Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699

The regulations of Regéc castle 1679

Regéc castle (Photo: Civertan)

The virtuous castle where “shitty whores” were not permitted to enter: the rules of a Hungarian Castle – sorry for the vulgarity, it was how it had been penned, literally. It was needed because the people washed at the only well of the castle and they were afraid of the gaol fever. Regéc castle is in Hungary but at some time it used to belong to the Transylvanian Principality, as it belonged to Prince Rákóczi Ferenc I. In the 17th century, its lady was Zrínyi Ilona aka Jelena Zrinska (1643-1703), wife of Rákóczi Ferenc I of Transylvania.

Zrínyi Ilona

As for Hungarians, we all know that Lady Zrínyi Ilona was famous for her heroic defense of Munkács castle between 1685-1688. We also know that she was the daughter of Zrínyi Péter aka Petar Zrinski who was beheaded by the Habsburgs in Vienna for his involvement in the Wesselényi-conspiration against the king. His daughter, Ilona was not only the niece of the great poet and warrior Zrínyi Miklós (1620-1664) but also the wife of Prince Rákóczi Ferenc I of Transylvania, and after his death, the wife of Prince Thököly Imre of Transylvania and Upper Hungary. Her son, Rákóczi Ferenc II, later Prince of Transylvania and the leader of the War of Independence against the Habsburgs was born from her first marriage. What a rebel family.

Prince Rákóczi Ferenc I (1645-1676)

In fact, Ferenc was born when Lady Zrínyi Ilona was traveling from Munkács castle to Regéc castle and it was just an accident that she gave birth to him at Borsi in 1676. Then, Thököly became the stepfather of young Ferenc who spent his early childhood in Regéc castle. Please, note that I use the Oriental name order for Hungarians where family names come first. Here is more about Borsi castle where Rákóczi Ferenc II, the great hero of our anti-Habsburg fights was born:

https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/kingdom-of-hungary/borsi/

This is the reason why Lady Ilona had to organize a strict order in Regéc Castle where she was bringing up her children. She was the one who issued the order about the regulation of Regéc castle in her document written in 1679. It contained some rules that I would like to share with you with some explanation:


 
As it was common in the castles of the Borderland, all lecherous women were banned out from there. It was because of healthy and sanitary reasons and also they wanted to prevent fighting among the soldiers. So it is perfectly reasonable and was not extraordinary that “shitty whores” were not permitted to enter.

Rebel “kuruc” soldiers listening to music

Another rule banned the men to climb the walls, the penalty was the loss of their head. If a guard fell asleep on duty, he was just beaten up at first (three stick beatings) but he was thrown down the wall the second time.

If somebody drew a saber on his mate in the castle, his hand had to be cut off. In case the soldier injured his mate, his head was to be cut off.
At nights, the castle had to be patrolled around on the beating of the drum. If a servant happened to leave the castle without the captain’s permit and did not return before the night, he (or she) was thrown to the dungeon and beaten up.

Regéc (Photo: Takkk)

If somebody happened to get captured and thrown into the dungeon, the captain had to be told about it immediately. The wives of the soldiers had to discipline themselves and should not quarrel nor swear with each other, no brawls between them were permitted. If one was caught doing any of these, she had to receive 12 stick beatings at the gate; if she was stubborn, had to be chased away from the castle. People caught cursing were simply thrown into the dungeon for a half-day or had to pay a gold Forint (half month’s pay) and receive 12 beatings with a stick.

The gold Forint of Prince Rákóczi György I of Transylvania from 1646

Zrínyi Ilona made a rule about the cleaning of the weapons and about practicing with the guns monthly. The foot soldiers had to wear proper shoes on the parade ground. The guard of the prisoners was responsible for the captives with his head. Also, water had to be kept on the walls and all the chimneys had to be swept weekly so as to prevent fires.

(Source: Csaba Nagy)

The statue of Zrínyi Ilona and Rákóczi Ferenc in Munkács castle

You can read about the history of Regéc castle here:

https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/kingdom-of-hungary/regec/

 

Do not miss the history of Munkács (Мукачово) castle, either. You can read about it and its siege here:

https://www.hungarianottomanwars.com/transylvania/munkacs/

Zrínyi Ilona in front of the Imperial jury (by Madarász Viktor)

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