25 December 1545, the fall of Simontornya castle

Markocs Tamás was the captain of Simontornya, who regularly threatened the Ottoman military road between Eszék (Osijek)-Mohács-Buda with his attacks from his castle. Ibrahim Pecsevi, the famous Ottoman historian and traveler, noted:

“In the year 951 [March 1544 – March 1545] in the said castle [Simontornya] there was an evil bey named Thomas Markodzsi. He constantly sent his vagabonds to the travelers coming from Buda, he did not stop doing harm and evil. He was attacked at the request of Bey Kassim of Mohács. “

Simontornya castle (Photo: Gabor Lajos)

On April 4, 1545, the Sublime Porte sent an order to the Pasha of Buda, the Beys of Mohács, and Fehérvár to attack the castles of Tolna with their united armies. These local forces were in no hurry, as they did not start the campaign until the fall.

“In Simontornya, the castle was guarded by three hundred old (=experienced), seasoned knights, who were daily harassed by the Turks to surrender the fortress and promised, in the name of their lord, that they would be free to go wherever they wished with all their cattle and servants. As soon as the captain saw that it was no longer possible to hold the castle, he made a great speech to his warriors, encouraging his own and recounting many of the enemy’s transgressions.

Hungarian reenactors at Simontornya, 2019

He said that the Christian faith demanded that they stand and die an honest death for the glory of Christ, and not that they surrender the castle either to live in eternal shame or to be slaughtered like foolish beasts. When he saw that his warriors had strengthened their hearts enough and that some of them were holding on to him, he released them from the castle, hoping to disperse the Turkish camp, or at least to disrupt the enemy with unexpected fear, and to free the castle from the siege.

The heroes fought bravely until they were all cut down, exhausted by the constant killing of the enemy and the crowds that swarmed around them. Bolstered by this victory, the Turks immediately attacked the castle. Losing hope, the captain opened the gates and charged out with such haste that wherever he turned, the enemy dodged him like lightning, thus cutting off the enemy, breaking through the main body of the Turks, and escaping unharmed”.

Reenactors commemorate the successful sally at Simontornya

The courageously defended castle fell after the remaining defenders, like later Zrínyi Miklós alias Nikola Subic Zrinski in 1566, ran out of the castle with the captain at their head. However, there was an important difference: they did not fall, but cut their way through the besieging camp and escaped.

I would add that we don’t know much about Markocs Tamás. (Note, I am using the Oriental name order for Hungarians, where surnames come first). Simontornya is certainly worth a visit, especially when the Simontornya Castle Days are held. Then you can enjoy one of the best reenactment demonstrations in Hungary.

Source: Szibler Gábor

You can read more about similar deeds of the Valiant Order of the Borderland here:



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