IV, 2008, 1

War outbreak, victories and triumphal entries in Moldavia of Stephen the Great: events, representations, interpretations | p. 105–132

declarations of war, Stephen the Great, symbolic gestures, triumphal entries, wars


The Modern Romanian historiography has studied thoroughly the wars of Stephen the Great. The research was focused mainly on the big clashes with his neighbors, on the chronology of the campaigns, on the strategic and tactical aspects, on the quality of the armament, and on fortifications.  Until recently, little attention was paid to the anthropological aspects of war. A recent study by Maria Magdalena Székely and Ştefan S. Gorovei,“Semne şi minuni” pentru Ştefan voievod. Note de mentalitate medievală (SMIM, XVI, 1998, p. 49-64) proposed a new approach to the topic aiming to contribute to a renewal of the political and military history of the reign of Stephen the Great.   The present paper uses the same methodology by integrating the military events in a wider perspective and understanding the medieval sources not as objective and accurate testimonies of past events but as literary artifacts aiming to shape the reality according to a textual strategy of the author. From this perspective, analyzing war from its start until the conclusion of the peace can bring new insights into the perception of military conflict by the medieval society, into the topoi used by medieval sources to shape the confrontations between Stephen the Great and his enemies. The paper focuses on the declarations of war, on the symbolic gestures during the military expeditions, and on triumphal entries. All of these aspects are seen as three different chapters of the same story. The data concerning Moldavia are compared with examples from the Byzantine world or from Western sources in an attempt to underline the similarities but also the specificity of the Moldavian case.