The massacre of the citizens of Pécs City, 1526
After the Battle of Mohács, the raiding irregular Akindji units spread out and began systematically plunder and burn the area. They had been well informed where to go and it is no wonder that they appeared soon at the walls of the rich Pécs City. So far, the Hungarian inhabitants of those lands who had not yet experienced the Ottoman wars, have thought that surrendering would save their lives as it was the habit in the typical European wars. This time, those residents of this agricultural town who stayed, made a grave mistake by opening their gates for mercy.
Note, many of the brainy ones had fled, later they were called „Pécsi” which stands for „coming from Pécs”. Gergely Bornemissza, the hero of the siege of Eger in 1552 was born also in Pécs in 1526; his family was among the lucky ones who ran away.
An interesting addition here: while the valuables of the bishop were being rescued from Pécs, the monks met with Palatine Báthori who was fleeing from the battlefield of Mohács.
Báthori immediately robbed their money and treasures and took the valuables with him to Pozsony / Bratislava / Pressburg; he was the Queen`s man and he hurried to open the door before the troops of Ferdinand Habsburg who came to usurp the throne in 1527. It was due to the robbed money and the valuables of the Queen that they could control a small part of Hungary until Ferdinand`s arrival, though.
As for Pécs: the Bishop of Pécs, Fülöp Móré had died at Mohács with a sword in his hand (unlike Báthori), and 2,000 students of the school of Pécs died with him on the battlefield, too.
In the city of Pécs, not far from Mohács, only a handful of soldiers got themselves into the Bishop`s fortified castle around the cathedral of the city, led by István Sulyok: they made the right decision as the Turks could not take the fort.
The Turks were freely looting the town for two days, then they herded all the inhabitants to the market-place, some 4,000 people. They thought they would be sold to slavery but they were wrong again: the Akindjis killed them all. Then, they set the town on fire before leaving for discovering other areas of Hungary.
The Abbey of the Dominician monks had perished along with all the valuable documents stored there but the Bishop`s palace and the cathedral survived the destruction, thanks to István Sulyok.
There was an episode which is worth mentioning: there was a Hungarian scribe called Péter Kis Pécsi, (the author of „Exegeticon, a work about the Turks` camp making order, 1564) who was also a scribe from Pécs, too. He discovered one of his friend, now, in 1541, 15 years later after the burning of Pécs, in the Sultan`s camp of Óbuda: his lost friend became an interpreter of the Turks, an „interpres Thurca et intimus secretarius imperatoris Thurcarum”, an inner scribe of the Sultan.
Scribe Péter accompanied Niklas Graf zu Salm and Baron Sigismund von Herberstein as part of the delegation at the taking of Buda and when he walked along the line of Szoláks and Janissaries, he recognized the face of his schoolmate among them. He was Péter Ösztéri, taken as a captive when he was 13. He wrote about his friend: „We used to learn together under the hand of the same teacher in the high school of Pécs. After the unfortunate death of the Majestic late King Louis at Mohács, we were heading to my father`s vineyard which was near to Pécs when the Turks came and took him as a captive: I was saved only by the unfathomable mercy of Christ as I rushed into the thickest thorn-bushes immediately.”
Source: Ferenc Szakály