XVII, 2021, 2

“Sunset”: event, testimonies, possible implications | p. 153–168

Bogdan III, Leonardo di Masser, Marino Sanudo, Moldavia, Stephen the Great, succession


In 1504, Stephen the Great’s death ended the apex of the Principality of Moldavia. Despite some ominous signs (a harsh winter followed by a rainy summer and floods), Stephen’s successor, Bogdan III, began his reign without encountering opposition. Sources from the Polish Kingdom contradict this peaceful scenario, insisting on the idea of an unstable Principality of Moldavia. According to some letters issued by King Alexander I, there were many contenders to the Moldavian throne, one of them supported by the Ottomans. This strengthening of the Ottomans’ position in Moldavia risked to endanger Christendom.
A Venetian document, a letter sent by Leonardo di Masser to Giovanni Badoer in Buda, seems to support the Polish version. However, a closer analysis of the document seems to suggest that Leonardo di Masser combined in his letter two divergent views on the situation in Moldavia at the end of Stephen the Great’s reign: One reflected the Polish point of view on the event, which suggested that Moldavia was prone to civil war and to Ottoman intervention, while the other version assumed the Moldavian point of view, which insisted on the legitimacy of Bogdan III, elected by the elite of the land and according to Stephen the Great’s will.