Cultures of Christian–Islamic Wars in Europe (1450–1800)
Special Editor of the Thematic Issue
Imagining the 1456 Siege of Belgrade in Capystranus
AbstractThe poem Capystranus, devoted to the 1456 Siege of Belgrade by the Ottoman Turks, was printed three times between 1515 and 1530 by Wynkyn de Worde. It survives in a fragmentary form, testifying to its popularity with the audience. Studies of the poem have tended to concentrate on its literary qualities, discrediting its historical value as an account of the siege. In this essay, I build on the work of scholars who view the narrative of Capystranus as a work of fiction, informed by the conventions of crusading romance, rather than as an eyewitness account. However, I reassess the value of Capystranus for the study of war history: I argue that, in its description of the siege, the author pictures accurately the spirit of contemporary warfare. The present essay explores, for the first time, the experiences, images and memories of war as represented in Capystranus, comparing the depiction of warfare to contemporary discourses on the law and ethics of war.
Suzana Miljan and Hrvoje Kekez
The Memory of the Battle of Krbava (1493) and the Collective Identity of the Croats
AbstractThe article deals with the construction of the narrative of the battle of Krbava Field, where many Croatian noblemen perished in 1493. The accounts of the battle began to spread immediately after the fighting had come to an end, giving rise to various versions of the events. The second part of the article is devoted to the rhetoric of the various retellings with which the memory of the calamity was preserved from the sixteenth century to the eighteenth century. The article then examines the circumstances leading to the increase in the political and social importance of the narrative in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century. The final part of the article focuses on the history of the narrative of the battle within the framework of the various Croatian state formations of the twentieth century.
Turning Turk as Rational Decision in the Hungarian–Ottoman Frontier Zone
AbstractThis essay will attempt to offer a glimpse into the situations and considerations that played a role in the decisions of Christians, primarily women, who voluntarily stood among the Turks in the Hungarian–Ottoman contact zone. This insight will highlight marriages that spanned the Christian–Muslim borders. On the one hand because the letters of papal pardon which abandoned Christian spouses submitted to the Apostolic Penitentiary in order to gain permission to remarry serve as the basis for analysis; and on the other hand because marriage typically served as the gateway through which people entered the opposite culture. This essay places emphasis on those individual and group experiences that made voluntary movement between cultures possible and the situative character of individual and religious identity at the time.
Going Off to the War in Hungary: French Nobles and Crusading Culture in the Sixteenth Century
AbstractCrusading culture played a significant role in the conceptions and practices of religious warfare in the Early Modern Period, as French authors and militant nobles redeployed Hungary as a crucial theater of crusading war. Examining crusading warfare in Hungary reveals new facets of warrior nobles’ military activities in early modern France and abroad, building on recent studies of French noble culture. The article concludes that French readers developed notions of crusading warfare in part through reports of the war in Hungary, contributing to a burgeoning literature on the production, diffusion, and reception of early modern news and information across Europe.
Zoltán Péter Bagi
The Life of Soldiers during the Long Turkish War (1593–1606)
AbstractThis study is concerned with the everyday lives, survival strategies, and social composition of the German armed forces who served in the border fortresses and field units of the Imperial and Royal Army during the wars against the Ottoman Empire that were fought on the territory of the Kingdom of Hungary in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. This study shows that these troops enlisted to escape poverty and starvation, sometimes serving without weapons, and that their families often followed them onto Hungarian battlefields. As the rich source materials analyzed here demonstrate, however, their new positions confronted them with even greater challenges than they had faced previously, including the day-to-day threat of mortality, epidemics, the vicissitudes of the weather, and the constant deprivations caused by idle mercenaries. They strove to support themselves through fraud and deceit, as well as by forcefully plundering their surroundings; nonetheless, volunteering for military service did not provide them with a permanent solution to the problem of earning a living.
