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Stratum plus. 1999. № 5

R. A. Rabinovich (Kishinev, Moldova)

Illusory Berlad: About Authenticity Of a Distortion

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Pages: 357-378

The article deals with the issues related to the medieval Berlad, Berladians and activities of the Prince Ivan Rostislavich the Berladian. The data provided by the Russian chronicles on these issues are not debated by the researchers. Quite a different attitude is adopted to the Deed of the Berladian of 1134. Since its publication by B. Hajdeu in 1860, many researchers have considered it a distortion. The author proved that the issue of the deed distortion cannot be considered as a definite one. His research found the deed text compliance with the historic realities. The results of a linguistic analysis showed that the deed was possibly copied after the XII century.  Those spelling and editorial changes considered to be an evidence of distortion were introduced by later copying. The author does not exclude a possibility of an actual distortion of the deed made in order to prove an early tradition of trade privileges for some cities, but only in XIV-XV centuries and not any later. But in this case, its distortion in XIV-XV centuries was either based on authentic written records or real historic knowledge of oral tradition dating back to an earlier time. The author concludes that there is absolutely no ground to believe that either B. Hajdeu himself or a person contemporary to him distorted the deed. Further evidence of authenticity of the Berladian’s Deed of 1134 is provided by the author in connection with his hypothesis of a new localisation of Berlad. The research proposes the Danube’s right bank in Dobruja nearby modern Hirsova as Berlad’s localisation. To prove this the data of toponymy, linguistics, archaeology, and analysis of written records are used. The data about the Berladians provided in the chronicles are not contradictory to the new localisation of Berlad, compared to its old localisation identified with the modern Romanian city of Birlad. The new localisation of Berlad is not contradictory to the information in the Berladian’s Deed of 1134, which is a bilateral proof of its authenticity. According to the new localisation, Berlad was situated in the region of Byzantine Danube cities. For the Ancient Rus’ its location seems to correspond to the location of Olessje and Tmutarakani.

Information about author:

Rabinovich Roman (Kishinev, Moldova). Doctor of history. High anthropological School University
E-mail: [email protected]

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