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#2. Why ”De IONESCU”? – PART I

by Ionuț Rus

This meditation – a fusion of two short essays – intends to shed light on the following questions: What are the meanings of our brand name, De IONESCU, and of our signature trademark (the Cuckoo)? Why did we opt for them?

To start with, deciphering the complexity of this rather simple Romanian name could help you understand how we embody our vision, offering you a clearer perspective on who we are and what we do.

First and foremost, let’s start by explaining the morphology of the term:

”–DE” – Could be translated in the Romanian language as “by”, “for” or “of”.

”–ION” – The root of this word comes from the Ancient Greek verb ἰέναι (ienai), “to go”; ἰόν (ion) is the present participle of the verb and can be translated as “going”.

”–ESCU” – This suffix is part of the Romanian national heritage, a defining feature of our culture. The history of the term is most curious. The first form that appeared in the 14th Century was “–ăscu”, a local adaptation of an old Proto-Indo-European tradition “iskos”.

However, during the 17th and 18th centuries, it was widely considered in Europe that the politico-territorial rights over a country belonged to the oldest and noblest inhabitants. Romanians, coming from a native (Dacians) and a conquering element (Romans) – in the same way that French come from both Gauls and Romans, or Spaniards from Celtiberians and Romans, – were both “old” and “noble”. Nevertheless, Dacians (northern Thracians), although well established as a civilization, were considered by the Emperor Leopold II as “Barbarians” – comical and comparable with how the Romans used to view the Greeks – and thus were treated as ”less noble”.

The Transylvanian School (Romanian: ”Școala Ardeleană”) grasped this insight – as a pen is sometimes mightier than a sword – to introduce the Latin alphabet in schools instead of the Cyrillic writing. It also provided national political rights for the local majority, by explicitly emphasizing the Latin descendent over the native roots. Comrade Ceaușescu did the exact opposite two centuries later, highlighting the Dacian roots in the detriment of the Latin “Western imperialists”. This gradually led to the Latinization of the Romanian language, and thus, following the course of the other Latin terminologies (lat.”–iscus”, fr.”–esque”, it.”–esco”, sp. ”–sco”) ”–ăscu” became ”–escu”.

More importantly, this onomastic adoption from the Middle Ages was born as a necessity in the local administration, more seemingly, from the need for the distinction between the members of the society. Before “–escu”, the inhabitants were called either after their occupation (Ion the Blacksmith), after their nickname (Ion Long Ears) or after their native place (Ion of Năsăud).

Either embarrassed by the nicknames or their native places, but also because the Latin origin was a symbol of nobility back in the day – certainly more than the Slavic/Dacian roots – people started to adopt more and more the suffix “–escu”. In addition, this was also a method for ennobling the person, offering them the possibility to acquire a social status.

The phenomenon erupted with the Union of the Romanian Principalities on January 24, 1895 and so the “–escu people” were born in Romania.

Mot à mot, “–escu” can be translated as “the son of”.

Hence, one can translate IONESCU as “the son of going”.

 

Now that we figured out the meaning of the brand name, we must understand why we selected it. In order to do that, it is necessary to go into detail and to analyze the symbolism of the De IONESCU’s logo – the Cuckoo –, so we can understand thoroughly how this is related to Romanian hemp.

This will be the subject of our next story.

 

 

Bibliography

Pop, Ioan-Aurel, (2016), ”Transilvania, starea noastra de veghe”, Cluj: Editura Scoala Ardeleana.

Oancă, Teodor, (2011), ”Surnames derived with the suffix –escu. Statistical considerations.”, Craiova: Editura Mega, p. 184 – 194.

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