-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu-

In 25 April 2013 I said to Cammy (my camera):
“Let’s watch a penumbral (1% partial) lunar eclipse!
And maybe, close to it, we will see the planet Saturn!”
“Why do you want to torture me?
You know I am not good for nocturnal photos.” replied Cammy.
“Let’s go, however,” I ordered,
“I am he who decides!”

On the next morning,
satisfied that I had been where the Moon had shortly hidden from sunlight,
I fully enjoyed the sunrise.

Then I walked through a Bucharestian park and, on a large building,
I saw the reproduction of an old solar model.

Incidentally, soon after,
I remarked the most famous Romanian monastery (one with many stylized suns!)
graved on a banknote.

That will be our next destination, I said.
And I enjoyed the next sunset,
the Moon (one day after the eclipse, in the same place),
and the next sunrise…

After only 3 hours by bus I stopped in the Court of Arges,
right near the Royal railroad station
(made in the 1880s in the Neo-Romanian style),
a building with more moving artistic suns.

Then I started through that city, enjoying old buildings,
the statues with Vlaicu-Voda and Mihai-Voda (great “voievods” and “domnitors”),
the local museum, the ruins of the Catholic Episcopy from the 14th century,
and remembering that probably the first state astronomer of Romania
was Constantin Capitaneanu
(what a predestined name!; “capitan” means captain in Romanian),
who was born here and became both astronomer and geodesist
for the first detailed map of United Romania
(after the Union between Wallachia and Moldavia in 1859).

And I poetically thought:

If the Romanian sky lovers
Would make an atemporal stellar army
I would be honored to enroll myself
Under your command,
Captain Capitaneanu!

It seems that the Court of (Curtea de) Arges was the “voievodal” residence of
Seneslav and Litovoi in the 13th century,
and then of legendary Radu Negru-Voda,
who came from Transylvania, expelled by the Magyar king.
It became the first Capital of Wallachia during the reign
of the official founder of this land, Basarab 1 (1310-1352),
who denounced the Magyar suzerainty,
defeated King Carol Robert of Anjou at Posada (1330)
and then founded here his voievodal mitropoly.

Passing through the small square with the statue of Basarab I
and visiting his church
among the ruins of the old voievodal palace,
I was particularly impressed by the large number of astral representations.

Probably in those times people didn’t know very much astronomy,
but they felt more and were closer to the sky,
while today people learn superior astronomy,
but they forget to watch the sky.

Then I started on the Boulevard of the Basarabs,
whose dynasty founded Wallachia (or the Romanian Land)
and kept it for over 400 years.

Suddenly, a special thought occurred my mind!

One of the founders of Romanian avant-garde,
Urmuz (1883-1823),
was also born in Curtea de Arges,
and I remembered a famous poem by this original artist,
which inspired hundreds of variants by other authors.
I would say that, more, through that poem
(which I translated below without rhythm and rhyme)
and through other works,
Urmuz became a “Basarab” of Romanian literary avant-garde!

-by Urmuz
(English version by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe)-

It seems that some chroniclers
Did not have large pants
And they asked Rapaport
For giving them a passport.
But pretty Rapaport
Played a small carom
Without knowing that Aristotle
Had never seen Romanian food.
Galileo oh Galileo,
From then on he always shouts,
Do not tug the ears
Of your old boots.
Galileo takes a synthesis
From the French riding coat
And exclaims: Sarafoff,
Serve a potato, if you wish.

The Moral:

Pelican or fish.

Since the author spoke about two marking astronomers,
Aristotle (the classical of antique astronomy)
and Galileo (the classical of modern astronomy),
in my turn I thought,
walking on the Basarabian Boulevard in the time of the magnolias
(the royal flowers, “voievodal” in the case of Romania),
to compose my own variant after Urmuz’s fable.

And this was ready just when I saw the gates of the Arges Monastery,
the most beautiful in Romania
and one of the most beautiful in Eastern Orthodox Christianity!
Here is my variant:

(fable after Urmuz)
-by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe-

It seems that a few astronomers
Did not have telescopes
And asked Rapaport
For giving them a star report.
But pretty Rapaport
Played an analemma
Without knowing that Aristotle
Had never seen a nebula.
Galileo oh Galileo,
From then on he always shouts,
Do not use your fine lunettes
For galactic silhouettes!
Galileo takes a synthesis
From a French observatory
And exclaims: Sarafoff,
Just serve the solar role.

The Moral:

Supernova or black hole.

But seeing the Arges Monastery I became sober.
This is the place of eternal rest for the Kings and Queens of Romania!

This wonderful monastery was built during the reign of Neagoe Basarab (1510-1521)
as the Episcopy of Wallachia,
and re-built in the 1880s under the authority of King Carol I.

It was also accompanied by a legend-ballad,
the best variant being collected, improved and published
by Vasile Alecsandri in 1866.
Practically, it signifies sacrifice for creation,
the master-builder Manole being forced to finish the monastery
only after the sacrifice of his wife Ana.
Although morally destroyed and physically exhausted,
Manole found the power to say:

We can at anytime build
Another commemorative monastery
Much more beautiful
And much more luminous!

(English translation by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe and Alastair McBeath)

The big number of artistic suns that surrounds the church
seems to explain his reply,
while a metallic part of the roof
seems to be the roof of a planetarium…

So that, returned to Bucharest,
I awaited the sunset for a short dialogue:

Andrei Dorian Gheorghe:

Dear Sun!
Thanks for you gave me
Wonderful days!


That is not all.
Now I’ll give you some
Colored clouds, flying birds and
Crepuscular rays.


© 2014 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)