History and placeses
Transylvania is surrounded by a mighty range of mountains. From the south, from Wallachia, the only passage is through a narrow and precipitous gorge, which is why the Turks attacking Transylvania from here often suffered bloody defeat at the hands of even a small number of defenders. What is more, the route can be blocked easily by chopped-down trees.
The population of Transylvania is of solid stock, warlike and well armed, its horses are sturdy and strong. Throughout the country flat, arable lands alternate with forests and meandering, many-branched streams plough the countryside; the soil is fertile, rich in wine, gold, silver, iron and other ores, as well as in salt; it is so abundant in game, deer, bear, fish, that no fault can be found with nature: it has made this soil teem with all of the riches of life.
Four different peoples live here: Hungarians, Széklers, Saxons and Wallachians: of these, the Saxons are little suited for war, the Hungarians and Széklers speak the same language, only the Széklers use some words which are their own. They, we believe to this day, are the most ancient descendants of the Huns to have been left behind in Hungary. They have their own customs, behaviour and laws, quite different from those of the Hungarians. They entrust the stirrings of their soul, the mandates of their will not to paper and ink or the letters of foreign tongues, but express them with characters of their own, carved on wooden slats. When someone wants to give news to friends or neighbours, he sends such slats, not emissaries or letters.
The least among them has the same liberties and rights as the highest. They divide their homeland into regions, Csík, Gyergyó, Kézd, Orbó and others, which they themselves prefer to call "seats"; in each of these they elect from among the most ancient, the richest, or the mightiest families their captains and judges, whom in their own words they call chief Széklers. These they serve, respect and fear. When danger threatens, they rally around the standards of these chiefs, who are empowered to sit in judgement over them, assemble them to decide important matters of common concern.
It is said about the Saxons that they were settlers from among the Saxons of Germany and that it was the emperor Charles the Great who sent them from there; this is borne out by their language, which is the same that the Saxons of Germany speak.
About the Wallachs the legend says that they were settlers of the ancient Romans; this is confirmed by the many words their language shares with that of the Romans and the many Roman coins that can be discovered in the soil; thus there is no doubt about the presence and rule of the ancient Romans here.