Radu Paisie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Radu VII Paisie
(Petru I)
Radul voievod(a)
(Радул воєвода)
Radu Paisie - Cozia.jpg
Radu Paisie as ktitor. David and Radoslav's fresco in the infirmary of Cozia Monastery
Prince of Wallachia
ReignJune 1535 – February 1536?
PredecessorVlad Vintilă de la Slatina
SuccessorBarbu Mărăcine?
ReignFebruary 1536?–June 1539?
PredecessorBarbu Mărăcine?
SuccessorȘerban of Izvorani
(as ispravnic)
ReignSeptember 1539 – early 1544
PredecessorȘerban of Izvorani
(as ispravnic)
SuccessorStroe Florescu and Laiotă Basarab
Reign1544 – February 1545
PredecessorStroe Florescu and Laiotă Basarab
SuccessorMircea the Shepherd
Bornca. 1500
Argeș County?
Diedunknown date
Alexandria or the Sinai, Egypt Eyalet
SpouseStana (d. ca. 1535)
Ruxandra (m. ca. 1535; d. ca. 1572)
Pătrașcu the Good?
FatherRadu the Great?
SignatureRadu VII Paisie (Petru I) Radul voievod(a) (Радул воєвода)'s signature

Radu VII Paisie, officially Radul voievod(a) (Church Slavonic: Радул воєвода),[1] also known as Radu vodă Măjescul, Radu vodă Călugărul, Petru I, and Petru de la Argeș (ca. 1500[2] – after 1545), was Prince of Wallachia almost continuously from June 1535 to February 1545. A man of uncertain origins, he depicted himself as an heir to the House of Basarab and the Drăculești: the son of Prince Radu the Great and half-brother of Vlad Vintilă and Radu of Afumați. The scholar Nicolaus Olahus partly supported this account and further claimed that Paisie was his own cousin. The descent is endorsed by some modern historians, whereas others suggest that Paisie was a regular member of the boyar class, or even a fishmonger. He is known to have been a monk of the Wallachian Orthodox Church before his coronation.

Paisie took the throne as a boyar favorite in the wake of Vlad Vintilă's assassination. Despite his immediate homage to the Ottoman Empire, which exercised suzerain powers over Wallachia, some records suggest that he was chased out by the pretender Barbu Mărăcine, and possibly also maimed, by having his nose partly slashed, in early 1536. He returned to the country, possibly supported by the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom, and staged a bloody repression. He then reaffirmed his fealty to the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, and contributed to the Suleiman's expeditions into Hungary. His repression of the boyars sparked new rebellions, which created two other brief interregnums: in 1539, Șerban of Izvorani established himself as regent; for two months in early 1544, Stroe Florescu and Laiotă Basarab took the capital, Târgoviște, but were defeated by Paisie at Fântâna Țiganului.

Possibly as thanks for their military support, Paisie ceded to the Ottomans the port of Brăila. Instead, following his raids into Transylvania, he was confirmed personal ownership of two inland citadels, Vințu de Jos and Vurpăr. Despite relying on Suleiman's support, Paisie also continued to entertain notions of emancipating Christendom and the Balkans from Ottoman rule, and in 1543 even signed to an alliance with the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary. Rumors of this policy shift, and the intrigues of another claimant, Mircea the Shepherd, eventually caused Suleiman to depose him. This was done with careful planning, leaving Paisie unable to react before Mircea was in full control of Wallachia. Paisie was eventually exiled to Egypt Eyalet, where he spent the remainder of his life.

His two attested sons, including his co-ruler Marco, were either slaughtered by Mircea's family or Islamized at Suleiman's court. A possible third son, Pătrașcu the Good, came to rule Wallachia in the 1550s, between two of Mircea's reigns. This lineage would make Radu Paisie the grandfather of two other Princes, Petru Cercel and Michael the Brave. In cultural history, Paisie is remembered as the patron of Church Slavonic and one-time sponsor of the printer Dimitrije Ljubavić; as well as being the monarch who completed monastery complexes at Argeș, Cozia, Dealu, and Tismana. Through such enterprises, he and Marco elevated themselves to the fictional status of Eastern Orthodox protectors, contrasting their real-life subjugation to Suleiman.



Radu Paisie's election to the throne was made possible by a collapse of public order and the fading out of the ruling dynasty, the House of Basarab. Wallachia's elective custom had always allowed sons born outside wedlock to contest the throne, creating the background for massacres among pretenders; in the 1500s, this strife was doubled by civil wars between factions of the boyar nobility. These backed individual pretenders in exchange for domination of the country's affairs.[3] The conflicts were tolerated by the Ottoman Empire, which exercised suzerainty over Wallachia and neighboring Moldavia (the Danubian Principalities), throughout the Medieval era. The fall of Hungary in 1526 left both countries entirely controlled by the Sublime Porte.[4]

Little is known about Radu Paisie's origins and early life, although it is often assumed that he was baptized as "Petru" and had a strong connection with Argeș County, in Muntenia.[5] According to some reports, he was married to a Lady Stana.[6] It is also known that he had a sister, Cârstina.[7] One account is that he was born into boyardom, and that, following his wife's death, he had taken orders at Argeș Monastery. Scholar Valentin Gheonea proposes that Petru was forced into monastic seclusion by Prince Vlad Vintilă de la Slatina, after an early attempt to seize the throne.[8] Written tradition maintains that, while at Argeș, he was known as Hegumen Paisie.[9] A document issued by Michael the Brave implies that Paisie was also a fishmonger, calling him Radu vodă Măjescul—"Radu Voivode of the Maja", from an obsolete measure of weight for fish.[10]

In various other records, Paisie is treated as a Basarab family member. An early account by the scholar Nicolaus Olahus describes a Petrus ab Argyes, most likely the future Paisie, being born to a lesser Basarab, by the name of Stanciul (Stantzul). As historian Cornelia Popa-Gorjanu notes, this doubtful narrative would make Olahus and Paisie first cousins, and members of the Basarabs' Dănești branch.[11] Olahus' text is endorsed by the literary historian Corneliu Albu, who further suggests that Olahus and Paisie may have corresponded with each other in Romanian.[12]

