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Stephen the Great

"Ștefan cel Mare" redirects here. For other uses, see Ștefan cel Mare (disambiguation).

Stephen III of Moldavia, most commonly known as Stephen the Great (Romanian: Ștefan cel Mare;pronunciation: ; died on 2 July 1504), was Voivode (or Prince) of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504. He was the son of and co-ruler with Bogdan II, who was murdered in 1451 in a conspiracy organized by his brother and Stephen's uncle Peter III Aaron who took the throne. Stephen fled to Hungary, and later to Wallachia, but with the support of Vlad III Țepeș, Voivode of Wallachia, he returned to Moldavia, forcing Aaron to seek refuge in Poland in the summer of 1457. Teoctist I, Metropolitan of Moldavia, anointed Stephen prince. He attacked Poland and prevented Casimir IV Jagiellon, King of Poland, from supporting Peter Aaron, but eventually acknowledged Casimir's suzerainty in 1459.

Stephen III the Great
Miniature from the 1473 Gospel at Humor Monastery
Prince of Moldavia
Reign1457–1504
PredecessorPeter III Aaron
SuccessorBogdan III
Born1433–1440
Died2 July 1504
Suceava
Burial
SpouseMărușca (?)
Evdochia of Kiev
Maria of Mangup
Maria Voichița of Wallachia
Issue
more...
Alexandru
Bogdan III
Petru Rareș
DynastyMușat
FatherBogdan II of Moldavia
MotherMaria Oltea
ReligionOrthodox Christian

Stephen decided to recapture Chilia (now Kiliya in Ukraine), an important port on the Danube, which brought him into conflict with Hungary and Wallachia. He besieged the town during the Ottoman invasion of Wallachia in 1462, but was seriously wounded during the siege. Two years later, he captured the town. He promised support to the leaders of the Three Nations of Transylvania against Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, in 1467. Corvinus invaded Moldavia, but Stephen defeated him in the Battle of Baia. Peter Aaron attacked Moldavia with Hungarian support in December 1470, but was also defeated by Stephen and executed, along with the Moldavian boyars who still endorsed him. Stephen restored old fortresses and built new ones, which improved Moldavia's defence system as well as strengthened central administration. Ottoman expansion threatened Moldavian ports in the region of the Black Sea. In 1473, Stephen stopped paying tribute (haraç) to the Ottoman sultan and launched a series of campaigns against Wallachia in order to replace its rulers – who had accepted Ottoman suzerainty – with his protégés. However, each prince who seized the throne with Stephen's support was soon forced to pay homage to the sultan.

Stephen eventually defeated a large Ottoman army in the Battle of Vaslui in 1475. He was referred to as Athleta Christi ("Champion of Christ") by Pope Sixtus IV, even though Moldavia's hopes for military support went unfulfilled. The following year, Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II routed Stephen in the Battle of Valea Albă, but the lack of provisions and the outbreak of a plague forced him to withdraw from Moldavia. Taking advantage of a truce with Matthias Corvinus, the Ottomans captured Chilia, their Crimean Tatar allies Cetatea Albă (now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine) in 1484. Although Corvinus granted two Transylvanian estates to Stephen, the Moldavian prince paid homage to Casimir, who promised to support him to regain Chilia and Cetatea Albă. Stephen's efforts to capture the two ports ended in failure. From 1486, he again paid a yearly tribute to the Ottomans. During the following years, dozens of stone churches and monasteries were built in Moldavia, which contributed to the development of a specific Moldavian architecture.

Casimir IV's successor, John I Albert, wanted to grant Moldavia to his younger brother, Sigismund, but Stephen's diplomacy prevented him from invading Moldavia for years. John Albert attacked Moldavia in 1497, but Stephen and his Hungarian and Ottoman allies routed the Polish army in the Battle of the Cosmin Forest. Stephen again tried to recapture Chilia and Cetatea Albă, but had to acknowledge the loss of the two ports to the Ottomans in 1503. During his last years, his son and co-ruler Bogdan III played an active role in government. Stephen's long rule represented a period of stability in the history of Moldavia. From the 16th century onwards both his subjects and foreigners remembered him as a great ruler. Modern Romanians regard him as one of their greatest national heroes, although he also endures as a cult figure in Moldovenism. After the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized him in 1992, he is venerated as "Stephen the Great and Holy" (Ștefan cel Mare și Sfânt).

Contents

Stephen was the son of Bogdan, who was a son of Alexander the Good, Prince of Moldavia. Stephen's mother, Maria Oltea, was most probably related to the princes of Wallachia, according to historian Radu Florescu. The date of Stephen's birth is unknown,[better source needed] though historians estimate that he was born between 1433 and 1440. One church diptych records that he had five siblings: brothers Ioachim, Ioan, Christea; and sisters Sorea and Maria. Some of Stephen's biographers hypothesize that Cârstea Arbore, father of the statesman Luca Arbore, was the prince's fourth brother, or that Cârstea was the same as Ioachim. These links with the high-ranking Moldavian boyars are known to have been preserved through matrimonial connections: Maria, who died in 1485, was the wife of Șendrea, gatekeeper of Suceava; Stephen's other brother-in-law, Isaia, also held high office at his court.

The death of Alexander the Good in 1432 gave rise to a succession crisis that lasted more than two decades.[better source needed] Stephen's father seized the throne in 1449 after defeating one of his relatives with the support of John Hunyadi, Regent-Governor of Hungary. Stephen was styled voivode in his father's charters, showing that he had been made his father's heir and co-ruler. Bogdan acknowledged the suzerainty of Hunyadi in 1450.[better source needed] Stephen fled to Hungary after Peter III Aaron (who was also Alexander the Good's son) murdered Bogdan in October 1451.[better source needed]

Vlad Țepeș (who had lived in Moldavia during Bogdan II's reign) invaded Wallachia and seized the throne with the support of Hunyadi in 1456.[better source needed] Stephen either accompanied Vlad to Wallachia during the military campaign or joined him after Vlad became the ruler of Wallachia.[better source needed] According to reports from the 1480s, Stephen spent part of that interval in Brăila, where he fathered an illegitimate son, Mircea. With the assistance of Vlad, Stephen stormed into Moldavia at the head of an army 6,000 strong in the spring of 1457.[better source needed] According to Moldavian chronicles, "men from the Lower Country" (the southern region of Moldavia) joined him.[better source needed] The 17th-century Grigore Ureche wrote: "Stephen routed Peter Aaron at Doljești on 12 April, but Peter Aaron left Moldavia for Poland only after Stephen inflicted a second defeat on him at Orbic."[better source needed]

Early campaigns

One widely accepted theory, based on Ureche, states that an assembly of boyars and Orthodox clergymen acclaimed Stephen the ruler of Moldavia at Direptate, a meadow near Suceava. According to scholar Constantin Rezachievici, this elective custom has no precedent before the 17th century, and appears superfluous in Stephen's case; he argues that it was a legend fabricated by Ureche. While this election remains uncertain, various historians agree that Teoctist I, Metropolitan of Moldavia, anointed Stephen prince. To emphasize the sacred nature of his rule, Stephen styled himself "By the Grace of God, ... Stephen voivode, lord (or hospodar) of the Moldavian lands" on 13 September 1457. His use of Christian devices for legitimization overlapped with a troubled context for Moldavian Orthodoxy: the attempted Catholic–Orthodox union had divided the Byzantine Rite churches into supporters and dissidents; likewise, the Fall of Constantinople had encouraged local bishops to consider themselves independent of the Patriarchy. There is a long-standing dispute about whether Teoctist was a dissenter, belonging to one of the several emancipated Orthodox jurisdictions, or a loyalist of Patriarch Isidore. Historian Dan Ioan Mureșan argues that the evidence is for the latter option, because Moldavia appears on the list of Patriarchate jurisdictions, and because Stephen, though he tested the Patriarch by sometimes using imperial titles such as tsar by 1473, was never threatened with excommunication.

As one of his earliest actions as prince, Stephen attacked Poland to prevent Casimir IV from supporting Peter Aaron in 1458. This first military campaign "established his credentials as a military commander of stature", according to historian Jonathan Eagles. However, he wanted to avoid prolonged conflict with Poland, because the recapture of Chilia was his principal aim.[better source needed] Chilia was an important port on the Danube that Peter II of Moldavia had surrendered to Hungary in 1448.[better source needed] He signed a treaty with Poland on the river Dniester on 4 April 1459.[better source needed] He acknowledged the suzerainty of Casimir IV and promised to support Poland against Tatar marauders. Casimir in turn pledged to protect Stephen against his enemies and to forbid Peter Aaron from returning to Moldavia. Peter Aaron subsequently left Poland for Hungary and settled in Székely Land, Transylvania.

Stephen invaded Székely Land multiple times in 1461. Matthias Corvinus, King of Hungary, decided to support Peter Aaron, giving him shelter in his capital at Buda. In 1462, Stephen underscored his wish for good relations with the Ottoman Empire, expelling from Moldavia the Franciscans, who were agitating for a united church and a crusade. Stephen continued to pay the yearly tribute to the Ottoman Empire initiated by his predecessor.[better source needed] He also made a new agreement with Poland in Suceava on 2 March 1462, promising to personally swear fealty to Casimir IV if the king required it.[better source needed][better source needed] This treaty declared that Casimir was the sole suzerain of Moldavia, prohibiting Stephen from alienating Moldavian territories without his authorization.[better source needed][better source needed] It also obliged Stephen to recapture the Moldavian territories that had been lost, obviously in reference to Chilia.[better source needed][better source needed]

Written sources evidence that the relationship between Stephen and Vlad Țepeș became tense in early 1462.[better source needed] On 2 April 1462, the Genoese governor of Caffa (now Feodosia in Crimea) informed Casimir IV of Poland that Stephen had attacked Wallachia while Vlad Țepeș was waging war against the Ottomans.[better source needed] The Ottoman Sultan, Mehmed II, later invaded Wallachia in June 1462. Mehmed's secretary, Tursun Beg, recorded that Vlad Țepeș had to station 7,000 soldiers near the Wallachian-Moldavian frontier during the sultan's invasion to "protect his country against his Moldavian enemies".[better source needed] Both Tursun and Laonikos Chalkokondyles note that Stephen's troops were loyal to Mehmed, and directly involved in the invasion. Taking advantage of the presence of the Ottoman fleet at the Danube Delta, Stephen also laid siege to Chilia in late June.[better source needed] According to Domenico Balbi, the Venetian envoy in Istanbul, Stephen and the Ottomans besieged the fortress for eight days, but they could not capture it, because the "Hungarian garrison and Țepeș's 7,000 men" defeated them, killing "many Turks".[better source needed] Stephen was seriously wounded during the siege, suffering an injury on his left calf, or his left foot, that would never heal his entire life.

Consolidation

The medieval fortress at Cetatea Albă (now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine)
Putna Monastery, founded in 1466 by Stephen

Stephen again laid siege to Chilia on 24 January 1465.[better source needed] The Moldavian army bombarded the fortress for two days, forcing the garrison to surrender on 25 or 26 January.[better source needed] The sultan's vassal, Radu the Fair, Voivode of Wallachia, had also laid claim to Chilia, thus the capture of the port gave rise to conflicts not only with Hungary, but also with Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire.[better source needed] In 1465 or earlier, Stephen peacefully regained the fortress of Hotin (now Khotyn in Ukraine) on the Dniester from the Poles. To commemorate the capture of Chilia, Stephen ordered the construction of the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God in a glade on the Putna River in 1466. It became the central monument of Putna Monastery, extended by Stephen in 1467, when he donated the village of Vicov, and finally consecrated in September 1470.

At Matthias Corvinus' instance, the Diet of Hungary abolished all previous exemptions relating to the tax known as the "chamber's profit". The leaders of the Three Nations of Transylvania who regarded the reform as an infringement of their privileges declared on 18 August 1467 that they were ready to fight to defend their liberties. Stephen promised support to them, but they yielded to Corvinus without resistance after the king marched to Transylvania. Corvinus invaded Moldavia and captured Baia, Bacău, Roman and Târgu Neamț. Stephen assembled his army and launched a crushing defeat on the invaders in the Battle of Baia on 15 December. This episode was presented in contemporary Hungarian chronicles as a defeat of Stephen's armies. However, Corvinus, who received wounds in the battle, could only escape from the battlefield with the help of Moldavian boyars who had joined him. A group of boyars rose up against Stephen in the Lower Country, but he had 20 boyars and 40 other landowners captured and executed before the end of the year.

Stephen again swore loyalty to Casimir IV in the presence of the Polish envoy in Suceava on 28 July 1468.[better source needed] He conducted raids against Transylvania between 1468 and 1471. When Casimir came to Lviv in February 1469 to personally receive his homage, Stephen did not go to meet him.[better source needed] In the same year or in early 1470, Tatars invaded Moldavia, but Stephen routed them in the Battle of Lipnic near the Dniester. To strengthen the defence system along the river, Stephen decided to erect new fortresses at Old Orhei and Soroca around the same time. A Wallachian army laid siege to Chilia, but it could not force the Moldavian garrison to surrender.

Matthias Corvinus sent peace proposals to Stephen.[better source needed] His envoys sought Casimir IV's advice on Corvinus' proposals at the Sejm (or general assembly) of Poland at Piotrków Trybunalski in late 1469.[better source needed] Stephen invaded Wallachia and destroyed Brăila and Târgul de Floci (the two most important Wallachian centres of commerce on the Danube) in February 1470. Peter Aaron hired Székely troops and broke into Moldavia in December 1470, but his attack was probably anticipated by Stephen. The voivode defeated his rival near Târgu Neamț. Peter Aaron fell captive in the battlefield. He and his Moldavian supporters, among them Stephen's vornic and brother-in-law, Isaia, and the chancellor Alexa, were executed on the orders of Stephen. Radu the Fair also invaded Moldavia, but Stephen defeated him at Soci on 7 March 1471. Reportedly, he killed all but two of the Wallachian noblemen he captured in battle.

The relationship between Casimir IV and Matthias Corvinus became tense in early 1471.[better source needed] After Stephen failed to support Poland, Casimir IV dispatched an embassy to Moldavia, insisting that Stephen should comply with his obligations.[better source needed] Stephen met the Polish envoys in Vaslui on 13 July, reminding them of the hostile acts Polish noblemen committed along the border and demanded the extradition of the Moldavian boyars who had fled to Poland.[better source needed] In parallel, he sent his own envoys to Hungary to start negotiations with Corvinus.[better source needed] He granted commercial privileges to Saxon merchants from the Transylvanian town of Corona (now Brașov) on 3 January 1472.[better source needed]

Wars with Mehmed II

The Ottomans put pressure on Stephen to abandon Chilia and Cetatea Albă (now Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine) in the early 1470s. Instead of obeying their demands, Stephen declined to send the yearly tribute to the Sublime Porte in 1473. From 1472, he had friendly contacts with Uzun Hasan, sultan of Aq Qoyunlu, plotting an anti-Ottoman coordination. Taking advantage of Mehmed's war against Uzun in Anatolia, Stephen invaded Wallachia to replace Radu the Fair, an Ottoman-installed Muslim convert and vassal, with his protégé, Basarab III Laiotă. He routed the Wallachian army at Râmnicu Sărat in a battle that lasted for three days from 18 to 20 November 1473. Four days later, the Moldavian army captured Bucharest and Stephen placed Basarab on the throne. However, Radu regained Wallachia with Ottoman support before the end of the year. Basarab again expelled Radu from Wallachia in 1475, but the Ottomans once more assisted him to return. The Wallachians took revenge by plundering some parts of Moldavia. To restore Basarab, Stephen launched a new campaign to Wallachia in October, forcing Radu to flee from the principality.

Mehmed II ordered Hadım Suleiman Pasha, Beylerbey (or governor) of Rumelia, to invade Moldavia – an Ottoman army of about 120,000 strong broke into Moldavia in late 1475. Wallachian troops also joined the Ottomans, while Stephen received support from Poland and Hungary. Outnumbered three to one by the invaders, Stephen was forced to retreat.[better source needed] He joined battle with Hadım Suleiman Pasha at Podul Înalt (or the High Bridge) near Vaslui on 10 January 1475. Before the battle, he had sent his buglers to hide behind the enemy fronts. When they suddenly sounded their horns, they caused such a panic among the invaders that they fled from the battlefield. Over the next three days, hundreds of Ottoman soldiers were massacred and the survivors retreated from Moldavia.

