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The Aromanians or Macedo-Romanians form a people whose members mainly live in northern Greece , Albania , North Macedonia and southern Bulgaria as well as in the Romanian Dobruja , there in diaspora after emigrating between the two world wars. They speak Aromanian , which some linguists categorize as an independent language closely related to Dacoromanian , while another part of the linguists regards it as a dialect of Romanian . Knowledge of this language forms the main pillar for the preference to profess the Aromanian ethnic group.

Most of the Aromanians belong to the Orthodox Church ; in Albania, like the rest of the population, they are more religious than Muslim or Christian. There is no closed Aromanian settlement area. The members of this ethnic group live scattered over large parts of Southeast Europe in more or less large linguistic islands in close cultural and linguistic contact with the neighboring population who speak another language. Purely Aromanian settlements are the exception today. That is why most of the members of the ethnic group are bilingual or multilingual. The largest Aromanian language island is located in the Epirotic and Thessalian Pindus Mountains in northwestern Greece.

The Megleno-Romanians belong to the same geographical area, but for historical and linguistic reasons they can be differentiated from the Aromanians / Macedo-Romanians.


Names for the Aromanians in the main languages ​​they speak:

  • Aromanian : Makedonarmãnji , Armãnji or Rãmãnji
  • Daco-Romanian : Aromâni , Macedoromâni or Machedoni
  • Greek : Armani (Αρμάνοι, Αρωμάνοι ή Αρουμάνοι), also generalized Vlachi (Βλάχοι), "Karagounides" (Καραγκούνηης) or Koutsovlachi (Κουτσι )βouts
  • Albanian : Vllehë , Arumunë or Çobanë
  • South Slavic : Aromuni (Аромуни), less often Tsinzaren (Цинцари)

Today's distribution

The distribution area of ​​the four Balkan Romance languages
(red: Aromanian)

The most numerous group of the ethnic group are the Kutzowalachen / Macedowlachen in Greece . The very different estimates range from 30,000 to 120,000 Aromanians in Greece. Officially, no data on the ethnic affiliation of the population is collected in Greece, Aromanians are regarded as Greeks by the authorities and by the general public in Greece. There is no distinction in the church either: the liturgical language in the churches of the Aromanian villages is, as in other areas of Greece, the New Testament Koine Greek. The Kutzowalachs live compactly in Epirus and in Thessaly , which was also called Great Wallachia because of its numerous Romanesque population in the late Middle Ages . There are also Aromanian settlements in Aetolia-Acarnania and parts of Macedonia . Significant Wallachian groups exist in the major cities of Athens and Thessaloniki . In both cities the number of Aromanians increased sharply in the 20th century due to the influx from the countryside. In the capital of Macedonia there were many Aromanian merchants as early as the 19th century.

Minority areas in Albania (Aromanians area: yellow)

In Albania there are Aromanian villages in Fier in the Myzeqe , in the Korça district and near Delvina and in Voskopoja (Aromanian: Moscopole) . Larger groups of Aromanians live in all the larger cities of southern and central Albania, especially in Tirana and Korça, but also in Elbasan, Berat and the like. a. There is no reliable information about their total number; estimates vary between 10,000 and 100,000.

In North Macedonia , the Aromanians live mainly in the cities of Bitola, Prilep and Resen and Kruševo . In the 2002 census, around 8,700 people said Aromanian was their first language. There are some elementary school classes that teach this language.

In Bulgaria , Aromanians / Macedorian Romanians live scattered in the southern and southwestern parts of the country without any major settlement centers. There is no reliable information about their numerical strength, but estimates assume no more than 3,000 people.

In Serbia the Aromanians / Macedorumans (Tsinzars) immigrated to several large cities such as Belgrade and Novi Sad . They are largely assimilated. In the censuses, the Wallachians (Vlachen) and Romanians are combined. Therefore, they are often confused with the Romanian-speaking population in the Serbian Banat and in the Timok Valley .

