Yesterday I discussed a weird local Romanian fringe claim about Black Knights and the Force of Neutrality that seems to have originated with Romanian politician Codrin Ştefănescu, who attributes it to a medieval text that no one has yet proved exists. This got me curious about some of the finer points of the fringe claim, and in turn this led me to a self-published book by a Romanian author writing under the name Raven Alb. J. The book is called Why and How the Ice Age Ended & the True History of the Pontic (White) Race (2012). The title pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the weird racism underscoring the text, but it’s particularly interesting in the way that more mainstream American fringe theories have been overhauled to help place the Romanian people at the center of world history.
Our author took inspiration from William Ryan and Walter Pitman, who claimed that the Black Sea flooded catastrophically at the end of the Ice Age. To this claim, our author adds the pole-shift theory favored by such fringe writers as Immanuel Velikovsky and Charles Hapgood and adds to it Ignatius Donnelly’s racist view of Atlantis as a paradise for white people before Noah’s Flood. Our author, though, does the American authors one better by relocating Atlantis to glorify Romania, arguing that Atlantis was itself the continent of Europe and that its capital was located in the Black Sea, off the Romanian coast. Therefore, when the Black Sea flooded, the only true people of Atlantis—the whitest of the white folk—left in their original homeland were the people of Romania, the inheritor of ancient glory and the true indigenous Europeans.
But wait: There’s more! While “academics” might argue that the Romanian language is a Romance tongue derived from Vulgar Latin with contributions from Slavic languages and Greek, our author knows better: It’s the best surviving version of the prehistoric language of the purest Aryan stock!
The cradle of the white race was located in that bowl called Pontus (the Black Sea of today) and a great civilization existed before the Great Flood. Their language reached its highest peak before the flood and after that it degraded into the languages of today. Greek and Latin reached high points, but never got close to the height of the Atlantis people’s language. Romanian is closer than any other to the original language, because those people never left the land. I prove in this book that Latin descended from Romanian and not the other way around. Romanian is a highly deteriorated form of the original Pontic language (I call the White Race “Pontic” and their language as well), but one can still connect the words way back; I even managed to reach the very first words. Only with the Romanian language is that possible, and if I hadn’t known the language to the extent that I do, this book would never have been written.
The author goes on to explain that the Romanian language is true tongue of God and that the “Semitic” languages (Hebrew, Arabic, etc.) were invented in the early Middle Ages, by a mongrel race that usurped the place of the true Jews, who were, of course, “part of the Pontic race” and therefore very white.
Only in Romania would such a claim even have a shadow of respectability. It’s a close cousin of the theory on the other side of the Black Sea, in Georgia, that Georgian is the first and greatest language and the origin of Greek, etc. Anyone outside the culture can easily recognize such claims as nationalist pseudo-history, designed to reverse the tides of history and elevate a relatively powerless country above the titans of Western civilization in terms of age, honor, and prestige. In the case of Romania, this claim transparently appropriates American fringe ideas in service of Romanian greatness, alongside a clear effort to give a spurious antiquity to Romanian civilization by creating a fictitious origin myth that prioritizes the colonized (Romania) over the colonizers. Rome ruled Dacia, the core of modern Romania, from 106 CE down to 275, and intermittently until the mid-300s, and the second Rome, the Byzantine Empire, was a predominant influence in the Middle Ages. It’s strange that a brief occupation held such an outside influence, but the subsequent history of the region was one of repeated immigration, migration, colonization, and conquest, which left Romanian identity centered on the Romanian language, though the exact reasons for and methods of the language’s medieval survival are unknown. The language itself isn’t attested before 1521 in written documents, which actually led to an early attempt to suggest that it wasn’t a direct Latin derivative but had emerged from medieval Italian.
All of this nationalistic pseudo-history seems ridiculous, and certainly this self-published book isn’t going to replace traditional history any time soon. But it is merely the most extreme version of a nationalistic drive to rewrite history in the name of glorifying the homeland. Here in the United States, we see this in the decisions of various governmental bodies to approve or reject high school textbooks based on how much they celebrate specific political positions and cultural myths. Texas is particularly notorious in that regard, but many states have routinely whitewashed slavery and the Civil War, for example, while fetishizing the Founding Fathers as omniscient demigods. Meanwhile, this week in South Korea teachers protested after the conservative government ordered all schools to use new, government-approved textbooks that critics say minimize negative aspects of South Korean history. Even the government admits the new books were purposely designed to inject conservative opinions (particularly about the greatness of the current president’s father, the former president who rose to power in a coup) into historical narratives because conservatives were upset that the eight textbooks already approved for use during the brief non-conservative government of 2003-2007 gave too much weight to “left-wing” views. Conservatives argued that history must be written to “glorify” the nation, which is propaganda rather than history.
South Korea is hardly the only country to see the control of history as a way of instilling loyalty to the nation and the government, but this controversy speaks to the dangers of letting nationalism and emotion determine our understanding of the past.
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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