Stephen's tactics in the Battle of Vaslui

Stephen's victory in the Battle of Vaslui was "arguably one of the biggest European victories over the Ottomans", according to historian Alexander Mikaberidze. Mara Branković, Mehmed II's stepmother, stated the Ottomans "had never suffered a greater defeat". Stephen sent letters to the European rulers to seek their support against the Ottomans, reminding them that Moldavia was "the Gateway of Christianity" and "the bastion of Hungary and Poland and the guardian of these kingdoms".[better source needed] Pope Sixtus IV praised him as Verus christiane fidei athleta ("The true defender of the Christian faith"). However, neither the Pope, nor any other European power, sent material support to Moldavia.[better source needed] Stephen was also approaching Mehmed with peace offers. According to disputed reports by the chronicler Jan Długosz, he was also playing down the invasion as the deed of "some fugitives and brigands" whom the Sultan would want to punish.

Meanwhile, Stephen's brother-in-law, Alexander, seized the Principality of Theodoro in the Crimea at the head of a Moldavian army. Stephen also decided to expel his former protégé, Basarab Laiotă, from Wallachia, because Basarab had supported the Ottomans during their invasion of Moldavia.[better source needed] He made an alliance with Matthias Corvinus in July, persuading him to release Basarab's rival, Vlad Țepeș, who had been imprisoned in Hungary in 1462.[better source needed] Stephen and Vlad made an agreement to put an end to the conflicts between Moldavia and Wallachia, but Corvinus did not support them to invade Wallachia.[better source needed] The Ottomans occupied the Principality of Theodoro and the Genoese colonies in the Crimea before the end of 1475. Stephen ordered the execution of the Ottoman prisoners in Moldavia to take vengeance for the massacre of Alexander of Theodoro and his Moldavian retainers. Thereafter the Venetians, who had waged war against the Ottomans since 1463, regarded Stephen as their principal ally. With their support, Stephen's envoys tried to persuade the Holy See to finance Stephen's war directly, instead of sending the funds to Matthias Corvinus. The Signoria of Venice emphasized, "No one should fail to understand the extent to which Stephen could influence the evolution of events, one way or another", referring to his pre-eminent role in the anti-Ottoman alliance.

Mehmed II personally commanded a new invasion against Moldavia in the summer of 1476.[better source needed] This force included 12,000 Wallachians under Laiotă, and a retinue of Moldavians under a certain Alexandru, who claimed to be Stephen's brother. The Crimean Tatars were the first to break into Moldavia at the Sultan's order, but Stephen routed them. He also persuaded the Tatars of the Great Horde to break into the Crimea, forcing the Crimean Tatars to withdraw from Moldavia. The Sultan invaded Moldavia in late June 1476.

Himself supported by troops sent by Corvinus, Stephen adopted a scorched earth policy, but could not avoid a pitched battle. He suffered a defeat in the Battle of Valea Albă at Războieni on 26 July and had to seek refuge in Poland, but the Ottomans could not capture the fortress of Suceava, and similarly failed before Neamț. The lack of sufficient provisions and an outbreak of cholera in the Ottoman camp forced Mehmed to leave Moldavia, enabling the voivode to return from Poland.[better source needed] Folk tradition claims that Stephen had also been pledged a new army with the free peasantry of Putna County, grouped around the seven sons of a local lady, Tudora "Baba" Vrâncioaia. This contingent reportedly attacked the Ottomans' flank at Odobești. Another account, repeated by Ureche, is that Maria Oltea forced her son back into battle, pushing him to either return victorious or die.

The Byzantine historian George Sphrantzes concluded that Mehmed II "had suffered more defeats than victories" during the invasion of Moldavia.[better source needed] From summer 1475, during an interlude in the rivalry between Poland and Hungary, Stephen swore his allegiance to the latter. With Hungarian support, Stephen and Vlad Țepeș invaded Wallachia, forcing Basarab Laiotă to flee in November 1476.[better source needed] Stephen returned to Moldavia, leaving Moldavian troops behind for Vlad's protection. The Ottomans invaded Wallachia to restore Basarab Laiotă.[better source needed] Țepeș and his Moldavian retainers were massacred before 10 January 1477.[better source needed] Stephen again broke into Wallachia and replaced Basarab Laiotă with Basarab IV the Younger.

Stephen sent his envoys to Rome and Venice to persuade the Christian powers to continue the war against the Ottomans. He and Venice also wanted to involve the Great Horde in the anti-Ottoman coalition, but the Poles were unwilling to allow the Tatars to cross their territories. To strengthen his international position, Stephen signed a new treaty with Poland on 22 January 1479, promising to personally swear fealty to Casimir IV in Colomea (now Kolomyia in Ukraine) if the king specifically demanded it.[better source needed] Venice and the Ottoman Empire made peace in the same month; Hungary and Poland in April.[better source needed] After Basarab the Younger paid homage to the sultan, Stephen had to seek reconciliation with the Ottomans.[better source needed] In May 1480, he promised to renew the annual tribute that he had stopped paying in 1473.[better source needed] Taking advantage of the peace, Stephen made preparations to a new confrontation with the Ottoman Empire.[better source needed] He again invaded Wallachia and replaced Basarab the Younger with one Mircea, possibly Stephen's own son, but Basarab regained Wallachia with Ottoman support. The Wallachians and their Ottoman allies broke into Moldavia in the spring of 1481.

Wars with Bayezid II

Mehmed II died in 1481. The conflict between his two sons, Bayezid II and Cem, enabled Stephen to break into Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire in June. He routed Basarab the Younger at Râmnicu Vâlcea and placed Vlad Țepeș's half-brother, Vlad the Monk, on the throne. After Basarab the Younger returned with Ottoman support, Stephen made a last attempt to secure his influence in Wallachia. He again led his army to Wallachia and defeated Basarab the Younger, who died in the battle. Although Vlad the Monk was restored, he was soon forced to accept the Sultan's suzerainty. Anticipating a new Ottoman attack, Stephen fortified his frontier with Wallachia and entered an alliance with Ivan III of Russia, Grand Prince of Moscow.

...since [Stephen the Great] has ruled in Moldavia he has not liked any ruler of Wallachia. He did not wish to live with [Radu the Fair], nor with [Basarab Laiotă], nor with me. I do not know who can live with him.

Basarab the Younger's 1481 letter to the councilors of Sibiu

[better source needed]

Matthias Corvinus signed a five-year truce with Bayezid II in October 1483. The truce applied to all Moldavia, with the exception of the ports. Bayezid invaded Moldavia and captured Chilia on 14 or 15 July 1484. His vassal, Meñli I Giray, also broke into Moldavia and seized Cetatea Albă on 3 August. The capture of the two ports secured the Ottomans' control of the Black Sea. Bayezid left Moldavia only after Stephen personally came to pay homage to him. Although this prostration was largely without effect on Moldavian independence, the loss of Chilia and Cetatea Albă put an end to the Moldavian control of important trading routes.

Corvinus was unwilling to break his own truce with Bayezid, having tacit Ottoman backing for his own war in the west. However, he granted his vassal a territorial gift in Transylvania, comprising the domains of Ciceu and Cetatea de Baltă. According to various interpretations, this exchange occurred in or after 1484, and was meant to compensate Stephen for the loss of his ports.[better source needed] Medievalist Marius Diaconescu dates the lease of Cetatea to 1482, when Corvinus agreed to give Stephen a place of refuge, should Moldavia fall to the Ottomans, while Ciceu only became Stephen's castle in 1489. Both citadels were on land confiscated after conflicts between the Three Nations and Corvinus. Ciceu had been a fief of the Losonczi family, under litigation, while Cetatea had been a special domain of the Voivode of Transylvania, whose last titular owner before Stephen was John Pongrác of Dengeleg.

By then, war between the Poles and the Ottomans was in preparation, with clashes between the two sides occurring in 1484. Scholar Șerban Papacostea notes that Casimir IV had always remained neutral during Stephen's conflicts with the Ottomans, but the Ottoman control of the mouths of the Dnieper and the Danube threatened Poland. The king, Papacostea argues, also wanted to strengthen his suzerainty over Moldavia, which helped him decide to intervene in the conflict on Stephen's behalf. Casimir formed or joined with an anti-Ottoman league, which, in 1485, had also gathered reluctant support from the Teutonic Knights. Historians provide different readings of the issue: according to Robert Nisbet Bain, Casimir's intervention also drove the Ottomans out of Moldavia; Veniamin Ciobanu however argues that the Polish involvement[when?] remained non-military, purely diplomatic.[better source needed]

Casimir then marched on Colomea with 20,000 troops. To secure his support, Stephen also went to Colomea and swore fealty to him on 12 September 1485.[better source needed] The ceremony took place in a tent, but its curtains were drawn aside at the moment when Stephen was on his knees before Casimir. Three days after Stephen's oath of fealty, Casimir IV pledged that he would not acknowledge the capture of Chilia and Cetatea Albă by the Ottomans without Stephen's consent.[better source needed] During Stephen's visit in Poland, the Ottomans broke into Moldavia and sacked Suceava. They also tried to place a pretender, Peter Hronoda, on the throne.

Stephen returned from Poland and defeated the invaders with Polish assistance at Cătlăbuga Lake in November. He again confronted the Ottomans at Șcheia in March 1486, but could not recapture Chilia and Cetatea Albă. He narrowly escaped with his life, reportedly after being helped by the Aprod Purice, whom tradition identifies as patriarch of the Movilești family. Historian Vasile Mărculeț agrees with Ottoman sources in noting that Șcheia was not a military victory for Moldavia, but overall a relative success for his enemy, Skender Pasha. Moldavians reported winning the day only because they narrowly avoided disaster; and because Hronoda, recognized a voivode by dissenting boyars, was captured and beheaded. In the end, Stephen signed a three-year truce with the Porte, promising to pay the yearly tribute to the Sultan.

Conflicts with Poland

Sigismund Jagiellon, one-time pretender to the Moldavian throne; 1530 portrait by Hans Dürer

Researcher V. J. Parry argues that, because the Poles were continuously harassed by the Great Horde, they were in no position to help Stephen. Eventually, in late 1486, Poland announced plans of actually starting a "crusade" against the Ottomans, to be led by John Albert; Stephen approached the Sejm to negotiate Moldavia's role in the affair. He kept out, with the expedition being rerouted from Lviv, then attacking the Tatars. Poland concluded a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire in 1489, acknowledging the loss of Chilia and Cetatea Albă, without Stephen's consent. Although the treaty confirmed Moldavia's frontiers, Stephen regarded it as a breach of his 1485 agreement with Casimir IV. Instead of accepting the treaty, he acknowledged the suzerainty of Matthias Corvinus. However, Corvinus died unexpectedly on 6 April 1490. Four candidates laid claim to Hungary, including Maximilian of Habsburg, and Casimir IV's two sons, John Albert and Vladislaus.

Stephen supported Maximilian of Habsburg, who urged the Three Nations of Transylvania to cooperate with Stephen against his opponents. Most Hungarian lords and prelates, however, supported Vladislaus who was crowned king on 21 September, forcing Maximilian to withdraw from Hungary in November. For John Albert (who was his father's heir in Poland) did not abandon his claim, Stephen decided to support Vladislaus in order to prevent a personal union between Hungary and Poland. He broke into Poland and captured Pocuția (now Pokuttya in Ukraine). He believed that he was entitled to this former Moldavian fief, its revenue redirected toward paying the Ottoman tribute. Stephen also supported Vladislaus against the Ottomans who broke into Hungary several times after Corvinus' death. In exchange, Vladislaus confirmed Stephen's claim to Ciceu and Cetatea de Baltă in Transylvania. John Albert, in turn, was forced to acknowledge his brother as the lawful king in late 1491.

Casimir IV died on 7 June 1492. One of his younger sons, Alexander, succeeded him in Lithuania, and John Albert was elected king of Poland in late August. Ivan III of Moscow broke into Lithuania to expand his authority over the principalities along the borderlands. During the following years, Ivan and Stephen coordinated their diplomacy, which enabled Ivan to persuade Alexander to acknowledge the loss of significant territories to Moscow in February 1494.

Ottoman pressure also brought about a rapprochement between Hungary and Poland. Vladislaus met his four brothers, including John Albert and Sigismund, in Lőcse (now Levoča in Slovakia) in April 1494. They planned a crusade against the Ottoman Empire. However, John Albert wanted to strengthen Polish suzerainty over Moldavia and to dethrone Stephen in favour of Sigismund, which gave rise to new tensions between Poland and Hungary. Shortly after the conference, John Albert decided to launch a campaign against the Ottomans to recapture Chilia and Cetatea Albă. Fearing that the subjugation of Moldavia was John Albert's actual purpose, Stephen made several attempts to prevent his campaign. With Ivan III's support, he persuaded Alexander of Lithuania not to associate himself with John Albert. As reported by the Bychowiec Chronicle, the Lithuanian magnates also condemned the war, and simply refused to cross the Southern Bug.

For its part, the Polish army marched across the Dniester into Moldavia in August 1497. The Sultan sent 500 or 600 Janissaries to Moldavia at Stephen's request, joining the Moldavian forces gathered at Roman. Stephen sent his chancellor, Isaac, to John Albert, requesting the withdrawal of Polish forces from Moldavia, but John Albert had Isaac imprisoned. The Poles then laid siege to Suceava on 24 September. The campaign failed: Teutonic reinforcements never arrived, with Johann von Tiefen dying on the way. Before long, a plague broke out in the Polish camp, while Vladislaus of Hungary sent an army of 12,000 strong to Moldavia, forcing John Albert to lift the siege on 19 October.

The Poles started to march towards Poland, but Stephen ambushed and routed them at a ravine in Bukovina on 25 and 26 October. Several raids into Poland during the following months, including the sacking of Lviv, Yavoriv, and Przemyśl, cemented his victory. These were either ordered and directed by Stephen, or carried out through a combined force of Ottoman–Tatar–Moldavian irregulars commanded by Malkoçoğlu. Stephen made peace with John Albert only after Poland and Hungary concluded a new alliance against the Ottoman Empire, and Moldavia received direct access to Lviv's markets. Meanwhile, the Ottoman campaign ended in disaster, as a heavy winter induced famine; various Polish and Lithuanian reports also suggest that Stephen ordered false flag attacks against his panicking former allies.

Last years

The tomb of Stephen the Great and his wife, Maria Voichița at Putna Monastery.

From about 1498, power in Moldavia quietly shifted toward a group of boyars and administrators, comprising, among others, Luca Arbore and Ioan Tăutu. Stephen's son and co-ruler, Bogdan, was also taking on princely responsibilities from his father. He conducted the negotiations with Poland about a peace treaty. The treaty, which Stephen ratified at Hârlău in 1499, put an end to Polish suzerainty over Moldavia.[better source needed] Stephen again stopped paying tribute to the Ottomans in 1500, although by then his health had declined. In February 1501, his delegation arrived in Venice, asking for a specialist doctor. As reported by Marin Sanudo, his envoys also discussed the possibility of Moldavia and Hungary joining the Ottoman–Venetian War. The Doge of Venice, Agostino Barbarigo, sent a physician, Matteo Muriano, to Moldavia to treat his counterpart.

Stephen's armies again broke into the Ottoman Empire, but they could not recapture Chilia or Cetatea Albǎ. The Tatars of the Great Horde invaded southern Moldavia, but Stephen defeated them with the support of the Crimean Tatars in 1502. He also sent reinforcements to Hungary to fight against the Ottomans. By then, however, the treaty with Poland was no longer enforced, prompting Stephen to recapture Pocuția in 1502. Although Alexander of Lithuania was by then the new King of Poland, no understanding could be reached between him and Stephen, and the two became enemies. At around that time, Luca Arbore, acting either as Stephen's envoy or on his own, stated a Moldavian claim to Halych and other towns of the Ruthenian Voivodeship. Hungary and the Ottoman Empire concluded a new peace treaty on 22 February 1503, which also included Moldavia. Thereafter Stephen again paid a yearly tribute to the Ottomans.

Stephen survived his doctor, who died in Moldavia in late 1503. Another Moldavian delegation was sent to Venice to ask for a replacement, but also to propose a new alliance against the Ottomans. This was one of his last acts of international diplomacy. When Stephen was dying, various boyars, who opposed Bogdan, rebelled, but they were suppressed. On his deathbed, he had urged Bogdan to continue to pay the tribute to the Sultan. He died on 2 July 1504 and was buried in the Monastery of Putna.

A woman named Mărușca (or Mărica) most probably gave birth to Stephen's first recognized son, Alexandru. Historian Ioan-Aurel Pop describes Mărușca as Stephen's first wife, but other researches note that the legitimacy of the Stephen–Mărușca marriage is uncertain. According to Jonathan Eagles, Alexandru either died in childhood, or survived infancy and became his father's co-ruler. This older Alexandru died in July 1496, not before marrying a daughter of Bartholomew Drágfi, the Transylvanian Voivode. He is probably not the same Alexandru who, in 1486, was sent by Stephen as a voluntary hostage to Istanbul, where he married a Byzantine noblewoman. This Alexandru was still alive by the end of his father's rule and beyond, when he became a pretender to the throne, and ultimately a contested prince. A 1538 letter by Fabio Mignanelli describes the surviving Alexandru, or "Sandrin", as a posthumous son of Stephen, but this is likely an error.

