Mihai Viteazul (aka Michael the Brave) (1970)




Director:     Sergiu Nicolaescu. 

Starring:     Amza Pellea (Mihai Viteazul),  Ion Besoiu (Sigismund Báthory),  Olga Tudorache (Mama lui Mihai Viteazul),  Irina Gardescu (Contessina Rossana Viventini),  György Kovács (Andrei Báthory),  Sergiu Nicolaescu (Selim Pasa),  Nicolae Secareanu (Sinan Pasa),  Ilarion Ciobanu (Stroe Buzescu),  Aurel Rogalschi (Rudolf II),  Ioana Bulca (Doamna Stanca),  Septimiu Sever (Radu Buzescu),  Florin Piersic (Preda Buzescu),  Klára Sebök (Maria Cristina de Graz),  Mircea Albulescu (Popa Stoica),  Emmerich Schäffer (Generalul Basta).

the king who united three provinces into Rumania in the 17th century despite opposition from the Ottoman and Austrian Empires


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire film.

Part I.


A glimpse of a future scene is shown. Men all covered in mud fight in a marsh. A man jumps up from the mud and shouts "Victory!" and is promptly hit with three or four arrows.

For more than 100 years Europe has trembled under the attacks of the Ottoman armies.

1593. Sultan Murad III urges his troops to Vienna u. Under Sinan Pasha’s command to defeat the last obstacle between them and a divided Europe. But they face three insignificant principalities: Walachia, Transylvania and Moldavia.

A hero arose in the battle. Patrascu’s son was meant to perish, to flee or to win the battle to become a prince.

Michael the Brave. The Battle of Callgareni.

Alexandru shouts to his vassals: "Eat my Lords!" Then he singles out a man named Pavel to tell him: "This will teach you to rise against me again!" A number of prisoners are impaled at the top of poles. Next Alexandru turns to Selim Pasha and says: "I am faithful to you, Selim Pasha. Tell it to the mighty sultan!" Alexandru goes on to say that he has a present of two chariots full of young, healthy children. But what Alexandru wants is the head of a man named Michael.

Michael rides to a church. He quickly goes in to get out of the rain. One of the sisters, named Stanca, comes to him and says: "Voivode Alexandru has forgiven you!" Michael says he has not, as he has not forgiven Alexandru.

She says that she did what Michael said and now their home has turned to ashes. The people are hiding abroad. Moreover, the voivode has put a price on Michael’s head. She asks: "Where will it end?" Michael tells her he will go all the way. Alexandru’s men are after him, so he must hurry. He asks where’s his son Nicholae? Stanca says she has hid him and Michael can’t have him. She says that Michael has taken everything from her but no one will touch her son, not even Michael.

Five of Alexandru’s men burst into the church. They have come for Michael, who tells them: "Not in the church."

There is an escort for the two wagons of children. Hassan Pasha tells Selim Pasha that he fears a trap. Selim calls him foolish. But they see coming their way the three Buzesti brothers and Father Stoica. From atop a ridge rides a horseman down to them. It’s Michael. Selim sees him and as he arrives at the road, he asks Michael how he got away? Michael says it was easy. He goes to talk with the three brothers and the priest.

Michael asks the men to let the Ottoman Turks pass this time. He has known Selim since childhood. And without Selim’s help, he will never be able to get to Istanbul. So the brothers and the villagers let the convoy through. This makes Michael’s mother very angry with him. She scolds him and says that he has sold his soul away. She tells him: "You want the throne at any cost!" She even damns him.

There is then a disturbing scene where Selim Pasha starts training the boys. He asks one boy to beat up another and then the beaten boy is asked to beat up the other fellow. Then he gives the first boy a knife and tells him to kill the second boy. Michael arrives and puts a stop to this nonsense. Selim has the nerve to say: "They are my children!" Michael asks him why he joined the armies of Sinan Pasha? Selim did so because he wants to become a grand vizier. Michael tells his old friend that he is dreaming.

Selim and Michael travel to Istanbul. Michael has come for a loan from his Uncle Lani. When the deal is made Lani says he gave his nephew his entire wealth. But, while he gave him 520,000 coins, he wants back 543,000 coins. Michael says it’s not enough money. He needs more.

