STEPHEN THE GREAT STEPHEN OF MOLDAVIA Prince Stephen ‘the Great’ of Moldavia’s sword blade likely was made in Germany, but the Cyrillic engraving on the hilt and pommel was produced locally. Stephen rose to power in an age when the rapidly expanding Ottoman Empire posed a crushing threat to Moldavian independence. A superb leader of men in battle, he evened the odds with invading armies by ambushing them in hostile terrain. During his 47-year reign, he won extraordinary victories over Hungarian, Polish, Turkish and Tatar invaders. He succeeded for three decades in maintaining Moldavia as an independent principality. 59
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