Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars

1554: The Turks attack the castles of Tihany and Csobánc

Csobánc castle (Photo: Fauvirt)

The unsuccessful Turk attack against Csobánc Castle

Sir Nádasdy Kristóf wrote in his letter dated 3 November 1554 that the Turks had attacked Csobánc but fortunately, Captain Gyulafy László happened to be there and could defend the castle. (Note, I am intentionally using the Eastern name order for Hungarians.) Gyulaffy László used to be one of the greatest duelists of Hungary, however, at that time he served in Pápa castle. Despite his post in Pápa, Gyulaffy had to keep an eye on his domains which were on the Highland of the Lake Balaton. 

Gyulaffy László (by Somogyi Győző)

He had not much income but did not let his soldiers starve. It was the reason why he asked Sir Nádasdy to pay his 100-Forints-debt to him in wheat instead of gold because he suffered need. He wrote the next to Palatine Nádasdy:

“Your Lordship knows it well that during the time when I had been in the army with you in Transylvania (my note: in 1551 he accompanied the Palatine), I served your Lordship gladly and faithfully. I am going to remain the ready servant of your Lordship, whenever your Lordship orders.” Here you can read more about the history of Csobánc castle and find more pictures:

Lake Balaton was part of the Borderland…

Gyulaffy had great difficulties to pay his men from the king’s money. Yet, Csobánc Castle had to be defended. It was his family’s property and he wanted to preserve it by all means so he always watched it carefully. The Turks wanted to annoy him by disturbing the small castle of Csobánc and its area. In fact, it was the usual part of Ottoman warfare: they scorched the surrounding land and isolated the castles from the villages that were feeding the defenders.

According to Nádasdy Kristóf, the Turks laid a siege on Csobánc in the first days of November 1554, he wrote:
“But, as God was willing, Gyulaffy László went home that evening (to Csobánc) and Horváth Gáspár (the Captain of Vázsonykő Castle) was also with him… (…) …and the Turks kept on attacking the castle but they could not do any harm. Once they could get in and took the head of the night-guard on the rampart but somehow God granted us to beat them out again…” They and Castellan Ferenc Bychs beat that attack back.

Csobánc (by

Beating them out must have been a hard job, though, considering the handful of defenders and the crumbling walls.
After a week of the siege, its walls collapsed indeed, as Gyulaffy reported it on 11 November, saying that he tried to support it with earth and wood. In this letter, he was asking the help of Nádasdy Tamás to send him 20 guards from the king.


The Ottoman attack against Tihany Castle

During the night of 07 November 1554, the Turks of Veszprém Castle made a sudden attack on Tihany Castle that was guarding the northern bank of  Lake Balaton. At that time, it was not a peninsula but it was fully surrounded by water.

Tihany (Photo: Mocsarbalazs)

They were attacking it between midnight and 4 a.m. Captain Takaró Mihály of Tihany wrote the following in his letter to Palatine Nádasdy Tamás on 21 November:
“The Turks came down on me and they were attacking me for a full hour and burned the entire land around here.”
Assumedly, they attempted the same with Csobánc Castle on the same day, as we have read it above. 

The fall of Vázsonykő (Nagyvázsony) Castle

Nagyvázsony castle (Photo: Horvabe)

While Captain Horváth Gáspár helped to fight the Turks at Csobánc, his castle, Vázsonykő stood without defenders. The Turks ambushed it and took it. It is assumed that Horváth’s letter to Nádasdy in January 1555 was related to this event. In it, he asks permission to have a duel with a Turk officer. It was the Turk officer who challenged Horváth but both the king and Nádasdy were against duels. In his letter, the captain of (Nagy)Vázsony was pleading to the Palatine like this:

“I am begging your Highness as I would beg to my Merciful Lord please, do not let my honor be decreased and belittled this way because so far I have been respected and lived with a clean face among the Valiant Order of soldiers. If somebody happened to throw this thing into my face, namely that I did not dare to fight him, at that very moment I would wish my death instead of my life in this world.”
Horváth wanted Gyulaffy to be appointed as one of the judges during the duel. We do not know whether the duel took place after this or not. The above-described stories were the usual part of life between the 1420s and 1699 on the Borderland.

Here is more about the Valiant Order of the 1,000-mile-long Hungarian-Croatian-Transylvanian Borderland:

(Sources: Szerecz Miklós and Szibler Gábor)

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