John III the Terrible
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He was the grandson of Stephen the Great and the son of Bogdan III and his Armenian mistress Serpega. It is said he spent part of his life being a merchant in Constantinople, where he had closely studied the Ottomans and their weaknesses.
Ioan was one of the last medieval Romanian rulers to battle the Turks. His nickname "the Terrible" was a result of his harsh treatment of the Boyars, the Moldavian nobility, which at that time were very influent in deciding the rulers of the small principality. Attempting to strengthen his rule and make an example out of disloyal nobles, Ioan III carried out several Boyar executions, thus earning his alias "the Terrible". The common people appreciated his courageous stand against the nobility's corruption and the harsh Turkish domination. He refused to double the amount of tribute paid to the Ottomans but the Moldovan army was defeated in the Battle of Cahul Lake, he was captured and executed.
His short reign was marked by fierce combat against the Ottoman Empire and their Crimean Tatar allies. In order to counter the power of the Ottomans, he allied himself with the Ukrainian Cossacks. He was victorious at the battles of Jiliște, the Siege of Brăila, Tighina and Cetatea Albă. When an army of 150,000 Turks was sent against him, he personally surrendered, being promised that his Moldavian soldiers and Cossack allies would be spared in exchange for his capture. He was killed by the Ottomans by tying his body to four camels, which were driven in different directions. His soldiers were nonetheless slaughtered mercilessly.
|Ancestors of John III the Terrible|
- The A to Z of Moldova, Andrei Brezianu,Vlad Spânu, page xxviii, 2010
|Ruler of Moldavia