Sobieski si romanii is a short story by Costache Negruzzii. It retellsii the failed siege of a very strong Romanian fortress (and indeed one of the strongest in all Europe), very conveniently located on a large rock close to Piatra Neamt. It was built in the late 1300s, and it survives to this day :
It was unsuccessfully besieged numerous times, including by Mahomed II, but never taken. Here goes :
Pe drumul ce duce catre cetatea Neamtului, pe la sfirsitul lui septembrie 1686, se vedea o oaste mergind. Dupa un trup de lanceri ce deschidea marsa, urmau douasprezece tunuri mari trase de boi, apoi o ceata de ofiteri calari in fruntea carora erau trei; unul in floarea virstei, posomorit, ginditor, necajit, si doi mai batrini. Tustrei in haine poloneze. In sfirsit venea duiumul ostei: trasuri, bagaje, pedestrasi, sleahta pospolita, amestecati, in neregula, cu steagurile strinse, cu capul plecat, cu armele rasturnate, cu intristarea pe fata si cu durerea in inima. Nu se auzea nici surla, nici doba, numai tropotul cailor, si pasul oamenilor ce abia se miscau, pentru ca de zece zile caii n-au ros decit coaja copacilor, si oamenii s-au hranit numai cu poame.
Si insa aceasta oaste, in stare asa ticaloasa, e acea ce a ingiosit de atite ori trufia semilunii, iar acei trei fruntasi ofiteri sunt hatmanii Iablonovski si Pototki, si cel din mijlocul lor insusi Ion Sobietki, regele Poloniei.
Si cum sa nu fie suparat si necajit vestitul rege? El, Sobietki, fala lesilor, eroul crestinatatii, mintuitorul Vienii, sa fie nevoit pentru a doua oara a da pas turcilor, a se trage dinaintea tatarilor si a moldovenilor, a-si privi oastea ticalosita de lipsa merindelor, horopsita de dusmanii carii il urmeaza miseleste, fara a indrazni sa-si deie piept fatis cu el, si fac prada tot ce cade, tot ce ramine pe urma; a nu intimpina in drumul sau decit o fioroasa pustietate!
Cum am zis, mergea incet si ginditor. Hatmanii linga dinsul pazeau tacere, respectind supararea sa de care si ei se impartaseau.
— Ce castel e acesta? intreba Sobietki cind, radicind capul, zari pe sprinceana dealului, inaltindu-se trufasa dinaintea lui, cetatuia Neamtu. Cu buna seama vrun cuib a tilharilor acestor de moldoveni!
— La vreme de razboi, aici domnii Moldovei obicinuiesc a-si trimite averile lor, raspunse Pototki.
— Asa! Sa mergem dar sa-l luam. Oh! voi sa-mi razbun pre Cantemir care ma insela, si ma facu sa pierd atita viteji!
— Eu as zice sa lasam cetatea aceasta, zise Iablonovski, si sa ne urmam drumul inainte. Avem tunuri de cimp, nu de asalt.
— Ba, pre numele patronului meu! nu va zice lumea ca o cetate s-a aratat dinaintea lui Sobietki fara a i se cuceri? N-avem tunuri? Vom lua-o dar cu miinile.
— Numele mariei tale e destul tun, zise Pototki.
Trufia polonului magulindu-se de aceasta groasa lingusire, fata i se insenina la ideea unei izbinzi atit de lesnicioase si indata dete porunca sa se insire oastea catra cetate.
In cetatuie se afla optsprezece plaiesi, trimisi de ispravnicul de Neamt pentru strajuire, in lipsa garnizoanei, care era la Falcii pe linga domnul Cantemir, unde tabarise armia turceasca. Cu citeva ceasuri mai nainte sosise inca un tinar plaies, a carui cal asudat pastea inselat troscotul ce crestea pe linga ziduri.
— Mai bea o dusca, baiete, zise un batrin de care se vedea ca asculta toti, si ne spune ce ai mai vazut la Iasi?
— Ce sa vad, tata? Blastamatie! Tirgul ii in jac. Lesii prada si dezbraca pe bietii oameni.
— S-apoi zic ca-s crestini!
— Crestini! au pradat bisericile si monastirile de odoare. Nu stiti inca? S-au dus sa ieie pe sfinta de la Triisfetitele. Moastele sf. Paraschevii de la Epivata, aduse cu cheltuiala domnului Vasile-voda.
— Doamne fereste! zisera plaiesii facindu-si cruce.