If Stephen fathered two or three sons named Alexandru, the one who was for a while his designated successor was born to Evdochia of Kiev, whom Stephen married in 1463. An Olelkovich, she was closely related both to Ivan III of Moscow, and to Casimir IV of Poland and Lithuania. Stephen's charter of grant to the Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos refers to two children of Stephen and Evdochia, Alexandru and Olena. Olena was the wife of Ivan Molodoy, the eldest son of Ivan III, and mother of the usurped heir Dmitry.

Stephen's second (or third) wife, Maria of Mangup, was of the family of the princes of Theodoro. She was probably also cousins with the Muscovite Grand Princess Sophia Palaiologina, and was related to Trebizond's royal couple, Emperor David and Empress Maria. The Stephen–Maria marriage took place in September 1472, but she died in December 1477. During her brief stay in Moldavia, Maria supported the Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople, contributing to the friendly contacts between Stephen and Catholic powers. Stephen's third (or fourth) wife, Maria Voichița, was the daughter of Radu the Fair, Voivode of Wallachia. She was the mother of Stephen's immediate successor, Bogdan, and a daughter named Maria Cneajna. The latter married into the House of Sanguszko. Stephen is known to have fathered two other sons who died in childhood, at a time when he was married to Maria Voichița: Bogdan died in 1479, and Peter (Petrașco) in 1480. Scholars are divided as to whether their mother was Evdochia or Maria. Archivist Aurelian Sacerdoțeanu believes that Bogdan also had a twin, Iliaș.

In 1480, Stephen finally recognized his first-born, Mircea, born from his 1450s affair with Călțuna of Brăila, and groomed him to take the throne in Wallachia. According to Sacerdoțeanu, recognition came only after the death of Mircea's legal father, who may have been one of the boyars spared at Soci. Stephen also fathered another illegitimate son, Petru Rareș, who became prince of Moldavia in 1527.[better source needed] The church regards his mother, Maria Rareș, as Stephen's fourth wife, although she is known to have been married to a burgher. Stephen V "Locust", who held the Moldavian throne in 1538–1540, also presented himself as Stephen's illegitimate son. According to Sacerdoțeanu, his claim is credible. A local tradition in Putna County (today's Vrancea) attributes to Stephen other extra-conjugal affairs, with many peasants reporting that they consider themselves "of his blood" or "of his marrow".

Stability and violence

Stephen reigned for more than 47 years,[better source needed] which was "in itself an outstanding achievement in the context of the political and territorial fragility of the Romanian principalities". His diplomacy evidenced that he was one of the "most astute politicians" of Europe in the 15th century.[better source needed] This skill enabled him to play off the Ottoman Empire, Poland and Hungary against each other.[better source needed] According to historian Keith Hitchins, Stephen "paid tribute to the Ottomans, but only when it was advantageous...; he did homage to King Casimir of Poland as his suzerain when that seemed wise ...; and he resorted to arms when other means failed."

Stephen suppressed the rebellious boyars and strengthened central government, often applying cruel punishments, including impalement. He consolidated the practice of slavery, including the notion that different laws applied to slaves, reportedly capturing as many as 17,000 Gypsies during his invasion of Wallachia, but also selectively freeing and assimilating Tatar slaves. He supposedly used both communities as "slaves of the court", treasuring their specialized skills; nevertheless, one folk legend additionally claims that Stephen practiced human sacrifice against Gypsy slaves, to alleviate the floods at Sulița. According to Marcin Bielski, during the 1498 expedition to Poland, the voivode participated in, or at least tolerated, the capture of as many as 100,000 people. At least some of these were colonized in Moldavia, where, according to various reports of the period, they founded "Ruthenian" undefended towns. According to historian Mircea Ciubotaru, these may include Cernauca (now Chornivka in Ukraine), Dobrovăț, Lipnic, Ruși-Ciutea, and a cluster of villages outside Hârlău.

Stephen also welcomed freemen as settlers, establishing some of the first Armenian colonies in Moldavia, including one at Suceava, while also settling Italians, some of whom were escapees from the Ottoman slave trade, in that city. Early on, he renewed the commercial privileges of Transylvanian Saxons who traded in Moldavia, but subsequently introduced some protectionist barriers. His own court was staffed with foreign experts, among them Matteo Muriano and the Italian banker Dorino Cattaneo. However, as a "crusader" in the 1470s, Stephen encouraged the religious persecution and extortion of Gregorian Armenians, Jews, and Hussites, some of whom became supporters of the Ottoman Empire.

In addition to his colonization policies, Stephen restored Crown lands that had been lost during the civil war that followed Alexander the Good's rule, either through buying or confiscating them. On the other hand, he granted much landed property to the Church and to the lesser noblemen who were the main supporters of the central government. His itinerant lifestyle enabled him to personally hold court in the whole of Moldavia, which contributed to the development of his authority.

When talking with Muriano in 1502, Stephen mentioned that he had fought 36 battles, only losing two of them. When the enemy forces mostly outnumbered his army, Stephen had to adopt the tactics of "asymmetric warfare". He practised guerilla warfare against invaders, avoiding challenging them to open battle before they were weakened due to the lack of supplies or sickness. During his invasions, however, he moved quickly and forced his enemies to do battle. To strengthen the defence of his country, he restored the fortresses built during Alexander the Good's rule at Hotin, Chilia, Cetatea Albă, Suceava and Târgu Neamț. He also erected a number of castles, including the new fortresses at Roman and Tighina. The pârcălabi (or commanders) of the fortresses were invested with administrative and judicial powers and became important pillars of royal administration, their work controlled by a new central office, the armaș (first attested in 1489). The pârcălabi included members of the princely family, such as Duma, who was Stephen's cousin; before his execution, Isaia, the voivode's brother-in-law, had supervised Chilia and Neamț Citadel.

Stephen hired mercenaries to man his forts, which diminished the military role of the boyars' retinues within the Moldavian military forces. He also set up a personal guard 3,000 strong and, at least for a while, an Armenian-only unit. To strengthen the defence of Moldavia, he obliged the peasantry to bear arms. Moldavian chronicles recorded that if "he found a peasant lacking arrows, bow or sword, or coming to the army without spurs for the horse, he mercilessly put that man to death." The military reforms increased Moldavia's military potential, enabling Stephen to muster an army of more than 40,000 strong.

Cultural development

Cyrillic calligraphy in the Chronicle of Bistrița, title page
John the Evangelist, as depicted by Hieromonk Spiridon in the gospels of Putna, 1502

The years following Stephen's wars against the Ottoman Empire have been described as the era of "cultural policies" and "great architectural upsurge". More than a dozen stone churches were erected at Stephen's initiative after 1487. The wealthiest boyars followed him, and Stephen also supported the development of monastic communities. For instance, the Voroneț Monastery was built in 1488 and the monastery at Tazlău in 1496 to 1497.

The style of the new churches evidences that a "genuine school of local architects" developed during Stephen's reign. They borrowed components of Byzantine and Gothic architecture and mixed it with elements of local tradition. Painted walls and towers with a base forming a star were the most featuring elements of Stephen's churches. The prince also financed the building of churches in Transylvania and Wallachia, which contributed to the spread of Moldavian architecture beyond the boundaries of the principality. Stephen commissioned votive paintings and carved tomb stones for many of his ancestors' and other relatives' graves. The tomb room of the Putna Monastery was built to be the royal necropolis of Stephen's family. Stephen's own tombstone was decorated with acanthus leaves (a motif adopted from Byzantine art) which became the featuring decorative element of Moldavian art during the following century.

Stephen also contributed to the development of historiography and Church Slavonic literature in Moldavia. He ordered the collection of the annals of the principality and initiated the completion of at least three Slavonic chronicles, noted in particular for doing away with the conventions of Byzantine literature, and for introducing new storytelling canons. Some portions of these historiographic texts were corrected, and perhaps even dictated, by Stephen himself. The Chronicle of Bistrița, which was allegedly the oldest chronicle, narrated the history of Moldavia from 1359 to 1506. The two versions of the Chronicle of Putna covered the period from 1359 to 1526, but it also wrote of the history of the Putna Monastery. They were accompanied by a large number of lay and religious texts (including the Gospels, in several versions by Teodor Mărișescul; as well as commentary on the Nomocanon and Slavonic translations from John Climacus). Some were richly decorated with miniatures, such as portraits of Stephen (in the Humor Monastery Gospel, 1473) and his courtier Ioan Tăutu (Psalter of Mukachevo, 1498). The "Moldavian style", developed at Neamț Monastery by the disciples of Gavriil Uric, became influential outside Moldavia, creating a fashion among Russian illustrators and calligraphers.

National hero

Stephen the Great and Aprod Purice at Șcheia, Romantic painting by Theodor Aman (1875)
Stephen's death, as imagined by Sava Henția
Stephen rallying the peasant soldiers with his horn, 1914 illustration to Doina by Ipolit Strâmbu
Stephen III on the Moldovan 1 leu banknote

Stephen received the sobriquet "Great" shortly after his death. Sigismund I of Poland and Lithuania referred to him as "that great Stephen" in 1534. The Polish historian Martin Cromer mentioned him as the "great prince of the Moldavians." According to Maciej Stryjkowski, by 1580 the Wallachians and Moldavians alike sang ballads honoring Stephen, whose portrait was displayed at the court of Bucharest; his raids in Wallachia were generally overlooked in such testimonials. Despite being honored for his skill, he was still primarily known under sobriquets indicating his standing and age: in 16th-century Moldavia and Wallachia, he was casually known as Ștefan cel Vechi and Ștefan cel Bătrân ("Stephen the Ancient" or "the Old"). Oral history also maintained Stephen's Byzantine self-references, often calling him an "emperor" or a "crai (king) of the Moldavians".

In the mid-17th-century, Grigore Ureche described Stephen as "a benefactor and a leader" when writing of his funeral. A boyar by birth, Ureche also mentioned Stephen's despotic cruelty, bad temper, and diminutive stature — possibly because, according to scholar Lucian Boia, he resented authoritarian princes. In tandem, local folklore came to regard Stephen as a protector of peasantry against noblemen and foreign invaders. For centuries, free peasants claimed that they inherited their landed property from their ancestors to whom it had been granted by Stephen for their bravery in the battles.

Such precedents also made Stephen a cult figure in Romanian nationalism, which sought the union of Moldavia with Wallachia, and in rival Moldovenism. Early in the 19th century, the Moldavian regionalist Gheorghe Asachi made Stephen the topic of historical fiction, popular prints, and heraldic reconstructions. Asachi, and later Teodor Balș, also campaigned for the erection of a Stephen the Great statue, which was supposed to represent resistance against Wallachian encroachment. The Moldavian separatist Nicolae Istrati wrote several theatrical works which contributed to the Stephen cult. Other Moldavians, shunning separatism, paid their own homage to the medieval hero. In the 1840s, Alecu Russo inaugurated the effort to collect and republish folklore about Stephen, which he believed was the "source of truth" about Romanian history. One of the first epic poems to deal with the voivode was "The Aprod Purice", by Constantin Negruzzi, which fictionalizes the battle of Șcheia. In the Bessarabia Governorate, which had been carved out of Moldavia by the Russian Empire, the peasantry and intellectual class both appealed to Stephen as a symbol of resistance. His "golden century" was a reference for Alexandru Hâjdeu and Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu. The latter dedicated him a large number of works, from poems written in his native Russian to Romanian-language historical novels in which Stephen is a leading protagonist.

By then, the cult of Stephen's "patriotic virtues" had been introduced to Wallachia by Ienăchiță Văcărescu and Gheorghe Lazăr. Wallachian scholar Nicolae Bălcescu was the first Romanian historian to describe Stephen as a national hero; his rule, Bălcescu argued, was an important step towards the unification of the lands inhabited by Romanians. During that period, Stephen became explicitly mentioned in the Romantic poetry of Andrei Mureșanu, in particular as the "mighty shadow" described in Romania's future national anthem. In 1850s Wallachia, Dimitrie Bolintineanu produced a lukewarm ballad depicting Stephen fleeing for battle, and his mother Oltea ordering him back. It became a hugely popular after being set to music. His later works also contribute to the nationalist cult, or fictionalize his erotic life. The nationalist investment in Stephen was by then resisted by other writers, in particular George Panu, Ioan Bogdan, and other Junimea members, who favored a critique of Romantic nationalism. In Panu's works, Stephen appears as merely a "Polish vassal"; the one-time Junimist A. D. Xenopol also chided the voivode for his loss of Chilia and his supposed betrayal of Wallachia.

Anniversaries of the most important events of Stephen's life have been officially celebrated since the 1870s, including in 1871 the defiant show of solidarity at Putna. This doubled as a protest against Austria-Hungary, which had annexed Bukovina; it was organized by Teodor V. Ștefanelli and was notably attended by poet Mihai Eminescu. Nationalist interpretations still prevailed, particularly after 1881, when Eminescu dedicated his poem Doina (written in the style of traditional Romanian song) to Stephen, calling upon him to leave his grave to again lead his people. His statue was ultimately raised in Iași in 1883.

On the 400th anniversary of the voivode's death in 1904, ceremonies included the completion of a stone monument in Bârsești, by locals who claimed descent from Vrâncioaia. Also then, Nicolae Iorga published Stephen's biography. Against Xenopol's verdict, Iorga emphasized that Stephen's victories were to be attributed to the "true unity of the whole people" during his reign. Many more works of literature appeared in the Kingdom of Romania and other Romanian-inhabited regions, helping to consolidate Stephen's cultural legacy. One such contribution was the 1909 play Apus de soare, by Barbu Ștefănescu Delavrancea, including advice attributed, in the public's mind, to historical Stephen:

Moldavia was not my ancestors', was not mine, and is not yours, but belongs to our descendants and our descendants' descendants to the end of time.

Depicting Stephen as a dying sage, it was followed by two other Delavrancea plays, which insisted on the prince's pragmatic cruelty and the effects this had on his succession. By then, Stephen as a statesman had also become a point of reference and a benchmark for the long and stabilizing rule of Carol I, King of Romania. Over the following three decades, Stephen's deeds became the inspiration for literary works by Iorga, Mihail Codreanu, and especially Mihail Sadoveanu. In the 1930s, the Iron Guard embraced Stephen the Great's cult for its own purposes, with special emphasis on his contribution as a Christian monarch.

The reading of Stephen as a pan-Romanian nationalist peaked during the late stages of Communist Romania. Initially, the regime looked down on Stephen's treatment of the peasantry, and only emphasized his connections with the East Slavs or his clampdown against boyardom. This stance was overturned by national communism. Initially, censorship toned down or removed references to his legacy in Soviet Bessarabia or Pokuttya; in the 1980s, however, official historians claimed that Stephen was literally a "lord of all Romanians". Iorga's book has been republished several times, including on the 500th anniversary of Stephen's death. On the same anniversary, Stephen was presented as a symbol of "national identity, independence and inter-ethnic harmony" in the Republic of Moldova, where he also endures as the symbol of "Moldavian particularism" or "Moldovan patriotism". Thus, Stephen was invoked by both the Popular Front of Moldova, which favored Romanian identity, and the Moldovenist Party of Communists. The latter describes Stephen as "the founder of Moldavian statehood", claiming direct continuity from his principality to the present-day state.

As Eagles notes, "Stephen is an ever-present icon" in both Romania and Moldova: "statues of his image abound; politicians cite him as an exemplar; schools and a university bear his name; villages and the main thoroughfares of towns and cities are named after him; there is a Ștefan cel Mare metro station in central Bucharest; and his crowned head has adorned every banknote in the post-Soviet Moldovan republic". According to a 1999 opinion poll, more than 13% of the participants regarded Stephen the Great as the most important personality who had "influenced the destiny of the Romanians for the better". Seven years later, during a programme called the 100 Greatest Romanians on Romanian Television, he was voted "the greatest Romanian of all time".

Holy ruler

Saint Stephen the Great
Votive depiction of Stephen at Dobrovăț Monastery
Holy Voivode
Venerated inRomanian Orthodox Church
Canonized12 July 1992, Bucharest, Romania by Romanian Orthodox Church
Major shrinePutna Monastery
Feast2 July

In Athonite legends, Romanian stories, and Moldavian chronicles alike, Stephen's victories against the Ottomans and Hungarians were already regarded as God-inspired, or as placed under the direct patronage of various saints (George, Demetrius, Procopius, or Mercurius). Worship of Stephen himself was first recorded in the 1570s, but, according to Ureche, he had been regarded as a saint soon after his funeral: "not on account of his soul ... for he was a man with sins ... but on account of the great deeds he accomplished". The positive nuances of Ureche's report were also repeated by Miron Costin.

