Considerations on the Townspeople’ Attitudes and Reactions to the Central Power: The Case of the Romanian Principalities Cover Image
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Considerations on the Townspeople’ Attitudes and Reactions to the Central Power: The Case of the Romanian Principalities
Considerations on the Townspeople’ Attitudes and Reactions to the Central Power: The Case of the Romanian Principalities

Author(s): Laurenţiu Rădvan
Subject(s): History
Published by: Editura Academiei Române
Keywords: townspeople; prince; privilege; Wallachia; Moldavia;

Summary/Abstract: In the last decades, in the Romanian historiography appeared the idea that the towns from the Romanian principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia had a different evolution compared to other towns in Europe. Especially during the communist period, some historians believed that the towns emerged as a result of specific conditions, that they had a different organization and their inhabitants were too few to be important in the local economy and society. This is the reason for which the subject of “urban identity” is inexistent amongst the historical studies in Romania, with very few exceptions, which look at society. The present research tries to change this perspective which minimizes the position of towns in the late medieval word in the Romanian area in relation with the central power. I will try to prove that there was an urban identity and that the people in the towns (orăşenii) assumed that identity when they had the chance, responding to the pressure from the central authority in the country, represented by the prince (domnul). The difficulty in researching this subject comes from the limited number of sources, given the fact that all the urban archives from those centuries disappeared due to wars, fires, earthquakes, lack of interest, etc. Even in these conditions, I identified individual sources which show the solidarity of the townsmen in specific situations: defending the domain of the town or fighting to keep the old privileges (especially juridical rights and fiscal exemptions). The sources are more numerous for Wallachia, but I did find useful documents for Moldavia as well.

  • Issue Year: XXI/2013
  • Issue No: 21
  • Page Range: 235-244
  • Page Count: 10
  • Language: English