Sergiu Musteata on Nomads and Natives beyond the Danube and the Black Sea

The early Middle Ages are of special importance for European history, as this period marks the genesis of many peoples, of state formation, and of the affirmation of feudal relations. Nomads and Natives beyond the Danube and the Black Sea: 700–900 CE spans almost two centuries, from the end of the seventh until the late ninth century. During this time took place a series of political, military, economic, social, and religious transformations.

The research is geographically bounded by natural landmarks, such as the Tisza, Danube, and Dniester Rivers to the west, east and south, to the southeast by the Black Sea coast, and to the north by the Northern Bukovina region. For the first time, the archaeological findings from the Carpathian-Danubian space, including the territories between the Tisza and the Dniester, which are now the component parts of the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Serbia and Hungary, have been thoroughly analyzed.

The book re-examines the history of the Carpathian-Danubian region during the eighth and ninth centuries. Thus, the central task is providing an overview of the historical realities to the north of the Lower Danube over two centuries. Writing this book began from the desire to develop a synthetic study through which we will reconstruct, the history of the Carpathian-Danubian region during the eighth and ninth centuries based on narrative, archaeological, and numismatic sources. The diversity of issues presented by such a study requires analysing the following topics in succession: the historiography of the problem, the particularities of the human habitat, the reconstitution of economic occupations, the establishment of the features of spiritual life, the evolution of social relations, the chronological and ethnic affiliation of discoveries, the reconstitution of the political history of the region, and so on. The achievement of this goal, the objectives, and the proposed plan rely on an examination of the composition of the repository of sites and archaeological findings from the Carpathian-Danubian regions during the eighth and ninth centuries. Thus, I will try to point out some issues related to the eighth and ninth centuries, seeking to contribute thereby to the fixing of an image that would allow for an updated scientific interpretation of the early Middle Ages in the regions to the north of the Lower Danube.

In the absence of written sources that directly relate to the eighth and the ninth centuries, the main source base used is the results of archaeological investigations, which for decades have accumulated information about the lifestyle of the population in the Carpathian-Danubian space in the given period.

The study presents a reconstruction of the socio-economic, ethnic, cultural, and ultimately political history of the aforementioned area in the eighth and ninth centuries based on the analysis of the narrative and archaeological sources known so far. In this book, for the first time, the archaeological remains from the Carpathian-Danubian regions (Banat, Crișana, Maramureș, Transylvania, Wallachia, and Moldavia, including Bukovina and Bessarabia) are presented as organic unities, which, despite representing inherent parts of a well-defined geographical area over several decades, have previously been dealt with separately, without generalizations performed at the macro-region level. Thus, the work fills a substantial gap in the historiography and puts in a new light the historical and the archaeological issues relating to the eighth and ninth centuries.

by Sergiu Musteaţă