Various other authors who credit Paisie as a Basarab see him as an heir of the rival Drăculești. They include historian Nicolae Iorga, who accepts Paisie's claim to have been a natural son of Radu the Great.[13] Popa-Gorjanu similarly concludes that "Petru of the Argeș was the son of Radu the Great, as attested in all writs and documents, and not the son of Stanciu, Olahus' uncle."[14] By contrast, genealogist Constantin Gane credits Paisie as the son of Stanciul, and not as Radu's son. He further proposes that Paisie was more distantly related to the Drăculești, as a direct descendant from Vlad the Impaler.[15]

Rise to power[edit]

In June 1535, the powerful Craiovești boyars and their allies staged Vlad Vintilă's assassination, then engineered Paisie's election to the throne.[16] Upon his coronation, Paisie took the regnal name "Radu", underlining his supposed descent from Radu the Great.[17] Historian Dan Pleșia also notes that "Petru was not a common name for Wallachian princes", and that "Radu" was a preferred new name for monarchs, down to the 17th-century Radu Șerban.[18] Scholar Marcu Beza notes that Paisie still referred to himself under his birth name in the 1538 orarion carrying his dedication (part of the Victoria and Albert Museum collection).[19]

Paisie's claim to legitimacy was also enhanced by his regular donations to Meteora, a custom mostly associated with his presumed father.[20] He then took as his new wife a Lady Ruxandra. According to various readings, she was a daughter of Neagoe Basarab and Princess Milica, having been previously married to Radu of Afumați, claimed by Paisie as his deceased brother.[21] As a woman of exceptional beauty, in 1525 she had sparked a war between her suitors, pitting Radu of Afumați against a Moldavian Prince, Stephen IV.[22] A dissenting opinion is provided by scholar Stoica Nicolaescu, who argues that Paisie's Ruxandra "must not be confused" with her predecessor, who had by then remarried a rival claimant, Laiotă Basarab.[23]

As noted by Iorga, Paisie's reign effectively united "in his person" the Drăculești and Dănești.[24] Acting on his behalf, the Craiovești also sought confirmation from the Ottoman Sultan, Suleiman the Magnificent, to whom they sent a gift of 1 million akçeler.[25] As they admitted in a collective letter, the boyars felt remorse for not having asked Suleiman's approval before the election, but also explained that this would have been difficult at a time when the suzerain was leading a war in the Middle East.[26] By November, Paisie had received his Ottoman banner and confirmation as belonging to the abode of peace.[27] Aged about 40 at the time, he was the second former monk to obtain the Wallachian crown, preceded in this respect only by the 1480s Prince Vlad Călugărul.[28] The latter's title, Călugărul (literally, "The Monk") is sometimes also applied to Radu Paisie.[29]

The new reign was "relatively long" by the period's standards, but "not a quiet one."[30] As recorded by the musician and chronicler Hieronymus Ostermayer, Paisie began his reign as a figurehead who "let the boyars do as they pleased".[31] This political line was soon changed by complex circumstances: the years 1536–1537 were anarchic. Having challenged his own retinue, Paisie faced boyar rebellions, which may have driven him out of Wallachia for much of that interval.[32]

The years also marked a split with the Craiovești, who put up a family member, Barbu Mărăcine, as their own candidate for the throne. According to historian Constantin Rezachevici, Mărăcine was the actual reigning Prince of Wallachia in February–April 1536, and had been recognized as such by the Porte.[33] Popa-Gorjanu similarly argues that Paisie "was chased out with Turkish assistance".[34] Both authors also record the story in Olahus, according to which "another pretender" had Petrus ab Argyes maimed, ordering the partial removal of his nose, before chasing him out of the country.[35] According to Rezachevici, the mutilation may have been a "symbolic" cut on Paisie's septum, "as done to many other pretenders."[36]

As hypothesized by Rezachevici, Paisie was able to reconquer Wallachia only with support from the Eastern Hungarian Kingdom of John Zápolya, driving his loyalist troops in from Transylvania.[37] Among the primary sources, Olahus claimed that his cousin was in Transylvania during the exile interval.[38] Mărăcine was chased out of the land. His later life gave rise to many legends. According to Rezachievici, the most plausible one is that he was quietly murdered in Istanbul in 1565, being survived by his son, the pretender Nicolaus Bassaraba.[39] Paisie was then able to re-consolidate his power, turning to violent repression. Some records describe other smaller revolts, which are not located chronologically; one was led by another pretender, Ivan Viezure, whom Paisie captured and decapitated, possibly in 1537.[40] Victims of his revenge included Tudor of Drăgoești, the country's Logothete, and Ban Toma of Pietroșani.[41] Boyars on the loyalist side were led by Vlaicu Piscan, who took over as Logothete, Clucer Coadă, and Vornic Staico Șintescu, as well as Radu Furcovici, who held various commissions and was Paisie's godson.[42]

1530s consolidation[edit]

Paisie focused some of his activity on competing with the boyars for possession of land, some of which he then distributed among his family and retinue. He owned 73 villages to his name, the largest single domain since Mircea I's (before 1418); 22 of these were bought from the boyars and at least 7 were inherited from Neagoe, while another 13 were confiscated from disobedient subjects.[43] His sister received most of Islaz village and the whole of Fălcoiu, purchased by Paisie from a Marga Craioveasca of Caracal; Furcovici and his wife Caplea were similarly granted Bistreț.[44] Boyars earned Paisie's favors with land donations at Sfințești and Fetești, which also went to the princely family.[45] In 1538, Paisie himself confiscated the Teleorman estates of an older pretender, Radu Bădica, including perhaps the whole of Viișoara. He donated these to his courtiers, Drăghici and Udriște.[46] These and other loyalists, including Detco of Brâncoveni, received a large portion of the Craiovești inheritance, presumably confiscated by Paisie from his rivals.[47]