Historical development

Origin of the Roman provincial population in the southern Balkans

The settlement of Latin- speaking veterans in the Balkans began in the second century BC after the Romans in 148 BC. Had established the province of Macedonia. The area between what is now the Albanian Adriatic coast in the west, the Serdica line and Thessaloniki in the east was a mixed zone of Greek and Latin influences during the Roman Empire; immigration from Italy continued into the first century AD. Even after the division into the Greek East - and the Latin West Rome - the border ran from the Danube near Sirmium (near today's Belgrade ) to Lissos in northern Albania since 395 - the Latin language was retained among the provincial Roman population in Macedonia and Epirus. In church terms, these regions belonged to the Latin patriarchate of the Roman popes in late antiquity , which certainly contributed to the preservation of Latinity , even if Constantinople was politically predominant and Greek gradually became the official language.

Migration period and the Middle Ages

Various and often very controversial views exist in historical research on the migration of the Armanian / Macedoarman population groups and their spread in the late Middle Ages. The conjectures are to be reconciled with the Jireček line . See also: Romanian ethnogenesis .

  • Dacoromanian thesis: An intensive exchange of Romansh population between the areas from the northern and southern Balkans is assumed. The main reason is the proximity of the Aromanian to the Romanian language (or the fact that some of the linguistic researchers perceive Aromanian as a dialect of the Romanian language). According to this theory, the Aromanians are considered to be the southernmost branch of the Romanians in the broader sense of the term and as descendants of the Thracians of the southern Balkan peninsula that were Romanized in the first centuries AD .
  • It is also possible that the Aromanians are descendants of the Sermesianoi , Roman provincial people who were abducted by the Avars in 616 and settled in Pannonia . This is supported by the fact that the Sermesianoi under Khan Kuver settled around Thessaloniki after their successful uprising, not far from the current settlement areas of the Aromanians.

As a result of the storms of the Great Migration and, above all, the Slavs' conquest of the Balkans from the beginning of the 7th century , the ethnic composition of the population in the Balkans changed dramatically. The Romansh population was partially assimilated and, above all, cut off from the Latin world in the west as well as from the formative metropolis of Eastern Europe. Their language only survived in a few regions in the interior of the Balkans and in some coastal cities. From then on, the Balkan Romance languages ​​developed independently. From the Middle Ages to the Ottoman period, Romansh speakers lived mainly as transhumant shepherds and in the cities as merchants.

15th to 19th century

Some Wallachian settlements have been able to adapt relatively well to the new Turkish rule since the 15th century . Since the border of the Ottoman Empire lay on the Danube, peace and security have reigned in the Balkans. In addition to Greek merchants, numerous Aromanian merchants were able to benefit from the economic prosperity and the associated boom in trade. They mediated the exchange with the Central European countries, but were also involved in the Balkan trade of the Maritime Republic of Ragusa (now Dubrovnik ).

In the 17th and 18th centuries, Aromanian merchants visited the fairs and markets in Leipzig , Vienna and Krakow . They were also active in Constantinople and Venice . The home regions of these merchants experienced a cultural boom, which was financed not least from the trade profits. In the 17th and 18th centuries, Voskopoja / Moscopole in south-eastern Albania, which is predominantly inhabited by Macedowalachs, was one of the cultural centers of Orthodoxy in the Balkans. A scientific academy was established here with Greek as the language of instruction and the first printing company in Southeast Europe was founded in Voskopoja / Moscopole. In the arts (especially icon painting and architecture) a style was developed in which oriental elements were combined with suggestions from the West. The nearby Korça and the Macedonian Bitola were not insignificantly influenced by the Macedoruman merchants in their heyday.

Ethnic map of the Balkan Peninsula before the First Balkan War , predominantly Aromanian populated areas in dark brown (author: Paul Vidal de la Blache )
Romanian schools for Aromanians and Meglenoromanians in the Ottoman Empire (1886)

In 1797 Constantin Ucuta , a cleric from Poznan , published the first textbook in the Aromanian language. In 1864 the first school with Aromanian / Macedoruman language of instruction was opened in Tarnova , Macedonia . In the last three decades before the First World War, the Romanian government promoted the establishment of Aromanian schools in the remaining Balkan provinces of the Ottoman Empire. This is how the Romanian school movement began (Serbia and Bulgaria acted similarly with regard to the Sultan's Slav subjects.) It was hoped that this would influence Ottoman politics and prepare for expansion into Macedonia. The textbooks for the Aromanian schools were partly written and printed in Romania, which led to an approximation of the written Aromanian to the Romanian standard language.

