Thanks. It's certainly slowing my typing speed down...
@Snowcat. Since the pages on organisation of the army are only a few in the A D Xenopol book i have decided to translate it all for you and post it here. Will do it in the next few days.
Thanks muchly. I'm currently processing an order for the Xenopol book from Andrei at Cartei de Citit (the link you originally gave me).
Will be interesting to see how Xenopol's organisation summary compares with Dogaru, Heath etc and my own pooling of information.
As promised i have started the translation. More to come later.
A D Xenopol. The History of the Romanians from Trajan's Dacia
Volume IV. The Age of Stefan the Great
Chapter 2. Section IV. The Military Organisation of the Romanian Principalities
1. Social Elements
The most important era of the heroic age of Romanian history stretches from the foundation of the Romanian Principalities until the death of Stefan the Great. To undertake the study of this period we must look at the most important element on which the survival of the Principalities depended on, the military organisation.
The Romanian armies, almost from the foundation of the states, were made up of two elements: a local element named the Army of the Land (Oastea de Tara) and the other element made up of foreigners paid with wages named Lefegii (literally wage-earners). The foreign corps with which the Voivodes strengthened their own troops had to be paid, regardless if they were hired by the Voivodes themselves or if they were sent as help from other princes. In those times it wasn't seen as wrong for soldiers to enrol in foreign armies, an act which today would lead to the loss of citizenship, or even fighting in foreign armies against ones own country, which today as seen as an act of high treason. That is why we often see in the armies of the Romanian Voivodes exiled Hungarians or Poles, fighting against the Hungarian and Polish armies, or even more common Moldavians serving in Wallachian armies, such as during the time of the wars between Vasile Lupu and Matei Basarab..
In the beginning most of the strength of the Romanian Principalities' armies came from the local armies, while foreign troops were only an auxiliary support force. Stefan the Great at the Battle of Racova, besides his 40,000 Moldavians, constituting his main army, also had 5,000 Szekelys and 2,000 Poles. As time passed the local military element became weaker and weaker, due to causes that we will talk about later, and the Lefegii became the most important part of the Romanian armies, weakening the overall strength of the army, which could not be long lasting and significant unless they were tied to the country they had to protect.
With blood that is bought you can not protect the independence and the existence of a people. But let us not talk about things ahead and let us come back to our orignial discussion.
Not only Stefan the Great had foreign troops in his armies, but most likely his predecessors, Mircea the Elder and Vlad the Impaler. That is why we see that when Vlad the Impaler asked for help from Matthias Corvinus against the Turks, the Hungarian King immediately asked the Pope for 20,000 golden coins to aid his ally the Wallachian Voivode. From the need to pay his armies stemmed the countless requests for monetary help from Stefan of Moldavia to Venice and the Papacy. In those times wars did not cost too much money for the Voivode. The army was not kept on a war footing during peace time, each man went about his business and would come under arms only when summoned during times of war. The gathering of the army was greater or smaller, depending on the need of the moment, without any other rules than the wishes of the Voivode who decided when and where the armies would muster. We can not talk about a permanent army in the Principalities until later on, when the Lefegii, kept in the country to guard the Voivode at times of peace, took the character of a permanent army, which only had as purpose the trade of war.
Even during the war it was not the Voivode who took care of maintaining the troops. The clothing of the troops, the weaponry and, what may seem out of the ordinary, even their food had to be obtained privately.
There were no uniforms, anything that came at hand could be used as weapons: bows and arrows, clubs and maces, scythes and axes, tools that could be found in every household, and even when spears, swords and pavises were used they were manufactured cheaply. It was only the artilery, which was introduced in the XVth century from Western Europe, which was on the expense of the Voivode.
On the fact that the food had to be obtained by the soldiers themselves we have two certain proofs. First we have evidence that when Stefan the Great allowed his militias to take their families and children to safety from the invasion of the Tatars he imposed on them to bring back food provisions to the Danube within 15 days. Also, the Polish historian Martin Bielski, which had participated as a soldier in the battle between the Poles and the Moldavian army of Petru Rares at Obertyn in 1531, in his description of the art of war of the neighbouring people, he writes about the Moldavians that 'they hang their food to their saddles, cheese and white bread, as I have myself seen at the battle of Obertyn'. If the soldiers hang their food on their saddles it is obvious that they brought their own food from home and it was not provided by the military administration, in which case it would have to be carried in common by wagons. That is why we never encounter in the chronicles of the time any mention of provisions for the local troops. Whereas after the Principalities became Turkish vassals there are plenty of mentions of provions provided to the Turkish armies. Even to the Lefegii no food was provided, only wages, they had to provide their own food. What did the soldiers do when the war was extended and the breed and cheese ran out? They started pillaging wherever they were, whether be in their own country or in foreign lands, if the locals refused to provide food. The Lefegii did the same thing, which saw pillaging as a more effective way of providing food rather than buying it. This was the custom not only in the Romanian armies but also in many other European armies until the permanent armies under the adiministration of the state were introduced. When the Poles retreated from Moldova after being defeated at Cosmin Forest they broke the agreement of going back the same way they came because that land had already been pillaged and could not support the passing of an army. The pillaging of the land and its inhabitants is an old tradition, which has been forgotten today when the state administers the army. We also encounter another system of calling the people to arms in those days, called the calling in ransom (in dobanda), which means that soldiers were promised to be paid from the booty obtained either from the enemy army or from the foreign land, a chronicler observed that the Moldavians 'were very greedy when it came to extract booty and receive their ransom'.