The abbot of Putna Monastery, Artimon Bortnic, initiated the investigation of the tomb room of the monastery in 1851, referring to important shrines in Russia and Moldavia. In 1857 (a year after Stephen's tomb was opened), the priest and journalist Iraclie Porumbescu already wrote of the "holy bones of Putna". In at least some legends attested by 1903, the voivode is depicted as an immortal sleeping hero, or, alternatively, as the ruler of heaven. However, Stephen the Great was ignored when the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized the first Romanian saints in the 1950s.

Teoctist, Patriarch of All Romania, canonized Stephen along with 12 other saints at Saint Spyridon the New Church in Bucharest on 21 June 1992. On this occasion, the patriarch emphasized that Stephen had been a defender of Christianity and protector of his people. He also underlined that Stephen had built churches during his reign. Stephen's feast day is 2 July (the day of his death) in the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church. On his first feast after his canonization, a new ceremony was held to celebrate Stephen the Great and Saint in Putna. 15,000 people (including the President of Romania at the time, Ion Iliescu, and two ministers) attended the event. Patriarch Teoctist noted that "God has brought us together under the same skies, just as Stephen rallied us under the same flag in the past."

Stephen's rule consolidated the usage of the coat of arms of Moldavia, featuring the aurochs head (first attested in 1387), sometimes as a helmet atop his personal arms. He revived the elaborate design introduced under Alexander the Good, which also featured a rose, crescent, sun and star (often, but not always, five-pointed); its tinctures remain unknown. This arrangement was not familiar to heraldists in Western Europe. By the 1530s, they represented Moldavia with attributed arms featuring Maures; these arms, though originally used for Wallachia, possibly echoed Stephen's victories over the Ottomans.

The personal arms and heraldic flags used by Stephen have been the topic of additional scrutiny and debate. Stephen is known to have used a party per cross shield with one striped quarter, but the colors are uncertain: one prevailing interpretation is that the dominant tinctures were or and vert, although they may also have been gules and argent. These may derive from the colors used by the House of Basarab (which were possibly used by Stephen's in-law Radu the Fair), from the coat of arms of Hungary, or from a purely Moldavian tradition. The division and the striped pattern are possibly Hungarian; they survived in some of Stephen's seals even during his dispute with the Hungarian crown. He also continued to use the fleur-de-lis, an Angevin symbol, but altered it into a "double-headed lily", then renounced it altogether. Similarly, he used the Cross of Lorraine, pattée, possibly in reference to the Pahonia. Following his 1489 dispute with Poland, that charge was altered into a double cross fleury.

Stephen's heraldic symbols progressively merged with those attributed to the House of Mușat, and were intensively used by all princes who claimed full or partial descent from Alexander the Good—including Peter the Lame, a Wallachian pretender to Moldavia's throne. The Putna tombstones of Stephen's two sons who died during his lifetime, Bogdan and Peter, already display the aurochs within the "Mușat coat-of-arms".

A Moldavian banner also survives in hand-colored versions illustrating Johannes de Thurocz's Chronica Hungarorum, with varying tinctures. These were first identified as Stephen's flags by Constantin Karadja, and described by later authors as a version of the or-an-vert scheme in the coat of arms. Other clues suggest that the field was a solid one of or, charged with an aurochs of or, but also that the preferred "single Moldavian" color was gules. Gules is also the color of Stephen's alleged war flag, defaced with an icon of Saint George and the Dragon and donated by the prince himself to Zograf monastery. However, scholar Petre Ș. Năsturel cautions that this may not be a heraldic object of any kind, but rather a votive offering. The "war flag", he notes, is to small to carry in battle, and does not match with images in either Thurocz or Marcin Bielski, nor with the description in Alexander Guagnini.

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Stephen the Great
Born: 1430s Died: 2 July 1504
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Prince of Moldavia
1457–1504
Succeeded by

