Romanian History and Culture

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Foundation of Moldavia


  Ceahlau, Sacred Mountain of Moldavia

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 Moldavia in Medieval Times


Time Line


 940-965 --- First documentary mention with regard to an urban medieval settlement on the Moldavian terrritory: Cetatea Alba, under the name of Maurokastron (the ancient Greco-Roman walled city Tyras).

1067/71 ---  The penetration of the Kumans, a Turkic people, coming from Dest'i Kipciak (the steppes north of the Black Sea), into the Romanian territories, where they defeat, subdue or drive away the Pechenegs. At the beginning they invade Moldavia, then they spread all over Wallachia and Transylvania, from where they started several campaigns against the Byzantine Empire and Hungary. Gradually, passing to a sedentary life, they were assimilated to the mass of the Romanian people. Their political domination lasted up to the great Tatar invasion.

1227 July 31-1228 March 21. ---  During this period of time, the Kumans and Brodnics are converted to Christianity.
 -  Setting up of the Kuman bishopric, directly subordinated to the Holy See, with its residence in Civitas Milcoviae (the Odobesti of today, near Focsani) having as its first occupant the Dominican Teodoric. Creating this diocese in the southern parts of Moldavia and the eastern parts of Wallachia, as an outpost of the Hungarian expansion, the Hungarian kingdom aimed at expanding its political and religious authority over that population. The diocese will be destroyed by the 1241 Tatar invasion. 


 Ceahlau holographyc pyramide


Brodnici-History of Moldova

 From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Brodnici (or Brodniks) were a 13th-century people whose ethnicity is uncertain, as various authors suggest they were Romanian, Slavic,[1] mixed Romanian-Jassic,[2] Romanian-Slavic,[1] or Turkic-Slavic[3] population, probably vassals of Galicia for a period. Brodnici did not leave any provable material or written traces, which makes their identification difficult. The only known contemporary ethnical description of Brodnici ("Bordinians") is by Byzantian chronicler Niketas Choniates in his History, who describes them as a branch of "Tauroscythians,"[4] and this term he seems to apply to the Rus people drawing a distinction of them from Turkic Polovtsians and from Vlachs. [5]
The territory of Brodnici consisted of the southwestern part of today's Ukraine Budjak and the southern part of today's Vrancea and Galaţi counties of Romania, and probably the coastline between the Dniester and the Dnieper.[1]
In some opinions, the name, as used by foreign chronicles, means a person in charge of a ford (water crossing) in Slavic language (cf. Slavic brod - "ford"). The probable reason for the name is that the territory of the Brodniks constituted the link between the mountain passes in the Carpathians and the mouths of the Danube, having a major economical importance, assuring the access to the Genovese colonies.[6] According to other opinions, their name is related to Slavic бродить ("to wander"), probably referring to the nomadic way of life of this population.[1]
They were the neighbours of another mediæval Romanian population of what was to become the Principality of Moldavia, namely the Vlachs, situated to the north.
In 1216 they were in the service of the knyaz of Suzdal.
In 1222, the Hungarian king Andrew II gave the "Burzenland" to the Teutonic Knights, delimiting it by the land of the Brodnici. A Papal bull of Pope Honorius III confirmed the charter in the same year; however, in the copy approved by the Vatican, "Brodnicorum" was replaced by "Blacorum" (i.e., "Vlachs" in Latin). While some historians believe that this shows that the terms were equivalent, others claim that this was just an error.[1] The latter base their claim on the fact that the two terms were used together in several Hungarian documents, very unusual if referring to the same population.
The Novgorod First Chronicle says that in 1223 the Brodnici took part in the Battle of Kalka on the side of Mongols ("Tatars")[7]. After this date, they disappeared from Russian sources.
In August 1227 Pope Gregory IX wrote a letter to the bishop of Esztergom instructing him to convert to Christianity "in Cumania et Bordinia terra illis vicina".[5]
A November 11, 1250 letter of king Béla IV of Hungary to Pope Innocent IV says that Tatars imposed tribute onto the countries neighboring with his kingdom: "que ex parte Orientis cum regno nostro conterminantur, sicut Ruscia, Cumania, Brodnici, Bulgaria".[5]
^ a b c d e Victor Spinei, Moldavia in the 11th–14th centuries, Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România 1986.
^ O. B. Bubenok, Iasy i brodniki v stepiakh Vostochnoi Evropy (VI-nachalo XIII v.), Kiev, 1997.
^ Lev Gumilev's opinion; e.g., in his "Discovery of Khazaria"
^ cf. "Taurida" and "Scythians"
^ a b c I.O. Knyazky, "Rus and the Steppe", Князький И.О. Русь и степь. - Moscow: Российский научный фонд, 1996., Ch. 5, Polovtsians (Russian)
^ Binder Pál: "Antecedente şi consecinţe sud-transilvănene ale formării voievodatului Munteniei (sec. XIII-XIV.) II.",
^ Novgorod Chronice, years 1219-1232
Note. When speaking about Brodniks, the Chronicle mentions voivod Ploskynya who deceived knyaz Mstislav Romanovich and delivered him to "Tatars". Some researchers conclude that Ploskynya was Brodnik's commander. The source says literally "And there Brodniks were with Tatars, and Viovod Ploskyna, and etc." Some translators change this into "And there Brodniks were with Tatars, and their Viovod Ploskyna"
Ghyka, Matila, A Documented Chronology of Roumanian History, Oxford: B. H. Blackwell Ltd. 1941.
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Historical ethnic groups of Europe | Moldova in the Early Middle Ages | Romania in the Early Middle Ages | History of Moldavia (1242-1457) | Vladimir-Suzdal