— Asa, urma tinarul, eram acolo cind au mers sa ieie racla sfintei, dar calugarul, simtind, au inchis poarta, si n-au vrut sa deschida; atunce...
— Pui de om, calugarul! strigara ascultatorii.
— Atunce craiul lor au poroncit s-aduca tunurile ca sa sparga portile, dar mai intai au trimis raspuns calugarului, care sedea in clopotnita, sa deschida, ori face monastirea praf si pulbere.
— Auzit-ati acolo litfa cea pagina! Si ce au facut popa?
— El au raspuns ca nu se astepta s-auda asa vorba de la un imparat care se zice crestin, si ca maria sa ii mare si puternic, poate sa faca ceea ce zice, daca nu se teme nici de Dumnezeu, nici de sfintii lui, dar el nu deschide poarta, ci s-a ingropa sub zidurile bisericii si apoi lumea va judeca intre dinsul, atit de slab, si intre maria sa atit de tare. Auzind aceste, leahul s-au facut foc de minie si dasa acum poronca sa impusce, cind unul din hatmanii lui i-au zis nu stiu ce. Cum imi spunea oamenii, i-au zis ca nu se cade sa faca asa lucru, sa strice casa Domnului si altele multe. Indestul ca l-au induplecat sa deie pace bisericii.
— Si ce fac acum lesii la Iasi?
— Este o saptamina de cind s-au dus, dupa ce au vazut ca nu mai au merinde pentru osti, si au purces pe Bahlui in sus, gindind c-or gasi de toate; dar acolea sa vedeti. Voda, din lagarul turcilor, cum au auzit de aceasta, au si pornit dupa dinsii un mirzac c-o multime de tatari si vro cinci steaguri de moldoveni, iar mai intai au trimis pe loc pre capitanul Turculet c-o straja de calareti care, apucand inainte, au scos toti oamenii de prin sate, au dat pojar finului si finatelor, au ascuns prin gropi griul si orzul, si dusmanul au gasit tot pustiu in drumul sau, incit, agiungind la Cotnar, nu gasea sa manince decit poamele copacilor; ba inca au pus prin balti si niste ierburi veninoase de care cum bea, crapa; si vai de capul lor! piereau cu sutele si ei si caii, iar care raminea pe urma cadea in miinile moldovenilor, carii, fara mai multa judecata, ori il spinzura, ori il intepa.
— Osinda sfintei Paraschevii! zise batrinul. Dar tu cum le-ai aflat aceste toate?
— Eu — stiti ca m-ati trimis la Iasi sa vad ce mai este. Dupa ce s-au dus lesii, m-am luat cit colea pe urma lor pana la Cotnar, unde m-am intilnit cu capitanul Turculet, care mi le-au spus; s-apoi, dupa ce am vazut ca dusmanii si-au luat drumul spre tara lor, am apucat de-a dreptul piste codri... Dar oare ce buciuma strajerul?
— Fa-i semn sa se coboare de pe zid, si sa vie incoace.
Nu trecu mult si plaiesul de straja viind, spuse ca o oaste mare se apropie de cetate.
Indata toti alergara pe ziduri.
— Lesii sunt! striga tinarul ce venise de curind si pre care l-am auzit vorbind; si-au schimbat drumul, si vin aici...
— La porti, flacai! zise batrinul. Incuieti-le si gramaditi bolovanii pe ziduri. Asezati-va toti pe la metereze. Sa nu zica leahul c-au intrat intr-o cetate romaneasca, ca intr-o tarina pustie.
— Dar noi suntem numai nouasprezece si asta-i o oaste intreaga, observa unul; cum se ...
— Taci, mucosule! il curma batrinul. Te temi ca-i pieri! Mare paguba! un misel mai putin.
Vinatorul astfel infruntat se trase rusinat si se sui pe ziduri.
In vremea aceasta, oastea se apropiese. Regele trimise un ofiter ca sa vorbeasca cu cei din cetate.
Solul veni la poarta. Batrinul il saluta de pe zid.
— Bine ai venit, domnule, ce poftesti de la noi?
— Maria-sa regele Poloniei, mare duca de Lituania s.c.l.(urma titlurile), va face cunoscut ca sa va inchinati si sa-i cuceriti cetatea impreuna cu toate averile si merindele; atunci garnizoana va fi sloboda a iesi cu arme si bagaje, fara a i se face nimica, iar cutezind a se impotrivi, cetatea se va cotropi, si garnizoana se va trece subt ascutitul sabiei.
