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T H E O T T O M A N EMPIRE

AND ITS HERITAGE


Politics;, Society and Economy

The Military Confines in the Era of Ottoman Conquest

EDITED BY

S U R A I Y A FAROQHI A N D HALIL

OTTOMANS, HUNGARIANS,
AND HABSBURGS
IN CENTRAL EUROPE

INALCIK

Advisory Board
Fikret A d a n i r Idris Bostan Axnnon C o h e n C o r n e l l Fleischer
Barbara F l e m m i n g Alexander de G r o o t Klaus Kreiser
Hans Georg M a j e r Irene M e l i k o f f A h m e t Yaar Ocak
Abdeljelil T e m i m i Gilles Veinstein Elizabeth Zachariadou

E D I T E D BY

G Z A D V I D AND P L

FODOR

V O L U M E 20

BRILL
LEIDEN BOSTON KLN
2000

This book is printed on acid-frcc paper.

L i b r a r y of C o n g r e s s Cataloging-in-Publication

CONTENTS

Data

Ottomans, Hungarians, and Habsburgs in Central Europe : the military confines


in the era of Ottoman conquest / edited by Gza Dvid and Pl Fodor.
p. cm. (The Ottoman Empire and its heritage, ISSN 1380-6076 ;
v. 20)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
I S B N 9004119078 (alk. paper)
1. Europe, CentralHistoryTo 1500. 2. Europe, CentralHistory16th
century. 3. Europe, CentralHistory1 7th century. 4. Europe, C e n t r a l
History, Military. I . Fodor, Pl. I I . Dvid, Gza.
I I I . Scries.
D A W 1038 . 0 8 8
2000
943dc21
00-034284
CIP

LIST OF MAPS

V I I

NOTE ON TRANSLITERATION AND USAGE

VIII

PREFACE (PL FODOR)

IX

INTRODUCTION (GZA DVID and PL FODOR)

XI

PART O N E : T H E H U N G A R I A N - H A B S B U R G FRONTIER
Die Deutsche Bibliothek - C I P - E i n h e i t s a u f n a h m e
Ottomans, Hungarians, and Habsburgs in Central Europe : the military
confines in the era of Ottoman conquest / ed. by Gcza David and Pal Fodor
- Leiden ; Boston ; Kln : Brill, 2000
(The Ottoman Empire and its heritage ; Vol. 20)
I S B N 90-04-11907-8

GZA PLFFY

The

O r i g i n s and

Development

of

the

Border

Defence System A g a i n s t the O t t o m a n E m p i r e i n


H u n g a r y ( U p to the Early Eighteenth C e n t u r y )
ANDRS

K U B I N Y I The

Battle

of

Szvaszentdemeter-Nagyolaszi

(1523). O t t o m a n A d v a n c e and H u n g a r i a n Defence


on the Eve of Mohcs
JZSEF K E L E N I K

ISSN
ISBN

1380-6076
90 04 11907 8

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P R I N T E D IN T H E N E T H E R L A N D S

The M i l i t a r y R e v o l u t i o n i n H u n g a r y

PART T W O : T H E O T T O M A N
KLRA HEGYI

) Copyright 2000 by Komnklijke Brill Mi Leiden, The Netherlands

71
117

FRONTIER

The O t t o m a n N e t w o r k of Fortresses i n H u n g a r y ...

GBOR GOSTON The

Costs of the O t t o m a n

Fortress-System

163

H u n g a r y in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries


PL FODOR

M a k i n g a L i v i n g on the Frontiers: Volunteers i n


the Sixteenth-Century O t t o m a n A r m y

GZA DVID

195

229

A n O t t o m a n M i l i t a r y Career on the H u n g a r i a n
Borders: Kasim Voyvoda, Bey, and Pasha

265

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

299

INDEX

315

LIST OF M A P S

1. The castles of the Croatian and Wendish-Bajcsavar confines i n


1582
2. The castles of the Bajcsavar, Kanizsa, and G y o r confines i n 1582
3. The castles of the M i n i n g Town's and Upper H u n g a r i a n confines
in 1582
4. Southern H u n g a r y at the end of the fifteenth century
5. The battle of Szavaszentdemeter, 1523
6. Ottoman fortresses in H u n g a r y

65
67
69
82
106
173

E ORIGINS A N D D E V E L O P M E N T OF T H E BORDER DEFENCE


SYSTEM A G A I N S T T H E O T T O M A N EMPIRE I N H U N G A R Y
(UP T O T H E EARLY E I G H T E E N T H C E N T U R Y )
GZA PLFFY

"The system of fortresses is the only means by w h i c h Y o u r Majesty w i l l


be able to contain the p o w e r and the advance of the enemy, and behind
which Your countries and peoples w i l l be secure." This is h o w H a b s b u r g
military leaders summarized their o p i n i o n about the significance of the
Hungarian border defence system protecting the i m p e r i a l city of Vienna,
the Austrian hereditary lands, and the German E m p i r e i n 1577. It w o u l d
be difficult to find a better expression to define the role of the defence
system established b y the late sixteenth century on the frontier zone of
Hungary and its southern annexed provinces (Slavonia a n d Croatia)
against the Ottoman Empire. Even though the H u n g a r i a n defence system
constituted only a section of the long and varied frontier zone w h i c h
stretched from N o r t h e r n Africa via the Mediterranean islands, Italy, a n d
Hungary to the Polish-Lithuanian and Russian territories a n d protected
Europe against the O t t o m a n attacks, it is evident that the decisive events
of the century long Ottoman-Habsburg confrontation occurred o n the
territory of Medieval H u n g a r y . O n the basis of recent archival research
and the achievements of Austrian, Southern Slav, a n d H u n g a r i a n
historiography, this study attempts to p r o v i d e an outline of the system
and its development, concentrating on the sixteenth a n d seventeenth
centuries. Towards the end of the twentieth century it is even more timely
as, while several monographs have been published i n different w o r l d
languages about the defence systems on the Croatian a n d Slavonian
1

Pl Szeg,

Vgvraink

szervezete a trk betelepedstl

a tizentves

hbor

kezdetig

(1541-1593) [The Organization of the Hungarian Border Fortresses from the Establishment
of the Ottoman Rule to the Outbreak of the Fifteen Years' W a r ] , Budapest, 1911, 52.
2

Cf. Pl Fodor,

"Ottoman

Academiae Scientiarum Hungancae

Policy

Towards

Hungary,

45:2-3 (1991) 271-345.

1520-1541,"

Acta

Orientlta

GZA PLFFY

THE HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

territories, no w e l l documented study has been w r i t t e n about the system


of the H u n g a r i a n defence districts and border fortresses w h i c h played a
m u c h more i m p o r t a n t role than the above mentioned areas i n the whole
structure.

line against the Ottomans' can only be understood m the knowledge of

Earlier investigations have only discussed the Croatian-Slavonian


part, that is a special section of the defence system established in the
sixteenth century to resist the O t t o m a n advance, w h i c h was less decisive
f r o m the p o i n t of v i e w of the whole area, and have treated it simply as
the antecedent of the m i l i t a r y frontier (Militdrgrenze) organized at the
b e g i n n i n g of the eighteenth century. But the development of the defence
5

T h e most important works in chronological order: Fr[antisek] Vanicek, Specialgeschichte

der Militrgrenze.

I - I V . W i e n , 1875. Jakob Arnstadt, Die k. k. Militdrgrenze

Gesamtbibliographie).
Militari/
1960,

1522-1881 (mit einer

(Inaugural-Diss.) Wrzburg, 1969. Gunther Erich Rothenberg, The Austrian

Barder in Croatia,

1522-1747. (Illinois Studies in the Social Sciences, 48.) Urbana,

and idem, The Milttan/ Border in Croatia 1740-1881: A Study of an Imperial

Institution.

C h i c a g o , 1966, and the two volumes together in G e r m a n : Gunther Ejrich] Rothenberg, Die
sterreichische

Militdrgrenze

in Kroatien 1522 bis 18S1. W i e n - M n c h e n , 1970. Die k. k. Militr-

grenze. Beitrage zu ihrer Geschickte.

(Schriften des Heeresgeschichtlichen M u s e u m s in Wien,

6.) W i e n , 1973. Die sterreichische Militrgrenze.

Geschichte und Auswirkungen.

E d . by Gerhard

E m s t . (Schriftenreihe des Regensburger Osteuropainstituts, 8.) Regensburg, 1982. Vojna KraE d . by Dragurin Pavlicevic. Zagreb, 1984. Cf

jina. Povijesni pregled-histonografija-rasprave.


also W i n f r i e d Schulze, Landcsdefension
sterreichischen

Temtorialstaates

und Staatsbildung.

Studien zum Kriegswesen

des inner-

(1564-1619). (Verffentlichungen der K o m m i s s i o n fr neuere

Geschichte sterreichs, 60.) W i e n - K l n - G r a z , 1973. Karl Kser, Freier Bauer und Soldat. Die
Militarisierung

der agrarischen

Gesellschaft

m der kroatisch-slawonischen

Militrgrenze

(1535-

1S81). (Habilitationsschrift) G r a z , 1985, and the most recent work by Jean Nouzille (Histoire
de frontires.

L'Autriche

et l'Empire ottoman. Prface par Jean Brenger. Paris, 1991) w h i c h is,

h o w e v e r , a dull s u m m a r y of earlier results.


4

So far Kurt Wessely has been the only one to realize that for an understanding of the

w h o l e defence system against the Ottoman Empire it is indispensable to k n o w the history


of the H u n g a r i a n border defence zones as well: Kurt Wessely, " T h e Development of the
H u n g a r i a n Military Frontier Until the Middle of the Eighteenth C e n t u r y , " Austrian

History

Yearbook 9-10 (1973-1974) 55-110, and idem, " D i e Regensburger 'harrige' Reichshilfe 1576,"
in Die russische

Gesandschaft

am Regensburger Reichstag 1576.

Mit Beitrgen von Ekkehard

Vlkl u n d K u r t Wessely. (Schriftenreihe des Regensburger Osteuropainstituts, 3.) Regensb u r g , 1976, 31-55. Cf. also Istvn Sinkovics, "Obrana madarskog pogranienog teritorija od
T u r a k a u X V I i X V I I stoljecu," in Vopna Krajina, 163-174. The most important Hungarian
monographs: Szeg, op. cit., and Imre Sznt, A vgvri rendszer kiptse s fm/kora
orszgon

H u n g a r y ] . Budapest,
5

Magyar

1541-1593 [The Organization and Golden Age of the Border Defence System in
1980.

In Austrian, G erman, Croatianand sometimes

even H u n g a r i a n w o r k s , the Croa

tian-Slavonian defence zones are called military frontiers (Militrgrenze)

already from the

m i d d l e of the sixteenth century, w h i c h is, in my opinion, a capital mistake. T h e units of


the defence system of the sixteenthth and seventeenth centuries, the respective areas of the

the w h o l e H u n g a r i a n and Croatian-Slavonianborder defence system


and this is true for the history of its subsequent periods, too. Below this
system w i l l be examined as a whole, v i e w e d f r o m the administrative
centres, that is f r o m Buda until 1526, then t e m p o r a r i l y f r o m Pozsony and
Vienna, and f r o m 1556 u p to the abolition of the m i l i t a r y frontier in the
nineteenth century, f r o m the Imperial C i t y a n d f o r an intermediary
p i o d from Graz (1578-1705) respectively. This is the only aspect w h i c h
can provide us w i t h a more coherent and complete picture about the
strategy of defence of the medieval H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m and that of the
Habsburg military leadership, and about h o w the system was controlled.
e r

THE PERIODIZATION O F THE HISTORY O F THE DEFENCE SYSTEM IN


HUNGARY AGAINST THE OTTOMANS
The new approach makes it necessary to establish a new penodization for
the history of Croatian and Slavonian territories which defines the most
important shifts based on the qualitative changes w i t h i n the whole system.
The former penodization advanced in 1960 by Fedor Moacanin, and only
partly corrected by those working on the problem later on, can hardly be
used for the Hungarian territories in the narrow sense constituting the major
and more decisive part of the defence system. The Croatian author divided
the nearly 500-year-old history of the Croatian-Slavonian defence region into
the following t w o major and some minor periods:
7

1. period: From the beginning to 1593, the outbreak of the so-called


'Fifteen Years' W a r ' or 'Long War'. W i t h i n this, he differentiated three
subperiods:
border fortresses (Grenzgebiet. Grenze, Grenzfestungen) were qualitatively different from the m i l
itary frontiers organized in the early eighteenth century. Another remarkable mistake of
Austrian historiography is to call the Croatian-Slavonian border territories Austrian Militarv
Frontiers (sterreichische Militrgrenze, see notes 3 and 25), as in the sixteenth-seventeenth
centuries it was not these that were called Austrian border fortress zone
(sterreichische
Grenze), but the border castles subordinated to Gyr. Therefore it is more accurate to use
the term 'the Habsburg defence system against the Ottoman Empire' in the sixteenth-seven
teenth centuries for the imperial-royal border defence system in H u n g a r y . Cf. K u r t Wessely,
"Reply to Rothenberg's C o m m e n t s , " Austrian History Yearbook 9-10 (1973-1974) 119.
It is to be noted that scholarly works have so far identified the border defence system
against the Ottomans with the chain of fortresses, but this latter was, besides the mobile
field troops and soldiery kept by the counties, etc., onlv one, though decisive element in
it.
fi

Fedor Moacanin, "Periodizacija histonje Vojne Krajine ( X V - X I X S t . ) , " Historijski


13 (1960) 111-117.
7

zbornik

GZA

PLFFY

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

1.1. From the outset to 1522, w h e n Ferdinand I , A r c h d u k e of Austria,


sent an a r m y at his o w n expense to help the defence of the A u s t r i a n
territories threatened by the Ottomans.
1.2. F r o m 1522 to 1578, w h e n the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the Croatian and
Slavonian border fortresses was subordinated to the n e w l y established
Inner A u s t r i a n W a r Council (Innersterreichischer
Hofkriegsrat, Graz), separating them f r o m the H u n g a r i a n defence districts.
1.3. F r o m 1578 to 1593.
2. p e r i o d : F r o m 1593 to 1881, the e l i m i n a t i o n of the system of m i l i t a r y
frontiers. W i t h i n this period Moacanin defined five smaller sections, o u t
of w h i c h t w o should be mentioned in connection w i t h the era discussed
in this paper.
2.1.
Turkish
network
Danube,

From 1593 to 1683, the beginning of the so-called reconquering


w a r (1683-1699). This w a r made it possible to establish the
of border fortresses and m i l i t a r y frontier along the Sava, Tisza,
and Maros.

2.2. F r o m 1683

to 1755, the first reform of the m i l i t a r y frontiers

considered i m p o r t a n t by Moacanin.

T h o u g h the authors of monographs prepared after 1960

corrected

Moacanin's periodization in some points/ their approach to the border


defence system shows no real change at all. This state of affairs can be
ascribed to the fact that, due to language problems and a lack of archival
research, they knew practically nothing about the Hungarian border defence
system and therefore neglected it. So the periodization to be presented here
is the first attempt to define new periods from the point of view of the whole
defence system in Hungary against the Ottoman Empire, and also applicable
to the history of the Croatian-Slavonian region. In m y opinion the following
three major and several minor periods can be differentiated:
The first one lasted f r o m the beginning to 1526, the termination of
the m e d i e v a l H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m . D u r i n g this era, the southern defence
n e t w o r k stretching f r o m the Adriatic Sea to Transylvania was an organically coherent defence line of the H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m .
The second period began in 1526 (the year of the battle at Mohcs)
and continued t i l l the peace treaty of K a r l o v i t z i n 1699, w h i c h closed the
epoch of the reconquering Turkish wars (1683-1699) and O t t o m a n rule i n

to create a q u a l i t a t i v e l y new defence system called the ' m i l i t a r y frontier'


(Mditdrgrenze).
In the d e f i n i t i o n of the subperiods of the t h i r d phase (1699-1881),
historians are m o r e or less of the same o p i n i o n , so i t is w o r t h accepting
the periodization of Moacanin and Rothenberg.
In the f o l l o w i n g I w o u l d like to summarize the development of the
border defence system up to the organization of the m i l i t a r y frontiers i n
the early eighteenth century. B y s h o w i n g briefly the subperiods I w i l l
make an attempt to analyze the most i m p o r t a n t sections of the continually
changing n e t w o r k and to evaluate its l a n d m a r k s given the constraints of
time and space. A t the same time I w o u l d like to justify the significant
changes I have a p p l i e d i n the periodization used so far.
1

T H E DEFENCE SYSTEM OF THE MEDIEVAL H U N G A R I A N

(FROM T H E O U T S E T TO THE BATTLE OF M O H A C S IN

KINGDOM

1526)

1 1. The origins of the defence system against the Ottomans


(late fourteenth

century-mid-M70s)

In the 1360s, the military and political leadership of the H u n g a r i a n


K i n g d o m d i d not recognize the danger it faced w i t h the appearance of
the O t t o m a n troops i n Europe. A l t h o u g h the conquests of the g r o w i n g
military state were far away f r o m the borders of the subsidiary provinces
of King Louis A n j o u I (1342-1382), the conspicuous p o l i t i c a l and m i l i t a r y
expansion of the Ottomans was a clear signal that they w o u l d h a r d l y
stop on the south-eastern Balkans after gaining the upper hand i n the
struggle among the Southern Slav rulers as their auxiliary troops. T h o u g h
Louis I attemptedeven if i n a somewhat unprepared mannerto
contain the conquerors by establishing the Bulgarian banate of V i d i n
between 1365 and 1369 and b y placing H u n g a r i a n soldiers i n the castles
there, the strikes by the Ottomans i n the 1370s and 1380s directly
threatened the southern frontiers of H u n g a r y . The situation was made
worse by the fact that, towards the end of his rule, K i n g Louis d i d not
pay too m u c h attention to the reinforcement of the southern border
fortresses along the Lower Danube, and the confused years after his death
further accentuated the problems of southern defence.
10

H u n g a r y . A f t e r the peace had been concluded i t again became possible


8

Further periods: 2.3. 1755-1807, 2.4. 1807-1848, finally 2.5. 1848-1881.

See the works cited in note 2.

1 0

O n the history of the organization of the defence system before 1526, cf. Ferenc Szakly,

"Phases of Turco-Hungarian

Warfare

Before the

Battle of M o h c s

(1365-1526),"

Acta

G Z A PLFFY

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G B O R D E R D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

After Sigismund of L u x e m b u r g , the H u n g a r i a n K i n g (1387-1437)


later Holy Roman Emperor (1410-1437), experienced the immediate threat
by the Ottomans on the battlefield of Nicopol (1396) and his western
neighbours d i d so by means of the constant attacks," there remained
only one possibility to defend H u n g a r y . It became imperative that thev
lay the foundation of a border defence system capable of competing
effectively w i t h the enemy at the frontiers in the long r u n . Bearing this
purpose in m i n d , Sigismund ordered that the border fortresses along the
Lower Danube should be given into royal hands, they should be
reinforced, and that new castles should be b u i l t between Szrny and
Nndorfehrvr (for example Szentlszl). In a d d i t i o n , he started to place
the mobile troops of the southern counties, of the banates existing since
the time of the rulers of the rpd House, and the soldiers serving in
the border fortresses under central control. In the diet of 1397, held in
Temesvr, which was of crucial importance concerning the defence of the
southern borders, he tried to enforce his intention of q u a l i f y i n g the
Hungarian military organization for defence purposes by means of
several military laws.

more frequently hired as light hussars, boatmen [naszdos) on the Danube


or more increasingly, though temporarily, as peasant soldiers (vopiiks,
Soidatenbauer) i n return for certain exemptions. The incomes of the
country d i d not render it possible to maintain a regular army paid by
the king protecting the frontiers, apart f r o m the bandrium of the ruler.
In parallel to the enlargement of the defensive m i l i t a r y forces, the
organization of border defence was made more coherent. The m i l i t a r y
forces of the counties of the Temeskz were subordinatedthough only
temporarily, for some major actionsto the high sheriff of county Temes
(comes Temesiensis), w h o , at the same time, was appointed captain of the
garrison soldiers, besides heading his o w n bandrium. A similar process
started in the n e i g h b o u r i n g banate of Macs, l y i n g west of the Temeskz.
Through personal negotiation, Sigismund, under the terms of the treaty
of Tata in 1426, acquired f r o m Djordje Brankovic the castle of Nn
dorfehrvr (Belgrade), w h i c h was essential for the strengthening of the
defence. Ten years later he attached the castle to the banate of Macs, and
as a result a defence zone similar to the one i n Temeskz came into being,
since the ban of Macs disposed of the m i l i t a r y forces of the n e i g h b o u r i n g
counties of Baranya, Bodrog, Bcs, Szerem, and Valk. The t w o ban on
the Croatian-Slavonian territories had similar m i l i t a r y authority, w h a t is
more, the favourable natural e n d o w m e n t s were further enhanced by
reinforcing the fords on the Sava w i t h w o o d e n forts. A t the same time,
in the Temeskz, a chain of about twenty fortresses handled by the k i n g
secured the defence of the border.