Stephen the Great
Stephen the Great Language Watch Edit 160 160 Redirected from Stephen III of Moldavia Ștefan cel Mare redirects here For other uses see Ștefan cel Mare disambiguation Stephen III of Moldavia most commonly known as Stephen the Great Romanian Ștefan cel Mare pronunciation ˈʃtefan tʃel ˈmare died on 2 July 1504 was Voivode or Prince of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504 He was the son of and co ruler with Bogdan II who was murdered in 1451 in a conspiracy organized by his brother and Stephen s uncle Peter III Aaron who took the throne Stephen fled to Hungary and later to Wallachia but with the support of Vlad III Țepeș Voivode of Wallachia he returned to Moldavia forcing Aaron to seek refuge in Poland in the summer of 1457 Teoctist I Metropolitan of Moldavia anointed Stephen prince He attacked Poland and prevented Casimir IV Jagiellon King of Poland from supporting Peter Aaron but eventually acknowledged Casimir s suzerainty in 1459 Stephen III the GreatMiniature from the 1473 Gospel at Humor MonasteryPrince of MoldaviaReign1457 1504PredecessorPeter III AaronSuccessorBogdan IIIBorn1433 1440Died2 July 1504 SuceavaBurialPutna MonasterySpouseMărușca Evdochia of Kiev Maria of Mangup Maria Voichița of WallachiaIssue more Alexandru Bogdan III Petru RareșDynastyMușatFatherBogdan II of MoldaviaMotherMaria OlteaReligionOrthodox Christian Stephen decided to recapture Chilia now Kiliya in Ukraine an important port on the Danube which brought him into conflict with Hungary and Wallachia He besieged the town during the Ottoman invasion of Wallachia in 1462 but was seriously wounded during the siege Two years later he captured the town He promised support to the leaders of the Three Nations of Transylvania against Matthias Corvinus King of Hungary in 1467 Corvinus invaded Moldavia but Stephen defeated him in the Battle of Baia Peter Aaron attacked Moldavia with Hungarian support in December 1470 but was also defeated by Stephen and executed along with the Moldavian boyars who still endorsed him Stephen restored old fortresses and built new ones which improved Moldavia s defence system as well as strengthened central administration Ottoman expansion threatened Moldavian ports in the region of the Black Sea In 1473 Stephen stopped paying tribute harac to the Ottoman sultan and launched a series of campaigns against Wallachia in order to replace its rulers who had accepted Ottoman suzerainty with his proteges However each prince who seized the throne with Stephen s support was soon forced to pay homage to the sultan Stephen eventually defeated a large Ottoman army in the Battle of Vaslui in 1475 He was referred to as Athleta Christi Champion of Christ by Pope Sixtus IV even though Moldavia s hopes for military support went unfulfilled The following year Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II routed Stephen in the Battle of Valea Albă but the lack of provisions and the outbreak of a plague forced him to withdraw from Moldavia Taking advantage of a truce with Matthias Corvinus the Ottomans captured Chilia their Crimean Tatar allies Cetatea Albă now Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine in 1484 Although Corvinus granted two Transylvanian estates to Stephen the Moldavian prince paid homage to Casimir who promised to support him to regain Chilia and Cetatea Albă Stephen s efforts to capture the two ports ended in failure From 1486 he again paid a yearly tribute to the Ottomans During the following years dozens of stone churches and monasteries were built in Moldavia which contributed to the development of a specific Moldavian architecture Casimir IV s successor John I Albert wanted to grant Moldavia to his younger brother Sigismund but Stephen s diplomacy prevented him from invading Moldavia for years John Albert attacked Moldavia in 1497 but Stephen and his Hungarian and Ottoman allies routed the Polish army in the Battle of the Cosmin Forest Stephen again tried to recapture Chilia and Cetatea Albă but had to acknowledge the loss of the two ports to the Ottomans in 1503 During his last years his son and co ruler Bogdan III played an active role in government Stephen s long rule represented a period of stability in the history of Moldavia From the 16th century onwards both his subjects and foreigners remembered him as a great ruler Modern Romanians regard him as one of their greatest national heroes although he also endures as a cult figure in Moldovenism After the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized him in 1992 he is venerated as Stephen the Great and Holy Ștefan cel Mare și Sfant Contents 1 Early life 2 Reign 2 1 Early campaigns 2 2 Consolidation 2 3 Wars with Mehmed II 2 4 Wars with Bayezid II 2 5 Conflicts with Poland 2 6 Last years 3 Family 4 Legacy 4 1 Stability and violence 4 2 Cultural development 4 3 National hero 4 4 Holy ruler 5 Arms 6 See also 7 References 8 Sources 9 External linksEarly life Edit The Principality of Moldavia in 1483 Stephen was the son of Bogdan who was a son of Alexander the Good Prince of Moldavia 1 Stephen s mother Maria Oltea 1 2 3 was most probably related to the princes of Wallachia according to historian Radu Florescu 4 The date of Stephen s birth is unknown 5 6 better source needed though historians estimate that he was born between 1433 and 1440 7 8 One church diptych records that he had five siblings brothers Ioachim Ioan Christea and sisters Sorea and Maria 2 9 Some of Stephen s biographers hypothesize that Carstea Arbore father of the statesman Luca Arbore was the prince s fourth brother or that Carstea was the same as Ioachim 10 These links with the high ranking Moldavian boyars are known to have been preserved through matrimonial connections Maria who died in 1485 was the wife of Șendrea gatekeeper of Suceava Stephen s other brother in law Isaia also held high office at his court 11 12 The death of Alexander the Good in 1432 gave rise to a succession crisis that lasted more than two decades 13 14 better source needed Stephen s father seized the throne in 1449 after defeating one of his relatives with the support of John Hunyadi Regent Governor of Hungary 13 15 Stephen was styled voivode in his father s charters showing that he had been made his father s heir and co ruler 5 16 17 Bogdan acknowledged the suzerainty of Hunyadi in 1450 18 better source needed Stephen fled to Hungary after Peter III Aaron who was also Alexander the Good s son murdered Bogdan in October 1451 5 4 19 better source needed 20 Vlad Țepeș who had lived in Moldavia during Bogdan II s reign invaded Wallachia and seized the throne with the support of Hunyadi in 1456 21 better source needed Stephen either accompanied Vlad to Wallachia during the military campaign or joined him after Vlad became the ruler of Wallachia 22 better source needed According to reports from the 1480s Stephen spent part of that interval in Brăila where he fathered an illegitimate son Mircea 23 With the assistance of Vlad Stephen stormed into Moldavia at the head of an army 6 000 strong in the spring of 1457 5 24 better source needed 25 26 According to Moldavian chronicles men from the Lower Country the southern region of Moldavia joined him 5 24 better source needed 27 The 17th century Grigore Ureche wrote Stephen routed Peter Aaron at Doljești on 12 April but Peter Aaron left Moldavia for Poland only after Stephen inflicted a second defeat on him at Orbic 20 24 better source needed 25 Reign EditEarly campaigns Edit One widely accepted theory based on Ureche states that an assembly of boyars and Orthodox clergymen acclaimed Stephen the ruler of Moldavia at Direptate a meadow near Suceava According to scholar Constantin Rezachievici this elective custom has no precedent before the 17th century and appears superfluous in Stephen s case he argues that it was a legend fabricated by Ureche 28 While this election remains uncertain various historians agree that Teoctist I Metropolitan of Moldavia anointed Stephen prince 29 30 31 32 To emphasize the sacred nature of his rule Stephen styled himself By the Grace of God Stephen voivode lord or hospodar of the Moldavian lands on 13 September 1457 33 His use of Christian devices for legitimization overlapped with a troubled context for Moldavian Orthodoxy the attempted Catholic Orthodox union had divided the Byzantine Rite churches into supporters and dissidents likewise the Fall of Constantinople had encouraged local bishops to consider themselves independent of the Patriarchy There is a long standing dispute about whether Teoctist was a dissenter belonging to one of the several emancipated Orthodox jurisdictions or a loyalist of Patriarch Isidore 34 Historian Dan Ioan Mureșan argues that the evidence is for the latter option because Moldavia appears on the list of Patriarchate jurisdictions and because Stephen though he tested the Patriarch by sometimes using imperial titles such as tsar by 1473 was never threatened with excommunication 35 As one of his earliest actions as prince Stephen attacked Poland to prevent Casimir IV from supporting Peter Aaron in 1458 29 36 This first military campaign established his credentials as a military commander of stature according to historian Jonathan Eagles 37 However he wanted to avoid prolonged conflict with Poland because the recapture of Chilia was his principal aim 38 better source needed Chilia was an important port on the Danube that Peter II of Moldavia had surrendered to Hungary in 1448 29 39 better source needed He signed a treaty with Poland on the river Dniester on 4 April 1459 29 38 better source needed 40 He acknowledged the suzerainty of Casimir IV and promised to support Poland against Tatar marauders 29 40 Casimir in turn pledged to protect Stephen against his enemies and to forbid Peter Aaron from returning to Moldavia 29 40 41 Peter Aaron subsequently left Poland for Hungary and settled in Szekely Land Transylvania 29 31 Stephen invaded Szekely Land multiple times in 1461 29 40 Matthias Corvinus King of Hungary decided to support Peter Aaron giving him shelter in his capital at Buda 40 In 1462 Stephen underscored his wish for good relations with the Ottoman Empire expelling from Moldavia the Franciscans who were agitating for a united church and a crusade 42 Stephen continued to pay the yearly tribute to the Ottoman Empire initiated by his predecessor 31 38 better source needed 42 He also made a new agreement with Poland in Suceava on 2 March 1462 promising to personally swear fealty to Casimir IV if the king required it 43 better source needed better source needed This treaty declared that Casimir was the sole suzerain of Moldavia prohibiting Stephen from alienating Moldavian territories without his authorization 44 better source needed 45 better source needed It also obliged Stephen to recapture the Moldavian territories that had been lost obviously in reference to Chilia 44 better source needed 45 better source needed Written sources evidence that the relationship between Stephen and Vlad Țepeș became tense in early 1462 46 better source needed On 2 April 1462 the Genoese governor of Caffa now Feodosia in Crimea informed Casimir IV of Poland that Stephen had attacked Wallachia while Vlad Țepeș was waging war against the Ottomans 47 better source needed The Ottoman Sultan Mehmed II later invaded Wallachia in June 1462 48 Mehmed s secretary Tursun Beg recorded that Vlad Țepeș had to station 7 000 soldiers near the Wallachian Moldavian frontier during the sultan s invasion to protect his country against his Moldavian enemies 49 better source needed Both Tursun and Laonikos Chalkokondyles note that Stephen s troops were loyal to Mehmed and directly involved in the invasion 42 Taking advantage of the presence of the Ottoman fleet at the Danube Delta Stephen also laid siege to Chilia in late June 49 better source needed 50 According to Domenico Balbi the Venetian envoy in Istanbul Stephen and the Ottomans besieged the fortress for eight days but they could not capture it because the Hungarian garrison and Țepeș s 7 000 men defeated them killing many Turks 49 better source needed 51 Stephen was seriously wounded during the siege suffering an injury on his left calf or his left foot that would never heal his entire life 29 51 Consolidation Edit The medieval fortress at Cetatea Albă now Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine Putna Monastery founded in 1466 by Stephen Stephen again laid siege to Chilia on 24 January 1465 40 52 better source needed 3 The Moldavian army bombarded the fortress for two days forcing the garrison to surrender on 25 or 26 January 52 better source needed 3 The sultan s vassal Radu the Fair Voivode of Wallachia had also laid claim to Chilia thus the capture of the port gave rise to conflicts not only with Hungary but also with Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire 53 54 better source needed 55 In 1465 40 or earlier 56 Stephen peacefully regained the fortress of Hotin now Khotyn in Ukraine on the Dniester from the Poles To commemorate the capture of Chilia Stephen ordered the construction of the Church of the Assumption of the Mother of God in a glade on the Putna River in 1466 57 It became the central monument of Putna Monastery extended by Stephen in 1467 when he donated the village of Vicov and finally consecrated in September 1470 58 At Matthias Corvinus instance the Diet of Hungary abolished all previous exemptions relating to the tax known as the chamber s profit 59 The leaders of the Three Nations of Transylvania who regarded the reform as an infringement of their privileges declared on 18 August 1467 that they were ready to fight to defend their liberties 59 Stephen promised support to them 40 but they yielded to Corvinus without resistance after the king marched to Transylvania 60 Corvinus invaded Moldavia and captured Baia Bacău Roman and Targu Neamț 40 Stephen assembled his army and launched a crushing defeat on the invaders in the Battle of Baia on 15 December 3 61 62 This episode was presented in contemporary Hungarian chronicles as a defeat of Stephen s armies 63 However Corvinus who received wounds in the battle could only escape from the battlefield with the help of Moldavian boyars who had joined him 3 64 A group of boyars rose up against Stephen in the Lower Country 65 but he had 20 boyars and 40 other landowners captured and executed before the end of the year 64 Stephen again swore loyalty to Casimir IV in the presence of the Polish envoy in Suceava on 28 July 1468 45 better source needed He conducted raids against Transylvania between 1468 and 1471 64 When Casimir came to Lviv in February 1469 to personally receive his homage Stephen did not go to meet him 66 better source needed In the same year or in early 1470 Tatars invaded Moldavia but Stephen routed them in the Battle of Lipnic near the Dniester 64 67 68 To strengthen the defence system along the river Stephen decided to erect new fortresses at Old Orhei and Soroca around the same time 68 69 A Wallachian army laid siege to Chilia but it could not force the Moldavian garrison to surrender 64 Matthias Corvinus sent peace proposals to Stephen 66 better source needed His envoys sought Casimir IV s advice on Corvinus proposals at the Sejm or general assembly of Poland at Piotrkow Trybunalski in late 1469 66 better source needed Stephen invaded Wallachia and destroyed Brăila and Targul de Floci the two most important Wallachian centres of commerce on the Danube in February 1470 64 67 70 71 Peter Aaron hired Szekely troops and broke into Moldavia in December 1470 64 but his attack was probably anticipated by Stephen 72 The voivode defeated his rival near Targu Neamț 64 Peter Aaron fell captive in the battlefield He and his Moldavian supporters among them Stephen s vornic and brother in law Isaia 12 and the chancellor Alexa were executed on the orders of Stephen 67 64 73 Radu the Fair also invaded Moldavia but Stephen defeated him at Soci on 7 March 1471 64 70 Reportedly he killed all but two of the Wallachian noblemen he captured in battle 74 The relationship between Casimir IV and Matthias Corvinus became tense in early 1471 75 better source needed After Stephen failed to support Poland Casimir IV dispatched an embassy to Moldavia insisting that Stephen should comply with his obligations 66 better source needed 76 Stephen met the Polish envoys in Vaslui on 13 July reminding them of the hostile acts Polish noblemen committed along the border and demanded the extradition of the Moldavian boyars who had fled to Poland 66 better source needed In parallel he sent his own envoys to Hungary to start negotiations with Corvinus 66 better source needed He granted commercial privileges to Saxon merchants from the Transylvanian town of Corona now Brașov on 3 January 1472 67 77 better source needed Wars with Mehmed II Edit See also Battle of Vaslui and Siege of Neamț Citadel The Ottomans put pressure on Stephen to abandon Chilia and Cetatea Albă now Bilhorod Dnistrovskyi in Ukraine in the early 1470s 78 Instead of obeying their demands Stephen declined to send the yearly tribute to the Sublime Porte in 1473 64 78 79 From 1472 he had friendly contacts with Uzun Hasan sultan of Aq Qoyunlu plotting an anti Ottoman coordination 67 Taking advantage of Mehmed s war against Uzun in Anatolia Stephen invaded Wallachia to replace Radu the Fair an Ottoman installed Muslim convert and vassal with his protege Basarab III Laiotă 80 He routed the Wallachian army at Ramnicu Sărat in a battle that lasted for three days from 18 to 20 November 1473 79 80 Four days later the Moldavian army captured Bucharest and Stephen placed Basarab on the throne 79 80 However Radu regained Wallachia with Ottoman support before the end of the year 64 Basarab again expelled Radu from Wallachia in 1475 but the Ottomans once more assisted him to return 79 81 The Wallachians took revenge by plundering some parts of Moldavia 79 To restore Basarab Stephen launched a new campaign to Wallachia in October forcing Radu to flee from the principality 79 81 Mehmed II ordered Hadim Suleiman Pasha Beylerbey or governor of Rumelia to invade Moldavia an Ottoman army of about 120 000 strong broke into Moldavia in late 1475 82 Wallachian troops also joined the Ottomans while Stephen received support from Poland and Hungary 81 83 Outnumbered three to one by the invaders Stephen was forced to retreat 82 84 better source needed He joined battle with Hadim Suleiman Pasha at Podul Inalt or the High Bridge near Vaslui on 10 January 1475 79 82 85 Before the battle he had sent his buglers to hide behind the enemy fronts 82 When they suddenly sounded their horns they caused such a panic among the invaders that they fled from the battlefield 82 Over the next three days hundreds of Ottoman soldiers were massacred and the survivors retreated from Moldavia 79 74 82 Stephen s tactics in the Battle of Vaslui Stephen s victory in the Battle of Vaslui was arguably one of the biggest European victories over the Ottomans according to historian Alexander Mikaberidze 82 Mara Brankovic Mehmed II s stepmother stated the Ottomans had never suffered a greater defeat 79 Stephen sent letters to the European rulers to seek their support against the Ottomans reminding them that Moldavia was the Gateway of Christianity and the bastion of Hungary and Poland and the guardian of these kingdoms 81 84 better source needed 86 Pope Sixtus IV praised him as Verus christiane fidei athleta The true defender of the Christian faith 86 However neither the Pope nor any other European power sent material support to Moldavia 81 84 better source needed Stephen was also approaching Mehmed with peace offers According to disputed reports by the chronicler Jan Dlugosz he was also playing down the invasion as the deed of some fugitives and brigands whom the Sultan would want to punish 87 Meanwhile Stephen s brother in law Alexander seized the Principality of Theodoro in the Crimea at the head of a Moldavian army 88 89 Stephen also decided to expel his former protege Basarab Laiotă from Wallachia because Basarab had supported the Ottomans during their invasion of Moldavia 90 better source needed He made an alliance with Matthias Corvinus in July 79 89 persuading him to release Basarab s