Cumania-History of Romania
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cumania is a name formerly used to designate several distinct lands in Central and Eastern Europe inhabited by and under the military dominance of the Cumans, a nomadic tribe of Western Kipchaks also known as the Polovtsians. Besides this Latin term, Cumania was also known as Dašt-i Qipčaq (Kipchak steppes) in Muslim sources and Zemlja Poloveckaja (Polovcian Land) or Pole Poloveckoe (Polovcian Plain) in Russian sources.
By the 11th and 12th century, the nomadic confederacy of the Cumans and (Eastern) Kipchaks (who are considered to be either the eastern branch of the Cumans or a distinct but related tribe with whom the Cumans created a confederacy) were the dominant force over the vast territories stretching from the present-day Kazakhstan, southern Russia, Ukraine, to southern Moldavia and western Wallachia. Considering the nomadic way of life of these peoples, these frontiers can be regarded only as approximate; hence there were various definitions over what Cumania meant over the course of time. Depending on their region and their time, different sources each used their own vision to denote different sections of the vast Cuman territory: in Byzantine, Russian, Georgian, Armenian, Persian and Muslim sources, Cumania meant the Pontic steppe, that is the steppelands to the north of the Black Sea and on its eastern side as far as the Caspian Sea, where the lowlands between the Dnieper, the Volga, the Ural and the Irtysh rivers were favorable to the nomadic lifestyle of the Cumans. Later, for a short time period, in Western sources Cumania also referred to the area in eastern Wallachia and southern Ukraine (centered on the lowlands of Budjak and the Bărăgan Plain), referring to the area where the first contact between the Cumans and the Western Christians took place, and where, later, the Cumans would accept Roman Catholicism.
Using the traditional Turkic assignment of colours to the cardinal points, White Cumania used to be located to the east, while Black Cumania was located to its west.
As in the case of many other large nomadic Eurasian confederacies, the ethnonym "Cuman" (referring to the inhabitants of Cumania) denoted different ethnic realities. While the main component was probably the Turkic-speaking tribes, the confederacy included other ethnic components as well. Cumania was primarily a political name, referring to the leading, integrating tribe or clan of the confederacy or state. The Cumans, when they first appear in written sources, are members of a confederacy irrespective of their tribal origin. Former tribal names disappeared when the tribe in question becomed part of a political unit. For instance, when we hear of an incursion of Cumans, it means that certain tribes of the Cuman confederacy took part in a military enterprise. In his "History of the Mongols", the Persian historian Rashid al-Din, referred to Cumania around 1236-1237, during the Mongol invasion of Möngke, the future Great Khan of the Mongol Empire. Among others, he mentions the Kipchaks, the Alanic Asi (probably the same as the later Jassic tribe) and the "Karaulaghi" (Black Vlachs)[1] It is to no surprise that while the general view of the Cumans is that they are Turanid, many historic sources describe the Cumans as strikingly handsome physically, having blond or red hair, and blue eyes.[2]
The vast territory of this Kipchak-Cuman realm, consisting of loosely connected tribal units who were the military dominating force, was never politically united by a strong central power. Cumania was neither a state nor an empire, but different groups under independent rulers, or khans, who acted on their own initiative, meddling in the political life of the surrounding states: the Russian principalities, Bulgaria, Byzantium and the Wallachian states in the Balkans, Armenia and Georgia (see Kipchaks in Georgia) in the Caucasus, and Khwarezm, having reached as far as to create a powerful caste of warriors, the Mamluks, serving the Muslim Arab and Turkish Caliphs and Sultans.
In the Balkans, we find the Cumans in contact with all of the statal entities of that time, fighting with the Kingdom of Hungary, allied with the Bulgarians and Vlachs against the Byzantine Empire, and involved into the politics of the fresh Vlach statal entities. For example, Thocomer, by name apparently a Cuman warlord (also known as Tihomir, he might have been a Bulgarian noble), was possibly the first one to unite the Vlach states from the west and the east of the Olt River, and his son Basarab is considered the first ruler of the united and independent Wallachia. This interpretation corresponds with the general view of the situation of the Romanian lands in the 11th century, with the natives living in collections of village communities, united in various small confederacies, with more or less powerful chiefs trying to create little kingdoms, some paying tribute to the various militarily dominant nomadic tribes (see Romania in the Middle Ages).
This pontic Cumania, (and the rest of the Cumanias to the east), ended its existence in the middle of the 13th century, with the Great Mongol Invasion of Europe. In 1223, Genghis Khan defeated the Cumans and their Russian allies at the Battle of Kalka (in modern Ukraine), and the final blow came in 1241, when the Cuman confederacy ceased to exist as a political entity, with the remaining Cuman tribes being dispersed, either becoming subjects and mixing with their Tatar-Mongol conquerors as part of what was to be known as the Nogai Horde, or fleeing to the west, to the Byzantine Empire, the Bulgarian Empire, and the Kingdom of Hungary.
Hungarian Cumania Main article: Kunság
The end of the Cuman military entity did not mean the end of the term Cumania. In the Kingdom of Hungary, Cuman refugees created two more regions named Cumania (Kunság in Hungarian): Greater Cumania (Nagykunság) and Little Cumania (Kiskunság), both located the Great Hungarian Plain. Here, the Cumans maintained their language and some ethnic customs well into the modern era.
Diocese of Cumania
Main article: Diocese of Cumania
Cumania was also preserved as part of the Roman Catholic ecclesiastical structure with a "Diocese of Cumania" existing until 1523 in what is now Romania, long after the Cumans ceased to be a distinct group in the area. At Milcov, years earlier, in 1227, the Cuman warlord Bortz accepted Catholic Christianity from missionary Dominican monks. Pope Gregory IX heard about the mass conversion of the Cumans, and on 1 July 1227 empowered Robert, Archbishop of Esztergom, to represent him to Cumania and in neighbouring Land of the Brodnici. Teodoric, the bishop of this new diocese, became the guardian of the Dominican Order in the Kingdom of Hungary. [3]
