Maróthy Mihály of Loós, castellan of Sárvár, Pápa, and Veszprém, and Hussar captain (?-1600)
According to his name “Loós”, he was a nobleman from a settlement called Loós from Sopron County, just like his wife, Viczay Margaréta. (Please, note that I use the Oriental name order for Hungarians where family names come first.) His name appeared first in the sources in the 1580s. The Hungarian chancellors wrote a letter on 22 November 1586 in which they requested his punishment because he was not willing to recruit soldiers. This is thought to be the first mention of his name unless he had a relative with the same name.
Taking a look at his career, he was most likely a common nobleman who made his living from soldiering, like so many similar members of the Valiant Order along the 1,000-mile-long Hungarian Borderland. Maróthy served in Kanizsa castle at the end of the 1580s because his name was mentioned in a document written to Chief Captain Zrínyi György of Kanizsa castle. According to the letter, Zrínyi had to settle an argument between Maróthy and Bánffy Miklós.
We have more sources about his life from the 1590s. He became the Hussar captain of 150 cavalrymen, his liege-lord was Nádasdy Ferenc II who contracted him on 15 October 1593. Maróthy was appointed as the castellan of Sárvár castle in 1595 so Nádasdy, the lord of Sárvár must have been content with his service. His name is mentioned in a letter written in Lower Austria in 1597 as „Ober Haubtmann Zu Sarwär”. It means that he was still serving in Sárvár in 1597. We must add, that he filled this position in one of the most critical periods of Sárvár castle’s history.
As Pápa and Győr castles were occupied by the Ottoman Turks in the autumn of 1594, Sárvár castle’s strategic position increased because it became the center of the royal chief captain. The castle’s reconstruction had been going on for a few years at that time, and the castellan of Sárvár had many things to watch over. The garrison of Pápa castle also served in Sárvár, and the enemy was only a stone throw’s away. Unfortunately, we do not know the details of Maróthy’s doings but after the retaking of Pápa castle, Nádasdy promoted him to become Pápa’s new captain. Nádasdy, the famous “Black Bey” must have been satisfied with his achievements. Maróthy was not only a castellan but also acted as a Hussar captain, fulfilling the duties of a field-cavalry officer. You can read about this period in the series where the events of the 15-Year-War are described:
Georg Andreas von Hoffkirchen was the Chief Captain of Pápa castle but he fell ill in August 1597 and Maróthy Mihály became the Vice-Chief Captain of Pápa, then he took over his post on 21 January 1598. At the same time, he was appointed as the captain of Veszprém castle as well, because it had just been retaken from the enemy. Leading two important castles was not a small thing for an officer coming from the ranks of common noblemen. It is supposed that he had good military leadership skills, not to mention his bravery, and his ability to organize people.
We have a letter sent by Maróthy to Nádasdy, written in Veszprém castle in which he gave a report about the moves of the Crimean Tatars in May 1599. Maróthy had to give his post to Tobias Graf on 31 August but he remained the castellan of Pápa castle. He was expected to strengthen the walls and he did his best. He sent the burghers of Pápa to work on the construction and they sent several letters of complaints because of the heavy labor. Maróthy had to survive the mutiny of the Walloon mercenaries of Pápa in the summer of 1600 when they rebelled because of the lack of their pay. The soldiers wanted to cede the castle to the Ottomans and threw their officers, including Maróthy into the dungeons. You can read more about this event here:
The troops of Nádasdy and Adolf Schwarzenberg besieged Pápa, then they cut down the sallying mercenaries at night on 9 August, and executed brutally the surviving mercenaries. Maróthy was released but he was not healthy. He was supposed to go on with the reconstruction of the castle, and he continued his work. According to contemporary historians like Istvánffy Miklós and Pethő Gergely, Maróthy was traveling in the middle of August to his domains when he was ambushed by Crimean Tatars. He was severely wounded in the fight and was taken to Sárvár castle where he died a month later. Enyingi Török Ferenc was appointed as the castellan of Páa in January 1601, and the wife of Maróthy Mihály was mentioned as a widow in the next May.
Let us cherish the memory of this brave warrior.
Source: Szibler Gábor
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