2012 results

The subject we are proposing within this project is important since it seeks to provide insights into a less explored area of Romanian historical research. By shedding light on the driving mechanisms for the changes in the 16th-18th centuries urban world, we will gain a better understanding of political, economic, and social structures of the area in pre-modern times. The towns will also provide a basis in our attempt to explain why modernization took so long to develop in the Romanian Principalities, with only tentative beginnings in the 17th-18th centuries, and gathering momentum only in the 19th.

The lines of research that we will follow, as well as the main objectives, require us to detail our insights into several matters. This entails a good command of the historical facts of the time, and our team members are fully competent researchers, well acquainted with the aspects of 16th-18th century history, and particularly urban history. Our work methods will focus on a systematic compared approach, since we wished to integrate into our study the data on the neighbouring areas, long ignored by Romanian historiography. We have focused on primary and secondary sources, officially published or not, within archives and libraries, trying to identify original documents, censuses, etc., sources which were subjected to critical analysis and interpretation.

The research was undertaken in several branches of the National Archives, and in the Library of the Romanian Academy in the Central University Library. Research stays have been undertaken abroad as well, in Wien, Budapest, Toulouse and Athens. The preliminary results of the research were presented in conferences and workshops in Iaşi, Bucharest, as well as Budapest, Leeds, Strasbourg and Lyon. Several studies were created; some are published, and most are in print. This is explained by the fact that research has started for less than one year, and the path leading from documenting/refining the subject matter/drafting it to submitting the study/analysis/publication approval requires a certain period of time, which often cannot be exceeded. The following will seek to present the actual results of our research.

The head of the team, Associate Professor Laurenţiu Rădvan, from the Faculty of History of the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” in Iaşi, has finished or has sent for publication several studies. A first article, named Mircea Ciobanul şi „aşezarea” oraşului Bucureşti, has been published in „Aut viam inveniam aut faciam”. In honorem Ştefan Andreescu, published by two members of the team, Petronel Zahariuc and Gheorghe Lazăr, co-editors with Ovidiu Cristea, volume published in Iaşi, at the Publishing House of the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” (accredited by CNCS-B), 2012. This study (p. 101-120) advances the theory of a privilege granted to the town of Bucharest by Mircea the Shepherd in the 16th century, this theory being supported by several arguments (historical tradition, the mentioning of Mircea the Shepherd’s laying of the boundary, the increase in the number of churches/inhabitants/Greeks after his rule, the emergence of the judeţes and the pârgari). Another study, Urban space in the Romanian principalities of the Middle Ages: organized or random development?, was accepted for publication in La ville et ses espaces, which will feature in the well-known collection Städteforschung, under the auspices of Institut für Vergleichende Städtegeschichte, Münster, 2012. The same project line includes another study, close to completion, on the way the first few changes in the Wallachian towns occurred between mid-16th century and the first half of the next, part of a series of studies that the team leader proposes as part of the grant (the first study, which will be focused on the Greeks, the roşii, and the servants in the Wallachian towns, will be published in the „Revista istorica” journal, accredited by CNCS-B). One other text, Urban Elites in the Romanian principalities of the late Middle Ages, is proposed for publication within another body of works, Social and Political Elites in Eastern and Central Europe (15th18th centuries), which will be coordinated by Laurenţiu Rădvan, with Cristian Luca. Lastly, the study Negru Vodă şi formarea oraşelor din Ţara Românească was accepted for publication in Lumea oraşului. Cercetări de istorie urbană, coordinated by Simion Câlţia, proposed to the Publishing House of the University of Bucharest.

One of the team members, researcher Gheorghe Lazăr, from the Institute of History „Nicolae Iorga”, Bucharest, published the study „Pentru sufletul meu şi pentru clironomii mei am orânduit”. Diata marelui logofăt al Moldovei Iordache Cantacuzino, together with Mariana Lazăr, in the volume „Aut viam inveniam aut faciam”. In honorem Ştefan Andreescu, ed. by Ovidiu Cristea, Petronel Zahariuc, Gheorghe Lazăr, Iaşi, Publishing House of the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, 2012, p. 255-288, a text which focuses on a will that proves important for our project as well, since it also reveals the way the grand boyars controlled moveable goods and real estate, and the document also reveals a figment of the mindset of the time. Another study, Merchant-moneychangers in Wallachia (from the seventeenth century to the end of the eighteenth century) has also been brought to print as part of the volume Social and Political Elites in Eastern and Central Europe (15th–18th centuries), ed. by Laurenţiu Rădvan and Cristian Luca. Un staroste de negustori bucureştean si familia lui, is another study currently in print in „Revista istorica”, nr. 1-2/2012, p. 5-36. Based on these studies, Gheorghe Lazăr seeks to attain the objectives that are part of the project, i.e. an analysis of the social interaction between merchants and boyars, social upstarts and the lure of the aristocratic model. Mr Lazăr is also working on a body of documents regarding the merchant world.

