LEGENDS OF THE PAST_A EUROPEAN HERITAGE

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Saturday, January 9, 2010

PINTEA THE BRAVE


Born in 1670, as son of a small aristocratic family from Magoaja (in the former county of Cluj), Pintea was in conflict with the noblemen of the area and decided to fight against social injustice. He ran in the forests of Maramures, gathered a group of 12 men and they became outlaws. They attacked many castles of the noblemen taking food, clothes and money and giving them to the poor. For such deeds, the people loved the outlaws: they were warned and helped to escape the people sent to catch them. Along the years, Pintea terrified the local noblemen, who wanted to catch him but, according to the legends, the outlaw managed to escape every time.
During the time of emperor Leopold I, fiscal and military obligations introduced by the Habsburg domination in Transylvania led to a large movement of resistance. Against this background, Prince Francis Rakoczi II started "the fight for national liberation", relying on the support of the peasants, and on the support promised by the king of France (Louis XVI) and the Russian monarch (Peter the Great). In the north-west of Transylvania (Maramures, Satmari), the captain in the army of Francis Rakoczi II was Grigore Pintea. The documents of the time show that Grigore Pintea was an educated man, who knew many foreign languages and military techniques. A tactful and good negotiator, Pintea was considered by the historians “one of the most important Romanian personalities from the XVIIth century”.
In the spring of 1703, several towns in the north of Transylvania (Zalau, Satmar, Bistrita, Dej, Sighet) were conquered by rebels. Pintea's army had to conquer the fortress Baia Mare – the imperial treasury. In August, the city was under siege. During an ambush, Pintea is shot dead in front of the south gate of the city, near the Tower of the Butchers. It is also said about him that he fought against the Tartars while he was in the army. In the church from Budesti there is a shirt of chain mail and a helmet that were worn by Pintea the Brave, and in the museum from Baia Mare there exhibited the arms and harness that he used.
The toponyms in these regions are testimonies of the routes and halts of Pintea’s band: Pintea’s Spring, Pintea’s House, Pintea’s Well, Pintea’s Camp, Pintea’s Peak or Pintea's Cave – there are many legends that talk about Pintea’s “pots with gold” which were hidden in caves in different regions. “Pintea was very brave. He had a magic horse. Then, the people of the emperor wanted to catch him. He was on the horseback, up, on the Gutai Stone. The horse sat on one of his back legs and even now there can be seen the mark in the stone. Then, once the horse flew to Gutai, with Pintea, there, on the Stone’s Peak near Sugatag; from there he flew to Sapanta Rock. There was no other brave man as Pintea.”

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