To get more money Michael visits the money lender Di Ventini. The Italian turns him down, but he introduces him to his beautiful sister Rosanna. She discusses with him what he wants and what he wants to do with the money. When he turns to Uncle Lani, Michael learns that it is actually Rosanna who makes the decisions and not her brother. Michael says he doesn’t know if she will lend him the money he wants. Uncle Lani warns Michael that if Alexandru pays a greater sum to Sinan Pasha than Michael does, it’s Michael’s head the sultan will cut off.

Michael gets an audience with Sinan Pasha. The Turk says that he has heard good things about Michael and bad things about Alexandru. Indeed, Alexandru has betrayed the great sultan. Sinan takes Michael to see the sultan. An adviser to the sultan is pushing Alexandru’s cause to his employer. The sultan signals Michael to come to him. He announces his choice between Michael and Alexandru by signaling his men to give a hat and a scepter to Michael rather than Alexandru. Alexandru begs for mercy. The sultan’s men remove Alexandru from court.

The sultan takes a walk with Michael. He does so to talk in private, but also to let Michael watch as his men strangle Alexandru with a rope. Alexandru again begs for mercy and when he doesn’t get it he yells that one day the sultan will be sorry he chose Michael. The sentence is carried out. The sultan asks Michael to stay, convert to Islam and lead one of his armies. But Michael says no. The sultan replies that maybe one day he will be sorry he chose Michael.

Rosanna and Michael meet again. Michael tells her that he wanted to thank her for the money. Then he asks her why did she chose to help him? It seems she had more personal reasons for lending the money. She asks him about his land. He is from Walachia, east of Transylvania. Rosanna tells him that she will be visiting a friend soon. Her name is Christina von Habsburg. Rosanna will be traveling to Alba Lulia (in present-day Rumania) to see the wedding of her friend to Prince Sigismund of Transylvania. Rosanna tells Michael that she would very much like to see his country.

Bucharest, December 1594. Creditors are at Michael’s gate shouting that they’ve been robbed and they want their money. As Stanca and Nicolae come to visit Michael, they have to pass through the merchants and are pelted with snow balls. Michael is very glad to see them both, but especially his son Nicolae. Michael tells Preda (one of the three Buzesti brothers) to present Nicolae to the Lords’ Council.

One of the concerns of the leaders is if Michael has the money to give to the Turks? Selim Pasha arrives. He comes to say that Michael has not paid his tribute in six months. Selim tells Michael that he comes on behalf of Sinan Pasha. Michael tells him that he will pay today. The money is at the home of the Buzesti brothers.

All the creditors file into the Buzesti brothers’ home, including Selim. Once everyone is in the house, the gates of the house are closed and locked trapping the people inside. The house is then blasted with cannon fire and gun fire. Men on fire jump from the second story of the house. Selim stands ready to jump and Michael tells him to jump. He does so.

By this act Michael clears away his immediate creditors. His mother comes to him and asks for his forgiveness for not trusting him. Michael asks her how could she have ever thought he would stoop as low as she suggested? He then speaks to the people: "From this day on, I free myself in front of God and you of any debt and submission." The people all cheer him.

Prince Rudolph of Austria speaks to his council saying they need a wall between them and the Ottoman Empire. In this regard he speaks of Sigismund Bathory, prince of Transylvania, who cast away the Ottoman rule and became their vassal. As a result they have chosen his niece, Archduchess Maria Christina de Gratz, to be the wife of the valiant prince. Sigismund doesn’t seem too enthusiastic about the pending marriage for he speaks of it using the term "martyrdom".

Austrian General Basta will ensure Transylvania’s independence. The general then is invited to explain the military strategy for Walachia and Moldavia. Sigismund interrupts the presentation to introduce the messenger of Prince Aron of Moldavia. He says that Moldavia will be a vassal of Transylvania and that he, Sigismund, will then settle things with Walachia. But, says the Austrian leader, Walachia is under Turkish rule. He then asks Sigismund: "What do you know of the new leader Michael Patrascu?" Sigismund says the man is an unreliable character.

