1583: the Hungarian warriors of the Valiant Order of Trans-Danubian Region attack Koppány Castle

Koppány castle

Koppány Castle fell in Turk’s hands and had been a Sanjak center since the 1550s. The raiding Ottoman irregular troops of Koppány were regularly burning and destroying the Hungarian Borderland. These attacks became very frequent in the 1580s; but the Hungarians answered these raids with equal ferocity, knowing that „any castle can be defended only on the field”.

It happened on 13 May 1582 that the underpaid Hungarian warriors of Tihany and Veszprém castles wanted to earn some money and „hit at a market” that belonged to the area of Koppány Sanjak. Unfortunately, they ran headlong into the Beslia riders of Agha Mehmed of Hídvég. In the sudden clash, the Agha and his men were captured.

Veszprém castle (Photo: Csendesmark)

Next time, the Hungarians of Veszprém wanted to set out against Bolondvár Castle in September. Still, on the way there, the „Turks of Bolondvár (*Balatonszemes) ran into the warriors of Veszprém and either cut the Hungarians off or took them as captives”. Fortune was changing.

Tihany (Photo: Mocsarbalazs)

The Turk riders of Koppány fought back in December: they crossed the frozen Lake Balaton and went as far as Kemenesalja, looting and burning the lands up to Körmend and Vasvár. When they were heading home, packed with plenty of captives and lots of bounties, they were attacked near Keszthely by the hussars of Captain Majthényi Lászó of Pápa and Captain Pethő Gersei Kristóf of Keszthely Castle. They scattered the Turk unit, freed the captives, and shared the bounty.

After this (unsuccessful but bloody) Turkish raid, the Hungarian warriors of the Borderland attacked the Turks as revenge during the early spring of 1583. The target was the Sanjak of Koppány.
Lord Nádasdy Ferenc,  Zrínyi / Zrínski György (Jurij), and Batthyány Boldizsár led their 1,500-2,000 men but in his report, the Pasha of Buda exaggerated their numbers to 10,000 soldiers.

Buda in 1579

Pasha Ali of Buda wrote a letter of complaint to Archduke Habsburg Ernő in Vienna about the case on 5 March. He complained that the Ottomans had removed Bey Ali of Székesfehérvár because of the Hungarians’ accusations but „in exchange for this, hearing of the removal of Bey Ali, Zrínyi György, Nádasdy and Batthyány attacked Koppány area with 10,000 soldiers who made there great damage and burning, we do not know its reason but they had broken the Truce and the Turk Sultan’s soldiers are going to be happy about it…”.
The letter was finished with the usual question, whether the Archduke had known of this military action or not, if not, let him take the Turks whatever they wish to do about it, and they will collect the price of this attack.

And they did collect the price in the summer: the soldiers of Koppány Sanjak joined forces with the troops of Pécs and Szigetvár Sanjaks and plundered the lands again up to Körmend city. They took 700 captives, there were 24 noble ladies among them.

King Rudolf himself wrote an angry letter to the Pasha of Buda but the Pasha replied that they were just the taxpayers of the Sultan who didn’t want to pay taxes.

Palota castle

It required an act of revenge: during the autumn, the Hungarians of Veszprém and Palota defeated Bey Ali of Koppány who was just preparing to ambush Veszprém Castle, anyway. The battle occurred between Balatonfőkajár and Lepsény; Ali and many of his men were captured.

The regular raids from Koppány were stopped only in February 1587 when Batthyány, Nádasdy, and Huszár Péter ambushed the Sanjak center, burning it to the ground.

(Source: Szerecz Miklós)

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