Battle of Posada

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Battle of Posada
Part of the Hungarian-Wallachian Wars
Molnár József Carol Robert fleeing from Posada Battle.jpg
Dezső sacrifices himself protecting Charles Robert. by József Molnár, oil on canvas in 1855
Date November 9, 1330 – November 12, 1330
Location Near the border between Transylvania and Wallachia, in present-day Romania.
Result Decisive Wallachian victory[1]
Belligerents
Coa Hungary Country History Charles I 2 (1310-1342).svg Kingdom of Hungary Coa Romania Country Wallachia History 2 (14th century).svg Wallachia
Commanders and leaders
Charles I Robert Basarab I
Strength
30,000[2] possibly 10,000[2]
Casualties and losses
Very heavy[2] Light[2]

The Battle of Posada (November 9, 1330 – November 12, 1330)[3] was fought between Basarab I of Wallachia and Charles I Robert of Hungary.

The small Wallachian army led by Basarab, formed of cavalry, foot archers, as well as local peasants, managed to ambush and defeat the 30,000-strong Hungarian army, in a mountainous region near the border between Oltenia and Severin.

The battle resulted in a major Wallachian victory and disaster for Charles Robert, becoming a turning point in the politics of Hungary[dubious ], which had to abandon its hopes of extending the kingdom to the Black Sea[citation needed]. For Wallachia, the victory meant an increase in morale and the further independent evolution of the state.[citation needed]

Background[edit]

The army of Charles Robert Anjou ambushed by Basarab's army at Posada from Vienna Illuminated Chronicle manuscript (1330) The Vlach (Romanian) warriors rolled down rocks over the cliff edges in a place where the Hungarian mounted knights could not escape from them nor climb the heights to dislodge the Vlachs warriors.

Some historians claim that the Cumans aided the Wallachians in the battle. In 1324, Wallachia was a vassal of Hungary, and Robert referred to Basarab as "our Transalpine Voivode".[4]

The war started with encouragement from the Voivode of Transylvania[5] and a certain Dionisie, who later bore the title Ban of Severin.[4] In 1330, Robert captured the long disputed Wallachian citadel of Severin and handed it to the Transylvanian Voivode.[5]

Basarab sent envoys who asked for the hostilities to cease, and in return offered to pay 7,000 marks in silver, submit the fortress of Severin to Robert, and send his own son as hostage.[5] According to the Viennese Illuminated Chronicle, a contemporary account, Robert would have said about Basarab: "He is the shepherd of my sheep, and I will take him out of his mountains, dragging him by his beard." Another account writes that Robert said that: "...he will drag the Voivode from his cottage, as would any driver his oxen or shepherd his sheep."[5]

The King's councillors begged him to accept the offer or give a milder reply, but he refused and led his 30,000-strong army deeper into Wallachia "without proper supplies or adequate reconnaissance".[5] Basarab was unable to stand a battle in the open field against a large army, due to the poor state of his troops, and he decided to retreat somewhere into the mountains of Transylvanian Alps.

Robert entered Curtea de Argeş, the main city of the Wallachian state. He realised that Basarab had fled into the mountains and decided to give chase. After many days of difficult marching in the Carpathian Mountains, with his troops beginning to starve, the king and Basarab agreed to an armistice, with the condition that the latter would provide guides who knew the way out of the mountains and would lead the army back to the Hungarian plain by the shortest route.[5]

The guides, however, were ordered to lead the Hungarians into an ambush. When the army entered a ravine, the Wallachians started to attack them from all sides, shooting arrows and pelting them with trees and stones.[5][6]

Battle[edit]

Posada Battle in Viennese Illuminated Chronicle

The location of the battle is still debated among historians. One theory gives the location of the battle at Loviştea, in some mountain gorges, in the valley of Olt, Transylvania.[4] However, Romanian historian Neagu Djuvara denies this and states that the location of the battle would be somewhere at the border between Oltenia and Severin regions.[7]

The Wallachian army, led by Basarab himself, probably numbered less than 10,000 men and consisted of cavalry, infantry archers and some locally recruited peasants.[6] When Robert saw his best knights being killed, without being able to fight back, while the escape routes were blocked by the Wallachian cavalry, he gave his royal robes and insignia to one of his captains – "who dies under a hail of arrows and stones" – and with a few loyal subjects made a difficult escape to Visegrád "clad in dirty civilian clothes."[5]

Robert later recounted in detail, in a charter of December 13, 1335, how one "Nicholas", son of a "Radoslav", saved his life by defending him from the swords of five Wallachian warriors, giving him enough time to escape.[4] Most of the Hungarian army – which included many nobles – was destroyed; among the casualties were the Voivode of Transylvania and the priest who accompanied the King.[5]

Aftermath[edit]

The victory represented the survival of the Wallachian state, as well as the beginning of a period of tense relationship between Basarab and the Kingdom of Hungary, which lasted until 1344 when Basarab sent his son Alexandru in order to re-establish a relationship between the two states.

Because of its large financial power, the Kingdom of Hungary quickly rebuilt its army and found itself in conflict with the Holy Roman Empire in 1337. However, the Hungarian King maintained a de jure suzerainty over Wallachia until the diplomatic disputes had been solved.[8]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Djuvara, pp.190 – "Când ultimii scăpaţi teferi din marea oaste a lui Carol cel Mare s-au pierdut în noapte, au rămas in mâinile românilor o mulţime de prizonieri şi o uriaşă pradă...".
  2. ^ a b c d Djuvara, pp.172–180
  3. ^ Djuvara, pp.19 – "... marea bătălie zisă de la Posada (9-12 noiembrie 1330);".
  4. ^ a b c d Ghyka, p. 59.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i Dlugosz, p. 278.
  6. ^ a b Djuvara, pp.184-186 - "Ne putem închipui manevra lui Basarab: văzând calea pe care a apucat armata ungară, a depăşit-o în marş forţat cu oastea sa de cavaleri şi cu pedestrime de arcaşi din oastea mare. A strâns din ţăranii şi pădurarii locului de au pregătit acele prisăci, tăieri de copaci şi întărituri. Cei care, de pe dealurile înconjurătoare, îi copleşesc sub ploaie de săgeţi pe cavaleri sunt mai probabil unităţi de arcaşi pedeştrii."
  7. ^ Djuvara, pp.181-182 - "...atacul lui Basarab împotriva armatei ungare are loc când aceasta a ajuns la acele margini ale regatului pe care Basarab, în concepţia suzeranului Carol Robert, le deţinea pe nedrept - acelea nu puteau fi decât la graniţa Olteniei, inăuntrul banatului de Severin, ...".
  8. ^ Djuvara, pp.190–195 – "...Basarab l-ar fi trimis prin 1343 sau 1344, pe fiul său Alexandru, asociat la domnie, pentru a restabili legăturile cu regele Ungariei, ...".

References[edit]

  • Długosz, Jan & Michael, Maurice. The Annals of Jan Długosz. (Abridged edition). IM Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-901019-00-4
  • Ghyka, Matila. A Documented Chronology of Roumanian History - from prehistoric times to the present day. Oxford 1941.
  • Djuvara, Neagu. Thocomerius - Negru Voda. Un voivod de origine cumana la inceputurile Tarii Romanesti. Bucharest: Humanitas, 2007. ISBN 978-973-50-1731-6.