III, 2007, 2

Parallel portraits: Philip the Good and Stephen the Great | p. 27–42

collective portrait, fifteenth century, Philip the Good, prince, Stephen the Great, symbolic gestures


The starting point of the paper was a brief remark made by Georges Duby, who considered the Moldavian prince to be a kind of a Duke of Burgundy. A short comparison between the two monarchs underlines striking similarities. Both of them lost their fathers during childhood, both developed a very ambitious matrimonial policy, and both were married three times. Their reigns coincided with the apogee of the two principalities, and in both cases the political structures they created crumbled not long after their death. Philip, just as Stephen the Great, pursued an anti-Ottoman policy. Moreover, both were forced to pursue a policy of equilibrium between very powerful neighbors: France, England, the Holy Empire in the Burgundian case, and Hungary, Poland, Ottoman Empire in the case of Moldavia. Naturally, there were also a lot of differences between the two princes.   The purpose of our comparison was neither to find a connection between the duke of Burgundy and the voivode of Moldavia nor to decide which one of the two princes was „greater”. The article aims at sketching a „collective portrait” of the prince in the fifteenth century. By integrating Stephen the Great in the broader perspective of late medieval Europe, one can better understand the words, the symbolic gestures and the decisions of the Moldavian prince.