General Basta says that Sigismund wants Walachia to be the battleground with the Turks. Sigismund responds that Walachia is a country only in name with no master.

Michael attacks the fortress at Braila, then goes on to Cernavoda and Zimnicea, Nicopole, Vidin and Rusciuk. Michael then sends Preda to Rome to speak to the pope.

The pope tells Preda to tell Michael that he is not facing the pagan Goliath alone. The church will support his actions. The army of Rudolph of Austria will soon join Michael. The pope then praises Michael. This draws a response from Sigismund’s cousin, who is a bishop (or some other high position) in the Roman Catholic Church: "This ‘unreliable’ man makes his way to Istanbul by sword, Your Eminence." The pope tells Sigismund’s cousin to got to Rudolph and tell him to send General Basta to help Prince Michael.

Scenes of the devastation after a major battle are shown. Michael attacks Stanesti and Serpatesti, Giurgiu, Razgrad, Varna and Adrianopolis.

Spring has arrived. Selim Pasha report to Sinan Pasha who is gathering his forces for an attack on Michael. Sinan is very angry with Selim and when he comes close to him, Sinan slashes Selim’s face, asking how dare he? Selim knows Michael so well and yet he didn’t suspect anything of the man’s plans!? Sinan says that Michael will conquer Istanbul before Sinan (now in Persia) gets the chance to be there. Selim tells Sinan that the sultan awaits him in Istanbul. Meanwhile, Selim will now head the armies that fight in Persia.

Michael’s troops chases away the troops of the Ottoman Empire clearing the way for his arrival at the sea. The troops run down from a high ridge to the sea and jump into the water.

Prague, 1595. Prince Rudolph tells Gen. Basta they must help Michael. His Eminence, Sigismund’s cousin, brings to him the gold promised to the Holy League to fight the pagans. His Eminence, however, expresses some reservations. Can they really trust this man Michael? Rudolph says the help will not be immediate. They will organize and army, His Eminence will meet with Prince Michael, get to know him and then deliver his judgment to Rudolph. They will then, and only then, decide on what they will do.

His Eminence goes to see Michael, who is still camping by the sea. Michael immediately asks him: "When will the army arrive?" His Eminence says that the Holy Father and Prince Rudolph decided to give Michael all the support he asked for. Gen. Basta will arrive in five months. Michael screams: "Five months!?" He is very angry. He will just be wasting time waiting for the additional 10,000 troops. With or without the additional support, Michael believes he could have taken Istanbul. He suddenly shouts: "We’re going home!"

He then asks His Eminence if he think his cousin Prince Sigismund would agree to help him keep the Turks to the Danube River until the Christian army could gather? His Eminence responds that Michael will have to ask that question of Sigismund personally.

Michael attends a jousting contest. The current match pits Count Gasparcornis, the great champion of the Hussars, against the Prince of Transylvania, count of the Szekely people and ruler over part of the Hungarian country, Sigismund of Bathory. Sigismund dedicates his battle to his fiancé, the Archduchess Maria Christina of Austria. Michael and Rosanna are on the reviewing stand. Sigismund wins the contest and then he promptly challenges Michael. Gen. Basta hopes that Sigismund can teach Michael a lesson for he believes it would be best for everyone if the man was brought down a few pegs. Michael at first says no, but accepts after Sigismund keeps challenging him. On the third pass Michael trips Sigismund’s horse and Sigismund is tossed forward onto the ground. Christina tells her friend Rosanna that Michael did it for her, Rosanna.

Coming to Michael’s tent, Sigismund congratulates Michael. Then he starts talking politics. He says he read Michael’s proposal and he agrees with it. This make Michael very happy. But he wants to make sure that Sigismund knows this above all else: "The Turks can be beaten." But Sigismund has his doubts. He says he will be frank with Micahel He says: "You’re nothing. Most of the people never heard of your country. Your actions must be supported by a name that is a guarantee for all European kings!" And, since Sigismund by marriage is now a part of the Habsburgs, he is that known name that Michael needs to accomplish his goals. Reluctantly, Michael makes Walachia and himself a vassal of Transylvania. Now Sigismund is very happy. He calls for a big celebration. Gen. Basta sarcastically flatters Michael, but the Walachian just tells the general: "Go to hell!"