The next period restated Prince Radu's formal allegiance to the Ottomans, whose continued backing he needed; he "never rattled a sword against [them]."[48] According to various records, he was still scheming against Suleiman at every opportunity: as early as July 1536, Božidar Vuković "della Vecchia" boasted having met the Prince of Wallachia in Istanbul, where they discussed freeing Wallachia and the Balkans. It remains disputed whether this refers to Paisie[49] or to a rival pretender.[50] The following year, Paisie's Wallachian army, led by a new Ban, Șerban of Izvorani, participated in the Ottoman expedition into Hungary.[51] In August 1538, Paisie himself took charge of the 3,000-strong expeditionary corps that assisted an Ottoman invasion of Moldavia.[52] In 1540, the Ottoman-friendly Zápolya granted his Wallachian neighbor ownership of two Transylvanian citadels, Vințu de Jos and Vurpăr; the exact circumstances for this territorial gift remain disputed.[53] However, Paisie also expressed his regret over such alliances, writing to the burghers of Hermannstadt that the "infidel Turk" needed to be defeated. In the same letter, written shortly before the Moldavian campaign, he proposed a union of Christians around "a single concept and a single faith".[54]

By June 1539, Paisie found himself at odds with Șerban of Izvorani. The latter may have obtained control of the country, describing himself as a regent, or ispravnic of the throne.[55] Historians are divided over which family led the uprising, with some proposing a Craiovești insurgency, and others pointing to Paisie's conflict with the Florescu family.[56] Șerban was in any case aided by the Drăgoești boyars, Radu, Pârvu and Vlad, as well as by Giura, the former Logothete.[57] Again faced with an insurgency, Paisie departed for Istanbul, where Suleiman reconfirmed him as a Prince. He returned to Wallachia alongside an Ottoman emissary, charged with restoring order.[58] His return pushed the boyars, including Șerban, to take flight in Ottoman lands, where Giura spent the rest of his life.[59] In September 1539, one of Paisie's writs donated to the Bishops of Buzău the village of Pârscov, which he had confiscated from the rebel Barbu.[60] Eventually, Paisie persuaded Suleiman to order Șerban captured and killed,[61] for rea hiclenie ("evil treason"). This is believed to have happened at some point before June 1543,[62] although other readings of the same sources suggest that he was still alive by then.[63]

These and other clashes overlapped with a "great famine",[64] so severe that it reportedly pushed Wallachians to sell their children into Ottoman slavery.[65] Moreover, they resulted in the annexation of Brăila, a lucrative Wallachian port, to the Ottoman Empire. Described in some records as an éminence grise, Coadă may have played a "decisive role" in this affair, thanking the Ottomans for their support against Șerban's party.[66] Paisie was one of the last Wallachian rulers to maintain a capital at Târgoviște, though he also resided in Bucharest. The slow transition signaled a shift in Ottoman priorities, from northern Muntenia, with its Transylvanian commitments, to a new city closer to the Ottoman garrison at Yergöğü (Giurgiu).[67]

As another sign of Ottoman submission, Paisie and the Moldavian Prince Petru Rareș staged an invasion of Transylvania in June 1541, peaking with a devastating raid on Székely Land.[68] The two had a polite correspondence, with Rareș addressing his Wallachian counterpart as "great and honored tsar"—although, as noted by Nicolaescu, the title was meaningless.[69] During their Transylvanian campaign, Paisie and Rareș captured the rebellious Voivode of Transylvania, Stephen Majláth, who was then executed by Suleiman.[70] By April 1542, Paisie had left for Oltenia and was again heading into Hungary.[71] According to Gheonea, it was for this service that he received ownership Vințu de Jos and Vurpăr.[72]

1544 rebellion and ouster[edit]

Within a year, Wallachia's policy had again changed, with Paisie actively seeking to align himself with the Habsburg Kingdom of Hungary. On January 7, 1543, he signed a secret alliance treaty with Ferdinand I.[73] Nevertheless, a Transylvanian retaliation soon followed. It was prepared by the Paharnic Stroe Florescu (known in historical records as Stroe Pribeagul, "the Outcast"). A former ally and cousin of Șerban,[74] Stroe had exiled himself after the 1539 debacle. In early 1544, he returned to Wallachia at the helm of an anti-Ottoman army, alongside Laiotă Basarab. According to the 18th-century writer Constantin Filipescu, Târgoviște was taken, and Paisie had to escape into Rumelia Eyalet, at Nikopol.[75] Other historians back this account: the insurgents had full control of Wallachia for two months, according to Irina F. Cîrstina,[76] or one month, according to Matei Cazacu.[77] It remains disputed whether it was Laiotă or Stroe who claimed the princely title, or whether the throne was left vacant.[78] One version suggests that Stroe ruled over Oltenia as Ban, while Laiotă was Prince.[79]

Eventually, the rebels faced Wallachia's army at a place called Fântâna Țiganului, and were defeated; both Stroe and Laiotă were executed.[80] Vlaicu Piscan, who had joined them in the plot, and Stanciu of Pietroșani were also recorded as "slaughtered" in the aftermath.[81] Furcovici had an essential role in returning Paisie to his throne, and, for this service, was made owner of Poenari Castle and Căpățâneni.[82] One document suggests that Stroe had twice invaded Wallachia from the north, and therefore that there were two distinct battles of Fântâna Țiganului. Gheonea argues that the source, which pushes Laiotă's claim back to 1537, must be a forgery, of a "frequent kind in that era."[83] Researcher N. Stoicescu also advanced 1544 as the date of the battle, although also noting that some records have 1542.[84]