12

The reforms led to the establishment of the so-called militia


portalis"
by which the ruler intended to create a light cavalry of considerable
number which could be deployed on the frontiers. In order to increase
the number of sold iers on the borders, Serbian refugees were more and
Orientlta Academiae Scientiaruni Hungancac 33 (1979) 65-111. Idem, "The Hungarian-Croatian
Border Defense System and Its Collapse," in From Hunyadi to Rkczi. War and Society m
late Medieval and Early Modern Hungary. (War and Society in Eastern Central E u r o p e , 3.)
Ed. by Jnos M. Bak-Bla K. Kirly. Brooklyn, 1982, 141-158. C f . also Leopold K u p e l w i e s e r ,
Die Kampfe Ungarns mil den Osmanen bis zur Schlacht bei Mohcs, 3526. Wien, 1899 . (I used
these works in presenting all three subpenods, so I am not going to refer to them separately
below.)
2

11 For the earliest attacks against Hungary, cf. Bdog Milleker, A trkknek els betrsei
Dl-Magyarorszgba Zsigmond s Albert kirlyok idejben s Keve s Krass vrmegyk
1393-1439 (The First Attacks by the Ottomans

megsznse.

Against H u n g a r y in the Time of K i n g s

Sigismund and Albert, and the End of Counties Keve and K r a s s f Temesvr, 1914. O n the
attacks against Transylvania, cf. Gustav G u n d i s c h , Z r berlieferung

der Turkenemfallc

in

14

The f o r m a t i o n of the defence n e t w o r k under relatively calm


conditions was facilitated by the fact that the O t t o m a n state u n d e r w e n t
one of the most critical periods of its history d u r i n g the so-called
interregnum between 1402 and 1413. The H u n g a r i a n m i l i t a r y leadership,
however, d i d not make use of the o p p o r t u n i t y to chase out the Ottomans.
Still, due to the activity of the comes Temesiensis, Pip of Ozora (Filippo
Scolari), w h o implemented the m i l i t a r y reforms of Sigismund and the
Thallczi brothers (Matk and Frank), and o w i n g to the campaigns and

Siebenbrgen. Kolozsvr, 1947. O n the first raids in Austrian territories, see Hans Pirchegger,
"Die ersten Trkeneinflle

(1396, 1415,

1418)," Zeschnft

des

Histonschen

Veremes

fur

Steierrrmrk 18 (1922) 63-73. See also the latest s u m m a r y of the Southern Slav literature bv
Vasko Simoniti, Vojaskn organtzaaja na Slovenskem v 16. stoletju. Ljubljana, 1991,

5-23.

12 Elemr Mlyusz, Kaiser Sigismund in Ungarn 1387-1437. Budapest, 1990, 136-166


13 It meant that well-to-do noblemen had to field one mounted archer for every 20, later,
after 1435, for every 33 peasants. Andrs Borosy, "The Militia Portalts in H u n g a r y Before
1526," in From Hunyadi to Rkczi, 63-80.

1 4

At the turn of the 1430s Sigismund put the Teutonic O r d e r in charge of the bannte of

Szrny defending the entrance at the L o w e r Danube. But his hopes in connection

with

this plan soon failed. Erich Joachim, "Knig S i g m u n d und der Deutsche Ritterorden in
U n g a r n 1429-1432. Mitteilungen aus dem Staatsarchiv Knigsberg," Mitteilungen
fr

sterreichische

Geschichtsforschung

des

lovagrend a X V . szzadi Bnsgban [The Teutonic O r d e r in the Fifteenth-Century


Zounuk.

A Jsz-Nagykun-Szolnok

Instituts

33 (1912) 87-119, and recently Jen Glck, " A n m e t

Megyei Levltr vknyve 8 (1993) 33-44

Banate],"

10

GZA PLFFY

11

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G BORDER D E F E N C E S Y S T E M S

organizational activity of Jnos H u n y a d i i n the 1440-1450s, the medieval


H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m managed to b u i l d u p a system on the southern
territories of the country, w h i c h was still not coherent enough but
adequate for permanent defence.
1.2. The furination of a coherent defence system: the military reforms of
Matthias Corvinus and their aftermath (147S-152V
Though the foundations of the border defence system were laid during
Sigismund's reign, the siege of Nndorfehrvr i n 1440 indicated that those
buffer states in the Balkans which had previously served to protect Hungary
w o u l d soon be ruined by the Ottoman advance. I n the long r u n , neither the
so-called winter campaign (1443-1444) by Jnos H u n y a d i , nor his success in
Nndorfehrvr in 1456, nor even the Bosnian actions by Matthias Corvinus
in 1463-1464 could stop the process by w h i c h the Hungarian military force
was once and for all driven back to the frontiers of the country by the 1460s,
except for the north-western Bosnian fortresses around Jajca.
The nearly fifty years' 'peace-time' starting i n the mid-1460s, w h i c h
was characterized by the clashes of the raiding troops of the contending
parties, offered an excellent o p p o r t u n i t y for the H u n g a r i a n K i n g to u n i f y
and reform the defence system constructed by his predecessors, that is
to make preparations for permanent defence. The shift i n the foreign
policy of Matthias C o r v i n u s (1458-1490) f r o m the South-East to the West
m i g h t have served the same purposes. Presumably, he intended to create
15

an Eastern-Central-European great power w i t h material resources to be


able to finance the reorganized defence line and to compete successfully
w i t h the O t t o m a n Empire that had changed into a European great p o w e r
w i t h the capture of Constantinople in 1453.
The reorganization of the defence system was accomplished in the
middle of the 1470s. The aims of the innovations were to create a more
coherent defence system, which could be controlled f r o m the centre and was
not divided into many political, military administrative centres, furthermore
to establish an army that could be mobilized faster and i n a more unified
way to protect the borders. In the southern regions from the Adriatic to the
Eastern-Carpathians, Matthias Corvinus united and integrated under the
command of three military officials the t w o basic elements of the defence
system: on the one hand, the military forces and the network of the border

fortresses, and on the other, the bandena, county and noble troops, that is
the military of the areas n e i g h b o u r i n g the frontiers. This was the most
decisive and most significant part of his reforms.
As a first step, in 1476 Matthias united the offices of the ban of CroatiaDalmatia and Slavorua. His intention was to subordinate the commanders of
border fortresses, as well as the mobile troops of the counties, barons and
nobles of the area, under the unified control of the Croatian-Slavonian ban
(banus Croatuie et Slavoniae) from the sea to the Lower Danube. Though he had
already attempted to unify the two offices as early as in the mid-1460s, his
endeavours were frustrated for a decade by the pursuits for independence of
the ban of Macs, Mikls jlaki, w h o was appointed King of Bosnia in 1471."'
After the occupation of Szabcs in 1476 and the death of jlaki in 1477, nothing
could prevent h i m from implementing his plan. A t the same time, he organized
the region of the Lower Danube into a unified border defence system, similar
to the Croatian-Slavonian terntones. To this end he created the office of the
captain-general of the Lower Parts (supremus capitenus paiiium regra Hungaruie
inferiorum), which was, w i t h a few exceptions, assumed by the high sheriffs
of county Temes. From that time on, besides their bandena of considerable
numbers, the captain-generals disposed of the military forces of both the border
fortresses and the neighbouring counties. A t the same time, as high sheriffs of
county Temes, they were also responsible for the civil administration of the
area. While the Croatian-Slavonian ban was personally m charge of the military
and civil administration of Dalmatia, Old Croatia, and the Slavonian counties
17

lh

l * A n d r s K u b i n y i , " D i e Fragen des bosnischen Knigtums von N . jlaki," Studui Slavica


Acadermae Scientmrum
1 7

Hungancae 8 (1958) 373-384

T h e captaincy-general of Pl Tomori (1523-1526), the Archbishop of Kalocsa, w h o had

his residence in Ptervrad and died in the battle of Mohcs, has to be r a n k e d among these.
'8 It is appropriate to note here that Croatia and Slavonia as administrative and territorial
notions had different meanings d u r i n g the middle ages and in the

sixteenth-eighteenth

centuries. T h e medieval ' O l d ' Croatia was situated south-west of the river Sava, and its
territory

extended

between

Slavonia in the north-east

the K a p e l l a Mountain and the A d r i a t i c Sea, bordering

on

Slavonia proper was located between the D r a v a valley and the

Kapela Mountain, extending as far as the river Vrbas in the east. T h e Ottoman

advance

created a completely new situation by the second half of the sixteenth century. By that time
the southern parts of O l d Croatia were lost, its population sought refuge in the north, and
for this reason in the sixteenth-seventeenth

centuries the name Croatia designated the areas

stretching from the Adriatic to the Sava, then, in the eigtheenth century, to the D r a v a , w h i c h
w a s formerly named Slavonia, then U p p e r Slavonia. For Slavonia proper shrank to the
territory between Drava, Sava, a n d C s z m a by the 1570s. In the second half of the eighteenth

1 3

G y u l a Rzs, " H u n y a d i Mtys trk politikja [The Ottoman

C o r v i n u s ] , " Hadtrtnelmi

Kzlemnyek

22 (1975) 305-348.

Policy of

Matthias

century, however, it included the counties Pozsega, Valk, and S z e r e m (the so-called L o w e r
Slavonia), and from that time on, Slavonia meant exclusively that territory.

13

G Z A PLFFY

THE HUNGARIAN-HABSBL'RG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

of Zgrb, Vrasd, Krs, Verce, Dubica, Szana, and Orbsz, due to the

peasant soldiers paid by the k i n g . ' So in case of danger, the captaingenerals of the border territories, as the leaders of the more secure interior
counties, disposed of a significant n u m b e r of banderia, county and noble
troops, and unanimously controlled b o t h the border fortresses and the
mobile field troops. Their concrete tasks were determined by the ruler,
w i t h o u t h a v i n g an independent b o d y controlling the m i l i t a r y
affairsarrived at decisions on the defence of the country after consul
tation w i t h the Royal Council (consilium regis/regni) residing in Buda.

12

reforms of Matthias, the captain-general of the Lower Parts h a d the same


responsibilities over the six counties of Temeskz (Keve, Krass, Temes,
Torontl, A r a d , and Csand), over the n e i g h b o u r i n g six counties of
Bodrog, Bcs, Csongrd, Bks, Zarnd, and Bihar, and over the counties
of Pozsega, Valk, and Szerem between the Drava and Sava, that is all
the m i l i t a r y and administrative duties over the territories called the Lower
Parts.' The third great u n i t of the defence line was led by the Voivode
9

of Transylvania (vajvoda
authority.

Transilvaniae/Transilvaniensis)

with

the same

20

As a result of the reforms of Matthias Corvinus, the bases of the


defence system against the Ottoman Empire laid d o w n by Sigismund of
L u x e m b u r g were transformed and changed into a coherent system. At
the end of the fifteenth century the H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m was surrounded
by a vertically and horizontally d i v i d e d , unified n e t w o r k of defence. In
d e p t h it consisted of t w o parallel lines of border fortresses. The southern
line stretched f r o m Szrny via Orsova, Szentlszl, Nndorfehrvr, Z i m o n y , Szabcs, Szrebernik, Jajca, and K n i n u p to Skardona and Kiissza,
the second, northern line f r o m Lgos, Karnsebes, and Temesvr via
Ptervrad, the m i n o r castles of the Szermsg and Dubica, K r u p a , and
Bihcs to Zengg on the Dalmatian coast. The same system was divided
i n t o three sections vertically together w i t h the Transylvanian territories:
the Croatian-Slavonian part w i t h Bihcs as its headquarters, the area east
of it ranging to Wallachia w i t h the centre of Temesvr called L o w e r Parts
and the Transylvanian border area. A l l three parts had the function of
serving and s u p p o r t i n g the border fortresses, in w h i c h there were several
thousand Southern Slav and Hungarian garrison soldiers, boatmen, and
' For the history of the captaincy-general of the L o w e r Parts, see recently Lszl Fenyvesi,
"A

temeskzi-szrnysgi

vgvrvidk

funkcivltozsai

(1365-1718) [The Changes in

Function of the Border Fortress Area of the Temeskz and S z r n y s g ] , " in Vgvrak s
rgik a XVI-XVII.
2 0

w n 0

3.3. The fall of the defence system of the medieval Hungarian

Before the loss of Nndorfehrvr, the key fortress of the Danube line,
in 1521, the system of border defence d i d not seem to differ m u c h f r o m
the network that came into being after the reforms of Matthias C o r v i n u s .
While one element of the defence, however, the chain of fortresses still
existed, t h o u g h in a bad state of repair, the other main component, the
mobile troops of the neighbouring and inner parts of the country became
practically unusable. So i n the disastrous economic, social, and political
conditions of H u n g a r y in the Jagellon-era (1490-1526), the defence system
became mutilated already before the fall of Nndorfehrvr. The loss of
the most important castle then launched a process that culminated i n
total collapse. Given the lack of a field a r m y that could be m o v e d a n d
controlled quickly and coherently, Nndorfehrvr could only have been
replaced by a castle of similar size and significance along the Danube. A
stronghold of such strength, however, was to be found only several
hundred kilometers further north, i n the centre of the country, in Buda.
22

The fall of Nndorfehrvr resulted in a huge breach in the defence


line and brought about the loss of several neighbouring fortresses: Z i m o n y
and Szabcs were captured i n the same year, Orsova, K n i n , and Skardona
one year later, Szrny, the other b u l w a r k of the L o w e r Danube, fell i n t o
Ottoman hands in 1524. The perdition of the castles entailed the loss of

szzadban. (Studia Agriensia, 14.) Eger, 1993, 238-246.

T h e only debatable element of the reform is w h y Nndorfehrvr d i d not become the

seat of the n e w l y nominated

captain-general

of the L o w e r Parts. A l l this might be in

connection with the devaluated office of the ban of Macs held by Lrinc, the son of Mikls

Kingdom

(1521-1526)

2 1

Cf. A n d r s K u b i n y i ' s article in the present volume

2 2

Ferenc Szakly has dealt with the reasons and circumstances of the loss of the k e y

fortress in several studies, w h i c h obtains very useful points of reference Ferenc Szakly,

jlaki. T h o u g h it might have seemed wiser to send the captain-general of the L o w e r Parts

"Nndorfehrvr, 1521: T h e Beginning of the E n d of the M e d i e v a l H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m , "

to Nndorfehrvr, the events afterwards justified the decision by Matthias C o r v i n u s as the

n Hungarian-Ottoman

office with the seat in T e m e s v r s u r v i v e d the fall of Nndorfehrvr in 1521, and continued

Ed. by Gza Dvid and Pl Fodor

Military and Diplomatic Relations in the Age of Suleyman the


Budapest, 1994, 47-76. Idem, A

Magnificent.

mohcsi csata, 56-58, a n d

to function until 1556 with different centres as will be discussed later on. C f . the different

'em, " N n d o r f e h r v r 1521-es ostromhoz. E g y kirlyi a d o m n y l e v l kztrtneti tanuls

opinion by Ferenc Szakly, A mohcsi csata [The Battle of M o h c s i (Sorsdnt trtnelmi

gai [On the Siege of Nndorfehrvr in 1521. T h e Historical Lesson to Be D r a w n F r o m a

napok, 2.) Budapest, 1977, 55-56.

Royal Deed of G i f t ] , " Hadtrtnelmi

Kzlemnyek

25 (1978) 484-499.

14

GZA PLFFY

those

15

T H E HL'NCARl AN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

peasant

proposed to send several thousand German i n f a n t r y m e n to support

soldiers for a pay of some months and for different exemptions. So

villages whose inhabitants had p r e v i o u s l y served

as

Hungary. O n the basis of the documents at our disposal, it can be stated


that about 2,000 i n f a n t r y m e n set off for H u n g a r y , and this was the first
time w h e n there was an actual attempt by the A u s t r i a n provmces to assist
in the defence of the H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m . - From 1522 to the defeat at
Mohacs more and more frequently d i d field troops arrive f r o m the
neighbouring A u s t r i a n provinces to the area controlled by the Croatian
ban, but they were not placed into the border fortresses as constant
garrisons y e t . T h o u g h the regular A u s t r i a n m i l i t a r y aid seemingly
strengthened the defence in this section of the border, i n fact it dissolved
the unified leadership of the m i l i t a r y force that had been commanded by
the ban up to this time. The captain-generals (Obnstcr Feldhauptmann der
nwderoblermchischen Landc) of the troops sent by the A u s t r i a n estates were
appointed by the latter and were not subordinated to the ban, t h o u g h the
consequences of this duality d i d not manifest themselves in these years,
but only after the fall of the H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m i n 1526. As the most
decisive element of the defence system, the chain of fortresses still
remained under the control of the ban at that time.

Sleyman the Magnificent, the new sultan (1520-1566), extinguished the


southern line of the frontier fortressesexcept for Jajca and Kiisszawithin a period of some years. These castles served as stepping-stones for h i m
to do away w i t h the last remnants of the second line as w e l l , except for
some Croatian fortresses, in the decades after the battle of Mohcs in
1526.
W i t h the collapse of the southern chain of fortresses, the H u n g a r i a n
m i l i t a r y leadership lost the zone that was to have defended the whole
k i n g d o m . The second, northern line in the interior of the country was not
facilitated by the natural surroundings to such an extent as the previous
one that was situated almost entirely along m o u n t a i n s and rivers. There
was a threat that if the gaps could not be filled very fast, Ptervrad,
w h i c h was chosen to substitute Nndorfehrvr, could not be reinforced,
and no mobile troops were fielded, the w h o l e interior plain area of the
country w o u l d soon fall. A l t h o u g h some measures were taken by the
palatnus

Istvn Bthorv and the captain-general of the Lower Parts Pl

T o m o r i a i m e d at b r i n g i n g the fortresses

34

of the second line into a

defensible c o n d i t i o n and at r e i n f o r c i n g t h e m w i t h p a i d i n f a n t r y m e n
and bandena, these failed one after the other, due to the modest incomes
of the country. As a result, the entire southern defence system inevitably
collapsed in 1526, when the last units of the mobile field troops and the
major border fortresses perished. The death of Louis II (1516-1526) at the
same time b r o u g h t about the fall of the medieval H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m .
Before the collapse of the medieval border defence system, a change
took place whose effects could not be felt i n the 1520s, but w h i c h proved

23 Lajos T h a l l c z y - A n t a l
Diplomticas

Partium

H o d i n k a , Magijarorszg

Regno Hungurtae

Adnexarum).

mellktartomnyainak
Vol. 1. A horvt

oklevltra

(Codex

vghelyek

oklevltra.

1490-1527 [Archives of the Croatian Border Fortresses 1490-1527). (Monumenta

Hunganae

Histrica I. Diplomataria, X X X I . ) Budapest. 1903, 34-38: Nos. X X X V and L X U - L X X I I 1 : Nos.


1-10

T h e year 1521 w h i c h I propose to start a new period, is both appropriate for marking

the collapse of the first chain of fortresses and for referring to the date w h e n Ferdinand,
Archduke of Austria began to support

the defence system of the medieval

Hungarian

K i n g d o m with his financial and military power. That is w h y the year 1522 in Rothenberg's
monograph (The Austrian
; j

Military

Border) is worth modifying to

1521.

