Romanian History and Culture

A Library of Knowledge from the Web. An Educational Website.

Romanian States X-XIII. In Memoriam Vasile Dragut


 The pre-state political entities in Transylvania were ruled by dukes, princes or voivodes such as Gelu, Glad, Menumorut, Ahtum, or by jupani or voivodes in Moldavia, Wallachia or Dobrogea: Dimitrie, Gheorghe, Sestlav, Satza, Roman, a.o. (11th-12th centuries). In the 13th century, larger pre-state entities are attested by documents under the leadership of voivodes Litovoi, Ioan, Farcas, and Seneslau.

In a document from 1247 the king of Hungary is giving to the Johanites knights for 25 years "the Severin country with the kniezates of Ioan and Farcas up to the Olt river, but without the countries of Litovoi and Seneslau".

Litovoi was a Voivode of Wallacia on the East of the river Olt, and became the first Prince of Wallachia after merging his Voivodeship with that of Seneslau, (1247-1277).

Seneslau was a Voivode of Wallachia, on the West side of the river Olt in the year 1247. His Voivodship was merged with that of Litovoi, who became Prince of Wallachia.

Bărbat,  Litovi brother, succeds him as voievoda of the East of river Olt,c.a.1277-c.a.1290

 Time Line:  


The bulk of the following timeline was excerpted from Chronological History of Romania (Editura Enciclopedica Roma^na, Bucharest, 1972) with a few snippets added from The People's Chronology: A Year-by-Year Record of Human Events from Prehistory to the Present (James Trager (Ed); Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York, 1979). This research was originally meant just to help me better understand my persona but quickly got out of hand.
    Since it will be linked to from several other areas I have put the Chronology of the Rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia on a separate page.
    This timeline is cross-linked with the Chronology of Rulers of Wallachia and Moldavia as well as other pages in this site.
    I've now added a timeline for the pre-medieval history of Romania. This timeline was excerpted from Chronological History of Romania and the Chronology of the Ancient World (H.E.L. Mellersh, London, 1976).

10th-11th C. ---  The Byzantine authorities raise a powerful fortress at Garvan-Dinogetia in northern Dobruja on the 4th-6th C. ruins, as well as religious edifices, which are still favouring the penetration of Byzantine influences on the territories of the Lower Danube.

10th C. ---  Towards the end of the third decade of the century, southern Moldavia is invaded by the Pechenegs (a Turkic people coming from the east) and chased by the Uzes, allies of the Khazars (A Turko-Tatar group from Asia.)). Till the end of the century, they lay hold of the Danubian plain.

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

943 ---  The fragment of Slavonic inscription discovered at Mircea Voda village, mentions a "jupan Dimitrie" (boyar), the first written testimony of the social stratification on the Lower Danube.

968 (summer) and 969 (summer). ---  The expeditions of the great Prince of Kiev, Svyatoslav Igorevitch (ca. 964-972) to the Lower Danube, where the Russian chronicle The Story of By- Gone Times mentions the existence of an intense economic life (80 walled cities); an area where the great trading routes from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe converge. Svyatoslav considers the possibility to take residence in Dobruja, at Pereyaslavets, an important trade centre.

971 July. ---   At the end of the month, after a three month siege, the Byzantine armies, led by Emperor John I Tzimisces (969-976) oblige Svyatoslav Igorevitch who was by then in the Dorostolon fortress (Silistra) to surrender; the knyaz of Kiev pledges, among others, to leave Dobruja. The restoration of Byzantine rule over the Lower Danubian territories. After his victory, Emperor Tzimisces receives the messengers of Constantia (prob. Constantiana Daphne) and of other north Danubian cities who submit themselves; Byzantine garrisons are placed in the newly subjected fortresses.

976 ---   The Byzantine chronicler John Skylitzes shows that David, one of the four sons of Count Nicola, was killed by the "Chervanari" Vlach (or carters), on the territory between Castoria and Prespa, at a place called "Stejarii frumosi" (The Beautiful Oaks).

1002-1003 ---   The military conflict between Commander Gyula (Gyla), who "reigned over the whole kingdom of Ultrasylvania", Alba Iulia being probably its center, and the king of Hungary, Stephen I, brought about by Gyula, "who did not return to the Christian law and did not cease to attack the Hungarians". After Gyula's defeat, his territory was submitted to the Hungarian crown.

1018 ---  End of the first Bulgarian Czardom. After several victories, the Byzantine emperor Basil II (963, 976-1025) expanded the Byzantine domination over the entire territory of the former Bulgarian state.

ca. 1045 ---  Byzantine-Pecheneg agreement. Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus (1042-1055) accepts a part of the Pechenegs, led by Kegenes, to settle down in Dobruja where they received land and three fortresses, with the mission to defend the empire's border line from the Danube fords, against the attacks of other Pecheneg tribes, led by Tyrach.

1054 July 16. ---   The Great Schism. Patriarch Michael Cerularius (1043-1058) and Pope Leo IX (1049-1054) excommunicate one another; final separation of the Church of Rome and that of Constantinople. The Romanian people remain among the groups of peoples of Orthodox faith, which is under the canonical authority of the Patriarch of Constantinople.

1064 ---  Invasion of the Uzes - "a Turkic people, nobler and greater than the Pechenegs" to which they are akin. They cross the Danube via the themes of Paristrion and Bulgaria, robbing and pillaging savagely as far as the parts of Thessalonika; after hard battles with the Byzantine armies the Uzes are destroyed, many of them die of the pest, a part of them withdraw to the north of the Danube, and others are colonized in Macedonia or enlisted in the Byzantine army.

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.

1070 ---  The Vlachs alongside of the Ruthenians (a people of the Ukraine) and the Pechenegs, are mentioned as allies of prince Wiaceslav of Polotsk, in the battle against the future Polish king Boleslaw II Smialy (1076-1079).

1072/74  ---   The town population of the territories situated on the lower Danube rise against the new policy carried on by the Byzantine Emperor Michael VII Ducas (1071-1078), who had cut the annual subventions granted to the population inhabiting those places for their guarding of the frontiers and instituted state monopoly on grain trade; Vestarch Nestor, entrusted with stifling the revolt, goes over on the part of the revolted; it is only under the rule of Nikefor III Botanyates (1078-1081) that order is restored at the lower Danube.

1091 April 29. ---  The Battle of Lebunion. Emperor Alexius I Comnenus (1081-1118), with the help of the Kumans, defeats the Pecheneg-Paristrian Coalition, restoring the Byzantine domination over the lower Danubian territories.

1111 ---  First documentary mention of a "Prince of Transylvania", namely Mercurius, representative of the king of Hungary in the newly conquered territories.

1141/62 ---  The rule of the Hungarian king Geza II. He starts the colonization of the first German population group (the Saxons) in Transylvania. Coming from Flanders, the Moselle valley and Luxembourg they settled the region of Alba, Sibiu and Bistrita. The colonization continued during the reigns of kings Bela III (1172-1196) and Andrew II (1205-1235), who granted important privileges (Andreanum) to the Transylvanian Saxons.

c.a. 1176 --- First mention about a voivode of Transylvania, namely Leustachius.

1185/86 ---  Uprising led by the Vlach brothers Asan and Petru, against the Byzantine Empire. In their struggle the rebels were succoured by the population from the north of the Danube. Foundation of the Asan Brothers' Empire (Second Bulgarian Empire) with its capital in Trnovo.

13th C. ---  A powerful stone fortress is being built at Drobeta-Turnu-Severin, under its influence a religious center developed, consisting of several churches, to which the beginnings of medieval architecture in Wallachia are linked.

1204 April 13. ---  Conquest of Constantinople by the armies of the Fourth Crusade and the establishment of the Latin Empire of Constantinople, headed by Baldwin of Flanders, crowned at St. Sophia, by the first Latin Patriarch of the East, the Venetian Thomaso Morosini (May 16).

1211 (after May 7). ---  Colonization of the Teutonic Knights in Birsa Land with a view to ensure the defence of the southeastern frontier of Transylvania. The Teutonic Knights got important privileges, such as: exemption from tolls and taxes, the right to appeal to royal judgement, thus falling out of the jurisdiction of the voivode of Transylvania, the right of organizing fairs, markets, of erecting wooden fortresses, and so on.

