Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars

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 valiant Austrian soldier of the Hungarian Borderland
He was born in 1529 and served Emperor Charles V. In Italy and in Spain and he was in the army of Emanuel Philibert of Savoy in Flanders.
Rueber arrived in Hungary in 1556, leading 158 mounted riflemen called „black riders”. He served in Győr Castle and assumedly he took part in the campaign of Sforza Pallavicini that tried to bring reinforcement to Szigetvár Castle.

Later, he went abroad again and upon his return to Hungary, he was the commander of 200 Austrian heavy cavalrymen in Győr, in August 1564. But he didn’t remain there because we find him in the army of Chief Captain of Upper-Hungary, Lazarus von Schwendi who was fighting against 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 turned Szatmár Castle into the center of the newly occupied Trans-Tisza River Region and integrated the area under his command.

He wrote the following letter of complaint in 1576:
„Upper-Hungary is totally surrounded by a hostile triangle of the Ottomans, the Polish, and the Transylvanians who have been recently been as hostile against us as the Turks. (Note: it was the time when the Polish king was István Báthory) so it is extremely necessary to keep here a standing army that contains appropriate numbers of soldiers.”
His words were heard in Vienna and the Habsburgs spent more money on the payment of the 13 castles of Upper-Hungary than they gave altogether to the castles of the Borderland of Győr and Kanizsa where 22 forts had to be paid.
In addition to this, the Castle of Szatmár has been very much reinforced and the king assigned always a „reliable” Austrian officer as its captain.

The Diet of Hungary awarded him with Hungarian nobility in 1572 in exchange for his deeds. His lands were located in Sáros County.
Rueber was supporting the campaign of Bekes Gáspár who tried to usurp the Transylvanian throne from Prince Báthory István in 1575 because Bekes had asked for the aid of the Habsburgs. In fact, Bekes suffered a defeat in the battle of Keresztelőszentpál and Rueber had to withdraw.
Chief Captain Rueber was aware of the Ottoman peril and he took part in a military conference in Vienna in 1577 whereas he initiated a grand war against them, urging the coalition of European forces.

His plan was turned down by his predecessor, Lord Schwendi who rather recommended the reinforcement of the Borderland and suggested the mobile and flexible active border defense tactics. Schwendi’s proposal was accepted.
Rueber has many times asked to be appointed to Győr Castle where he used to serve before – it was a higher rank than his post in Kassa. Nevertheless, he was not granted to leave Kassa as he was so successful there.
In the meantime, Rueber has obtained a huge wealth by trading with wine. He had the Hungarian wine transported to the Holy Roman Empire via the Danube River.

As he was a Lutheran, he was supporting the spread of Protestantism, just like Schwendi.
For example, it was Rueber who employed a preacher from Magdeburg, Joachim Magdeburg to serve for the cavalrymen of Győr Castle. The preacher was able to publish theological books with his help.
It was the time when the Lutheran center was formed in Kassa (later it was Belgiojoso who tried to extinguish it).

Chief Captain Rueber died at the beginning of 1584 and he was put to rest in peace in the Saint Erzsébet Cathedral of Kassa. His statue, made of marble used to be standing on it.
(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 Borderland to defend Royal Hungary, Transylvania, Austria, and Europe, after all.)

Source: Szibler Gábor

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