Radu Paisie and his son Marco. Argeș Monastery fresco

During this final part of his reign, Paisie traveled extensively: on November 7, 1543, he issued documents from two locations—Murcenii lui Puia near Balta Ialomiței, and Orașul de Floci.[85] Nine of Paisie's writs and rulings have survived from the year 1544—including one from October 6, which assigned Cunești and two families of Gypsy slaves to Stan Papa.[86] Although he had resumed control of the country, a more powerful contender for Paisie's throne was Mircea the Shepherd, nominally his brother, who lived in Istanbul and periodically bribed the Grand Vizier, Rüstem Pasha, to obtain his support.[87] The competition became tense in December 1544, when Paisie was ordered to send his eldest son, Marco or Marcu, who was by then his nominal co-ruler,[88] as an hostage to the Porte. He failed to deliver within the required interval, which alerted the Ottomans that he was plotting a revolt. Suleiman prepared his ouster, making sure that Mircea would be able to occupy the throne before Paisie could "abscond with the treasury".[89] Other authors suggest that the Ottomans had learned about Paisie's Habsburg alliance, which thus contributed to his ouster.[90] The corresponding firman for his dethronement was dated February 22, 1545, precisely as Mircea was reentering Wallachia. According to Gheone, the most precise dating for Paisie's removal is "late February", which revises an earlier consensus, based on Mircea's first known writ, and which has "March 25" as the relevant date.[91]

Paisie was escorted into the Ottoman Empire, but allowed to keep some of his wealth. Confident that he could still regain the throne, he sent Suleiman a gift of 500,000 akçeler, and made various donations to the monasteries on Mount Athos.[92] His efforts were curbed when he was exiled to Egypt Eyalet, where he spent the rest of his life, dying at an unknown date.[93] Iorga argues that his burial place must be a parish church of the Byzantine Patriarchate of Alexandria.[94] Gane also writes that Paisie died in Alexandria.[95] Other records suggest that his destination and resting place was the Sinai, making him the first Wallachian or Moldavian Prince to have set foot in the peninsula.[96]



After installment, Mircea offered rewards to Paisie's prominent rivals, the Drăgoești family.[97] Staico Șintescu, who lost his high rank under the new regime, remained a prominent supporter of the deposed Prince, as did Radu Furcovici, who was driven into exile.[98] In 1546, Mircea put to death Clucer Coadă and his brother Radu, while forcing Coadă's children to take refuge in Transylvania.[99] The new monarch tried to coax other Paisie loyalists into returning, sending Barbu of Pietroșani, orphaned son of Toma, to bribe them.[100] The effort was a failure, but so were the exiles' various attempts to remove Mircea.[101] Over the following months, Mircea's violence lost him the support of his own boyars. In 1547, Barbu and the Drăgoești absconded with Wallachia's haraç money and became wanted men.[102] Barbu was ultimately delivered by the Ottomans to Bucharest, where he was executed in April 1548.[103] By then, both the Paisie exiles and Wallachia had lost control of Prince Radu's Transylvanian estates, which became a demesne of George Martinuzzi.[104]

Lady Ruxandra's fate is generally unknown.[105] If she was indeed Neagoe's daughter, then she continued to live in Wallachia, and was spared by the new regime, being recognized as owner of Găneasa.[106] One document, issued in 1572, suggests that Ruxandra had continued to reside in Wallachia to her death.[107] It is also not precisely known what became of Paisie's designated heir, Marco, or of his brother Vlad. In 1554–1557, between two of Mircea's reigns, the Wallachian throne was taken by a Pătrașcu the Good, who styled himself "son of Radu Paisie". A period document suggests that Paisie had recognized his issue, personally granting Pătrașcu ownership of Segarcea.[108] One theory suggests that "Pătrașcu" was Marco's regnal name;[109] according to Gane, he was a legitimate son, born to Paisie's first wife, Stana.[110] If this is the case, then through his marriage he became a posthumous son in law of Toma of Pietroșani, his father's enemy.[111]

This reconciliation was also signaled by other dynastic intermarriages, including that between Paisie's daughter Maria and Balea of Pietroșani.[112] Other sources note that Paisie had a Muslim son, Mehmed, who pleaded with Suleiman to be granted an estate (timar). This is possibly Marco or Vlad, after having accepted Islam.[113] Yet another hypothesis is that Vlad survived in Wallachia to ca. 1560, when he was put to death by Mircea's son Peter the Younger, possibly by request of his mother, Doamna Chiajna.[114] Nicolaescu proposes that, in all, Paisie had three sons, Marco, Vlad and Pătrașcu, as well as two daughters, Maria and Cârstina. His nieces through the other Cârstina were Rada, married into the boyar clan of Fălcoiu, and Anca-Badea.[115]

If Pătrașcu's claim was truthful, Radu Paisie may have also been the posthumous grandfather of Princes Petru Cercel and Michael the Brave. According to Cîrstina, the "circle of power, formed around the family of Radu Paisie", was active in obtaining the throne for both of his presumed grandsons.[116] However, Filipescu doubts Michael's claim and the legends associated with it, noting that "no historian of ours (or foreign) attests as to who he was or how he took the throne".[117] According to an early assessment by Iorga, Michael was born to Pătrașcu's paramour, Teodora, rather than to Princess-consort Voica;[118] this account was backed by other scholars.[119] In contrast, Nicolaescu underlined that, beyond all doubt, Teodora was Pătrașcu's legal wife.[120] Dan Pleșia also endorses the Radu—Pătrașcu—Michael genealogy. Moreover, he argues that another son of Prince Radu had heirs, which included Radu Florescu, who was at once Michael's Clucer, confidant, uncle and in-law.[121]


Paisie in an 18th-century mural at his Gura (Valea) Monastery

Scholar V. Brătulescu writes that Paisie's contribution as a founder of churches (ktitor) may have begun before he was enthroned, with the establishment of Gura (or Valea) Monastery, outside Țițești. However, he proposes that the building was more likely finished in 1544, with murals done under Mircea the Shepherd, and redone even later; Gura's co-ktitors were the three lords of nearby Piscani: the future dissident Vlaicu Piscan, alongside his brothers Mihail and Badea.[122] Filipescu mainly records Paisie as ktitor of Mislea Monastery, now in Scorțeni,[123] though a record from ca. 1620 suggests that the institution was in fact founded by "his parents".[124] Mislea was a prime recipient of estates from Paisie, including areas of Brebu, Călugăreni, and Cornu, as well as, to the south, Căscioarele and Greaca. Several were confiscated back by Mircea Ciobanul.[125]

