Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

Suleiman learns the plot of Queen Isabella

Suleiman receiving Isabella and her son, Sigismund at Buda, 1541 (in fact, Isabella was not there in person)

The following short conversation took place between the Sultan and his Spymaster, Bey Casus. It was recorded by a hidden device of Time & Travel Company in Bey Casus’ turban. Time: it happened in August 1541 before Sultan Suleiman arrived in Buda. 

“Bey Casus: Oh, eternally victorious Sultan, the shadow of Allah on Earth, the terror of the West, the conqueror of…

Sultan Suleiman: Leave it for now. Rather, tell us quickly your report about the German dog.

Bey Casus:  Be as you wish, then. Wilhelm Roggendorf, the conceited unclean puppet of Ferdinand, the one who had already suffered a defeat at Buda in 1530, besieged Buda Castle again in May and had been bombarding it for two weeks with his fire-vomiting zarbuzans from all sides. 

Wilhelm von Rogggendorf

Sultan Suleiman: Did the defenders lose heart?

Bey Casus: Knower of Hearts, Bright-Eyed Padishah, the defenders took hope in your coming and steeled their muscles. The infamous oligarch, Török Bálint is a good soldier and it is told that the White Monk, that devil Martinuzzi György put on a helmet and fought valiantly on the walls when the German pigs launched their overall attack on 2 June. Although the fort was ruined, the Hungarian warriors, many of them came from Pécs, fought like daemons. They have lots of cannons in the castle and they could make good use of them, too. The White Monk was personally aiming them with great skill. As it is common among the infidels, there were three hundred women-animals among them who were throwing stones at the unfortunate mercenaries who tried to climb the walls. By the sixth hour of the day, the German landschknechts have been repelled. They fled headlong back to their camp and the wounded became the prey of the dogs.

Sultan Suleiman: What did Roggendorf do next? Did he risk a second assault?

Bey Casus: No, Giver of Law, he didn’t. Instead, he tried to dig mines but with no success. However, a few weeks later the Golden apple of Buda has almost fallen into his lap. It was Queen Isabella who attempted to cede the castle to him. 

Queen Isabella

Sultan Suleiman: Yes, go on and tell us what you have learned about this unstable woman, the widow of late King Szapolyai.

Bey Casus: Conqueror of the East and the West, please lend your noble ear to my humble report. She, the daughter of Polish King Sigismund listens too much to his father who can’t hide his friendships to the Habsburgs. Also, she is a Sforza and her hot Italian blood tends to make her a self-willed and short-tempered woman. Knowing her well, late King Szapolyai assigned the White Monk also known as Brother György Martinuzzi, as the Chief Guardian of her son. The White Monk, a Croatian by birth, has been serving Szapolyai since the Battle of Mohács, and even now he is a staunch follower of his late lord’s will. Naturally, he was outraged when he discovered during this spring that the Polish envoys, Andrzej Górka and Andzrej Czarnkowski were instigating the Queen to get allied herself with Ferdinand. The White Monk chased them out from the castle through the Saint John gate of Buda, disgracefully. Stones were being thrown at them. However, the seeds of disagreement have been sown between the Queen and the Monk. Isabella was pleading to Brother György to let her go to Ferdinand with her son, even wearing just a shirt on her back. Cleverly, the Monk resisted and now he is keeping the Queen in Buda almost in a custody in order to prevent her plotting. We know this hearsay from the Italian doctor of the Queen, a certain man called Blandrata who has a great influence over her.

Sultan Suleiman: Is there any other proof that Isabella wanted to hand the castle secretly over to the Germans?

Bey Casus: Yes, oh, Bright-Minded Padishah, may the Merciful Allah turn His Face always towards you. On the one hand, we can confirm this information through the secretary of the Queen, Paolo Savorgnano and on the other hand, the military secretary of Roggendorf, a certain Wolfgang Kneissl had seen the letters in which Queen Isabella was negotiating about the terms of the plot. She would have received huge lands around Pozsony city in exchange for her son’s claims for the Hungarian throne. Fortunately, she was not able to restrain her mouth and all her intentions were commonly known in Buda, even the Priest of Buda, a man called Bornemissza knew about them. She openly attacked Brother György, blaming the “Ottoman peril” on him, saying that she was a good Christian woman who never believed in the falsehood of the Turks.

Sultan Suleiman: Ah, the ungrateful and mindless she-wolf. I have never broken my word to Szapolyai, I even returned him the Crown of the Hungarians. Now, she wants to throw Buda to the Habsburgs, blocking my way to seize Vienna. Tell me, how come that she almost succeeded in ceding the castle despite the custody she was wisely kept?

Bey Casus: Mighty Ruler of Rulers, the Queen somehow found a way to make a conspiracy with the burghers of Buda who were suffering because of the shortage of food. They wanted to make haste before your powerful army would arrive. As the Chief Judge of Buda, Turkovics Miklós was sick, it was his vice, a man called Palczán Péter who acted on his behalf. We know the details from a rich merchant called Bornemissza Tamás who miraculously survived the conspiracy. According to their plan, Palczán was supposed to open up a secret door under the Church of Mary of Buda castle and let a picked unit of mercenaries in. They were to disarm the guards at the town’s gate and the hidden German troops that were waiting in readiness would have rushed in. If the town had fallen, the palace and the inner castle would have been easy to take.

Sultan Suleiman: What went wrong?

Bey Casus: Oh, Shadow of God on Earth, the infidels fell victim to their pride and foolishness. The burghers told Wilhelm von Roggendorf that he should send Hungarian soldiers because they could mingle with the guards easily and not Germans who could be identified at once by their speech and clothes. Although the general agreed, he changed his mind. He appointed his own son, Christoph Roggendorf to lead two units of German landschknechts. The young Christopher was given their flag to carry but he sent his men through the small door and cowardly stayed back. The Germans found themselves in the cellars of the church but they had no drums and flags so they got confused. German landsknechts won’t fight without their drums and flags, without officers. Soon, chased by nobody, they ran out of the cellar and their plot was shamefully discovered.

Sultan Suleiman: What has befallen to the plotters? 

Bey Casus: Merciful Sultan, some of them were able to flee but the White monk arrested everyone who could not. One of them was a scribe called Bács Ferenc who was cruelly executed, he was cut into four parts on the orders of Brother György. The ones who could flee were Bornemissza Tamás and Gergely, Drailinger Tamás, Palczán Péter, and Korcsolyás Péter. The Queen remained in Buda, guarded more strictly by the White Monk.

Brother György, the White Monk

Sultan Suleiman: Now, our army is ready to wipe the surviving Germans out of the view. Summon Pasha Mehmed of Beograd. As for Queen Isabella, our forethought was correct. Buda castle cannot be held by the whim of a woman who prefers our enemy. Let it be as Allah grants. Now, be dismissed, my servants will give you an additional five hundred pieces of gold Ducats as my special gift.”

the siege of Buda, 1541

You can read more about Sultan Suleiman, from the viewpoint of Hungarians here:

https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/essays/why-dont-we-like-sultan-suleiman/


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