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Stratum plus. 2003-2004. №6

V. L. Myts (Simferopol’, Ukraine)

The Crimean Context of Stephan the Great’s Eastern Policy in 1470s

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Pages: 96-130


Crimea in 1470s was an important element of Stephan III the Great’ s foreign policy. The political arena of the time was a battlefield of pro-Ottoman and anti-Ottoman attitudes in the Principality of Mangoup, the Genoese Caffa and the Crimean Khanate. Besides standing against the Ottoman expansion, Stephan III committed himself to protecting the Orthodox faith in the Balkans and in the North Black Sea region
It is indicative that he tied closer relations with political leaders (Isaac and Alexander) of the Christian Gothia, the last remaining sherd of the Byzantine Empire. His marriage to the Mangoup princess Maria in 1472, however, did not lay foundation for a continuous political union between the two spiritually close Orthodox states. A family conflict, most likely caused by Isaac’s pro-Ottoman attitude, made Alexander seek protection and support from Stephan the Great.
Yet the real threat for Gothia and Moldavia in the middle 1475 was not a “friendship” between Isaac and Mehmed II, but rather capitulation of Mangoup due to the Turkish invasion in Crimea. Even Isaac’s murder could not guarantee a long-term resistance to the Ottomans. Stephan gave every support to Alexander in “taking over his patrimony”, but Isaac’s successor fled to the Great Vizier at the very beginning of Mangoup’s siege, having tried to convince the town’s population to stop any resistance.
So far it is impossible to identify the role played in the vortex of dramatic events by Vlad, a cup-bearer of Isaac, the “possessor of Theodoro and Khazaria”. He might have left Mangoup for Suceava, the capital of Moldavia, in 1475, where he was buried in 1480. His involvement in Isaac’s murder is a matter of speculative assumptions.




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