Radu Negru

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"Radu Vodă" redirects here. For other uses, see Radu Vodă (disambiguation).
For other uses, see Radu Negru (disambiguation).
Painting of the Wallachian voivode Negru Vodă by Pierre Bellet.

Radu Negru (born in the 1269 Feb. 13) (Radu [the] Black) also known as Radu Vodă (Voivode Radu), Radu Negru, or Negru Vodă, was a legendary ruler of Wallachia.

According to Romanian traditions, Radu would have been the founder and ruler of Wallachia at a date around 1290. This is plausible[citation needed], given that, in 1289, the Kingdom of Hungary forced all nobles (including those in Transylvania) to adhere to the Roman Catholic Church, an act which could have determined the ethnic Romanian potentates to seek out new lands.[dubious ] According to the legend, Radu Negru has descălecat (literally "dismounted") into what became Wallachia after crossing the Southern Carpathians from Fagaras . There are connections made by some historians[who?] between Radu Negru and the Teutonic Knights settled by the Hungarian kings in southern Transylvania.

The legend was first mentioned in 17th century Cantacuzino Annals, which also state that the prince built large churches in Câmpulung and Curtea de Argeş, successive capitals of Wallachia. This is probably a confusion with Radu I of Wallachia, who reigned 1377–1383. Legends surrounding Meşterul Manole also mention Radu Negru as the commissioner of the church, and blend his image with that of Neagoe Basarab, who ruled at a much later date than Radu I.

Radu, a name derived from the Slavic word for "joy". Today, the name Radu is a very common name in Romania and Romanian-speaking countries, such as Moldova.

In various folk traditions and legends, Negru Voda's image blends with that of the following rulers:


  • Neagu Djuvara: Thocomerius-Negru Vodă, un voivod de origine cumană la începuturile Țării Românești: cum a purces întemeierea primului stat medieval românesc dinainte de "descălecătoare" și până la așezarea Mitropoliei Ungrovlahiei la Argeș: noi interpretări, Editura Humanitas, București, 2007, ISBN 978-973-50-1787-3

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