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The Ottoman coins in Moldova (1512–1603)

Author: Anuţa Boldureanu
Degree:doctor of history
Speciality: 07.00.06 - Archaeology
Scientific advisers: Gheorghe Postică
doctor habilitat, professor, Free International University of Moldova
Pavel Bârnea
doctor habilitat
Institution: Institute of Archeology and Ethnography of the ASM
Scientific council:


The thesis was presented on the 4 November, 2005
Approved by NCAA on the 26 January, 2006


Adobe PDF document0.14 Mb / in romanian


altân, akche, vorderseite, revers, venetian ducat, tartarian zlot, weight, module, size, para, medin, dirhem, mint, legend, hoard, duble - striking, border of dots (pearled), currency, isolated finds, inflation, currency reform, devalorization, pay, rate of exchange, terminus post quem, circulation, linear circle, imitation, counterfeit, mule hibrid, jubilee issue, stamp, coin sign, coin finds, mangâr, treasury, treasure house, holed, change, standard finenessalloy


The Ottoman coins which were current in Ţara Moldovei for a period of about 300 years are an important source of the study of different aspects of the economic history of this Romanian territory.

Peculiarities of penetration and circulation of Ottoman coins as well as some other aspects related to the typology and chronology were out of the specialists’ attention for a long time.Only in the latest decades some steps on systematization and dating of some coins issues were taken. The given study rests on the Ottoman coins found in the territory of the medieval Moldova with the exception of the materials from the regions annexed to the Empire. The research covers the period concerned with the strengthening of dependence on the Ottoman Empire (1512) and the establishment of the Ottoman suzerainty (1528) and continues to the first years of the 17th century when as a result of a large-scale devaluation of Ottoman akches the volume of the Ottoman coins in the Romanian States market greatly decreased. The work consists of an introduction, 5 chapters, conclusions, a bibliography, lists of abbreviations, of tables, of maps, and of photographs, key words and a summary. In the Introduction the author’s opinions concerning the topicality of the subject under review, the extent of its elaboration, aims of the research, geographical and chronological frames of the work, sources, methodology, and a scientific novelty of the research are given. Also, it presents the development of numismatic research in Bessarabia from the beginning of coins collecting to the scientific study of them. The author points to the Romanian numismatists’ progress in the study of Ottoman coins and to the success on an international scale. The chapter Ottoman Monetary System in the context of the Ottoman Empire’s expansion to north of Danube begins with a brief review of the Ottoman monetary system from its origin to the beginning of 16th century and the peculiarities of its penetration into the Romanian States. The Ottoman mints revealed in the discoveries of Moldova classified by zones are presented as well. In the chapter Golden Coins, after some general information concerned gold issues, the recent results of research in the field of typology and chronology of altyns are given. The chapter is supplied with a list of golden finds, both isolated, and from hoards. The chapter Silver Coins contains an analysis of akches which were predominant in the Romanian market in the 16th century as well as dirkhems which penetrated into the zone to the end of the century. The author touches upon questions concerned the typology and dating certain issues of akches. Numerous finds of akches were analyzed by issuers and zones of provenance with a view to retrace the dynamics of relations between their production in the structure of discoveries in Moldova. The author makes a general analysis of dirkhems and the peculiarities of their penetration into Moldova as a result of the devaluation of akches. A subchapter is dedicated to the list of the akches finds, in the beginning of which the main types, both known and unpublished, supplemented with drawings, maps, and tables to better illustrate their structure. In the chapter Ottoman Coins of Copper, False Coins and Imitations the author analyses the produces destined mainly to the home trade of the Ottoman Empire, but found in a very limited number in Moldova and Ţara Romaneasca as well. The existence of local production of the Ottoman akches imitations before the integration of the Romanian States into the Ottoman political system is shown too. The presence of many akches imitations of the period of Selim I – Murad III in the hoards of the16th century demonstrates that the production of coins of the Ottoman type continued in the next epoch as well. These coins, in the majority unpublished, are presented in a separate catalogue. In the last chapter The Role of Ottoman Coins in the Money Circulation and the Commercial Activities of Ţara Moldovei in the 16th Century the author retraces stages of the Ottoman coins penetration as regards the economical situation and the politics of the state, the localization of the discoveries in respect of the main trade roads, the area of their spreading in Ţara Moldovei. In the Conclusion there is presented the progress obtained in the systematization and dating of certain issues and the zones of provenance of coins found in Moldova, silver false coins and imitations. Two periods of the Ottoman golden coins hoarding, as well as three periods of akches circulation in the 16th century in the territory of the medieval Moldova were delimited.