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Gaspar Graziani


Gaspar (or Gaşpar) Graziani (also credited as Grazziani, Gratiani and Graţiani; Kasper Gratiani in Polish; c. 1575/1580–1620) was Voivode (Prince) of Moldavia between February 4OS/February 14 NS 1619 and September 19 OS/September 29 NS 1620 (see Old Style and New Style dates).

Early life

A Croat polyglot born in Dalmatia, Graziani had been in service to several European powers: he was an interpreter for the English diplomatic mission in the Ottoman Empire, and then an envoy of both Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo II and the Spanish Viceroy of Naples to the Porte, negotiating the release of Christian sailors captured by Barbary pirates.

The Republic of Venicemarker awarded Graziani the (by then) honorary title of Duke of Paros and Naxosmarker; he became a close ally of the Doges and, like his predecessor and rival Radu Mihnea, a self-declared admirer of the Serenissime system of government; Graziani also married into a family of Venetian patricians.

In Moldavia

Appointed Dragoman, he was charged by the Turks with missions in the Holy Roman Empire, and nevertheless acted as a spy in favour of the Habsburgs. These activities, along with bribery and promises of absolute loyalty to the Porte, gathered Graziani the support he needed in his bid for the Moldavian throne. In order to qualify for the customary requirements, he quickly converted from Roman Catholicism to Eastern Orthodoxy and accepted the sacraments. On his way to Moldavia, he was received in Adrianoplemarker by a delegation of 20 boyars, and is said to have been acclaimed by thousands upon his arrival on the shores of the Danube.

He organized an armed guard of 500 for his personal defence, and defied the Ottomans by starting negotiations for an alliance the Poland's King Sigismund III Vasa. The Sultan ordered him removed and a kapucu was sent for this purpose; Graziani had the envoy and his 300-strong retinue massacred. He managed to contribute with a minuscule number of his troops to hetman Stanisław Koniecpolski's effort and was present at the Battle of Cecora, but, as he was making his way to refuge in Poland, he was murdered in the village of Branişte (nowadays in Rîşcanimarker, Republic of Moldovamarker) by two of his boyars, Şeptilici and Goia, who were fearful of Ottoman reprisals.

His life was the subject of Ioan Slavici's 1888 tragedy, Gaspar Gratiani.

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