Members of the Valiant Order

On the following pages, you can read about some of the people who were considered members of the so-called Valiant Order of the 1,000-mile-long Hungarian Borderland in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries. Discover their story by opening this menu item.

It was not an established order of chivalry with a strict hierarchy, but it was very similar in terms of knightly values, rules, and customs. All warriors – even the soldiers on the other side of the Ottoman border – shared an unwritten code of values and behavior. There were strict rules about duels, visiting each other, celebrating and feasting with the enemy after duels, and so on. Losing your reputation was the worst thing you could suffer, it was worse than death.

These soldiers, who considered themselves members of the Valiant Order (Vitézlő Rend), can be considered the last knights of Europe.

Among them were many landless petty nobles whose lands had long since been taken by the Ottomans, and they or their grandfathers were stuck in a Borderland castle, serving the king, the Transylvanian prince or their liege lord. But there were also many runaway peasants and Hajdú soldiers. Generations grew up in the borderlands whose “school” was the battlefield and the siege. Although the majority of them were Hungarians, there were also many South Slavic and Wallachian soldiers, not to mention foreign mercenaries who quickly adapted to the customs of the Borderland in order to survive.

There were also Scottish, German, Italian, and Spanish members of the Valiant Order. Many of them became Hungarians, such as the Italian Pipo of Ozora:

Ozorai Pipo (1368-1426)

…or the English Captain John Smith (the hero of Pocahontas), who was ennobled as a Hungarian lord and received his coat of arms for his deeds against the Turks (see the three Turk heads in it):

The coat of arms of John Smith

More about him here:

Last but not least, we must pay tribute to the brave ladies who fought the enemy on the ramparts alongside their sons and husbands, as they did during the siege of Eger in 1552:

It is appropriate to commemorate as many members of the brave order as we can find, be they Hungarians, Slovaks, Wallachians, Germans, including women… Unfortunately, there were thousands of them whose names we do not know. Nevertheless, their combined efforts helped Europe to build a civilisation based on Christian values. Behold, without their unfathomable struggles there would be no Hungary to speak of.

You can read more about the 1,000-mile-long Hungarian / Croatian / Transylvanian Borderland here:

A Hungarian commander on horseback, 1591

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