Hence, Cumania became part of the superior archbishopric of Esztergom, determining King Béla IV of Hungary to add "Rex Cumaniae" (King of Cumania) [4] to his titles in 1228, and later to grant asylum to the Cumans in face of the Mongol invasion. The Diocese of Cumania, or of Milcov, had subordinated in Transylvania the abbacy of Sibiu, the dioceses of Burzenland, Brasso and Orbai, and over the Carpathians, in the lands of the "infidel" Orthodox Vlachs (in partibus infidelium), all the Christian Catholics, irrespective of their ethnicity, despite the fact that many believers fell under the influence of the Romanian Orthodox "pseudo" bishops (episcopo Cumanorum, qui loci diocesanus existit, sed a quibusdam pseudoepiscopis Graecorum ritum tenentibus). [5]
So, at that moment, Hungarian and Papal documents use the name Cumania to refer to the land between the eastern border of the lands of Seneslau and the land of the Brodnici (Buzău, southern Vrancea and southern Galaţi): that is Cumania meant, more or less, Muntenia. At that time, the use of the name Cumania should not to be understood as asserting the existence of a Cuman state, nor even a land inhabited by Cuman tribes (as the bulk of them had either fled, or were destroyed by the Mongols, and the rest had been absorbed) but rather to the Diocese of Cumania. From the military point of view, the land comprising the Diocese of Cumania was held either by the Teutonic Order (as early as 1222), or by the Vlachs (Brodnics or the Vlachs of Seneslau). The term Cumania had come to mean any Catholic subordinated to the Milcov Diocese, so much so that in some cases, the terms Cuman and Wallach (more precisely, Roman Catholic Wallach, as the Orthodox Christians were considered schismatic, and the Pope did not officially recognise them) were interchangeable, [6] (as were the terms Wallach and Brodnic).
In a charter from 1247, parts of this earlier Cumania were granted to the Knights Hospitalers, as were the Banat of Severin and the Romanian cnezats of Ioan and Lupu (a fluvio Olth et Alpibus Ultrasylvanis totam Cumaniam …excepta terra Szeneslai Woiavode Olacorum). [7] These, from a juridical point of view, had an inferior status than the states of Seneslau (east of the Olt river) and Litovoi (west of the Olt River), cnezats which continued to belong to the Romanians (quam Olacis relinquimus prout iidem hactenus tenuerant), "like they held them so far".
^ Alexandru D. Xenopol in "Histoire des Roumains', Paris, 1896, i, 168 quotes Rashid-od-Din:
In the middle of spring the princes crossed the mountains in order to enter the country of the Bulares and of the Bashguirds. Orda, who was marching to the right, passed through the country of the Haute, where Bazarambam met him with an army, but was beaten. Boudgek crossed the mountains to enter the Kara-Ulak, and defeated the Ulak people.
^ Robert Lee Wolff: "The 'Second Bulgarian Empire.' Its Origin and History to 1204" (Speculum, Volume 24, Issue 2 (Apr., 1949), 167-206).
^ The letter of Pope Gregory the IXth:
Gregorius Episcopus … venerabili fratri … Strigoniensi Archiepiscopo apostolicae sedis legato salutem … Nuper siquidem per litteras tuas nobis transmissas accepimus, quod Jesus Christus … super gentem Cumanorum clementer respiciens, eis salvationis ostium aperuit his diebus. Aliqui enim nobiles gentis illius per te ad baptismi gratiam pervenerunt, et quidam princeps Bortz nomine de terra illorum cum omnibus sibi subditis per ministerium tuum fidem desiderat suscipere christianam; propter quod unicum filium suum una cum fratribus praedicatoribus, messis dominicae operariis in terra praedicta, ad te specialiter destinavit, attentius obsecrans, ut personaliter accedens ad ipsum et suos viam vitae ostenderes ipsis … Unde quamvis pro executione voti tui, quod emiseras pro terrae sanctae succursu, in peregrinationis esses itinere constitutus, confidei exinde pervenire posse, si piis eorum desideriis condescendas, intermisso dictae peregrinationis itinere, dilectum filium … Archidiaconum de Zala ad nos destinare curasti … supplicans ut tibi hoc faciendi, non obstante voto praedicto, licentiam praeberemus, et … in Cumania et Brodnic terra illae vicina, de cuius gentis conversione speratur, legationis officium tibi committere dignaremur … Datum Anagniae II. Kal. Aug. Pontificatus nostri anno I.
^ The full list of titles was Bela Dei gratia Hungariae Dalmatiae Croatiae Romae Serviae Gallicie Lodomerie Cumanieque Rex
.^ The full text of the letter of Pope Gregory the IXth to King Béla of Hungary (14 November 1234) is:
In Cumanorum episcopatu, sicut accepimus, quidam populi, qui Walati vocantur, existunt, qui etsi censeantur nomine christiano, sub una tamen fide varios ritos habentes et mores, illa committunt, que huic sunt nomini inimica… Nam Romanam ecclesiam contempnentes, non a venerabili fratre nostro… episcopo Cumanorum,qui loci diocesanus existit, sed a quibusdam pseudoepiscopis, Grecorum ritum tenentibus, universa recipiunt ecclesiastica sacramenta, et nonnulli de regno Ungarie, tam Ungari, quam Theutonici et alii orthodoxi, morandi causa cum ipsis transeunt ad eosdem, et sic cum eis, quia populus unus facti cum eisdem Walathis eo contempto, premissa recipiunt sacramenta, in grave orthodoxorum scandalum et derogationem non modicam fidei christiane. Ne igitur ex diversitate rituum pericula proveniant animarum, nos volentes huiusmodi periculum obviare, ne prefati Walathi materiam habeant pro defectu sacramentorum ad scismathicos episcopos accedendi, eidem episcopo nostris damus litteris in mandatis, ut catholicum eis episcopum illi natione conformem provida deliberatione constituat sibi iuxta generalis statuta concilii vicarium in predictis, qui ei per omnia sit obediens et subiectus
.^ The Diploma of King Andrew of Hungary, 11 March 1291, mentions the 'universities' of Saxon, Siculian and Wallachian nobles at Alba Iulia, yet at the assembly of Buda on 29 July 1292 there is mention of the 'universitas nobilium Ongarorum, Siculorum, Saxonum et Comanorum'; the term Cumans simply replacing that of Wallachs.
^ The text of the letter is:
Bela dei gratia Hungariae … Rex … Contulimus … a fluvio Olth et Alpibus Ultrasylvanis totam Cumaniam …excepta terra Szeneslai Woiavode Olacorum, quam eisdem relinquimus, prout iidem hactenus tenuerunt … a primo introitu … fratrum usque ad viginti quinque annos omnes reditus Cumaniac terrae integraliter domus percipiat iam praefecta, praeterquam de terre Szeneslay antedicta …; Anno ab incurnatione domini MXXXLVII. IIII. Nonas Junii. Regni autem nostri anno duodecimo.
Istvan Vasary: "Cumans and Tatars", Cambridge University Press, 2005;
Binder Pál: "Antecedente şi consecinte sud-transilvanene ale formarii voievodatului Munteniei (sec. XIII-XIV.)" II.; Századok 1995, Budapest;
Norman Angell: "Peace Theories and the Balkan War"; 1912.
Retrieved from ""
Categories: Kipchaks | Romania in the Early Middle Ages | Moldova in the Early Middle Ages