Turkish Captives in Hungary during Austria’s Last Turkish War (1788–91)
AbstractDuring the last Turkish war of the Habsburg Monarchy (1788–91), several hundred Ottoman soldiers were taken prisoner by the Habsburg army and accommodated in Hungarian fortresses. Numerous rules and orders were issued by Joseph II regarding the treatment of these prisoners. These rules represent interesting mixes of the new ideas of the Enlightenment and old habits. According to these regulations, the captured Turks were given the status of prisoner of war and were provided with regular supplies. The study also examines the circumstances of the capture, the lives, and often the deaths of the Turkish prisoners in Hungary, as well as the exchanges of prisoners, which began only slowly but eventually resulted in their release. The fate of the Austrian prisoners in Turkish captivity is also briefly discussed. The paper was completed exclusively on the basis of primary sources.
Taming Mars: Customs, Rituals and Ceremonies in the Siege Operations in Dalmatia during the War for Crete (1645–69)
AbstractThe main question of this study is how seventeenth-century European societies attempted to regulate the conduct of warfare. It deals with a peculiar aspect of seventeenth-century siege warfare, namely the customs, ceremonies and rituals that regulated various aspects of a siege, such as the observation of truces and immunities, the negotiation of surrenders, the treatment of prisoners etc. So far, most historians dealing with Early Modern siege warfare have been more concerned with its technical and operational aspects: the digging of trenches, the development of various elements of fortifications, wastage rates of combatants, hardships brought about by lack of food and epidemics, and so on, than they have been with these “decorative elements” of engagement. Nevertheless, these activities, although usually without any obvious operational military value, provided a medium for a discourse between the besieger and besieged and thus, as I argue, played an important role in the final outcome of a siege. Through descriptive analyses of three cases, each dealing with one siege operation in the Dalmatian theater of operations during the War for Crete (1645–69), this inquiry provides an account of customs, rituals, ceremonies and rules of “proper” conduct of a siege, with particular emphasis on the most critical part of a siege: the surrender of a fortified site.
Cristina Bravo Lozano
Madrid as Vienna, Besieged and Saved. The Ceremonial and Political Dimensions of the Royal Cavalcade to Atocha (1683)
AbstractThis paper focuses on the festive practices in the Spanish court and the diplomatic problems of etiquette and personal position in the planta of the procession that emerged in relation to both the Count of Mansfeld, imperial ambassador, and the Cardinal-Nuncio Savo Mellini. It also examines the opposition of the royal authorities to any kind of “innovation,” in the ceremony, the different interpretations of the image of Carlos II, and the political discourse of this public cavalcade to the Royal Convent of Our Lady of Atocha. The ceremonies were used to celebrate and elevate the position of this king, who had not taken part in the victorious siege of Vienna. An analysis of the celebratory representations allows one to establish an interpretative framework in which to consider the political functions of the rituals surrounding concerning the triumph of the allied Christian armies over the Turks. The symbolic language of the festivities, which included visual images, the meaning-laden choreography of the events, and the composition of works of imaginative literature, was intended to emphasize the majesty of the Spanish monarch, his devotion to the Christian faith, and the tremendous debt of thanks he was, implicitly, due.
The European Tributary States of the Ottoman Empire in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. Edited by Gábor Kármán and Lovro Kunčević. Reviewed by Tetiana Grygorieva.
What Is Microhistory? Theory and Practice. By István M. Szijártó and Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon. Reviewed by Kisantal Tamás.
Imagináció és imitáció Zrínyi eposzában [Imagination and Imitation in Zrínyi’s Epic]. By Farkas Gábor Kiss. Reviewed by Levente Nagy.
A reform útján. Katolikus megújulás Nyugat-Magyarországon [On the Path of Reform: Catholic Revival in Western Hungary]. By István Fazekas. Reviewed by Béla Vilmos Mihalik.
Batthyány Ádám. Egy magyar főúr és udvara a XVII. század közepén [Ádám Battyhány. A Hungarian Aristocrat and His Court in the Middle of the Seventeenth Century]. By András Koltai. Reviewed by Tibor Martí.
Notes on Contributors