In connection with this, see G u n t h e r E. Rothenberg, " T h e O r i g i n s of the A u s t r i a n Mil-

very i m p o r t a n t i n the long r u n . A l r e a d y i n the early 1500s, Kings

itary Frontier in Croatia and the Alleged Treaty of 22 December 1522," Slavonic and East

Vladislav I I (1490-1516) and Louis I I and the Croatian barons and nobles

European

turned to Emperor M a x i m i l i a n 1 (1493-1519) for help to jointly avert the

grenze," Militrgeschichtliche

Review 38 (1960) 493-498. Cf. also Winfried Schulze, " D i e sterreichische MilitarMitteilungen

9 (1971) 191-192 T h o u g h Rothenberg proved in

his study published in 1960 that the alleged treaty of December 22, 1522 between L o u i s II

danger threatening the Austrian provinces as w e l l . But d u r i n g the rule

and Ferdinand, A r c h d u k e of Austria is merely the result of a mistake by Frantisek Vanicek

of M a x i m i l i a n 1, the external military support assisting the ban of Croatia

(F. Vanicek, op. of., 5-6) w h o misinterpreted

remained only a plan. H o w e v e r , after the fall of the first chain of

Regensburg in 1522-1523, he (Rothenberg) was not the first to realize this. Lajos Thallczy,

fortresses, A r c h d u k e Ferdinand I , assessing the danger threatening the


Austrian provinces governed by h i m m a i n l y Carniola (Krain), Carinthia
(Kamten),

and Styria (Steiermark)resigned

himself to a significant step.

D u r i n g the siege of Nndorfehrvr in 1521 he s u m m o n e d his estates for


a special meeting and, at the request of his b r o t h e r - i n - l a w , Louis I I , he

the talks at the Imperial Diet (Reichstag)

of

in his introduction to the above quoted collection of documents had already corrected the
mistake (L. T h a l l o c z y - A . H o d i n k a , op. at.,

Nos. L V 1 I I - L X and L V L I I : n. 1).

Rothenberg's

merit is that he again drew attention to the problem, as Thallczy's results were
ignored even by Hungarian scholars. Pal Szeg, op. at.,
Rill. Frst und Hof in sterreich

von den habsburgischen Teungsvertrgen

Molics (7523/22 bis 3526). Bd. 1. Auenpolitik

often

13 and 32. C f . recently G e r h a r d


bis zur Schlacht

von

und Diplomatie. (Forschungen z u r Europischen

und Vergleichenden Rechtsgeschichte, 7.) W i e n - K l n - W e i m a r , 1993, 42-43: n. 17.

16

GZA PLFFY

17

THE HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER DEFENCE SYSTEMS

2. THE DEFENCE SYSTEM AGAINST THE OTTOMANS IN THE SIXTEENTH


AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURIES
The defeat at Mohcs opened up a new era in the history of Hungary
The country lost not only its ruler, but almost the w h o l e of its southern
defence system, including both the network of border fortresses and the
neighbouring parts s u p p o r t i n g them w i t h their field troops. A l l this
resulted i n the establishment of Ottoman rule in H u n g a r y , the coronations
of John Szapolyai I (1526-1540) and Ferdinand I (1526-1564) as kings of
H u n g a r y , and the division of the country into three parts. Though the
sovereignty and independence of the country d i d not entirely disappear
in the f o l l o w i n g centuries, its territory became the battleground of two
great powers, the Habsburg and the Ottoman Empire. I n 1526, however,
the question was whether H u n g a r y w o u l d be able to organize a new
defence system or whether it w o u l d share the fate of what had been its
vassal states in the Balkans. A n d if the country was to succeed, in which
part of it, in w h a t f r a m e w o r k , and under whose leadership w o u l d the
new defence system come into being.
2.1.a. One and a half decades of confusion: the period of the commandersin-chief of the royal army paid by Ferdinand I of Habsburg
The fifteen years after 1526 remind us of the events at the turn of middle
of the fifteenth century. O n l y the performers of the Christian party had
changed: n o w the Austrian provinces were in the same situation as the
medieval H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m had been earlier. The question was the
same: w o u l d they manage to stop the enemy in front of the borders, on
the territories of H u n g a r y under the authority of Ferdinand 1, crowned
the king of this country, or, as the Croatian-Slavonian ban Tams Ndasdy
expressed it in his letter to Ferdinand in the summer of 1539: " I f Your
H o l y Majestv does not support this country w i t h your other provinces it
w i l l certainly happen that, due to the loss of this country, the other
provinces of Your Holy Majesty w i l l be lost." But the extent of the
danger was not adequately assessed i n Vienna at the end of the 1520s.
To p u t it more accurately: even if they recognized the Ottoman threat,
they d i d not have the power to act against it effectively. For the
25

rganization of a new defence systemas had been implemented on the


southern frontiers of H u n g a r y i n Matthias Corvinus'- timethere was a
need for a longer period of peace, for the appropriate economic and
financial background and political support, for a diplomacy that was
aware of the Ottoman's customs and methods, for an appropriate apparatus to organize and control the system, and last but not least for a
thorough knowledge of local H u n g a r i a n circumstances. None of these
conditions were met at that time.
The conflict between the two rulers of Hungary brought about civil w a r
conditions in the country and its annexed provinces (Slavonia and Croatia).
To save his territories, John I was forced to cooperate w i t h the Ottomans,
while they advanced capturing more and more fortresses in the Szeremseg
and Croatia. But these southern territories of Hungary seemed far away
enough from Vienna, not to mention the palace of emperor Charles V
^519-1556) in Toledo, for w h o m the Hungarian theatre of war was
overshadowed by the Mediterranean and Italian provinces also threatened
by the Ottomans. Although it was obvious to those k n o w i n g the
geographical situation of Hungary that if the castles of Buda and the plain
areas could not stop the Ottomans, they w o u l d get several hundred
kilometers nearer the centre of the Austnan provinces. In vain did the siege
of Vienna in 1529 cause a shock, the Habsburg military leadership was
unable to perform the tasks of defence against the Ottomans. Though
among those Austnan commanders w h o knew little about the conditions in
Hungary there were some w h o realized the severe consequences of delay,
26

27

28

2 6

Gabor Barta, " A Forgotten Theatre of W a r

1526-1528 (Historical

the Ottoman-Hungarian A l l i a n c e of 1528)," in Hungarian-Ottoman

Events

Military

and

Diplomatic

Relations. 93-130.
2 7

Christine Turetschek, Die Trkenpolitik

der Universitt Wien, 10.) W i e n ,


2 S

After the royal

Ferdinands I. von 1529

bis 1532.

(Dissertationen

1968.

troops led by Hans Katzianer

captured the castle of Szepesvr,

residence of the family Szapolyai, Ulrich Leysser chief field armoury officer
meister) suggested to his ruler on March 28, 1528,

the

(Obrist-Feldzeug-

that the artillery arsenal here and in other

places should be transported to the southern border fortresses and the ruined cannon should
be cast again with the same purpose: " E u e r Kunigliche Majestt etc. hetten solh

Geschucz,

klain vnd gro behaltenn, vnd die ortflegkhen gegen dem Turgkhenn damit versechenn ...
hetten Euer Kunigliche Majestt etc. new geschuez giessen v n n d die Turgkhisch

35 " N i s i Vestra Sacratissima Maiestas alicunde ex aliis regnis suis huic regno provident,

Preceding

Grniczen

damit versechen lassenn." StA Kriegsarchiv [hereinafter K A ] Alte Feldakten [hereinafter A F A ]

a c t u m erit de eo, et ex amissione h u i u s regni amittentur alia etiam regna Vestrae Sacra-

'528/3/16 c. It is not a coincidence that it was Leysser w h o made these proposals as he had

tissimae Maiestatis." Wien, sterreichisches Staatsarchiv [hereinafter StA], Haus-, Hof- und

already taken part in the recruitment of the auxiliary troops commanded to Croatia from 1522

Staatsarchiv [hereinafter H H S t A ] , Ungarische Akten (Hungarica) [hereinafter Hunganca),

so he was among those who rightly assessed the real degTee of the Ottoman threat (see L.

Allgemeine Akten [hereinafter A A ] , Fase. 39. Konv. F. 1539. Juni-Juli fols. 36-37.

Thadczy-A. Hodinka, op. at.. 145-147: No. X C I and 148-149: No. XCOI).

18

G Z A PLF-FY

THE H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

Ferdinand's political, economic, and m i l i t a r y resources allowed tw


things i n this period. O n the one hand, w i t h his troops sent to Hungary
he g r a d u a l l y broke the p o w e r of his rival k i n g , and on the other hand'
w i t h the help of the most endangered provinces of Carniola, Carinthia'
and Styria, he started to reorganize under his o w n control the Croatian
border defence system coordinated by the ban.

and the Austrian commander-in-chief. We can assume that the parties


'"ere perfectly aware of the high stakes in the struggle for the sphere of
thority

31

The p o i n t was that the w i n n e r could take charge of the

Hungarian and Croatian m i l i t a r y affairs and simultaneously the control


f the border defence system. So in the next fifteen years the Habsburg

2v

The t w o processes took place i n a s i m i l a r framework and were


accompanied by similar problems. In order to strengthen his power both
in H u n g a r y and in Croatia and Slavonia, Ferdinand sent considerable
numbers of foreign (mainly German) troops. These were supplemented
by the paid soldiers of the H u n g a r i a n and Croatian nobles supporting
the Habsburgs, and by the units of the counties and insurgent fielded
under the laws of he country. The cooperation of the German and
H u n g a r i a n troops was not unclouded. The question of control caused
serious conflicts from the m o m e n t the first l.nmisknecht set foot on
H u n g a r i a n soil, as the commander-in-chief of the troops serving in
H u n g a r y or Croatia (Obnster Feldhauptmann der mederosterreichischen Lande
in Ungarn/in Kroatwn) at the cost of the ' L o w e r Austrian estates' (at that
time still composed of Lower Austria, Carniola, Carinthia, and Styria)
tried to extend his authority both over the H u n g a r i a n and Croatian
contingents. But according to the so-called palatnus' articles of 1485, the
d e p u t y c o m m a n d i n g these troops in the absence of the king was the
palatnus regni Hungri. " The situation was further complicated by the
fact that this office had not been filled since 1530 and the governor
(locumtenens regni Hungarme), the leader of the governorship {locumtenentta
regia), created to replace the palatnus, d i d his best to keep control over
the H u n g a r i a n troops. There was a similar conflict between the Croatian

19

litary leadership made an attempt at w h a t Sigismund of L u x e m b u r g

"nd his successors could not achieve. They tried to ensure their power
b

campaigns led outside the Austrian provinces and by taking control

of the military affairs and border defence in such areas they sought to
stop the Ottoman advance. For this purpose the economic and military
power of the Austrian provinces sufficed even if Charles V was reluctant
to g i

v e

support. For H u n g a r y to preserve its sovereignty and territory to

some extent, it seemed that it had to pay an enormous price in return.


The Hungarian m i l i t a r y - p o l i t i c a l officeholders and the estates formerly
controlling the country and its defence had to renounce their positions
in leading the m i l i t a r y . There was hardly any reassuring w a y out of the
dead end.
Up to the peace of Vrad in 1538 made w i t h John Szapolyai, the
foreign troops led to H u n g a r y by the Austrian commanders-in-chief
securedif not quite satisfactorilythe territory on w h i c h

the new

defence system could be organized later on. A l t h o u g h Kassa, the key to


Upper Hungary remained i n the hands of John 1, and then passed to his
son, John Sigismund between 1536 and 1552, an adequate counterpoint
was created by s u p p l y i n g the castle of Sros w i t h a significant Habsburg
garrison. The fortresses protecting Vienna (Komrom, Esztergom, Tnta,
and Gyr) were similarly p r o v i d e d w i t h soldiers of various nationality
(i.e. Germans and Spaniards) p a i d by k i n g Ferdinand. These military
decisions, however, lacked any kind of strategy aimed at the formation

^ T h o u g h in the summer of 1528 Martin Fleugaus, the armoury officer of Ferdinand in


Carniola (Zeugwart

in Kram),

mustered

the border fortresses (Szeged, Temesvr, Csand,

and L i p p a ) in Temeskz with the aim of checking how they could be strengthened to serve
the purpose of defence against the Ottomans, they could not prevent them from getting
into the hands of John I. StA K A A F A 1528/7/6. See also StA H H S t A Hunganca AA.
Fasc. 8. Konv. 1. 1528. Jan.-Juni fols

175-176.

3 Magyar torvnytr. (Corpus juris Hungria)

1000-1526. vi trvnyczikkek (Articles of 1000-1526).

Explained and referenced by Dezs Mrkus. Budapest, 1899, 398-399: article No 4.


3 1

Istvn R. Kiss, A magyar helytarttancs l. Ferdinnd korban s 1549-1551. vi leveles knyve

(The H u n g a r i a n Locumtenentia under Ferdinand I and its Letter Book from 1549 to 1551).

of a coherent defence system. Practically, they were decisions made in


an emergency situation.
Between 1526 and 1541, the m i l i t a r y affairs of H u n g a r y and the
annexed areas were almost exclusively controlled by the above mentioned
Austrian commanders-in-chief of Ferdinand. After the battle of Mohcs
the only efficient a r m y was constituted by the German troops and by the
cavalry units paid also f r o m abroad but led by H u n g a r i a n and Southern

Budapest, 1908, a n d Gyz Ember, " A helytarti hivatal trtnethez a X V I . szzadban [To

Slav captains (Blint Trk, Lajos Pekry, and Pl Bakics). As the payment

the History of the Locumtenentia in the Sixteenth C e n t u r y ] , " in Emlkknyv

of these troops was covered by the ruler f r o m his A u s t r i a n provinces, his

szletsnek

hatvanadik vforduljnak

nnepre.

Budapest, 1938, 142-156.

Szentptery Imre

right to command them c o u l d n o t be debated. So i n these confused times

GZA PLFFY

20

the 'task' of the governors (locumtenens regni Hungri)

21

THE HUNGAR1AN-HABSBURG BORDER DEFENCE SYSTEMS

in Pozsony was

only to consult the commanders-in-chief not well-versed in the H u n g a r i a n


conditions and to quarrel about the spheres of authority. The real military
assistants of the c o m m a n d e r - i n - c h i e f were the f i e l d m a r s h a l s (Feldmarschall) commanded to help him and the w a r councillors (verordnete
Knegsrdte) either staying beside h i m or in V i e n n a i n c l u d i n g a war
secretary (Knegssckretdr):'' So in this period a new military administrative
organization came into being, which, though subject to changes in its
personnel, showed some signs of stability and became of great significance as the precedent of the Aulic War Council (Wiener
Hofknegsrat).
In Croatia the changes in the m i l i t a r y a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and border
defence were similar and even faster than in H u n g a r y . John I , after the
death of his captain-general and ban* Kristf Frangepn in September
1527, had less power to support his followers there. After the resignation
in 1528 of Ferenc Batthyny, the Croatian-Slavonian ban w h o had supported Ferdinand, the vacancy of the office offered an excellent opportunity to curtail the sphere of authority of the ban, and the locumtenens
in Pozsony had hardly any w o r d in the direction of these remote territories. At the same time, the Ottomansas in the next one and a half
centuriesregarded this territory as a secondary theatre of w a r besides
the main Hungarian front in its narrow sense. In spite of this fact, the
Austrian provinces were mostly threatened in these areas i n this period,
and therefore the estates of Carniola, Carinthia, and Styria soon managed
to transfer control of this section of the defence system of the medieval
Hungarian Kingdom to Archduke Ferdinand and reorganize it for their
own protection.
34

Thus the Habsburg military administration started to f o r m the first


unit of the new defence system against the Ottomans i n the Croatian
border area. It has already been mentioned as a precedent that after 1521
field troops paid by the Austrian estates regularly marched to Croatia,

but it d i d not entailand it could not w i t h i n the medieval H u n g a r i a n


Kingdomthe transformation of the defence system. However, Ferdinand
I m his capacity as K i n g of Hungary and Croatia, sent troops paid by his
Austrian estates to the castles of Zengg and Kiissza in 1527 and to Bihcs
after the resignation of Ferenc Batthyny in 1528. In addition to t a k i n g
charge of the major border fortresses, more and more field troops also
arrived in the Sava region to stop the Ottoman raids, and their
commanders-in-chief (Mikls Jurisics, Hans Katzianer) began to organize
the border fortresses under royal administration into a coherent system.
As a first step, in 1538 they set up the post of the captain-general whose
responsibility encompassed the region called the O l d Croatian confines
(alte krabatische/kroatische Grenze) in later sources. In the last days of A p r i l ,
w h e n the ban Pter Keglevich, defending Bihcs again, renounced his
control over the castles he had been in charge of, Ferdinand a p p o i n t e d
Erasm v o n T h u r n the captain-genera! of Zengg, Bihcs, Ripacs, and
Otocsc, and the m i n o r fortresses belonging to them, that is of the O l d
Croatian confines. W i t h the appointment of T h u r n the construction of
the western section of the Croatian border defence system extending f r o m
the Una to the Adriatic Sea actually started, and the w o r k was continued
by the commanders-in-chief in Croatia and Slavonia (Obnstcr
Feldhauptmann windischer und krabatischer/kroatischer Lande) appointed after 1540,
firstly by Hans U n g n a d . ' In accordance w i t h the practice followed i n the
case of the commanders-in-chief in H u n g a r y they were also assisted by
35

36

35 L . T h a l l c k z y - A . Hodinka, op. at., 671: No

D X X I V , 672-674: No. D X X V I and 677-686:

Nos. D X X X U - D X X X V and LV11.


3 6

"Pro

conservandis

partium

istarum

C a p i t a n e u m assumpsimus et constituimus

ad

confinia T u r c h a r u m

iacentium

locis

illique Castrorum et O p p i d o r u m

Bihigij et Repatz, Civitatisque nostrae Segmensis et Ottoschutz c u m omnibus


attinentiis curam administrationemque

d e m a n d a v i m u s " , and " i n s u p r e m u m

... in

nostrorum
eorundem

Capitaneum

u n i v e r s o r u m regni nostri Croatiae locorum finimorum simul et gentium ibidem nostrorum,


nec non Civitatis nostrae Segnensis et Attatschvz ac praeterea et o p p i d o r u m

nostrorum

Bihigij et Repath assumpsimus ct constituimus." StA H H S t A Hungarica A A . Fasc. 35


On the war councillors, see the Hungarica collection of OStA H H S t A ( A A . Fase 2 -Fase.
70. passen) from the period 1526-1550
"Cnstoforus de Frangepanibus

1 7

rcgnorum Dalmaciae, Croaciae et Sclavoniae banus

ac capitaneus regius generalis" (Vehke. August 27, 1527) O S t A H H S t A Hungarica A A Fasc.


7. Konv. 3. 1527. fol. 38. Cf. Gbor Barta, La route qui mne Istanbul 1526-1528. (Studia
Histrica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae. 195.) Budapest, 1994, 12-13 and 86.
1526-1541. (Inaugural-Diss.) G r a z ,

Budapest, Magyar Orszgos Levltr [hereinafter M O L ] E 144, Magyar kincstri levl-

trak, Magyar Kamara Archvuma [hereinafter M K A j Trtnelmi emlkek. Belgy box 1


fols. 63-64. January 12, 1540. Without place The Bestallung of Ferdinand I for H a n s U n g n a d
"Oberister V e l d h a w b t m a n vnnserer Funff Niderosterrcichischen, W i n d i s c h e n v n d Crabatischen L a n n d e " . Cf. Bernd Zimmermann, " L a n d e s h a u p t m a n n H a n s U n g n a d von Sonnegg

On the help given by the Styrian estates: Gnther Burkert, Ferdinand I. und die stemschen
Stande Dargestellt anhand der stemschen Lmdlagc
57-173.

K o n v . 1. 1538. Apr. fols. 94-95. Cf. ibid., fols 86-87, 89, 93 and 96-99.

1976,

(1493-1564). E i n Beitrag z u seiner Biographie," in Siedlung, Macht und Wirtschaft.

Festschrift

Fritz Posch zum 70. Geburtstag. (Verffentlichungen des Steiermrkischen L a n d e s a r c h i v s , 12.)


E d . by Gerhard Pferschy. Graz, 1981,

210.

