what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Romanian wine and history

Decided to leave my laptop behind this week as I toured one of Romania’s less-well known areas which just happens to have a lot of vineyards. Located in the Carpathian foothills between Ploiesti and Buzau - with the village of Pietroase as the main centre of production of very good quality stuff. I remember from the early 1990s the narrow bottles with the etiquette of the old gold vase unearthed from the village – an etiquette which, unfortunately was filched by a new company (Bachus). 
A significant proportion of the village households make their own wine for sale at the door – so we had fun knocking doors to try to find the appropriate door; and wine. By late June, of course, the best stuff is no longer available – but we were lucky to find the last few litres of a great Merlot in one village – and a superb (sweet) Tamaioasa in another. And that was before we visited the cellars of Pietroase’s vinicular research institute from which I emerged with 10 litres of demi-sec Riesling and also of merlot (sec).    

And then a detour via the wine village of Urlati to visit the fascinating home of polymath - Nicolae Iorga (1871-1940) - in Valenii de Munte. 
Iorga’s life gives a profound insight into the Romania of these times.  He
was an historian, politician, literary critic, memoirist, poet and playwright. Co-founder (in 1910) of the Democratic Nationalist Party (PND), he served as a member of Parliament, its President and Senate, cabinet minister and briefly (1931–32) as Prime Minister. A child prodigy and polyglot, Iorga produced an unusually large body of scholarly works, consecrating his international reputation as a medievalistByzantinistLatinistSlavistart historian and philosopher of history. Holding teaching positions at the Universities of Bucharest and Paris and several other academic institutions, Iorga was founder of the International Congress of Byzantine Studies and the Institute of South-East European Studies (ISSEE). His activity also included the transformation of Vălenii de Munte town into a cultural and academic center.
In parallel with his scientific contributions, Nicolae Iorga was a prominent right of centre activist, whose political theory bridged conservatism,nationalism and agrarianism. From Marxist beginnings, he switched sides and became a maverick disciple of the Junimea movement. Iorga later became a leadership figure at Sămănătorul, the influential literary magazine with populist leanings, and militated within the Cultural League for the Unity of All Romanians, founding vocally conservative publications such as Neamul RomânescDrum DreptCuget Clar and Floarea Darurilor. His support for the cause of ethnic Romanians in Austria-Hungary made him a prominent figure in the pro-Entente camp by the time of WW1, and ensured him a special political role during the interwar existence of Greater Romania. Initiator of large-scale campaigns to defend Romanian culture in front of perceived threats, Iorga sparked most controversy with his antisemitic rhetoric, and was for long an associate of the far right ideologue A. C. Cuza. He was an adversary of the dominant National Liberals, later involved with the opposition Romanian National Party.
Late in his life, Iorga opposed the radically fascist Iron Guard, and, after much oscillation, came to endorse its rival King Carol II. Involved in a personal dispute with the Guard's leader Corneliu Zelea Codreanu, and indirectly contributing to his killing, Iorga was also a prominent figure in Carol's corporatist and authoritarian party, the National Renaissance Front. He remained an independent voice of opposition after the Guard inaugurated its own National Legionary dictatorship, but was ultimately assassinated by a Guardist..

No comments:

Post a Comment