The judge and fabulist from orhei Alecu Donici, a precursor of romanian legal ethnology
HTML (Română)
PDF (Română)


Legal ethnology
judicial morals
propensity for justice
public morals
legal and moral decay
Alecu Donici judge
Alecu Donici fabulist


Paul Valéry said about fables as follows: “Little by little those who loved or liked it, those who were able to understand it disappear. Those who demanded it, those who broke it, those who bantered it died too ... Soon, an instrument of pleasure and emotion will become a school accessory; what used to constitute the truth, what used to constitute the beauty turns into a means of constraint or into an object that arouses curiosity, but a curiosity which forces itself to be curious." ("Oraison funèbre d´une fable", in Variétés, apud Sanda Radian, Măștile fabulei. Etape de evoluție în literatura română (The Fable Masks. Stages of Evolution in Romanian Literature), Minerva Publishing House, Bucharest, 1983, p. 5)

In a recent conference, held in Suceava[1], I expressed some regrets in relation to the absence of scientific concerns in the vast and important field of legal ethnography and ethnology in Romania, as follows: "Legal ethnography and ethnology are not obviously, in particular, delimited in Simeon Florea Marian's grandiose work. General science was in the course of being established; it was not the time for particularistic developments. It was late when by means of another pioneering work, that of the Romanian scholar and anthropologist Romulus Vulcănescu, some issues of concern for our jurists, for law sociologists and anthropologists started to be reflected in the Romanian legal culture. Very few. Even the great ethnologist Petru Ursache acknowledged that the domain was deficient, in his very impressive creation of ethnosophy".

As for the fable, apparently a minor literary genre, so much lamented, as we have seen above, by Paul Valéry, as an object of historical contemplation only, the intersection of the legal culture with the sapiential, moral and literary spirit of the people increases considerably; so much that it becomes a valuable scientific landmark in the emergent legal ethnology twinned with legal sociology, with legal anthropology and with legal folklore[2]. In the most serious way, even if, isn’t it true, with hilarious and caricaturizing weapons, with a playful and clever spirit, the fable decrypts a people's propensity for truth and justice or, conversely, for gregarious fatalism in relation to the vices that corrupt the nation psychologically and morally. Its role is didactic. The young jurists would become scientifically and culturally ennobled if they took over the case law, the "cases", from the fables ... Or if, their masters guided them towards associating the case law with the comic and fabulising spirit of the wise judge ...


[1] Pagini de etnografie juridico-morală în opera fondatoare a bucovineanului polimat Simeon Florea Marian, cronicar al sufletelor românești în pragul Marii Uniri. Remarcabila lui contribuție la înfăptuirea milenarului ideal (Pages of legal-moral ethnography in the founding work of the polymath from Bucovina Simeon Florea Marian, chronicler of Romanian souls on the verge of the Great Union. His remarkable contribution to the achievement of the ideal millennial), conference held during the Scientific Session "The contribution of the lawyers from Bucovina to the accomplishment of the Great Union", November 28, 2018, "Stefan cel Mare" University from Suceava & Suceava Bar Association. The text of the conference was delivered for publication in "Analale Muzeului Memorial Simion Florea Marian” from Suceava, under the guidance of Mrs. Aura Brădățan, 2019.

[2] Romulus Vulcănescu, Etnologie juridică (Legal Ethnology), Editura Academiei, Bucharest, 1970, p. 9 : "The following subjects deal with the study of the legal aspects of primitive and popular civilization and culture as constitutive parts of the conception about existence and the world and of the ways of normative organization of life, partially and with unequal theoretical resources: "legal geography", "legal anthropology", "legal sociology" and "legal ethnology". "
HTML (Română)
PDF (Română)