22

G Z A PLFFY

23

THE HUNGAR1AN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

war councillors delegated by n e i g h b o u r i n g provinces. " In parallel to this


the settlement of and offering of privileges to the Vlachs (Valaclu) and
Uskoks (Uscoci) started i n the Croatian-Slavonian areas, whose certain
groups later on played an i m p o r t a n t role in the defence of border
fortresses and then f r o m the eighteenth century i n th m i l i t a r y frontiers.*
In the p e r i o d lasting f r o m the battle of Mohcs to the fall of Buda
the formation of a new defence system was initiated by the Habsburg
m i l i t a r y leadership only i n the Croatian border area between Zengg and
Bihcs. Ferdinand I took the necessary steps only in the territories mostly
threatened by the Ottomans and even if he recognized the real nature of
this danger (namely that Vienna was also menaced) he was unable to
create a coherent defence system to avoid it. W i t h his troops regularly
sent to Croatia-Slavonia and H u n g a r y each year, he only spontaneously
retorted his r i v a l k i n g John I ; at the same time, he commissioned
commanders-in-chief to take charge of the m i l i t a r y affairs and border
defence in H u n g a r y . A n d t h o u g h he d i d not seek to organize a new
defence system in these far away areas of H u n g a r y , that is he was not
energetically i n v o l v e d against the Ottomans, w i t h these steps he still
ensured those regions where later on the new chain of fortresses could
be built u p as the basis for the organization of the new defence system.
He could also benefit from the serious mistakes committed by the Ottoman
m i l i t a r y leadership; i n 1529 and 1532, Sleyman I w i t h d r e w his troops
to the line of the Lower Danube and Drava and d i d not retain those
fortresses w h i c h afterwards faced h i m as the b u l w a r k s of the new defence
n e t w o r k and c o u l d only be regained at the expense of severe losses.
3

2.1.b. The first attempts to organize a new defence system

(1541-1556)

The fall of Buda in 1541 and of the fortresses of Sikls, Pcs, Szkesfehr
vr, Tata, Ngrd, H a t v a n , then of Esztergom on the Danube, a n d the
loss of Valp and Atyina in Slavonia d u r i n g the 1543-1544 campaign
justified those few w h o were of the opinion already i n the 1530s that

Croatian areascould be postponed, n o w there was no further possibility


f delay due to the threat to Styria, Lower Austria (Niedersterreich),
and
Vienna. Immediate action was needed in the Slavonian parts, i n H u n g a r y ,
and particularly in the foreground of Vienna, w h i c h the Ottomans had
already menaced by m a r c h i n g to the Austrian frontiers. The pattern and
the methods were given: border defence regions had to be f o r m e d that
were similar to those w h i c h used to protect the southern borders of the
medieval H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m ; the basis had already been established in
the Croatian border zone. This was no easy tasknot only for financial
or military reasons. W h i l e the m i l i t a r y leaders of the estates of Carniola,
Carinthia, and Styria i n the Croatian territories already had a certain
knowledge of the place and some practice in the basics of h o w to create
a defence line, the leaders of the endangered L o w e r Austria c o u l d only
start their job w i t h the help of the commander-in-chief delegated by them
and of the H u n g a r i a n estates. A t the same time, the opposite was true
as well. It was not by chance that the estates of H u n g a r y , whose territory
decreased to the shape of a crescent, stressed so many times m the
following years that, for the maintenance of the border fortresses, "there
is a need for the financial and m i l i t a r y assistance of the H o l y I m p e r i a l
and Royal Majesties and of the Imperial Princes... because the H u n g a r i a n
war tax (subsidium) alone cannot cover all these at a l l . " The parties
fighting for control over the H u n g a r i a n m i l i t a r y affairs were forced to
cooperate in order to survive. Fortunately, there were politicians and
military leaders on both sides w h o understood the real consequences of
the lack of cooperation.
4 0

T h o u g h the H u n g a r i a n estates elected t w o captain-generals of the


country (supremus capitaneus regm Hungri, Obrister Landeshauptmann in
Ungam) at the diet of Besztercebnya in 1542," they c o u l d not f u l f i l their
tasks due to the lack of financial resources. The districts of those fortresses
that could be fitted into a new line were ruined o w i n g to the O t t o m a n

these fortresses w o u l d have to be reinforced and a new defence system


covering the w h o l e country organized. The repeated advance of the
Ottomans created a completely new situation. W h i l e up to this point the
creation of the new s y s t e m w i t h the exception of the most endangered

4 0

" S u b s i d i u m vel pecuniarum, vel gentium Sacrae Caesareae et Regiae Majestatum

omnia h a u d q u a q u a m satis futurum esse, j a m majestas sua intelligit." 1547: article 16.
lmnytr.

(Corpus

Accompanied
3 Schulze, Landesdefension,

Juris

Hungria)

1526-1608.

rvnyczikkek

[Articles

by explaining notes by Dezs Mrkus [hereinafter

of

Magyar

1526-1608).

C/HJ. Budapest,

1899,

198-199.

60-61.

A n t a l Fglein, " X V I . szzadi kzigazgatstrtneti adatok Z l y o m v r m e g y b l [Data

3^ Kaser, op. at., 60-79. Catherine W e n d y Bracewell, The Uskoks of Sen/. Piracy,
and Holy War in the Sixteenth-Century

ac

imperii p n n c i p u m omnino est necessarium..., nam H u n g a r i c u m per se s u b s i d i u m ad ista

Adriatic.

Ithaca-London,

1992.

Banditry,

on the Administrative History of C o u n t y Z l y o m in the Sixteenth C e n t u r y ) , " Szzadok 57-58


(1923-1924) 474: n. 1.

24

C.7.A P A L F F Y

campaigns so their upkeep and the payment of soldiers could not be


covered bv their diminished incomes. Realizing this, the Hungarian estates
asked Ferdinand I i n 1546 to care for the fortresses of Domb, Kaposjvr
Somogyvr, Lak, Szigetvr, Tihany, Csesznek, and Szentmrton m Transdanubia, for Sg, Pszt, Drgely, Szcsny, Bujk, and Lva north-east
of the Danube w i t h the help of his Austrian provinces, as these fortresses
had been deprived of all their incomes by the O t t o m a n a d v a n c e " Bv this
time the Ottomans quickly moved forward despite their military mistakes,
for after their occupation of the fortresses in the Szermsg there were
no natural obstacles (mountains, major rivers or marshy areas) u p to Lake
Balaton or the N o r t h e r n and Transdanubian M o u n t a i n s w h i c h could have
stopped them. The field troops led by the royal commanders-in-chief were
not able to counterbalance the disadvantages d e r i v i n g f r o m the natural
surroundings so the fortresses enumerated by the estates could rely on
only d i m i n i s h e d support. W h i l e before 1521 all the m i l i t a r y and financial
resources of the country could be mobilized in order to protect the t w o
southern border castles defence lines, bv the late 1540s this task was
m a i n l y entrusted to the Austrian provinces and to the German Empire.
In v a i n d i d the H u n g a r i a n estates try to finance the fortresses from the
war tax (subsidnim or dica) of the decreased country in 1546; and later
too, their efforts resulted each time in f a i l u r e .
41

From all this the m i l i t a r y leadership i n Vienna came to the conclusion


that the field troops occasionally sent to H u n g a r y and Croatia-Slavonia
were not sufficient to protect their provinces. Lower Austria and Styna
were n o w faced w i t h the same task as Carniola and C a r i n t h i a w h i c h
had been financing the O l d Croatian border for a decade. Their o d d
support, often granted yearly, but still depending o n the extent of the
O t t o m a n menace had to be replaced by constant p a r t i c i p a t i o n . W h i l e
L o w e r Austria, i n order to survive, had to undertake the s u p p l y of the
fortresses protecting Vienna and its district and the castles north of Lake
Balaton, Styria had the same job concerning the border fortresses of
Slavonia shrunken to the territories between the Sava and Drava west of
Pozsega. A t the same time, the estates of Carniola and Carinthia were
confronted w i t h new tasks from the 1550s on as the owners of the
fortresses in the region from Bihcs to Sziszek and n o r t h of the river Una

a r h c l " e

^ T s l s T ^

a c

P"

M O L E 554 M K A Vrosi s kamarai iratok. Fol. Lat. 851

*P**

*un ."
t

154*

25

HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

more and more frequently turned to their ruler for help. The reason for
this was that the Croatian-Slavonian ban,

g r a d u a l l y deprived of the

military authority he had possessed before the battle of Mohcs, w a s


unable to protect this territory effectively w i t h the infantry and cavalry
troops consisting of only a few h u n d r e d people paid by the k i n g f r o m
the dica, that is he remained as helpless w i t h o u t the support of the
neighbouring Austrian provinces as the t w o captain-generals

of the

country elected by the H u n g a r i a n estates.


In the foundation of the new defence system in the 1540s, a decisive
role was played by N i k l a s Graf zu Salm, royal commander-in-chief, and
Pal Vrday, Archbishop of Esztergom and lucumtcncns. Salm, c o m m a n d er-in-chief for the whole theatre of w a r against the Ottomans (Obrister
Feldhauptmann der Krone Ungarn, der Windischen, Kroatischen und Niedersterreichischen
Lande)' * and appointed in 1546, had a better w o r k i n g
relationship than his predecessors w i t h the locumtenens and w i t h the
Transdanubian captain-general (supretnus capitnneus partium Transdanubianarum) and the 'Cisdanubian' captain-genera) (supremus capitnneus partium
Cisdanubtanarum) appointed to the territories north and east of the D a n ube. The process w h i c h resulted in the f o r m a t i o n of a coherent defence
system r a n g i n g f r o m the Adriatic Sea to the Transylvanian border in
twenty years was the f r u i t of their w o r k starting at the turn of the 1550s.
Furthermore, the methods w h i c h were a l w a y s applicable in their perfected forms if n e w defence zones had to be created against the O t t o m a n
advance, came into being in this period. A n d though the m i l i t a r y
leadership in Vienna was still far f r o m organizing the defence on the
basis of a coherent strategy, the many forced measures b r o u g h t their first
results by 1556.
The restructuring w o r k was hampered bv the fact that most of the
castles to be included i n the new system of fortresses were privately
o w n e d at that time. A n outstandingly i m p o r t a n t task of Salm, Vrdav,
and their successors was either to take these fortresses entirely i n t o r o y a l
use (Szigetvr, Eger, Gyula) or to make sure that the royal garrison should
be placed i n the private ones (Papa, Csesznek, Devecser). Sometimes n e w
fortresses (Olhjvr)mainly palisadeswere erected, t h o u g h this was
still not c o m m o n practice. It was of more importance, t h o u g h , that several
m i n o r forts were strengthened in the district of royal castles and were
1

StA

H H S t A Hungarica

(Vienna, March 21, 1546).

AA

Fasc. 54.

1546-1547

fols. 14-29. Contemporary

copy

26

m a n n e d f r o m large fortresses and that the castles, mansions and cloisters


not f i t t i n g i n the system were destroyed. But these actions were always
accomplished i n the last m i n u t e so the establishment of the n e w defence
n e t w o r k proceeded quite haltingly; and the abandoned castles that were
not b l o w n u p often became very i m p o r t a n t elements i n the Ottoman
system of strongholds i n H u n g a r y .
The taking over of the castles by the king and the supply of them with
soldiers were followed by their fortification. However, most of the construc
tion w o r k s in this period were not subject to comprehensive controls and
b u i l d i n g s were not constructed according to modern architectural proce
dures but in a rough-and-ready way, mainly by building palisades made of
soil and beams. The exception to this rule was the fortification of the
strategically most important castles such as Esztergom, Komrom, Gyr,
Szolnok, Eger, and Kassa under the direction of Italian professional
m i l i t a r y architects hired by the Vienna high c o m m a n d . A t the same time,
there were halts i n the war supplies and provision of food, and the use of
German and Hungarian soldiery together caused some further problems so
far u n k n o w n to the Habsburg military leadership. Though in order to defend
the hinterland provinces they started to create a system of signalling w i t h
gunshots and fires (Kreidschuss- und Kreidfeuersystem)"
the whole defence
line still d i d not w o r k effectively enough. To develop this border defence
into a coherent system there was a need for a central directing body that
c o u l d govern them according to the same concept. But before the
establishment of this i n 1556 the formation of the units of the new defence
system began, if not i n integrated frameworks. The following table provides
information on these defence zones, the cavalry and infantry troops serving
in them, and on the monthly and annual costs of their pay.
45

T h

, organization of the defence system against the Ottomans and the number
and payment of the soldiers in the border fortresses, 1D56
Number
of
fortresses

^Id^^roatiaTTci^

2 major

Number
of
infantry

V i d o r Pataki, " A X V I . szzadi vrpts M a g y a r o r s z g o n [The Fortification of Castles


Trtneti

Intzet vknyve

Total a n n u a l
payment

565

241

6433 r. f. 50 k.

77 206 r. f.

944

900

9263 r. f 21 k.

I l l 160 r f.

fortresses
+ minor
ones
"vv^ndislTconftnes

15 +

12 k.

field
troops
^rToopT^ed by the ban
Border fortresses

Sziget +

around Szigetvar

minor

200

300

2338 r. t.

28 056 r. f.

1080

826

8144 r. f. 11

97 730 r. f. 15

k. 1 d.

k.

11 933 r. f. 36

143 203 r. f.

k.

12 k.

ones
Border fortresses

987

1874

around G y o r
150

5788 r. f.

69 456 r. f.

826

6711

80 539 r. f.

859"

10 250 r. f.

123 000 r. i.

250

915

4927 r. f. 5 k.

59 125 r. f.

1000

2000

13 000 r. f.

156 000 r. f.

about 50

8978

8004

78 789 r. f. 38

945 475 r. f.

k. 1 d .

39 k.

928 "

Komarom
Confines protecting

762

r. f. 35 k.

the mining towns


Border fortresses in

min. 4 +

Upper Hungary

field

1375

51

troops
Captaincy-general of

min. 2 +

the L o w e r Parts

field
troops

Imperial troops in
Transylvania

48

4 5

Total
monthly
payment

dumber
of
cavalry

46

in H u n g a r y in the Sixteenth C e n t u r y ] , " A Bcsi Magyar

27

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H ABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

G Z A PL F F Y

Total

R. f - R h e n i s h forint; k=Kreuzer; d=Pfennig

1 (1931)

98-132.
4 6

E n d r e Marosi, "Partecipazione

di architetti

militari veneziani alia costruzione

del

sistema delle fortezze d i confine in Ungheria tra il 1541 e il 1593," in Rapporti veneto-ungheresi
all'epoca del Rmascimento

(Studia Humanitatis, 2.). E d . by Tibor K l a n i c z a y . Budapest,

1975,

195-215.
4 7

G e r m a n Mrser

zu Kreidschssen

or Larmmrscr

= Latin mortanum pro dando signo seu

rumore or bombarda ad sonum apta = H u n g a r i a n hrlv mozsr or hrpattanty

= Croatish

glasnik a n d T u r k i s h haberdar. Simoniti, op. cit., 169-179. G u s t a v Otruba, " Z u r Geschichte des
Fernmeldewesens

in sterreich," in Technologisches Cewerbemuseum.

Jahresbericht

1955/56.

V i e n n a , 1956, 15-43.
4

1556: StA H H S t A Hungarica A A . Fase. 76. K o n v . 1. 1556. Jan.-Juii fols. 16-37.

4 9

I counted the 24-person auxiliary staff of the c o m m a n d e r - i n - c h i e f i n c l u d i n g the artil

lerymen serving in the fortressesin the infantry.


5 0

T h e 928 infantrymen consisted of 528 H u n g a r i a n boatmen (naszados)

infantrymen
5 1

and 400 G e r m a n

(Landsknecht).

I included in this figure the muster master (Mustermeister),

schreiber), the w a r paymaster (Knegszahlmeister),


zahlmeister-Kontrolleur)

the muster scribe

and the war paymaster

inspector

(Muster(Kriegs-

w h o were employed to supply the fortresses from Pozsony to G y u l a ,

and also the 125 infantrymen calculated from the amount of p a y they received in the castle
of Saros.
Together w i t h the 59 coach-horses (Postpferd)
5 2

used in H u n g a r y .

28

GZA

PLFFY

29

THE HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

U p to 1556 there were no essential changes in the organization of


the O l d Croatian confines established by 1538. Their fortresses were
d i v i d e d into t w o captaincies (Hauptmannscluift),
the castle districts of
Zengg (Otocsc, Brinje, Brlog) and Bihcs (Ripacs, Szokol, Izacsics, and
Toplicski t u r a n j ) . I n a d d i t i o n to their garrison, the troops of the border
zone i n c l u d e d the soldiers serving in the guard-houses (German Skart,
Skarthaus; Latin excubia; H u n g a r i a n gr; T u r k i s h cardakf* and i n the
forests paid b y the ruler (Skartleut), whose task wasaccording to a
contemporary d o c u m e n t t o watch day and n i g h t and signal i n case of
a raid by the enemy.' The sailors on the Adriatic Sea, w h o played an
i m p o r t a n t role in c o n t r o l l i n g the coastline south of Zengg, belonged to
this organization as w e l l . Besides the troops of the commander-in-chief,
the Croatian border area was defended by the bans Pter Keglevich and
T a m s Ndasdy (1537-1542), then f r o m 1542 b y ban Mikls Zrnyi
(1542-1556) w i t h a few h u n d r e d of his cavalry and infantry, especially on
the territories r a n g i n g f r o m Bihcs to Sziszek along the Una and the
Kulpa.
53

Since the Ottomans were gradually advancing on the Slavonian ter


ritories between the Drava and the Sava in the 1540s, in order to defend
Styria, the foundations of the so-called Wendish, that is Slavonian border
defence zone (windische Grenze) were relatively q u i c k l y laid. Soldiers paid
by the Stynan estates were sent to the border fortresses of the river valleys
(Lnya, Cszma, Drava) south and south-east of Vrasd, w h i c h were sup
ported by the field troops of the commander-in-chief, even occasionally
by the army of the ban i n case of a major O t t o m a n raid. In addition to
the 1,800 royal troopssimilarly to the Croatian border lineseveral nobles
had their o w n armies, w h i c h also took part i n the defence of the more
and m o r e threatened part of the country, though these were not sub
ordinated to the commander-m-chief. N i k l a s Graf zu Salm appointed in
1546 w o r k e d in H u n g a r y , w h i c h was more endangered than Slavonia,
therefore, as he had been represented in this border region by his assistant

commanders-in-chief (Verwalter der obristen Feldhauptmannschaft)


several
rimes, after his death i n 1550, the title of the commander-in-chief of
Hungary and Croatia-Slavonia was d i v i d e d into t w o parts. W h i l e his
tasks in H u n g a r y were assigned to Sforza Pallavicini appointed f i e l d
marshal (Obrister Feldmarschall in Ungarn, supremus bellicus mareschallus in
Hungria),
Hans U n g n a d became commander-in-chief i n the C r o a t i a n Slavonian border area (Obrister Feldhauptmann an den imndischen und
kroatischen Grenzen) i n 1553. In the control of this second defence r e g i o n
and i n the communication w i t h the three provinces p a y i n g the soldiers,
assistance was p r o v i d e d by a Styrian, a Carniolan, and a Carinthian w a r
councillor, apart f r o m the field marshal (Feldmarschall) i n the mid-1550s.
The personnel of the commander-in-chief also included a muster master
(Mustermeister),
a w a r paymaster (Knegszahlmeister),
a p r o v i s i o n officer
(Proviantmeister);
furthermore, on the Croatian border a special d e p u t y
(Leutnant) was also c o m m a n d e d to help h i m .
%

57

The establishment of the n e w defence zones i n H u n g a r y was m o s t


rapid on territories protecting Vienna and Lower Austria. A n i m p o r t a n t
step in this d i r e c t i o n w h i c h also determined later developmentswass
that, i n parallel to the appointment of Salm as commander-in-chief i n
1546, the fortresses n o r t h of Lake Balaton (Gyr, Ppa, Veszprm, a n d
Szentmrton) were supplied w i t h soldiers paid by the L o w e r A u s t r i a n
estates. Thus the organization of a border fortress zone was also i n i t i a t e d
58

in H u n g a r y , a zone similar to both the one that had existed before the
battle of Mohcs and the one that had already taken shape i n Croatia.
That this new defence u n i t was of extreme importance to Vienna is s h o w n
by the fact that i n its eight fortresses there were many more soldiers in
1556 than i n the t w o dozen castles of the O l d Croatian and Slavonian
confines protecting the three Inner Austrian provinces.

