House of Basarab

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The Basarabs (also Bazarabs or Bazaraads, Romanian: Basarab pronounced [basaˈrab] (About this soundlisten)) 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.

House of Basarab
House of Basarab coat of arms
FounderBasarab I of Wallachia
Current headDisplaced
Final ruler
(Voivode; Hospodar)
Estate(s)of Wallachia
Cadet branchesHouse of Dănești, House of Drăculești

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 originsEdit

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

Coat of arms of the House of Draculesti

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.[5]

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.[6] Charles I of Hungary speaks of him as Bazarab infidelis Olacus noster ("Bazarab, our treacherous Vlach").[6]


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 Wallachia.
  • 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 WallachiaIvan Alexander of BulgariaNicolae Alexandru
Maria Lackfy1
Clara Dobokai2
Maria Dabkai3
Royal dynasty of BulgariaVladislav I1
Radu I1
Vladislaus II of OpoleElisabeta1Vojislav1Anna of Wallachia 2Ivan Sratsimir of BulgariaAnca2Stephen Uroš V of Serbia
Dan IDA,1
Maria of SerbiaMircea I2
Maria Tolmay 1
Staico2Royal dynasty of SilesiaRoyal dynasty of BulgariaRoyal dynasty of Serbia
?IoanVlad I?1394-†1397Mihail I1
?Radu II1
Alexandru I1
Vlad II DraculDR,1
Vassilissa of Moldavia2
Basarab IIDA
MariaDan III of Wallachia

Vladislav IIDA
NeacşaBasarab IIIDA

Mircea IIDR,1
Vlad CalugarulDRRadu III the FairDRAlexandra2Vlad III the ImpalerDRMircea (Illegitimate)DR,4

A printed family treeEdit


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.

Also, even Queen Elizabeth II herself is descended from Princess Stanca of Basarab (1518?-1601), through the eight generation lineage of Claudine Rhédey von Kis-Rhéde of Erdőszentgyörgy, an Austro-Hungarian Countess from the Teck-Cambridge family, making Elizabeth a fifteenth great-grandniece to Prince Vlad III of Dracul/Dracula.

See alsoEdit


  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.
  3. ^ Sedlar, Jean W (2011). East Central Europe in the Middle Ages, 1000-1500. p. 24.
  4. ^ Grumeza, Ion (2010). The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500. p. 51.
  5. ^ Vásáry, István. Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185-1365.
  6. ^ a b Vásáry, István (2005). Cumans and Tatars: Oriental Military in the Pre-Ottoman Balkans, 1185-1365. Cambridge University Press. p. 153. ISBN 9780521837569.

External linksEdit