Michael goes to speak with Rosanna who mentions that he looks so sad. He says of Sigismund: "May God have mercy on him, if he doesn’t keep his word!" Rosanna asks him if she will ever see him again? Michael says yes, if she stays here.

The Turks are on the march. They arrive at the Neailov River. Sinan Pasha is convinced of his coming victory. The only thing that bothers him are the mosquitos. And they are present because there are large marshes along the river, which they refer to as swamps.

Across the river is the camp of Michael. Stanca arrives bringing with her 300 horsemen from Oltenia. She sees that Michael is upset and she asks him what’s the matter? He says he had to humiliate himself in front of Sigismund. He is also concerned about when the additional troops will arrive. Count Kiraly shows up with 500 Szekely men. Michael asks Kiraly where are all the other troops. Kiraly answers that they are not coming. Sigismund is in Alba Lulia celebrating his wedding. But from Kiraly’s group, knight Tompa tells Michael that they are Szekely men and they will fight to the death with Michael.

In Alba Lulia Sigismund is enjoying dancing at his wedding. Some of the men talk in a group, laughing at the very idea that Michael can beat Sinan Pasha.

On the battlefield Sinan tells Sheikban Pasha to take command of the center. He will charge the bridge with the Janissaries of the first line. His orders are to push into Micahel’s force 1,000 steps beyond the bridge. Then he is to fall back as if he were defeated. Sheikban will then make sure the Walachians come onto their side of the bridge.

One thousand steps into the Turk’s side of the bridge, Mustafa Pasha will let Michael’s forces get 1,000 steps from the bridge. He will then attack with his right wing. Hassan Pasha with the Rumelia’s armies will do the same thing on the left. Satargi Pasha will stay in reserve behind the hill.

The battle begins. The center troops rush across the bridge, while others wade across the river, and engage Michael’s troops. They push them back and then Sinan orders the second line into the center. At around 1,000 steps, the Turkish troops start retreating. Michael pursues the retreating force. But then he realizes this is much too easy. He shouts to his men that it’s a trap and tells them not to cross the bridge.

Seeing that Michael has caught onto his plan, Sinan calls a council of his generals. He decides to use two flanking movements in addition to an attack on the center. Mustafa with the Anatolian armies will flank the enemy on the right and Sinan will do the same on the left side with Hassan Pasha leading Rumelia’s armies. The Janissaries and the Spahis will attack the bridge.

The battle begins anew. After awhile, Sinan concludes that Michael has engaged his entire army. Now is the time to attack on the flanks. Sinan’s troops seize Michael’s artillery. After falling back, Michael counter attacks. The Turks start retreating before Michael’s onslaught.

A troop commander arrives to tell Sinan that the Walachians have come with new troops and attacked from one side of the bridge. Sinan calls the man stupid and tells him to fight on. Victory is at hand.

But what Sinan doesn’t realize is that the large marshes on the two flanks present a huge obstacle to his troops effectively crossing the river. The Walachians get behind Sinan and capture his artillery. They then open fire with the cannon on the Turks. Turks start fleeing the battlefield.

On horseback Michael searches for Sinan who has come to the bridge. Michael charges him and the two men fight until Sinan’s horse falls into the river taking Sinan with him. Selim fishes Sinan out of the river.

Sinan’s men on the flanks are fighting in the mud. Hassan Pasha is captured. Michael tells his men: "Take care of his foot and treat him with honor." Michael says: "The Rumanians will never forget this battle. Nor will our enemies."

Part II.

One of the Buzesti brothers say that they have been rotting here in camp for months now.  Selim Pasha comes to see Michael.  He tells him that he defeated the Christians at Kerestes.  There are about 50,000 dead.  He won by using one of Michael's tactics from the battle in which they faced off against each other.  Selim also gives Michael the news that Sigismund has given up the throne.  He's a monk now, but his cousin, the cardinal, became a military commander.  Moreover, Murad and Sinan are both dead and the new sultan wants to make peace with Michael.  Getting back to Sigismund, Selim says the man became a vassal and Michael's name is also on the document as a vassal.  Continuing with the latest news, Selim says that Zamoisk wants Transylvania, Moldavia and Walachia for himself and he will pay the tribute. 