20th century

After the Balkan Wars of 1912/13 there were a total of 80 Aromanian schools in the now Greek, Albanian and Serbian areas that had been Ottoman until then. In the 1920s, the Aromanian language of instruction was abolished in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia and replaced by Serbian. There was a similar development under King Ahmet Zogu in Albania, in the 1930s the Aromanian schools were Albanized there. In Greece, Aromanian was banned as the language of instruction after the civil war.


Due to the nationalism of the Balkan peoples, which emerged in the 19th century , the cultural achievements of the Macedorumans / Aromanians have largely been forgotten or have been claimed for themselves by the respective ruling nation. It is only slowly that one recalls how important the Aromanians were, among other things, as a link to the West. In Korça, the Aromanians now have their own Orthodox church again, which retains its independence with regard to its religious traditions.


Up until the first half of the 20th century, girls between the ages of 13-14 were tattooed with a cross on their foreheads to protect them from being abducted by the Ottomans. It was usually placed centered above the bridge of the nose between the eyes. Girls were also given their brothers' names tattooed on their hands and fingers. For the color, grated charcoal was mixed with alcohol and injected into the skin with pin pricks.

Well-known aromas


  • Marija Bara, Tede Kal ', Andrej N. Sobolev: Južnoarumynskij govor sela Tur'ja (Pind). Sintaksis, leksika, ėtnolingvistika, teksty. = The South Aromanian dialect of Turia (Pindos). (= Small Balkan Language Atlas. Materials for the Southeast European Language Atlas. Vol. 4). Biblion-Verlag, Munich 2005, ISBN 3-932331-59-1 (partly in Russian).
  • Richard Clogg (Ed.): Minorities in Greece. Aspects of a plural society. Hurst, London 2002, ISBN 1-85065-705-X .
  • Nicolae Cuşa: Macedo-aromânii dobrogeni. The Macedo-Aromanians in Dobrudja. Ex Ponto, Constanţa 2004, ISBN 973-644-318-3 .
  • Wolfgang Dahmen : The Aromanians today - an ethnic group in the identity crisis? In: Southeast Europe communications. 45, 2, 2005, ISSN  0340-174X , pp. 66-77.
  • Karl-Markus Gauß : The vanished nation - Under the Aromanians of Macedonia. In: Karl-Markus Gauß: Die dying Europeans. On the way to the Sephardi of Sarajevo, Gottscheer Germans, Arbëreshe, Sorbs and Aromanians. dtv 30854, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-423-30854-0 , pp. 183-230.
  • Anton Hilekman: The Aromanians - A Roman people in the heart of the Balkans. In: Europa Ethnica. 25, 1968, ISSN  0014-2492 , pp. 98ff.
  • Thede Kahl: Ethnicity and spatial distribution of the Aromanians in Southeast Europe. (= Münster Geographical Works. 43) Institute for Geography, Münster 1999, ISBN 3-9803935-7-7 . (At the same time: Dissertation at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in 1999)
  • Thede Kahl: New work on the Aromanians. Growing interest in Southeast Europe. Annotated bibliography 1900–2004 . In: Balkan Archives. New episode 28/29, 2003/2004, ISSN  0170-8007 , pp. 9-118.
  • Kira Iorgoveanu-Mantsu: Noi, poetslji a populiloru njits. Poemi tu limba makedonarmãnã (armãna). (= Nous, les poètes des petits peuples. Poèmes en Macédonarman (Aroumain). ) MicRomania, Charleroi 2007, ISBN 978-2-930364-28-5 .