 However, at the time of mongol invasion, 1241,Transilvania could not be ruled thewithout romanian nobles suport, so the voivode of Transilvania was a romanian, Posea. The mongol invasion, afected very much hungarians, and lessthe romanians ( who even help mongols in some circumstances ), because in that times, romanian teritory was still covered with huge forests, and have some 30 % mountains, places were mongols dont enter, and were the bulk of romanian population lived. They, instead, atack more in plains, and not forested areas ( like Pannonia, were bulk of maghyars lived ), and cities and castels. This invasion, and the diseases and famine who come after killed some 60 % of already weakened and small maghyar population. It was a disaster who almost destroy maghyars, at least the original maghyars (mongolic ones) who make today just a small part of hungarians. This is the moment when hungarians, to recover themselves, allow to a lot of romanians, slavs and germans to enter in their nobility ( but to become catholic as well ). This is the moment when hungarian language ( as that hungarian professor from Budapest Academy said) receive a huge amount ( he discover 2300 words, if i remeber corect ) of romanians words  as romanians inhabited Pannonia and Transylvania before the Magyar invasion. Later, in the medieval time, Hungary and Transilvania were ruled as distinct entities, and very distinct one after Hungary disaper  after Mohacs). Just in time of little austro-hunagarian empire Transilvania was part of hungarian entity ( a small period ).discution at :

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.

ca. 1230 ---  Foundation of the Banat of Severin, northwest of the frontier of the Bulgarian Czardom. It covered a part of western Oltenia and the region between the Semenic and Carpathian mountains, with the charge of defending a part of the southern frontier of the kingdom. The Banat of Severin had a semi-autonomous position within the Hungarian Kingdom. The first documentary mentioning of a Ban of Severin, in the person of Luca, dates back to August 22, 1233.

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.

13th C. (second half). ---  An intensified action of Magyarization and Catholicization of the Romanian leaders takes place in Transylvania alongside of the restriction of the rights of the Orthodox Romanians. This policy will make some Romanians leave Transylvania and settle down among the Romanians, on the territories of the future feudal states, Wallachia and Moldavia.

1247 June2 --- The Diploma of the Johannite Knights. Bela IV, king of Hungary (1235-1270), grants to Rembald, preceptor of the Johannite Knights Order, the Land of Severin, together with other territories. On this occasion, the Diploma shows that an intense economic activity was carried on between the Danube and the Carpathians, based on agriculture, animal breeding and fishing, the process of social stratification in land owners (majores terrae) and peasants (rustici) compelled to taxes and duties towards the feudal lords,as well as the existence of the Romanian political structure, led by voivodes Litovoi and Seneslau and the knyazes Ioan and Farcas. The Banat of Severin and the principalities of Ioan and Farcas were to be under the Order's authority, while the knyazates led by Seneslau and Litovoi remained under the Romanians' rule, on the same terms as before. It seems that members of the Order have never actually ruled these territories.

1272/73 ---  Litovoi, a Romanian voivode from the south of the Carpathians, refuses to pay tribute to the Hungarian king and extends his rule, occupying territories over which Laszlo IV (1272-1290) claimed suzerainty, a fact which brought about the conflict between the Hungarian crown and the Romanian voivode.

1276 November 21-1277 May 6. ---  A war takes place between the Wallachians and the Ruthenians, mentioned by chronicler Thomas Tuscus in his Gesta imperatorum et pontificum.

1277 or 1279 (summer or autumn) --- Military conflict between Litovoi and the king of Hungary. The Romanian army headed by Litovoi and by his brother Barbat, was defeated by the Hungarian army, led by Magister Gheorghe and Count Petru. The struggles were fought, probably, in the Hateg Land. Litovoi is killed and Barbat is taken prisoner; after paying an important ransom, Barbat succeeds his brother to the throne, acknowledging the suzerainty of King Laszlo IV; Barbat's succession renders evident the dynastic character of the political authority and proves the consolidation of the institution of voivodeship.

1281 July 1-August 16. ---  The register of the Genoese notary Gabriele of Predono from the Constantinople Pera records commercial transactions concerning Vicina, amounting to about 4,100 golden hyperpers and 40 and a half carats. Cloth, varied tissues, spices, adornments, wines, precious metals and pottery were brought here, while corn, bee-wax, cow-skins, fish, wood, salt, etc. were exported.

ca. 1290-ca. 1310. ---  Tihomir (Togomer), voivode in Oltenia, father of Basarab I, continues the struggle begun by Litovoi and Barbat against the Hungarian crown.

1290 --- The Ottoman Empire that will rule much of the Mediterranean for the next six centuries is founded by the Bithynian king Osman al-Ghazi, who succeeded his father Ertogrul as leader of the Seljuk Turks. Osman establishes the Islamic principality of Osmanli and begins a reign that will continue until 1326.

1291-1342 (intermittently). ---  The voivode of Wallachia holds the Banat of Severin.

1299 ---  The Tatar chief Nogai is defeated and killed near the Don by the army of Tatar Khan Toktai from the Volga. Subsequently, the Tatar domination over the Romanian territories weakens considerably, the struggles and disorders caused by the succession of Nogai made the Genoese give up their old commercial route (the "Tatar" one) and try to come to Transylvania and Poland via Wallachia and Moldavia.

 What a pure lie. The Romanians always have been mainly agricultors. This is the character of their archaeological cultures:

-Ipotesti (5-7th centuries Wallachia), Brateiu (4-8th centuries Transylvania), Costisa-Botosana (5-7th centuries Moldavia)
-Proto-Dridu (8-9th centuries, most of the territory of Romania, excepting North-West) and Dridu (9-11th centuries)

edited by ANDREI OTETEA, 1970
The Emergence of the Romanian States (10-14th Centuries)

Text at:

     With the conclusion of the formative process of the Romanian people, Romanian feudal society began to be built up and the first political bodies emerged. Feudal institutions on the territory inhabited by the Romanians were naturally influenced by those of the neighbouring states where feudal relations were more advanced: the Byzantine Empire, the Second Bulgarian Empire (at the close of the twelfth century), and the Hungarian kingdom. The successive waves of Turanian invaders - Pechenegs, Udi, Cumans and Tatars - and the devastation and dislocation of the population they caused, slowed down the evolution of Romanian society; their political domination was like a pall over the people on the banks of the Lower Danube, accounting for the sporadic and sparse information Byzantine and Western records of that period provide about the Romanians. At the close of the thirteenth century and early in the fourteenth century, the decline of the Golden Horde, the unrest in the Bulgarian state and the struggle for the Hungarian crown caused the influence of the three states which disputed the supremacy east and south of the Carpathians to ebb away. And then, with the coming to fruition of the domestic process of feudal relationships, the Romanian states emerged in a chain along the Carpathians. The anti-Mongolian struggle and the endeavors to free themselves of the Hungarian king's suzerainty made it easier for such princes as Basarab and Bogdan to unify the country, and ultimately two Romanian states - Wallachia and Moldavia - appeared in the political geography of southeast Europe, alongside the older Transylvanian principality.

1. Social and Economic Prerequisites of the Emergence of Romanian Feudal States

     Although written information about the Romanians in the ninth and tenth centuries is sporadic, archaeological excavations enable us to form a picture of their way of life and social structure. The Romanians of that period lived in villages or even in groups of villages, the Romano-Byzantine strongholds along the Danube offering the only examples of urban life.
    Farming, stock-breeding, and some crafts were their main pursuits, the most widespread of the crafts being pottery-making.The many imported articles found here, the most frequent being Byzantine amphorae, are to be accounted for by trade with the strongholds along the Danube and the more important Byzantine centres in the Balkan peninsula.
     The social structure of the Romanian population relied on a territorial or village community. The members of a community owned a certain area, which was parceled out into holdings, and used the grass land, pasture land, forests, and streams in common. The leading bodies of territorial communities were the general assembly, the council of the aged - "people good and old" - and the military chieftain (Jude or Cneaz) whose authority, at first limited to periods of emergency, became permanent with time.
     Taking advantage of their position, the leaders of the communities compelled the common people to work for them in a variety of ways and to give them part of the products of their work. Usurping the titles of ownership of the community, the chieftains gradually became a landed aristocracy and enslaved part of the peasantry under their jurisdiction.
     The emergence of feudal states against the background of the territorial communities that spread over the Carpatho-Danubian area was the result of a lengthy process of development of local economic forces, which made it possible for an aristocracy to be fashioned. The aristocracy relied upon the exploitation of the free rural communities at first, and later upon the enslaved peasantry. Although information concerning the economic life in Romanian territory from the tenth to the fourteenth century is but scanty, it reveals a progress in production and trade and points to the decisive part played by economic and demographic factors in the genesis of Romanian feudal society.
     The records available on the Lower Danube regions show that in the latter half of the tenth century this was a densely populated area carrying on busy trade. A Tale of Past Times, also known as Nestor's Chronicle, reports that Sviatoslav, Prince of Kiev, during his first expedition into the Balkan peninsula in 968, was amazed at the large number of products traded in at the Danube mouths and wished to move his place of residence to those parts. In a letter to his mother, he wrote: "In Pereiaslavetz (Dobrudja) all the riches are gathered: gold, fine fabrics, wine, and various fruits coming from Greece, silver and horses from Bohemia and Hungary, furs, wax, honey, and slaves from Russia. "From the same source we hear of the existence of 80 "gorods" - fortified settlements of farmers, stock-breeders, fishermen, and craftsmen. A few decades later, Fragments of the Greek Toparch speak of the same economic prosperity and dense population, from the ranks of which a section of local chieftains emerged, showing the tendency to shake off the Byzantine rule. During the eleventh century the title of the heads of Paradunavon - the Byzantine district which included Dobrudja - also mentions the Danube towns, while the chieftains' uprising under the Byzantine Emperor Michael VII Parapinakes, makes it plain that they were a political and military power with a sound economic background.
     In the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries the presence of Genoese traders at the Danube mouths around Vicina and Chilia (old time Lycostomo) is proof of the wealth of the local chieftains, who bought Italian cloth, offering grain, wax, and honey in exchange.
     The districts at the foot of the mountains in Oltenia and Muntenia , as described in the diploma of the Knights of St. John in 1247 also appear to have made notable economic progress; many flour mills and natural fish ponds alongside fields and grass-land, point to a mixed economy, including the products of husbandmen and stock-breeders, which provided the incomes of the land-owning class (majores terrae) and of the Hungarian crown. In 1330, Basarab I offered King Charles Robert 7,000 marks in payment for peace. This shows the economic power of the country over which the Romanian prince ruled. The considerable monetary funds of the country resulted also from custom duties paid along the trading routes that crossed the country. There was an intensive movement of goods along the "Moldavian Road" which connected the Genoese settlements at Cetatea Alba (then Moncastro), Chilia, and Vicinato Lvov. And this also accounts for the large number of settlements mentioned in the cartography of the age along this road.
     Turanian invasions checked the economic development of the Romanians, but the rise in production and productivity brought about by technical progress and demographic growth, made it possible for the country to overcome its vicissitudes, and intensified social differences in the communities. The heads of the communities strengthened their economic power and political authority and insisted on the privileged position they had reached. The most important means of reaching that goal was the state, and consequently a state was created.