— Du raspuns mariei sale, zise batrinul, ca laude si ingroziri de aste am mai auzit noi, si tot nu ne-am spariet. Mai bine maria sa si-ar cauta de drum si ar da pace unor oameni care nu i-au facut nimica. Cetatea n-avem gind sa i-o dam cu una, cu doua, macar ca nu sunt in ea nici averi, nici merinde. Tot ce-i putem da este plumbul din pusce, pre care i-l vom trimite noi de pe ziduri, fara sa se mai osteneasca sa vie inuntru.
— Plecati-va, zise trimisul, si nu va puneti capul in primejdie.
— Nu purta grija de capul nostru, domnule. Ginditi mai bine la al vostru.
— Inca o data va intreb, va inchinati ori ba?
Parlamentarul se duse.
Asaltul incepu. Tunurile asezate pe scaune de lemn bateau necontenit cetatea. Plaiesii raspundeau cu gloante care nu faceau gres. Fiestecare impuscatura obora cite unul din vrajmasi, si mai ales din ofiteri, asupra carora erau tintite flintele lor. Lesii piereau fara a face spor.
In ziua dintai, doi vinatori pierira. A doua zi si a treia zi mai cazura cinci si se ranira doi. A patra zi cazu impuscat insusi comandantul artileriei lesesti, dar mai pierira trei din moldoveni. Numarul bravilor scadea pe toata ziua. Seara, adunindu-se pe linga foc, vazura ca au sfirsit si munitiile si merindele.
— Ce este de facut, tata? intreba tinarul vinator pe batrinul, care, ranit la un picior, sta intins pe o lavita.
— Citi au pierit d-ai nostri?
— Si nu mai avem nici praf, nici merinde?
— Daca-i asa, apoi miini dimineata, urca-te pe poarta si leaga in virful sanetii un stergar alb; spune ca inchinam cetatea, cu tocmala sa ne lesa slobozi sa iesim si sa ne ducem unde vom voi.
Asa se urma. Lesii primira toate conditiile cerute. Oastea se insira in doua rinduri, lasind prin mijlocul ei loc ca sa treaca garnizoana, si poarta se deschise.
Atunci, in loc de o straja numeroasa, se vazura iesind sese oameni, din care trei duceau pe umerele lor pe alti trei ce erau raniti.
— Ce este aceasta? striga Sobietki rapezindu-se calare inaintea lor. Ce sunteti voi?
— Strajerii din cetate, raspunse batrinul ranit, din spatele fiiului sau.
— Cum! atita sunteti?
— Zece din noi au pierit din mila mariei tale.
— Voi ati cutezat a va impotrivi mie si a-mi omori atita viteji? zise regele. O, asta nu se va trece asa! urma turbat de minie; trebui o pilda pentru cei asemine voua, si pilda va fi groaznica si vrednica de fapta. Nu meritati a muri de sabie, ci de streang. — Spinzurati-i!
Pe loc ostasii incungiurara pre plaiesi, carii, depuind jos ranitii, isi facura semnul crucii si, razamindu-se pe sanete, se uitau cu nepasare la pregatirile ce se faceau pentru moartea lor. Ofiterii priveau cu induiosare aceasta scena.
— Fie-mi iertat, sire, zise atunci Iablonovski, apropiindu-se cu respect de regele care sedea posomorit si minios, a arata mariei tale ca acesti viteji n-au facut decit datoria lor, datorie patriotica si vrednica de toata lauda, si ca au avut norocirea a cistiga fagaduinta marelui Sobietki ca vor fi slobozi si nesuparati.
— Iti multamesc, vrednice al meu tovaras de arme, zise Sobietki ca desteptat din somn, iti multamesc ca m-ai oprit de a face o fapta defaimata. Ai cuvint; oamenii acestii s-au purtat vitejeste. Sa li se deie fiecaruia cite cincizeci de zloti. Apoi, inturnindu-se catra romani: Voinicilor, zise, sunteti slobozi, mergeti in pace si spuneti copiilor si fratilor vostri ca ati avut cinstea a va impotrivi cinci zile regelui de Polonia.
Indata se facu loc moldovenilor, carii, luindu-si ranitii, se indreptara catra munti, in vreme ce oastea se cobora incet la vale; iar cetatea cu portile deschise, purtind pe zidurile sale urmele bombelor dusmanesti, ramase singura pe culmea inverzita, ca un mare schelet de urias.