1241 ---  The Great Tatar Invasion. A part of the Tatar army being at that moment in Poland, divides into three bodies and attacks the Romanian territory; an army corps, led by Kadan and Buri, ravages the north of Moldavia, crosses the Carpathians, takes hold of and destroys the boroughs of Rodna, Bistrita, Dej, Cluj, Zalau, Oradea, etc.; a second one, led by Bochetor, crosses the Siret river and after "defeating the people who came to fight", plunders the south of Moldavia and gets into Transylvania, through the Oituz path, seizing Brasov, Sibiu, Sebes, etc.; a third army corps led by Budjek, pillages Wallachia, defeats the Romanians' opposition and gets into the Banat, via Severin. The Tatar invasion and the establishment of their political rule in Moldavia and Wallachia (as far as the Olt), as well as the numberless predatory incursions in Transylvania, bore a negative impact upon the development of the Romanian society, but, in exchange, stopped the Hungarian expansion towards the Romanian territories, south and east of the Carpathians.

 1325 --- A Romanian army from northern Moldavia participates together with Ruthenians and Lithuanians in the battle waged by the Polish army, led by King Wladyslaw I Lokietek, against the Margrave of Brandenburg.

1332 October 4 --- A letter issued by the papal chancellery of Avignon, mentions that in the territories of south-western Moldavia "the estates and belongings" of the Catholic diocese of Milcovia have been taken by the "masters of those places."

1334-1335 --- First documantary mention of the town of Baia (Civitas Moldaviae).

1339 or 1341. ---  Naval expedition of the Turkish emir of Aidyn Bahaeddin Umur-Bey on the Black Sea. On this occasion, some battles of the Turks against the "Giaours" (probably Romanians) are mentioned "in Chilia, at the frontier of Wallachia"; after plundering and setting on fire several towns and villages in Dobruja, they defeated the army of the Romanians.

1339 --- Angelino Dulcert's portolano contains the important trade route Black Sea-Lvov-Baltic Sea with directions given for two variants. One branch (the shorter) started from the Genoese colonies Maurokastron, Licostomo and Vicina and, in order to reach Lvov, it crossed Moldavia on the valley of the Siret. That route ("Via Walachiensis"), on which some market towns were marked, will have an intensified traffic, after the fall of Lvov under the Poles (1349).

1352/53 ---  Campaign against the Tatars. A powerful Transylvanian army, in the ranks of which there were also Romanians from Maramures, gets into Moldavia and backed up by the local population, defeats and definitely drives away theTatars; on the territory of the former small local formation, situated on the eastern side of the Carpathians, they founded a defensive "mark" (which will be called Moldavia), against the Tatar attacks. Dragos of Maramures is named at the head of Moldavia by the king of Hungary.

1359 --- The voivode Bogdan of Maramures, passes in Moldavia and, supported by the local populace, dissatisfied with the domination of the representatives of the king of Hungary, as well as with the Catholic propaganda, drives away Balc and is recognized as voivode and ruling prince by the local feudal lords (until 1365). The repeated attempts of the Hungarian army to subdue the new state during the next years, fail. The Romanian population which came from Maramures, namely Bogdan's companions, contribute to Moldavia's emancipation out of the Hungarian suzerainty.
        --- During the reing of Bogdan I there has been built up St. Nicholas Church of Radauti, the oldest religious edifice preserved in Moldavia, an original synthesis of Gothic and Byzantine architecture.