rival Vlad Țepeș who had been imprisoned in Hungary in 1462 90 better source needed Stephen and Vlad made an agreement to put an end to the conflicts between Moldavia and Wallachia but Corvinus did not support them to invade Wallachia 90 better source needed The Ottomans occupied the Principality of Theodoro and the Genoese colonies in the Crimea before the end of 1475 79 88 Stephen ordered the execution of the Ottoman prisoners in Moldavia to take vengeance for the massacre of Alexander of Theodoro and his Moldavian retainers 88 Thereafter the Venetians who had waged war against the Ottomans since 1463 regarded Stephen as their principal ally 91 With their support Stephen s envoys tried to persuade the Holy See to finance Stephen s war directly instead of sending the funds to Matthias Corvinus 92 The Signoria of Venice emphasized No one should fail to understand the extent to which Stephen could influence the evolution of events one way or another referring to his pre eminent role in the anti Ottoman alliance 92 Mehmed II personally commanded a new invasion against Moldavia in the summer of 1476 79 78 84 better source needed This force included 12 000 Wallachians under Laiotă and a retinue of Moldavians under a certain Alexandru who claimed to be Stephen s brother 79 The Crimean Tatars were the first to break into Moldavia at the Sultan s order but Stephen routed them 83 93 94 He also persuaded the Tatars of the Great Horde to break into the Crimea forcing the Crimean Tatars to withdraw from Moldavia 93 The Sultan invaded Moldavia in late June 1476 83 93 95 Himself supported by troops sent by Corvinus 95 Stephen adopted a scorched earth policy but could not avoid a pitched battle 83 He suffered a defeat in the Battle of Valea Albă at Războieni on 26 July and had to seek refuge in Poland but the Ottomans could not capture the fortress of Suceava and similarly failed before Neamț 81 95 94 The lack of sufficient provisions and an outbreak of cholera in the Ottoman camp forced Mehmed to leave Moldavia enabling the voivode to return from Poland 81 96 better source needed Folk tradition claims that Stephen had also been pledged a new army with the free peasantry of Putna County grouped around the seven sons of a local lady Tudora Baba Vrancioaia This contingent reportedly attacked the Ottomans flank at Odobești 97 98 Another account repeated by Ureche is that Maria Oltea forced her son back into battle pushing him to either return victorious or die 99 The Byzantine historian George Sphrantzes concluded that Mehmed II had suffered more defeats than victories during the invasion of Moldavia 100 better source needed From summer 1475 during an interlude in the rivalry between Poland and Hungary Stephen swore his allegiance to the latter 101 With Hungarian support Stephen and Vlad Țepeș invaded Wallachia forcing Basarab Laiotă to flee in November 1476 94 100 better source needed Stephen returned to Moldavia leaving Moldavian troops behind for Vlad s protection 102 The Ottomans invaded Wallachia to restore Basarab Laiotă 94 103 better source needed Țepeș and his Moldavian retainers were massacred before 10 January 1477 103 better source needed Stephen again broke into Wallachia and replaced Basarab Laiotă with Basarab IV the Younger 94 81 Stephen sent his envoys to Rome and Venice to persuade the Christian powers to continue the war against the Ottomans 94 104 He and Venice also wanted to involve the Great Horde in the anti Ottoman coalition but the Poles were unwilling to allow the Tatars to cross their territories 104 To strengthen his international position Stephen signed a new treaty with Poland on 22 January 1479 promising to personally swear fealty to Casimir IV in Colomea now Kolomyia in Ukraine if the king specifically demanded it 105 better source needed Venice and the Ottoman Empire made peace in the same month Hungary and Poland in April 105 better source needed After Basarab the Younger paid homage to the sultan Stephen had to seek reconciliation with the Ottomans 105 better source needed In May 1480 he promised to renew the annual tribute that he had stopped paying in 1473 105 better source needed Taking advantage of the peace Stephen made preparations to a new confrontation with the Ottoman Empire 105 better source needed He again invaded Wallachia and replaced Basarab the Younger with one Mircea possibly Stephen s own son 106 but Basarab regained Wallachia with Ottoman support 94 107 The Wallachians and their Ottoman allies broke into Moldavia in the spring of 1481 107 Wars with Bayezid II Edit See also Polish Ottoman War 1485 1503 Mehmed II died in 1481 108 The conflict between his two sons Bayezid II and Cem enabled Stephen to break into Wallachia and the Ottoman Empire in June 109 He routed Basarab the Younger at Ramnicu Valcea and placed Vlad Țepeș s half brother 110 Vlad the Monk on the throne 111 107 112 After Basarab the Younger returned with Ottoman support Stephen made a last attempt to secure his influence in Wallachia 107 He again led his army to Wallachia and defeated Basarab the Younger who died in the battle 107 Although Vlad the Monk was restored he was soon forced to accept the Sultan s suzerainty 107 Anticipating a new Ottoman attack Stephen fortified his frontier with Wallachia and entered an alliance with Ivan III of Russia Grand Prince of Moscow 113 since Stephen the Great has ruled in Moldavia he has not liked any ruler of Wallachia He did not wish to live with Radu the Fair nor with Basarab Laiotă nor with me I do not know who can live with him Basarab the Younger s 1481 letter to the councilors of Sibiu 114 better source needed Matthias Corvinus signed a five year truce with Bayezid II in October 1483 101 115 116 The truce applied to all Moldavia with the exception of the ports 107 Bayezid invaded Moldavia and captured Chilia on 14 or 15 July 1484 117 118 113 His vassal Menli I Giray also broke into Moldavia and seized Cetatea Albă on 3 August 117 118 The capture of the two ports secured the Ottomans control of the Black Sea 95 117 119 Bayezid left Moldavia only after Stephen personally came to pay homage to him 117 Although this prostration was largely without effect on Moldavian independence 120 the loss of Chilia and Cetatea Albă put an end to the Moldavian control of important trading routes 121 Corvinus was unwilling to break his own truce with Bayezid having tacit Ottoman backing for his own war in the west 122 However he granted his vassal a territorial gift in Transylvania comprising the domains of Ciceu and Cetatea de Baltă According to various interpretations this exchange occurred in or after 1484 and was meant to compensate Stephen for the loss of his ports 105 better source needed 107 123 124 Medievalist Marius Diaconescu dates the lease of Cetatea to 1482 when Corvinus agreed to give Stephen a place of refuge should Moldavia fall to the Ottomans while Ciceu only became Stephen s castle in 1489 125 Both citadels were on land confiscated after conflicts between the Three Nations and Corvinus Ciceu had been a fief of the Losonczi family under litigation while Cetatea had been a special domain of the Voivode of Transylvania whose last titular owner before Stephen was John Pongrac of Dengeleg 126 By then war between the Poles and the Ottomans was in preparation with clashes between the two sides occurring in 1484 119 Scholar Șerban Papacostea notes that Casimir IV had always remained neutral during Stephen s conflicts with the Ottomans but the Ottoman control of the mouths of the Dnieper and the Danube threatened Poland The king Papacostea argues also wanted to strengthen his suzerainty over Moldavia which helped him decide to intervene in the conflict on Stephen s behalf 127 Casimir formed 119 or joined with 128 an anti Ottoman league which in 1485 had also gathered reluctant support from the Teutonic Knights 129 Historians provide different readings of the issue according to Robert Nisbet Bain Casimir s intervention also drove the Ottomans out of Moldavia 128 Veniamin Ciobanu however argues that the Polish involvement when remained non military purely diplomatic 130 better source needed Casimir then marched on Colomea with 20 000 troops 119 128 131 To secure his support Stephen also went to Colomea and swore fealty to him on 12 September 1485 127 132 133 130 better source needed 134 The ceremony took place in a tent but its curtains were drawn aside at the moment when Stephen was on his knees before Casimir 135 Three days after Stephen s oath of fealty Casimir IV pledged that he would not acknowledge the capture of Chilia and Cetatea Albă by the Ottomans without Stephen s consent 136 better source needed During Stephen s visit in Poland the Ottomans broke into Moldavia and sacked Suceava 137 113 They also tried to place a pretender Peter Hronoda on the throne 113 135 138 139 Stephen returned from Poland and defeated the invaders with Polish assistance at Cătlăbuga Lake in November 113 118 140 141 He again confronted the Ottomans at Șcheia in March 1486 but could not recapture Chilia and Cetatea Albă 113 140 He narrowly escaped with his life reportedly after being helped by the Aprod Purice whom tradition identifies as patriarch of the Movilești family 142 Historian Vasile Mărculeț agrees with Ottoman sources in noting that Șcheia was not a military victory for Moldavia but overall a relative success for his enemy Skender Pasha Moldavians reported winning the day only because they narrowly avoided disaster and because Hronoda recognized a voivode by dissenting boyars was captured and beheaded 139 In the end Stephen signed a three year truce with the Porte promising to pay the yearly tribute to the Sultan 113 132 137 143 144 Conflicts with Poland Edit Sigismund Jagiellon one time pretender to the Moldavian throne 1530 portrait by Hans Durer Researcher V J Parry argues that because the Poles were continuously harassed by the Great Horde they were in no position to help Stephen 118 Eventually in late 1486 Poland announced plans of actually starting a crusade against the Ottomans to be led by John Albert Stephen approached the Sejm to negotiate Moldavia s role in the affair 145 He kept out with the expedition being rerouted from Lviv then attacking the Tatars 146 Poland concluded a peace treaty with the Ottoman Empire in 1489 acknowledging the loss of Chilia and Cetatea Albă without Stephen s consent 147 148 Although the treaty confirmed Moldavia s frontiers Stephen regarded it as a breach of his 1485 agreement with Casimir IV 147 137 Instead of accepting the treaty he acknowledged the suzerainty of Matthias Corvinus 123 137 148 However Corvinus died unexpectedly on 6 April 1490 148 149 150 Four candidates laid claim to Hungary including Maximilian of Habsburg and Casimir IV s two sons John Albert and Vladislaus 148 151 Stephen supported Maximilian of Habsburg who urged the Three Nations of Transylvania to cooperate with Stephen against his opponents 104 152 Most Hungarian lords and prelates however supported Vladislaus who was crowned king on 21 September forcing Maximilian to withdraw from Hungary in November 153 For John Albert who was his father s heir in Poland did not abandon his claim 154 Stephen decided to support Vladislaus in order to prevent a personal union between Hungary and Poland 137 155 He broke into Poland and captured Pocuția now Pokuttya in Ukraine 148 152 155 He believed that he was entitled to this former Moldavian fief its revenue redirected toward paying the Ottoman tribute 148 Stephen also supported Vladislaus against the Ottomans 137 156 who broke into Hungary several times after Corvinus death 157 In exchange Vladislaus confirmed Stephen s claim to Ciceu and Cetatea de Baltă in Transylvania 158 159 John Albert in turn was forced to acknowledge his brother as the lawful king in late 1491 137 Casimir IV died on 7 June 1492 160 One of his younger sons Alexander succeeded him in Lithuania and John Albert was elected king of Poland in late August 160 Ivan III of Moscow broke into Lithuania to expand his authority over the principalities along the borderlands 161 During the following years Ivan and Stephen coordinated their diplomacy which enabled Ivan to persuade Alexander to acknowledge the loss of significant territories to Moscow in February 1494 162 163 Ottoman pressure also brought about a rapprochement between Hungary and Poland 137 164 Vladislaus met his four brothers including John Albert and Sigismund in Locse now Levoca in Slovakia in April 1494 158 165 They planned a crusade against the Ottoman Empire 165 However John Albert wanted to strengthen Polish suzerainty over Moldavia and to dethrone Stephen in favour of Sigismund which gave rise to new tensions between Poland and Hungary 166 167 Shortly after the conference John Albert decided to launch a campaign against the Ottomans to recapture Chilia and Cetatea Albă 162 166 168 Fearing that the subjugation of Moldavia was John Albert s actual purpose Stephen made several attempts to prevent his campaign 119 169 170 171 With Ivan III s support he persuaded Alexander of Lithuania not to associate himself with John Albert 169 172 As reported by the Bychowiec Chronicle the Lithuanian magnates also condemned the war and simply refused to cross the Southern Bug 173 For its part the Polish army marched across the Dniester into Moldavia in August 1497 174 175 The Sultan sent 500 or 600 Janissaries to Moldavia at Stephen s request 174 176 joining the Moldavian forces gathered at Roman 175 Stephen sent his chancellor Isaac to John Albert requesting the withdrawal of Polish forces from Moldavia but John Albert had Isaac imprisoned 174 175 The Poles then laid siege to Suceava on 24 September 168 175 177 The campaign failed Teutonic reinforcements never arrived with Johann von Tiefen dying on the way 129 Before long a plague broke out in the Polish camp while Vladislaus of Hungary sent an army of 12 000 strong to Moldavia forcing John Albert to lift the siege on 19 October 178 179 The Poles started to march towards Poland but Stephen ambushed and routed them at a ravine in Bukovina on 25 and 26 October 168 175 177 180 Several raids into Poland during the following months including the sacking of Lviv Yavoriv and Przemysl cemented his victory These were either ordered and directed by Stephen 175 181 182 183 or carried out through a combined force of Ottoman Tatar Moldavian irregulars commanded by Malkocoglu 184 Stephen made peace with John Albert only after Poland and Hungary concluded a new alliance against the Ottoman Empire 181 and Moldavia received direct access to Lviv s markets 185 Meanwhile the Ottoman campaign ended in disaster as a heavy winter induced famine various Polish and Lithuanian reports also suggest that Stephen ordered false flag attacks against his panicking former allies 186 Last years Edit The tomb of Stephen the Great and his wife Maria Voichița at Putna Monastery From about 1498 power in Moldavia quietly shifted toward a group of boyars and administrators comprising among others Luca Arbore and Ioan Tăutu 187 Stephen s son and co ruler Bogdan was also taking on princely responsibilities from his father He conducted the negotiations with Poland about a peace treaty 188 The treaty which Stephen ratified at Harlău in 1499 put an end to Polish suzerainty over Moldavia 114 better source needed 179 Stephen again stopped paying tribute to the Ottomans in 1500 181 although by then his health had declined In February 1501 his delegation arrived in Venice asking for a specialist doctor As reported by Marin Sanudo his envoys also discussed the possibility of Moldavia and Hungary joining the Ottoman Venetian War 189 The Doge of Venice Agostino Barbarigo sent a physician Matteo Muriano to Moldavia to treat his counterpart 188 190 191 Stephen s armies again broke into the Ottoman Empire but they could not recapture Chilia or Cetatea Albǎ 127 181 The Tatars of the Great Horde invaded southern Moldavia but Stephen defeated them with the support of the Crimean Tatars in 1502 192 He also sent reinforcements to Hungary to fight against the Ottomans 192 By then however the treaty with Poland was no longer enforced prompting Stephen to recapture Pocuția in 1502 190 193 194 195 Although Alexander of Lithuania was by then the new King of Poland no understanding could be reached between him and Stephen and the two became enemies 195 At around that time Luca Arbore acting either as Stephen s envoy or on his own stated a Moldavian claim to Halych and other towns of the Ruthenian Voivodeship 196 Hungary and the Ottoman Empire concluded a new peace treaty on 22 February 1503 which also included Moldavia 164 192 Thereafter Stephen again paid a yearly tribute to the Ottomans 192 Stephen survived his doctor who died in Moldavia in late 1503 190 191 Another Moldavian delegation was sent to Venice to ask for a replacement but also to propose a new alliance against the Ottomans 191 This was one of his last acts of international diplomacy When Stephen was dying various boyars who opposed Bogdan rebelled but they were suppressed 190 197 198 On his deathbed he had urged Bogdan to continue to pay the tribute to the Sultan 179 He died on 2 July 1504 and was buried in the Monastery of Putna 192 199 200 Family EditA woman named Mărușca or Mărica most probably gave birth to Stephen s first recognized son Alexandru 201 202 203 Historian Ioan Aurel Pop describes Mărușca as Stephen s first wife 143 but other researches note that the legitimacy of the Stephen Mărușca marriage is uncertain 5 201 202 According to Jonathan Eagles Alexandru either died in childhood or survived infancy and became his father s co ruler 204 This older Alexandru died in July 1496 not before marrying a daughter of Bartholomew Dragfi the Transylvanian Voivode 202 205 206 He is probably not the same Alexandru who in 1486 was sent by Stephen as a voluntary hostage to Istanbul where he married a Byzantine noblewoman 207 This Alexandru was still alive by the end of his father s rule and beyond when he became a pretender to the throne and ultimately a contested prince 208 A 1538 letter by Fabio Mignanelli describes the surviving Alexandru or Sandrin as a posthumous son of Stephen but this is likely an error 209 If Stephen fathered two or three sons named Alexandru the one who was for a while his designated successor was born to Evdochia of Kiev whom Stephen married in 1463 3 202 204 An Olelkovich 5 210 she was closely related both to Ivan III of Moscow and to Casimir IV of Poland and Lithuania 204 Stephen s charter of grant to the Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos refers to two children of Stephen and Evdochia Alexandru and Olena 211 Olena was the wife of Ivan Molodoy the eldest son of Ivan III and mother of the usurped heir Dmitry 113 212 213 214 Stephen s second or third wife Maria of Mangup was of the family of the princes of Theodoro She was probably also cousins with the Muscovite Grand Princess Sophia Palaiologina and was related to Trebizond s royal couple Emperor David and Empress Maria 215 The Stephen Maria marriage took place in September 1472 but she died in December 1477 216 217 218 During her brief stay in Moldavia Maria supported the Latin Patriarchate of Constantinople contributing to the friendly contacts between Stephen and Catholic powers 219 Stephen s third or fourth wife Maria Voichița was the daughter of Radu the Fair Voivode of Wallachia She was the mother of Stephen s immediate successor Bogdan and a daughter named Maria Cneajna 220 221 The latter married into the House of Sanguszko 222 Stephen is known to have fathered two other sons who died in childhood at a time when he was married to Maria Voichița Bogdan died in 1479 and Peter Petrașco in 1480 Scholars are divided as to whether their mother was Evdochia 204 or Maria 94 213 Archivist Aurelian Sacerdoțeanu believes that Bogdan also had a twin Iliaș 213 In 1480 Stephen finally recognized his first born Mircea born from his 1450s affair with Călțuna of Brăila and groomed him to take the throne in Wallachia According to Sacerdoțeanu recognition came only after the death of Mircea s legal father who may have been one of the boyars spared at Soci 23 Stephen also fathered another illegitimate son Petru