And in English :
On the road leading to the fortress of Neamt, towards the end of September 1686, an army could be seen marching. After a body of lancers opening the stride followed twelve large cannons carried by oxen, then a group of officers on horse, led by three : one, in the prime of manhood, gloomy, lost in downcast thought, and two elders. All three dressed in the Polish manner. Finally the bulk of the army, with luggage trains, footmen, the Rzecspospolita szlachecka all mixed up, in disorder, with the flags furled, heads bowed, weapons overturned, sadness on their faces and pain in their hearts. There was no horn blowing, no drum ringing, just the foot of horse and the foot of men, moving listlessly for in the ten days past they chewed nothing but treebark and wild berries.
Yet this army, in such sorry state, was the same that so often humbled the pride of the Crescentiii, and the three foremost none other than the hetmans Iablonovskiiv and Pototkiv, and in the middle Ion Sobietki, the king of Poland.
How could the famed king not be downcast and upset ? He, Sobietki, the pride of Polandvi, the hero of christianity, the savior of Vienna, to be for the second time forced to give way to the Turks, withdraw from the Tatars and Moldavians, watch his army beggared by lack of sustenance, oppressed by enemies harrying it cowardly, without daring to engage him in the open, but looting anything they may and anything left behind ; to face nothing in his way but unyielding wasteland!vii
So he went, slowly and pensively. The hetmans by his side kept the silence, respecting his grief they partook in.
- What castel is that ? asked Sobietki seeing on the coming hill, proud before him, the fortress of Neamt. For sure some rookery of those Moldavian thieves!
- In times of war, the lords of Moldavia send here their treasuries, answered Pototki.
- Therefore, let us go and take it! Oh, how I long to exact revenge from that Cantemir that tricked me and cost me so many braves!
- I'd say we leave it be, spoke Iablonovski, and mind our road. We have field cannons, not fit for a siege.
- In the name of my patron [saint]! The world shall not say a fortress showed itself afore Sobietki without bowing to him ? We have no cannon ? We shall then take it by our bare hands!
- Your name is enough cannon, Highness, said Pototki.
The vanity of the Pole taking solace in such thick cajolery, his face lit up with the idea of easy victory and he bid his men march towards the fortress.
There garrison were eighteen jagersviii, sent by the steward of Neamt county to guard the Fortress as the garrison had joined the army of lord Cantemir, somewhere around Falcii, with the general Turkish army. Hours prior a young recruit showed up, his tired horse grazing on the knotgrass ix growing around the walls, saddle still on its back.
- Have another, my boy, said an older man apparently obeyed by all, and tell us more of what you've seen in Iasi.
- What should I have seen, father ? An outrage! The town is being looted, the Poles undressing the unfortunate inhabitants.
- And then they call themselves christians!x
- Christians! They stole the silver from church and monastery alike. You've not heard ? They went to take the holy relics from Trisfetitele, the remains of st. Paraschiva of Epivataxi, broughtxii by Vasile the voievod.xiii
- God forbid! spoke the men, crossing themselves.
- It is so, followed the young man, I was there when they went to take the holy shrine, but the monks, suspecting something, barred the gate and wouldn't open. Then...
- What a man, that monk! yelled the listeners
- Then their king ordered to bring cannon to break the gates, but first sent word to the monk, who was sitting in the bell tower, to either open the gates or else they will blow it to bits.
- Hear! The pagan! And what'd the priest do ?
- He answered that he wasn't expecting such word from one calling himself a christian king, and that his majesty is strong and might do what he says, if he has no fear of either God or his saints ; yet he won't open the gate, but rather be buried under the walls, and then the world may judge between him, so weak, and his majesty, so strong. So hearing the Pole was enflamed with anger and ordered them to fire, when one of the hetmans whispered something at him. As people told it, he said it is not to be done such a thing, to bombard the house of the lord and such. Enough that he persuaded him to leave the church be.
- And what are the Poles up to in Iasi ?
- About a week ago they left, after seeing they have no food left, up on Bahluixiv, expecting they'll find everything. But you should see that thing, the Lord hearing of all this in the Turkish camp, left and went after them with a Tatar mirzakxv with a lot of tatars and about five flagsxvi of Moldavians, but first they sent captain Turculetxvii with a troopxviii, who, riding hard, gathered the people in the villages, burned the hay and haystacks, hid the wheat and barley in holesxix and so the enemy found nothing but wasteland in his way, so by the time they reached Cotnari they were surviving on raspberries ; and they put poisonous herbs in the ponds so anyone who drank, died ; woe on them, hundreds died of man and horse alike, and anyone left behind fell in the hands of the Moldavians who, without much trial, either hung or impaled them.
