Mihai Vitazo is the first ruler who managed to unite the three Roman provinces, Moldova, Wallachia and Transylvania. August 9 marks the 421st anniversary of the assassination of Governor Mihai Fitazol – the first unifier of Romanians.
On August 9, 1601, Mihai Fitazul was killed in the Turzii plain by Walloon mercenaries from the army of General Giorgio Basta, his former ally. Mihai Vitazo ruled Wallachia between 1593-1601, in Transylvania between 1599-1600 and in Moldova in 1600.
Who was Michael the Brave?
Mihai the Brave (born in 1557 or 1558 in the town of Targol de Flüce in Wallachia), the son of the good Petracho (lord of Wallachia between 1554-1557), ascended all ranks of rulers, from Ban de Mehdeni, Stolnik, the great postman, until the Great Ban of Craiova ( 1593).
In September 1593, he became ruler of Romania (1593-1601), with the support of powerful boyar families such as Buzeşti and Cantacuzini, as well as the Transylvanian Prince Sigismund Bathory.
“The brave Mihai occupied the throne of Romanian lands in the fall of 1953, at a time when the international situation seemed favorable to the expulsion of Romanian lands from the slope of economic collapse and the loss of its state,” the statement read. In the comprehensive work “History of the Romanians” published under the auspices of the Romanian Academy (Encyclopedic Publishing House, Bucharest, 2001).
Part of the European states had gathered at the initiative of Pope Clement VIII in the “Holy League”.
At the end of the 16th century, the Roman states internally experienced the strongest increase in their dependence on the Ottoman gate until then, as their internal autonomy was seriously undermined, while the expansionist policy of the three great powers was confirmed externally – the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Empire and Poland.
Internally, Mihai Phytazol strengthened the princely power. He quickly emerged as a fighter for independence, but also for the defense of the cause of Christianity, taking the initiative to join the “Holy League” himself.
Unification of anti-Ottoman policy
His anti-Ottoman policy crystallized in the system of political-military alliances of the Roman states since 1594.
The war against the Ottomans began on November 13, 1594, with the attack on the Ottoman creditors and merchants located in Wallachia, and then, from December 1594 to January 1595, the fighting spread to the Danube, to Giorgio, Rusiuk, etc. The brave Mikhail organized his own army of mercenaries, consisting of Poles, Zeklers, Cossacks, Serbs, etc., as well as cavalry units, “Reds”, and “Darabanti” units, to which volunteers from the south of the Danube were added.
In order to face confrontations with the Turks, the brave Michael sought to strengthen the alliance with the Prince of Transylvania, Sigismund Bathory. On May 1, 1595, a delegation of 12 nobles left the mountains for Alba Iulia to conduct negotiations for this purpose.
On May 20, a simple alliance was not made – as the man wanted -, but a humiliating alliance was concluded for Mihai the Brave, who had become from an ally of a subject, the deputy of Sigismund Bathory in Wallachia, with low authority and towards the great nobles of the country, who had to take their advice into account in all the governing laws.” (“History of the Romanians”, Encyclopedic Publishing House, Bucharest, 2001)
In August 1595, a large Ottoman army led by Grand Vizier Sinan Pasha crossed the Danube at Giorgio. After the famous Battle of Călugăreni (13/23 August 1595), in the swampy area of Neajlov, where Mihai the Brave achieved a brilliant tactical victory over the Ottoman vanguard, the master of Romanian lands decided to retreat to Bucharest, and then to Târgovişte.
The Ottoman army occupied Bucharest and Targovishti, but in October 1595 the combined armies of Wallachia, Moldova and Transylvania forced the Ottoman armies to retreat. Also in October 1595, the Turkish army suffered a heavy defeat at Giorgio, and in November 1595 “the region of Wallachia knew the moment of liberation from oppressive Ottoman domination.” (“History of the Romanians”, Encyclopedic Publishing House, Bucharest, 2001).
In 1596, battles with the Turks continued in the south of the Danube, as there was an expedition in the Balkans led by Baba Novak, commander Mihai Vitazul.
On May 30 / June 9, 1598, a treaty of alliance was concluded between Wallachia and the Habsburg Empire.
Sigismund Bathory, Prince of Transylvania, abdicated in 1598, and then again in 1599, in favor of his cousin, Cardinal André Bathory. As such, in Transylvania and Moldova, through Andrei Bathory and Ieremia Movilă, both enemies of the brave Mihai, the position of the adherents of the pro-alliance policy with the Turks was strengthened.
“As long as there was a hostile prince outside the Carpathians – a place of refuge in the event of an Ottoman invasion – Mihai’s rule was threatened, even the province of Voivodeship faced the opposition of some boyar groups supported by Poland.” Historian Florin Constantinio in the volume “An Honest History of the Roman People” (Encyclopedic Universe Publishing House, Bucharest, 2002).
Realizing that these circumstances made it difficult to achieve a general Christian alliance or a narrower Roman alliance against the Turks, Mihai Fitazul took the initiative to remove Andre Bathory.
The Roman army entered Transylvania in two directions: one part of the army led by Mihai Vitazul through the Pozuloi Valley and Telegenolui, and the other led by Pan Oderia, Pozti Boyar and Baba Novak through the Olt Valley towards Sibiu. The Roman army defeated Andrei Bathory’s army at the Battle of Elimbăr, near Sibiu, on October 18/28, 1599.
Mihaefitazol entry into Alba Yulia
On November 1, 1599, three days after the Battle of Chilimbur, the brave Michael victoriously entered Alba Iulia, a city which he, after the conquest of Moldavia, was to convert into the first capital of the three nations.