2. The First Romanian Political Organizations in Transylvania, Dobrudja, Wallachia, and Moldavia

     During the ninth and tenth centuries the native population of Transylvania and Banat practiced agriculture and stock-breeding as well as a number of crafts and mining. Economic development brought about the emergence of an aristocracy (nobiles) - landowners possessing large flocks and herds exercising their authority upon the people living on their domains. It is against this socio-economic background that the first Romanian political formations were organized in this area. The results of the latest archaeological research added to written records give a clear image of those political organizations. Between the rivers Somes and Mures in Crisana, there was the dukedom (Voivodship) of Menumorut, with the citadel of Biharea as its center; another dukedom was to be found between the Mures and the Danube. The latter was headed by Glad, whose residence seems to have been the citadel of Cuvin between the Timis and the Danube. On the Transylvanian plateau between the Gates of the Meses and the sources of the Somes, was the dukedom of Gelu whose residential city was Dobica, where a strongly fortified citadel has been found with many imported articles and Byzantine coins.
     In the first half of the tenth century, these dukedoms strongly opposed the attempts made by the Hungarians in the Pannonian plain to conquer Transylvania. The battles, and the determination shown by the local people in their defense, are described in the chronicle of King Bella's Anonymous Notary - Gesta Hungarorum - compiled towards the close of the twelfth century on the basis of written records that have been lost and of oral tradition. Only after thirteen days' fighting was the citadel of Biharea conquered from the Romanian prince Menumorut. On the Transylvanian plateau, after prince Gelu had fallen in battle the magyars had to come to an understanding with the heads of the local population, which is proof of the power of this political body.
     Apart from the principality mentioned in the chronicle of the Anonymous Notary, archaeological research proves conclusively the existence of other political formations with powerful centers, as, for example, the principality in the Middle Mures district with Teligrad and Balgrad as its centers, as well as the political formations in the Birsa, Fagaras (Terra Blachorum), Amlas, Hateg, Ouas and Maramures country. These do not appear in the aforementioned chronicle, as Hungarian expansion had not yet made contact with them.
     After the first wave of Hungarian penetration into Romanian territory, the political formations here continued to develop and to be consolidated. Gelu's principality, now under the leadership of his successor Gyla (Jula), is described as "a very extensive and very rich country" (Regnum latissimum et opulentissimum). Gyla's refusal to submit to the authority of Stephen, the Hungarian king, and to turn Catholic, brought about an armed conflict, as a result of which Gyla was taken to Hungary in captivity together with his family and his treasure store.
     In their struggle for independence during the tenth century the local leaders sought help from foreign powers interested in supporting them in this endeavour. We might conclude from The Legend of Saint Gerhard that Ahtum, Glad's successor and ruler of the territory between Orsova and Mures, maintained connections with Byzantium via Vidin early in the eleventh century. Having a powerful army at his command, Ahtum opposed the Hungarian king in the matter of levying duty on the salt transported by raft on the Mures to the Pannonian plain.
     Political organizations similar to those in Transylvania also existed in other parts of the country in the tenth century. An inscription discovered in the village of Mircea Voda in Dobrudja attests the existence in 943 of a chieftain, one Jupan Dimitre. During Sviatoslav's second expedition to Bulgaria in 969, the ruling figures left of the Danube joined those in Dobrudja siding with the Kiev prince and continuing to support Sviatoslav even when his army was besieged by the Byzantines at Silistra in 971. In order to compel the citadel to surrender and to cut off all connection between the Muntenian plain and the besieged, the Byzantine Emperor John Tzimiskes sent a fleet to the Danube and raided the district left of the river. As a result some of the rulers went over to Byzantium. Messengers were sent to the emperor by some of the fortresses promising submission.
     All these political developments were obliterated by Hungarian expansion and by the new wave of Turanian peoples who invaded Romanian territory in the period from the eleventh to the thirteenth century.
     Coming into contact with the Romanian population, some of the Pechenegs, Udi and Cumans abandoned their nomadic way of life and in the course of time were assimilated. Infiltrating into the ruling class, they contributed to the consolidation of the local political organizations by using their power and their connections among the conquerors.
     In Transylvania, despite the victories won by King Stephen I, Hungarian rule over West Transylvania and Banat suffered fluctuations and this was further accentuated by the Pecheneg attacks and the crisis which the Hungarian kingdom underwent. For half a century Romanian political organizations developed outside the authority of the Hungarian crown, and this accounts for the name given to the district: Ultrasilvana, Transilvana, Erdeelu (country beyond the forests).
     During the latter half of the twelfth century and the first half of the thirteenth century the conquest of Transylvania by the Magyar feudal kingdom was complete. The extension of Magyar rule to Transylvania brought about certain changes in the ranks of the ruling class as well as among the peasantry: certain local chiefs entered the ranks of the ruling elite of the conqueror's society and the process of dispossessing and making serfs of the peasant communities was intensified.
     The districts along the Lower Danube, where Byzantine influence was stronger than elsewhere in Romanian territory, were of exceptional political and economic importance during the eleventh century despite the adverse conditions created by the invading peoples. Anna Comnena, daughter of Emperor Alexius of Byzantium, when writing about her father's struggle against the Pechenegs in the Danube area, mentioned the existence of small political organizations in Dobrudja, whose established civilization is described with enough clarity to preclude confusion with the nomadic populations. These organizations were sufficiently powerful to try to draw away from Byzantine authority. Their struggle against Byzantium from 1074 to 1088 is part of the domestic unrest that shook the Empire after the Macedonian dynasty had become extinct. Byzantium ultimately defeated them by dint of great efforts, with the assistance of the Cumans. A similar process, though perhaps of lesser amplitude, took place in the Danube plain. There is a strange coincidence to be noted between the disturbances in Dobrudja mentioned above and the moment when written records began to emphasize the political role of the native population north of the Danube. The Getae on the left bank of the Danube, whom Anna Comnena and Michael Psellos speak of as allies of the Sauromats (Pechenegs) against Byzantium, were Romanians, also mentioned by Kinnamos on the occasion of the Byzantine expedition of 1166 against the Hungarians. They are said to be "old colonists from Italy".
     In Moldavia also a number of documents of the eleventh century and of a later date illustrate the important role played by Romanian political organizations on certain occasions. For example, the Polish sources on which Dlugosz's Chronicle relies point out that in 1070 the "Wallachians" fought alongside the Ruthenians and the Pechenegs in support of Vyacheslav of Polotsk and against Boleslav, king of Poland.
     The policy of expansion of the Hungarian kingdom south and east of the Carpathians was inaugurated by King Andrew II (1205-1235) when he called upon the Teutonic Knights to become the instruments of his policy. The expansion of the authority of the Hungarian crown and the attendant Catholic proselytism were a threat to the Romanian political organizations built up in the shadow of Cuman domination or through Romanian-Cuman cooperation.The response of the native population was in line with the reaction of the Orthodox world against the political and religious offensive of the Hungarian kingdom. Thus, an alliance was formed between the Romano-Bulgarian state and the Nicaea Empire. The conflict between the Bulgars and the Magyars in 1230 was along the same line. It ended with the victory of the Hungarian kingdom, following which the Severin Banat was set up on the northwestern border of the Bulgarian Empire. This was assigned the task of guarding the frontier. It included the eastern part of the Timisan Banat, which preserved the name and also transmitted it to the present-day Caras-Severin county. The Severin Banat also included a strip of Oltenia, which accounts for Oltenia being sometimes called the Severin county.
     With the Magyar kingdom and the Bulgarian Empire at rivalry, the Romanian leaders, first those east of the river Olt and subsequently those of Oltenia, acknowledged the suzerainty of the Hungarian king in order to safeguard their privileges.