As noted by art historian Liviu Marius Ilie, Paisie and Marco both tried to compensate for Ottoman subjugation by investing in their role at patrons of Orthodoxy. Ilie identifies this aspect in the infirmary of Cozia Monastery, which the two built; in the frescoes, Paisie, identified as "Petru", is blessed by Jesus Christ, with angels crowning him and Marco together.[126] Painted in large part by masters David and Radoslav, the infirmary is mentioned by historian Vasile Drăguț among the last Wallachian monuments attributable to high Byzantine art, one with highlights of "great preciousness."[127] The Princes and Ruxandra appear alongside Cozia's administrator, Stroe, whose portrait evades the Byzantine canon and is regarded as one of the first realistic works in Romanian art.[128] The ensemble also features the only known local take on The Incredulity of Thomas.[129]

Various period sources indicate that the Prince redirected the wine tribute owed by Pitești toward maintaining a monastery at Stănești.[130] The church in that village is also a noted monument of medieval art, financed by the future rebel, Logothete Giura, in 1537. Historians note its frescoes as a main development on the path to a rural realism which became dominant after 1700.[131] However, the work may be a retouching of earlier murals, from before Paisie's day.[132] Its preserved layer is attributed to an Eratudi, possibly from Crete,[133] or to a master Dumitru.[134]

Paisie was the re-builder of Tismana Monastery, and, Iorga notes, introduced there massive borrowings from the more architecturally advanced churches of Moldavia: the brickwork of Tismana appears to have been based on Khotyn Fortress, as completed under Petru Rareș.[135] Contributions from Paisie's era also include the Tismana doorway, carved in 1542. It is one of the rare examples in Wallachian medieval stone-carving, ultimately inspired by the art of khachkars.[136] According to Iorga, Paisie emphasized his Basarab legitimacy by completing work on the monasteries of Argeș and Dealu, where he "dreamed of being buried."[137] This work also left an imprint in Paisie's legacy abroad. In addition to sponsoring Meteora and Mount Athos, he contributed, from 1540, to the upkeep of Saint Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai.[138]

Language, literature, historiography[edit]

Luther's Small Catechism in Romanian Cyrillic; introductory pages mentioning "Romanian Christians" (рꙋмѫни крєщини) and "the Romanian tongue" (лимба рꙋмѫнѣскѫ). Facsimile of Coresi's copy from Filip Moldoveanul's print

During his ten-year reign, Paisie revived Wallachian printing, which still used Church Slavonic rather than preserving the attested vernacular.[139] This reflected his patronage of Serb craftsmen from the Republic of Venice and the Sanjak of Bosnia, including Božidar Vuković and of Božidar Goraždanin's nephew, Dimitrije Ljubavić. Bibliologist Agnes Terezia Erich proposes that, by relocating Ljubavić's press to Târgoviște in 1544, Paisie inaugurated "artisan printing in Wallachia"; however, the enterprise itself was entirely private, the first non-public press in the history of Romania.[140] As Iorga notes, his Early Cyrillic, introduced by Ljubavić for various prayer books, was inferior to the type used in previous decades; the illustrations, instead, were "rather beautiful".[141] The impact of Slavonic as a state language remained high, even though occasionally challenged by Greek. According to archivist Aurelian Sacerdoțeanu, the penetration of Greek at Paisie's court was overestimated because of a single text which survived in Greek translation. The rediscovery of its Slavonic original toned down that claim, although "one could still write in Greek in Wallachia at that time."[142]

Under Paisie, Wallachia built bridges, political as well as cultural, with the Transylvanian Saxons, including through his letters to the burghers of Hermannstadt. One of these asks for a "well trained and learned scribe", presumably one who could read and write in Renaissance Latin, and promises candidates a hefty pay.[143] In 1539, Hieronymus Ostermayer visited the Wallachian court and performed there his samples of Renaissance music.[144] Other attempts at closer contacts failed. In the 1540s, the city of Corona asked Paisie to expel Ottoman Greeks from Wallachian territory, viewing them as commercial competitors. Paisie declined, writing that such a move would displease "our lord, the exalted emperor" Suleiman.[145] There were also sustained Saxon attempts to spread the Reformation among Transylvanian and Wallachian Romanians. Luther's Small Catechism was translated and circulated in Romanian in Filip Moldoveanul's print of 1544, but, as Iorga notes, "had no impact either on that side [of the border] or on this one."[146]

The chronological fragmentation of Paisie's reign, and the multiple names and titles he used, resulted in confusion in some later annals and chronicles. A handwritten list from 1701 describes two separate Princes, as Hegumen Radu and Paise [sic] Prib[e]agul ("Paise the Outcast"), within an incorrect succession.[147] The confusions also surfaced in later historiography. In 1895, philologist Émile Picot argued that the name "Petru" referred to Petrașcu, and concluded that by 1544 Paisie had ceded his throne to his putative son.[148] Gane also writes that the reason behind Paisie's ouster had to with his involvement in the death of Alvise Gritti, an Ottoman favorite, which had occurred in 1534.[149] Another error, which was only debunked in 1941, described Paisie as fighting against the pretender Drăghici Gogoașă, who was already dead in 1530.[150] The erroneous dating of one document, since corrected, had also left some scholars, including Ioan C. Filitti, to propose that Paisie had actually reigned briefly in 1534, before Vlad Vintilă's assassination.[151]

The advent of Romanian nationalism in the 19th century also rendered Paisie into an unpalatable historical figure. The cession of Brăila is traditionally depicted in Romanian historiography as Paisie's worst doing.[152] However, according to Gheonea, it may have been inevitable, given "the balance of forces and the Ottoman interest in controlling the Danube".[153] Another historian, Ștefan Andreescu, argues that Suleiman annexed Brăila precisely as revenge for Paisie's earlier involvement in anti-Ottoman intrigues.[154] As noted in 1996 by Magazin Istoric, Paisie, unlike other Princes, never had a monograph published on him under the Romanian communist regime (1948–1989). The review proposes that this is because Paisie failed to rise to the national-communist standards.[155] Paisie's reign was nevertheless a subject matter for the 1976 novel Cînd au venit Neagoe Vodă, by Emanoil Copăcianu.[156]