Rareș who became prince of Moldavia in 1527 192 223 better source needed 224 225 The church regards his mother Maria Rareș as Stephen s fourth wife 2 although she is known to have been married to a burgher 200 Stephen V Locust who held the Moldavian throne in 1538 1540 also presented himself as Stephen s illegitimate son According to Sacerdoțeanu his claim is credible 225 A local tradition in Putna County today s Vrancea attributes to Stephen other extra conjugal affairs with many peasants reporting that they consider themselves of his blood or of his marrow 226 Stephen s second or third wife Maria of Mangup Stephen s third or fourth wife Maria Voichița Stephen Maria Voichița Alexandru and Bogdan Petru Rareș with his wife and Stephen s grandsons Ilie and Stephen VILegacy EditStability and violence Edit Stephen reigned for more than 47 years 114 better source needed 200 which was in itself an outstanding achievement in the context of the political and territorial fragility of the Romanian principalities 227 His diplomacy evidenced that he was one of the most astute politicians of Europe in the 15th century 114 better source needed This skill enabled him to play off the Ottoman Empire Poland and Hungary against each other 114 better source needed According to historian Keith Hitchins Stephen paid tribute to the Ottomans but only when it was advantageous he did homage to King Casimir of Poland as his suzerain when that seemed wise and he resorted to arms when other means failed 228 Stephen suppressed the rebellious boyars and strengthened central government often applying cruel punishments including impalement 229 He consolidated the practice of slavery including the notion that different laws applied to slaves reportedly capturing as many as 17 000 Gypsies during his invasion of Wallachia but also selectively freeing and assimilating Tatar slaves 230 He supposedly used both communities as slaves of the court treasuring their specialized skills 231 nevertheless one folk legend additionally claims that Stephen practiced human sacrifice against Gypsy slaves to alleviate the floods at Sulița 232 According to Marcin Bielski during the 1498 expedition to Poland the voivode participated in or at least tolerated the capture of as many as 100 000 people 233 234 At least some of these were colonized in Moldavia where according to various reports of the period they founded Ruthenian undefended towns According to historian Mircea Ciubotaru these may include Cernauca now Chornivka in Ukraine Dobrovăț Lipnic Ruși Ciutea and a cluster of villages outside Harlău 235 Stephen also welcomed freemen as settlers establishing some of the first Armenian colonies in Moldavia including one at Suceava 236 while also settling Italians some of whom were escapees from the Ottoman slave trade in that city 237 238 Early on he renewed the commercial privileges of Transylvanian Saxons who traded in Moldavia but subsequently introduced some protectionist barriers 29 His own court was staffed with foreign experts among them Matteo Muriano and the Italian banker Dorino Cattaneo 238 239 However as a crusader in the 1470s Stephen encouraged the religious persecution and extortion of Gregorian Armenians Jews and Hussites some of whom became supporters of the Ottoman Empire 240 In addition to his colonization policies Stephen restored Crown lands that had been lost during the civil war that followed Alexander the Good s rule either through buying or confiscating them 65 241 On the other hand he granted much landed property to the Church and to the lesser noblemen who were the main supporters of the central government 242 His itinerant lifestyle enabled him to personally hold court in the whole of Moldavia which contributed to the development of his authority 243 When talking with Muriano in 1502 Stephen mentioned that he had fought 36 battles only losing two of them 244 When the enemy forces mostly outnumbered his army Stephen had to adopt the tactics of asymmetric warfare 245 He practised guerilla warfare against invaders avoiding challenging them to open battle before they were weakened due to the lack of supplies or sickness 246 During his invasions however he moved quickly and forced his enemies to do battle 246 To strengthen the defence of his country he restored the fortresses built during Alexander the Good s rule at Hotin Chilia Cetatea Albă Suceava and Targu Neamț 247 He also erected a number of castles including the new fortresses at Roman and Tighina 69 The parcălabi or commanders of the fortresses were invested with administrative and judicial powers and became important pillars of royal administration 248 their work controlled by a new central office the armaș first attested in 1489 29 The parcălabi included members of the princely family such as Duma who was Stephen s cousin 10 before his execution Isaia the voivode s brother in law had supervised Chilia 3 and Neamț Citadel 12 Stephen hired mercenaries to man his forts which diminished the military role of the boyars retinues within the Moldavian military forces 249 He also set up a personal guard 3 000 strong 249 and at least for a while an Armenian only unit 250 To strengthen the defence of Moldavia he obliged the peasantry to bear arms 251 Moldavian chronicles recorded that if he found a peasant lacking arrows bow or sword or coming to the army without spurs for the horse he mercilessly put that man to death 251 The military reforms increased Moldavia s military potential enabling Stephen to muster an army of more than 40 000 strong 252 Cultural development Edit Cyrillic calligraphy in the Chronicle of Bistrița title page John the Evangelist as depicted by Hieromonk Spiridon in the gospels of Putna 1502 The years following Stephen s wars against the Ottoman Empire have been described as the era of cultural policies 253 and great architectural upsurge 254 More than a dozen stone churches were erected at Stephen s initiative after 1487 254 The wealthiest boyars followed him and Stephen also supported the development of monastic communities 255 For instance the Voroneț Monastery was built in 1488 and the monastery at Tazlău in 1496 to 1497 255 The style of the new churches evidences that a genuine school of local architects developed during Stephen s reign 255 256 They borrowed components of Byzantine and Gothic architecture and mixed it with elements of local tradition 255 Painted walls and towers with a base forming a star were the most featuring elements of Stephen s churches 257 The prince also financed the building of churches in Transylvania and Wallachia which contributed to the spread of Moldavian architecture beyond the boundaries of the principality 255 Stephen commissioned votive paintings and carved tomb stones for many of his ancestors and other relatives graves 258 The tomb room of the Putna Monastery was built to be the royal necropolis of Stephen s family 259 Stephen s own tombstone was decorated with acanthus leaves a motif adopted from Byzantine art which became the featuring decorative element of Moldavian art during the following century 260 Stephen also contributed to the development of historiography and Church Slavonic literature in Moldavia He ordered the collection of the annals of the principality and initiated the completion of at least three Slavonic chronicles 261 262 noted in particular for doing away with the conventions of Byzantine literature and for introducing new storytelling canons 263 Some portions of these historiographic texts were corrected and perhaps even dictated by Stephen himself 190 The Chronicle of Bistrița which was allegedly the oldest chronicle narrated the history of Moldavia from 1359 to 1506 261 262 264 265 The two versions of the Chronicle of Putna covered the period from 1359 to 1526 but it also wrote of the history of the Putna Monastery 261 262 They were accompanied by a large number of lay and religious texts including the Gospels in several versions by Teodor Mărișescul as well as commentary on the Nomocanon and Slavonic translations from John Climacus Some were richly decorated with miniatures such as portraits of Stephen in the Humor Monastery Gospel 1473 and his courtier Ioan Tăutu Psalter of Mukachevo 1498 266 The Moldavian style developed at Neamț Monastery by the disciples of Gavriil Uric 267 became influential outside Moldavia creating a fashion among Russian illustrators and calligraphers 268 National hero Edit Stephen the Great and Aprod Purice at Șcheia Romantic painting by Theodor Aman 1875 Stephen s death as imagined by Sava Henția Stephen rallying the peasant soldiers with his horn 1914 illustration to Doina by Ipolit Strambu Stephen III on the Moldovan 1 leu banknote Stephen s monument in Great National Assembly Square Chișinău Stephen received the sobriquet Great shortly after his death 269 Sigismund I of Poland and Lithuania referred to him as that great Stephen in 1534 270 The Polish historian Martin Cromer mentioned him as the great prince of the Moldavians 269 271 According to Maciej Stryjkowski by 1580 the Wallachians and Moldavians alike sang ballads honoring Stephen whose portrait was displayed at the court of Bucharest his raids in Wallachia were generally overlooked in such testimonials 272 Despite being honored for his skill he was still primarily known under sobriquets indicating his standing and age in 16th century Moldavia and Wallachia he was casually known as Ștefan cel Vechi and Ștefan cel Bătran Stephen the Ancient or the Old 273 Oral history also maintained Stephen s Byzantine self references often calling him an emperor or a crai king of the Moldavians 274 In the mid 17th century Grigore Ureche described Stephen as a benefactor and a leader when writing of his funeral 270 275 A boyar by birth Ureche also mentioned Stephen s despotic cruelty bad temper and diminutive stature possibly because according to scholar Lucian Boia he resented authoritarian princes 276 In tandem local folklore came to regard Stephen as a protector of peasantry against noblemen and foreign invaders 277 For centuries free peasants claimed that they inherited their landed property from their ancestors to whom it had been granted by Stephen for their bravery in the battles 278 279 280 281 Such precedents also made Stephen a cult figure in Romanian nationalism which sought the union of Moldavia with Wallachia and in rival Moldovenism Early in the 19th century the Moldavian regionalist Gheorghe Asachi made Stephen the topic of historical fiction popular prints and heraldic reconstructions 282 283 Asachi and later Teodor Balș also campaigned for the erection of a Stephen the Great statue which was supposed to represent resistance against Wallachian encroachment 284 The Moldavian separatist Nicolae Istrati wrote several theatrical works which contributed to the Stephen cult 285 Other Moldavians shunning separatism paid their own homage to the medieval hero In the 1840s Alecu Russo inaugurated the effort to collect and republish folklore about Stephen which he believed was the source of truth about Romanian history 286 One of the first epic poems to deal with the voivode was The Aprod Purice by Constantin Negruzzi which fictionalizes the battle of Șcheia 287 288 In the Bessarabia Governorate which had been carved out of Moldavia by the Russian Empire the peasantry and intellectual class both appealed to Stephen as a symbol of resistance 289 His golden century was a reference for Alexandru Hajdeu 290 and Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu The latter dedicated him a large number of works from poems written in his native Russian to Romanian language historical novels in which Stephen is a leading protagonist 291 By then the cult of Stephen s patriotic virtues had been introduced to Wallachia by Ienăchiță Văcărescu and Gheorghe Lazăr 292 Wallachian scholar Nicolae Bălcescu was the first Romanian historian to describe Stephen as a national hero his rule Bălcescu argued was an important step towards the unification of the lands inhabited by Romanians 293 During that period Stephen became explicitly mentioned in the Romantic poetry of Andrei Mureșanu in particular as the mighty shadow described in Romania s future national anthem 294 In 1850s Wallachia Dimitrie Bolintineanu produced a lukewarm ballad depicting Stephen fleeing for battle and his mother Oltea ordering him back 295 It became a hugely popular after being set to music 296 His later works also contribute to the nationalist cult or fictionalize his erotic life 297 The nationalist investment in Stephen was by then resisted by other writers in particular George Panu Ioan Bogdan and other Junimea members who favored a critique of Romantic nationalism In Panu s works Stephen appears as merely a Polish vassal the one time Junimist A D Xenopol also chided the voivode for his loss of Chilia and his supposed betrayal of Wallachia 298 Anniversaries of the most important events of Stephen s life have been officially celebrated since the 1870s 299 including in 1871 the defiant show of solidarity at Putna This doubled as a protest against Austria Hungary which had annexed Bukovina it was organized by Teodor V Ștefanelli and was notably attended by poet Mihai Eminescu 300 Nationalist interpretations still prevailed particularly after 1881 when Eminescu dedicated his poem Doina written in the style of traditional Romanian song to Stephen calling upon him to leave his grave to again lead his people 293 301 302 His statue was ultimately raised in Iași in 1883 299 303 On the 400th anniversary of the voivode s death in 1904 ceremonies included the completion of a stone monument in Barsești by locals who claimed descent from Vrancioaia 304 305 Also then Nicolae Iorga published Stephen s biography 306 Against Xenopol s verdict Iorga emphasized that Stephen s victories were to be attributed to the true unity of the whole people during his reign 307 Many more works of literature appeared in the Kingdom of Romania and other Romanian inhabited regions helping to consolidate Stephen s cultural legacy One such contribution was the 1909 play Apus de soare by Barbu Ștefănescu Delavrancea including advice attributed in the public s mind to historical Stephen Moldavia was not my ancestors was not mine and is not yours but belongs to our descendants and our descendants descendants to the end of time 308 Depicting Stephen as a dying sage it was followed by two other Delavrancea plays which insisted on the prince s pragmatic cruelty and the effects this had on his succession 309 By then Stephen as a statesman had also become a point of reference and a benchmark for the long and stabilizing rule of Carol I King of Romania 310 Over the following three decades Stephen s deeds became the inspiration for literary works by Iorga Mihail Codreanu and especially Mihail Sadoveanu 311 In the 1930s the Iron Guard embraced Stephen the Great s cult for its own purposes with special emphasis on his contribution as a Christian monarch 312 The reading of Stephen as a pan Romanian nationalist peaked during the late stages of Communist Romania Initially the regime looked down on Stephen s treatment of the peasantry and only emphasized his connections with the East Slavs or his clampdown against boyardom 313 This stance was overturned by national communism Initially censorship toned down or removed references to his legacy in Soviet Bessarabia or Pokuttya 314 in the 1980s however official historians claimed that Stephen was literally a lord of all Romanians 315 Iorga s book has been republished several times including on the 500th anniversary of Stephen s death 316 On the same anniversary Stephen was presented as a symbol of national identity independence and inter ethnic harmony in the Republic of Moldova 306 where he also endures as the symbol of Moldavian particularism 317 or Moldovan patriotism 318 Thus Stephen was invoked by both the Popular Front of Moldova which favored Romanian identity and the Moldovenist Party of Communists 319 The latter describes Stephen as the founder of Moldavian statehood claiming direct continuity from his principality to the present day state 320 As Eagles notes Stephen is an ever present icon in both Romania and Moldova statues of his image abound politicians cite him as an exemplar schools and a university bear his name villages and the main thoroughfares of towns and cities are named after him there is a Ștefan cel Mare metro station in central Bucharest and his crowned head has adorned every banknote in the post Soviet Moldovan republic 321 According to a 1999 opinion poll more than 13 of the participants regarded Stephen the Great as the most important personality who had influenced the destiny of the Romanians for the better 322 Seven years later during a programme called the 100 Greatest Romanians on Romanian Television he was voted the greatest Romanian of all time 299 Holy ruler Edit Saint Stephen the Great Votive depiction of Stephen at Dobrovăț MonasteryHoly VoivodeVenerated inRomanian Orthodox ChurchCanonized12 July 1992 Bucharest Romania by Romanian Orthodox ChurchMajor shrinePutna MonasteryFeast2 July In Athonite legends Romanian stories and Moldavian chronicles alike Stephen s victories against the Ottomans and Hungarians were already regarded as God inspired or as placed under the direct patronage of various saints George Demetrius Procopius or Mercurius 323 324 Worship of Stephen himself was first recorded in the 1570s 250 but according to Ureche he had been regarded as a saint soon after his funeral not on account of his soul for he was a man with sins but on account of the great deeds he accomplished 275 The positive nuances of Ureche s report were also repeated by Miron Costin 275 The abbot of Putna Monastery Artimon Bortnic initiated the investigation of the tomb room of the monastery in 1851 referring to important shrines in Russia and Moldavia 325 In 1857 a year after Stephen s tomb was opened the priest and journalist Iraclie Porumbescu already wrote of the holy bones of Putna 326 In at least some legends attested by 1903 the voivode is depicted as an immortal sleeping hero or alternatively as the ruler of heaven 327 However Stephen the Great was ignored when the Romanian Orthodox Church canonized the first Romanian saints in the 1950s 328 Teoctist Patriarch of All Romania canonized Stephen along with 12 other saints at Saint Spyridon the New Church in Bucharest on 21 June 1992 329 On this occasion the patriarch emphasized that Stephen had been a defender of Christianity and protector of his people 262 He also underlined that Stephen had built churches during his reign 262 Stephen s feast day is 2 July the day of his death in the calendar of the Romanian Orthodox Church On his first feast after his canonization a new ceremony was held to celebrate Stephen the Great and Saint in Putna 329 15 000 people including the President of Romania at the time Ion Iliescu and two ministers attended the event 330 Patriarch Teoctist noted that God has brought us together under the same skies just as Stephen rallied us under the same flag in the past 330 Arms EditStephen s rule consolidated the usage of the coat of arms of Moldavia featuring the aurochs head first attested in 1387 sometimes as a helmet atop his personal arms He revived the elaborate design introduced under Alexander the Good which also featured a rose crescent sun and star often but not always five pointed its tinctures remain unknown 331 This arrangement was not familiar to heraldists in Western Europe By the 1530s they represented Moldavia with attributed arms featuring Maures these arms though originally used for Wallachia possibly echoed Stephen s victories over the Ottomans 332 The personal arms and heraldic flags used by Stephen have been the topic of additional scrutiny and debate Stephen is known to have used a party per cross shield with one striped quarter but the colors are uncertain one prevailing interpretation is that the dominant tinctures were or and vert although they may also have been gules and argent These may derive from the colors used by the House of Basarab which were possibly used by Stephen s in law Radu the Fair from the coat of arms of Hungary or from a purely Moldavian tradition 333 The division and the