Petronel Zahariuc, Ph. D. Professor Faculty of History of the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” in Iaşi, has published several studies as part of this project: Câteva date despre Eustratie logofătul al treilea, „cel dintâi istoric” al Moldovei, in Aut viam inveniam aut faciam. In honorem Ştefan Andreescu, ed. by Ovidiu Cristea, Petronel Zahariuc and Gheorghe Lazăr, Publishing House of the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, Iaşi, 2012, p. 325-338, which discusses the origin and career of one of the foremost scholars in the 17th centuries. Mr Zahariuc has also published a series of documents identified following archival research: Documente slavo-române privitoare la istoria Ţării Româneşti (1551-1575), in „Studii şi materiale de istorie medie”, XXX, 2012 (accredited by CNCS-B), p. 141-161. Lastly, the study Averea lui Petru Şchiopul şi procesul pentru moştenirea ei. Noi piese ale dosarului (together with Ovidiu Cristea), is being printed in the volume Istoria: utopie, amintire şi proiect de viitor. Studii de istorie oferite Profesorului Andrei Pippidi la împlinirea a 65 de ani, Publishing House of the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza”, Iaşi, 2012, p. 212-242. Another study, related to the project topic, has been published: Documente privitoare la începuturile coloniei protestante din Moldova (together with Mihai-Răzvan Ungureanu), in vol. Aut viam inveniam aut faciam. In honorem Ştefan Andreescu, p. 451-466.

Dan Dumitru Iacob, researcher at the Institute for Socio-Humanities Research in Sibiu, has sent for publication the  From the medieval marketplace to the modern square study. The modernisation of the markets of Iaşi in the first half of the 19th century, in vol. La ville et ses espaces (the Städteforschung collection), Institut für Vergleichende Städtegeschichte, Münster, 2012, which approaches the modernization projects for markets and the street space in Iaşi in late 18th century and the first half of the 19th century. Finally, Olga Kozubska, lecturer at the Catholic University in, has sent the Becoming a Citizen article for publication. Formation of Communities and Urban Liberties in former Kievan Rus’ Principalities, in vol. Urban liberties and citizenship from the Middle Ages up to now, ed. by Michel Pauly, Brepols, 2012.

Over the years, the research undertaken by the team members has been made public in the form of various conferences, either locally or abroad. In January 2012, the project coordinator has held a presentation called At Europe’s borders: how travelers viewed towns in the Romanian Principalities, at the conference „Perceptions et réalités urbaines: les villes d’Europe méditerranéenne à travers les récits de voyageurs XIVe-XVIe s.”, held in Strasbourg by Maison Interuniversitaire des Sciences de l’Homme – Alsace. In July, Laurenţiu Rădvan has presented his paper, German Law and Medieval Towns in the Romanian Principalities: A Dilemma, at the International Medieval Congress in Leeds, United Kingdom, where the main topic was „Rules to Follow”. Mr Rădvan has also taken part in the annual reunion of the International Commission at Prague, where he presented a summary of his research (Praga, Sept. 2012). In October 2012, he has presented Cu privire la străinii stabiliţi în Iaşi în secolele XVII-XVIII, as part of the conference celebrating 152 years of existence for the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” in Iaşi.

Gheorghe Lazăr has presented Au Nord du Danube: les marchands bulgares et leurs activités commerciales en Valachie, as part of the Romanian-Bulgarian session Voyager et échanger dans les Balkans (XVe-XIXe siècle), organized by L’Institut d’Etudes Balkaniques, Sofia, 27 septembrie 2012. Mr Lazăr was also the one to have recently presented the paper Les marchands de luxe, le luxe des marchands en Europe orientale. Le cas de la Valachie (XVIIe-XVIIIe siècles), at the conference „Le commerce du luxe – Le luxe du commerce”, organized by Laboratoire de Recherche Historique Rhône-Alpes, Université de Lyon, France, 21-23 Nov. 2012. Petronel Zahariuc has presented the paper Averea lui Petru Şchiopul şi procesul pentru moştenirea ei. Noi piese ale dosarului, together with Ovidiu Cristea, at the University „Alexandru Ioan Cuza” in Iaşi (Oct. 2012). Dan Dumitru Iacob, involved in the publication of historical atlases of several towns in Romania (coordinated or collaborated in the publication of the town atlases: Sebeş, Suceava, Târgovişte, Câmpulung and Siret; he presently focuses on Brăila and Roman), has presented the paper called The Web-presentation of the Romanian Atlases of Historic Towns, as part of the conference The Electronic publication of Historic Towns Atlases, organized by The Department of Medieval Studies, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary, 7-8 June 2012.

Research progress was assessed regularly together with team members, the team leader being also the one who coordinates research and serves as the main link between the members. The main landmark for intermediate assessment was set for the half-period of the project, after 18 months, when we will determine to what extent the initial objectives have been attained. In the mean time, the project website has been launched, which includes information regarding the topic, the members, and the results.