From this system of organisation we can see that the war was cheap for the Voivode. That is why wars were a constant occuring during those times.
The army of the land was divided in curteni (courtiers), slujitori (servants) - split up between calarasi (horsemen) and dorobanti (infantrymen) and the gloata (the general levy).
The curteni were the higher ranking land owners which were required to follow the Voivode in times of war. Even the highest boyars were required to join the Voivode's army at times of war. That is why the Vornic of the lower country, instead of administering his lands from Barlad, the place of his residence, he left some men there in his stead and he followed the Voivode everywhere in his expeditions. After the battle of Cosmin Forest, Stefan the Great defeated the Polish relief army by sending his curteni led by the Vornic Boldur. During the first invasion of the Turks in Moldova in 1475, the Paharnic Costea led several corps of curteni and during the second Turkish expedition 1,000 Moldavian curteni were put under the command of the Vistiernic (treasurer) Iuga and so on. All the boyars and the nobles without posts in the administration had as their only obligation to join with the Voivode's armies. They all had received land at different times and were required to defend this land. The curteni were all horsemen and accompanied the Voivode everywhere. On the Danube, after Stefan the Great's militias flee, his 10,000 curteni did not abandon him, they retreated with him the White Valley (Valea Alba) where they dismounted and fought that memorable battle which amazed even Stefan's enemies.
The curteni weren't only boyars but also some of the servants, that is the calarasi, who also fought mounted. Otherwise the number of 10,000 curteni during the time of Stefan the Great seems too large. The calarsi were not nobles, they were common folk from the class of the mosneni, which the Voivode had allowed them free use of their lands with the condition that they will serve in the army at their own expense and without wages. The savant Voivode of Moldova, Cantemir, differentiated the curteni and the calarasi, saying that 'the first followed the Voivode in battle because they had inherited land from their ancestors while the calarasi followed the Voivode because he gave them ownership over their lands' (on which they had been living from before the time of the foundation of the Principality.
Without the text from Cantemir, which can some sometimes be confusing, then it would be very hard to distinguish between boyars, curteni and calarasi; because the boyars also gained their land from Voivodal grants and at the origin of every boyar's land they was such a grant.
TO BE CONTINUED...
To be noted that in his work Curteni si Slujitori Nicolae Stoicescu explains that although Xenopol attempted to clarify the situation of the curteni and the calarasi he did make some errors. He especially refers to Xenopol's analysis of Cantemir's work which he deems to be confusing.
Last edited by Wallachian; February 23, 2012 at 06:19 AM.
Thanks. An interesting start. It already differs a little from my other reading. eg I understood the Curteni to be the lesser boyars, forming the standing army of cavalry (and also infantry, though I was less convinced of the latter), many of whom were originally peasants who acquired their titles and wealth for bravery in battle - the viteji (brave ones). The records tell of Dracula 'promoting' many of these peasant viteji into his standing army. Xenopol appears to be referring to the curteni as more than just lesser boyars - perhaps he is lumping the greater boyars in with the lesser boyars and calling them all curteni; this would seem more likely. He also states that the curteni were always cavalry. This runs counter to Heath and other sources I've read. There is also an almost constant state of contradiction re the curteni being calarasi (light cavalry) or 'heavy cavalry alongside the boyars and viteji'. Considering the numbers, I'm inclined towards the curteni (and the viteji) being well equipped light cavalry, with only the greater boyars and the Voievod's guard (paid professional mercenary men at arms) being heavy cavalry.
Looking forward to the next installment.