- The punishment of saint Parascheva! said the old man. But how did you come to know all this ?
- I - you know you sent me to Iasi to see what's the goings on. After the Poles left, I followed them to Cotnari, where I met captain Turculet, who told me all ; and then, after seeing the enemy ride towards its country, I cut straight through the forest. But why's the guard sound the alphornxx?
- Signal him to come off the wall and come here.
Soon enough the jager on sentry came, and told them a large army is closing in on the fortress. Immediately they all ran to the ramparts.
- That's the poles, said the young man. They've changed their way and are coming here...
- To the gate, my boys! said the old man. Lock them and pile the rocks on the walls. Everyone on the ramparts. Let the Pole not say he came into a Romanian fortress like into empty land.
- But we're barely nineteen ; this is a proper army, noted one ; how shall...
- Quiet, punk! cut in the old man. You're afraid you might die! Big deal, one coward less.
The jager so humbled withdrew in shame and climbed on the rampart. Meanwhile, the army drew close. The king sent an officer to parlay with the besieged. Once he reached the gate, the old man hailed him from the battlement.
- Welcome, mister, what will you of us ?
- His highness the king of Poland, grand duke of Lithuania scl (following the titles) lets you know to surrender and yield him the fortress along all treasure and food stores; then the garrison will be free to go out with arms and luggage, without hindrance, but should you dare oppose, the fortress will be taken by force and the garrison cut under sword.
- Take answer to his highness, said the old man, that boasts and terrors of this sort we've heard before, to similar effect. Better for his highness to mind his road and leave in peace some people who did nothing to hinder him. This fortress he won't have easily, even though there is neither treasure nor food stores worth the mention here. All he can have for the asking is the lead in the guns, which he can collect standing right where he is now, no need to bother with the climb.
- Submit, said the envoy, and do not risk your heads.
- Mind you not our heads, but yours.
- Again I ask you, do you yield or don't you ?
- We don't.
The envoy left. The assault began. The cannons, lifted on wooden fittings, pounded the walls without pause. The jagers made answer by bullet, which rarely missed its mark. Every report saw an enemy fall, and mostly of the officers, prime targets for their flintlocks. The Poles perished without making progress.
In the first day, two jagers died. The second and third day another five fell, and two were wounded. The fourth day saw the end of the very commander of Polish artillery, and further three Moldavians. The count of the braves dwindled by the day. By nightfall, gathered around the fire, they saw the last of powder and chow.
- What's to do, father ? Asked the young man of the old, wounded in the leg, sprawled on a bench.
- How many we lost ?
- And we're out of powder ?
- That we are.
- Then in the morn, climb on the gate and wave a white rag from your gun ; say we yield the fortress, should they leave us free to go where we will.
So it was followed. The Poles accepted the terms. Their army fell on two lines, leaving in the middle space for the garrison to exit, and the gates opened. Then, instead of a numerous army, they saw coming out six men, of which three carried on their backs another wounded three.
- What is this! raged Sobietki, riding in front of them. What are you ?
- We're the garrison, answered the old man, off the back of his son.
- What! This is the lot of you ?!
- Ten of our number perished by the mercy of your highness.
- You dared oppose me and kill so many of my officers ? spoke the king. Oh, this shall not pass! he followed raging ; there must be made an example of your ilk, and that example will be horrible so as to be worthy of your deeds. You're unworthy to die by the sword, the noose is fit for you. Hang them!
The soliders immediately surrounded the jagers, who, putting the wounded down, crossed themselves and, leaning on their guns, looked around without much care. The officers watched the scene with compassion.
- Forgive, sire, said then Iablonovski, approaching the angry king respectfully, if I shall say that these braves did nothing but their duty, patriotic and praiseworthy, and that they were fortunate enough to obtain the promise of the great Sobietki that they shall be free to go as they please.
- Thank you, worthy fellow, spoke Sobietki as though awaken from a dream, thank you for stopping me from a dastardly deed. You have a point ; these men showed valor. Let each have fifty zlotyxxi. Then, turning to the Romanians : Braves, you're free to go, leave in peace and tell your children and siblings that you had the honor of opposing for five days the king of Poland.
