[Footnote 136: Called also Nyagor, Negoje, Nyagoe.]
[Footnote 137: Paget, vol. ii. p. 8.]
THE TIMES AND CAREER OF MICHAEL THE BRAVE.
The state of society—Greater and lesser boyards—Taxation and oppression of the peasantry—Immorality of the boyards—The priesthood—Officers of State—Classes of peasantry—Rise of the towns—The soldiery—Aggressions of Turks and Tartars—Michael the Brave—His rise to power—Accession to the throne (1594)—Remonstrances with the Porte—Alliance with Hungary and Poland—Massacre of the Turks—Anecdote—Conspiracy against Michael quelled—The Turks attacked and routed on the Danube—Invasion of Wallachia by Achmed Pasha—His defeat—Michael swears fealty to Sigismund of Transylvania—Second Turkish invasion by Sinan Pasha—Determined stand of Michael at Giurgevo—Retreat of Michael and battle of Kalugereni—Defeat of Sinan—Retreat of Michael—Occupation of Wallachia by Sinan—Michael and his allies take the offensive—Flight of Sinan and slaughter of the Turks at Giurgevo—The Turks expelled—Peace in Wallachia—Intrigues of Michael—Accession of Andreas Bathori—Invasion and conquest of Transylvania by Michael—His triumph—Michael, Prince of Transylvania—Further intrigues—Invasion and conquest of Moldavia—Michael in the zenith of his power—Feud with the nobles—Michael encounters them at Miriszlo—Their Austrian ally, General Basta—Defeat and flight of Michael—Anecdote—Continued misfortunes of Michael—Petitions the Emperor—Is permitted to visit him—Recall of Sigismund Bathori—Michael reinstated by the Emperor—Invades Transylvania in alliance with Basta—Defeat of the nobles at Gorozlo—Quarrels of the victorious generals—Basta determines to remove Michael—Employs a Walloon officer to assassinate him—Michael murdered in his tent (1601)—Flight of his boyards—The German Court refuses to reward Basta’s treachery.
As the state of the northern Danubian territories before the foundation of the Principalities has been compared by us to the present condition of what is called Independent Tartary, and at a subsequent period to that of the early Saxons, so in the reign of Michael the Brave (1593-1601 A.D.) the state of society resembled that of England under the Norman kings; indeed, there is a remarkably interesting agreement in some of its phases. As in England there were greater and lessor barons, so in Moldo-Wallachia there were greater and lesser boyards. These seem to have possessed all the rapacity of our robber barons, with but little of their reputed chivalry. They oppressed the peasantry, who since the time of Vlad the Impaler were to a large extent serfs, with unbearable taxes, and endeavoured on all occasions to shift the burdens of the State upon those whose shoulders were the least able to bear them. One of these imposts was the poll-tax, similar to that which gave rise to Wat. Tyler’s riots in the time of Richard II., but which, strange to say, still survives in Roumania, to the dissatisfaction of all her right-minded citizens.