Selected Passages from Hungarian-Ottoman Wars between 1372-1699


Babócsa Castle

Babócsa was a Borderland castle in the southern part of Hungary, in Somogy County. Sultan Suleiman’s army moved along this way in 1532. It fell to the Turks in 1555. The Turks put the fort on fire in 1556 and abandoned it. Please, note that I use the Eastern name order for Hungarian names so family names come first.

This was the year when the Hungarian troops led by Zrínyi Miklós aka Nicolas Zrinski and Nádasdy Pál had a battle with the army of Pasha Ali, near to the Babócsa. The castle was in Hungarian hands in 1562, its captain was Perneszi Farkas. After the fall of Szigetvár (1566) the castle fell to the Ottomans again. According to the payroll list of the Turks between 1568-1569, there were 558 soldiers there. The Turks left the castle when the army of Zsigmond Herberstein and György Zrínyi and Hajmásy Kristóf was approaching.

 The Zrínyi family took the castle in their possessions and had it mended but it was taken again by the Turks in 1598, by Muhammed Kiája. According to the records between 1618-19, there were 359 Ottoman soldiers. Zrínyi Miklós, the great-grandson of Nicholas Zrinski took the castle back during his campaign of 1664. There is a story about a successful battle against the Turks from 1551. It is the so-called water-adventure at Babócsa, read it:

A Hungarian commander, 1591

„In the year of 1551 of the Lord, when the winter bridge of the Danube has got wet already and the fields began to blossom, the Turks, as it was their habit, set out to have adventures. It was almost July when a 1,500 strong Turkish unit arrived in the neighborhood of the small Babocsa castle. The warriors of this borderland-house had no idea of their approach. One night there was a great splashing heard near the water. The night guards of Babócsa thought they had heard the cattle being herded out. But the miller is running breathlessly and says that 1,500 Turks are crossing the water. It was then that Deli Horváth Markó and Porkoláb Márton jumped into the saddle, in a moment and set out with his men in deep silence to ambush the Turks.

It turned out excellently: they hit the Turks all unexpectedly in their midst. A great slaughter and confusion broke out. Our soldiers gained more than 200 horses, 60 captives, many flags, and weapons. Deli Horváth Markó and Porkoláb Márton have gone with some of their trusted men to Vienna to give the usual gifts to the king. He himself took one flag and two captives, the man of Porkoláb brought along two flags, one captive, and 25 noses. In Vienna, they were summoned first by the chancellor who greeted them nicely. Soon they were summoned by the king. 

 Deli Markó asked the lord chancellor whether he should take along the noses to the king. “All in”-answered the aristocrat. Deli Markó said that if they had known that the king liked noses, they could have brought more than two hundred. The king was gladdened to see the warriors of Babócsa. They told the king that Deli Markó had only two hundred infantrymen and somewhat more than a hundred hussars on horseback while Márton had twenty riders and forty infantrymen. And they scattered 1,500 Turks with only this many people! The king immediately granted Porkoláb Márton to be given command over 50 horses and the chancellor declared that more good things would be given concerning his other things.” (Source: Takáts Sándor)

The execution of the soldiers who surrendered Babócsa in 1601


Now, the ruins of Babócsa are overgrown by forest. It would be nice to see there a memorial sign at least…

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Here are a few pictures of Babócsa castle:

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