Michael tells Selim that before he can arrive in Istanbul, these countries will be his.  He wants to rule them so that he might unify the three countries into one.  Selim asks if this means that there will be no peace?  Michael says no, there will be no peace.  Selim leaves.

Emperor Rudolf speaks with General Basta to say he should have chained Sigismund or should have killed him.  Through Andrew Bathory's submission, the Turks are threatening them now.  They will have to invade Transylvania.  General Basta says he will conquer the Turk in less than a month.  Basta says he will reach Alba Lulia quickly. 

The big land owners allies to Michael tell him that bad news has arrived.  Their estates lie in ruin and the peasants are running away.  They want Michael to sign the act tying the peasants to their land permanently.  Michael tells them that he can't worry about that now. 

The army is on the move through winter's snow.  A group of men burning a village shout that Voivode Michael is coming!  They shout:  "Burn everything down!"

In a palace, the former Cardinal Andrew, now the commander, hosts his staff at a fancy dinner. Andrew says that he took his sword to defend the cross. Tompa says that he thought they would be fighting the Turks but now he has learned that they have submitted to them. The other nobles are shocked at the remark. Andrew says that they learned from the Battle at Kerestes that the hour of Christian victory has yet to come.

Speaking of Michael, Andrew says he dares attack us. He’s marked his way in Transylvania with the ruins of their castles burned down by the peasants. One of the nobles goes to the window and looks out to see a fire in a castle. He announces that the rebels are here! Andrew says that this is a real opportunity. Now they can fight on the ground they chose in Selimbar. Tompa says they are fools. He knows Michael and he will crush them. Furious at the remark, the nobles beat and stab Tompa to death. Two of the nobles say killing Tompa means there is a curse on their heads now.

Both sides prepare for battle. A priest comes to speak with Michael. Michael goes to speak with the priest and finds out that it is none other than Sigismund. Michael laughs loudly. He tells Sigismund to come to his tent because he doesn’t want the Szekelys to see him. They might kill him. Yes, Michael has 8,000 Szekely troops fighting alongside him.

In the tent Michael tells Sigismund that he doesn’t trust him and never will even if he is a priest now. He rejects any terms that Andrew suggested. He tells his assistant Ionica to take the priest to a place from where he can see the entire battle. Ionica is told to stay there with Sigismund and watch him.

Sigismund watches the battle from a hill. Andrew’s Hussars charge. Earl Cornis comes to tell Andrew that as the battle is coming to its finale the noblemen want to go to the attack. Permission granted. One of Michael’s commanders, Radu, moves his troops into the battle on his own initiative. Michael says that he was not supposed to go in yet. It doesn’t take Radu long to figure out that he may have fallen into Andrew’s trap. They are set upon by the enemy.

When Ionica leaves his guard post Sigismund escapes. Michael sends his second line of battle to the attack. They have captured Cornis, the commander of the mercenary troops. Michael goes out to fight without his armor. He leads his men on an attack in which they overrun Andrew’s camp.

The former cardinal runs onto the battlefield covered with dead and wounded men from both sides. He calls for his carriage. Two soldiers see him and decide to kill him. They follow him as he tries to get away.  The men catch him and cut off his head. Sigismund sees the events from the woods and throws up. He sees the soldiers put his brother’s head in a sack. But once the horrors end, Sigismund starts smiling.

Michael is victorious. The people in the town greet him as a hero. One woman says she knew him when he was nothing and now he is a conqueror in Ala lulia.

None of the troops has found Preda. Michael enters the palace. He then comes into the court. Rosanna is there. He sees the crown of Sigismund. A sign says that it is the throne of the prince of the Holy Roman Empire of Transylvania, Moldavia and transalpine Wallachia, earl of the Szekely people and ruler over part of Hungary.

