1586 The duel between Deli Hassan and Csegley Ferenc

Akindji Deli Sinan’s duel with a Hungarian knight in 1526
The initiator of the fight was the Turkish warrior Deli Hassan of Csíkvár, who wrote a letter of challenge to the warrior Csegley Ferenc of Pápa. The Hungarian was happy to take part in the duel but was forbidden by his superiors. As it turned out, the quarrel lasted for a year. Hassan appealed to his superior, Bey Iszak of Fehérvár Castle, who wrote to Majthényi Ferenc, the captain of Pápa Castle, on February 24, 1586, asking him to allow Csegley to fight.
Hungarian-Turk duel, 1612
He added that this did not mean that peace was broken since they were not besieging castles:
“The two rulers were at other times in a state of treaty with each other, but they did not make excuses for these small things, rather they allowed the fight between them, which was the business of the valiant man. For this reason, I ask Your Grace, as our good neighbor, that Your Grace will prepare Csegley Ferenc the valiant to make the duel with Deli Hassan”.
A duel between a Turk and a Hungarian warrior
It seems that Deli Hassan also got tired of waiting and wrote a letter to the soldier from Pápa on February 29, this time in a very insulting tone:

“I just want to write to thou, Csegley Ferenc, that thou know very well that because of the affair that brought us together, which has been going on for a year now, we started writing to each other, which letters I do not know if thou have hidden in water or burned?

Since then thou have not answered me. But the other day thou wrote to my lord in the name of thy captain, Majthény László the valiant, as if thou were complaining about me. But thank God, I am neither an ox-thief nor a goat-thief if ye can complain about me like that. For we did not start this by stealth, and thou did not write this to me before, but thou wrote in your letter before that thou would not hide your face from me anywhere, but would prove with thine saber between the two armies that thou are a man of valor.
And thou hast written that, though I turn a deaf ear to it, thou wilt not leave peace, but there must be a fight. I will neither speak nor write against thy valor: for I also delight to be with a man of valor. Therefore, according to thy former writing, which I took of thy letter to the great Bey, and it was explained before many valiant men, therefore, according to thy former writing, I desire now also that thou hide not thy face from me, nor wander, but let us see each other’s faces. I have had enough of writing for a year. If thou do not have the will, let me know. Either thou will not live in Pápa, or I will live in Fejérvár, and I will give thou a gift that will astonish all of Hungary”.
the duels had strict rules in the 16th century on the Borderland
The Turk, therefore, in case the duel was canceled, would create the reputation of a cowardly Hungarian soldier, which would make him a coward not to be honored anywhere (I note that in such cases they used to send each other a mocking “gift”, such as a pig’s tail, etc.) Probably Csegley was now pressing for a duel, because on March 19 Captain Majthényi wrote to the chief captain of the Győr region, Andreas Teuffel:
Hussar shield designs on my T-shirts, available:
“I know that Your Lordship remembers that almost a year ago a Turk named Csikvári Hassan wrote to His Majesty’s servant here, Csegley Ferenc, that he would fight him to the death. For this matter, I, together with Huszár Péter, have sent Csegley Ferenc to Your Majesty several times, and the matter has been delayed all the time… For all these reasons I ask Your Majesty, as my confidant, to stand by his side before Your Majesty and to allow the fight by Your Majesty’s grace. For your lordship well understands the business of such a contest: if His Majesty does not allow it, the Turk will not believe it, but will say that he does not dare to fight with him, and will so disparage him that it would be better for him to die than to live.”
Lances (Kopjas) (by Somogyi Győző)
Unfortunately, we do not know anything about the duel, although Clair Vilmos writes in his book “Hungarian Duels from the Time of King Attila the Hun until Now” of 1923, published in 1930, without mentioning the source, that the Viennese court finally permitted the duel, which took place on September 3. Pálffy Miklós, the Pasha of Buda, Andreas Teuffel, the chief captain of Győr, and the captains and soldiers of the Hungarian and Turkish castles in the area were at the duel.
Salföldi kopjások, a Hungarian reenactment team
According to Clair, Csegley charged first and struck the armored Turkish soldier in the chest with his lance (kopja) so hard that he immediately flew from his horse. Csegley was about to cut off his head when the Turk jumped up, dropped his lance, and lunged at the Hungarian with his saber. They fought for a long time, Csegley dodging each blow, and at an opportune moment, he struck back with such force that his opponent fell dizzy. This time, however, he did not get his head, for the Turk sprang to his feet again and defended himself skillfully. The judges were about to declare the fight a draw when Csegley jumped to the side and took his opponent’s head.
A Hungarian Hussar saber

Among Pálffy Miklós’ correspondence is a letter dated 3 September, written by Hardegg to the renowned captain. In it, he mentions that the Buda pasha had ordered the Bey of Fehérvár to write to the chief captain of Győr that the Bey of Fehérvár would not use the new “manett” (?) in his duel against Csegley Ferenc, as the pasha would decide on this. He would also like to be present in person, so the chief captain of Győr must be there. Hardegg added that it is difficult to give advice, as all sorts of unpleasantness can arise. Perhaps it was this letter that prompted Clair Vilmos to announce the presence of the three chief officers in the duel as a fact. Indeed, the Turkish opponent of Csíkvár is not mentioned here, but the Turkish opponent from Fehérvár.

Tha saber of Bebek György (Photo: Jaksity Iván) in Hungarian National Museum
Source: Szibler Gábor

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