In the summer of 1867, during the inaugural session of the Academic Society, a second section of the Society was created aside from that dedicated to the problems of language. This was the Historical Section, for which two Transylvanians, George Baritiu and Iosif Hodos, announced their membership, as did Moldavian Nicolae Ionescu. These three were joined by, amongst others, Alexandru Papiu-Ilarian, Alexandru Odobescu, V.A. Urechia and Mihail Kogalniceanu. They carried on a rich activity, which materialized in the form of dissertations and studies, as well as in the edition of the works of Dimitrie Cantemir, for which project Grigore Tocilescu was charged with bringing the manuscripts of the scholar prince from Russia. In addition, Eudoxiu Hurmuzaki initiated a collection of foreign documents concerning the history of the Romanian people; over the course of many years, 45 volumes of it have been published. The very first reception speech given at the Academic Society belonged to a historian, Al. Papiu-Ilarian, who spoke about Viata, operele si ideile lui George Sincai (The life, works, and ideas of George Sincai), one of the most important representatives of the Scoala Ardeleana (Transylvanian School).

Ceramic vases (lekython) with figures,
Beothia, 6th century B.C.

After 1879, when the Academic Society became the Romanian Academy, the activity of the Historical Section grew and diversified. Many new projects came into being, such as: the publication of several important works in the domains of Romanian and world history; the inception of archaeological research, especially at Cucuteni and Tropaeum Traiani; the establishment of the basis of the numismatic collection and the organization of a scientific catalog of the extant coinage in the Academy’s Numismatic Collection; the publication of the works of certain chroniclers and historians of the 19th century; the continuation of translations of ancient Greek and Latin texts, etc. The lectures held within the Section, as well as in the plenum of the Academy, were published in Memoriile Sectiunii Istorice (Proceedings of the Historical Section), which appeared beginning in the 1886/1887 academic year.

A succession of historians of European stature became famous under the aegis of the Academy, such as A.D.Xenopol, the author of the first major synthesis of the history of the Romanian people, the internationally reputed savant Nicolae Iorga, archaeologist Vasile Pârvan; Ioan Bogdan, Dimitre Onciul and Constantin Giurescu must also be added to this list. Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu, whose scientific work extended into both the Literary Section and the Historical Section of the Academy, was elected Honorary Member of the Petersburg Academy, and A.D. Xenopol Associate Member of the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques in Paris. Amongst the foreign members of the Romanian Academy, chosen as Honorary Members, we could mention Edgar Quinet, Theodor Mommsen, Alfred Rambaud, Gustave Schlumberger and C. Jirecek.

After the 1918 consolidation of the unified country of Romania, Ion I. Nistor, Silviu Dragomir, General Radu Rosetti, Alexandru Lapedatu, and Gheorghe I. Bratianu, amongst other historians, were elected Members of the Romanian Academy. Also during the interbellum period world-renowned scholars such as Henri Pirenne, Charles Bémont and Jérôme Carcopino became Honorary Members of the Romanian Academy. In his turn, Nicolae Iorga was to be chosen Member of the Académie des Inscription et Belles Lettres, of the Academy of Lincei, as well as of many academic and scholarly societies from around the world, and was granted Honorary Doctorate degrees from the Universities of Paris, Rome, Oxford, Strasbourg, Barcelona, Bratislava etc.

During this time, the Historical Section carried on a particularly fruitful activity in which, aside from Nicolae Iorga (who continued his prodigious and untiring work), all its other members gained renown as well. Historians and archaeologists, as well the geographer Simion Mehedinti, the great sociologist Dimitrie Gusti, and Nicolae Titulescu, a diplomat of international repute, all became illustrious. The massive tomes of the 3rd series of the Memoriile Sectiunii Istorice (Proceedings of the Historical Section), as well as the Bulletin scientifique de la Section Historique (inaugurated in 1912) mirror the achievements of the Section’s members. To these publications were added two series of monographs, Studii si cercetari (Studies and Research) and Etudes et recherches, the latter contributing to the affirmation of Romanian historical science outside its national boundaries. A similar goal was pursued by the two Romanian Schools established in 1920 in Paris (by Nicolae Iorga) and in Rome (by Vasile Pârvan), which functioned under the auspices of the Romanian Academy and published the periodicals Mélanges de l’Ecole Roumaine en France, Ephemeris Daco-Romana and Diplomatarium Italicum.

In 1948, when the Romanian Academy was reorganized into the Academy of the People’s Republic of Romania, the Historical Section added other specialties, and became the Section of Historical Sciences, Philosophical Sciences, Economic and Legal Sciences until 1965, when it reverted to the name of Historical Section. However, during the entire communist period until 1989, its activities were closely watched bythe party Department of Propaganda.

In 1949, the Section began to direct subordinate research institutes, such as those of history and those of archaeology in Bucharest, Iasi and Cluj, to which the Institute of South Eastern European Studies was later added. In time, several institutes of research in social sciences and the humanities where the relative weight of the historical sciences was greater, such as, for example, those in Sibiu, Târgu Mures and Craiova, also came under the direction of the Section. They published Revista istorica (The Historical Review), Studii si cercetari de istorie veche (Studies and Research of Ancient History), Dacia, Revue Roumaine d’Histoire, Revue des Etudes Sud-Est Européennes, Arheologia Moldovei (The Archaeology of Moldavia), Ephemeris Napocencis, etc. Under the aegis of the Section as well as of the individual institutions under its direction, many works were edited, to whit: the four-volume treatise Istoria Românilor (The History of the Romanian People) (1960-1964), the series Documente privind istoria României (Documents Concerning the History of Romania) and then the series Documenta Romaniae Historica, Izvoarele rascoalei lui Horea (Sources of Horea’s Rebellion), Documente privind Revolutia din 1848-1849 (Documents concerning the 1848-1849 Revolution), Documente privitoare la Unirea Principatelor Române (Documents Concerning the Union of the Romanian Principalities), volumes about Calatori straini despre Tarile Române (Foreign Travelers about the Romanian Principalities), archaeological catalogues, bibliographies, thematic dictionaries, as well as numerous monographs with reference to important moments in Romanian and world history, many of which appeared later in the collection Biblioteca istorica (The Historical Library) and in that destined for foreign readers, namely Biblioteca Historica Romaniae.

After 1990, in the ample process of the Romanian Academy’s rebirth, the Section of Historical and Archaeological Sciences occupies an important position, as much through its select membership (Professors Dan Berindei, Cornelia Bodea, Virgil Cândea, Mircea Petrescu Dâmbovita, Gheorghe Platon, Stefan Stefanescu, associate members Florin Constantiniu, Dinu G. Giurescu, Camil Muresanu, Serban Papacostea, Pompiliu Teodor, Alexandru Vulpe, Alexandru Zub), as through its ongoing activities, the major project at this time being the preparation of a new treatise of Istoria Românilor (The History of the Romanian People) in ten volumes. The Section directs the activity of the National Committee of Historians, committees of history and other sciences, 13 institutes of historical studies which publish over 20 periodicals, and numerous specialized committees in the domains of archaeology, numismatics, genealogy, heraldry, the histories of cities, etc. In the last decade, at

The recommendation of the Section of Historical and Archaeological Sciences, several renowned foreign scholars have been elected Honorary Members of the Romanian Academy, amongst whom are François Chamoux, Alain Decaux, Rolf Hahmann, Keith Hitchins, Domokos Kosary, Jean Leclant, Guillermo Moron and Geo Pistarino.



copyright © Romanian Academy 2006

copyright © Academia Română 2006