Radu Paisie was one of a succession of princes who consolidated the use of the Wallachian arms, depicting a bird of solid color in various positions. During that interval in its history, the animal was consciously depicted as "hybrid", maintaining elements of the golden eagle and some features which suggest a raven.[157] The emblem is featured, with a web of knotted lines, on Ljubavić's printed editions.[158] The design was only standardized to match heraldic norms under Prince Pătrașcu, who was inspired by Renaissance art.[159]

The other heraldic device used in tandem on Paisie's seals was a variation of the theme called plantatio nova ("new plantation") by historians and heraldists, beginning with V. A. Urechia.[160] The design features two human figures, the Prince and his (first-born) son, in full regalia, on either side of a tree. It was introduced in this form by Radu the Fair in the 1460s, and attested on at least two impressions of seals used by Paisie.[161]


  1. ^ Transcriptions and transliterations as provided in Ionescu-Nișcov, pp. 153–154
  2. ^ Gheonea, p. 50
  3. ^ Cîrstina, passim; Gheonea, pp. 49–50; Rezachevici, passim
  4. ^ Gheonea, p. 49
  5. ^ Nicolaescu, p. 65; Popa-Gorjanu, p. 318
  6. ^ Gane, p. 138; Nicolaescu, pp. 65, 293, 307
  7. ^ Donat, p. 62; Nicolaescu, p. 65
  8. ^ Gheonea, p. 49
  9. ^ Gane, p. 65; Gheonea, pp. 49–50; Rezachevici, p. 53. See also Iorga, p. 10
  10. ^ Gheonea, p. 49
  11. ^ Popa-Gorjanu, pp. 315–316, 318
  12. ^ Corneliu Albu, "Cuvînt înainte", in Nicolaus Olahus, Corespondență cu umaniști batavi și flamanzi, p. XVI. Bucharest: Editura Minerva, 1974. OCLC 434074699
  13. ^ Iorga, p. 10
  14. ^ Popa-Gorjanu, p. 318
  15. ^ Gane, p. 64
  16. ^ Cîrstina, p. 117; Gheonea, p. 50; Rezachevici, pp. 53–54. See also Donat, p. 61; Filipescu, pp. 53–54
  17. ^ Gheonea, p. 50; Popa-Gorjanu, p. 318; Nicolaescu, p. 65
  18. ^ Dan Pleșia, "Neagoe Voievod — un autentic Basarab", in Magazin Istoric, October 1971, p. 9
  19. ^ Marcu Beza, "Vechile legături cu Anglia", in Magazin Istoric, September 1982, p. 32
  20. ^ Nicolaescu, p. 65
  21. ^ Gane, pp. 64–65; Gheonea, p. 50; Iorga, pp. 9, 10, 39, 111
  22. ^ Gane, pp. 61–64; Iorga, p. 39
  23. ^ Nicolaescu, pp. 293–294, 307
  24. ^ Iorga, p. 10
  25. ^ Gheonea, p. 50. See also Ilie, p. 22
  26. ^ Gheonea, p. 50
  27. ^ Gheonea, p. 50; Nicolaescu, p. 64
  28. ^ Gheonea, p. 50
  29. ^ Filipescu, p. 54; Nicolaescu, pp. 65, 83, 242, 246, 247, 266, 293–294, 356; Picot, p. 195
  30. ^ Cîrstina, p. 117
  31. ^ Gheonea, p. 50
  32. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 112, 117–118; Gheonea, p. 50
  33. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 112, 125, 127, 128; Rezachevici, pp. 53–55, 58
  34. ^ Popa-Gorjanu, p. 318
  35. ^ Popa-Gorjanu, p. 318; Rezachevici, pp. 53–54
  36. ^ Rezachevici, p. 54
  37. ^ Cîrstina, p. 128; Rezachevici, pp. 53, 55
  38. ^ Popa-Gorjanu, p. 318; Rezachevici, p. 53
  39. ^ Rezachevici, pp. 54–58
  40. ^ Donat, pp. 65, 142, 144
  41. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 117, 128; Rezachevici, p. 58; Stoicescu, pp. 97–98. See also Donat, pp. 51, 61, 63–65, 69, 142, 146; Filipescu, p. 54
  42. ^ Donat, pp. 51, 62, 63–65, 69, 150, 172; Stoicescu, pp. 83, 89, 104. See also Cîrstina, pp. 117–118, 133
  43. ^ Donat, pp. 92–93, 95, 100, 110–111, 113
  44. ^ Donat, pp. 62, 66, 159
  45. ^ Donat, p. 63
  46. ^ Donat, pp. 48, 66–67
  47. ^ Donat, pp. 66–67, 162, 171–172
  48. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  49. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  50. ^ Rezachevici, p. 55
  51. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  52. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  53. ^ Crăciun, pp. 46–47
  54. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  55. ^ Gheonea, p. 50. See also Donat, pp. 63–65
  56. ^ Cîrstina, p. 128
  57. ^ Stoicescu, pp. 60, 95, 98. See also Donat, pp. 64–65
  58. ^ Gheonea, p. 50
  59. ^ Stoicescu, p. 60
  60. ^ Donat, p. 64; Sacerdoțeanu, p. 22
  61. ^ Donat, p. 63; Gheonea, p. 50
  62. ^ Stoicescu, p. 95
  63. ^ Nicolaescu, pp. 62–63
  64. ^ Nicolaescu, p. 307
  65. ^ Gheonea, p. 50
  66. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 117–118, 128–129, 133
  67. ^ Constantin C. Giurescu, Istoria Bucureștilor. Din cele mai vechi timpuri pînă în zilele noastre, pp. 53–54. Bucharest: Editura pentru literatură, 1966. OCLC 1279610; Panait I. Panait, "Bătălii pentru apărarea Bucureștilor în secolul al XVI-lea", in Muzeul Național, Vol. VI, 1982, pp. 149–151
  68. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  69. ^ Nicolaescu, pp. 160–161, 218
  70. ^ Filipescu, p. 59; Gheonea, p. 51
  71. ^ Nicolaescu, p. 75