3 6

See note 65.

57 Lopasic, op. cit., 1889, 420-426: No. X V .


Radoslav Lopasic, Spomcma hrvatske krajme (Acta histrim confirm militaris
Croatia
illustrancia). III. Od godme 1693 do 1780 i u dodatku od g. 1531 do 1730. (Monumenta Spectantia
H i s t r i m S l a v o r u m M e n d i o n a l i u m , XX.) Zagreb, 1889, 390-391: No. III.
5 3

5 4

See the picture of a typical example in Vojna Krajina, supra, 33.

5 5

" T a g und nacht zwischen den trkischen Schlssern auf der Wacht Hegen mssen."

S n d o r Takts, Rajzok a trk vilgbl [Sketches from the Ottoman World], II. Budapest,
70: n. 2. Skartleuts

1915,

were employed on the Croatian border later, too. In 1573 for example

eight g u a r d s were serving " a m Wasserflus V n n a " : StA K A A F A

1573/11/1.

5 StA Finanz- u n d Hofkammerarchiv

[ F H K A J , Hofkammerarchiv

[hereinafter H K A ]

Niedersterreichische K a m m e r R N 46. 1566. Jan. (without fols.) and ibid., H o f f i n a n z U n g a r n


[hereinafter: H F U ] R N 2. 1546. fols. 48. a/ 1-18. See also Lajos Gecsenyi, " U n g a r i s c h e S t d t e
im Vorfeld der T r k e n a b w e h r sterreichs. Z u r Problematik der u n g a r i s c h e n
w i c k l u n g , " in Archiv

und Forschung.

Stdteent

Das Haus-, Hof- und Staatsarchiv in seiner Bedeutung

fr

die Geschichte sterreichs und Europas. (Wiener Beitrge zur Geschichte der Neuzeit, 20/1993.)
E d . by Elisabeth Springer u n d Leopold Kammerhofer.
A n g e l i k a Hametner,
1970,

84.

Die niedersterreichischen

Wien-Mnchen,

Landtage von 1530-1564.

1993,

64-65, and

(Phil. D i s s . ) W i e n ,

30

GZA

PLFFY

U p to his death in spring 1550, N i k l a s Graf zu Salm controlled the


defence of the country and started to fashion the new defence system
w i t h his d e p u t y , his w a r councillors and his secretary, and w i t h the
locumtenens Pl Vrday (died i n 1549), cooperating w i t h h i m efficiently.
He was greatly assisted by Tams Ndasdy, the Transdanubian and
Andrs Bthory, the Cisdanubian captain-general of the c o u n t r y . While
Ndasdy, after the royal taking over of Szigetvr in 1546, tried to create
a coherent system out of the castles south of Lake Balaton and the ones
protecting his estate of Kanizsa (Szigetvr, Kaposvr, Domb, Lak,
Berzence, Babcsa, Segesd, Kiskomrom, etc.) w i t h the help of the captain
of Szigetvr under his captaincy-general,^ Andrs Bthory attempted to
f u l f i l similar tasks in Upper H u n g a r y . M e a n w h i l e , in 1551, w i t h the help
of George M a r t i n u z z i , there was an unsuccessful a t t e m p t to place
T r a n s y l v a n i a under Habsburg leadership. W h i l e Ferdinand I sent a major
army to the principality led by Gianbattista Castaldo, the Ottomans captured
fortresses of crucial importance (Veszprm, Palota, Drgely, Szcsny,
Hollk, Bujk, Sg, Gyarmat) d u r i n g their 1552 campaign. O n l y the
heroic f i g h t i n g of the garrison of Eger could stop the enemy threatening
the u p p e r parts of the country. But Szolnok and Temesvr were occupied
and h a d to be replaced b y Gyula and Vrad, as in 1550, after the taking
of Temesvr for Ferdinand, the Vienna h i g h c o m m a n d had tried to
reorganize the captaincy-general of the L o w e r Parts (capitaneatus partium
regm Hungri inferiorum) created by Matthias C o r v i n u s i n the mid-1470s
as part of the new defence system. In accordance w i t h the medieval
concept, considerable number of soldiers were sent to Temesvr and the
neighbouring m i n o r fortresses; furthermore, an attempt was made to
mobilize the nearby counties in the hinterland to defend these strongholds,
though they were rather exhausted by the Ottoman devastation. The loss
of T e m e s v r and Szolnok i n effect shattered this experiment. A n d
although in 1554 the office often called i n this time the captaincy-general
of the areas beyond the Tisza (supremus capitaneatus partium
Transtibiscanarum) was held by the Bishop of Vrad and laterafter Vrad was
attached to Transylvania (1557)by the captain of Gyula, it was only a
matter of time before the remnants of the captaincy-general organized in

the southern parts of the country in the 1470s submitted to O t t o m a n


advance.
The occupation of the fortresses in county Ngrd i n 1552 and of
Flek t w o years later cut an enormous wedge into the country u n d e r
Ferdinand I's rule. There was a chance that the Ottomans w o u l d sever
the connection between the territories near Vienna and the areas and
fortresses on the t w o banks of the Tisza. A t the same time, the m i n i n g
towns situated in H u n g a r y along the river Garam, still p r o v i d i n g a lion's
share of incomes i n the d i m i n i s h e d country, passed into the forefront of
Ottoman conquest. Vienna regarded their p r o t e c t i o n s i m i l a r l y to the
significant Upper H u n g a r i a n partsas extremely i m p o r t a n t . After the fall
of Flek in 1554, they placed Jnos Balassa, the high sheriff and captain
of Zlyom (comes and capitaneus Zoliensis)
in charge of the border
fortresses defending the m i n i n g towns f r o m Lva to Divny (Lva,
Korpona, Bozk, Zlyom, Kkk, Divny, Libetbnya, etc.). Balassa held
this office called the captain-general of the m i n i n g t o w n s (supremus capi
taneus civitatum montanarum) u p to 1562. Similar tasks were fulfilled i n
Upper H u n g a r y by Gbor Pernyi (1554-1555), the successor of Andrs
Bthory, w h o was appointed V o i v o d e of Transylvania (1552-1553), and
by Istvn Dersffy, the captain of Kassa (1556-1557) after Pernyi deserted
to John S i g i s m u n d .
Albeit the instruction sent to field marshal Sforza Pallavicini i n
November 1552 decreed that all the soldiers in the border fortresses n o r t h ,
61

62

63

64

> A s u m m a r y

of all this: Gza Plffy, "Vdelmi ve/etek

a Tisztl keletre a X V I

szzadban [Defence Zones East of the River T i s z a in the Sixteenth C e n t u r y ] " in In memonam
Barta Gbor. Tanulmnyok
6 1

Barta Gbor emlkre. E d . by Istvn L e n g v r i . Pcs, 1996, 209-227.

Mrkus Khbach, Die Eroberung von Flek durch die Osmanen

krittsche

Sludie

zur osmanischen

Expansion

europas, 11/18.) W i e n - K l n - W e i m a r ,
6 2

1554. Eme

Mitteleuropa.

For these smaller castles, see Csaba Csorba, "Erdtett s vrr alaktott kolostorok a

D l - D u n n t l trk kori v g v r i rendszerben [Cloisters Fortified a n d C o n v e r t e d


Castles in the South-Transdanubian System of Border Fortresses
Somogy megye mltjbl. Levltri vknyv 5 (1974) 13-47.

in the Ottoman

into

Era],"

histonsch-auellen-

(Zur Kund Sdost-

1994.

M O L E 185 M K A A r c h v u m familiae N d a s d y [hereinafter E 185], Missiles. T h e letter

of Jnos Balassa to T a m s N d a s d y
6 3

un ostlichen

O n the appointment

Z l y o m , July

9,

1555.

of Pernyi: " A n n o C h n s t i 1554.

die 8. Martii s u p r e m u s

regm

Ungariae dux et capitaneus a rege Ferdinando constiruitur." Budapest, O r s z g o s Szchnyi


Knyvtr [hereinafter O S z K [ , Kzirattr [hereinafter K t ] Fol. L a i . 1402.

31

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G B O R D E R D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

t'ol. 7.

Agreement

with h i m on the payment of his soldiers: M O L E 211 M K A L y m b u s Series II. Item 24. fols.
74-75.
6 4

Dersffy's instruction: Kosice, Archv Mesta Kosic, Collectio Schwartzenbachiana

1780 and O S t A K A A F A 1557/6/ad


Fasc. 11. No. 35.

8. H i s appointment:

No.

M O L E 142 M K A Acta publica

32

west, and east of the Danube were to obey h i m / this d i d not come into
effect except for the castles south-east of Gyr designated as his head
quarters. '' I n the curtailment of Pallavicini's authority those interests can
be recognized w h i c h motivated the t w o captain-generals of the country
and first of all Tams Ndasdy, appointed palatnus i n 1554. They d i d not
w a n t to give u p the leadership of the defence system or at least active
p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n it. A n d the successes of the Ottomans between 1552 and
1554 prevented the Habsburg m i l i t a r y leadership and Pallavicini from
s o l v i n g the p r o b l e m of a u t h o r i t y amongst the most urgent defence
measures. The n e w system could not be organized w i t h o u t the Hungarian
landowners and m i l i t a r y leaders possessing castles near the border and
well-versed i n warfare against the Ottomans (such as Ndasdy, Balassa,
Bthory, Pernyi, Dersffy, Ferenc Tahy, or Jnos Krusith), not to mention
the Croatian-Slavonian bans. The reason for this was that there were
scarcely any L o w e r or Inner Austrian m i l i t a r y leaders at that time w h o
c o u l d have efficiently replaced the H u n g a r i a n nobles k n o w i n g the
H u n g a r i a n m i l i t a r y and political situation. It seemed advisable to involve
the H u n g a r i a n s in controlling certain units of the defence system at the
expense of some compromise. As palatimis, Ndasdy was practically in
charge of the fortresses around Szigetvr south of Lake Balaton; Jnos
Balassa organized the castles protecting the m i n i n g towns; Gbor Pernyi
and then Istvn Dersffy undertook the military control of the Upper Parts
of the country east of county Gmr (partes superiores).
5

By the mid-1550s the establishment of the n e w defence system had


been commenced all over H u n g a r y ruled by Ferdinand I . This huge m i l
itary organizationeven in European t e r m s d i d not w o r k u n d e r unified
6 5

"Dans

ad universos ac smgulos capitaneos, castcllanos ct milites nostras ex utraque

Danubii parte existentes firmissimis mandatis, ut eundem tanquam s u p r e m u m bellicum


m a r e s c a l c u m nostrum colant et observent ipsique debitam et convenientem

obedientiam

praestent" (Ebcrsdorf, November 16, 1552). O S t A H H S t A H u n g a r i c a A A . Fasc. 68.


Nov.

fols.

superioribus

108-112. C f . also
regni

nostri

"ipsique s i m u l c u r a m

Hungri

partibus,

ex

33

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G B O R D E R D E F E N C E S Y S T E M S

GZA PLFFY

arcium
utraque

et

locorum

1552.

nostrorum

Danubii parte

in

existentium

d e m a n d a v e r i m u s " (Ebersdorf, November 16, 1552). Ibid., Fasc. 49. K o n v . A . 1542. Okt. fols.

central control at that time. I n the long r u n , however, the v a r i e d zones


and units of the system could not be efficiently operated w i t h o u t the
coordination of the central m i l i t a r y administration because i t was at t h a t
time that m i l i t a r y affairs i n Europe started to develop i n such a w a y
w h i c h was later labelled as the ' m i l i t a r y r e v o l u t i o n ' b y m o d e r n
historians. Strategy and tactics were gradually transformed, firearms
became more and more decisive, the new methods of the castle
fortification were invented i n Italy, the m i l i t a r y sciences u n d e r w e n t an
unusually fast development, huge armies began to be employedjust to
mention the basic and w e l l - k n o w n changes. A l l this required that
qualitatively new methods of logistics should be w o r k e d out, economy
should serve the purposes of war, and last b u t not least that
military-administrative reforms should be carried out w i t h the aim of
facilitating central control and the logistics of the armies and the b o r d e r
defence zones. A n d though u p to 1556 the signs of these changes could
hardly be recognized in the Hungarian theatre of war, the n e w system
could not be controlled w i t h o u t a central supreme c o m m a n d even i n this
immature f o r m . This was realized i n time in Vienna, w h i c h h a d just
become an I m p e r i a l City, w h e n i n N o v e m b e r 1556 the A u l i c W a r C o u n c i l
(Wiener Hofkriegsrat, Consilium Bellicum) was set u p .
67

2.2.A. The consequences of the foundation of the Aulic War


in Vienna

Council

(1556-1566)

Before 1556 the theatre of w a r against the Ottomans in H u n g a r y h a d been


governed by the commanders-in-chief of Ferdinand I and the m i l i t a r y
councillors (verordnete Kriegsrdte) ordered to help them, w h o were a p
pointed only for the period of a campaign. The control of the n e w defence
system was greatly hampered by the fact that the commanders-in-chief
had to share their tasks w i t h the bans i n the Croatian-Slavonian b o r d e r
areas, and in H u n g a r y w i t h the locumtenens, f r o m 1554 to 1562 w i t h the
palatinus, and also w i t h the t w o captain-generals of the country. W i t h the
establishment of the A u l i c W a r C o u n c i l i n 1556 the p r o b l e m of c e n t r a l

39-40 (under bad archival placement) and M . Khbach, op. t., 214-215, furthermore StA
K A M e m o i r e n 28/1334/11. pp. 268-269.
" V i g o r e instructions ratione officii mei bellimarsalcatus mihi datae universi praesidiarh
milites, equites et pedites ex utraque parte Danubii adusque Tijbiscum et D r a v u m existentes
m i h i subiacent, v e r u m deinde postquam bellimarsalcatus officio fungor, me inscio plures
capitanei et milites cum sunt dimissi vel noviter conducti, turn de uno in a l i u m locum
traducti ..." M O L E 185 Missiles. T h e letter of Sforza Pallavicini to T a m s N d a s d y . Gyr,
July 6, 1555.

67 1 mention only some authoritative

works: Michael Roberts, The Military

1560-1660. Belfast, 1955. Geoffrey Parker, The Military Revolution.

Revolution,

Military Innovation

Rise of the West, 1500-1800. Cambridge, 1988. Jeremy Black, A Military Revolution?
Change and European
Revolution
Clifford

Society,

1550-1800. Macmillan, 1991, a n d most recently The

Debate. Readings on the Military


Rogers.

Boulder-San

Transformation

Francisco-Oxford,

1995.

of Early Modern
For

the

impact

Europe.
of the

revolution in Hungary, see the article of Jozsef Kelenik in the present volume.

and the
Military
Military
Ed. by
military

34

35

THE HUNGARIAN-HABSBL'RC BORDER DEFENCE SYSTEMS

GZA P A L F F Y

military leadership and administration was finally settled. The command


ers-in-chief and their councillors were replaced by a board of experts that
had a considerable number of members and met daily. The board had
the task of exercising complete central control over the m i l i t a r y admin
istration. So its measures taken i n the name of the ruler could not be
defied either by the locumtenens or the captain-generals of H u n g a r y and
the bans. A l l this decided the struggle for the leadership of the central
m i l i t a r y control w i t h the H u n g a r i a n estates and their leaders to the
advantage of the ruler and his A u s t r i a n estates. After the death of the
influential locumtenens and palatums, Tams Ndasdy, i n 1562, the
locumtenentm regia finally lost its function of controlling m i l i t a r y affairs
and it could not regain it after the considerable strengthening of the
estates i n the seventeenth century either.
The establishment of the A u l i c War Council was necessitated by the
requirement that the different parts of the new defence system be organized into a unified whole. This was expressed by the fact that diplomacy
towards the O t t o m a n state closely connected w i t h the defence was mostly
administered by the War Council u n t i l the early eighteenth century. On
the other hand, all those offices that were to be organized or stabilized
in the f o l l o w i n g decades to coordinate the different fields of military
affairs f u l l y served the supply of the border fortresses i n the sixteenth
century. The control over the arsenals of the border fortresses and the
hinterland s u p p l y bases (Graz, Laibach, Triest, Prague, Kassa, etc.) and
over the central direction of w a r supplies was p u t in charge of the chief
arsenal officer (Obrist-Zeugmeister).
The fortification w o r k s i n the border
areas were coordinated by construction supervisors (Bausuperintendent,
for example in Vienna, G v o r - K o m a r o m , the Croatian-Slavonian confines),
then later as their superior, by the chief fortification commissary (ObnstBaukommissar)
residing in Vienna from the 1560s. The t w o most
problematic areas of m i l i t a r y affairs were also led by separate officers
w i t h their increasing staff. Food provision was organized by the chief
food provision officer (Obnst-Proviantmeister),
the p a y m e n t of the soldiers
was solved by the chief muster master (Obrist-Mustermeister)
and his
68

bordinates, the war paymasters {Kriegszahlmeister).


The chief p o n t^neer (Obrist-Schiffmeister,
then Obnst-Schiffbrckmeister)
and the directors of the arsenals (Zeugwart) i n Vienna and Pozsony had a great task
the field of w a r supplies and the equipment of the Danube fleet.
hV

After 1556, the duties of the War Council and diplomacy towards the
Ottomans were discharged by the staff of the Aulic War Chancery (Hofknegskanzlei Cancellaria Bellica) which was composed of t w o secretaries (Sekretr),
one Registrator, one Expeditor, several drafters (Konzipist) and scribes (Schreiher) some servants (Diener) and a translator (Dolmetscher).' A t the same time,
ue to the administrative reforms of Ferdinand 1, the financial matters of
Hungary and the A u s t n a n provinces had been managed for some decades
by separate offices also constantly meeting at certain headquarters and
working as a team. The Aulic Chamber (Hofkammer, Camera Aulica) set up
in 1527 was the leading organ of financial administration. As a result, in
certain matters it exerted some influence on the Hungarian Chamber
(Ungarische Kammer, Camera Hunganca) w o r k i n g in Buda i n 1528-1529, then
in Pozsony after its reorganization in 1531. Their role in financing the military
was of utmost importance as the War Council itself had only restricted
financial powers; the payment of the garrison soldiers was ordered by the
War Council, but it was actually assigned by the chambers. The Lower
Austrian Chamber (Niedersterreichische Kammer, Camera Austriaca) also had
special tasks in this respect as from the 1540s the payment of the soldiers
in the fortresses in the vicinity of Gyr that were defending Vienna was
taken up by the Austrian province.
0

In parallel to the establishment of the central l e a d i n g organ of the


military affairs, negotiations started between Ferdinand I and the Austrian
and Hungarian estates in 1555-1557 to create a coherent defence system.
Though it is beyond the scope of this study to present these negotiations in
* On the chief arsenal officer (1567): StA F H K A H K A Niedersterreichische Herrschaftsakten W - 6 1 / C / 9 0 / B .

R N 300/2. fols. 1050-1053; on the construction supervisors: V Pataki,

op. cit., and E. Marosi, op. at.; on the chief fortification commissary (1578): StA K A Sonderreihe des Wiener Hofkriegsrates, Hofknegsrtliches Kanzleiarchiv [hereinafter H K R K1A]
VI. 6; on the chief food provisional officer (1558): StA K A Protokolle des Wiener H o f kriegsrates [hereinafter H K R Prot.] Reg. Bd. 140. fols. 89-90; on the chief muster master: O .
Regele, op. cit., 84: Anlage 9, and on the chief pontooneer (1557-1558): W i l h e l m Brinner,

h 8

T h o m a s F e l l n e r - H e m r i c h Kretschmayr, Die sterreichische

Maximilian
Geschichtliche

1. bis zur

Vereinigung

bersicht.

sterreichs, 5.)

der sterreichischen

(Verffentlichungen

Wien, 1907,

234-241, and

der

Zentralvenvaltung.

und bhmischen
Kommission

Oskar Regele,

Der

fr

Hofkanzlei
neuere

sterreichische

I. Abt. Von
(1749). 1
Geschichte
Hofkriegsrat

1556-1848. (Mitteilungen des sterreichischen Staatsarchivs, E r g . Bd. 1/1.) W i e n , 1949, 13-17.

