar. The princes who succeeded him only made use of mercenaries, until, beaten by the Turks and torn apart by internal intrigues, they handed the kingdom into the hands of foreigners. (p. 178)
  • Mattia Bassarabo in a wise reign of 21 years did a lot of good for Romania; he founded schools for the Romanian, Latin and Hellenic languages; he established libraries; he built monasteries and hospitals; in short, he saved the nationality by driving the Slavic language out of the country. While the press was persecuted throughout Europe by papists as an infernal invention, Matthias introduced it into Romania, having books translated into the Romanian language printed. In addition to this he created a code of laws, and encouraged agriculture and commerce. (p. 183)
  • All we can say is that every regeneration and every reintegration is preceded by a crisis, and everything that happened from 1812 until today is nothing but a crisis, which will produce either reconstitution or death. (p. 207)
  • The Romanians supported the Orthodox religion not only with their arms and blood, but also with their assets, founding monasteries and leaving their children and descendants in poverty. The Romanians gave asylum to the Greeks after the capture of Constantinople from the Turks, and the first banner of Greek freedom was raised in Romania. The Romanians set themselves as a model for the regeneration of the neighboring peoples of the East. This is what their mission was: from republicans they became Christians, and Christianized many nations; they preserved primitive Christianity, that is, the Orthodox religion, defended and supported it. Being all Orthodox means being strong in union with each other and with the oppressed peoples of the East. Those who want to divide them through union with the Pope do nothing but sow discord and prepare ruin. The Romanians accomplished their mission in 17 centuries, and if there is a Providence, their future will be worthy of their lofty mission which they exercised for so long and with so many sacrifices. (pp. 207-208)



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