     The process whereby Hungarian suzerainty was being consolidated was interrupted by the great Tatar invasion which was followed by a comparatively long Mongolian rule over a considerable part of our territories (Muntenia and Moldavia). The rate of economic development was thus slowed down but never interrupted altogether. The diploma whereby Bela IV, king of Hungary, bestowed the Severin county and the "whole of Cumania" upon the Knights of St. John in 1247 is of considerable importance as a measure of the development level reached in the territory between the Carpathians and the Danube in the mid-thirteenth century.
     The diploma shows that the main branches of the economy were farming, stock-breeding and fishing. Large estates had been formed and social differentiation into distinct classes was in process of consolidation. The phrase majores terrae describes the dominant class while the term rustici is used for the peasantry taxed by the feudal lords and performing labour service for them. The diploma also shows that there were close trade connections between lands south of the Carpathians, Transylvania and the Balkan peninsula. Foreign and transit trade as well as inland trade resulted in intensive monetary circulation bringing in great incomes, half of which the king was to reserve for himself, as expressly stated in the diploma. The information about the monetary circulation is confirmed by the discovery of thirteenth-century hoards on Oltenia's territory: coins minted after the model of Viennese dinari at Turnu-Severin, a large number of pfennig coins from Friasch, Carinthia and Cologne found in the vicinity of Craiova, and silver dirhems of the Golden Horde at Caloparu.
     Politically, the country was organized into principalities. Along the Olt were the principalities of Ioan and Farcas and also Litovoi's principality, which included the Hateg country, while on the left bank of the Olt Seneslau's principality was to be found. Though they were dependent on the kingdom of Hungary, the principalities enjoyed certain autonomy which the Knights of St. John were to observe.
     Economic connections, facilitated by the development of boroughs and the emergence of a number of towns drawn into the international trade circuit thanks to the trade routes, supported the unification process of Romanian political organizations.
     During the latter half of the thirteenth century an inclination to sweep aside Magyar suzerainty became manifest south of the Carpathians, assuming the form of armed struggle. A first attempt was made by Prince Litovoi, most probably in 1279. Litovoi died on the battlefield and his brother, Barbat, was taken prisoner and ransomed on payment of a large sum of money. The military and economic power of the Romanian principalities, which were not far removed from independence, is proved by the struggle they waged against a powerful state and by the payment of a considerable ransom for a leader.
     As early as the thirteenth century, the Hungarian kings endeavored to extend their sway east of the Carpathians. The Cuman's Catholic bishopric set up in southwest Moldavia in 1227 with the aim of converting the Cumans and the Brodniks to Catholicism, was only an outpost for Hungarian expansion eastward. The diplomas issued by the Royal Hungarian Chancellery and by the Papal Chancellery for the Cuman's bishopric provide information about the presence of the Romanians (Wallachs) in the bishopric, about their advanced religious organization, which included bishops, and about their refusal to turn Catholic as well as about the influence exercised by their religious organization on the faithful in the Hungarian kingdom, many of whom were adopting their religion.
     The Tatar Empire's critical state at the close of the thirteenth century favoured the political leaders on Moldavian territory inasmuch as they were able to stabilize their power. As in the case of the other Romanian principalities, this was a sign that the various political bodies were about to unite.
     In order to make better use of Transylvania's natural resources and to strengthen their domination over that principality, the Hungarian kings encouraged the immigration of Magyar, Szekler and Saxon colonists who were able to settle in the principality alongside the native Romanian population. The Saxons came from Flanders, Luxembourg and Saxony. For a short period, the order of the Teutonic Knights was also brought to Transylvania. The settlement of other peoples side by side with Romanians created a certain solidarity among the masses producing material goods, irrespective of their ethnic origin and led to mutual influences and to economic development in Transylvania. A number of strongholds were erected to defend the principality and around the stronghold the counties - administrative units - were built up. The Hungarian kings gave the Saxon colonists economic and administrative privileges so that they were able to carry on a lively political and economic activity and to organize themselves in administrative units of their own, which they called sedes (seats).
     When Transylvania was reduced to subordination by theMagyar state the process whereby the peasantry was brought into serfdom was intensified. The communities of free peasants were taken over largely by the king and the aristocracy around him, the Catholic clergy, and those natives that had rallied round the royal power. Large landed estates were formed and the obligations of the peasantry towards the land-owners increased. With large incomes came political power so that the nobility obtained considerable privileges from the kings, and the privileges were laid down in the Golden Bull of 1222, which was confirmed in 1231. Large-scale grants of immunities, particularly at moments when the central power underwent a crisis, accentuated the process of feudal fragmentation. In order to keep the great nobility within bounds, the kings sought the support of the lesser nobility into whose ranks members of the lower strata were raised. Gradually two categories emerged in the nobility, with different socio-juridical status and different interests: the great nobility termed potentes or iobagiones regis (a word which in time came to be applied to the peasantry dependent on the landowners) and the gentry: the servientes or familiares.
     Among the peasantry there were three categories in the thirteenth century: the free peasants, the dependent peasants and the slaves. The free peasants lived in village communities located mostly in the peripheral districts of Transylvania where no large estates could be formed and where the nobility's attempts to enslave the peasantry met with much resistance. These peasants sought to preserve their freedom by assuming military obligations.
     Among the dependent peasantry there were three categories with a different economic and legal status: a) the dependent peasants proper, who came to be called serfs, and who had the use of a plot of land (termed sesie) which they tilled, and for which they contributed labour service and money payment; these peasants could bequeath their own homestead; b) the jeleri, free landless peasants; c) the servants engaged in work around the landowner's home.
     The lowest social category were the slaves, entirely at the mercy of the landowners.
     In the thirteenth century the process of separating the crafts from agriculture and the setting up of towns was moderately advanced. The towns of Sibiu, Alba Iulia, Cluj, Oradea and Rodnaare mentioned in the first half of the thirteenth century. They were mostly destroyed by the Tatar invasion; they were rebuilt in the latter half of the thirteenth century and grew in the following century.
     Mining went ahead in the thirteenth century. As well as the natives, the colonists - foreign "guests" who enjoyed great privileges - also worked in the metal and salt mines.
     The constant tendency of the landowners to extend their estates by taking over the land of free peasants' communities, and the increased obligations of the peasantry towards the state and the noblemen, and, for the Catholics also towards the Roman Catholic Church, no less than the exactions of officialdom, caused the peasantry to rise in revolt, their revolt often assuming the form of flight and outlawry.
     The peasants' struggle to keep their ancient liberty and the deep-rooted traditions of the native organizations, set their seal on the evolution of feudal relationships in Transylvania, which showed a tendency towards a specific form of organization, a regnum Transylvaniae distinct from Hungary. Certain leaders of Transylvania such as Stephen, son of King Bela IV, and the princes Roland Borsa and Ladislau Kan, assumed royal prerogatives and endeavoured to carry on an independent policy



Church of the Assumption, Strei (1280)

De la Wikipedia, enciclopedia liberă From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Biserica Adormirea Maicii Domnului din Strei se află în localitatea Strei , în vecinătatea oraşului Călan, judeţul Hunedoara. Church of the Assumption Strei is in town Strei, near the city Calan, Hunedoara. Construită în stilul de trecere de la romanic spre gotic, într-o viziune locală, la cumpăna dintre secolele 13 şi 14, biserica din Strei este unul dintre cele mai vechi şi reprezentative monumente de arhitectură transilvană. Built in the style of transition from Romanesque to Gothic, a local Vision at the turn of 13 and 14 centuries, the church of Strei is one of the oldest and representative monuments of architecture Transylvania. Biserica se află pe noua listă a monumentelor istorice LMI: HD-II-mA-03452. Church is on the new list of historical monuments LMI: HD-II-mA-03452.

Fitxer: Strei HD.vedere pan.jpg 


File: Strei HD.NV.jpg 



 File: Strei HD.nava. E.jpg|en&u= and text at:

 The first documentary mention dates from 1392. Pe locul monumentului medieval au fost descoperite vestigiile unei villa rustica romana. Medieval monument in the place were found the remains of a Roman villa rustica.