Geschichte des k. k. Pionnier-Regimentes


wesens in Oesterreich.
/ 0

m Verbindung

mit einer Geschichte

des

Knegs-Brcken-

Wien, 1878, 7-9 and 611-613: No. 1.

Friedrich Firnhaber, " Z u r Geschichte des sterreichischen Militrwesens. S k i z z e der

Entstehung

des Hofkriegsrathes,"

(1864) 98-99 and 140-147: No. X V I .

Archiv

fur

Kunde

sterreichischer

Geschichts-Quellen

30

36

37

GZA PAI.FFY

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G B O R D E R D E F E N C E S Y S T E M S

detail, t w o major developments demonstrate the k i n d of preliminary


w o r k needed to qualitatively transform the border defence zones. In
January 1556 i n Vienna, the representatives of Lower and Upper Austria
(Obcrosterreich),
Stvna, Carniola, Carinthia, and Grz assembled to take
measures against the Ottoman assaults for at least t w o or three vears in
advance and to discuss h o w they could make the defence more efficient
w i t h their financial aid. A t this meeting the estates arranged for the
establishment of the War Council, granted considerable sums for the
provision of the border fortresses protecting their provinces and declared
their claim that the captain-generals of the troops i n border castles paid
by them should be chosen from among their candidates. This time it was
finally decided that f r o m then on the Austrian estateseven if thev had
to be forcedshould participate in the upkeep and direction of the
H u n g a r i a n and Croatian-Slavonian border defence zones not only with
field troops b u t w i t h permanent garrisons, too.'
A t their talks w i t h the ruler and the representatives of the Austrian
estates in 1555-1556, the military leaders of the H u n g a r i a n estates also
accepted out of necessity that i n addition to the central direction of border
defence, they w o u l d gradually lose control of the Croatian-Slavonian
border fortresses and the ones south of Gyr. However, they tried to
ensure the w a r taxes paid by the counties and other resources of the
country to s u p p l y the troops of the bans and the captain-generals of
H u n g a r y and of the line of border fortresses south of Lake Balaton and

The structure of the border defence zones developed in accordance w i t h


e pretensions put forward at the negotiations between the Austrian and
Hungarian estates in the decades up to 1566. As the Ottomans were grad
ually advancing in 'peace-time' as well, especially along the Drava, there
was a need for organizing the Croatian-Slavonian border fortresses under a
single captain-general. In terms of this idea and of the decisions made at
the meeting in Vienna mentioned above, Hans Lenkovic was appointed
the first captain-general of the Croatian-Slavonian confines (Obrist wmdtscher
und kroatischer Grenze) in spring 1556 rather than a commander-in-chief
(Obrtster Feldliauptmann an den windischen und kroatischen Grenzen). Another
fundamental change took place in the summer of 1559. The so-called N e w
Croatian confines (near kmatische Grenze) " had been organized by this time
on the north-western bank of the Una from Sziszek to Bihcs and opposite
Kostajnica. which had been captured three vears earlier. A t the same time,
Lenkovic was again appointed the captain-general of the t w o O l d and
NewCroatian and Wendish confines, and he was assisted by deputies
(Obrist-Leutnant) in the three sub-zones." This practically meant the final
completion of the Croatian confines (krontiiche/krabatische Grenze/Grenzgebiet)
combining t w o smaller parts in a short time and the Wendish border castles
(windische Grenze/Grenzgebiet), though they were for a long time controlled
by one captain-general.

ranging f r o m Pozsony to as far as G y u l a . So they managed to gam


control of these frontier zones. In their application submitted the
f o l l o w i n g year they proposed the supply of the most important border
fortresses w i t h permanent royal troops. W i t h their proposal they
effectively designated the most significant elements of the system of
border castles u p to 1566: south and east of the Danube Komrom,
Olhjvr, Lva, Bozk, Murny, Eger, Ged, Kassa, Huszt, Ecsed, Vrad,
and G y u l a ; i n Transdanubia Gyr, Ppa, [ZalaJSzentgrt, [ZalaJKomr,
[NagyjKanizsa, Csurg, Berzence, Palota, Tata, Vzvr, and T i h a n y .
72

73

74

73

The field marshal Sforza Pallavicini had similar authority in the area
protecting Vienna in the period before the establishment of the A u l i c War
Council. His successor, A d a m Gall, appointed the captain-general of Gyr
(Obrist/Oberst zu Raab) at the same time as Lenkovic in M a r c h 1556,
practicallyif not by decreehad the authority of a captain-general over
the troops in the border, fortresses south-east of Gyr.'" From 1546 the

7 4

Staatsarchiv

Nrnberg [hereinafter StA Nrnberg], Ansbacher Reichstagsakten

7 5

StA K A Sonderreihe des W iener Hofkriegsrates,


r

No. 35. T h o u g h recent literature considers

fr

Jod. Shlz, "Aussohustag der fnf niederosterreichischen L a n d e in Wien 1556," Archiv


Kunde sterreichischer

7 2

Geschichts-Queen

8 (1852) 155-173.

M O L E 156 M K A Urbaria et Conscriptiones Fase. 23. No. 7. M O L E 142 Fase. 3. No.

10 a n d StA H H S t A Hungarica A A . Fase. 76. Konv. 1. 1556. Jan.-Juli fols. 40-62.


7 3

No.

StA K A A k t e n des Wiener Hofkriegsrates [hereinafter H K R Akten] E x p . 1557.


162.

Bestallungen [hereinafter

Hans U n g n a d , appointed

border defence captain-general, his rank as commander-in-chief

in 1553,

Best]

the first

(Obrister

Feldhauptmann)

was only a transition to the formation of the office of border defence

captain-general

possessed bv L e n k o v i c (Grenzobnst).
7 1

(Rep

136.) Bd. 40. No. 19.

Cf

Rothenberg,

Die sterreichische

Militargrenze,

.37

and 236-237: n. 33
7 6

" D i e N e w Crabatisch V n n d Yeczo die geferlichist Grniczen "

7 7

StA K A Best. No. 80 and StA K A H K R Prot. Reg. Bd. 141. April 12, 1559,

No. 77

and ibid., September 1. No. 1.


Mrz

7 8

Gecsenyi, op. cit., 66-67. Cf. StA K A Best. No 41 and StA K A M e m o i r e n

pp. 213-215.'

28/1334/11.

38

39

GZA PLFFY

T H E HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

garrison troops were paid almost entirely by the Lower A u s t r i a n estates


w h o therefore demanded that an A u s t r i a n or German captain-general
delegated by the m i l i t a r y leadership in Vienna be placed in charge of
them. D u r i n g the term of office of Gall (1556-1560), and then that of his
successor, Eck Graf zu Salm (1560-1574), the authority of the captaingeneral of Gyr further increased over the border fortresses south-east of
Gyr, w h i c h practically resulted i n the formation of the Gyr confines
(raaberische Grenze/Grenzgebiet). I n 1562, this was i m p a r t e d to the com
manders of the border fortresses as well (capitaneis in finibus
Austriacis
intra Damibium et lacum Balathon exislentibus) w h e n it was ordered that
they acknowledge Salm their superior and captain-general (pro antecessor
et supenore capitaneo), that is the captain-general (Grenzobrist) of the border
fortresses a r o u n d G y r .

shrunk to the areas between counties Pozsony and Zlyom. This d i d not

Local direction of the border castles a r o u n d Szigetvr, and of those


protecting the m i n i n g towns and U p p e r H u n g a r y was carried out by the
m i l i t a r y leaders of the H u n g a r i a n estates u n t i l 1566. The small fortresses
south of Lake Balaton were controlled directly by the chief commanders
of the fort of Szigetvr (supremus capitaneus arcis Sziget) a n d were under
the influence of palatnus Tams Ndasdy u n t i l 1562. From 1563 to 1566,
they belonged to Mikls Zrnyi, the Transdanubian captain-general, w h o
at the same time held the title of captain-general of Szigetvr. The
defence of U p p e r H u n g a r y was organized i n a similar w a y ; border
fortresses and counties were p u t i n charge of I m r e Thelekessy, the
captain-general of Kassa and U p p e r H u n g a r y (supremus capitaneus civitatis
Cassoviensis
et partium
regni Hungri
superiorum)
by A r c h d u k e
M a x i m i l i a n i n M a y 1559. As a result, the territories east of county Gmr
were w i t h d r a w n f r o m the authority of the Cisdanubian captain-general
and together w i t h the border fortresses to be f o u n d there they were
subordinated to the n e w l y established U p p e r H u n g a r i a n captaincygeneral. So the authority of the mentioned Cisdanubian captain-general

District Captaincy-Generals

79

80

81

StA K A Best. No. 102.


R 0

The instruction of Zrnyi as the Transdanubian captain-general

K A H K R Prot. E x p . Bd. 142. fol. 166. H i s Bestallung

( A p r i l 28,1563): StA

(May 28, 1563): StA K A Best. N o . 122,

a n d StA K A H K R Akten Exp. 1564. Juni No. 24. T h e survey of his forces as captain-general
(after January 19, 1564): StA K A H K R Prot. Reg. Bd. 143. fols. 8-9.

cause a p r o b l e m as the latter office was vacant at that time. W h e n i n 1564


Istvn Dersffy was appointed the new Cisdanubian captain-general, he was
also commissioned to be responsible for the border fortresses protecting
the m i n i n g t o w n s and earlier directed by Jnos Balassa (1554-1562) and
Istvn Dob (1562-1564). From that time on these border fortresses
together w i t h the castle of Olhjvr began to be called confinia
antemonlana or confinia ante montanas cwitates in Latin and
bnyavrosok
eltti vgvrak i n H u n g a r i a n (confines in front of the m i n i n g towns), but
m German they continued to be called bergstadterische Grenze, w h i c h also
meant the border castles protecting the m i n i n g t o w n s .
82

2.2-fc. The consolidation of the new defence system: the Border Fortress

and

(1566-1578)

In the course of the last H u n g a r i a n campaign of sultan Sleyman,


Szigetvr and Gyula were captured by the O t t o m a n s i n 1566. The loss of
the t w o key fortresses brought about the p e r d i t i o n of a w h o l e chain of
castles, as the m a m feature of the defence system was that its units, the
border zones were composed of a major stronghold and several m i n o r
castles subordinated to it. W h i l e the fall of G y u l a m a r k e d the end of the
history of the captaincy-general of the L o w e r Parts (capitaneatus partium
regni Hungri inferiorum) created by Matthias C o r v i n u s i n mid-1470s,
the d o w n f a l l of Szigetvr resulted in the loss of the areas south of Lake
Balaton. A l r e a d y in the early 1560s G y u l a fell i n t o the same isolated
situation as Jajca after the battle of Mohcs. Its occupation was only a
matter of t i m e as it was surrounded by O t t o m a n castles (Szolnok) to the
west and east or fortresses (i.e. Vrad) belonging to the O t t o m a n vassal
state of Transylvania. A n d up to as far as Tokaj i n the n o r t h there was
no other castle that could have substituted it. So the royal defence system
was pressed back several hundreds of kilometers to the line of the Tisza
and the N o r t h e r n Mountains. As opposed to G y u l a , there were more
favourable opportunities to make u p for the loss of Szigetvr. The h i l l y
areas of the counties of Zala and Somogy, the marshy valley of the river
Kanizsa a n d the medieval castles to be f o u n d there c o u l d be transformed
into a system similar to the one around Gyr after a chief castle and the
headquarters of a new captain-general had been designated. The necessity

The instruction of Thelekessy (May 8, 1559): M O L E 136 M K A Diversae instructiones


[hereinafter E 136] No. 173. fols. 323-331. A letter w a r n i n g the H u n g a r i a n troops in Upper
H u n g a r y to be obedient in connection with his appointment: StA K A H K R Prot. Reg. Bd.
141. 1559. M a i . 13. No. 66.

82 Dersffy's Bestallung

(January 22, 1564): StA K A H K R Prot. Reg. B d . 143. fol. 10. H i s

instruction (after February 6, 1564): ibid., fol. 16. Cf. 1563: article 16. C J H 488-491.

40

GZA PLFFY

THE HUNGAK1AN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

of this was immediately recognized i n Vienna a s - w i t h the loss of southern


Transdanubia-the eastern border of Styria and the Wendish confines
became more threatened than ever before.
The peace treaty of A d r i a n o p l e (Edirne) made for eight years in 1568
opened u p a new phase i n the Habsburg-Ottoman struggle f o l l o w i n g the
battle of Mohcs. U n t i l the outbreak of the L o n g War i n 1591 no serious
O t t o m a n attack was launched against H u n g a r y ; still, peace was only
ostensible at the border of the t w o w o r l d empires. This period was
characterized by constant incursions, attempts to extend taxation to the
territory of the enemy, and by skirmishes on the frontier to capture some
m i n o r border fortresses. For this reason the era is called the 'Little War'
(Kleinkrieg). The situation is well illustrated by a command of Emperor
M a x i m i l i a n I I (1564-1576); he ordered the captain of the fortress of
Kiskomrom situated at the southern end of Lake Balaton to keep his
soldiers in such readiness "as if there was no peace of any k i n d " " in
order to protect the neighbouring territories.

choice but to use the resources of his provinces and the German Empire
to supply the H u n g a r i a n marches. The necessity of this step was soon
realized by the H a b s b u r g military leadership f r o m those m i l i t a r y registers
that were prepared nearly every year to calculate the a m o u n t needed to
pay the soldiers serving in the border fortresses i n H u n g a r y . It is w o r t h
selecting three muster- and pay-registers (Muster- and Soldliste) from the
sixteenth century (1556, 1576, 1593) and using them to determine to w h a t
extent H u n g a r y was i n need of the support of the n e i g h b o u r i n g provinces
and the German E m p i r e .
The incomes of H u n g a r y in the sixteenth century are not entirely
known due to the divergent financial administration and the lack of
sources. But we can rely on the estimates made by G y u l a Szekfu i n 1935,
which have been generally accepted. Szekfu put the total income of
Hungary in the second half of the sixteenth century at 750,000 Rhenish
forint (reinisch Gulden) at most. This sum could never be collected com
pletely as, on the one h a n d , most of it was locally remitted, and on the
other hand, it could not be entirely spent on m a i n t a i n i n g defence and on
the payment of the soldiers. According to Szekfu, a m a x i m u m of 350,000
Rhenish forint was spent on military expenses out of this amount. ' T h i s
is half of the total income, which seems an over optimistic estimate given
that the data suggest only 20.4% of the cash income of the H u n g a r i a n
Chamber was spent on the military in 1555-1562 Despite this it is w o r t h
comparing the t w o m a x i m u m estimated values w i t h the amounts of the
pay of the soldiers i n the three years mentioned above. The f o l l o w i n g
graph provides i n f o r m a t i o n on the ratio between the total annual income
of H u n g a r y and the sums spent on the military and the a m o u n t of money
needed for the p a y m e n t of the soldiers in the border castles.

N o t only d i d the long peaceful period facilitate the creation of the


offices controlling the different areas of m i l i t a r y affairs mentioned above,
but it also ensured that the defence system could really assume a coherent
character. In the long r u n this process, w h i c h lasted for several decades,
was determined by h o w the Austrian provinces took part in financing
the border defence zones in H u n g a r y and to w h a t extent the A u l i c War
C o u n c i l was able to control defence and restrict the leading m i l i t a r y role
previously held by the H u n g a r i a n estates. This question came to the
forefront after 1566, as the territory of H u n g a r y under Habsburg authority
s h r u n k to a rather narrow strip stretching f r o m the Adriatic Sea to the
Danube between Pozsony and Komrom after the loss of Szigetvr. Only
in the Cisdanubian area as far as county Zlyom and in Upper H u n g a r y
d i d some territories remain u n t o u c h e d by O t t o m a n incursions.
Consequently, the defence system in H u n g a r y became deprived of any
hinterland. In this situation M a x i m i l i a n II and his successors had no other

84

85

8 4

O n these, cf. Gza Plffy, " A magyarorszgi s dlvidki v g v r r e n d s z e r 1576. s 1582.

vi jegyzkei (The Registers of the Hungarian and Croatian-Slavonian Border Fortresses of


8 5

"Milites autem

nostros nihilommus pro nostrae ditionis tibi subiectae

securiore permansione
essent,

die

noctuque

in eorum officio et statione,


excubantes atque in omnem

et

vicinae

non secus, quam si nullae induciae


fortunae casurn

promptos

retineas." M O L P 485 Csaldi levltrak, Majthnyi csald, 8. csop. 1. fols. 2-3

Semper

(Pozsony,

July 14, 1567). C f . Gustav von Gmry, "Trkennoth und das G r e n z w e s e n in U n g a r n und
Croatien

whrend

sieben 'Friedensjahren' von 1575

K r i e g s - A r c h i v s , " Mitteilungen

des k. k. Kriegs-Archivs

bis 1582.

Nach Quellen des k. k.

(1885) 155-178 and Vasko Simoniti, Turki

so v deleli ze. Turski vvadi na slovensko ozemlje v 15. m 16. stoletju. Celje, 1990,

172-196.

87

1576 and 1582]," Hadtrtnelmi


H ?

41

Kziemnvek

1556: StA H H S t A H u n g a n c a hh.

108:1

(1995) 114-185.

Fasc. 76. Konv

1. 1556. Jan.-Juli fols. 16-37. 1576:

StA H H S t A Reichstagsakten der Reichskanzlei [hereinafter R T A ] Fasc. 53. fols. 350-369


Published by Plffy, op. at.,

141-158. 1593: Alfred H . Loebl, Zur Geschichte des

Trkenkrieges

von 1593-1606. 1. Vorgeschichte. (Prager Studien aus dem Gebiete der Geschichtswissenschaft,
Heft 6.) Prag, 1899, 19-29.
8 6

G y u l a Szekfu, Magyar

8 7

Gyz Ember, " A m a g y a r kirlyi kamara pnzbeli bevtelei s s z m a d s a i 1555-1562

trtnet [Hungarian History], III. Budapest, 1935, 134 and 137


2

[The C a s h Incomes and Accounts of the Hungarian Chamber in 1555-1562]," Szzadok


(1982) 537.

116

42

GZA PLFFY

1 800 000

The m e t h o d of f i n a n c i n g the b o r d e r defence m e n t i o n e d by the W a r

1 658 736,5

1 600 000

1 400 000

43

T H E HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

1572

533

I
'

I annual payment
' in theory

Council is of special significance because it f u n d a m e n t a l l y i n f l u e n c e d


the final s t r u c t u r e of the defence system. I n the past, the s o u t h e r n
defence line of the m e d i e v a l H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m had been m a i n t a i n e d

the maximum
estimated
annual income
of Hungary

H the m a x i m u m part
^ of Hungary's
annual income
spent on military
expenses

1556

1576

1593

The data i n the g r a p h clearly show that the m a x i m u m estimated


incomes of H u n g a r y could not cover the pay of the soldiers in the border
fortresses. A n d if w e o n l y examine the m a x i m u m estimated s u m spent
o n m i l i t a r y expenses w e m a y conclude that it was enough to cover only
25-30% of the pay of the soldiers in the established border defence system.
The sums in 1576 indicate clearly w h y Carinthia, Carniola, Styria, Lower
A u s t r i a , the G e r m a n E m p i r e , and even Bohemia and M o r a v i a had to
participate constantly i n the maintenance of the border defence system
in H u n g a r y . It also has to be emphasized that this calculation does not
include such 'considerable sums' as the O t t o m a n d i p l o m a c y , fortification
of castles, the p r o d u c t i o n and supply of a m m u n i t i o n , food p r o v i s i o n ,
intelligence service, w a r posts and the costs of the Danube fleet, t h o u g h
these amounts were g r a d u a l l y increasing due to the perfection of
a d m i n i s t r a t i o n and the results of the m i l i t a r y revolution. A s a consequence, the border defence against the Ottomans became a c o m m o n
task of the w h o l e of Eastern Central Europe and the H a b s b u r g Empire.
It was not accidentally stressed by the War C o u n c i l before the T h i r t y
Years' W a r (1618-1648) that "every province should upkeep their o w n
confines i n H u n g a r y . "
88

89

from the c o u n t r y ' s o w n incomes,

8 8

" E G 1st aber alhie Z u m e r c k h e n , das hierczue rut gerait wiirt, was auf die Jarliche

sachen, was auch durchs Jar auf Musterung v n d andere Comissions sach lauftt,
m a n nit eigeritlich wissen k h a n , Aber auft dise abbemelte Possten

welches

Lauftt Jarlichen ain

ansehenliche grusse S u m m a gelts." O S t A H H S t A R T A Fasc. 53. fol. 369.


