Stefan III the Great

(biography, photos, videos) Stefan Musat

photo of Stephen III the Great

  • Name: Stephen III the Great ( Stefan Musat )
  • Date of death: 2 July 1504
  • Place of birth: village Borzesti, Bacau, Romania
  • Activity: the ruler of the Moldavian Principality
  • Marital status: married

    Stefan III the Great: a biography

    Stefan III the Great – one of the greatest rulers of the Moldavian Principality. He was the head of this state for 47 years, and today historians say about him: «he took the fragile clay of the country, and left a solid stone Principality.» He strengthened the Central government, successfully resisted a very powerful enemy States of the Ottoman Empire, Poland and Hungary. During the time when he wrote the biography of Stefan the Great, Moldavian Principality became a significant political force in Eastern Europe. His image is one of the most popular and beloved in the Moldovan folklore and literature.

    Stephen The Great
    Stefan III the Great | Belgorod-Dniester

    The particular birthday of the future great master of history has not preserved, but it is known that the biography of Stephen III the Great takes the count in 1429. He was born in the village of Barzesti, today it is a town in the Romanian region of bacău. Stefan, or how often they write Stephen the Great, was a descendant of a large dynasty of masters of the Moldavian Principality, which bore the General name Musati, which means «beautiful». His father Bogdan II led the country until the year 1451. The legendary mother of the future ruler was Alta Donna.

    Stephen The Great
    Stefan III the Great | Comisarul

    Before Stefan came to the throne, there sat his uncle, Peter III Aron, who above date conquered the Duchy from his brother. He cut the head of Bogdan II, the shedding of fraternal blood. Like many of his predecessors, Peter Aron was thinking more about entertainment and fun, spending the Treasury on their own interests and in the end brought the country to such a miserable state that even the paltry tribute to Turkey for Moldova proved to be unsustainable. Stefan III the Great raised an army numbering six thousand men and attacked a relative, whose army exceeded the wife of the attacker. However, on 12 April 1457 nephew defeated his uncle, becoming a kind of Moldavian hamlet. Peter fled to Poland, and the Meeting of the Moldovan proclaimed Stephen the new owner.

    The Owner Of Moldova

    Ascended the throne, Stephen was engaged in strengthening the country. He limited the influence of the boyars on the economy and began to buy up their land. It is important to note that those who expressed dissatisfaction, he acted strictly, once lost 40 at the same time feudal lords. That’s when the new ruler of the Moldovan farmers received the status «free», although Stefan III the Great did not do it for their own sake, but for the sake of strengthening his army, because serfs were not allowed to perform military service. He also built several new FORTS and strengthened the capacity of existing ones.

    Due to changes in the economy began to improve agriculture, crafts developed, trade flourished. Interestingly, in that era, the Moldovan fleet, which previously had some of great value, constantly present even in the Mediterranean, and ships of Moldova reached Venice and Genoa.

    Stephen The Great
    The ruler of the Principality of Moldavia from 1457 to 1504 years | Moldovenii

    But even more successful was the foreign policy of Stephen III the Great. Actually, it is for the successful conduct of the fighting he received this high-sounding title. In 1465 ruler conquered Chilia and Belgorod fortress, which today is located on the territory of Odessa region. Were defeated by Hungarian invaders in the battle near the town of Baia, which was a big surprise for the enemies of the Moldavian Principality. And when in 10 years the Ottoman Empire had decided to reclaim lost land and made a punitive campaign, the Ottomans were Valuyskiy fallen in battle. By the way, in the village of kobyl’nya Şoldăneşti district still grows a huge oak tree, near which, according to the legend, rested Stephen the Great.

    The Stephen The Great Monument
    The Stephen the Great monument | Moldova MARE

    But the lack of support from European powers had forced Stephen to agree to the payment of tribute to the Turks. The fact that in the last decade of the XV century, Moldova fought a war against Poland and Lithuania, and to be torn on two sides of a small Principality was difficult. For the sake of strengthening their positions of Stefan III the Great and even agreed to an Alliance with Russia, which previously shunned. This peace agreement led to the improvement of relations with the Crimean Tatars and helped to defeat the poles in the battle near Kuzminskogo forest.

    Icon Stephen The Great
    Famous fresco: the host with the Church in the hands | Fresca, Icoane, Arta Monumentala

    Thanks to the skillful reign of Stefan of Moldova achieved economic prosperity, but did not stop the endless wars. By the way, this owner owns the idea of the Moldavian Chronicles, known today as the «the Anonymous chronicle of Moldavia». Also when it was built many Orthodox churches and cathedrals, and developed local iconography.

    Personal life

    Information about the personal life of Stephen the Great has come down to us in oral form, so there are some discrepancies in different sources. Sometimes the first wife of Stephen III the Great called some Maruska, although their marriage does not exist and this woman is more considered a concubine. But it is precisely known that on 5 July 1463 he married Eudoxia of Kiev, granddaughter of Sophia Palaeologus. Wife gave Stephen the Third of three children: Alexander, Peter and Helen. Daughter Elena later become the wife of Ivan the Young, son of Ivan III.

    Stefan III the Great and his wife
    Stefan with his wife | Adevarul

    Four years after the wedding of Eudoxia died. It is known that Stefan was very much upset and in a new marriage, he decided only five years later, for those times quite a long time, especially for royalty. But Eudoxia of Kiev for Stefan III the Great and remained the main woman in my life. The other wives took his heart less than the value. In 1472, the owner was married to Mary Mangup, who was descended from the Imperial family of Palaeologus and the Bulgarian Royal dynasty Asanov. This marriage was strategic: as a relative of a Turkish Khan, Maria contributed to the strengthening of the position of the Moldavian Principality. To this marriage were born Stefan’s sons Bogdan and Ilya, the second of whom died at an early age.

    Maria Vonica
    Maria Vonica — the last wife of Stephen the Great | Adevarul

    Third wife of Stephen III the Great was Maria Vonica. She gave her husband a future successor Bogdan III curve, sat down on the throne after his father, and daughters Anna, went to the monastery, and Princess Maria. Last wife had Stephen a big impact, mainly manifested in the strong spread of Orthodoxy. That’s when her master began to appear in icons, appeared the famous portrait, where Stephen the Great, the Third holds in his hands the layout of the Church, symbolizes submission to Jesus Christ.

    Vlad III the Impaler
    Vlad III Tepes is the best friend of Stephen’s prototype of count Dracula | Atheist website of Belarus

    I should add that Stefan had another son, Peter IV Rares, which led the country in 1527. Who was the mother of the child, history is silent, so it is often called Peter a bastard. It is noteworthy that the best friend and loyal ally of the legendary Moldavian ruler was the famous Wallachian Prince Vlad III the Impaler, considered to be the prototype of the vampire count Dracula from the novel by Bram Stoker. Together they won for Stephen the Principality from his uncle, and subsequently fought many battles side by side.


    The cause of death of Stephen the Great is not clear. He died on 2 July 1504, at the age of 75 years in Suchavskiy fortress, which once crowned. Buried host Moldova in his Orthodox Putna monastery, named after the nearby river.


    Stephen The Great

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