Monumentele medievale, de altfel coboara pana in sec. Medieval monuments, otherwise descend until dry. XIII, cand avem atestata o curte cneziala si biserica de curte cu hramul Adormirea Maicii Domnului. XIII, when we mentioned a Cneziale yard and courtyard with church patron Assumption. Cladita din piatra la sfarsitul sec. Built of stone at the end of sec. XIII, prezinta un turn clopotnita pa fata de vest, o nava scurta cu plafon de scanduri si un altar dreptunghiular boltit in cruce pe nervuri. XIII has a bell tower to the west pa, a ship short of the ceiling boards and a vaulted rectangular altar cross the ribs. Church of Sângiorzul Streiului, Cândeştilor founded in 1403. Fresce reprezentând pe ctitori în costume de cavaleri. Frescoes representing the founders of knights in suits. Inscripţii slavo-romane. Slavo-Roman Inscriptions.

Odinioara pictata si la exterior, pastreaza astazi in interior pictura lui Grozie, mester mentionat de o inscriptie (al treilea sfert al sec. XIV), intr-un stil original, sinteza de elemente iconografice bizantine si trasaturi stilistice nord italiene, dar si cu o puternica amprenta romana. And once painted on the outside kept inside today's painting Grozea, said mester of an inscription (the third quarter of sec. XIV), in a style original synthesis of elements of Byzantine iconography and stylistic features Northern Italian, but with a Romanian strong footprint.

About the commune of Densuş

The commune of Densuş from Hunedoara county has 2-3000 inhabitants. It is placed near the city of Haţeg and the ancient city of Ulpia Traiana Sarmisegetusa.

Hunedoara county on the map of Romania and Densuş on the map of Hunedoara county
 About the church of Densuş
The church was built in the 13th century AD. It is dedicated to Saint Nicholas. In the same period were built in Transylvania some other Orthodox stone churches: at Gurasada (~1250), Strei (~1280), Sîntămăria Orlea.
In the 13th century some papal bullae requested the suppression of the liberty of cult for the Orthodox believers in the countries ruled by Roman Catholics. So, almost all along the Dark Ages, the Romanians from Transylvania were not allowed to build stone churches, just wooden ones.
The Densuş church has a belfry with stone roof. On the roof, approximately above the altar, there are two stone lions. A great part of the construction material used at the building of the church was taken from the ruins of the Roman city of Ulpia Trajana, that lies nearby Densuş.
 To the church building architraves, doorsills, votive altars, columns and capitals were used. The church foundations belonged to a much older building, a Roman villa rustica, a temple dedicated to the god of war Mars or maybe the mausoleum of the Roman general Longinus.
In 1443 the Orthodox church of Densuş, founded by the Romanian princes (cneji) from the Mănjina family, was painted by Ştefan, the first Romanian mural painter known to Romanian history. The icon "Holy Trinity of Densuş" shows Jesus as a child, dressed with an "ie" (an embroided Romanian blouse) with traditional motifs from Ţara Haţegului (Country of Haţeg). Unfortunately, on the coin appears only the head of Jesus. The Father appears like an old man with long beard and the Holy Spirit as a pidgeon.
"It seems that a local craftsman improvised here, with models borrowed from the Romanic arhitecture and with material that came from dismantling ancient buildings, a Byzantine church of a type that he knew only from hearsay, thus realizing a rustic synthesis, but suggestive, of the artistic currents that crossed the Transylvanian land." The quotation is from the volume "Istoria artelor plastice în România" - History of the Plastic Arts in Romania, 1968 - written by a group of authors. The quoted fragment belongs to Virgil Vătăşianu.
About the Roman general Longinus, the friend of emperor Trajan File:Densus church 09.JPG
Cneius (or Gnaeus) Pompeius Longinus commanded the Roman garrisons from Dacia after the first Roman-Dacian war from 101-102 AD. He was consul in 90 AD. Captured by king Decebalus in 105 AD, he commited suicide. In exchange for freeing Longinus, Decebalus requested some war compensations and the withdrawal of the Roman army from Dacia.
 A well spread hypothesis says that one of the Roman tombstones used at the construction of the church of Densuş belonged to general Longinus. The funeral inscription is: D M / G·LONGIN / MAXIMO / VIX AN LVIII /IVLIA·AFRO / DISIA CONI / B M P (the inscription in partially visible on the coin).
D M means D(iis) M(anibus), and is an invocation to the Manes gods. G Longin Maximo is the name of the deceased, probably at dative case. VIX(it) AN(nis) LVIII shows that Gaius Longinus Maximus lived 58 years. The last two rows show that Julia Afrodisia, the wife of the deceased- CONI(vgi) - put this tombstone. B M P stands for Bene Merenti Posuit.
So, the funeral inscription can be read as: for the Manes gods, for Gaius Longinus Maximus, who lived years 58, Julia Afrodisia wife (because he) well deserved put (this tombstone).

 Gurasada (1250)

  The Medieval Monument from Gurasada



In a little village, Gurasada (Hunedoara County), near of Mures river there is a church with a unique architecture for the Rumanian architecture history. The central part is a building with a four-lobe plane, to which, nowadays, is attached a bell-tower. In a document issued by the Hungarian king Andrew III, from 1292, is mentioned the name of the place, which could be a village, - terra Zad -3, reason for which many scholars thought that the central church is from this time. Today the church is an orthodox one, and the painting from inside the bell-tower and the pronaos is dated in 1765 AD4.
During the archaeological excavations from 19775 and 1983-19846 has been pointed of that in Gurasada there are four building phases, to the oldest belonging the central four-lobe church (Fig. 1). Following the Romanic architecture, some time later, in a second phase, another structure with three naves and an external bell-tower over the west entrance has been attached to the central four-lobe together a sacristy erected on the northern wall of the east apse of the first church (Fig. 2, Phase II). The third phase is represented by the same structure with three naves and the sacristy, but this time with a new bell-tower erected over the main nave, the whole structure remaining a Romanic one (Fig. 2, Phase III). The sacristy is the reason for which we think the structure belonged all this time to the catholic cult and, later, had become a parish church, perhaps after the Tartarian invasion in the mid 13th century. Over that, in the fourth building phase, has been erected the nowaday bell-tower; the naves were overbuild, this time, by a single hall - a pronaos in an orthodox manner -, with a new entrance on the northern side. Likely in this time, the church became an orthodox one, which could be related to the so called "Olacos possit aggregar et aggregatos retinere" and in case with the noble family Akos/Akus, mentioned in the document from the end of the 13th century7, who such a permission to bring some Rumanians in its villages, one of which being Gurasada8. Much later, in the 18th century the church was painted again in a typical manner for the orthodox religion. All the graves discovered are later (16th-18th century after the coins) and disturbed the earlier burials. It was found only a small silver made so-called Schlafenring, but in a secondary position9. Unfortunately we could not find ever inside archaeological features or materials in situ for the absolute chronology of the four buildings because the high level of soil water and works including a drain made all around the church at the beginning of the 20th century, but the fact that the second phase is a Romanic one is a good reason to consider that the four-lobe church is much earlier. In this case the document from the end of the 13th century is also useless for the church10, but good for the first mention of the village as an asset of the family Akos/Akus, perhaps related to the Coman warlord Akos/Akus already mentioned in Cronicum pictum Vindobonense11 for the end of the 11th century.
In Western and Central Europe as in the Byzantine World in the 11th-12th centuries are well known a lot of churches belonging to the so-called rotunda category. In this much larger category there is a group, designated as Tetrakoncha, the four-lobe, in Czech, Slovakia and Hungary12. Some of these could be of a byzantine origin as a result of the relationship between Arpadian Hungary and the Byzantine State. In this case the four-lobe church from Gurasada could belong to one small group, altogether with the rotundae from Alba Julia and Geoagiu, again by Mures river, in a more large frame concerning the relations between the first Hungarians warlords from Transylvania and the emperors from Constantinople with a likely function, first of all as baptistery and then as court/parish-church. The second and the third phases could belong to the time when Transylvania became part of the Hungarian Kingdom13, and Gurasada church, in this frame, acted as a catholic parish-church. It is tempting to assume the destruction of the second phase to the Tartarian invasion, but we have, unfortunately, not yet not proves. After a while the church became an asset of the Rumanian and, such as an orthodox community from Gurasada, as it is proved by the plan of the fourth phase and the paintings (Fig. 2/fourth phase).

* In memoriam Radu Popa.
1 Abstract of a forthcoming paper.
2 I. Chicideanu = I. Motzoi-Chicideanu.
3 See R. Popa, I. Chicideanu, SCIVA 35.1, 1984, 54, n. 2.
4 V. Drãguþ, Buletinul Monumentelor Istorice 41.2, 1972, 63-sqq.
5 R. Popa, I. Chicideanu, SCIVA 35.1, 1984, 54-67.
6 R. Popa and I. Motzoi-Chicideanu, with the sponsorship from Episcopia Arad.
7 G. Popa-Lisseanu (ed.)., Izvoarele istoriei românilor, vol XI, - Cronica pictatã de la Viena, Bucureºti 1937, p. 22, 76, 89.
8 Documente privind istoria României, Seria C, veac XIII, II, p. 389.
9 R. Popa, I. Chicideanu, op.cit., p. 62, fig. 4/a.
10 V. Vãtãºianu, Istoria artei feudale în Tãrile romîne, vol. I. Arta în perioada de dezvoltare a feudalismului, Bucureºti 1959, 95-98, with a wrong sketch on fig. 86.
11 G. Popa-Lisseanu, op. cit., loc. cit.; M. Rusu , Revue roumaine d'historie 21.3-4, 1982, 384..
12 Vera Gervers-Molnár, A középkori magyarország rotundái, Budapest 1972, see also the plan for Gurasada , pl. 39.
13 For the hungarian conquest of the inner Carpathian basin ( = Transsylvania) see K. Horedt, Contribuþii la istoria Transilvaniei în secolele IV-XIII, Biblioteca istoricã VII, Bucureºti 1958, 109-131.