The two men who have the head of Andrew Bathory are brought in to see Michael. They say they killed Andrew because he killed their commander Tompa. The two men even point out two of the nobles who stabbed Tompa. Michael tells the two men that they are free to go.  Michael confronts the nobles. He calls for Preda and learns for the first time that he is "gone"! The Wallachian gives the Transylvania nobles their swords back to them. The nobles give a hurrah for Michael. Before leaving court, Michael stops to say hello to Rosanna.

General Basta arrives. The priest comes out to tell the general to leave his army behind and come with him. They are going to Alba lulai.

Michael comes to say hello to Rosanna. She says she has been waiting for him for so long. She says now he can rest, but Michael says it’s no time for rest. He tells her that he is going but he will be back soon. Rosanna tells Michael that she loves him.

Michael’s army faces the Moldavian army bolstered by the Poles who are dressed in very colorful uniforms. The Wallachian chief rides toward the Moldavian line of battle. The Moldavian commander gives the order to fire the cannon, but the Moldavian soldiers revolt instead. They rush out to greet Michael. The leaders of the Moldavian troops say they’ve been betrayed and ride quickly away. Michael is soon surrounded by admiring Moldavians. A little later the two armies meet up and hug and cheer each other.

Speaking to all the troops, Michael says: "Today we’ve seen our destiny fulfilled! Those born from one mother will stay together! Wallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia. This is my will!"

The church bells ring. It is Michael’s coronation day. When he comes down the aisle he sees General Basta and speaks with him, chiding him. Rosanna watches the ceremony from the balcony. Stanca, Nicolae and the mother of Michael are all there. Michael kisses the Bible and the cross. He is crowned. Selim comes to the ceremony. He reads a message from Mohammed III. The sultan writes that they recognize Michael as the ruler of Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia.

Sigismund complains to Rudolf of Austria about that terrible Michael. Rudolf tells Sigismund that he just doesn’t trust him. But the emperor does unite Sigismund with his wife.

Stanca and Michael speak with each other. She tells Michael that he still can’t have Nicolae. But Nicolae comes in to say that he wants to talk to both of them. He tells his mother that she has been the selfish one in the relationship. He says that he’s ugly with crooked legs and the children love to laugh at him. Nicolae says he wants to be like his father. And he wants to go with his father.

On the battlefield the priest tells Michael that he was wrong. He should never have forgiven the Transylvania nobles. Now they are fighting alongside Sigismund. Sigismund’s messengers (Earl Cornis, Bogaski and Szekely) bring a message to Michael. Sigismund wants to dictate terms , but Michael will have none of it.

News arrives that the rebellion of the Turkish Janissaries was repressed. Selim is dead. Gen. Basta with the Austrian troops arrive to fight alongside Michael. Michael sends a message to the general that he is to take over the left flank.

Rosanna pushes her way through to speak with Queen Stanca. She says that Michael is in danger. He will be betrayed. Basta will switch sides to assist Sigismund.

The battle has started. Ionica arrives to tell Michael, but it is really too late. The Wallachian priest holds Nicolae’s dead body. Michael comes over and grieves over his dead son. The priest tells Michael that he must get back to work. He absolutely has to fight on for his people and his goals. Michael hears his message and calls out for his horse.

Sigismund welcomes Gen. Basta. He mentions that the battle means the end of a rat. Michael goes back to the palace to see Stanca. She is crying over the death of her son. Stanca tells Michael to go away and that she curses the day she met him. Michael leaves.

Michael walks to a village. He stops for a drink of water. Villagers bring him some soup. A villager tells him that they are all looking for him. Michael continues his journey.

Sigismund and three nobles go to get Gen. Basta.  They find him with Sigismund’s wife in bed. Sigismund says to his wife: "I reject you." Gen. Basta calls him a filthy traitor. Sigismund tells Kiraly to take care of the general. He tells his wife to go to her rooms. After she leaves he laughs loudly.

Michael rides a horse. He goes to Vienna and then to Prague. Rosanna is in Prague. She gets in a carriage to take a ride somewhere and her carriage almost runs over Michael. Michael goes to his rented room over a bar. The bartender tells him that he has not paid his rent for three months. So Michael takes off one of his rings and gives it to the man. The bartender tells him that a lady was here and she left a letter for him. Michael goes to his room and reads the letter. A messenger comes to Michael and tells him that he was sent by the emperor. He wants to see Michael.

