Centre for Romanian Studies

Centre for Romanian Studies header image 1

Domnikios & Tovaras – Constantin Roman

February 23rd, 2003 · No Comments · Diaspora

On the Sociology of Domnikios and Tovaras:

The Domnikios had been Lords since times immemorial: they were always born to be Lords. In fact they were boasting descendence in a direct line from Byzantine emperors and through them from sundry Roman emperors and mythical icons of the Old Testament, all the way to Adam. In more recent times of living memory it was an accepted fact that the Domnikios always ruled over the principality of Domnikia, somewhere in the wilds of the Balkan vortex and it is a matter of academic disquisition whether the Principality of Domnikia was named after the Domnikios, or conversely, whether the Domnikios were named after the lands they ruled for centuries, as undisputed Despots or DOMNI. For here lies yet another mystery on the origins of their name which the Domnikios are so proud of: their hagiographers state unequivocally that the word “Domnikios” would derive from the Latin word DOMINUS, contracted centuries later to the shorter “DOMN”, that is “Lord” in the vernacular Domnikian language. For this demonstrates beyond any doubt that the Domnikios were destined to be leaders. Better still as the Latin “Dominus” means ‘God” the Domnikian ancestry implied that at their origin they were also Gods, or Ruler-Gods over Domnikia. Such was the custom since proto-antiquity when the attributes of absolute kings always merged with those of the divine. This is why the Domnikian Orthodox Prayers always started with the sentence:

At the beginning there was Domn and Domn was God and God was King and the two were one and the same Creed and that Creed was called Domnikios, that is the God-King that ruled over Domnikia.

By contrast to the Domnikios, the Tovaras could never be further apart: they had no ancestors and no history – they were upstarts. In fact the Tovaras knew and the Domnikios knew it too well that Tovaras were contemporaries to the Domnikios as they were created at the same time and more so they were destined to be the “salt of the earth’, for they were to be perpetual slaves to the Domni. But the Tovaras could not prove it, because they never had a land of their own, their progeny had no patronymic name, they were never recorded in the chronicles of the Domnikian Principality and therefore the Tovaras simply ‘did not exist”. The children of the Tovaras were always born slaves, they always bore the name of their mothers, because they never knew whom their father was. Instead, sometimes they might be allowed to bear the name of the particular estate where they were born on the Domnikian land. But in spite of these circumstances the Domnikios could not survive without the Tovaras, because, as the old wisdom has it every top dog requires by definition an under dog, as much as every circus whip, in order to prove itself and come into its own, requires a tame lion.

Still, there is always something far more visceral that separates the Domnikios from the Tovaras: that is the “nouveau” appellation of the very name “Tovaras” – For the etymology of “Tovaras” was never Latin – but Slav and the Slavs appeared on these remote lands late, very late in the history of Domnikia. It is the Slavs who labelled the nameless under dogs – “Tovaras”, because they looked unprepossessing and so they called them ‘ “Tovaritch”. In fact, before the Slavs invaded Domnikia, the nameless sons of bitches were always shouted at with a short sharp “Hey, you” and the slaves would hurriedly grovel to their master. But now that their lands were run over and their attributes diminished, the Domnikios, who always spoke with a congenital lisp, pronounced and dictated that the under dogs should be called instead “Tovaras”, as a kind of grudging acceptance of the Slav intrusion in the feudal affairs of the Domnikian Principality.

And this is how all the troubles started, and all hell broke loose, as we were going to witness for ourselves in centuries-old civil wars between the Domnikios and the Tovaras, which were occasionally interspaced with short spells of hushed coexistence.


No Comments so far ↓

Like gas stations in rural Texas after 10 pm, comments are closed.