|5000 lei 2000 - 400 years from the Union of 1600
35 mm diameter, 31.103 grams, gold 99.9%, proof quality, flat edge
Obverse: denomination 5000 LEI between two flowers, ROMANIA, year 2000, Romanian coat of arms, and seal of Michael the Brave as prince of the all three Romanian principalities
|Reverse: bust of voivod Michael the Brave, Mihai Vodă church in Bucharest, at left years 1600 and 2000 (written as a fraction), inscription "400 ANI DE LA UNIREA TARII ROMANESTI, TRANSILVANIEI SI MOLDOVEI SUB MIHAI VITEAZUL" meaning "400 YEARS SINCE THE UNION OF WALACHIA, TRANSYLVANIA AND MOLDAVIA UNDER MICHAEL THE BRAVE"
Issuing date: 1st of August 2000
Mintage: 1500 coins
The seal of the prince is the most interesting component of the design on the coin. The seal comprizes the coats of arms of the three Romanian principalities: in the middle, on a shield hatched horizontally (blue) the Moldavian urus, above Walachian eagle between sun and moon holding cross in beak, below Transylvanian coat of arms: two meeting, standing lions supporting a sword, treading on seven mountains. The Moldavian shield is held by two crowned characters.
There are two inscriptions on the seal. First, circular, in Cyrillic, seems to be IO MIHAILI UGROVLAHISCOI VOEVOD ARDILSCOI MOLD ZEMLI, meaning something like IO MICHAEL WALACHIAN VOIVOD TRANSYLVANIAN MOLD LAND. Second, placed along a circular arc separating the Walachian coat from the rest of the heraldic composition, NML BJE MLRDIE, could be translated THROUGH THE VERY GRACE OF GOD.
Church Mihai Vodă was raised by the great Walachian prince on the site of an older church, receiving the consecration to the Saint Hierarch Nicholas. Endowed with 14 villages, the edifice of faith was subordinated to the monastery of Simopetra at Mount Athos. From the chronicle of Radu Popescu we learn that, while Michael was ban of Craiova (high boyar rank in Walachia),
"they contrived he was princely son. [Hearing this, the prince] of that time, sent ferociously for him and they brought him to Bucharest, and, passing next to the White Church at liturgy time [he prayed the custodians to let him listen to the holy liturgy], and, being allowed, he entered the church, and, praying, he pledged himself to Saint Nicholas, being his day of celebration, that, if thus rescued, to make monastery in his name, as he finally did. That, being brought before the prince [[in 1593, prince being Alexander the Mean]], and denying the adversity, he swore with 12 boyars that he was not princely son, and he escaped.".
Michael took the princedom of Walachia during the fall of 1593. On November 13th 1594 the country raises against the Ottomans. The Turks fought back the next year and on August 23rd 1595 the battle of Călugăreni takes place. The lack of troops and the fatigue were the reasons that kept Michael from chasing the enemy and throwing him in the Danube, so that the victory could not be fructified.
In 1599 Michael overthrowned his enemy in Transilvania, prince Andrew Báthory, as result of the later's having intended to dispose the Walachian prince of his reign. On October 28th took place the battle of Șelimbăr, near Sibiu, and on November 1st Michael entered triumphantly in Alba Iulia, therefore named afterwards the City of the First Union (for the same reason Ferdinand and Mary were crowned as king and queen in the very same city in 1921). The High Gate (from which, at the time speaking, Transylvania rightfully depended) acknowledged the union, sending yet one reigning flag to Michael (for Transylvania) and another one for his son Pătrașcu (for Walachia).
In May 1600 Michael entered Moldavia, the capital city of Suceava and the famous fortress of Neamț opening voluntarily their gates. Moldavian prince Ieremia Movilă fled abroad, still keeping the border fortress of Hotin on river Nistru.
During June, July and August 1600 Michael the Brave efectively ruled all three Romanian Principalities, thus accomplishing the first Great Union of Romanians. His seal as seen on the coin can be deemed the first coat of arms of Romania, resembling well the nowadays state coat also.
The authority of Michael collapsed as result of foreign intervention: during September the Polish great chancellor Jan Zamoyski entered the country with powerful armies, as well as armies of German emperor Rudolf, led by general George Basta, the later occupying Transylvania subsequent to the Mirăslău battle. The Turks also entered Oltenia, only that the later invaders were beaten by Preda Buzescu. Surrounded from all around by enemies, Michael gave up, fleeing for Wiena were he got on January 12th 1601, and then for Prague (February 23rd), were he is received in audience by emperor Rudolf himself.
In spring 1601 Michael entered Transylvania with imperial support, winning the victory of Guruslău. On august 19th, Michael was assassinated at the Field of Turda, as ordered by general Basta. His head was brought by comis Radu Florescu (boyar ranking originated in Latin commissarius, from which the English got commissary) to Walachia and burried at the Monastery of Dealul.
The coin was engraved by Vasile Gabor.
The gold coin pictures above are present on Romanian coins through the kind permission of an anonymous donor.
Below are presented, through the kind permission of Mr. Florin L., the pictures of an aluminum (at left) and tombac (at right) essay.
A not approved variant for the "400 years from the Union of 1600" anniversary coin has 2000 lei face value and a completely another design.