The emperor of Austria tells Michael that Sigismund has rebelled against Austria. He has now submitted to the Turks. So the emperor wants Michael to lead his armies. For his services Michael wants his country back. The emperor asks one favor of Michael. He asks him to forgive Gen. Basta. Sigismund has hurt him. He will be on Michael’s side this time.

Michael has an army again and faces Sigismund. Sigismund has twice the number of cannon and men that Michael has. The battle begins. Maximilian tells the emperor that Michael has won another victory.  Sigismund tries to escape. He runs through the mud trying to get away from a man dressed in full armor riding a horse.

Maximilian goes to see Gen. Brat. The emperor has a job for him and his men.

Michael has a dream of his mother coming to see him and asking why is he all alone?

Turda, 8 August 1601. Gen. Brat’s men pretend that the general has offended them and now they want to fight under Michael. Michael tells them to have supper with him and his staff. At the dinner one of the men drives a pike into Michael’s back. Then the two men shoot him dead.

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.



Historical Background:


Michael the Brave

The three principalities forming the territory of present-day Romania and Moldova were united for the first time under a single Romanian ruler, though the unification lasted for less than six months. He is regarded as one of Romania's greatest national heroes.

1558-1559 – Mihai Viteazul born (under the family name of Păatraşscu). Most historians to have been the illegitimate son of Wallachian Prince Patrascu cel Bun. His mother was Teodora, of Oraşsul de Floci, a member of the Cantacuzino family.

Very little is known about his childhood and early years as an adult.

1588 – he became the Ban of Mehedinţti.

1588 (end of) – he became stolnic at the court of Mihnea Turcitul.

1593 – he became Ban of Craiova during the rule of Alexandru cel Răau. The latter had him swear before 12 boyars that he was not of princely descent.

1593 (May) – conflict between Alexandru and Michael, who was forced to flee to Transylvania. His half-brother Radu Florescu, Radu Buzescu and several other supporters go with him.

1593 – spent two weeks at the court of Sigismund Báthory and then left for Constantinople, where with help from his cousin Andronic Cantacuzino and Patriarch Jeremiah II he negotiated Ottoman support for his accession to the Wallachian throne.

1593 (September) – Michael invested Prince by the Sultan.

1593 (October 11) – Michael starts his rule.

1593-1601 – the Prince of Wallachia.

1593 (July 29) - 1606 (November 11) – the Long War or Thirteen Years' War, one of the numerous wars between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire that took place after the Battle of Mohács. Participants of the war were the Habsburgs, Transylvania, Wallachia, Moldavia (with the aid of the Holy Roman Empire, Ferrara, Tuscany, Mantua and the Papal State) and the Ottoman Empire.

Not long after he became Prince of Wallachia, Michael turned against Ottoman Empire.

1594 – Michael joins the Christian alliance of European powers formed by Pope Clement VIII, against the Turks.

Michael also signs treaties with his neighbors: Sigismund Báthory of Transylvania, Aron Vodăa of Moldavia and the Holy Roman Emperor, Rudolf II.

1594 (autumn) – Michael attacks the Turks. He conquers several citadels near the Danube, including Giurgiu, Brăaila, Hârşsova, and Silistra.

The Moldavians defeated the Turks in Iaşsi and other parts of Moldova.

Deep within the Ottoman Empire, Micahel takes the forts of Nicopolis, Ribnic, and Chilia.

He reaches Adrianople.

He comes within just 24 kilometers of Constantinople.

1595 – Sigismund Báthory staged an elaborate plot and had Aron of Moldavia removed from power. ŞStefan Josica (Bathori's chancellor and a Romanian ethnic) masterminded the operation.

1595 (April 24) – ŞStefan Răazvan arrested Aron on alleged treason charges.

Aron sent to Alba Iulia (Gyulafehérvár) with his family and treasure.

1595 (end of) – Aron dies of poison in the castle of Vint.

Bahthori was forced to justify his actions before the European powers, since Aron had actively joined the anti-Ottoman coalition.

