People, Places and Events Mentioned in the Letter

Neacșu Lupu of Câmpulung

The author is someone named Neacșu Lupu, from Câmpulung. We already know him by his full name since the reign of Vlad the Young (1510 - 1512), from a record mentioning him as having a debt trial with the Brașov traders. It seems that himself was involved in trade activities with Turkish ware and had his people - among others even his son-in-law, Negre, mentioned in the letter - who accompanied the ware from Nicopole, on the south bank of the Danube, through Wallachia and from there toward the Transylvanian cities. Thus could be explained the good relation between him and the prime-magistrate of Brașov. Neacșu was correspondent-informer on the movements of the Turkish armies too.

Hans Benkner
We know that the addressee was the mayor, the prime-magistrate, the Burgermeister of Brașov city. His name was Ioan, Johannes or Hans, Hanas, Benkner, Bengner, Beagnar - according to the shifts in the Romanian, German or Hungarian pronunciation. The official documents indicate that he was already in this function in 1511 and for a long period of time after he received the letter of Neacșu from Câmpulung, that is 1545 and 1559. (We can well suppose that there were two Burgermeisters of Brașov, with identical names, father and son, knowing that, in many cases, the magistrate position was inherited).
In 1559 he supported the Romanian dean Coresi in printing Întrebarea creștineasca, which is in fact a translation of the Lutheran Catechism.
Together with two other outstanding citizens of the Transylvanian Saxon's community, Fuchs and Honterus (the latter being the celebrated preacher and scholar, the most active supporter of the Lutheranism), he founded a paper "mill" in Brașov, the first factory of this kind ever to be made on the Romanian territory. He knew Romanian well and encouraged the writing in this language, advising the Romanians to pass to Lutheranism, as we find out from Cronicon Fuchsis-Lupinae Oltarium (edited by J. Trausch in 1848). To this end, Coresi mentions him in the 1560 Gospel's preface.

Soliman II the Magnificent
The Emperor the letter tells left Sofia, is no other than Soliman II the Magnificent surnamed the Conqueror, the LawMaker. He was the greatest of all Turkish sultans. Under his reign, the empire reached the climax of military and political power. During the time we are concerned with, he prepared the great campaign for the conquest of Hungary. The campaign would last five years, until 1526, ending with the battle of Mohacs. He used to keep a very accurate campaign diary. Due to this diary, Neacșu's letter could be very precisely dated: the 29th or the 30th of June 1521, when the sultan ordered his troops to leave Sofia. However, there are some other 15 letters from the same period of time, in Latin, treating the same subject: the preparations made by Soliman and his general Mehamet-beg, in the south of the Danube. These letters are addressed to the king of Hungary, Ludovic II, the Pope, the kings of England and Poland, as well as to his vassals from Transylvania.

Mehmet-beg, the "thief Muhammad", also known under the name of Mehmet, son of Ali-beg Mihaloglu, was one of the most active collaborators of the sultan. In April 1508 he put Mihnea - also called "the Mean" - on the Wallachian throne. Two years later, in 1510, he vouched for Vladut, the son of Vlad Călugărul, mediating the reconciliation with the Craiovescu family. In March - May 1522 he sent away Theodosie, the son of Neagoe Basarab and established, for a short time, the Turkish administration.

Neagoe Basarab
"Basarab" was Neagoe Basarab, one of the outstanding Romanian Princes, who climbed the Wallachian throne in 1512 and would reign until the 15th of September 1521 when he died, only three months after the events we refer to.

Text after Ion Rotaru, Literatura română veche, București, 1981, p. 62 - 65.

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