1371 March 9 --- Foundation of a Catholic diocese in Siret, Moldavia's capital. The first occupant of this diocese is the Franciscan monk Andrei Wasilo of Crakow

Dragoş I

The First Founder of Moldavia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


Dragoş I in a 19th century rendition.

Dragoş (magyarized as Drágfi of Béltek) was a Maramureş Voivode ruling over the lands of what was to become Moldavia (between 1351 and 1353). He left Maramureş by orders from the Hungarian King Louis I, in order to establish a defense line against the Golden Horde. He was succeeded by his son, Sas (Szász or Sas of Béltek) (ruled 1354-1358). Sas was then succeeded by his own son, Balc, in 1359, who managed to rule the country for only one year before being deposed by another voivode from Maramureş, Bogdan. The direct bloodline of Dragoş in the Moldavian rulership ended with Balc of Moldova.


A Moldavian legend recounts Dragoş' founding of Moldavia as the result of an aurochs (or wisent) hunt, during which Molda, a female hound of his, was mortally wounded. In its remembrance, Dragoş named the river Moldova - the name was to be extended to the country itself at a latter date. This version is present in the works of Wallachian chronicler Radu Popescu and the Moldavian Prince Dimitrie Cantemir (namely, his Descriptio Moldaviae). The Moldavian coat of arms, which depicts an aurochs, relates to this legend.

 Other records of the legend hold certain differences: while some indicate that Dragoş hunted alone, Grigore Ureche's account (which is also the most detailed) says that "Dragoş of Cuhea" (in Maramureş), a man "of royal origins" was accompanied by 300 men who would later be the founders of the village of Boureni (from bour, meaning "aurochs"), the first village in the Principality.

The accuracy of the founding (descălecat - literally, "dismounting") story has been disputed ever since the early 1700s (Cantemir). In the late 1900s, Dimitrie Onciul argued that the "descălecat" was a myth attempting to explain the origin of aurochs depicted in the Moldavian coat-of-arms (as present today in Romanian and Moldovan heraldry).


  • Legend has Dragoş as the founder of the city of Vatra Dornei, named in memory of a beautiful shepherdess whom he would have met there.
  • A wooden church at Volovăţ (5 km away from Rădăuţi) was raised by Dragoş in 1346; it was restored and moved to Putna in 1468 by Stephen the Great.

See also

Preceded by
Prince/Voivode of Moldavia
1352 - 1353
Succeeded by

Sas of Moldavia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  (Redirected from Sas of Moldova)

Sas was a Voivode ruling over the lands of what was to become Moldavia between 1354-1358 in vassalage to the Hungarian King Louis. He succeeded his father, Dragoş, the first ruler of the country. Sas was in turn succeeded in 1359 by his own son, Balc, who managed to rule the country for only one year before being deposed by another Voivode from Maramureş, Bogdan.

Balc of Moldavia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  (Redirected from Balc of Moldova)

Balc (died 1395) was a voivode ruling over the lands of the Hungarian march in Moldavia in 1359, succeeding his father, Sas, the son of the first ruler of the country. He managed to rule the country for only one year before being deposed by Bogdan.

After being defeated by Bogdan I, Balc left Moldavia and retreated to Maramureş, the district Bogdan I used to hold. In 1365, the king of Hungary appointed him and his cousins Drag, Dragomir and Ştefan as Voivodes of Maramureş.

Later, Balc was also appointed Count of Szatmár (around what is today the city of Satu Mare) and of the Szekelys.

Balc and Drag ruled Maramureş until Balc's death in 1395.

After magyarization Drag becqame the ancestor of the Dragfi Hungarian aristocracy family.

Bogdan I of Moldavia

Bogdan of Cuhea, the  Second Founder of Moldova


Like the majority of the European countries, the modern Romanian state was wrought through the unification of the historical provinces inhabited by Romanians. The merit of the public and military foundation of the principality of Moldova belongs to Bogdan of Cuhea from Maramureş, in the middle of the 14th century.

According to his exploits recorded in the chronicles of his time, he detached himself from among all the other leaders and lords more preoccupied with defending their own properties and privileges in front of the expansionist tendencies of the Hungarian kings.

File:Statuie Cuhea BogdanVoda.jpg


Bogdan came from a family that had owned twenty-two villages on the upper course of the Iza (between Strâmtura and Bârsana), and also on the valley of the Vişeu River, and he had a fortified official residence at Cuhea.

At a certain moment, during the reign of Charles Robert d’Anjou (1308-1342) Bogdan had been proclaimed voievode of the entire Maramureş. In this interval he succeeded to maintain the autonomy of the country as a principality; but at the beginning of the reign of Louis d’Anjou I (1342-1382), the royal house succeeded to banish Bogdan (probably in 1343). There are two hypotheses concerning the reasons of this political decision: either a conflict with the Hungarian noble Ioan, lord of the stronghold Visc, and representative of the king of Maramureş, or a decision of the former king Charles Robert to impose a taxation (18 denari) for each “bondsman’s gate”, that could have resulted in an “ample movement of the peasants from Maramureş” under the leadership of Bogdan, in defence of their former rights.

Almost two centuries of skirmishes followed, but in spite of the Hungarian crown’s accusation of “infidelity”, they did not dare to confiscate Bogdan’s properties or to take other measures, either legal or military, against him, due to the notoriety he enjoyed in the communities of Maramureş.

After the military expedition commanded by the king of Hungary against the Tartars, Dragoş of Bedeu, the Founder, became voievode of Moldova; but both he and Sas, his son and heir to the throne, militated for the instalment of the feudal relations of subjection to the Hungarian crown.

