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Stratum plus. 2001-2002. №5

S. V. Palamarchuk (Izmaïl, Ukraine)

Bessarabia: Archeology of the Name

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Pages: 475-492

Bessarabia is unique steppe province of the Black Sea area. The different peoples’ routs and Eastern and Western cultural influences has been intersected in it’s long history. But this land remained unnamed until the late medieval period. Herodot called it ‘land strip’, Strabo – ‘getae’s desert’. It’ s South – Eastern part was called Paratalasia and ‘pomoriye’ in the Middle Ages. Self name Bessarabia appeared when separate historical district had been formed.
‘Archeology of the name’ as a mode of research formed from the study of historical sources concerning Bessarabia name formation. All of this result in informational stratum determination and their dating. Surprisingly wide time range (V BC – XIV AD) concerning name Bessarabia appearing has been discovered. This row: bessi, bisseni, besarabeni. They are connected with famous ethnic names, such as bessi, bastarnae, pechenegs, cumans, walachians and others.
Long time ago N.Iorga proved the identify of the names Bessarabia and Walachia land (XIV – beginning of the XVI - th century. Sources analyses showed that there was no name Bessarabia this time in the land between Dniester – Danube interflow. The name change precedent took place during Hungarian – Walachian possession of Kiliya’s environs on the left bank of Danube (in the middle of the XV-th century ). But it was claimed during Osman rule in the region in the second quarter of the XVI-th century, when the district which called Bessarabia by the Europeans was formed. This had been reflected in European cartography of the middle of the XVI century and was obtained later. Budzhak almost completely replaced Bessarabia in the XVII-th century. But European tradition won, though both names coexist nowadays.


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