Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

King Matthias Corvinus and Venice

Count Zrínyi spoke in the Italian language as well and his family had been selling immeasurable quantities of gray cattle to Venice, sometimes by bribing Turk commanders who were in the way. When the Habsburgs expressed their dislike, Zrínyi protested that he could pay his borderland warriors only this way. Knowing that King Matthias’ wife was an Italian woman, let us see what Miklós Zrínyi wrote about the relations of King Matthias and Venice in his much-quoted work of 1657:
“When neither the Venetians nor the Pope paid their usual taxes (!) to King Matthias, the king became upset and he was realizing that those Christian rulers who were sitting in peace behind his shield would like to abandon him to fight the mighty Turks alone. So the king has also changed his way of thinking, and stopped defending Dalmatia and began to guard only his own borders: the Venetians were left to fend for themselves. Namely, he called back his garrisons from the Illyrian borders which had been divided among their cities; he did so because of the heavy expenses and due to the pitilessness and stinginess of the Italians, according to Bonfinius. Behold, the Venetians have paid a costly price for it because the Turks have crippled them so much by two strikes that they had never had such a misery before. Here it would be proper to express my reprimands against the Christian princes because they had always neglected Hungary and its destruction despite these fights was the gates and the stairs of the Turk peril, but they raged rather wars against each other for smaller annoyances and cases. Bella geri placuit nullos habitura triumphos (they were rather making war although it did not promise any glory) than they would have put out the fire of their neighbors. But God has beaten and blinded them. Jupiter quem perdere vult, dementat (If Jupiter wants to make anyone perish, first he takes away his brain).”
In the picture, you can see the statue of King Mátyás (Matthias) in the Transylvanian town, Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg) where he was born.

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