"Saxons in the south, and mixed with them the Wallachs, who are the descendants of the Dacians"
Dacia, 82 BC
GNU Free Documentation LicenseDacia, 82 BC - Credit: Bogdan/Wikimedia Commons

Saxons are Germanic people who colonised Transylvania in the 12th and 13th centuries. Wallachs (Vlachs or Walachians) refers to Romanian ethnic people, a term often used for Romanians living outside Romania. The Dacians were an ancient people inhabiting the area of Dacia, roughly equivalent to modern Romania. Dacia was conquered by the Romans under the emperor Trajan in 106 AD, becoming a Roman province. The Romanians are descended from these Dacians and the Roman legionnaires and colonists.

 

Emily Gerard, a Victorian writer who lived and travelled in Transylvania, has a lot to say about the Saxons of Transylvania in The Land Beyond The Forest (a book that influenced Bram Stoker's own tale):

 

A Saxon Church in Netus, Transylvania
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA Saxon Church in Netus, Transylvania - Credit: Plinul cel tanar on wikimedia commons

 

"Whoever has lived among these Transylvanian Saxons, and has taken the trouble to study them, must have remarked that not only seven centuries’ residence in a strange land and in the midst of antagonistic races has made them lose none of their identity, but that they are, so to say, plus catholique que le pape—that is, more thoroughly Tentonic than the Germans living to-day in the original father-land. And it is just because of the adverse circumstances in which they were placed, and of the opposition and attacks which met them on all sides, that they have kept themselves so conservatively unchanged. Feeling that every step in another direction was a step towards the enemy, finding that every concession they made threatened to become the link of a captive’s chain, no wonder they clung stubbornly, tenaciously, blindly to each peculiarity of language, dress, and custom, in a manner winch has probably not got its parallel in history."

 

Gerard then goes on to list the numbers of different kinds of people found in a typical Transylvanian village:

 

"It may be of interest here to quote the statistical ‘figures relating to a large and flourishing village in the north-east of Transylvania:

Houses, 326 (of these 32 are earth hovels).

Heads of population, 1416—of these the proportion of different nationalities as follows:

Saxons—481 male, 499 female.

Hungarians—2.

Roumanians—118 male, 88 female (mostly farm-servants).

Tziganes—104 men, 106 women.

Jews—14 male, 9 female."

 

Read more from Gerard about Saxons and villages in Transylvania here.