As you can see from my subsequent edit you are absolutely correct. As i mentioned Xenopol wrote in the XIXth century so many of his interpretations are now outdated or flawed. Indeed, Xenopol lumps togehter the lesser boyars (Boieri Mici) and the greater boyars (Boieri Mari) into one class called the 'curteni'. This is quite incorrect. You will see later on that he also isn't sure if the 'curteni' and the 'calarasi' are the same social class or not. Which in fact they are not.
The current accepted social status is exactly as you wrote it:
Curteni - Lesser Boyars - light cavalry
Viteji - former peasants raised to higher ranks through bravery - light/medium cavalry
Vlad the Impaler was very keen on promoting nobles from within the lower classes. First, because he didn't trust the boyars as they had betrayed his father and were prone to betrying him and second because he knew that by promoting these peasants they would be loyal to him as they owed their status to him.
The only heavy cavalry were the highest ranking boyars and the voivode's retinue.
Nice to see I'm on the right track...
I also wonder if the viteji are really separate from the curteni, or rather if they are absorbed into/part of/within them.
Actually you are both right. Vitez can mean a knight or a brave one, hero, which was in the Medieval context one and the same thing in most cases.
For example, the serbian vitezes weren't actually really knights in the same way as the hungarian knights for example, just because they didn't play exactly the same role in the feudal system of the country. But they were knights in the context of brave, heroes from high birth, the same way the western knights were perceived.
#30The cross-cultural influence and presence of words borrowed from their Slavic neighbours (both from the south and the north) in language of Romanians is evident (they were surrounded by Slavs, after all). For example, Romanians used to use the Cyrillic script at first, swapping it with Latin later on. Also, their liturgies were in Church Slavonic. But, about the pronunciation - isn't Romanian "j" pronounced more like "zh" (for example, like the "s" in pleasure)? Because, in Serbian, "j" is pronounced in a completely different way (let's say like "y" in year), so the two of you might have a slight misunderstanding there. And the word apparently took a slight change in meaning along with pronunciation when traversing to Romanian.#32
Kind of like bogatiri, eh? And some of them were knights in the sense of Western ones (the Order of the Dragon).#31
Man, that was weird... I mean, reeeally weird! Sent shivers down my spine. My surname is Janković! Are you a psychic by any chance? A wielder of some dark power? Should we perform exorcism on ye?
(I suppose "Weird All" Yankovic was probably the first thing... I mean person, that hit your mind, eh? Or am I wrong? Oh boy, tell me you're not a psychic! What else do you know about me?! )
Edit: Cyrillic script kept its foothold even through the beginning of the XX century (although just in traces). But yeah, official replacement took place in mid-nineteenth century.
Haha, that is really funny. No, i actually thought about my old maths tutor back in high school whose name was Iancovici and I figured she was of Serbian descent. Isn't Jankovic a common Serbian last name? So rest assured i am not a psychic.
And I thought 'calarasi' was simply a military designation: 'light cavalry', not a class (like curteni, boieri etc). So calarasi could equally include curteni and other auxiliary light horse recruited from the plains.
No the calarasi were not recruited from the curteni. The calarasi are a separate social class, they were common folk. They are part of the so called 'slujitori' or servants. The calarasi are the mounted servants and are recruited from the peasantry.
Here is an extract from the book Curteni si Slujitori which might clear things up.
Chapter 1 The curteni and their evolution
I. Their origin and their evolution
II. The social class of the curteni
III. About the two concepts of the terms 'curteni' and 'rosii'
Chapter 2 The slujitori and their evolution
I. The slujitori - another category of soliders apart from the curteni
II. About the two concepts of the term 'slujitori'
III. The common slujitori of the royal domains
IV. The enrolment of landless peasants to the slujitori to escape serfdom
V. The main types of slujitori and their evolutions
1. The calarasi
2. The dorobanti
VI. New types of slujitori at the end of the XVIIth century and the beginning of the XVIIIth century
7. Rosii (Joimiri)
Chapter 3 Other warbands and guilds of slujitori
5. Archers, Spearmen, Sintari, Gunners, Cannoneers
As we can see the calarasi are a completely different class from the curteni.
As a side note here's another document you might enjoy. And it is already in English.
Neamt County Boyars - Part of the Moldavian Elite (XVth to XVIIth centuries) http://atlas.usv.ro/www/codru_net/CC16/2/boyars.pdf
Last edited by Wallachian; February 24, 2012 at 04:16 AM.
Interesting. What then is the difference between the curteni and calarasi in military terms - anything? Or is it noble light cavalry vs peasant light cavalry? Any difference in numbers? Are the calarasi (being servants of the curteni) part of the standing army or not? ie separately deployed followers or integral to the curteni units? And what is the difference between boieri mici and curteni given both share lesser boyar status?
Thanks again. I'll get to that boyar link eventually...
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