Hans Rueber von Püchsendorf (1529-1584)

Hans Rueber von Püchsendorf

Hans Rueber von Püchsendorf (1529-1584), chief captain of Upper Hungary, and Kassa (Kosice, Kaschau), a brave Austrian soldier of the Hungarian Borderland.
Born in 1529, he served Emperor Charles V in Italy and Spain, and Flanders in the army of Emanuel Philibert of Savoy.
Rueber arrived in Hungary in 1556, leading 158 mounted riflemen called the Black Riders. He served in the castle of Győr and probably took part in the campaign of Sforza Pallavicini, who tried to bring reinforcements to the castle of Szigetvár.

Győr, 1566

Later he went abroad again, and when he returned to Hungary in August 1564, he was the commander of 200 Austrian heavy cavalrymen in Győr. But he didn’t stay there for long, because we find him in the army of the chief captain of Upper Hungary, Lazarus of Schwendi, who was fighting against the elected King János Zsigmond of Hungary and Transylvania.
When Schwendi left Hungary, Rueber was given his post. He was able to organize the Upper Hungarian Captaciancy very successfully. He made Szatmár Castle the center of the newly occupied Trans-Tisza region and integrated the area under his command.

In 1576 he wrote the following letter of complaint:
“Upper Hungary is surrounded by a hostile triangle of the Ottomans, the Poles, and the Transylvanians, who have recently been as hostile to us as the Turks. (Note: it was the time when the king of Poland was called Báthory István), so it is extremely necessary to keep here a standing army with a reasonable number of soldiers”.

The Ottoman conquest in 1568 in Hungary

His words were heard in Vienna, and the Habsburgs spent more money on the payment of the 13 castles of Upper Hungary than on the castles of the Borderland of Győr and Kanizsa, where 22 castles had to be paid. In addition, the castle of Szatmár was greatly reinforced and the king always appointed a “reliable” Austrian officer as its captain.

The Gold Forint of King Ferdinand I

The Hungarian Diet granted him the Hungarian nobility in 1572 in exchange for his deeds. His lands were in Sáros County.
Rueber supported the campaign of Bekes Gáspár, who tried to usurp the Transylvanian throne from Prince Báthory István in 1575 because Bekes had asked for the help of the Habsburgs. Bekes was defeated in the battle of Keresztelőszentpál and Ruber had to retreat.
Captain Rueber was aware of the danger of the Ottomans and he took part in a military conference in Vienna in 1577, where he initiated a great war against them and urged the coalition of European powers.

His plan was rejected by his predecessor, Lord Schwendi, who recommended that the Borderlands be fortified and suggested the mobile and flexible tactics of active border defense. Schwendi’s proposal was accepted.
Rueber often asked to be appointed to the castle of Győr, where he used to serve – it was a higher rank than his post in Kassa. However, he was not allowed to leave Kassa because he was so successful there. In the meantime, Rueber had become very wealthy through the wine trade. He had Hungarian wine shipped down the Danube to the Holy Roman Empire.

Püchsendorf’s statue in the Museum of Fine Arts, Budapest

Being a Lutheran, he, like Schwendi, supported the spread of Protestantism.
For example, it was Rueber who employed a preacher from Magdeburg, Joachim Magdeburg, to serve the cavalrymen of the castle of Győr. The preacher could publish theological books with his help. It was the time when the Lutheran center was established in Kassa (later it was Belgiojoso who tried to extinguish it).

Kassa in 1617

Captain Rueber died at the beginning of 1584 and was buried in the Saint Erzsébet Cathedral of Kassa. His marble statue used to stand there.
(My note: I think he was also a member of the Valiant Order of the Borderland, like any other Hungarian or Transylvanian warrior who fought on the frontier to defend the Kingdom of Hungary, Transylvania, Austria, and Europe).

Source: Szibler Gábor

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