Members of the Valiant Order
In the subsequent pages, you can read about several people who were considered as the members of the so-called Valiant Member of the Borderland in the 15th-16th-17th centuries.
It was not an established order of knighthood with a strict hierarchy but it was quite similar to it as much as the knightly values and rules, customs were concerned. All the warriors – even the soldiers on the other side in the Ottoman side of the Borderland – shared in an unwritten code of values and behavior. There were strict rules about duels, visiting each other, celebrating and feasting with the enemy after the duels and so on. Losing the reputation was the worst thing one could suffer, it was worse than death.
Those soldiers who regarded themselves as members of the Valiant Order (Vitézlő Rend) can be viewed as the last knights of Europe.
There were many landless petty noblemen among them whose domains had been long taken by the Ottomans and they or their grandfathers got stuck in a Borderland castle, serving the king, the Transylvanian prince or their liege-lord. But we can find many runaway peasants or Hajdú soldiers among them, too. Generations grew up in the Borderland whose “school” was the fights on the field and the sieges. Although the majority of them were Hungarian, we can find many South-Slavic and Wallachian soldiers among them, not to forget the foreign mercenaries who very quickly got adapted to the habits of the Borderland in order to survive.
There were Scottish, German, Italian and Spanish members of the Valiant Order as well. Many of them became Hungarians like the Italian Pipo of Ozora:
…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):
At last but not at least, we have to pay honor to the fierce ladies who were fighting against the enemy on the ramparts, next to their suns and husbands as they did during the Siege of Eger in 1552:
It is proper to commemorate as many members of the Valiant Order as we can trace, let them be Hungarians, Slovakians, Wallachians, Germans, including women… Sadly, there were thousands of them whose names we do not know.
Still, their combined efforts helped Europe to build up a civilization based on Christian values.
Behold, without their unfathomable fights, there would be no Hungary to talk about.