Distinguishing the terms:

Rome, Romania and Rumania

Rome was a city-state founded according to the traditinaal legend in 753 BC. Its government was much similar to that of the other Greek and Phoenichian city-states that flourished around Mediterranean in the Antiquity.

In the 3rd-1st c. BC Rome gradually spread its domination over the Mediterranean regions, and later on, in the 1st century of the Christian era over Britain also. For a whiile even Armenia and Mesopotamia (roughly corresponding to the present-day territory of Iraq) were made Roman provinces.

In this period of expansion hundreds of thousends of Roman citizens scattered all around the Mediterranean to establish colonies and to bring their laguage and culture amongst the indigenous peoples. The process of Romanization brought about rising universal claims for acquiring Roman citizenship. In 88 BC. Roman citizenship was granted to all the inhabitants of Italy and in 211 AD to all the free men in the Romans' dominated world. In this manner the original city-state of Rome was transformed into the territorial state of Romania. In the historical literature this large imperial state is usually referred to as Roman empire.

The need of more efficient administration urged the establisment of second government for the Roman provinces in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. In 331 emperor Constantine build up a capital city for this second government on the place of the ancient Greek colony of Byzantium. In his honor the new capital, referred often to as the New Rome, received the name of Constantinople (in 1453, after the Ottoman conquest, it became Istanbul).

In 476 the Roman government in the West was overthrown by the rising Barbarian kings and subsequently the political notion of Romania disappeared there. The name of Romania was, however, preserved in the later period for the Eastern portion of the empire, though the modern historians refer to the East-Roman empire as Byzantine, or simply as Byzantium. The European hinterland of Constantinople (i.e. the region of Thrace) was named in the Middle Ages Romania (in medieval Greek Rhômanía). The region of Ravenna in North-East Italy, where in 6-8 c. was the siege of the East-Roman governor of Italy, received the name of Romagna (pronounced romanya).

The medieval Arabs called the East-Roman empire Rum. The Seljuq Turks who in the 11th century conqured Asia Minor from the Eastern Romans founded there an independent state that received the name of the Sultanate of Rum. In the 14th century the Ottoman Turks called the Balkan peninsula Rumelia, remembering the former East-Roman rule there.

In 1859-61 the principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia, inhabited by Romance speaking peoples, were united and adopted the name of Rumânia for the new state thus insisting on their supposed descendency from the Roman colonists in Dacia. Soon the spelling was changed to România to make it closer to Rome. In English both variants, Rumania and Romania (without the diacritical mark over the a), are used, the latter becoming more popular obviously because it is the officially adopted name of the state. In this site we use only the forms Rumania, Rumanian and Rumanians with the unique purpose to make a clearer distinction and to avoid any possible confusion of the terms.

Modern linguists also use the term Romania when referring to the lands inhabited by the Romance-speaking peoples. Furthermore, they distinguish between the Old Romania, or the lands of the Romance-speaking peoples in Europe, and the New Romania, or the the lands of the Romance-speaking peoples oversea.

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