" D a s Jedes landt seine sondere G r a n i c z e n in H u n g e r n Z u e r h a l t e n " (December 29,
O S t A K A H1CR Akten Reg. 1613. Dez. No. 68.
8 9

1613)

changed

and independence after the battle of Mohcs, a defence system came


into b e i n g on

its t e r r i t o r y

that w a s

financed b y

the

hereditary

provinces of Habsburgs a n d the G e r m a n E m p i r e , etc. The price of the


support of the A u s t r i a n provinces was h i g h . The H u n g a r i a n estates,
along w i t h the central c o n t r o l of the m i l i t a r y a f f a i r s a n d the O t t o m a n
d i p l o m a c y w h i c h meant f o r e i g n affairs as w e l l g r a d u a l l y h a d to
renounce the d i r e c t i o n of the border fortresses w h i c h w e r e of c r u c i a l
importance to the protection of the n e i g h b o u r i n g p r o v i n c e s . H o w e v e r ,
they c o u l d not be totally i g n o r e d i n the local a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the
border defence, as the c o u n t y , n o b i l i t y , and other H u n g a r i a n t r o o p s
could n o t be s u b o r d i n a t e d to G e r m a n captain-generals. This c o n f l i c t
was perceived i n Vienna a n d i n the k n o w l e d g e of the r e s u l t s i t can
be f i r m l y stated that it was solved satisfactorily. A c o m p r o m i s e h a d
to be f o u n d w h i c h p e r m i t t e d the A u l i c W a r C o u n c i l to exert c o n t r o l
over the b o r d e r defence, b u t d i d n o t exclude the H u n g a r i a n estates.
In order to achieve this, the b o r d e r fortresses m a i n t a i n e d f r o m the
support of the A u s t r i a n provinces w e r e g r a d u a l l y w i t h d r a w n f r o m the
authority of the office-holders of the H u n g a r i a n estates, the C r o a t i a n Slavonian ban,

then later the T r a n s d a n u b i a n and C i s d a n u b i a n cap-

tain-generals of the c o u n t r y . As a consequence, the defence system


against the O t t o m a n s assumed a d u a l i s t i c character. To p u t i t m o r e
precisely: on each t e r r i t o r y of H u n g a r y t w o k i n d s of captaincy-general
came i n t o b e i n g .
In the organization of the border defence the most decisive role was
played

by

the

rist/Grenzoberst,
T u r c k h i s c h e verehrung, alles nottwendig gepew, Artoloreij, Munition, Arsional, Prouiandt

b u t the s i t u a t i o n h a d

drastically by the mid-1560s. W h i l e H u n g a r y preserved its sovereignty

so-called
supretnus

border

fortress

captain-generals

capitaneus confiniorum).

for the d i r e c t i o n of the m i n o r b o r d e r castles


orten, confinia)

(Grenzob-

They were responsible


(Grenzfestungen/Grenz-

s u b o r d i n a t e d to a m a j o r key fortress d e s i g n a t e d

as

their h e a d q u a r t e r s i n a certain area, t h a t is i n the confines or b o r d e r


fortress zone (Grenze/Grenzgebiet).

I n p a r a l l e l to t h e m , o n the same

territories and at the same t i m e , the so-called d i s t r i c t c a p t a i n - g e n erals (Kreisobrist/Kreisoberst,

supremus capitaneus partium regni

Hungri,

44

prorex banus ) were operating. They directed the military affairs of the
counties i n the districts (Kreis, partes) under their authority and disposed
of the troops directly subordinated to them consisting of the out-of-date
n o b i l i t y , county, and t o w n insurgent troops and of the so-called district
captain-general a r m y of some h u n d r e d cavalry a n d infantry paid by the
k i n g . W h i l e the office of border fortress captaincy-general was filled bv
the representatives of the Austrian estates or H u n g a r i a n nobles accepted
by them, the district captain-generals were exclusively Hungarian
subjects. The separation of the border fortress and the district character
of the defence system is further complicated b y the fact that the two
offices were o f t e n i n some parts of the country alwaysheld by the
same person. A l l this depended on whether the War Council wished to
exercise complete control over a border defence zone or whether it ceded
the direction to Hungarians (mainly on territories w h i c h were not so
dangerous for the Austrian provinces). In order to understand the
seemingly complicated system w e have to enumerate the border fortress
and district captaincy-generals that had been created by the mid-1570s
f r o m the Adriatic Sea to Transylvania.
90

In Croatia and Slavonia the border defence had been organized by


the Croatian-Slavonian ban (banus Croatiae et Slavoniae, ban in Kroatien und
Slavomen/ban in Windischland) before the battle of Mohcs. The ban was
the m i l i t a r y commander of his banderia, the royal garrisons, and the
insurgent noble and county troops in his area. After 1526 he lost control
of the O l d Croatian border fortresses and then of the Slavonian and New
Croatian castles. Later, after several decades, i n 1559 their direction was
taken over by the Croatian-Slavonian border fortress captain-general
(Ofensf dcr kroatischen und wmdischen Grenze) and b y his deputies, the
assistant Croatian (Obristleutnant
der kroatischen Grenze) and Wendish
b o r d e r fortress captain-generals (Obristleutnant der wmdischen Grenze). As
the incomes of the d i m i n i s h e d country d i d not cover the supply of the
border fortresses, they were financed by the estates of Camiola, Carinthia,
and Styna, and thus the ban was forced to renounce control over them.
F r o m that time on his authority in his capacity as district captain-general
T h e contemporary Hungarian term to designate the district captain-generals was
"captain of the country" (orszghadnagi/, orszgkapitnya). See Gr. lllshzy Istxmn ndor
fljegyzse! 1592-1603. s Hdvgi Mik Ferencz histrija 1594-1613 [The Records of the palatnus
C o u n t Istvn lllshzy 1592-1603 and The History of Ferenc Hidvgi Mik 1594-1613].
( M o n u m c n t a H u n g r i Historica II. Scnptores, V I I . ) E d . by C b o r Kazinczy. Pest, 1863, 8,
16, 28, 43 and 56.
9 0

45

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

GZA PLFFY

a s restricted to the m i l i t a r y affairs of the counties in Croatia and


Slavonia, that is to the practically unusable noble insurrection and the
troops fielded by the counties of Krs, Vrasd, Zgrb, and to his o w n
forces m a i n l y consisting of 250 cavalry and 250 i n f a n t r y . The latter can
be regarded as his previous bandrium, though their pay was assigned
from the war taxes granted by the Croatian estates and by other Hungarian
incomes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centunes (see map 1).
On the territory between the Drava and the Danube, a similar fate befell
the Transdanubian captaincy-general set up in 1542 by the H u n g a n a n
estates. After the Lower Austrian estates assumed the burden of financing
the border fortresses protecting Vienna in 1546, their command was taken
over by field marshal Sforza Pallavicini and thenby the late-1560sby the
captain-general of the confines around Gyr (Obrist in Raab und zuge
hriger Grenzfestungen).
The authority of the Transdanubian district
captain-general (Kreisobrtst in Transdanubium, supremus capitaneus parlnan
regm Hungri Transdanubiannrum)
was subsequently restricted to the
military affairs of eleven counties (Mosn, Sopron, Vas, Zala, Gyr, Kom
rom, Veszprm, Fejr, Somogy, Tolna, and Baranya) and the border
fortresses around Szigetvr, south of Lake Balaton, and a further 150 cavalry
and 100 infantry. After 1566, his sphere of influence was even more limited.
After the fall of Szigetvr the Aulic War Council organized a new border
fortress captaincy-general w i t h Kanizsa as its centre, and appointed Ferenc
Tahy as its separate captain-general. Although he was still called the
captain-general of the border fortresses between Lake Balaton and the nvers
Mura and Drava (supremus capitaneus inter lacum Balaton et fluvios Muram et
Dravum regni Hungri finium) by contemporary sources/' his successors
held the title of the captain-general of the border fortresses around Kanizsa
(Obnst in Kanisclia und zugehriger Grenzfestungen). Following the Ottoman
occupation of the counties of Tolna and Baranya, the authority of the
Transdanubian captain-general shrank to the military affairs of the
Transdanubian district (partes Transdanubiarme) consisting of the nine
counties left and his infantry and cavalry troops mentioned above. This
captain-general had no permanent residence; it always depended on whether
the person holding the office chose to be stationed in his o w n private estate
or m a border castle w i t h his troops. In the latter case he was the commander
w

'" The extract of T a h y ' s instruction (November 13, 1567): StA K A A F A 1566/11/1
also from 1567:

" f i n i u m intra lacum Balaton et D r a v u m ac M u r a m s u p r e m u s

StA F H K A H K A Familienakten D - T . 5. fol. 1 and fol. 4.

See

capitaneus"

46

GZA PLFFY

of that castle as well. In order to protect the border more efficiently and
to enhance cooperation, this practice was applied more often. This
explains w h y Gyrgy Zrnyi, son of Mikls Zrnyi (died i n 1566, Sziget
vr), could be both the captain-general of the border fortresses around
Kanizsa and the Transdanubian district captain-general (see map 2) at
the same time in t w o periods (1574-1575 and 1583-1592).
92

The structure of defence on the Cisdanubian territory east of Pozsony up


to as far as county Zlyom was to a certain extent different from the setup in
Croatia-Slavonia and Transdanubia. The fortresses here were of special
significance for the security of the Bohemian and Moravian provinces. Their
estates, at the incentive of the ruler, started to take part m the supply of the
border castles protecting the mining towns (confinai antemontana or confinia ante
montanas civitates, bergstcidterisclie Grenze) from the 1570s on, mainly from the
fortification of the totally new border fort, rsekjvr (Neuhusel) They,
however, d i d not want to interfere in their control, so this was carried out by
the captain-general of the border fortresses defending the m i n i n g towns
(bergstadterischer Grenzobrist, supremus capitaneus confimorum antemontanonim)
from 1564. He was the district captain-general of the ten counties (Pozsony,
Nyitra, Trencsn, Bars, Turc, rva, Lipt, Hont, Ngrd, and Zlyom) of the
Cisdanubian parts (caries Cisdanubianae). Thus, after 1564, the office of the
Cisdanubian district captain-general (Kreisobrtst in Cisdanubium, supremus
capitaneus partium regni Hungri Cisdanubianarum) practically comprised the
office of the captain-general of the border fortresses defending the mining
towns as well. This is testified by the fact that, when Simon Forgch in 1569
was appointed the captain-general of the confines and the district, he received
only one instruction (see map 3).
93

94

9 2

That the two offices were distinct is s h o w n by the fact that Z r i n y i received

two

instructions w h e n he was appointed in 1574, a n d in 1588 he w a s supported by two assistant


captain-generals

in both

captaincy-generals

47

T H E HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

(Grenzobristleutnant

and

Kreisobristleutnant).

The border defence i n U p p e r H u n g a r y h a d a more distinct character.


ftere there was constant warfare w i t h the vassal of the Ottomans, John
S z a p l y and his son John Sigismund u n t i l the late-1560s. For strategic
reasons the direction of the garrison troops, of the armies of the counties
and of the E m p i r e sent here could not be separated. These were
unanimously subordinated to the Upper H u n g a r i a n captain-general of
e field troops and other forces (Feldobnst/Generalobrist
in
Oberungarn,
supremus capitaneus partium regni Hungariae supenorum),
f r o m 1559 to the
above mentioned I m r e Thelekessy (1559-1560), then to Ferenc Zay
(1560-1565), formerly imperial ambassador to Constantinople, and to the
Europe-wide famous Lazarus Freiherr v o n Schwendi f r o m 1565 to 1568.
After the treaty of Speyer w i t h Transylvania i n 1570, there was no need
to separate the troops of the border fortresses and of the counties either,
so i n the Upper parts of the country (partes superiores) the same captaingeneralthe so-called Upper H u n g a r i a n m i l i t a r y assistant of the ruler
(prorex, kirlykpe: "image of the k i n g " ) w a s responsible for b o t h the
border fortresses and the 13 counties of the area (Gmr-Kishont, Heves,
Borsod, Szepes, Sros, Torna, Abaj, Zempln, U n g , Szabolcs, Szatmr,
Bereg, and Ugocsa). In this manner in U p p e r H u n g a r y a captaincy-general
came into being (see map 3) w h i c h resembled that was existing i n the
southern parts of the country (partes inferiores regni Hungariae) before the
battle of Mohcs. H o w e v e r , the offices a n d ranks f o r m e d , o w i n g to the
development of m i l i t a r y administration and logistics, m a r k e d an essential
difference. A t the incentive of Lazarus Freiherr v o n Schwendi, a separate
chamber (Szepesi Kamara, Zipsensche Kammer, Camera Scepusiensis) was set
up in Kassa i n 1567 to finance the border fortresses m o r e efficiently. I n
addition to the local centralization of the financial a d m i n i s t r a t i o n , several
offices were established whose task was to act as substitutes of the central
office holders of the Aulic War Council i n this remote area.
ai

95

96

A u g u s t 14, 1574: "Instruction vber die Craihaubtmanschaff herdihalb der T h o n a w . " StA
K A H K R K1A I X . c. 1 and StA K A H K R Prot. Reg. Bd. 159. fol. 14. September 4,

1574:

"Instruction vber die oberst Haubtmanschafft Z u K a n i s c h a . " ibid., fol. 15. 1588: A r c h i v des
G e r m a n i s c h e n Nationalmuseums N r n b e r g [hereinafter A r c h i v G N M N r n b e r g ] , Weltliche
Frsten [hereinafter W F ] , Siebenbrgen Z R 7657. fol. 75 and fol. 80.
9 3

O n this, see the documents of the Bohemian diets. Die bhmischen

5 Wilhelm Janko, Lazarus Freiherr von Schwendi oberster Feldhauptmann und Rath Kaiser Maxi

milian's U. Wien, 1871, and Roman Schnur, "Lazarus von Schwendi (1522-1583). E i n unerledigtes
Thema der historischen Forschung," Zeitschrift fr historisclie Forschung
9 6

Landtagsverhandlungen

Upper H u n g a r i a n deputy of chief arsenal officer in V i e n n a

bellicus in parttbus regni Hungariae supenoribus)

B h m i s c h e s Landesarchiv. Prag, 1877-1891 and Regesta fondu Mitare

(Baumeister in Oberungarn)

R C i \ V Praze. Dil I. 1527-1589. (Prameny

S v a z e k 1.) K v y d n i pfipravil Frantisek Roubik. Praha,


9 4

archivu

ministerstva

k C e s k o s l o v e n s k y m dejinm vojenskym.
1937.

StA F H K A H K A H F U R N 21. 1570. A u g . fols. 100-108 and M O L E 136 N o . 173. fol.

351 (October 26, 1569).

(Obrist-Zeugmeister-Leutnant

m Oberungarn) from 1567; U p p e r H u n g a r i a n military j u d g e (Kriegsrichter

und Landtagsbeschlusse vom fahre 1526 an bis auf die Neuzeit. I-VTI. 1526-1591. E d . by Kniglich
vnitra

14 (1987) 27-46.

ivahrer in Oberungarn)

in Oberungarn,

judex

from 1568; U p p e r H u n g a r i a n chief architect

around 1580: Upper H u n g a r i a n saltpetre supervisor

(Salitterver-

from the mid-1590s, and temporarily in the sixteenth and seventeenth

centuries: Upper H u n g a r i a n muster master (Mustermeister


(Knegszahlmeister in Oberungarn),
visional officer (Proviantmeister

in Oberungarn),

pontooneer (Sc/iif/fanicicmtisfer in Oberungarn)


m Oberungarn).

war

paymaster

and food pro

O n these, see Gza Plffy, " A fkapitnyi

48

GZA

H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G B O R D E R D E F E N C E S Y S T E M S

PLFFY

W i t h i n this structure in Upper Hungary a separate p t a i n c y - g e n e ]


was set u p on the territories adjacent to the Principality of Transylvania
i n the mid-1560s. U p o n the proposal of Lazarus Freiherr v o n Schwendi
the captain-general of Szatmr or the territories b e y o n d the river Tisz '
(Obrist zu Sakmar samt zugehrigen Ortflecken jenseits der Thei, supremus
capitaneus Zatmariensis et partium Transtibiscanarum)
was p u t in charge of
the m i l i t a r y administration of the border fortresses (Kall, Kisvrda
Ecsed, and Szatmr) and the counties (Szabolcs, Szatmr, Ugocsa, and
p a r t l y Bereg) east of the Tisza. By this measure the defence of the terri
tories far away from Kassa was effectively ensured. W i t h the captaincygeneral of Szatmr a special Hungarian frontier zone came into being
w h i c h d i d not protect the territories under the authority of the Hungarian
k i n g against the Ottoman Empire, but against a rising Christian state that
was a vassal of the sultan.' A t the same time, the principality itself es
tablished its o w n border defence zone against the Ottomans whose castles
(Zska, Bajon, Sarkad, Bl, Belnyes, Szkelyhd, Adorjn, etc.) were
controlled by the captain-general of Vrad (Obrist in Wardein, supremus
capitaneus Varadiensis) w i t h powers of authority similar to those of the
border fortress captain-generals in the H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m .
ca

ra

The fortress of Komrom also had a distinguished role i n the defence


system. This was v i v i d l y expressed by the palatinus Mikls Eszterhzy
(1625-1645): "Komrom is a fort of its o w n , i t does not depend on any
c a p t a i n - g e n e r a l " Its special situation was due to its extreme significance.
Komrom served the defence of the Imperial C i t y directly w i t h its Danube
fleet, w i t h the Hungarian boatmen (naszdos). Its chief commander (Obnsi
in Komorn, supremus capitaneus Comaromiensis)
was in charge of the
G e r m a n infantry stationed in the fort, the boatmen serving i n the town
98

hadiipari m h e l y kiplse Kassn s nyersanyagellt forrsai [The Formation of the Ar


senal of the Captain-General in Kassa and its R a w Material Resources]," in Vgvr s kr
nyezet. (Studia Agriensia, 15.) E d . by Tivadar Petercsk a n d Ern Peth. Eger, 1995, 183-221.
Idem, Katonai igazsgszolgltats

a kirlyi Magyarorszgon

a XVI-XVIl.

the fortress, and the H u n g a r i a n hussars. His only superior was


Council, whose leaders after 1566 appointed exclusively
^rhief c o m m a n d e r s w i t h the exception of Mikls Plffy (1584German cm
icaq)to head the border castle.
When the peace treaty of Adrianople w i t h the Ottomans expired i n
the Habsburg border defence i n Hungary constituted a w e l l organized
'
In the 123 border castles registered at this time, there were 22,500
system. ^
f t r y troops. The most decisive task i n the defence was
nalfuled by the border fortress and the district captaincy-generals i n Hungary
ro er By way of illustration it is enough to say that only 22% of the whole
amount of pay was spent on the salary of the soldiers serving in the 72
castles of the Croatian-Slavonian border, while 14% was allocated to the nine
fortresses in the confines around Gyr, and 32% to the 13 castles in Upper
Hungary. By that time, the significance of the Croatian-Slavonian confines,
undoubtedly more important for the Austrian provinces i n the 1520s-1530s,
was overshadowed by the Hungarian defence zones. A t this time a n d
throughout the following century, the bulwark of Lower Austria, primarily
of Vienna and of the German Empire was Hungary in the narrow sense.
The Croatian-Slavonian border defence zone lay far away from the
immediate direction of the Ottoman advance. Thus the Aulic War Council
was able to yield its administration i n 1578 to the leaders of the Inner
Austnan territories, which had strengthened and become independent i n
the meantime.

n e x f

] i c

0 1 6

i n

a n

99

2.3.a. The endeavours to modernize and their results: the reforms of the great
military conference in Vienna

(1578-1591)

While the border defence developed into a coherent system b y the


mid-1570s, the Ottomans had established their o w n line of border
fortresses, and these served as a basis for their slow b u t steady advance.
They expanded their tax-collecting activity i n H u n g a r y b y constant
plundering and then also occupied dozens of villages. In 1575 they
100

101

szzadban [Military Ju

risdiction in H a b s b u r g - H u n g a r y in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries]. Gyr, 1995,


84-85. Cf. also Ondrej R. Halaga, Poiatky Kosc a zrod metropoly. Hospodrsko-socilne, sprune
a kultme

49

dejmy. Kosice, 1992, 380-390.