File:Streisangeorgiu HD.SE.jpg

SÂNTÃMÃRIE ORLEA is a village south of the town of Hateg. The church here is a beautiful monument built in the 13th century where the catholic and orthodox denominations have coexisted in a surprising synthesis. The frescoes inside the church, painted in 1311, are some of the most beautiful in Southern Transylvania. In the 15th century frescoes of Eastern origin were added to the altar. The church is one of the few protestant churches of Hateg Land. The castle in the village is a noble estate built by the Kendeffy family in the 17th century. The castle has been restored and turned into a motel.







The Romanian Peasant Museum in Bucharest has recently published a photographic monograph on the oldest stone churches in the Hateg Land, Hunedoara County, in central-western Romania. The album includes snapshots of 16 chapels built in the 13th to 16th centuries.
As it was under the authority of the Hungarian royalty and of the Catholic church at the time and had constant ties with the West, Transylvania offered fertile ground for Western influences. Romanian rulers built Orthodox churches which, although drawing heavily on Romanesque-Gothic architecture, were decorated with frescoes intended for the Orthodox denomination. In terms of architecture, they fall into the hall-church category, with one nave, usually small, and the altar generally square or semi-circular in shape, and with a bell tower in the west. What is worth noting as regards the architecture of these churches is the painting, which is often accompanied by inscriptions or documents that are useful in accurately dating the frescoes. Art critic Ecaterina Buculei gave us details on these interesting historical monuments:

“What is highly interesting is this blending of East and West in the building, the design and the painting of these monuments, and I should start with an example, whose author is unknown, but which is known to be the oldest painting in Romania. It's older than everything else preserved in Wallachia or Moldavia. It's the church in Sîntamarie Orlea, where a Latin inscription mentions the year 1311. Another church whose construction date is known, and whose painter is also known, is the Strei-Sîngiorz Church, built in 1313-1314. Actually, the parallel between the two churches is very interesting. Sintamarie is perhaps the most majestic of the churches in the Hateg Land; it preserves the oldest mural complex in our country – plus we have the inscription, so we know the year. Today the church serves the Reformed community, but originally it was a Catholic church, belonging to a Catholic congregation which settled in Hateg in the late 13th Century.”

According to the dedication in Slavonic, preserved on the eastern wall of the apse, the author of the fresco is Teofil Zugravul, who was the first to paint scenes with military saints on horseback. 14 km from the town of Simeria, there is another old Transylvanian monument in the Romanesque–Gothic style: the Strei Church. It is made of rubble stone on the ruins of a Roman settlement whose traces are still visible to this day. Ecaterina Buculei:

“Inside the Strei church, the painting is an example of the blending of various cultures. It is the work of three artists: a painter of the Romanesque-Gothic tradition, one of the Byzantine tradition and a Renaissance artist. Moreover, in Strei we have a lot of portraits of stone carvers, holding their carving tools, which is less common in Byzantine painting, as well as portraits of the painters. This is the influence of the Western tradition. In the church at Leşnic, a very small church with a very interesting fresco, once again featuring saints on horseback, there is also a painting of the church founders, who are depicted as kneeling down. Then we have a painting of the Last Judgement, which covers more than half of the church, and an inscription as poetic as it is dramatic. It reads, 'Oh, my brethren, fright has come upon me on earth for my many sins'.”

One of the oldest Romanian stone churches in Transilvania is in Crişcior, 6 km from Brad. The church, built under the order of ruler Balea, preserves fragments from valuable paintings made around 1410.
Built from river boulders with Roman inscriptions, caps and tombstones, the Densuş church looks strange, inviting both admiration and bewilderment. Fragments of painting are barely discernible, which were made by painter Stefan, probably a Transilvanian representative of Wallachian art.
Unfortunately, the stone churches in Hateg have fallen in disrepair. The album published by the Romanian Peasant Museum is intended to stir interest in their restoration, and for tourists it is one more reason to discover their beauty and timeless appeal.



