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CNAA / Theses / 2009 / May /

Hero and Heroism in 16th-century Moldavian Chronography

Author: Cartaleanu Elena
Degree:doctor of philology
Speciality: 10.01.01 - Romanian Literature
Scientific adviser: Mihai Cimpoi
doctor habilitat, professor, Institute of Philology
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 15 May, 2009
Approved by NCAA on the 1 October, 2009


Adobe PDF document0.34 Mb / in romanian


chronicle, chronicler, chronography, hero, heroism, voyevod, criterion, subjective, objective, Christian, stranger, child, topos, motif, symbol, semiotics, intertext, mentality, medieval


The thesis researches the image of the hero in Moldavian 16th century chronicles and the idea of heroism as reflected in them. Three clerics, Macarie, Eftimie, and Azarie, wrote the Slavonic language chronicles by orders of three voyevods, Petru Rareş, Alexandru Lăpuşneanul, and Petru Şchiopul. The chronicles are a lively image of medieval mentalities, and reflect both the monarchic customers’ political agenda and the authors’ own ethic categories.

Of all the rulers described in the chronicles, only two qualify as true heroes (the hero of a medieval court chronicle can only be a royal): Petru Rareş and Alexandru Lăpuşneanul. They appear to possess all the necessary heroic features, but only the former is explicitly called a hero. The image of the latter was clearly modelled after him. Both are of royal stock (and, incidentally, both are illegitimate, which is not an indictment), both are devoted Christians, patrons of the Church and monastery/builders; both are married to princesses and father sons; both are clever, fair, good organisers, courageous, kind, peace-loving yet skilled warriors, and as handsome as an icon.

In order to make their characters live in the pages the authors use a variety of textual instruments, as reticence, suspense, gradation, comparison, allegory, direct and indirect quotation, intertext, etc., together with Biblical and mythological topoi and images.