Immediately the Moldavians were allowed to pass ; and they, picking up their wounded, took to the mountains, while the army descended slowly through the valley, and the fortress, with gates open, carrying on its walls the marks of enemy cannon, was left alone on the green peak, like the large skeleton of a giant.
- 1808 - 1868, Romanian revolutionary (1848) statesman, writer etc. [↩]
- Vasile Alecsandri, the dominant Romanian poet of the time, also important politician, revolutionary etc also retels the story. Their source is Dimitrie Cantemir's "History of the Ottoman Empire", roughly speaking contemporary with the events described. It should be noted that the journal of the expedition as kept by one Cazimir Sarneki contradicts the Tatar's retelling. [↩]
- Ie, the Sublime Porte. [↩]
- Stanisław Jan Jabłonowski, Great Crown Hetman of the Serene Republic, 1683 - 1702, voivode of Rhutenia, castellan of Krakow etc. Commanded the Polish right wing at Vienna. [↩]
- Andrzej Potocki, Field Crown Hetman of the Serene Republic, 1684 - 1691, son of the famous Stanisław "Rewera" Potocki, grandson of the arguably more famous Mikołaj Potocki. You get the idea. Lengthy history of successful expeditions against the Turks and Tatars ; and unsuccessful ones against the Moldavinas. He used to be buried in Stanisławów, his father's town - up until the "Ukrainian" communists razed it in 1963. [↩]
- Romanian etnonym being leah, pl leahi, sometimes spelled with a sibilant instead, lesi but rarely in the singular, les being the word for corpse. [↩]
- The Romanians lived by this "burn the fields and poison the wells" defensive principle. [↩]
- There is no ready equivalent of the Romanian term "plaies" in English. They were a sort of march-peasants ; free, hunter type of fellow living in mountainous terrain on the Moldavian border. A sort of mini-marquis, if you will. [↩]
- Polygonum aviculare ; not to be confused with knotweed. A sort of buckwheat. [↩]
- Moldavia was orthodox. The Poles were catholic. [↩]
- To this day the relics are found in Moldavia (at Iasi). This one is celebrated in the Orthodox church on October the 14th (Balkan Parascheva, Petka de Bulgaria, etc). There's another Parascheva, celebrated on July the 26th and popularily known as "Saint Friday" (and figuring as such in a good half of all Romanian folk tales). Apparently they needed two.
Epivata is an unknown place. Romanian sources, which are ~the only people giving a shit, place it as an imaginary modern town of "Boiados", supposedly at the same time "in Bulgaria" and "on the Marmara sea". This is obviously a geographical impossibility. . [↩]
- "For a cost of three hundred gold bags", which is a dubious Romanian unit perhaps safest taken as 1`000 piastres - which'd be the Venetian name for the Spanish eight piece, aka the peso, which complicates matters as that was a silver coin. Nevertheless, the item reached Romania through the Turks, who used it to denote the kurus, roughly equivalent to the French ecu, which is to say a subdivision of the livre tournois etc etc.
All this mess aside, it'd be perhaps fair to guess the man supposedly paid 300 * 1`000 * 10 grams = 3 tons of gold for the damned thing, which should strike you as absurd seeing how the whole military budget of the other principality in the times of Constantin Brincoveanu (late 1600s) was about this much ; and moreover the total revenue of that throne was maybe double the sum.
I personally doubt anyone was dumb enough to pay such outrageous sums for what is always and everywhere a case of fraud (seriously, "holy relics" ?), but then again Romanians are pretty fucking dumb. [↩]
- Likely Vasile Lupu, twice ruler of Moldavia decades prior. [↩]
- Local river. [↩]
- Lord. [↩]
Wenn alle untreu weden, so bleiben wir doch treu, dass immer noch auf Erden fur euch ein Fahnlein sei.
About a hundred men, on foot. [↩]
- Whose name happens to mean "little Turk" in Romanian. He's pretty famous as a centurion in Romanian historical fiction, a sort of Inspecteur Poirot of the 1600s Ruthenia if you will. [↩]
- Literally no one knows wtf a "straja" was at the time ; but it is likely to count as about 30 - 40 men on horse. Otherwise the word just denotes "guard". [↩]
- This is shockingly effective, all the grain needed to support a village fits in a hole so small you won't likely find it in a week of searching. A week you don't have. [↩]
- Literally, bucium, a lengthy wooden implement. Has a glorious military history in Romania, having been used for centuries to misdirect enemies in the mists. [↩]
- A coin worth ~3 grams of silver. [↩]