A Lost Letter. Stephen the Great and the Wallachian Border Boyars Cover Image
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O scrisoare pierdută. Ştefan cel Mare şi boierii de margine ai Ţării Româneşti
A Lost Letter. Stephen the Great and the Wallachian Border Boyars

Author(s): Ovidiu Cristea, Marian Coman
Subject(s): History
Published by: Centrul de cercetare şi documentare ŞTEFAN CEL MARE
Keywords: Stephen the Great; border nobles; Wallachia; Braşov; scribes; political proclamation

Summary/Abstract: This study scrutinizes the late fifteenth century correspondence between the Moldavian ruler, Stephen the Great, and the Wallachian nobles from the eastern borderlands. This letter exchange was the result of Stephen the Great’s initiative to support a pretender to the Wallachian throne. Thus, the Moldavian ruler sent two proclamations, of an identical content, to the nobles from the borderland regions of Buzău, Brăila and Râmnic. The harsh response of the Wallachian nobles had been written down, by the same scribe, with almost the same words, in two copies, on the back side of the Moldavian proclamations. Our contention is that this unique correspondence captures an incident that reveals far more about the medieval Moldavian-Wallachian political dialogue than the failed attempt by Stephen the Great to support a pretender. Thus, our analysis is focused on the language used in this correspondence, as well as on the political actors involved: the Moldavian ruler, the Wallachian nobles, the three scribes who wrote the four letters and the inhabitants of the Saxon city of Braşov, in whose archive this correspondence was unexpectedly preserved. The title of the article alludes to a famous nineteenth century comedy play, whose humour consists in the incongruity between the characters’ uncompromising assertions and their compliant actions. We suggest that, similar to the play’s characters, the late fifteenth century political actors concealed a far more complex dialogue of persuasion and negotiation under their apparently inflexible words.

  • Issue Year: 2013
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 23-51
  • Page Count: 29
  • Language: Romanian