Introduction / History The Aromanian people live primarily in Greece, Albania, Romania, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Macedonia.
Aromanian is derived from the Latin word Romanus (Roman). The leading A is a feature of the Aromanian language itself and is commonly added before words that might otherwise begin with a consonant.
Aromanians are grouped into many separate branches by their geographical location. The Pindians are concentrated in and around the Pindus Mountains of northern and central Greece, western Macedonia, and southern Albania. The Gramustians live in and around the Gramos Mountains in the western-most region of Macedonia, western Greece, and southeastern Albania. The Muzachairs live in Muzachia, Albania. The Farsherots live in Pharsala, Thessaly, Greece. The Moscopolitans are from the city of Moscopole, Albania.
The Pindian, Gramustian, and Muzachair people groups refer to themselves as Armanj in Aromanian while the Farsherots, who have a distinct dialect, refer to themselves as Rramanj. Most Aromanian people are called Vlahi in Greek, Vlach in the Balkan regional languages and Chobans in Turkish.
The Aromanian language is a Romance Language that is sometime classified as distinct from proper Romanian due to its slightly varying dialects. Due to its common language foundations dating from the time of the Latin, historians believe there was a break with linkages to the Romanian language in the 7th to 9th century period.
The more credible theory about the origin of the Aromanians shows them descending from the Romanized Thracians, Roman colonists and soldiers, and Latin Greeks (Greco-Romans). The Aromanians realized periods of political autonomy amidst the centuries of upheaval and uncertainty in their regions. In 1941 after the Nazi occupation of Greece, a portion of the Aromanians formed an autonomous Vlach state subject to Fascist Italy. After the fall of communism, Aromanians formed there own cultural and political societies and began a national re-awakening.
Today, most Aromanians have integrated into Greek society or the majority culture of the area in which they live. The last Aromanian church and school closed more than 50 years ago. Efforts to preserve Aromanian culture and language have failed to prevent the extinction of the same due to the lack of government support and strong cultural disapproval of the majority culture. Aromanian children are discouraged by their parents against using the language or promoting cultural elements of their history. Debate continues as to the value of preserving this ancient language and culture but no progress has been made in recent years.
Many people of Aromanian decent are prominent in public and private life. Sports, Art, Science, Music, Business, Politics, and Clergy are several of the endeavors undertaken by many Aromanian people.