Mircea the Old, one of the greatest leaders in Romanian history, comes to life in this beautiful new book. Although his grandson, Vlad the Impaler, better known as Dracula, has acquired much greater international fame, Mircea the Old was the most significant ruler to sit on the throne of the small principality of Wallachia during the Middle Ages. Mircea, during his long reign from 1386 to 1418, consolidated the political and administrative structure of his principality and maintained its freedom at the time of its most significant peril.
Mircea defeated the mighty Ottoman Empire, the greatest power of his day, in the battle of Rovine in 1394. During the great crusade of Nicopolis, in 1396, the Wallachian prince played a key role and many, including Emperor Sigismund of Luxemburg, believed that he should lead the Christian assault. Flawed political considerations, however, countermanded that proposal and led to the disastrous defeat for Christendom.
Despite this setback, Mircea positioned his small country as a major force in international politics at the dawn of the fifteenth century. As the Ottoman Empire collapsed into civil war following the decisive defeat of Sultan Bayezid by the Mongol Emperor Tamerlane at the battle of Ankara in 1402, Mircea the Old emerged in the role of kingmaker. The great powers fighting for control over southeastern Europe all recognized his skill and acumen. His long reign allowed him to establish the dynamic ruling dynasty from which the Dracula legend would ultimately be born.
To understand his famous grandson, best known as Dracula, it is essential to comprehend the life and times of Mircea the Old. With numerous illustrations, this book brings to light the life and times of this remarkable prince and the turbulent history of the land over which he reigned. Mircea is shown to be one of the most significant rulers of late fourteenth and early fifteenth century Europe, who the Turkish chronicler Leunclavius rightly described as the "the bravest and most able of Christian Princes."