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10 hryvnia 1999 Vișnovețschi
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38.6 mm diameter, 31.1 g, silver 92.5%, reeded edge
Obverse: inside inner pearl circle coat of arms of Ukraine wit two supporters: a lion at left, symbol of the city of Liov (Lviv) and by Archangel Michael at right (symbol of the city of Kiev), at sides Baroque adornments, inscriptions "UKRAINA" and "10 GRIVENI" (with Cyrillic letters), meaning "UKRAINE" and "10 HRYVNIA", year 1999, Ag925 (the coin is made from 92.5% pure silver) and 31.1 (the coin mass is 31.1 grams)
Reverse: Wiœniowiecki holding a bow, Korybut coat of arms, used by the Wiœniowiecki family, year of his death - 1563, inscription "DMYTRO VYSHNEVETSKY (BAIDA)"

Mintage: 10.000 coins

The coin belongs to series Heroes from the Cossack Period.

Dimitrie (~1516 - 1563) was, like his father, a powerful Polish magnate (Polish spelling: Dymitr Wiœniowiecki). He was the first hetman of the Zaporozhian cossacks. Hereinafter the name shall be spelled Vișnovețschi, according to the transliteration from the chronicle of Grigore Ureche [2].

It is believed that Vișnovețschi is the same as Baida, the hero of a folk, Cossack song, whence the inscription in brackets on the coin. The Baida character is likewise a very good archer. Baida confronted the sultan, is hanged by the latter's order in hooks, nonetheless managed to grasp a bow and to deadly strike the enemy.

Dimitrie Vișnovețschi, pretender to the throne of Moldavia

The rule of Despot Heraclid had unsettled the boyars and clergy both and had faltering prospects [1]. Under these circumstances Vișnovețschi prepared in 1563 an expedition against Despot, willing to assume the throne in his stead.

Vișnovețschi considered himself as entitled to rule over the Moldavians, by pretending to have been the grand granson of Stephen the Great. Nicolae Iorga called Vișnovețschi "Dumitrașcu, grandson of Stephen himself, this grand and feared old brave, who had menaced also Turks' Caffa” [3]. According to Giurescu [1], Dimitrie Wiszniewiecki would have stemmed from a sister of Petru Rareș. Polish genealogies on the Internet [5] however show that Dymitr Wiœniowiecki was the son of Iwan Wiœniowiecki (? ~1542) sired with his first wife Nastazja Olizarowicz (? - 1536). Iwan had as well a second wife Mary Magdalene (? - ~1570), daughter of the Serbian despot Iovan Brancovici (1462 - 1502). The second wife of Moldavian ruler Petru Rareș, Helen (? - 1552), was as well daughter of despot Brancovici. The link between Dimitrie and Moldavia and the House of Mușat was therefore weak if any: his stepmother was sister of the second wife of ruler Petru Rareș. If any doubt remained about the kinship of Dimitrie with the princes of Moldavia, this is disavowed by the notes and commentaries of historian Constantin Rezachevici, he who curated the cited work of Iorga: "This controversial character, adventurer oscillating between Poland, Moscow, the Ottoman Empire and Moldavia, had no drop from the blood of the Bogdănești [descendants of Bogdan, founder of Moldavia]." [3].

The boyars upheld their own asserter to the throne, hetman Tomșa, who they proclaimed as ruling prince under the name of Ștefan vodă [prince Ștefan]. Despot was sieged by Tomșa at fortress of Suceava, while Vișnovețschi is captured and sent to the Turks. Nonetheless, Tomșa could not keep the throne: the Turks imposed Alexandru Lăpușneanu as ruler of Moldavia. Withdrawn to Poland, at Liov (Lemberg, Lwów), Tomșa was condemned to death and beheaded [4] as found guilty for the tragic ending of Vișnovețschi [1].

Hereinafter follow two short excerpts from the chronicle of Grigore Ureche [2] regarding these events.

"In that time, as Tomșa the hetman had understood how Vișnovețschi had entered the country, found time to beguile his lord, Dispot voivod, and went and told him about the coming of Vișnovețschii, saying that also the Tatars to his aid he had called for help [...].”

„As Tomșa was waiting for Vișnovețschii with a host arrayed at the bridge, at Vercicani, here there came Vișnovețschii with his Cossacks. But Vișnovețschii was coming not as to a war, but to a lordship deserted of masters, with few and yet himself was ill at ease. [...] Tomșa with his arrayed host without warning struck them, so that they got broken and scattered. And many did they catch alive, to some they cut the ears off and released, others together with their lord, Dumitrașco Vișnovețschii, they sent to the empire. [...] And the emperor put Vișnovețschii and Pisacenschii to hooks toward Galata and there they lived alive over to the third day, with many swearings and profanities to Mehmet. Thereafter the Turks, as into a clout shot into them, filling them with arrows and so their life they ended.”


1. Giurescu C., Giurescu D., Istoria românilor. vol. 2, Editura Științifică și Enciclopedică, București, 1976.

2. Grigore Ureche, Letopisețul Țării Moldovei. Editura Minerva, București, 1978.

3. Iorga N., Istoria românilor. volumul V. Vitejii. Editura Enciclopedică, București, 1998.

4. Johannes Sommer Pirnensis, Antonius Maria Gratianus, Viața lui Despot vodă. Institutul European, Iași, 1998.

5. Jurzak R., Genealogia dynastyczna., accessed on August 2016.

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