On May 27, 1600, Mihai Phytazol issued a charter attesting to the union and called himself “the voivode and lord of all Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia”.
May 27, 1600 is the day a Roman chief appeared for the first time in documents bearing the title “Lord of the Roman Land, Transylvania and Moldavia”.
On this date Mihai Vitazol, after the campaigns in Transylvania and Moldova, officially became the leader of the three Roman states.
“Since 1600, no Roman could think of a union without his gigantic figure, without raising his axe or ax to the heavens of justice, without his pure and perfect tragic poetic image.” Nicolae Iorga for Mihytazol.
The military campaign was swift and crowned with success, both in the battles between Mihai Fitiazul and Andre Bathory (which took place October 18-28, 1599 in Chilimpur), and won by the Roman lord, who entered Alba on November 1, 1599. Yulia, as well as by the conquest of Bacau , where he defeated the Moldavian ruler Eremia Movili, on May 10, followed by the surrender of the Suceava fortress without a fight by the Moldavian garrison.
Since coming to power, in September 1593, the Great Lord has pursued two great ideals: independence and union. In order to achieve them, he will clearly define his goals and priorities.
Historian Florin Constantinio wrote: “The same security considerations – the elimination of Eremia Movili, who showed himself as an enemy of Mihai – determined the campaign of the Mountain Man in Moldova, which also came under his authority (1600)”.
At the end of April and the beginning of May 1600, the brave Mihai attacked Moldova from three different directions, and on May 6-7 the bulk of the army was in Bacau. On May 26, 1600, Mihai Fitazol managed to occupy Suceava fortress.
In a charter issued in Iai on May 27, 1600, confirming the new political reality, Mihai Vitazol was entitled “Io Mihai voivode, by the mercy of God, Lord of the Roman land, Transylvania and Moldavia.”
Mihai Fitazul made the first attempt at political unification of the Roman lands, and for the first time in history the three Roman states were united under the same leadership.
The union was determined by the need to create a strong anti-Ottoman front and facilitated by the economic, political and cultural ties that existed between the three medieval Roman states.
The union achieved by Mihai Vitazol, however, coalesced against all those who saw their plans for political domination in the region threatened. Emperor Rudolf II did not want the brave Mihai rule in Transylvania, and his general Giorgio Basta was a fierce opponent of the Voivodeship.
Also, the Hungarian nobles in Transylvania were hostile to Michael the Brave as a result of the actions he took here.
In September 1600, Mihaj Vitazul was defeated by the army of Basta and the Hungarian nobles at the Battle of Merslow, and in October 1600 the Polish army under Jan Zamoiski occupied Moldova, and Eremia Moviglio was restored to his post.
In January 1601, the brave Michael arrived at the imperial court in Vienna to seek help. Here he wrote an explanatory note on his actions, addressed to Emperor Rudolf II.
In the course of reinstating Sigismund Bathory on the throne of Transylvania, Emperor Rudolf II agreed to support the Roman lord.
The Allies, Mihai the Brave and Georgi Basta, were victorious at the Battle of Gurslow (3/13 August 1601) against Sigismund Bathory.
However, General Giorgio Basta had his own ambitions, being convinced that the Habsburg emperor wanted Transylvania for the empire. By his order, on August 9/19, 1601, the brave Michael was killed by Walloon mercenaries in the camp of Cambia Turzi, near Turda.
His body was buried at an unknown location, but his head was brought to Wallachia by one of the former captains of the lords and buried in Delo Monastery, near Targovishti.
Statue of Michael the Brave from Alba Iulia. Unveiled by Ceaușescu in 1968
One of the most famous symbols of Alba Iulia is the bronze statue of Michael the Brave located in the Castle of Alba Carolina in front of the Palace of the Princes of Transylvania and not far from the Museum and Union Hall.
The moment of the unveiling of the statue of Mihai Vitazol, 54 years ago, on November 28, 1968, was a special moment. It has been 50 years since the union of Transylvania with Romania.
The event was attended by Nicolae Ceausescu himself, who at that time held the most important position in the state, the position of General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party.
It is said that the communist leader also decided that the work should be done by sculptor Oscar Hahn, based on the idea that the artist was of advanced age, and the statue of Mihai Vitazol would have been his last significant work.
In fact, his artistic achievements continued. The placement of the statue in front of the former palace of the princes of Transylvania was not accidental.
The building is where Mihai Fitazol lived and worked during a short ten-month period, from which he led from Alba Iulia the fates of the Principality of Transylvania.
The only bronze statue, made by Oscar Hahn, is dedicated to Vivod, where the character is depicted on horseback. The artist chose to capture Mihai at the pose of his triumphant entry into Alba Iulia, on November 1, 1599.
The ruler’s personality is solemn, determined, and marked by the significance of the moment. To reproduce the physical features, the sculptor was guided by the most famous ancient images of the voivode.
Mihai wears the famous Boseman hat, the hat with a bunch of feathers on the right side. He wears a large cloak and the scepter is held victoriously in his left hand. That is, as the records of that time testify, Mihai Fitazol was left-handed.
The monument, which is 8.46 meters high, with a base of 2 meters high, is evidence that the memory of Mihae Phytazol is still alive in Alba Iulia in Citate.
Sources: Agerpres, Albioligro – scientific advisor: Dr. Theodore Roro – Historian
Image source: (c) www.istorie-pe-scurt.ro
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