Frangepán Kristóf aka Christoph Frankopan/Krsto Frankopan Brinjski
Was Hungary lost because of a debate over a woman?
Kristóf Frangepán aka Christoph Frankopan or in his Croatian name Krsto Frankopan Brinjski (1482-1527) was a very talented and brave soldier of his age.
He was the best candidate to lead the combined army of King Louis II of Hungary against the Ottomans in 1526. He would have accepted the challenge willingly if he had been nearby, but he and his 5,000 troops did not arrive in the battlefield of Mohács…
Why? As it was, he had a fierce debate on the Diet of Hatvan in 1525 with one of the highest lord of Hungary, Archbishop László Szalkai. The high priest grabbed his beard and began to pull it and Frangepán gave him a hard beating. According to hearsay, the subject of their debate was a beautiful lady in the Court of the Queen. As a result of this conflict, lord Frangepán had to leave in fear of his life.
How would have been the Battle of Mohács conducted under his lead if he had stayed?
Péter Kulcsár, a Hungarian historian says it would have been no difference because it does not matter how the people react when an avalanche is hitting them: they might run or stand, they would perish. As for me, I do not think so…
More about the valiant knight, Kristóf Frangepán aka Krsto Frankopan Brinjski
Last time I played with the idea of what would have happened if lord Frangepán hadn’t had a fight against Archbishop Szalkai in 1525. It is meaningless whether the reason of their debate happened because of a lady or a financial argument because Frangepán had to leave the court and as a result, he could not lead the Hungarian army to Mohács.
Why was he so renowned soldier? Previously, he had seen big armies and large scene battles in Europe, unlike most of the Hungarian warlords. In the wars of Emperor Maximilian against Venice, he had taken several forts between 1509-1514.
As he was not there, the Hungarian king had to appoint Tomori as his general, although Tomori had admitted that he was good at beating raiding armies but had no idea how to lead a big army. Yet, he had to take the post as both lord Szapolyai and Frangepán were far away.
Let us see an example for lord Frangepán’s bravery by recalling his quick action how he relieved the besieged frontier castle of Jajca in 1525.
After the fall of Nándorfehérvár (Belgrade), the whole southern line of defense was torn apart, the enemy would be able to walk up until Buda unhindered. Jajca was still standing like an island in the hostile sea but the Turks never ceased their attacks against this last big frontier castle. A man arrived in Buda in March 1525 saying that a huge Ottoman army was besieging the castle and the defenders cannot hold the fort for long. “The mothers are throwing their starving children
into the waves of the river because they can’t endure watching their pains,” he said. The royal council decided to send there 10,000 men to relieve the siege and made Frangepán their leader. Of course, they could not give him the promised 10,000 soldiers. Lord Frangepán was bold enough to set out from Buda with merely 1,200 men on 18 April. On the way, he was joined by 1,500 riders of Archduke Ferdinand along with the soldiers of the local noblemen. He had already 6,000 men when he crossed the Száva River on 7 June, a lot smaller than the Ottoman army. The besiegers sent 16,000 Turks against him but Frangepán got behind them and succeeded in getting around the enemy, marching into the castle of Jajca on 15 June. He filled it with supplies, soldiers, left plenty of food and money, then ran away from the fort. The Turks were on his heels but he was always a step ahead of them. He took shelter in Croatia and Jajca was saved. The fort was still in Hungarian hands even after the disaster of Mohács.
King Lous II made Frangepán Duke (Bán) of Slavonia and Croatia as a reward.
As for the battle of Mohács in 1526, lord Frangepán could not arrive there in time but his soldiers were able to defeat many raiding parties of Sultan Suleiman when he was withdrawing his troops.
After King Louis II’s death, Lord Frangepán sided with King Szapolyai.
He died in 1527, fighting at the siege of Varasd (Varazdin), killed by a cannonball. The artillery officer who killed him was the man of Miklós Jurisics, who was also Croatian under the flag of Archduke Ferdinand. Later he became famous as the defender of Kőszeg Castle. If Lord Frangepán had not been killed, the battle would not have been lost and King Szapolyai could not have fled to Poland and the Dual Kingship would not have begun…