  • Achille G. Lazarou: L'aroumain et ses rapports avec le grec. (= Ίδρυμα Μελετών Χερσονήσου του Αίμου. 206, ISSN  0073-862X ). Translated by Marie-Hélène Blanchaud. Institute for Balkan Studies, Thessaloniki 1986 (also: Athens, Univ., Diss.).
  • Max Demeter Peyfuss: The Aromanian Question. Its development from the origins to the Peace of Bucharest (1913) and the attitude of Austria-Hungary. (= Vienna Archive for the History of Slavicism and Eastern Europe. 8) Böhlau, Cologne et al. 1974, ISBN 3-205-08587-6 .
  • Max Demeter Peyfuss : The printing works of Moschopolis, 1731–1769. Book printing and veneration of saints in the Archdiocese of Achrida. (= Vienna Archive for the History of Slavery and Eastern Europe. 13) 2nd improved edition. Böhlau, Vienna et al. 1996, ISBN 3-205-98571-0 .
  • Rupprecht Rohr (Ed.): The Aromanians. Language - history - geography. Selected contributions to the 1st International Congress for Aromanian Language and Culture in Mannheim from 2. – 3. September 1985. (= Balkan Archive. Supplement 5) Buske, Hamburg 1987, ISBN 3-87118-863-8 .
  • Josef Sallanz: Change in the meaning of ethnicity under the influence of globalization. The Romanian Dobruja as an example. (= Potsdam Geographical Research. 26) Universitäts-Verlag, Potsdam 2007, ISBN 978-3-939469-81-0 . (At the same time dissertation at the University of Potsdam 2007)
  • Irwin T. Sanders: The nomadic peoples of northern Greece: ethnic puzzle and cultural survival. In: Social Forces. 1954, 33, 2, ISSN  0037-7732 , pp. 122-129.
  • Stephanie Schwandner-Sievers: The Albanian Aromanians' Awakening. Identity Politics and Conflicts in Post-Communist Albania. Report for the European Center For Minority Issues in Flensburg ( PDF file , 467 kB)
  • Michel Sivignon: Les pasteurs de Pinde septentrional. In: Revue de Géographie de Lyon. 43, 1, 1968, pp. 5-43.
  • Nicolas Trifon: Les Aroumains, un peuple qui s'en va. Acratie, La Bussière 2005, ISBN 2-909899-26-8 .
  • AJB Wace, MS Thompson: The nomads of the Balkans. An account of life and customs among the Vlachs of northern Pindus. Methuen, London 1914 (Reprinted edition. Ibid 1972, ISBN 0-416-76100-3 ).
  • Gustav Weigand : The Aromanians. Ethnographic-philological-historical studies on the people of the so-called Makedo-Romanes or Tsinzars. 2 volumes. Barth, Leipzig 1894–1995.


  • The Aromanians in Macedonia. Documentary, Germany, 2012, 43 min., Script and direction: Peter Podjavorsek, production: fernsehbüro, Saarländischer Rundfunk , arte , series: Vergierter Völker, first broadcast: February 18, 2013 on arte, summary by ARD .
  • Die Aromunen , documentary and reportage, Germany, 2018, 43:33 min., Script and direction: Britta Wolf, rbb television, first broadcast: November 27, 2018, summary by ARD
  • At the table in East Romania , Germany 2018, ZDF, director: Stefan Pannen, Catalina Gagiu, 25:52

Web links

Commons : Aromanians  - Collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Wolfgang Dahmen: Identity of minorities: function and topics of the Aromanian literature.
  2. Christoph Pan: The minority rights in Greece. In: Christoph Pan, Beate Sibylle Pfeil: Minority Rights in Europe. Second revised and updated edition. Vienna 2006, ISBN 3-211-35307-0 , p. 205. (Handbook of European Ethnic Groups, Volume 2)
  3. Thede Kahl: Ethnicity and spatial distribution of the Aromanians in Southeast Europe . (= Münster Geographical Works; 43). Münster 1999, ISBN 3-9803935-7-7 .
  4. Article from Encyclopaedia Britannica on the Romanian language
  5. Peter Podjavorsek: The Aromanians in Macedonia , arte documentation