-text and photos Andrei Dorian Gheorghe;
design Florin Alexandru Stancu;
special guests Virgil V. Scurtu,
Alastair McBeath (UK, past vice-president of the International Meteor Organization),
Valentin Grigore (president of SARM)
and Adrian Bruno Sonka (coordinator of the Admiral Vasile Urseanu
Bucharest Municipal Observatory)-

One day I found out a variant of the Moldavian astral coat of arms
under a statue placed in the centre of Bucharest.

Moldavia or Moldova is a historical region
between the Oriental Carpathians and the Dniester River
with a complicated history.
Its territory was initially inhabited by Dacians,
then conquered in part by the Roman Empire
(resulting the proto-Romanian constitutive element),
“visited” by more waves of migratory populations,
and becoming a statal entity since 1359,
founded by Bogdan I.

Moldova lived its maximum flourishing during the reign of
Stefan cel Mare / Stephen the Great (1457-1504),
famous especially because he rejected the armies of Muhammad (Mehmet) II
(the conqueror of Constantinople),
being nicknamed “Athleta Christi” by Pope Sixtus IV.

the south of Moldova was annexed by the Ottoman Empire (Bugeac or Budgeac),
the northwest by the Habsburg Empire (Bucovina or Bukovina),
and the east by the Russian Empire (Basarabia or Bessarabia Gubernya),
only the west (from the Carpathian Mountains to the Prut River)
remaining as a state (keeping the name of Moldova) tributary
to the Ottomans till 1859,
when it united with the Romanian Land or Wallachia,
forming Romania.

In 1918, after popular votes,
the other Moldavian occupied territories
also united with the Romanian Kingdom for over two decades,
before being annexed by the Soviet Union.

After the collapse of communism in East Europe (the 1990s),
the north and the southeast of Moldova remained as territories of Ukraine,
while the east (Basarabia) became an independent republic,
named just Moldova.

If historically things are complicated,
the Moldavian coat of arms seems to be simpler,
showing the Sun on a side,
the Moon on the other side,
and the head of a “bos taurus primigenius” or a “bison bonasus”
in the centre,
with a star (possibly the planet Venus,
in order to complete the trilogy of the brightest heavenly bodies
visible from our planet)
between its horns.

But one of the most non-formal Romanian astronomers,
Virgil V. Scurtu
(famous especially for his book of astronomy history,
Looking for the Stars, Bucharest, 1980),
came with another vision,
published in 1997 in SARM’s magazine Noi si Cerul / Us and the Sky,
which was poetically adapted in the English language
for Meteor Contemporary Poetry Project V (IMO-Mailing List, 2005),
and re-adapted below:

-by Virgil V. Scurtu;
English adaptation by Andrei Dorian Gheorghe and Alastair McBeath-

Many times I laughed at my numerous troubles.
I didn’t want to explode like a “supernova”
because of the forces accumulated in my “meteoric” life.
But going to the people’s symbols,
the situation becomes serious…


-In 1054, July 5th,
a supernova outburst in the constellation Taurus,
touching -7 magnitude,
visible almost all that month in the daylight,
and drawn by the Navajo Indians on the stones of the Chaco canyon
in New Mexico.
After it,
a relict remained as the Crab Nebula,
discovered in 1731 by John Bevis.

-In 1781
Charles Messier put this object at the first position
in his catalogue, as M1.

-In the meantime, in the 13th century,
the first images of the coat of arms of Moldavia
(a medieval state which is divided today
between Romania and the Republic of Moldova)
show a star
(I say it is the 1054 supernova,
even if usually people say it is the planet Venus)
between the horns of a bullhead,
a sickle moon to the right of the bull’s muzzle
(just as the 1054 phenomenon),
and a few stars
(the Pleiades,
replaced later by the Sun)
to the left of the bull’s muzzle.

(Jupiter, Hyades, Pleiades, 15 December 2012,
photo Valentin Grigore)

drawing Adrian Bruno Sonka)

(Another variant of the Moldavian Coat of Arms at the Trei Ierarhi Church,
Iasi, West Moldova, Romania, made in the 17th century;
photo Octavian Bozeanu)


© 2014 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)