Historical Monuments in  hateg Zone


        We must make clear that in capitalizing on cultural tourism in the zone,one must start from the Râu de Mori commune.All that is around it only completes,enhances and highlights the evolution,destiny ,decorations and specific functional character of the monuments in that locality.Apart from them,cultural tourism,whose target and content is the Hateg Land is already consolidated by Romanian schooling of all types.
        The first building of historic interest which the end-users must focus on is the very Kendeffy mansion in Râu de Mori.According to our historical information,it was first built of stone in the second half of the l5th century.At that time,that was the foremost family of gentry about those places,standing out through their fortune and social ambitions.As from the l6th century,they were known only as the Kendeffys.The building in the South-Western corner of the complex served as the Calvinist chapel of the family and their servants.The names of certain pastors are linked to it,who attempted to translate holy texts into Romanian,but with Hungarian spelling.
        On the South-Eastern side,not too far away,there is the vicarage in Râu de Mori.Mentioned in documents in 1526,it has undergone several changes,thus losing its initial look.Close to its entrance,on the left hand side,flat on the ground,there is one of the most interesting tombstones in Hateg,with inscriptions on reused Roman marble,going back to 1505 and brought there from Colti Monastery.
        Two kilometres away,Southwards,two remarkable monuments stand face to face in Suseni.Coltului Monastery,raised sometime between the late l4th century and the early l5th century lies very close to the river and the highway.The church stands out through two particular elements:firstly,through the location of the tower over the altar and secondly through the remains of the inside frescoes.
        Across the stream,on a height watching over the entire lower course of the Râusor,there is the Coltului Fortress.After half an hour's walk,the visitor comes upon the best preserved medieval fortress in the Hateg Land and moreover,one of the best preserved noble fortresses in Transylvania.Around a tower with a square foundation,erected in the l4th century,precincts,rooms and towers were built until the l6th century.There is no other more valuable visiting card of that fortress than the one signed by Jules Verne,the novelist who immortalized it in his novel The Castle in the Carpathians.The legends related to the fortress entered the fairy-tale world too.
        Also in the Râu de Mori commune,in the Ostrov village,you can see one of the newly restored churches of Hateg.Its steeple has preserved its initial l5th century shape and beneath it,in the tympanon of the entrance to the nave,there is the most remarkable testimony of frescoes in the same perimeter.Ostrov also stands out through its original cemetery fence.Originally,it was made up of nearly 300 Roman stones of all types,arranged in a genuine unique protoexhibit.
        About l5 km Westwards,in Sarmizegetusa,a large number of vestiges in the capital of Roman Dacia were unearthed.Owing to the over one century-old endeavour of the archaeologists,you can visit the amphitheatre,the sacred zone with the temples of deities from the second pantheon,part of the governors'public buildings and finally,the Forum(the public square),on the archaeological site where work goes on every summer.The results of the older or newer research are all put on show in the only museum in the Hateg Land,in Sarmizegetusa.
        Only 7 km Westwards,on the highway to Caransebes,between Zeicani and Bucova,visitors can be taken to the fortification system of Transylvania's Iron Gates.The ancient locality of Tapae stood there,the site of two of the famous battles between the Dacians and the Romans.The old walls were rebuilt in the Middle Ages.The customs stood there, from ancient times until the beginning of the contemporary period and for a while,the state border with the lands occupied by the Turks in Banat.
        From Râu de Mori,in a nearly oblique direction,North-Westwards,passing through Ostrov,you can first reach Pesteana.Worth visiting in the village is one of the Romanian churches preserving architectonic elements from successive restoration works,starting out from one of the oldest religious edifices in Hateg.
        Densus is only two kilometres away.Its name will always be linked to one of the Romanian churches turned into a myth.Hardly when you are in front of it do all the stories seem true:a surprising architectonic plane,minutely achieved,with an extravagant ingeniousness and fantasy,which could only have been displayed by a widely travelled and experienced,but extremely spontaneous craftsman.Densus must have been built in the 13th century,probably growing into a small family monastery in the l5th century.The church is one of those monuments about which you can always discover something new and wonderful.
        Going in the same direction,passing through the Ciula Mica and Mare villages,after about 10 km,you reach the Rachitova commune.On the left hand side of the highway and of the rivulet of the same name,there lies the ruin of the fortress stronghold there.It was erected according to a design similar to the one of Colti,but by another noble family,the Musinesti family.
        Sânpetru is situated about half-way between Râu de Mori and Sântamarie Orlea.The Romanian church there,which goes back to the l4-15th centuries,has two noteworthy portals.Its Western façade looks like a small exhibit of reused Roman pieces.
        Sântamarie Orlea is a commune lying at the junction of the highway coming from Râu de Mori and the Hateg-Petrosani highway,only three kilometres far from the main town of the land(Hateg).Two historical edifices can be admired there.The oldest is the parish church,built in the late 13th century.Its interior was painted around 1311,displaying some of the most beautiful frescoes in Southern Transylvania.In the 15th century,more frescoes of a clear Eastern origin were added to its altar.This interior mix makes the church in Sântamarie one of the most original medieval monuments in the whole of Transylvania,where the Catholic and the Orthodox denominations have coexisted in a surprising synthesis.What is important is still the fact that in 1447,the locality was donated to the Cândea family in Râu de Mori,whose property it was up to the modern epoch.At the moment,the church is one of the very few Protestant churches in the Hateg Land.
The same family that became the Kendeffy family raised the stateliest noble mansion in the Hateg Land,probably on the site of an older residence in Sântamarie Orlea.It is a complex of buildings,a massive nobiliary residence,with a tower raised West of its Northern façade and with two other outhouses(the stables and the servants'house),lying Northwards,U-shaped.In the l8th century,a superb Latin inscription was laid above the entrance,testifying to the couple's love and featuring the coats of arms of the families who owned the building at the time.King Carol II of Romania,who came to hunt in the Hateg Land was one of the personalities put up in the mansion.
        Subcetate lies three km North-East of the highway between Sântamarie Orlea and the town of Hateg.Close to the entrance to the locality,on a height at a 100 m difference of level,you can still see the ruins of the most important medieval fortress in Hateg.It was built in the late 13th century.Starting with the 15th century,it was the property of the same Cândea family of Râu de Mori,by the special grace of Prince Ioan of Hunedoara.Any role the fortress may have had was already lost in the first half of the 16th century.
        Salasu de Sus can be reached if by the locality of Ohaba de Sub Piatra on the Hateg-Petrosani highway,you head Southwards,along the classical route to the Retezat Mountains.Four km away.immediately after the entrance to the commune,the traveller can see the ruins of a noble court.The interior walls parallel with the highway and the spire of a chapel are still left.The latter is very similar to the chapel in Râu de Mori.It belonged to the Mara family of Romanian extraction.Another local Romanian family,the Saracin family raised the church on the left hand side of the highway too,beyond the main square of the commune.The steeple of the old church is left,whose inscription above the entrance tells a brief story of the building.
        Malaiesti lies another three kilometres away,on the same highway as Salasu de Sus.Leaving the asphalted road and turning left,you cross the village and get to the Malaiesti fotress.Easy to reach,it has, besides its own charm enhanced by the environment,the charm of the small fortresses built by the feudal noblemen all over Europe.Erected by the Saracin family,standing close to and socially competing with Cândestii in Râu de Mori,it still preserves elements which are worth visiting.The central house-tower is fully preserved.You can still see part of the defense wall around it,to which in the 16th century,four irregular-shaped outside towers were added,now visible only a little above the soil.
        Nucsoara,neighbouring Malaiesti South-Westwards,only four kilometres away, is a village that belonged to the Cândesti estate in Râu de Mori.That modest village managed however to raise a notable parish church,preserved much better than many others.This church was painted by master mason Simion of Pitesti,Wallachia,in the last quarter of the 18th century.All the frescoes have been preserved.
        Baru is situated on the DN 66 highway,25 km from Hateg,about half-way to the town of Petrosani.Having certain urban characteristics,Baru is worth visiting for one of its churches too.The Pârvestilor Church is an unusual mix of baffling elements,which actually conceal an 18th century monument.The church is still said to have been built by a family of"thieves",to thank God for having saved them.
        Crivadia,four kilometres away,on the same highway to Petrosani preserves an unusual construction,that is the fortification or "the tower"as it is sometimes called incorrectly.Its circular shape,with a big diameter actually suggests a tower.It was built in the 16th century by the ruling princes of Transylvania with a view to protecting the pass and the border check point with Wallachia.It watches over both sides of the watershed.It is very similar to other such constructions defending the Turnul Rosu pass to Sibiu.
        Banita lies near Petrosani,close to the watershed.The landscape mutilated by the mines cannot be recognized but through the impressive hill on which a Dacian fortress stands further used in the Middle Ages.To visit the fortress is quite a venture,due to the winding and difficult paths leading to it.

Between 1352 and 1359, with the fall of Golden Horde rule in Northern Dobruja, a new state appeared, under Tatar prince Demetrius, who claimed to be the protector of the mouths of the Danube.[85]

In 1357 Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici was mentioned as a despot ruling over a large territory, including the fortresses of Varna, Kozeakos (near Obzor) and Emona.[86] In 1366, John V Palaeologus visited Rome and Buda, trying to gather military support for his campaigns, but on the way home he was blocked at Vidin by Ivan Alexander, Tsar of Tarnovo, who considered that the new alliances were directed against his realm. An anti-Ottoman crusade under Amadeus VI of Savoy, supported by Venice and Genoa, was diverted to free the Byzantine emperor. Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici collaborated with the crusaders, and after the allies conquered several Bulgarian forts on the Black Sea, Ivan Alexander freed John and negotiated peace. The Dobrujan ruler's position in this conflict brought him numerous political advantages: his daughter married one of John V's sons, Michael, and his principality extended its control over some of the forts lost by the Bulgarians (Anchialos and Mesembria).

In 1368, after the death of Demetrius, he was recognised as ruler by Pangalia and other cities on the right bank of the Danube. In 1369, together with Vladislav I of Wallachia, Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici helped Prince Stratsimir to win back the throne of Vidin.

Between 1370 and 1375, allied with Venice, he challenged Genoese power in the Black Sea. In 1376, he tried to impose his son-in law, Michael, as Emperor of Trebizond, but achieved no success. Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici supported John V Palaeologus against his son Andronicus IV Palaeologus. In 1379, the Dobrujan fleet participated in the blockade of Constantinople, fighting with the Genoese fleet.

In 1386, Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici died and was succeeded by Ivanko/Ioankos, who in the same year accepted a peace with Murad I and in 1387 signed a commercial treaty with Genoa. Ivanko/Ioankos was killed in 1388 during the expedition of Ottoman Grand Vizier Çandarli Ali Pasha against Tarnovo and Dristra. The expedition brought most of the Dobrujan forts under Turkish rule.

In 1388/1389 Dobruja (Terrae Dobrodicii—as mentioned in a document from 1390) and Dristra (Dârstor) came under the control of Mircea the Elder, ruler of Wallachia, who defeated the Grand Vizier.

Dobruja (Terra Dobrotici) as part of Wallachia under Mircea the Elder

Ottoman Sultan Bayezid I conquered the southern part of the territory in 1393, attacking Mircea one year later, but without success. Moreover, in the spring of 1395 Mircea regained the lost Dobrujan territories, with the help of his Hungarian allies. Ottoman recaptured Dobruja in 1397 and ruled it to 1404, although in 1401 Mircea heavily defeated an Ottoman army.

The defeat of Sultan Beyazid I by Tamerlane at Ankara in 1402 opened a period of anarchy in the Ottoman Empire. Mircea took advantage of it to organise a new anti-Ottoman campaign: in 1403, he occupied the Genoese fort of Kilia at the mouths of the Danube, thus being able, in 1404, to impose his authority on Dobruja. In 1416, Mircea supported the revolt against Sultan Mehmed I, led by Sheikh Bedreddin in the area of Deliorman, in Southern Dobruja.[87]

After his death in 1418, his son Mihail I fought against the amplified Ottoman attacks, eventually losing his life in a battle in 1420. That year, the Sultan Mehmed I personally conducted the definitive conquest of Dobruja by the Turks. Wallachia kept only the mouths of the Danube, and not for long t


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search

Dobrotitsa (Bulgarian: Добротица, pronounced [dɔˈbrɔtitsa]; Romanian: Dobrotici or Dobrotiţă; Τομπροτίτζας in contemporaneous Byzantine documents;[1] Dobrodicie in contemporaneous Genoese documents[2]) was a Bulgarian noble, ruler of the de facto independent Principality of Karvuna and the Kaliakra fortress from 1354 to 1379–1386. His ethnic origin is disputed, in consequence Dobrotitsa is considered by some a Bulgarian[3] noble kindred of the Terter dynasty[4] [5], to others a Vlach[6], and to others a Christianized Turk[7]. Venetian sources from the late 14th century refer to Dobrotitsa as a "despot of Bulgarians" (DESPOTUM BULGARORUM DOBROTICAM) and to his realm as "parts of Zagore subordinate to Dobrotitsa" (PARTES ZAGORAE SUBDITAS DOBROTICAE).[8]