In Alba Iulia, Wallachian boyars signed a treaty with Sigismund on Michael's behalf. This Treaty of Alba Iulia officialized the boyar regime. Now a council of 12 great boyars would share power alongside the voivode in the executive rule of the country. Michael said the boyars ignored their instructions and just did what was most helpful to themselves. Michael’s main support cames from a group of west-Wallachian lords, the most important being the Buzescu Brothers (Fratii Buzescu) and on his own relatives on his mother's side, the Cantacuzinos.

The Ottoman army attacked and forced Michael to retreat.

1595 (August 4) – Ottoman forces cross the Danube.

Given that Michael only had a small army, he decided in swamp land, near the village of Căalugăareni, on the Neajlov river.

1955 (August 13) – Battle of Căalugăareni. Michael defeats Ottoman army led by Sinan Pasha.

Michael goes into winter encampment. With help from Sigismund Báthory's 40,000-man army (led by István Bocskay) and troops of Emperor Rudolf II of Austria, Micheal counterattacks the Ottomans.

1595 (October 8) – free the town of Târgovişste.

1595 (October 12) – free Bucharest and Brăaila.

Michael, at least temporarily, removes Wallachia from Ottoman rule.

1596 – Michael makes several incursions south of the Danube at Vidin, Pleven, Nicopolis, and Babadag. In Babadag he gets help from the local Bulgarians during the First Tarnovo Uprising.

1596 (October 24-26) – the Battle of Mezőokeresztes or Cerestes.

1596 (late) – unexpected attack by the Tatars, who had destroyed the towns of Bucharest and Buzăau. But the Tatars soon abandon the area.

Michael loses support of Sigismund Báthory and Rudolf II.

1597 (January 7) – Hasan Pasha declares Wallachia under Michael's rule independent. Peace lasted only a year and a half.

Michael gets new support from Rudolf of Austria.

1598 (June 9) – Michael and Rudolf II sign a formal treaty. Wallachia gets enough money to afford a 5,000-man army, as well as armaments and supplies.

Michael resumes the war with the Ottomans.

1598 – start of the First Tarnovo Uprising against the Ottoman Empire in the future Bulgaria. In Babadag Michael gets help from the local Bulgarians during this first uprising.

1598 (September 10) – Michael besieges Nicopolis and takes control of Vidin.

1599 (June 26) – lacing resources Michael signs a peace treaty.

1599-1600 – Michael is the Prince of Transylvania.

1599 (late) - peace comes again because Michael was unable to continue the war due to lack of support from his allies.

1599 – Michael won the Battle of ŞSelimbăar and soon entered Alba Iulia, becoming the Prince of Transylvania.

1599 – a few months later, Michael's troops invades Moldavia and reaches its capital, Suceava. The Moldavian leader Ieremia Movilăa flees to Poland and Michael is declared Prince of Moldavia.

1600 – Prince of Moldavia.

Due to inadequate support from his allies, Michael could not keep the control of all three provinces and the nobles of Transylvania rose against him along with, to a lesser extent, the boyars in Moldavia and Wallachia. Hungarian nobility in Transylvania who rebel against Michael. With the help of Basta, they defeat Michael at the Battle of Mirăaslăau, forcing the prince to leave Transylvania. A Polish army drives the Wallachians from Moldavia. They defeat Michael at Năaieni, Ceptura, and Bucov (Battle of the Teleajăan River). The Polish army enters eastern Wallachia and makes Simion Movilăa ruler.

1601 (between Feb 23 to March 5) – Michael asks for assistance from emperor Rudolf during a visit in Prague and gets it. The emperor did this because he heard that General Giorgio Basta had lost control of Transylvania to the Hungarian nobility led by Sigismund Báthory, who accepted the Ottoman protection.

Meanwhile, forces loyal to Michael in Wallachia led by his son, Nicolae Păatraşscu, drive out Simion Movilăa from Moldova and prepare to reenter Transylvania.

Michael, allied with Basta, defeats the Hungarian army at Gurăaslăau (Goroszló). A few days later Basta, looking to control Transylvania, orders the assassination of Michael

1601 (August 9) – Michael assassinated near Câmpia Turzii.


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