Battle of Posada


Battle of Posada

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Posada


caption="Dezső sacrifices himself protecting Charles Robert." by József Molnár, oil on canvas in 1855
partof= the Hungarian-Wallachian Wars
date=November 9, 1330 – November 12, 1330
place= Near the border between Hungary and Wallachia, in present-day Romania.
result=Major victory for Wallachia, disaster for Charles Robert's armyDjuvara, pp.190 – "Când ultimii scăpaţi teferi din marea oaste a lui Carol cel Mare s-au pierdut în noapte, au rămas in mâinile românilor o mulţime de prizonieri şi o uriaşă pradă...".]
combatant1=
combatant2=
commander1=Charles I Robert
commander2=Basarab I
strength1=30,000Djuvara, pp.172–180]
strength2=possibly 10,000
casualties1= Almost all killed
casualties2= minimum

The Battle of Posada (November 9, 1330 – November 12, 1330) [Djuvara, pp.19 – "... marea bătălie zisă de la Posada (9-12 noiembrie 1330);".] was fought between Basarab I of Wallachia and Charles I Robert of Hungary. The small Wallachian army led by Basarab, formed of cavalry, pedestrian archers, as well as local peasants and shepherds, managed to ambush and defeat the 30,000-strong Hungarian army, in a mountainous region near the border between Oltenia and Severin. The battle resulted in a major Wallachian victory and disaster for Charles Robert, becoming a turning point in the politics of Hungary, as they had to abandon their hopes of extending their kingdom to the Black Sea. For Wallachia, the victory meant the continual survival of the young state.

Background

Some historians claim that the Cumans aided the Wallachians in the battle, while the Avars aided the Hungarians. In 1324, Wallachia was a vassal of Hungary, and Robert referred to Basarab as "our Transalpine Voivode"."Ghyka, p. 59.] The war started with encouragement from the Voivode of TransylvaniaDlugosz, p. 278.] and a certain Dionisie, who later bore the title Ban of Severin.A Documented Chronology of Roumanian History - from prehistoric times to the present day, p. 59] In 1330, Robert captured the longly disputed Wallachian citadel of Severin and handled it to the Transylvanian Voivode.The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 278] Basarab sent envoys that asked for the hostilities to cease, and in return offered to pay 7,000 marks in silver, submit the fortress of Severin to Robert, and send his own son as hostage.The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 278] According to the Viennese Illuminated Chronicle, a contemporary account, Robert would have said about Basarab: "He is the shepherd of my sheep, and I will take him out of his mountains, dragging him off his beard". Another account writes that Robert said that "he will drag the Voivode from his cottage, as would any driver his oxen or shepherd his sheep."The Annals of Jan Długosz, pp. 278] The King's councillors begged him to accept the offer or give a milder reply, but he refused and lead his 30,000-strong army deeper into Wallachia "without proper supplies or adequate reconnaissance".The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 278] Basarab, owing to the poor state of his troops, was unable to hold an open field battle against a large army, and decided to retreat into the mountains (somewhere in the Transylvanian Alps). Robert entered Curtea de Argeş, the main city of the Wallachian state, and realised that Basarab had fled in the mountains, deciding to give chase. After many days of difficult marching in the Carpathian Mountains, with his troops beginning to starve, the King made Basarab to agree to an armistice, with the condition that the latter would provide guides who knew the way out of the mountains and would lead the army back to the Hungarian plain by the shortest route.The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 278] The guides, however, were ordered to lead the Hungarians into an ambush. When the army entered a ravine, the Wallachians started to attack them from all sides, shooting arrows and pelting them with trees and stones.The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 278] Djuvara, pp.184-186 - "Ne putem închipui manevra lui Basarab: văzând calea pe care a apucat armata ungară, a depăşit-o în marş forţat cu oastea sa de cavaleri şi cu pedestrime de arcaşi din oastea mare. A strâns din ţăranii şi pădurarii locului de au pregătit acele prisăci, tăieri de copaci şi întărituri. Cei care, de pe dealurile înconjurătoare, îi copleşesc sub ploaie de săgeţi pe cavaleri sunt mai probabil unităţi de arcaşi pedeştrii." ]

Battle

The location of the battle is still debated among historians. One theory gives the location of the battle at Loviştea, in some mountain gorges, in the valley of Olt, Transylvania.A Documented Chronology of Roumanian History - from prehistoric times to the present day, p. 59] However, Romanian historian Neagu Djuvara denies this and states that the location of the battle would be somewhere at the border between Oltenia and Severin regions. Djuvara, pp.181-182 - "...atacul lui Basarab împotriva armatei ungare are loc când aceasta a ajuns la acele margini ale regatului pe care Basarab, în concepţia suzeranului Carol Robert, le deţinea pe nedrept - acelea nu puteau fi decât la graniţa Olteniei, inăuntrul banatului de Severin, ...".]

The Wallachian army, led by Basarab himself, probably numbered less than 10,000 men and consisted of cavalry, pedestrian archers and some locally recruited peasants and shepherds. When Robert saw his best knights being killed, without being able to fight back, while the escape routes were blocked by the Wallachian cavalry, he gave his royal roves and insignia to one of his captains – "who dies under a hail of arrows and stones" – and with a few loyal subjects made a difficult escape to Visegrad "clad in dirty civilian clothes."The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 278] Robert later recounted in detail, in a charter of December 13, 1335, how one "Nicholas", son of a "Radoslav", saved his life by defending him from the swords of five Wallachian warriors, giving him enough time to escape."A Documented Chronology of Roumanian History – from prehistoric times to the present day, p. 59"] Most of the Hungarian army – which included many nobles – was destroyed; among the casualties counts the Voivode of Transylvania and the priest that accompanied the King.The Annals of Jan Długosz, p. 278]

Aftermath

The victory represented the survival of the Wallachian young state, as well as the beginning of a period of tense relationship between Basarab and the Kingdom of Hungary, which lasted until 1344 when Basarab sent his son Alexandru in order to re-establish relationship between the two states. Due to its large financial power, the Kingdom of Hungary quickly rebuilt its army and found itself in conflict with the Holy Roman Empire in 1337 However, the Hungarian King maintained a de-jure suzeranity over Wallachia until the diplomatic disputes had been solved. [Djuvara, pp.190–195 – "...Basarab l-ar fi trimis prin 1343 sau 1344, pe fiul său Alexandru, asociat la domnie, pentru a restabili legăturile cu regele Ungariei, ...".]

Footnotes

References

*Długosz, Jan & Michael, Maurice. "The Annals of Jan Długosz". (Abridged edition). IM Publications, 1997. ISBN 1-901019-00-4
*Ghyka, Matila. "A Documented Chronology of Roumanian History - from prehistoric times to the present day". Oxford 1941.
*Djuvara, Neagu. "Thocomerius - Negru Voda. Un voivod de origine cumana la inceputurile Tarii Romanesti". Bucharest: Humanitas, 2007. ISBN 978-973-50-1731-6.


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