The King of Poland, who was in alliance with Moldavia, was aware of Michael’s schemes, and appealed to the emperor to check them; but Michael, little heeding, collected a heterogeneous army, and in May, A.D. 1600, he commenced his march into Moldavia, announcing it as his intention to avenge the death of the late Voivode Stephen, who had been murdered by Jeremiah Mogila. His passage across the Carpathians was beset with difficulties, his army being often almost bare of supplies; but, once in Moldavia, all yielded before his arms. Jeremiah was at a wedding in fancied security, and had barely time to collect a small army when Michael was upon him. A battle was fought near the capital Suczava, which decided the fate of the principality. A great part of Jeremiah’s army deserted to Michael, who defeated his enemy without difficulty, and obtained possession of Suczava. After remaining for a short time in Moldavia, Jeremiah escaped to Poland, and succeeded in raising the Poles in his support. These, however, were so terrified at the successes of Michael’s arms that they contented themselves with sending an army to the frontier, and there standing on the defensive. Michael won over the Moldavians by exempting them from taxation, and, having placed the government in the hands of a military commission, he turned his face towards Transylvania, and re-entered Weissenburg in triumph, within two months of the day on which he had departed on his mission of conquest.
The authority of Michael was readily recognised by the Transylvanian States General, and with great misgiving by the Emperor Rudolph. He was now at the pinnacle of his fame, styling himself, modestly enough, Viceroy, but acting with the authority of a despotic ruler. Gold and silver medals were struck in his honour, some of which are extant; emissaries waited upon him from the German and other courts, and were received in royal state.
From his effigy upon these medals, and from a portrait of him which was painted subsequently, he appears to have been a man of striking presence and somewhat stern aspect. His face was characterised by an aquiline nose, a beard and moustache, and it is said to have been full of expression.
Would that we could leave him at this triumphant stage of his career; but that is impossible, for rapid and remarkable as was his ascent, his fall and ruin were still more precipitate. Scarcely was he installed in his threefold authority when his troubles commenced. He had never been heartily accepted by his nobles, many of whom were ambitious and self-seeking, and considered him in the light of a usurper. The nation itself was composed of antagonistic races, Szeklers, Saxons, Hungarians, &c., and where he pleased one race he displeased the other. The Poles, too, were only watching their opportunity to disturb his government in Moldavia. A rising at home, which Michael endeavoured to quell by the execution