VIII, 2012, 1

The Ottoman Campaign in Moldavia (1484). Ibn Kemal’s Testimony | p. 43–58

Ibn Kemal, Kilia, Moldavian-Ottoman relations, Moncastro, narrative sources


The debate around the Ottoman campaign in Moldavia in 1484 was reopened recently due to the publication of several documents from various Italian Archives (Venice, Milan, Naples). The aim of the present paper is to compare the Western evidence with an Ottoman source which until now received scarcely attention from Romanian scholars: the chronicle of Şemseddin Ahmed ibn Süleyman ibn Kemalpaşa, also known as Ibn Kemal or Kemalpaşazâde. Based on a large amount of documents and registers of Ottoman chancellery, the chronicle of Ibn Kemal impresses by a very accurate chronology; for instance, the moment of Mesih pasha disgrace is confirmed by a report of Venetian secretary Giovanni Dario and the defeat and death of the Moldavian treasurer Chiracol during the Ottoman expedition in Moldavia is validated by the disappearance of the aforementioned treasurer from the internal evidence. Moreover, Ibn Kemal’s chronology suggests that the Moldavian fortresses Kilia and Moncastro were conquered quite rapidly, in mid-July (Kilia) and, respectively, at the beginning of August, Moncastro. This scenario is confirmed by the information found in the Italian archival documents and, consequently, invalidates the chronology of the Bayezid expedition in Moldavia established previously by Nicoară Beldiceanu.