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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Oldenbourg 2023

The Protochronistic Depiction of the Transylvanian Saxons in Nicolae Ceaușescu’s History Textbooks (1976–1989)

From the book Digging Politics

  • Claudia Spiridon-Șerbu


This chapter analyses the way in which history textbooks during Nicolae Ceausescu’s regime integrated the settlement of German ethnics in medieval Transylvania, Saxon personalities, and Transylvanian-Saxon cultural heritage components within Romania’s nationalist narrative of the 1970s-1980s. Submitting the sections on “Antiquity”, “the Middle Ages”, the “Renaissance”, and “Humanism” of fifty-seven history textbooks for the fourth, eighth, and twelfth grades issued between 1976‒1989 to both a quantitative and qualitative content analysis, this chapter argues that Communist textbooks used the Saxons’ settlements within the Carpathian Arc to reinforce the Romanian continuity of claim over the territory of Transylvania. It reveals how narratives of Saxon history functioned as a link between the purported Daco-Roman ancestors and the modern Romanians by focusing on actors and historical events such as the colonization of the Transylvanian Saxons, the establishment of medieval cities, agricultural development in the Medieval Period, as well as cultural developments in Transylvania between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.

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