In 1358 (or 1359), voievode Sas died and king Louis was too busy with his campaign against Dusan of Serbia and had no time to take care of a “faithful” succession to the throne of Moldova, though the Romanian territory on the eastern side of the Carpathians was a priority to the Hungarian royal house that was dreaming of an Angevine empire from the Baltic Sea to the Adriatic.

The imperial dream was shattered by Bogdan who, in 1359, started from his residence in Cuhea, together with a number of warriors and crossed over the Prislop-Borşa pass to Moldova where drove away from the throne the heirs of Dragoş.

It is believed that Bogdan’s enterprise would not have been successful had he not used the surprise factor and the favourable moment, and if he had not had faithful and well-trained soldiers to whom the local population, dissatisfied by Hungary’s tendencies to sovereignty, adhered.

During the six years of his reign, Bogdan’s main concern was to repel King Louis’ attempts to take over the power in Moldavia. In 1859, Moldova will unite with Muntenia and in 1918, with Transylvania, giving birth to the modern Romanian state.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bogdan I, modern portrait by Pierre Bellet

Bogdan of Cuhea (or Bogdan-Vodă; Bogdan I of Moldavia) is the second founding-figure of the Principality of Moldavia, its ruler between 1359 and 1365. He was a Vlach nobleman and Voivode of Maramureş, inside the Kingdom of Hungary.

Bogdan appeared in Maramureş in 1334 as a voivode of the Romanians of Cuhea, on the Iza River, but he lost his voivodship due to some disagreement with Louis I of Hungary, in a 1343 diploma being called "the former Voivode of Maramureş who became unfaithful to the king".[1]

Some historians (such as Győrffy) identified him with a certain Bogdan, son of Mikola, who migrated from the Balkans, while others (such as Spinei) say there's no reason to assume it's the same person. The point of the historiographical dispute is whether Romanians are old settlers or indigenous to Maramureş or whether they settled as late as 13th century,[1] as part of the Romanian-Hungarian debate over the primacy of settlement in Transylvania.

In cca. 1349, Bogdan and a group of followers rebelled against Hungarian authority and crossed the Carpathians to the east, in a march created as a barrier to Mongol incursions by the Kingdom of Hungary in the times of Dragoş. Bogdan crossed the mountains together with his followers, deposed the local ruler, Balc, grandson of Dragoş and declared Moldavia independent from Hungary.[1]

The Ottoman chronicles started to refer to Moldavia as Bogdan or Bogdania in reference to the polity. During his reign, the first Moldovian coins were minted, bearing the inscription: Moneda Moldaviae-Bogdan Waiwo(da).

Unlike his deposed predecessors, who had been close to the Hungarian Crown, he reshaped Moldavia's position and secured her independence a decade after he seized the throne. He successfully resisted Hungarian and Polish ambitions whilst confronting Mongol rule to the east (see Golden Horde).

File:Baia (catedrala).JPG (Baia-Catholic Church)1371

1371 March 9 --- Foundation of a Catholic diocese in Siret, Moldavia's capital. The first occupant of this diocese is the Franciscan monk Andrei Wasilo of Crakow

His first capital was located at Baia, then at Siret, but was soon moved to Suceava. He ordered the building of Bogdana Monastery, in Rădăuţi, Suceava County, which is the oldest standing one in Moldavia.





Preceded by

Prince/Voivode of Moldavia
1359 - 1365
Succeeded by


  • István Vásáry, Cumans and Tatars, Cambridge University Press 2005

External links

After 1345, the Hungarian influence over Moldavia rose, and as such, the Hungarian king sent Dragoş, the voivode of Maramureş, to northwestern Moldavia, to enforce the Hungarian rule. The year on which Dragoş arrived in Moldavia is traditionally considered by the Romanian-Slavic chronicles to be 1353, which is said to be the year of the birth of Moldavia. Nevertheless, the Hungarian king wanted just to claim Moldavia as Hungarian land, not to found another country. For instance, in a 1365 diploma, he calls Moldavia terra nostra Molduana ("our Moldavian land").[7]

The centre of the new vassal state was in the northwestern Moldavia: in Bukovina and around the Moldova River, which also gave its name. The coastal areas of the future Principality of Moldavia were not yet under their control.[7]

Following the killing of the Khan of the Golden Horde, Berdi Beg in 1359, the Horde entered in a few decades of chaos and struggles for power, which prevented them taking an action against the Hungarians' expansion.[7]

The legend of Dragoş

The foundation of Moldavia, as well as the origins of the wisent head on the coat-of-arms of Moldavia, is explained in a legend, narrated in various old Moldavian chronicles. The story says that Dragoş, a noble from Maramureş, goes to a hunt and that following a wisent, they cross the mountains, reaching what is now Moldavia. There, they found the Moldova River, near which they killed the wisent. They liked the pleasant places and the open fields they found there and chose them to be their new homeland. As such, returning to Maramureş, he returns with all his people to the new homeland.[8]

Grigore Ureche further explained the name of the river as being named by Dragoş after Molda, his dog, which died fighting the beast.[9]

Legends of following magic wild beasts in hunts which lead the hunter to unknown places and various adventures are common. However, the hunt as a mythical foundation of nations is typical Central Asian myth, being similar to the legends of the Proto-Bulgarians or the Hungarian myth of Hunor and Magor, which involves the hunting of a white stag.[8] Jordanes and Procopius also tell similar stories about how the Huns were led by a stag beyond the Azov Sea to the plains of Scythia, which they decided to invade.[8][10]

The legend has also been connected to references to a body of royal hunter-soldiers in the Kingdom of Hungary, venatores bubalorum (buffalo hunters), who held a special status in the country. Dragoş and his comrades could have been part of this organization.[11

 The Annals of Jan Dlugosz - ISBN 1-901-01-900-4 - From A.D. 965 to A.D. 1480

A.D. 1326, page 273

In the summer, King Wladislaw, conscious of the numerous affronts and injuries inflicted on his country by the Margraves of Brandenburg, and remembering their cunning murder of King Przemysl, as well as their devastation of much of Pomerania and their illegal sale of it to the Teotonic Knights, organizes an expedition against the Mark of Brandenburg and Waldemar, its Margrave. With a Polish force, reinforced with contingents of Ruthenians, Wallachians and Lithuanians.