In 1346, Dobrotitsa and his brother Theodore were sent along with 1,000 soldiers by the Dobrujan ruler Balik/Balica to help the Byzantine empress Anna of Savoy in the civil war against John VI Kantakouzenos, but were defeated. The following year, after the death of Balik, he became the ruler of Dobruja. In 1348 Dobrotitsa took over the fortress of Midia and by 1356 managed to seize Kozyak (present-day Obzor) and Emona from the Byzantines.[9]

In 1366 Emperor Ivan Alexander refused to give conduct to the Byzantine emperor John V Palaiologos who was returning home from Hungary. In order to force the Bulgarians to do this, Ioan V orderred his relative Count Amadeus VI of Savoy to attack the Bulgarian coastal towns. In the fall of the same year Amadeo's navy capturred Anhialo, Nessebar, Emona and on 25 October he besieged the strong fortress Varna, where he was repulsed. As a result Ivan Alexander gave the Byzantine save conduct across Bulgaria and they kept the conquered towns.[10] In 1369 he and Vladislav I of Wallachia helped Emperor Ivan Alexander to defeat the Hungarians and retake Vidin.[11]. Out of gratitude, the Emperor gave Dobrotitsa Emona and Kozyak. [12] Later he built a navy in Varna which was engaged in actions as far as Trebizond. The Genoese manuscripts write that his Navy was very strong albeit rather small and achieved successes against the Ottomans and Genoese[2]. He was succeeded by his son Juanchus/Ivanko in 1386.

The names of the region of Dobruja derives from the Turkish rendition of his name.[13] The city of Dobrich and two villages in northern Bulgaria are also named after him.

[edit] References

  1. ^ John Kantakouzenos, Historiarum, II, p584-585, ed. Bonn
  2. ^ a b M. Balard, Actes de Kilia du notaire Antonio di Ponzo, 1360 in Genes et l'Outre-Mer, II, Paris, 1980 [1]
  3. ^ Васил Н. Златарски, История на българската държава през средните векове, Част I, II изд., Наука и изкуство, София 1970.
  4. ^ Г. Бакалов, История на българите, Том 1, 2003, с457
  5. ^ Петър Николов, Сквирските князе Половци-Рожиновски — клон на династията Тертер, online, retrieved 03-24-2007
  6. ^ Nicolae Iorga, Notes d’un historien relatives aux événements des Balcans in Bulletin de la Section Historique de l'Academie Roumaine, Bucharest, 1913
  7. ^ Halil Inalcik, Dobrudja in Encyclopedia of Islam, II, Leiden, 1991
  8. ^ Васил Гюзелев, ed (2001) (in Bulgarian). Венециански документи за историята на България и българите от XII–XV в.. София: Главно управление на архивите при Министерския съвет. pp. p. 108, p. 136. ISBN 954-0800-22-9. 
  9. ^ Ioannes Cantacuzenus Historiarum..., II, p384 sq
  10. ^ Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 367
  11. ^ Георги Бакалов, История на България, "Есента, 1369 г."
  12. ^ Гюзелев в. Средновековната крепост Калиакра, с.127
  13. ^ Paul Wittek, Yazijioghlu 'Ali on the Christian Turks of the Dobruja in BSOAS, London, 1952

Principality of Karvuna

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jump to: navigation, search
The Bulgarian lands during the reign of Ivan Alexander[1]
Map of the Principality of Karvuna

The Principality of Karvuna (Bulgarian: Добруджанско деспотство or Карвунско деспотство, Romanian: Ţara Cărvunei) was a 14th-century quasi-independent state in the region of modern Dobruja. It emerged as a polity under the influence of the Byzantine Empire, and probably had a population composed of Bulgarians, Gagauz, Greeks, Tatars, and Vlachs. The principality's name is derived from the fortress of Karvuna (modern Kavarna, Italian: Carbona, ancient Greek: Bizone), mentioned in Bulgarian and Byzantine documents and Italian portolans of the 14th century as its first capital,[citation needed] and located between Varna and Cape Kaliakra.

The principality was spun off from the Second Bulgarian Empire (followed by other frontier regions of Bulgaria such as Vidin and Velbuzhd) around 1320 under Balik (member of the Bulgarian-Cuman dynasty of Terter according to some authors[2]) and placed itself ecclesiastically under the Patriarchate of Constantinople. A "Metropolitan of Varna and Carbona" was mentioned in 1325. Under Balik's son Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici (1347–1386; ruling with the title of "despot" after 1357) the principality came to its greatest power and extension and the capital was moved to Kaliakra.

In 1358, the principality was plagued by the Black Death, transmitted by Genoese boats from Caffa before they finally brought it to Sicily, Genoa and the whole of Western Europe. The principality had its own navy, which also engaged in piracy forcing the Genoese to complain, and possibly took part in an operation off Trebizond. In 1453, the Ottoman navy at the siege of Constantinople was initially lead by one admiral Baltoglu, a Bulgarian convert from the former principality.

In 1366, Ivan Alexander refused to give conduct to the John V Palaiologos who was returning home from Hungary. In order to force the Bulgarians to comply, John V ordered his relative Count Amadeus VI of Savoy to attack the Bulgarian coastal towns. In the fall of the same year, Amadeus' navy took Pomorie, Nessebar, Emona, and Kozyak, and on 25 October besieged the strong fortress of Varna, where it was repulsed. As a result, Ivan Alexander gave the Byzantines safe conduct across Bulgaria and they kept the conquered towns;[3] Varna was ceded to Dobrotitsa for his help against Amadeus.

As a traditional breadbasket, Dobruja supplied wheat to Constantonople mostly via the major ports of Varna and Kaliakra frequented by the Genoese and Venetian fleets. The republics held their consulates at Varna and kept trading colonies at Castritsi and Galata outside that city.[citation needed]

Between 1370 and 1375, allied with Venice, Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici challenged Genoese power in the Black Sea. In 1376, he tried to impose his son-in law, Michael, as Emperor of Trebizond, but achieved no success. Dobrotitsa supported John V Palaeologus against his son Andronicus IV Palaeologus. In 1379, the Bulgarian fleet[citation needed] participated in the blockade of Constantinople, fighting with the Genoese fleet.

In 1386, Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici died and was succeeded by Ivanko, who in the same year made peace with Murad I, moved his capital from Kaliakra to Varna, and in 1387 signed a commercial treaty with Genoa at Pera. This same year, Ivan Shishman attacked him, defeating and killing his former vassal Dan I of Wallachia, an ally of Ivanko's, but didn't manage to bring Dobruja back under his rule. Varna fell to the Ottomans in 1389, Ivanko himself dying in battle in 1388. The same year, parts Dobrudja with Drastar citadel was put under the rule of Mircea cel Bătrân, until 1420 (with short interruptions).[4] In 1414, the area was devastated by Tatars. In 1413, Varna was turned over to Manuel II Palaiologos until 1444, when the Ottomans secured it after the Battle of Varna.

In the very end of the 14th century, German traveller Johann Schiltberger described these lands as follows:[5]

I was in three regions, and all three were called Bulgaria. The first Bulgaria extends there, where you pass from Hungary through the Iron Gate. Its capital is called Vidin. The other Bulgaria lies opposite Wallachia, and its capital is called Tarnovo. The third Bulgaria is there, where the Danube flows into the sea. Its capital is called Kaliakra.

Venetian sources from the late 14th century refer to Dobrotitsa/Dobrotici as a "despot of Bulgarians" (DESPOTUM BULGARORUM DOBROTICAM) and to his realm as "parts of Zagora (Bulgaria) subordinate to Dobrotitsa" (PARTES ZAGORAE (BULGARIAE) SUBDITAS DOBROTICAE).[6]

[edit] References

  1. ^ Based on Lalkov, Rulers of Bulgaria
  2. ^ Г. Бакалов, История на българите, Том 1, 2003, с. 457
  3. ^ Fine, Late Medieval Balkans, p. 367
  4. ^ İnalcık, Halil. (1998). "Dobrudja". Encyclopaedia of Islam II. Leiden: E. J. Brill. 611 a-b
  5. ^ Delev, Petǎr; Valeri Kacunov, Plamen Mitev, Evgenija Kalinova, Iskra Baeva, Bojan Dobrev (2006). "19. Bǎlgarija pri Car Ivan Aleksandǎr" (in Bulgarian). Istorija i civilizacija za 11. klas. Trud, Sirma. 
  6. ^ Васил Гюзелев, ed (2001) (in Bulgarian). Венециански документи за историята на България и българите от XII–XV в.. София: Главно управление на архивите при Министерския съвет. pp. 108, p. 136. ISBN 954-0800-22-9. 





Add your main content here - text, photos, videos, addons, whatever you want!


Recent Videos

Recent Blog Entries

Newest Members