  72. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  73. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 118, 133; Gheonea, p. 51
  74. ^ Stoicescu, p. 95
  75. ^ Filipescu, p. 54. See also Gane, p. 65
  76. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 118, 129
  77. ^ Cazacu, p. 21
  78. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 128–129
  79. ^ Cazacu, p. 21
  80. ^ Cazacu, pp. 21–22; Cîrstina, p. 118; Filipescu, pp. 54–55; Gheonea, pp. 50–51; Stoicescu, pp. 83, 94
  81. ^ Stoicescu, pp. 32, 90, 97, 104. See also Donat, pp. 56, 63, 66, 141, 146, 149–150
  82. ^ Donat, pp. 65–66, 74, 114
  83. ^ Gheonea, pp. 50–51
  84. ^ Stoicescu, pp. 90, 94, 104
  85. ^ Petronel Zahariuc, "Un grup de documente slavo-române din secolul al XVI-lea (1524—1549) privitoare la Istoria Țării Românești", in Revista Istorică, Vol. XXII, Issues 5–6, 2011, p. 464
  86. ^ Ionescu-Nișcov, pp. 153–155
  87. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  88. ^ Ilie, pp. 22–23; Nicolaescu, p. 77
  89. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  90. ^ Cîrstina, p. 118; Marinescu, p. 227
  91. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  92. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  93. ^ Filipescu, p. 60; Gane, pp. 65, 138; Gheonea, p. 51; Iorga, p. 10; Nicolaescu, p. 307
  94. ^ Iorga, p. 10
  95. ^ Gane, pp. 65, 138
  96. ^ Marinescu, p. 227
  97. ^ Cîrstina, pp. 118, 119; Donat, pp. 69, 146, 148; Stoicescu, p. 98
  98. ^ Donat, pp. 69–70, 74, 164; Stoicescu, pp. 83, 89
  99. ^ Stoicescu, p. 45. See also Cîrstina, p. 119; Donat, p. 68; Filipescu, pp. 60–61
  100. ^ Cîrstina, p. 119; Stoicescu, p. 32
  101. ^ Cîrstina, p. 119
  102. ^ Cîrstina, p. 119; Stoicescu, p. 32
  103. ^ Stoicescu, p. 32
  104. ^ Crăciun, p. 46
  105. ^ Gane, p. 65
  106. ^ Donat, p. 161
  107. ^ Nicolaescu, p. 307
  108. ^ Donat, p. 62
  109. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  110. ^ Gane, pp. 89, 138
  111. ^ Stoicescu, p. 97
  112. ^ Cîrstina, p. 120. See also Gane, p. 138; Nicolaescu, p. 65
  113. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  114. ^ Gheonea, p. 51
  115. ^ Nicolaescu, pp. 46, 65, 293–294
  116. ^ Cîrstina, p. 120
  117. ^ Filipescu, pp. 81–82
  118. ^ Iorga, p. 41
  119. ^ Gane, pp. 138–140
  120. ^ Nicolaescu, pp. 294–297, 300–301
  121. ^ Stoicescu, pp. 58–59
  122. ^ Brătulescu, pp. 11–14, 19
  123. ^ Filipescu, p. 54
  124. ^ Donat, p. 72
  125. ^ Donat, pp. 62–63, 72
  126. ^ Ilie, pp. 22–23
  127. ^ Drăguț, pp. 75–76
  128. ^ Drăguț, p. 76; Nicolescu, p. 107
  129. ^ Drăguț, p. 76
  130. ^ Eugenia Greceanu, Ansamblul urban medieval Pitești, pp. 35, 49. Bucharest: National Museum of Romanian History, 1982. OCLC 604144102
  131. ^ Drăguț, p. 75; Nicolescu, pp. 99, 107
  132. ^ Nicolescu, p. 99
  133. ^ Nicolescu, p. 77
  134. ^ Drăguț, p. 75
  135. ^ Iorga, p. 111
  136. ^ Nicolescu, p. 94
  137. ^ Iorga, p. 10
  138. ^ Marinescu, pp. 227–228; Elena Ene Drăghici-Vasilescu, "The Monastery of St. Catherine on Mount Sinai and the Romanians", in Revue Des Études Sud-est Européennes, Vol. XLVII, Issues 1–4, January–December 2009, p. 77
  139. ^ Erich, pp. 363–364; Iorga, pp. 210–211
  140. ^ Erich, pp. 361, 364
  141. ^ Iorga, p. 211. See also Erich, pp. 261–262
  142. ^ Sacerdoțeanu, pp. 18–19
  143. ^ Mariana Goina, "Literates in a Quasi-Oral Society. Moldavian and Wallachian Chancellery Scribes (Fourteenth to Sixteenth Centuries)", in New Europe College Yearbook, 2010–2011, p. 160
  144. ^ Steffen Schlandt, "Muzica de orgă din Brașov și Țara Bârsei din secolul al XIV-lea până în secolul al XX-lea", in Țara Bârsei, Issue 2/2009, pp. 263–264; Maria Magdalena Székely, "Marii logofeți ai Moldovei lui Petru Rareș (II)", in Studii și Materiale de Istorie Medie, Vol. XIV, 1996, p. 65
  145. ^ R. Manolescu, "Aspecte din istoria negoțului bucureștean în secolul al XVI-lea", in Studii. Revistă de Istorie, Vol. XII, Issue 5, 1959, p. 52
  146. ^ Iorga, pp. 145–146
  147. ^ Marius Mazilu, "Vechi anale privind istoria Țării Românești de la începutul secolului al XVIII-lea", in Limba Română, Vol. LXI, Issue 2, 2012, pp. 219, 220, 223, 224
  148. ^ Picot, pp. 194–195
  149. ^ Gane, p. 65
  150. ^ Donat, pp. 54, 157
  151. ^ Donat, p. 61
  152. ^ Cîrstina, p. 118; Gheonea, p. 50
  153. ^ Gheonea, p. 50
  154. ^ Cîrstina, p. 129
  155. ^ Introductory note to Gheonea, p. 49
  156. ^ Valentin Tașcu, "Arheologia spiritului sau proza istorică", in Steaua, Vol. XXVIII, Issue 1, January 1977, pp. 2–3
  157. ^ Cernovodeanu, pp. 44–45. See also Iorga, p. 211
  158. ^ Erich, p. 363; Iorga, p. 211; Picot, pp. 196–198
  159. ^ Cernovodeanu, p. 45
  160. ^ Cernovodeanu, pp. 52–54
  161. ^ Cernovodeanu, pp. 53–54