A.D. 1359, page 308-9

Stephen, Voivode of Moldavia, has died while among the Wallachians, whose ancestors had been expelled from Italy, it is said they were the Volcsi, and who, having cunningly squeezed out the former Ruthenian lords and settlers, as their number increased, adopted their faith and customs, thus making it easier for them to assume control. The voivode's death marks the start of a fierce struggle for the ducal throne between Stephen's two sons, Stephen and Peter. The younger of the two, Peter, has the support of the majority of the Wallachians, because they consider him the more noble, and he also enjoys the support of the many Hungarians living in the country; so, having chased out his brother and those boyars he has been unable to win over, he assumes control of Moldavia. His elder brother, afraid lest Peter take even more drastic action, escapes to the King of Poland, who has wealth and soldiers in plenty, and asks him to regain his duchy for him; promising that, if the King does this, he, Stephen, and his successors, his voivodes and boyars will for ever be loyal, obedient subjects of King Casimir and his successors.

The King's advisers recomment acceptance, so he gives Stephen an army of knights from Cracow, Sandomierz, Lublin and Ruthenia, with which to recover his duchy. The army sets out from Poland on the Feast of the Apostles St. Peter and St. Paul and at first enjoys success in a number of engagements and in some individual encounters, but it never comes to a pitched battle, for Peter realizes that that would be too dangerous. So, Peter has recource to cunning. Between the upper reaches of the rivers Prut and Dniester is a huge expense of forest, called Poloniny, all uncultivated, indeed uncultivable land, and this the Polish army now proposes to cross. Anticipating such a move, the Wallachians cut the trees on either side of the path the Poles must take through the forest, but in such a way that each tree remains upright, though the slightest push will make it fall. The Wallachian scouts camouflage themselves with sand and grass and watch the enemy advance and plunge in among the ravines of the forest. Once they are there, the Wallachians give a push to the farthest trees, which falling like dominoes, knock down one after the other, breaking arms, legs, and other parts of the body of the Poles and their horses, without even having to strike a blow. Those taken prisoner number only slightly more than those who are killed, and none escape, for most have had their horses killed or injured. The victors collect the enemy's weapons, garments and all sorts of supplies. Treachery may have played a part in this disaster. When King Casimir learns of it, he at once sends envoys to ransom the prisoners, and to this the Wallachians readily agree, and so all are ransomed without the cost being too great. One of the ransomed was Zbigniew of Olescnica, grandfather of the later cardinal and bishop of Cracow, who limped for the rest of his life because of a damaged shin.


Laţcu of Moldavia (1365-1374)

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Laţcu was the Voivode of Moldavia between circa 1365 and 1373. He was the son of Bogdan I. His name is a diminutive form of Vladislav (or Ladislau), often used in that period in Hungary.

During his reign, Roman Catholicism was introduced in Moldavia. On March 9, 1371, the Archbishop of Kraków appointed a man called Andrei as Bishop of Siret. On September 3, 1371, Pope Gregory XI appointed a second Bishop over Milcov.

Laţcu became a Catholic in 1370 in order to gain equal religious status with the rival Polish and Hungarian Kings. He has been recognized by the Holy See as a duke of Moldavia, which is mentioned as inhabited by the Vlach nation (dux Moldavie partium seu nationis Wlachie).

He also hoped that the Pope would allow him to divorce his wife, who could not bear him a son, but, in a letter from January 25, 1372, the Pontiff declined his request. He had a daughter from his wife Ana, named Anastasia, who married Roman I[citation needed], the son of Costea Muşat, the voivode that succeeded him, and the first ruler of the Muşat family.

When Laţcu died, he was interred in the Rădăuţi church alongside his father Bogdan I.


  • M. Bărbulescu, D. Deletant, K. Hitchins, Ş. Papacostea, P. Teodor, Istoria României, Ed. Corint, 2004, ISBN 973-653-514-2
Preceded by
Bogdan I
Prince/Voivode of Moldavia
1365 - 1373
Succeeded by


La Muzeul de Istorie Suceava
s-a deschis ieri, ca manifestare circumscrisă simpozioanelor „Artă şi civilizaţie medievală” (ediţia a XVII-a) şi„Bucovina - File de istorie” (ediţiaa XII-a), expoziţia cu genericul „Comori arheologice în Muzeul Bucovinei”.Între piesele arheologice expuse se remarcă sceptrul-pisălog (bronz târziu, 1700 - 1250 î. Hr.), care nu a mai fost prezentat până acum într-o expoziţie, măsuţa-altar cu orificiu central, piesă ceramică descoperită în aşezarea cucuteniană de la Adâncata - Dealul Lipovanului, sau o amforă de la Şipeniţ.

Vizitatorii pot vedea artefacte de o mare diversitate, de la piepteni de os, din sec. al IV-lea (Mirăuţi - Suceava), unelte şi arme din cupru şi bronz, până la cahle din sec. al XV-lea (Baia şi Suceava).

