Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.
his eldest son are said to have been tortured for five days, to compel them to make discovery of further possessions, but without result.  After the deposition of Brancovano, Stephen Cantacuzene, the son of one of his accusers, was made Voivode of Wallachia, but like his predecessors he only enjoyed the honour for a brief term, and two years afterwards he was deposed, ordered to Constantinople, imprisoned, and decapitated; and with him terminated the rule of the native princes, who were followed, both in Wallachia and Moldavia, by the so-called Phanariote governors or farmers-general of the Porte.

[Footnote 150:  Brancovano is also called Constantine Bassarab and Constantine Preda.]

[Footnote 151:  The following story is related of the conduct of the Russians whilst they were encamped before Jassy, during the early part of the campaign.  It appears that Peter and his generals were invited to a banquet by the Prince, and, having drunk freely, hosts and guests lay scattered promiscuously about the floor.  The Russians were the first to recover consciousness, and when their eyes fell upon the gold-laced boots of the boyards, the desire to possess them was so irresistible that they took advantage of the helpless condition of their hosts to perpetrate a common theft.  Drawing them from their feet, they made off with the boots to their tents, leaving their own weather-worn chaussure in exchange.]

[Footnote 152:  Wilkinson (p. 40) says that in his day a descendant of the grandson of Brancovano was living in Wallachia in great state, and was considered one of the wealthiest boyards; and there is still a family assuming the title of Prince Bassaraba de Brancovan.  See Gotha Almanack, 1881, p. 225.]

III.

But who and what were the Phanariotes? the reader may enquire; and in order fully to answer the question we must revert to the beginning of the seventeenth century, and hastily review a series of events which, during that century, laid the foundation of their subsequent rule.  About the commencement of the century many Greeks, coming chiefly from the islands of the Archipelago and from Asia Minor, sought refuge in Constantinople, where in the course of time they founded a colony in a parish or district known as the ‘Phanar:’  hence their name of Phanariotes.  Being more learned, or at least better instructed, than the people amongst whom they resided, and moreover well acquainted with trade, they assumed similar functions to those performed by the Jews of the west of Europe, and like the latter they at once became the objects of cordial dislike, and indispensable factors in society.  Not content with settling in Constantinople, they spread themselves into the Turkish pashaliks and dependencies, amongst others into the Danubian Principalities, where, too, owing to their extortionate practices, they became thoroughly detested; and it is said that Michael the

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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