János Zadorla, a Slovakian hero of Kassa

Kassa / Kosice / Kaschau

It is not easy to distinguish the heroes of the Valiant Order by their mother tongue language because this age was before the period of nationalism. Yet, I was glad to discover in the book of Takács Sándor a certain Slovakian warrior whose name was initially János Zadorla but later he was called Zékeli. It was before the time when the northern Slavs of the Hungarian Kingdom were called “Slovakians”, though. I am glad to have spotted one of them as my father’s roots are Slovakian while my mother’s family is Hungarian.

The Saint Erzsébet (Elisabeth) Cathedral in 1900, Kassa

Zadorla was one of the most valiant officers of Captain Czeczey Lénárd, the commander of Kassa (Kosice, Kaschau) city. They regained lots of territories for King Szapolyai, János during the Dual Kingship. Czeczey had been the captain of Kassa for 15 years.

Zadorla had a unit of Slovakian and Ruthenian footmen and he was famous for his raids. He began as a common soldier and became a high officer because of his deeds. He was said to be a cunning daredevil for who nothing was impossible. He appeared everywhere out of a sudden and he had an excellent spy network. He took back Salgó Castle and Lipócz and made the towns of the Zipt burghers (Szepesség) pay taxes. You can read more about the Zipt towns where the Germans of north Hungary lived, on my page here: 


General Lascano tried to ambush him in 1539 but instead, he was ambushed by him: only 20 soldiers of Ferdinand’s general survived the battle although Zadorla had a lot smaller army. Thomas Lascano, Zsigmond Schobert, and Lénard Osterricher died in this battle, near Kassa.
Zadorla’s best friends were also the members of the Valiant Order: Baso Mátyás and Vinnyei László, Ipoltffy Imre who had a similarly bad reputation. Their enemy was the famous Lord Serédy Gáspár who kept asking reinforcement from Ferdinand against them – you can read about these people in my ebook “33 Castles, Battles, Legends” a lot.

Kassa in 1617

During the Dual Kingship, many local knights were called “robber knights” like Balassa Menyhárt who didn’t want to serve King Ferdinand.
Zadorla was already the commander of all the infantry units in 1544 and they were plotting to have King Szapolyai’s son crowned and wanted to launch a campaign to take the copper mines of the Fuggers but their plans were betrayed.
When Queen Isabella (Szapolyai’s widow) resigned from her power in 1552, Kassa was returned to King Ferdinand. Czeczey died in sorrow and we don’t know anything about Zadorla’s further life. Except, that King Ferdinand has forgiven Czeczey’s men.

Photo: Kocsis Kadosa

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