XVII, 2021, 1

The Locust Invasion during the War between Stephen the Great and Mehmed II | p. 21–48

Central-Eastern Europe, historical memory, locust invasion, Moldavia, the Moldavian-Ottoman war


This study analyses the locust invasion that affected significant parts of Central and Southeastern Europe, including Stephen the Great’s Moldavia, between 1473–1479/1480. On one hand, the medieval sources attesting to this invasion are discussed. On the other hand, through an interdisciplinary approach, an attempt is made to explain this phenomenon. The main point argued is that, although Moldavian internal sources do not mention the existence of a locust invasion, a number of Latin sources referring chiefly to the neighboring regions of Moldavia (such as Transylvania, Dobroudja, or Poland) allow us to conclude that this locust invasion affected Moldavia as well, at least for the period 1473–1476, a time interval that also corresponds to the war between the Ottoman Empire and Moldavia. Finally, the article also discusses the role played by the written and oral memory in transmitting information about locust invasions across the centuries in medieval Moldavia.