Land, lordship and the making of Wallachia Cover Image

Land, lordship and the making of Wallachia
Land, lordship and the making of Wallachia

Author(s): Marian Coman
Subject(s): History
Published by: Издательство Исторического факультета СПбГУ
Keywords: state making; medieval Wallachia; 14th century; Basarab dinasty; comparative approach

Summary/Abstract: The present article aims to question the dominant paradigm of Wallachian state making in Romanian scholarship on a specifi c point: the claim that the state was the result of an exclusively internal evolution that stands out as a distinctive case of state formation in late medieval Central and Eastern Europe. This exceptionality thesis was founded more on historians’ preconceptions than on a close analysis of the primary sources. The fi rst section of the article comprises an analysis of the analogies proposed by previous scholars, while the second part is a brief epilogue, where I suggest some new approaches on the topic. The analogies that scholars have proposed for the Wallachian case are extremely few, implicitly reinforcing the thesis of medieval Wallachia as the outcome of local political development. In addition, the comparisons were generally used to close arguments, not to initiate debates and any external infl uence was minimized, as early Wallachia was viewed as an original, articulate polity, able to absorb such infl uences without modifying its core identity. In the second part of the article I suggest some new approaches on the topic, from a more meaningful comparative viewpoint. In this regard, I consider the next three premises worth reconsidering: 1) state building loses ground during periods of confl ict; 2) the evolution of state power is linear, although it alternates periods of ascends, with phases of descends or stagnation; 3) late medieval and early modern success of the sovereign state over competing polities was inevitable. Wallachian state formation was not a 13th – early 14th century process, but a phenomenon that began in the 14th century and continued until the mid-sixteenth century, when it entered a different phase.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 79-94
  • Page Count: 16
  • Language: English