  • V. Brătulescu, "Mănăstirea Valea din județul Muscel (o ctitorie necunoscută a lui Radu Paisie)", in Buletinul Comisiunii Monumentelor Istorice, Vol. XXIV, Fasc. 67, January–March 1931, pp. 11–19.
  • Matei Cazacu, "Fata care s-a făcut băiat și a trăit o sută de ani", in Magazin Istoric, September 2013, pp. 19–22.
  • Dan Cernovodeanu, Știința și arta heraldică în România. Bucharest: Editura științifică și enciclopedică, 1977. OCLC 469825245
  • Irina F. Cîrstina, "Cercuri ale puterii in Țara Românească in sec. al XVI-lea: domni și boieri", in Cumidava, Vol. XXIX, 2007, pp. 110–133.
  • Gino Mario Crăciun, "O istorie mai puțin cunoscută a castelului Vințul de Jos", in Revista Perspective Istorice, Nr. 6/2012, pp. 46–50.
  • Ion Donat, Domeniul domnesc în Țara Românească (sec. XIV–XVI). Bucharest: Editura enciclopedică, 1996. ISBN 973-454-170-6
  • Vasile Drăguț, "Pictura veche românească (sec. XI—XVIII)", in Vasile Drăguț, Vasile Florea, Dan Grigorescu, Marin Mihalache (eds.), Pictura românească în imagini, pp. 7–104. Bucharest: Editura Meridiane, 1970. OCLC 5717220
  • Agnes Terezia Erich, "Dimitrie Liubavici and the Printing Art of Târgoviște", in Journal of Romanian Literary Studies, Nr. 5/2014, pp. 361–365.
  • Constantin Căpitanul Filipescu, Istoriile domnilor Țării-Românești cuprinzînd istoria munteană de la început până la 1688. Bucharest: I. V. Socecu, 1902. OCLC 38610972
  • Constantin Gane, Trecute vieți de doamne și domnițe. Vol. I. Bucharest: Luceafărul S. A., [1932].
  • Valentin Gheonea, "Un domnitor controversat — Radu Paisie", in Magazin Istoric, September 1996, pp. 49–51.
  • Liviu Marius Ilie, "Legitimarea angelică a puterii politice în iconografia medievală răsăriteană", in Arhivele Olteniei, Vol. 22, 2008, pp. 15–24.
  • Traian Ionescu-Nișcov, "Două documente inedite din prima jumătate a secolului al XVI-lea", in Romanoslavica, Vol. V, 1962, pp. 151–155.
  • Nicolae Iorga, Istoria Romînilor în chipuri și icoane. Craiova: Ramuri, 1921.
  • Adrian Marinescu, "Legături ale domnitorilor români cu Sinaiul", in Anuarul Facultății de Teologie Ortodoxă Patriarhul Justinian, Vol. VII, 2007, pp. 223–244.
  • Stoica Nicolaescu, Documente slavo-române cu privire la relațiile Țării Românești și Moldovei cu Ardealul în sec. XV și XVI. Privilegii comerciale, scrisori domnești și particulare din archivele Sibiului, Brașovului și Bistriței din Transilvania. Bucharest: Lito-Tipografia L. Motzătzeanu, 1905. OCLC 767577459
  • Corina Nicolescu, "Arta în Țara Romînească în secolele XV—XVI", in George Oprescu (ed.), Scurtă istorie a artelor plastice în R.P.R., Vol. 1, pp. 78–111. Bucharest: Editura Academiei, 1957. OCLC 7162839
  • Émile Picot, "Coup d'oeil sur l'histoire de la typographie dans les pays roumains au XVIe siècle", in Centenaire de l'École des langues orientales vivantes, 1795–1895. Recueil de mémoires, pp. 183–222. Paris: Imprimerie nationale, 1895. OCLC 46184289
  • Cornelia Popa-Gorjanu, "Despre originea lui Nicolaus Olahus (1493–1568)", in Terra Sebus. Acta Musei Sabesiensis, Vol. 6, 2014, pp. 315–326.
  • Constantin Rezachevici, "Doi poeți, un personaj și adevărul. 'Banul Mărăcine' – un domn necunoscut", in Magazin Istoric, October 1998, pp. 53–58.
  • Aurelian Sacerdoțeanu, "Așezămîntul lui Radu Paisie pentru episcopia Buzăului", in Revista Istorică, Vol. XXII, Issues 1–3, January–March 1936, pp. 18–23.
  • N. Stoicescu, Dicționar al marilor dregători din Țara Românească și Moldova. Sec. XIV–XVII. Bucharest: Editura enciclopedică, 1971. OCLC 822954574
Radu Paisie
Born: ca. 1500 Died: ?
Regnal titles
Preceded by
Vlad Vintilă de la Slatina
Prince of Wallachia
June 1535 – February 1536?
Succeeded by
Barbu Mărăcine
Preceded by
Barbu Mărăcine
Prince of Wallachia
February 1536? – June 1539?
Succeeded by
Șerban of Izvorani
(as ispravnic)
Preceded by
Șerban of Izvorani
(as ispravnic)
Prince of Wallachia
September 1539 – early 1544
Succeeded by
Stroe Florescu and Laiotă Basarab
Preceded by
Stroe Florescu and Laiotă Basarab
Prince of Wallachia
1544 – February 1545
Succeeded by
Mircea the Shepherd