striped pattern are possibly Hungarian they survived in some of Stephen s seals even during his dispute with the Hungarian crown He also continued to use the fleur de lis an Angevin symbol but altered it into a double headed lily then renounced it altogether 334 Similarly he used the Cross of Lorraine pattee possibly in reference to the Pahonia Following his 1489 dispute with Poland that charge was altered into a double cross fleury 335 Stephen s heraldic symbols progressively merged with those attributed to the House of Mușat and were intensively used by all princes who claimed full or partial descent from Alexander the Good including Peter the Lame a Wallachian pretender to Moldavia s throne 336 The Putna tombstones of Stephen s two sons who died during his lifetime Bogdan and Peter already display the aurochs within the Mușat coat of arms 337 338 A Moldavian banner also survives in hand colored versions illustrating Johannes de Thurocz s Chronica Hungarorum with varying tinctures These were first identified as Stephen s flags by Constantin Karadja and described by later authors as a version of the or an vert scheme in the coat of arms 339 Other clues suggest that the field was a solid one of or charged with an aurochs of or but also that the preferred single Moldavian color was gules 340 Gules is also the color of Stephen s alleged war flag defaced with an icon of Saint George and the Dragon and donated by the prince himself to Zograf monastery However scholar Petre Ș Năsturel cautions that this may not be a heraldic object of any kind but rather a votive offering The war flag he notes is to small to carry in battle and does not match with images in either Thurocz or Marcin Bielski nor with the description in Alexander Guagnini 341 Stephen s seal with legend in Old Church Slavonic Modern drawing of the coat of arms Coat of arms of Moldavia at Putna Monastery One variant of Stephen s personal coat of arms with hypothetical tinctures Attributed arms of Moldavia originally of Wallachia with three Maures 1420 1430 Moldavian warrior and flag uncolored version in Johannes de Thurocz 1467 One interpretation of the Thurocz flag featuring or an vert stripes 1467See also EditNeamț Citadel Borzești Church Ștefan cel Mare Argeș Ștefan cel Mare Bacău Ștefan cel Mare Călărași Ștefan cel Mare Neamț Ștefan cel Mare Olt Ștefan cel Mare Vaslui Saligny ConstanțaReferences Edit a b Păun 2016 p 131 a b c Iliescu 2006 p 79 a b c d e f g Demciuc 2004 p 4 a b Florescu amp McNally 1989 p 66 a b c d e f g Sacerdoțeanu 1969 p 38 Treptow amp Popa 1996 p 190 Brezianu amp Spanu 2007 p 338 Eagles 2014 p 220 Sacerdoțeanu 1969 pp 39 40 a b Eșanu 2013 p 136 Demciuc 2004 pp 4 8 a b c Sacerdoțeanu 1969 p 40 a b Pop 2005 p 256 Bolovan et al 1997 p 103 Ciobanu 1991 p 34 Rezachievici 2007 p 18 Eagles 2014 pp 31 212 Ciobanu 1991 pp 34 35 Treptow 2000 p 59 a b Eagles 2014 p 212 Treptow 2000 pp 58 61 Treptow 2000 p 98 a b Sacerdoțeanu 1969 pp 38 40 41 a b c Treptow 2000 p 99 a b Rezachievici 2007 pp 18 19 Eagles 2014 p 34 Papacostea 1996 p 5 Rezachievici 2007 pp 17 18 20 30 a b c d e f g h i j k Demciuc 2004 p 3 Rezachievici 2007 pp 25 27 a b c Pop 2005 p 266 Mureșan 2008 pp 106 108 138 Eagles 2014 pp 32 33 Mureșan 2008 Mureșan 2008 pp 102 180 Eagles 2014 pp 38 213 Eagles 2014 p 38 a b c Ciobanu 1991 p 43 Ciobanu 1991 p 33 a b c d e f g h i Eagles 2014 p 213 Papacostea 1996 p 35 a b c Mureșan 2008 p 110 Ciobanu 1991 pp 43 44 a b Treptow 2000 p 139 a b c Ciobanu 1991 p 44 Treptow 2000 p 136 Treptow 2000 p 138 Treptow 2000 p 130 a b c Treptow 2000 p 140 Florescu amp McNally 1989 pp 148 149 a b Florescu amp McNally 1989 p 149 a b Treptow 2000 p 142 Papacostea 1996 p 38 Ciobanu 1991 pp 44 45 Pop 2005 pp 266 267 Demciuc 2004 pp 3 4 Eagles 2014 p 94 Demciuc 2004 pp 4 5 a b Kubinyi 2008 p 82 Kubinyi 2008 p 83 Engel 2001 p 302 Eagles 2014 pp 213 214 Tiron 2012 pp 76 79 a b c d e f g h i j k l Eagles 2014 p 214 a b Papacostea 1996 p 25 a b c d e f Ciobanu 1991 p 46 a b c d e Demciuc 2004 p 5 a b Brezianu amp Spanu 2007 p xxvi a b Eagles 2014 p 42 a b Papacostea 1996 p 42 Cristea 2016 pp 316 324 Demciuc 2004 pp 4 5 Papacostea 1996 pp 24 25 a b Cristea 2016 p 316 Ciobanu 1991 pp 46 47 Papacostea 1996 p 41 Ciobanu 1991 p 47 a b c Pop 2005 p 267 a b c d e f g h i j k l m Demciuc 2004 p 6 a b c Florescu amp McNally 1989 p 165 a b c d e f g h Eagles 2014 p 215 a b c d e f g Mikaberidze 2011 p 914 a b c d Shaw 1976 p 68 a b c d Bolovan et al 1997 p 116 Papacostea 1996 p 48 a b Candea 2004 p 141 Cristea 2016 pp 317 318 325 a b c Eagles 2014 p 46 a b Papacostea 1996 p 50 a b c Treptow 2000 p 160 Papacostea 1996 pp 44 52 a b Papacostea 1996 p 52 a b c Papacostea 1996 p 53 a b c d e f g h Demciuc 2004 p 7 a b c d Pop 2005 p 268 Bolovan et al 1997 p 116 117 Harnea 1979 pp 49 57 Iliescu 2006 pp 67 69 Cristea 2016 p 343 a b Treptow 2000 p 162 a b Pilat 2010 p 125 Florescu amp McNally 1989 pp 173 175 a b Treptow 2000 p 166 a b c Papacostea 1996 p 57 a b c d e f Ciobanu 1991 p 49 Sacerdoțeanu 1969 pp 40 41 a b c d e f g h Eagles 2014 p 216 Shaw 1976 p 70 Shaw 1976 pp 70 72 Florescu amp McNally 1989 p 45 Demciuc 2004 pp 7 8 Cristea 2016 p 338 a b c d e f g h Demciuc 2004 p 8 a b c d e Bolovan et al 1997 p 118 Kubinyi 2008 p 112 Engel 2001 p 308 a b c d Shaw 1976 p 73 a b c d Parry 1976 p 58 a b c d e Kohn 2007 Gemil 2013 pp 39 40 Eagles 2014 p 59 Pilat 2010 pp 125 126 a b Cernovodeanu 1977 p 118 Diaconescu 2013 pp 91 96 Diaconescu 2013 pp 96 110 Diaconescu 2013 pp 94 98 a b c Papacostea 1996 p 59 a b c Bain 1908 p 29 a b Maasing 2015 p 362 a b Ciobanu 1991 pp 49 50 Pilat 2010 p 127 a b Parry 1976 pp 58 60 Pilat 2010 pp 127 129 Demciuc 2004 pp 8 9 a b Eagles 2014 p 60 Ciobanu 1991 p 50 a b c d e f g h Eagles 2014 p 217 Papacostea 1996 pp 24 59 a b Mărculeț 2006 a b Eagles 2014 pp 60 217 Pilat 2010 pp 127 128 Gorovei 1973 pp 64 65 a b Pop 2005 p 269 Pilat 2010 pp 132 135 Pilat 2010 pp 129 130 Pilat 2010 pp 131 136 a b Pop 2005 p 270 a b c d e f Demciuc 2004 p 9 Engel 2001 p 317 Bain 1908 p 30 Engel 2001 p 345 a b Eagles 2014 p 61 Engel 2001 pp 345 347 Engel 2001 p 347 a b Papacostea 1996 p 63 Cristea 2016 pp 318 319 Engel 2001 pp 359 360 a b Eagles 2014 p 62 Diaconescu 2013 pp 97 109 a b Frost 2015 p 327 Frost 2015 pp 283 284 a b Papacostea 1996 p 64 Frost 2015 p 285 a b Engel 2001 p 360 a b Nowakowska 2007 p 46 a b Frost 2015 p 281 Eagles 2014 pp 217 218 a b c Bain 1908 p 43 a b Eșanu 2013 pp 137 138 140 Papacostea 1996 pp 65 66 Cristea 2016 pp 315 319 Papacostea 1996 p 66 Cristea 2016 p 319 a b c Nowakowska 2007 p 132 a b c d e f Demciuc 2004 p 11 Gemil 2013 p 40 a b Grabarczyk 2010 Nowakowska 2007 pp 132 133 a b c Eagles 2014 p 63 Nowakowska 2007 p 133 a b c d Eagles 2014 p 218 Papacostea 1996 p 67 Ciubotaru 2005 pp 69 71 Gorovei 2014 Gorovei 2014 pp 408 409 Gorovei 2014 p 408 Eșanu 2013 pp 136 137 a b Eagles 2014 p 50 Marin 2009 pp 85 87 a b c d e Demciuc 2004 p 12 a b c Marin 2009 pp 87 91 a b c d e f Eagles 2014 p 219 Bain 1908 p 52 Ciubotaru 2005 p 71 a b Eșanu 2013 p 139 Eșanu 2013 p 138 Eagles 2014 pp 50 219 Mureșan 2008 p 168 Demciuc 2004 pp 4 12 a b c Sacerdoțeanu 1969 p 39 a b Eagles 2014 p 44 a b c d Mureșan 2008 pp 168 169 Sacerdoțeanu 1969 pp 38 41 45 a b c d Eagles 2014 p 45 Demciuc 2004 pp 9 10 Sacerdoțeanu 1969 p 41 45 Mureșan 2008 pp 139 141 159 160 168 171 Mureșan 2008 pp 141 168 170 174 175 Mureșan 2008 p 169 Mureșan 2008 pp 102 135 Păun 2016 pp 130 131 Brezianu amp Spanu 2007 p 339 a b c Sacerdoțeanu 1969 p 45 Eșanu 2013 pp 138 139 141 Mureșan 2008 pp 136 138 Mureșan 2008 pp 137 138 Demciuc 2004 pp 5 7 Sacerdoțeanu 1969 pp 38 39 Mureșan 2008 pp 137 139 Eagles 2014 pp 46 50 103 Sacerdoțeanu 1969 pp 39 45 47 Sacerdoțeanu 1969 p 47 Treptow amp Popa 1996 p 160 Mureșan 2008 pp 172 173 175 143 a b Sacerdoțeanu 1969 pp 39 47 Iliescu 2006 p 71 Eagles 2014 p 33 Hitchins 2014 p 29 Eagles 2014 pp 36 37 Achim 2004 pp 17 35 36 Emandi 1994 p 322 Oișteanu 2009 p 428 Ciubotaru 2005 pp 70 71 Gorovei 2014 pp 407 408 Ciubotaru 2005 pp 70 77 Siruni 1944 pp 11 19 25 61 Ciubotaru 2005 pp 71 72 a b Emandi 1994 p 321 Siruni 1944 p 27 Simon 2009 pp 233 239 Eagles 2014 pp 38 39 Papacostea 1996 pp 25 26 Eagles 2014 p 39 Eagles 2014 p 51 Eagles 2014 p 54 a b Eagles 2014 p 52 Eagles 2014 pp 41 42 Papacostea 1996 p 27 a b Eagles 2014 p 41 a b Simon 2009 p 233 a b Papacostea 1996 p 28 Papacostea 1996 pp 28 29 Mărculeț 2006 p 189 a b Papacostea 1996 pp 70 71 a b c d e Papacostea 1996 p 71 Pop 2005 p 296 Pop 2005 pp 296 297 Eagles 2014 p 185 Eagles 2014 p 99 Eagles 2014 p 106 a b c Pop 2005 p 292 a b c d e Eagles 2014 p 78 Dima et al 1968 pp 21 24 Mitric 2004 p 13 Dima et al 1968 p 669 Mitric 2004 pp 13 14 Turdeanu 1951 Mitric 2004 p 14 a b Eagles 2014 p 75 a b Papacostea 1996 p 76 Papacostea 1996 pp 76 77 Cristea 2016 pp 306 307 Mureșan 2008 pp 142 143 Schipor 2004 p 200 a b c Eagles 2014 p 77 Boia 2001 pp 195 196 Papacostea 1996 p 78 Papacostea 1996 pp 78 79 Pelivan et al 2012 pp 44 85 275 566 589 591 Harnea 1979 pp 55 57 Iliescu 2006 pp 68 71 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 19 20 Dima et al 1968 pp 365 370 Xenopol 1910 pp 331 339 Dima et al 1968 pp 240 581 583 Schipor 2004 pp 195 198 Dima et al 1968 pp 382 389 Xenopol 1910 p 211 Pelivan et al 2012 pp 44 85 102 116 136 158 159 275 362 566 589 Pelivan et al 2012 p 102 Dima et al 1968 pp 676 678 686 693 Dima et al 1968 pp 162 252 a b Eagles 2014 p 80 Dima et al 1968 p 570 Boia 2001 p 207 Dima et al 1968 p 547 Dima et al 1968 pp 542 544 547 548 Boia 2001 pp 57 135 189 190 a b c Eagles 2014 p 83 Candea 1937 pp 7 10 Boia 2001 pp 194 195 213 Papacostea 1996 p 80 Dima et al 1968 p 676 Harnea 1979 pp 57 124 135 Iliescu 2006 pp 71 82 a b Eagles 2014 p 89 Boia 2001 p 60 Boia 2001 p 195 Lovinescu 1998 pp 299 302 Boia 2001 pp 201 203 Lovinescu 1998 pp 121 178 183 323 Bruja 2004 Boia 2001 pp 215 219 Otu 2019 pp 66 67 Boia 2001 pp 140 222 249 250 Eagles 2014 pp 88 89 Boia 2001 p 140 Cojocari 2007 p 93 Cojocari 2007 pp 90 97 100 102 Cojocari 2007 pp 101 104 Eagles 2014 p 1 Boia 2001 p 17 Cristea 2016 pp 316 340 Schipor 2004 p 206 Eagles 2014 p 110 Eagles 2014 p 93 Schipor 2004 p 202 Boia 2001 p 73 a b Ramet 1998 p 195 a b Ramet 1998 p 196 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 83 85 98 120 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 77 81 126 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 67 68 107 110 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 109 111 112 119 120 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 118 119 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 96 99 100 102 108 111 120 Cernovodeanu 1977 pp 98 99 Eagles 2014 pp 102 103 Tiron 2012 pp 71 75 Tiron 2012 pp 76 80 Năsturel 2005 pp 48 49 Sources EditAchim Viorel 2004 The Roma in Romanian History Central European University Press ISBN 963 9241 84 9 Bain Robert Nisbet 1908 Slavonic Europe A Political History of Poland and Russia from 1447 to 1796 Cambridge University Press OCLC 500231652 better source needed Boia Lucian 2001 History and Myth in Romanian Consciousness Central European University Press ISBN 963 9116 97 1 Bolovan Ioan Constantiniu Florin Michelson Paul E Pop Ioan Aurel Popa Cristian Popa Marcel Scurtu Ioan Treptow Kurt W Vultur Marcela Watts Larry L 1997 A History of Romania The Center for Romanian Studies ISBN 973 98091 0 3 better source needed Brezianu Andrei Spanu Vlad 2007 Historical Dictionary of Moldova Scarecrow Press Inc ISBN 978 0 8108 5607 3 Bruja Radu Florian 2004 Ștefan cel Mare in imagologia legionară Codrul Cosminului 10 93 97 ISSN 1224 032X Candea Romulus 1937 Arborosenii trădători austriaci și naționaliști romani Tipografia Mitropolitul Silvestru OCLC 953017618 Candea Virgil 2004 Saint Stephen the Great in his contemporary Europe Respublica Christiana Etudes balkaniques 4 140 144 ISSN 0324 1645 Cernovodeanu Dan 1977 Știința și arta heraldică in Romania Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică OCLC 469825245 Ciobanu Veniamin 1991 The equilibrium policy of the Romanian principalities in East Central Europe 1444 1485 In Treptow Kurt W ed Dracula Essays on the Life and Times of Vlad the Impaler East European Monographs Distributed by Columbia University Press pp 29 52 ISBN 0 88033 220 4 better source needed Ciubotaru Mircea 2005 O problemă de demografie istorică de la sfarșitul domniei lui Ștefan cel Mare Analele Putnei I 1 69 78 ISSN 1841 625X Cojocari Ludmila 2007 Political Liturgies and Concurrent Memories in the Context of Nation Building Process in Post Soviet Moldova The Case of Victory Day Interstitio East European Review of Historical Anthropology 1 2 87 116 ISSN 1857 047X Cristea Ovidiu 2016 Guerre Histoire et Memoire en Moldavie au temps d Etienne le Grand 1457 1504 In Păun Radu G ed Histoire memoire et devotion Regards croises sur la construction des identites dans le monde orthodoxe aux epoques byzantine et post byzantine La Pomme d or pp 305 344 ISBN 978 2 9557042 0 2 Demciuc Vasile M 2004 Domnia lui Ștefan cel Mare Repere cronologice Codrul Cosminului 10 3 12 ISSN 1224 032X Diaconescu Marius 2013 Contribuții la datarea donației Ciceului și Cetății de Baltă lui Ștefan cel Mare Analele Putnei IX 1 91 112 ISSN 1841 625X Dima Alexandru Chițimia Ion C Cornea Paul Todoran Eugen 1968 Istoria literaturii romane II De la Școala Ardeleană la Junimea Editura Academiei OCLC 491284551 Eagles Jonathan 2014 Stephen the Great and Balkan Nationalism Moldova and Eastern European History I B Tauris ISBN 978 1 78076 353 8 Emandi Emil Ioan 1994 Urbanism și demografie istorică Suceava in secolele XV XIX Hierasus IX 313 362 ISSN 1582 6112 Engel Pal 2001 The Realm of St Stephen A History of Medieval Hungary 895 1526 I B Tauris Publishers ISBN 1 86064 061 3 Eșanu Valentina 2013 Luca Arbore in misiuni diplomatice ale lui Ștefan cel Mare Akademos 4 136 141 ISSN 1857 0461 Florescu Radu R McNally Raymond T 1989 Dracula Prince of Many Faces His Life and his Times Back Bay Books ISBN 978 0 316 28656 5 Frost Robert 2015 The Oxford History of Poland Lithuania Volume I The Making of the Polish Lithuanian Union 1385 1569 Oxford University Press ISBN 978 0 19 820869 3 Gemil Tasin 2013 Legăturile romano turce de a lungul veacurilor pană in 1981 In Gemil Tasin Custurea Gabriel Cornea Delia Roxana eds Moștenirea culturală turcă in Dobrogea Simpozion internațional Constanța 24 septembrie 2013 Top Form pp 33 80 ISBN 978 606 8550 08 4 Gorovei Ștefan S 1973 Cronici de familie Movileștii Magazin Istoric VII 6 64 72 ISSN 0541 881X Gorovei Ștefan S 2014 Mai 1498 Ștefan cel Mare și Polonia Analele Putnei X 2 401 414 ISSN 1841 625X Grabarczyk Tadeusz 2010 Cosmin Forest Battle of In Rogers Clifford J ed The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology Volume 1 Aachen Siege of Dyrrachium Siege and Battle of 1081 Oxford University Press p 434 ISBN 978 0 19 533403 6 Harnea Simion 1979 Locuri și legende vrincene Editura Sport Turism OCLC 255487906 Hitchins Keith 2014 A Concise History of Romania Cambridge University Press ISBN 978 0 521 69413 1 Iliescu Ionuț 2006 Inaugurarea monumentului lui Ștefan cel Mare de la Barsești Cronica Vrancei VI 6 66 82 Kohn George C 2007 Polish Turkish War of 1848 1504 In Kohn George C ed Dictionary of Wars Facts on File p 419 ISBN 978 0 8160 6577 6 Kubinyi Andras 2008 Matthias Rex Balassi Kiado ISBN 978 963 506 767 1 Lovinescu Eugen 1998 Istoria literaturii romane contemporane Editura Litera ISBN 9975740502 Maasing Madis 2015 Infidel Turks and Schismatic Russians in Late Medieval Livonia In Hess Cordelia Adams Jonathan eds Fear and Loathing in the North Jews and Muslims in Medieval Scandinavia and the Baltic Region De Gruyter pp 347 388 ISBN 978 3 11 034647 3 Mărculeț Vasile 2006 Șcheia 6 martie 1486 un eșec militar dar un succes politic Unele considerații pe baza unor surse moldovenești și turcești din secolele XV XVIII Revista Bistriței XX 189 198 ISSN 1222 5096 Marin Șerban 2009 Insemnări din jurnalul venețianului Marino Sanudo referitoare la ultimii ani de domnie ai lui Ștefan cel Mare Ambasadele Moldovei la Veneția Archiva Moldaviae 1 79 91 ISSN 2067 3930 Mikaberidze Alexander 2011 Vaslui Podul Battle of 1475 In Mikaberidze Alexander ed Conflict and Conquest in the Islamic World A Historical Encyclopedia Volume 1 ABC CLIO p 914 ISBN 978 1 59884 336 1 Mitric Olimpia 2004 Manuscrisele din timpul lui Ștefan cel Mare O nouă evaluare Codrul Cosminului 10 13 16 ISSN 1224 032X Mureșan Dan Ioan 2008 Patriarhia de Constantinopol și Ștefan cel Mare Drumul sinuos de la surse la interpretare In Muntean V V ed In memoriam Alexandru Elian Omagiere postumă a reputatului istoric și teolog la zece ani de la trecerea sa in veșnicie 8 ianuarie 1998 Timișoara Archbishopric pp 87 179 ISBN 978 9738970083 Năsturel Petre Ș 2005 Steagul de luptă al lui Ștefan cel Mare prapur bisericesc ori poală de icoană Analele Putnei I 1 47 52 ISSN 1841 625X Nowakowska Natalia 2007 Church State and Dynasty in Renaissance Poland The Career of Cardinal Fryderyk Jagiellon 1468 1503 Ashgate ISBN 978 0 7546 5644 9 Oișteanu Andrei 2009 Inventing the Jew Antisemitic Stereotypes in Romanian and Other Central East European Cultures University of Nebraska Press ISBN 978 0 8032 2098 0 Otu Petre 2019 Magazin Istoric cenzurat Magazin Istoric LII 5 66 69 ISSN 0541 881X Papacostea Șerban 1996 Stephen the Great Prince of Moldavia 1457 1504 Editura Enciclopedică ISBN 973 45 0138 0 Parry V J 1976 The reigns of Bayezid II and Selim I 1481 1520 In Cook M A ed A History of the Ottoman Empire to 1730 Cambridge University Press pp 54 78 ISBN 0 521 20891 2 Păun Radu G 2016 Mount Athos and the Byzantine Slavic Tradition in Wallachia and Moldavia after the fall of Constantinople In Stankovic Vlada ed The Balkans and the Byzantine World before and after the Captures of Constantinople 1204 and 1453 Lexington Books pp 117 164 ISBN 978 1 49851 325 8 Pelivan Ioan Constantin Ion Negrei Ion Negru Gheorghe 2012 Ioan Pelivan istoric al mișcării naționale din Basarabia Editura Biblioteca Bucureștilor ISBN 978 606 8337 39 5 Pilat Liviu 2010 The 1487 Crusade a Turning Point in the Moldavian Polish Relations Medieval and Early Modern Studies for Central and Eastern Europe II 123 136 ISSN 2067 3590 Pop Ioan Aurel 2005 The Romanians in the 14th 16th centuries from the Christian Republic to the Restoration of Dacia In Pop Ioan Aurel Bolovan Ioan eds History of Romania Compendium Romanian Cultural Institute Center for Transylvanian Studies pp 209 314 ISBN 978 973 7784 12 4 Ramet Sabrina P 1998 Nihil Obstat Religion Politics and Social Change in East Central Europe and Russia Duke University Press ISBN 0 8223 2070 3 Rezachievici Constantin 2007 A fost Ștefan cel Mare ales domn in aprilie 1457 Acta Moldaviae Septentrionalis V VI 17 30 ISSN 1582 6112 Sacerdoțeanu Aurelian 1969 Descălecători de țară dătători de legi și datini II Magazin Istoric III 1 37 47 ISSN 0541 881X Schipor Vasile I 2004 Ștefan cel Mare in legendele poporului roman Analele Bucovinei XI I 195 207 ISSN 1221 9975 Shaw Stanford J 1976 History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey Volume 1 Empire of the Gazis The Rise and Decline of the Ottoman Empire 1280 1808 Cambridge University Press ISBN 978 0 52121 280 9 Simon Alexandru 2009 The Saint and the Jews New Europe College Yearbook 2008 2009 233 248 ISSN 1584 0298 Siruni H Dj 1944 Armenii in viața economică a Țărilor Romane Institutul de Studii și Cercetări Balcanice OCLC 909722274 Tiron Tudor Radu 2012 Steagurile heraldice ale lui Stefan cel Mare Certitudini și ipoteze in lumina informațiilor mai vechi sau mai noi Analele Putnei VIII 1 71 92 ISSN 1841 625X Treptow Kurt W Popa Marcel 1996 Historical Dictionary of Romania Scarecrow Press Inc ISBN 0 8108 3179 1 better source needed Treptow Kurt W 2000 Vlad III Dracula The Life and Times of the Historical Dracula The Center of Romanian Studies ISBN 973 98392 2 3 better source needed Turdeanu Emile 1951 Les lettres slaves en Moldavie Le moine Gabriel du monastere de Neamţu 1424 1447 Revue des etudes slaves 27 1 267 278 doi 10 3406 slave 1951 1549 ISSN 2117 718X Xenopol A D 1910 Istoria partidelor politice in Romania Albert Baer OCLC 985941410 External links EditWikimedia Commons has media related to Ștefan III cel Mare Mușatin family Map of Moldavia 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