Vitrina centrală din salonul principal de expunere etalează piese clasate în  colecţia Tezaur: aplicele scitice din aur (sec. VII - VI î. Hr.), descoperite la Cajvana, inelul cu inscripţie atribuit voievodului Laţcu (a doua jumătate a sec. al XIV-lea), descoperit cu prilejul săpăturilor efectuate la Biserica Sf. Nicolae din Rădăuţi




Piesa de rezistenţă a expoziţiei o reprezintă inelul de aur atribuit voievodului Laţcu. “Acest inel cu inscripţia Alah ar putea să ţină foarte bine în spate un muzeu întreg”, a apreciat dr. Monica Dejan, făcând referire la valoarea exponatului menţionat


c.a. 1375-c.a. 1391 --- Reign of Petru I, during which Moldavia knows a period of economic prosperity. The prince concerned himself with the strengthening of the state's defence capacity (building the fortresses of Neamt and Suceava, the latter becoming the capital) and was on good terms with Poland and Wallachia. 
The St. Trinity Church of Siret, the oldest tri-conch-plane edifice of Moldavia, built under Petru I, with her facade bearing an enamelled ceramics ornamentation.

ca 1377 --- Petru I mints the first Moldavian coins (silver).

1387---September 26. ---  Petru I recognizes in Lvov the suzerainty of Wladislaw II Jagiello, king of Poland (1386-1434); on this occasion there were established mutual assistance obligations, while Moldavia joined the alliance system of the Polish-Lithuanian state. This act, which marked for a long time the predominant orientation of Moldavia's foreign policy, started the Hungarian- Polish rivalry for Moldavia.

Petru I of Moldavia

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Petru I Muşat was Voivode (prince) of Moldavia from 1375 to 1391, the son of Costea Muşat, the first ruler from the dynastic House of Bogdan. During his reign he maintained good relationships with his neighbours, especially Poland.

On September 27, 1387 at Lwów he paid hommage to the Polish king Władysław II Jagiełło, making Moldavia a Polish fief (which it remained until 1497). In 1388 he received Pokuttya as a pawn for 3,000 silver rubles he lent to the Polish king. Petru also acted as an intermediary in the negotiations between the Wallachia voivode Mircea cel Bătrân and the Polish king that restulted in the treaties signed by the two parts in 1389 and 1390. The first Russian-Moldavian diplomatic contacts also date from his reign.

Petru I founded the fortress and the monastery in Neamţ, and built the Holy Trinity Church in Siret. He also fixed the see of Moldova at Suceava and maintained Bishop Iosif at Cetatea Albă, contrary to the wishes expressed by the Patriarchate of Constantinople, resulting in his excomunication.

During his reign a number of important coins were minted, the ones attributed to him, known so far, are: groschen and far more rare half-groschen made of silver. Their design became the standard for coins minted by later Moldavian rulers.

Obverse: Aurochs head, frontal view, a star between the horns, a rose on the right, a crescent on the left. In some cases, the rose is at left and the crescent at right. Sometimes, the aurochs holds a fleur de lys in its mouth. The legend is in Latin: SIMPETRI WOIWOD.

Reverse: Coat of arms, a shield with three or four bars in the right half, and in the left half a variable number of fleurs de lys (seven to one). The legend is SIMOLDAVIENSIS.

1387-1392 (1388-1391) --- Mention of the Moldavian market (towns) or walled cities of Iasi, Roman, Tirgu Neamt, Suceava, Siret, Baia, Cernauti, Hotin, etc. in a Russian source, concerning the towns situated far away and near by. All these settlements had been naturally in existence since earlier times, preceding the mentioned source.

1388 January 27 --- Wladislaw II Jagiello borrows, for three years, 4000 silver roubles from Petru I, giving him as warrant the Pocutzia land, which, in case of non-observance of the term is liable to be seized by the Moldavian prince.
         February 10 --- Petru I announces that he sent the amount of 3000 silver roubles to his suzerain.
                              --- Mentioning of the walled city of Suceava as capital of the feudal state Moldavia.

1389 December 10. --- The negotiations of Radom between the envoys of Mircea cel Batrin and Wladislaw II Jagiello, king of Poland, mediated by Petru I voivode of Moldavia; a treaty is concluded, by which the two sovereigns pledged to help each other, first of all, in case of a possible Hungarian attack. The treaty was ratified in Lublin, 1390, January 20, under fully equal conditions.

 1391-1392 --- Unsuccessful mission in Moldavia, sent by Patriarch Antonius IV (1389-1390, 1391-1397) to investigate the canonical character of the appointment of Iosif (formerly anointed by the Metropolitan of Halice) at the head of the Moldavian church hierarchy.

1392 March 30 --- Roman I, voivode of Moldavia (about 1391-about 1394) called himself: "The Great and Only Master, Lord by the Grace of God, voivode, I, Roman voivode, who rules over Moldavia, from the mountains to the sea."

 1395 February --- Hungarian campaign in Moldavia against prince Stefan I, caused by the latter's acceptance of the Polish king's suzerainty (the act of lealty confirmed by Stefan I on January 6, 1395). Between February 2 and 14 the Moldavians defeated, at Hindov (probably Ghindaoani, Neamt County), the invading army which was just retreating.
        February 3 --- First documentary mention of the Neamt fortress of Moldavia, an earlier foundation of Petru I.

1400 April --- Alexandru, son of Roman I, supported by Mircea cel Batrin enthrones himself voivode of Moldavia.

1400 April 23-1432 January 1 --- The reign of Alexandru cel Bun (Alexander the Kind) in Moldavia. At home, he concerned himself with the development of the country (institutional organization, intensification of commerce, recognition of Moldavia's Metropolitan Church by the Constantinople Patriarchate) and externally, he supported the Poles' fight against the Teutonic Knights and repelled the first attack of the Turks against Moldavia.


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