Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars

14 April 1533 Hieronym Laszky besieges Palota Castle

Palota castle (Picture: Szakonyi Balázs)
Before sharing the excellent post of Szibler Gábor with you, let me add a few events taking place before 1533. Firstly, I have to outline the overall situation so far. The division of the Kingdom of Hungary has begun because of the following reasons:
1. the defeat of Mohács in 1526;
2. King Szapolyai was defeated by King Ferdinand in 1527-28;
3. the failure of King Ferdinand`s efforts to save the country from the Ottoman Turks;
4. the Hungarian noble lords have been quite unwilling to rely on the alliance with the Ottomans;
5. the Ottoman campaigns of 1529 and 1532 and their impact.
The campaigns of Sultan Suleiman to Hungary
The Dual Kingship tore the kingdom n two parts. It was very important how the Ottoman sultan would react to the events so King Szapolyai sent his Polish diplomat, Hieronym Laszky (aka Lasky) to Istanbul in 1527 where he could achieve considerable political success, he was able to achieve as much as he could. Here is my detailed article about his negotiations:
Jeromos (Hieronym) Lasky before Sultan Suleiman
In the meantime, the Hungarian lords began to realize that Habsburg Ferdinand could not or did not want to save Hungary from the Ottomans and they also saw that Szapolyai was weak against the Turks while Ferdinand was threatening him. No wonder there were at least five gatherings where the Noble Estates tried to find a third solution, it was the time when Lord Perényi was playing with the idea of getting the crown and establishing a state similar to Venice. Perényi was the second wealthiest lord of Hungary, you can learn more about him here:
Habsburg Ferdinand was not idle, either. He was trying to spread the propaganda about how much he loved the Hungarians. On the other hand, Szapolyai was trying to spread the propaganda that he loves the Germans and defends Christendom. In fact, Ferdinand was not able to hire more mercenaries than King Lajos (Louis) II at Mohács and relied totally on his brother, Emperor Charles V who was busy making wars in France.
Szapolyai and Ferdinand
Szapolyai`s power could not have been upheld without Suleiman, either but he was able to run his part of the country without the Turks` direct interference. The sultan tried to limit his rule, though: he assigned the natural son of the Venetian Doge, Gritti, and made him Governor of Hungary. However, Szapolyai was able to manipulate him and he used the Sultan`s man to „make the dirty job” for him when it was needed. He didn`t know that in secret, Gritti was going to offer his services to Ferdinand in June 1533. It was a “real game of thrones”.
Lodovico Gritti, the natural son of the Venetian Doge, the sultan’s diplomat
Szapolyai`s trusted chancellor, Lord Werbőczy had recommended two Franciscan monks to his king and he wrote the next: „King  (Szapolyai) János has turned to them for advice, whether it was right or not to get help from the Turks and they explained him from the Evangelium that yes, it was the right thing to do. The Franciscan monks read from the Bible that whoever does good with you, he is your friend.” Can you imagine what frustration the Hungarian noblemen felt in the throat of the two enemies? They had to expect a war from the west and from the south at the same time.
As a result of this situation, a fragile 4-month-long truce was born between Ferdinand and Szapolyai on 30 December 1532. It was when the outstanding event took place that the two kings’ soldiers joined forces to defeat a robber-knight called Csulai Móré László who was terrorizing the area from (Vár)Palota Castle. Móré was taking full advantage of the anarchy of the Dual Kingship: he was looting and raiding other people’s lands, raging his private war. King Szapolyai gave an order to his General, Hieronym Lasky (1496-1541) whose men were being summoned around Simontornya Castle. He gave out his order with the knowledge and acceptance of his rival, King Ferdinand, though.
Simontornya castle
The Ottoman Turks sent a strong auxiliary force to aid Szapolyai, this unit was led by Bey Hasszán. Even 50 Czech miners were permitted to join the army so as to dig tunnels for the mines. The mines were completed after two weeks; and when the Castelan of Palota, Nagy Gergely fell during the siege, Móré called together the guards and distributed lots of money and awards among them. Yet, most of his treasures he had hidden in the tomb of Nagy Gergely. Móré lied to his men, saying that he would go for reinforcement, and fled the castle, leaving behind his son and his daughter as hostages. He ran to Slavonia.
Hungarian reenactors at Simontornya
The mines were blown at the end of May and the Turks could intrude through the breaches and slaughter most of the guards.
General Laski discovered lots of treasures in the castle and also the children of Móré along with other daughters of noblemen in the cellar. After he had them washed and dressed them in clean clothes, sent them to King Szapolyai. The son of Móré later happened to get into the hands of the Turks and became a renegade and eventually became a high-ranked Ottoman navy officer.
Palota castle Photo: Civertan
Lasky placed 300 Bohemian soldiers into the fort as a garrison. During the siege, the besiegers plundered the Franciscan monastery which stood nearby where they killed many monks, Vásárhelyi András, a poet and orator, was among them. The army returned to Buda on 8 June where the Croatian Bán (Duke) Erdődy Simon gave a report about the military action to the king. As for the Ottomans, they returned to Eszék (Osiek), taking 300 prisoners to slavery on their boats. Even King Szapolyai was weeping over their plight. I have no idea why didn’t Szapolyai ransom them. Finally, the castle has been gifted to General Laszki for his services.
The signature of Lasky
Later, Lasky betrayed Szapolyai and began plotting with Gritti: the Doge’s son wanted to be the ruler of Hungary, and Lasky the Voivode of Transylvania. However, Gritti was killed and Lasky was arrested by Szapolyai who let him go in 1535. Then, Lasky sided with King Ferdinand. His life deserves a stand-alone article.
Source: Szibler Gábor
Here you can read more about (Vár)Palota Castle:
Palota castle
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