House of Basarab

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House of Basarab
House of Basarab quote of arms
Country Wallachia
Titles Prince
(Voivode; Hospodar)
Founded 1310
Founder Basarab I of Wallachia
Final ruler
Current head Displaced

The Basarabs (also Bazarabs or Bazaraads, Romanian: Basarab pronounced [basaˈrab]) were a family which had an important role in the establishing of the Principality of Wallachia, giving the country its first line of Princes, one closely related with the Mușatin rulers of Moldavia. Its status as a dynasty is rendered problematic by the official elective system, which implied that male members of the same family, including illegitimate offspring, were chosen to rule by a council of boyars (more often than not, the election was conditioned by the military force exercised by candidates). After the rule of Alexandru I Aldea (ended in 1436), the house was split by the conflict between the Dănești and the Drăculești, both of which claimed legitimacy. Several late rulers of the Craiovești claimed direct descent from the House after its eventual demise, including Neagoe Basarab, Matei Basarab, Constantin Șerban, Șerban Cantacuzino, and Constantin Brâncoveanu.

Rulers usually mentioned as members of the House include (in chronological order of first rule) Mircea the Elder, Dan II, Vlad II Dracul, Vlad III the Impaler, Vlad the Monk, Radu IV the Great, and Radu of Afumați.

Name and origins

The dynasty was named after Basarab I, who gained the independence of Wallachia from the Kingdom of Hungary.

Basarab I's name was originally Basarabai and lost the ending -a when it was borrowed into Romanian.

The name is likely of Cuman or Pecheneg Turkic[1][2][3][4] origin and most likely meant "father ruler". Basar was the present participle of the verb "to rule", derivatives attested in both old and modern Kypchak languages. The Romanian historian Nicolae Iorga believed the second part of the name, -aba ("father"), to be an honorary title, as recognizable in many Cuman names, such as Terteroba, Arslanapa, and Ursoba.

Basarab's father Thocomerius also bore an allegedly Cuman name, identified as Toq-tämir, a rather common Cuman and Tatar name in the 13th century. The Russian chronicles around 1295 refer to a Toktomer, a prince of the Mongol Empire present in Crimea.

The Cuman or Pecheneg origin of the name is, however, only a conjecture and a matter of dispute among historians. Contemporaries constantly identified Basarab as a Vlach.[5] Charles I of Hungary speaks of him as Bazarab infidelis Olacus noster ("Bazarab, our treacherous Vlach").[5]


The following genealogical tree is an oversimplified version, meant to show the ruling princes, their documented brothers and sisters, and the spouses/extramarital liaisons of those who had ruling heirs, following the conventions:

  • Ruling princes have their name emphasized and their ruling years in Moldavia.
  • Several members of House of Basarab ruled in Moldavia; those reigning years are marked with M.* Small numbers at the end of each name are meant to indicate the mother of each offspring.
  • There are two branches of the dynasty: Drăculeşti (DR) and Dăneşti (DA)
  • If the prince died while ruling, the last year is preceded by a cross.
  • Spouses and extramarital liaisons are separated by a horizontal line.

Basarab I
Theodora of Wallachia
Ivan Alexander of Bulgaria Nicolae Alexandru
Maria Lackfy1
Klára Dobokay2
Maria Dabkai3
Royal dynasty of Bulgaria Vladislav I1
Radu I1
Vladislaus II of Opole
Elisabeta1 Vojislav1 Anna of Wallachia 2
Ivan Sratsimir of Bulgaria Anca2
Stephen Uroš V of Serbia
Dan IDA,1
Maria of Serbia Mircea I2
Maria Tolmay 1
Staico2 Royal dynasty of Silesia Royal dynasty of Bulgaria Royal dynasty of Serbia
? Ioan Vlad I?1394-†1397 Mihail I1
? Radu II1
Alexandru I1
Vlad II DraculDR,1
Vassilissa of Moldavia2
Basarab IIDA
Maria Dan Danciul

Vladislav IIDA
Neacşa Basarab IIIDA

Mircea IIDR,1
Vlad CalugarulDR Radu III the FairDR Alexandra2 Vlad III the ImpalerDR Mircea (Illegitimate)DR,4


The Basarab name is the origin of several placenames, including the region of Bessarabia (part of the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) and a few towns, such as Basarabi in Romania, Basarabeasca in the Republic of Moldova, and Basarbovo in Bulgaria.

See also


  1. S. Brezeanu, Identități și solidarități medievale. Controverse istorice, pages 135–138 and 371–386.
  2. Rădvan, Laurențiu (2010). At Europe's Borders: Medieval Towns in the Romanian Principalities. p. 129.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Sedlar, Jean W (2011). East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500. p. 24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. Grumeza, Ion (2010). The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500. p. 51.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 Vásáry, István (2005). Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185-1365. Cambridge University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780521837569.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links