" " C r o n Vngernein Propugnakel v n n d V o r M a u r Deutscher L a n n d e n " (1570). S t A


Nrnberg, Ansbacher Reichstagsakten (Rep. 136.) Bd. 43. No. 19.
1 0 0

Klra Hegyi, Trk berendezkeds Magyarorszgon

[Ottoman Rule in F l u n g a r y ] . (Histria

knyvtr. Monogrfik, 7.) Budapest, 1995, 81-117.

9 7

Plffy, " A magyarorszgi s dlvidki v g v r r e n d s z e r , " 124-125.

9 8

" C o m a r o m i u m per se est, quod a nullo supremo generli capitaneo d e p e n d e ! " Az

1 0 1

The Ottoman advance is testified by those reports w h i c h were prepared by the military

[The Period of the

administration of Vienna on the attacks and damages made by the enemy a n d sent to the

Uncelebrated Diet in 1642 (Dezember 1640-March 1643)]. (Esterhzy Mikls ndor iratai I

ambassadors to Constantinople in order to make a complaint to the sultan. See for example:

[Documents

StA H H S t A Trki (Turcica) Karton 43. K o n v . 1. 1580.

1642.

vi meghisult

orszggyls

of palatnus

idszaka (1640

december-1643

mrcius)

Mikls Esterhzy]. Kormnyzattrtneti

iratok

[Administration

N o v . - D e z . fols. 25-32 and S t A

Documents].) E d . by Istvn Hajnal. Budapest, 1930, 129: No. 45. C f . also Lszl Kecsks,

KA H K R Akten Exp. 1589. A u g . No. 88 and ibid., Reg. 1591. D e z . No. 41. Cf. also G m r y ,

Komrom az erdk vrosa [ K o m r o m , the T o w n of Forts]. Budapest,

"p cit., and Simoniti, op. cit.

1984.

50

GZA PLFFY

launched more serious attacks; in addition to their raids, they captured the
castles of Divny, Kkk, Somosk in the mining district and Fonyd by
Lake Balaton, and they fought a nearly constant battle near Budacki by the
nver Korana in the Croatian confines, where the assistant captain-general of
the Croatian border fortresses (Obristleutnant der kroatischen Grenze), Herwart
Freiherr v o n Auersperg (1568-1575) fell, too. In the meantime the peace
treaty of Adrianople expired, and then Emperor Maximilian I I died; therefore
the Aulic War Council deemed it necessary to discuss the problems and,
based on the experience gathered i n the control of defence, to reorganize
the system i n an even more considered way. I n order to achieve this they
asked the central and local leaders of the border defence for preliminary
proposals concerning the shortcomings as early as 1576; they made the
Imperial Diet (Reiclistag) in Regensburg grant a considerable military aid;
and they summoned a great military conference i n Vienna (Wiener Hauptgrenzberatung) in the middle of August 1577 to solve the problems.
A t the m i l i t a r y conference, w h i c h lasted for one and a half months
and was chaired by A r c h d u k e Ernest, the basic questions concerning the
defence system and strategy were discussed. The problems of military
d i s c i p l i n e , the fortification of castles, w a r supplies, a n d food provision
were dealt w i t h . The Defensionsordnung
of the Austrian provinces a n d the
difficulties of financing the border fortresses were also d i s p u t e d , and
w h a t is more, the possibility of settling d o w n the Teutonic O r d e r in
H u n g a r y was also b r o u g h t upas it had been d u r i n g the rule of
Sigismund of L u x e m b u r g i n the finteenth c e n t u r y .
But the central
102

103

104

105

102 P [ t e r ] von Radics, Herbard VIII. Freiherr von Auersperg (1528-1575), em kramischer Held
e

und Staatsmann.
l u 3

Wien, 1862, V11I-1X and 368-369.

The minutes of the great military conference (Hauptgrenzberatung) in Vienna survived in

several copies: 1. O S t A K A A F A 1577/13/2.

51

THE HUNGAR1AN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

2. M O L P 108 Csaldi Levltrak, Esterhzy

csald hercegi gnak levltra, Repositoriumok 77. Fase. N . 3. Archiv G N M Nrnberg, W F


sterreich Z R 7670. 4. Wien, sterreichische Nationalbibilitohek [hereinafter N B ] , H a n d schriftensammlung C o d . 8678. 5. N B C o d . 8345. 6. N B C o d . 12 660. The military conference
has not been given due attention by historians. C f Wessely, " D i e Regensburger

question was whether the peace w i t h the O t t o m a n s m a d e for eight


years in 1568could be maintained o r whether offensive w a r s h o u l d be
launched against the enemy. F r o m a m o n g the proposals made by
Lazarus Freiherr v o n S c h w e n d i and U p p e r - H u n g a r i a n captain-general
Hans Rueber v o n Pchsendorf (1568-1584), the participants s u p p o r t e d
the ideas of the first, a n d voted f o r an even m o r e organized a n d
thoughtful defence strategy by realistically weighing the power of the
German Empire and the Austrian provinces of the Habsburgs. Since the
establishment of the new defence system, this w a s the first a n d last
occasion that the problems of border defence h a d been so t h o r o u g h l y
discussed a n d a concept based on active defence (defensive w a r i n other
words) elaborated. Lazarus Freiherr v o n Schwendi's strategy c o m p r i s e d
the formation of closed a n d strictly controllable defence zones, w h i c h ,
being based on the favourable natural surroundings, could resist the raids
of the Ottoman forces more efficiently and at the same time stop the ever
increasing O t t o m a n tax-collection i n the H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m .
Before d w e l l i n g on the i m p l e m e n t a t i o n of the reforms it m u s t be
mentioned that the conference was an i m p o r t a n t step i n the process that
lasted f r o m 1564 to 1578 a n d as a result of w h i c h the Croatian-Slavonian
confines became subordinated to the Inner A u s t r i a n W a r C o u n c i l (Inner
sterreichischer
Hofkriegsrat,
1578-1705) i n Graz. Thanks to the m o n o
graph of W . Schulze, the circumstances of this are w e l l k n o w n , " so it
is enough to underline that the control of the defence system against the
Ottoman E m p i r e was d i v i d e d into t w o parts i n 1578. A r c h d u k e Charles
was made responsible for the direction of the Croatian a n d Slavonian
border areas as the captain-general of the C r o a t i a n - W e n d i s h confines
(General-Obrist
kroatischer und windischer
Grenze) under the central
leadership of the Inner A u s t r i a n W a r C o u n c i l , a n d at the same t i m e
A r c h d u k e Ernest was p u t i n charge of the f o u r H u n g a r i a n confines
extending f r o m the Drava to Transylvania (the b o r d e r fortresses a r o u n d
1 0

'harrige'

Reichshilfe 1576," 38-49. Schulze, Landesdefension, 65-69, and extracts of the conference published
in H u n g a n a n by Istvn Gecze, " H a d i tancskozsok az 1577-ik vben [Military Conferences
in the Year 1577)," Hadtrtnelmi Kzlemnyek 7 (1894) 502-537 and 647-673.
W

1 0 5

Plffy, Katonai igazsgszolgltats,

75-77.

Hans von Zwiedeneck-Sdenhorst, " b e r den Versuch einer Translation des Deutschen

O r d e n s an die ungarische G r e n z e , " Archiv fr sterreichische

Geschichte

56 (1878) 403-445

1 0 6

S c h u l z e , op. cit. C f . also V i k t o r T h i e l , " Z u r C e s c h i c h t e d e r innersterreichischen

Kriegsverwaltung i m 16. Jahrhunderte," Zeitschrift des Historischen

Vereines fr Steiermark 12

W i l h e l m Erben, " D i e Frage der H e r a n z i e h u n g des Deutschen O r d e n s z u r Vertheidigung

(1914) 159-170. A r t u r Steinwenter, " D i e b e r n a h m e der G r e n z v e r t e i d i g u n g in Kroatien d u c h

der ungarischen G r e n z e , " Archiv fr sterreichische

den Beherrscher Innersterreichs (1578)," Zeitschrift

Geschichte

81 (1895) 513-599 and Jnos

des Historischen

Vereines fr

Steiermark

Illssy, "Trekvsek a nmet lovag-rend meghonostsra M a g y a r o r s z g o n [Endeavours to

20 (1924) 43-59. Gnther Probszt-Ohstorff, " D i e innersterreichische Hofkriegsordnung u n d

Settle the Teutonic Order in H u n g a r y ] , " Szzadok 36 (1902) 233-248.

die windisch-kroatische G r e n z e , " Bltter fr Heimatkunde 35 (1961) 92-98.

56
C

E Z A PALFFY

57

THE HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

w a s attached t o the defence area, b u t , as i t was kept only for a year


the t e r r i t o r i e s n o r t h of Lake B a l a t o n the border before the Long War was
restored.
o n

U n t i l 1606 the C h r i s t i a n t r o o p s w e r e able to m o v e only the borders


of t h e confines of rsekjvr f u r t h e r s o u t h . W i t h the recapture of Flek
N g r d , Szcsny, a n d s e v e r a l m i n o r O t t o m a n fortresses in counties
H o n t , N g r d , and G m r i n t h e w i n t e r of 1593, the border area f
r s e k j v r p r o t e c t i n g the m i n i n g t o w n s was considerably reinforced
M e a n w h i l e , Eger, being i n a f o r w a r d p o s i t i o n s i m i l a r l y to Bihcs, had to
be replaced i n the s e v e n t e e n t h c e n t u r y by Szendr, w h i c h had been
g r a d u a l l y f o r t i f i e d f r o m t h e 1570s, a n d its n e i g h b o u r i n g castles (Putnok
S z d v r , n o d , Tokaj, K r a s z n a h o r k a , etc.). The most serious difficulty
w a s caused by the loss of K a n i z s a i n 1600, asunlike i n the case of Bihcs
a n d E g e r o n l y some i n s i g n i f i c a n t m e d i e v a l castles existed i n the border
fortress captaincy-general i n i t s hinterland. Thus a completely new border
zone h a d to be set u p w e s t o f L a k e Balaton. This so-called border area
f a c i n g Kanizsa {gcgen Kanischaiuarts
ligende Grenze, confinia Canisae opposita) w a s at first established a l o n g t h e r i v e r s Rba and Zala w i t h centres
at K r m e n d and the r e m o t e S r v r .
H o w e v e r , the rebellion against the
H u n g a r i a n K i n g R u d o l f l e d b y I s t v n Bocskai frustrated the fast de
v e l o p m e n t of the new b o r d e r d e f e n c e zones all over H u n g a r y . Their
o r g a n i z a t i o n c o u l d o n l y be c a r r i e d o u t after the peace treaty of Zsitvat o r o k i n 1 606.
0

1 1 9

was efficiently replaced by the border fortresses along the rivers


Tsza Sajo, and Bodva, above all by Szendro and Tokaj. After 1607 the
Confines facing Kanizsa were finally organized w i t h the centre of
rszen on the river Zala and in the districts of the castles of Lenti and
Kjskomrom. In theory, the fortress of Lgrd at the confluence of the
prava and the Mura also belonged to this border zone, but practically
the members of the Zrnyi family were put in charge of it together w i t h
some other garrisons i n the Murakz (praesidu Legradiensis ac tothis Insulae
Murakz supremus capitaneatus, Zerinische Grenze). A t the same time, the
Styrian estates reinforced and organized into a coherent unit their border
fortresses in the direction of Kanizsa (Hardberg, Frstenfeld, Feldbach,
Radkersburg, and Pettau) under the name of the Styrian confines
(steinsche Grenze, steirische Konfinien-Plalze),
though this was not a
captaincy -general.
120

The Wendish border area w i t h the centre of Vrasd was united w i t h


Petrinja on the southern bank of the Kulpa and assumed the name of
Wendish-Petrinja

confines

(wmdische

Slavomae confinia et Petrinia).


captaincy-general

which

und

petrimanische

zones and the new methods

was

situated

around

Zengg

tA

the

confines (Meergrenze, confinia maritima) from the m i d d l e of the sixteenth

confinia Croatica et maritima/confima

und

Croatiae et maritima)

Meergrenze,

by the early

ban along the river K u l p a (banische Grenze, confinia banalia) were often
named as the Kulpa confines (confinia

Colapiana).

The six border fortress captaincy-generals

w h i c h constituted the

decisive element of the defence system and the temporary captaincygeneral led by the ban survived until 1663 in an unchanged f o r m . The
captaincy-generals

were listed by palatnus

Mikls Eszterhzy

i n his

memorandum to the ruler in 1641: " U n d e r the jurisdiction of the Saint


Crown of Hungary there are six captain-generals, or captaincy-generals
from the Adriatic Sea to the Transylvanian borders, namely the ones of
Gyr,

the border fortresses

facing Kanizsa,

the

Slavonian [that is the one of Vrasd], the Croatian [that is the one of

^ H K R KIA IX. c. 4, M O I _ P
trzsi

of

century. As a result, the captaincy-general centered a r o u n d Krolyvros

Kassa, [rsekjjvr,

Pf

west

seventeenth century. The border fortresses under the leadership of the

I n 1606 another l o n g p e r i o d o f peace, or more precisely an era of


' s k i r m i s h e s ' or Klernkrieg o n t h e b o r d e r s , began. This p e r i o d lasted for
m o r e t h a n h a l f a c e n t u r y i n t h e H u n g a r i a n theatre of w a r . As during the
r u l e o f M a t t h i a s C o r v i n u s a n d M a x i m i l i a n I I , the years of peace made it
possible to f o r m n e w d e f e n c e u n i t s o n the basis of the sixteenth-century
m e t h o d s a n d a d m i n i s t r a t i v e e x p e r i e n c e . O n the territory beyond the river
Tisza, S z a f m r retained its e a r l i e r s t a t u s , t h o u g h d u r i n g the rule of Gbor
Bethlen (1613-1629), a n d t h e n o f G y r g y Rkczi I (1630-1648) and his
son (1648-1660), i t was often u n d e r t h e c o n t r o l of the Transylvanian princes.

csald levltra, A Batthyny c s a l d

regni

Mountain Kapela was w i t h increasing frequency called the m a r i t i m e

was called the Croatian-maritime confines (kroatische


2.4. The organization of new border
of border defence (1606-1699)

Grenze,

That part of the Croatian border fortress

l e v l t r a k

- A herceg Batthyny

A k t n de.s n n e r s t e r r e i c h . s c h e n H o f k r i e e s r ^
'
i ' i a No. 237 and StA KA
H s r a t e s . C r o a t i c a 1600. Nov. No. 1.
M

" O N B Handschnftensammking C o d . 9225. fol. 4 and fol. 34

58

GZA PLFFY

T H E H U N G ARI AN-HABSBURG BORDER D E F E N C E SYSTEMS

Krolyvros), w i t h the exception of the confines that are led by the


Croatian-Slavonian ban."
]2>

After the Ottoman w a r i n 1663-1664, however, a significant change took


place in the borders defending the m i n i n g towns. After the fall of the centre
of the frontier castles captaincy-general (rsekjvr), Vienna, Lower Austna
and the Bohemian-Moravian provinces became directly threatened, therefore
a modern fort (Liptvr) was erected on the bank of the Vg and a new
border area was organized around i t i n 1665. This new defence zone was
called the confines facing rsekjvr [gegen Neulwitsel ligende Grenze, confinia
contra jvr posita) or of Liptvr (leopoldische Grenze)}
The role of this zone
was almost as important as that of the confines around Gyr, also reinforced
to be able to defend Vienna in this time. The administration of the fortresses
around Liptvr and of Pozsony was w i t h d r a w n from the authority of
captain-general of the m i n i n g towns a n d was confen-ed o n the German
commander-in-chief of Liptvr, who was the immediate representative of
the A u l i c War Council.
122

23

In a d d i t i o n t o the border fortress captaincy-generals, the system of


district captaincy-generals also survived i n the course of the seventeenth
century. I n 1669 these were listed by a contemporary, Jnos Vanoviczi, a
missionary belonging to the Order of St Paul, i n his submission to the
H o l y Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith [Sacra Congregatw De
Propaganda Fide) i n the f o l l o w i n g manner: " O u t of the district captaingenerals [ i n H u n g a r i a n : kirlykpe] the first lives i n Vrasd, Croatia, the
second i n Nmetjvr, H u n g a r y , the t h i r d i n Sempte, n o r t h of the
Danube, the f o u r t h , the U p p e r H u n g a r i a n captain-general i n Kassa."
The first district captain-general mentioned was the Croatian ban Pter
124

59

Zrnyi (1665-1670) residing i n Vrasd, w h o , in his capacity as a border


fortress captain-general, also administered the special confines belonging
to the ban along the river K u l p a . The Transdanubian district captaingeneral, Kristf Batthyny, h a v i n g his seat i n Nmetjvr, controlled the
confines facing Kanizsa, w h i l e the Cisdanubian captain-general Pl
Esterhzy, residing i n Sempte, supervised the confines protecting the
mining towns, w i t h the exception of Liptvr and its zone. Consequently,
the leadership of border fortress zones that were not of v i t a l importance
for the defence of the A u s t r i a n provinces was, as in the sixteenth century,
given to H u n g a r i a n district captain-generals. A l t h o u g h , d u e to the
shortcomings of the county and noble troops, the district captaincygenerals h a d lost most of their military importance b y that time, this
arrangement was reasonable because the H u n g a r i a n estates h a d con
solidated their p o w e r i n the seventeenth century. H a v i n g p r o v i d e d their
blood as tax these estates still tenaciously insisted o n m a i n t a i n i n g these
posts because these l e g i t i m i z e d their actual p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n the defence,
or at least i n its local administration.
Besides the system of confines and district captaincy-generals, new
forms and methods of frontier defence appeared and strengthened in the
seventeenth century. These were related to the l o n g period of peace and
the policy of the Habsburg high c o m m a n d against the O t t o m a n Empire.
During the T h i r t y Years' War the empire joined the c o m p e t i t i o n of great
powers by m i l i t a r y means, and for this reason it tried to keep peace w i t h
the Ottomans. Less and less support was sent t o s u p p l y the H u n g a r i a n
theatre of w a r . A s a result, the number of b o r d e r fortresses w i t h royal
troops i n them decreased f r o m 120 i n the late sixteenth century to 88,
and the n u m b e r of garrison troops f r o m 22,000 to 17,000. The system
of guard houses previously controlled by the r o y a l border fortresses and
the roughly 5,000 soldiers paid by the king were d i f f i c u l t to replace. As
a solution to this p r o b l e m , the landlords l i v i n g near the frontiers took a
more active part i n the defence against the O t t o m a n raids w i t h their
private troops and w i t h their subjects doing m i l i t a r y service i n return for
various exemptions, the so-called peasant soldiers (Soldatenbauer), w h o
125

" S u n t h u i u s m o d i supremi generales capitanei seu capitaneatus sub jurisdictione Sacrae


Coronae H u n g a n a e a Mari A d n a t i c o usque ad limites et terminus Transylvaniae sex, urpote:
C a s s o v i e n s i s , N o v a e Arcis, Jauriensis, praesidiorum C a n i s a e oppositorum, Sclavoniae et
Croatiae regnorum, praeter confinia banalia, quibus banus Croatiae et Sclavoniae praeest."
Hajnal, op. cit., 128: No. 45.
1 2 1

Frantisek Sedlk, " Z dejn pevnosti Leopoldov," Vlastivedny Casopis 12 (1963) 151-153
and Jozef Simoncic, "Mesto Leopoldovjeho v z n i k a v y v o j , " Vlastivedny Casopis 20 (1971)
72-73.
1 2 2

N B H a n d s c h r i f t e n s a m m l u n g C o d . 7235. fols. 83-93 and O S t A F H K A H K A H F U R N


219. 1665. M r z fols. 166-215.
1 2 3

1 2 4

"Proreges, unus Varasdini in Croatia, altr in Nemet U y u a r , in Vngaria, terrius in arce

Sente ultra D a n u b i u m , quartus Cassoviae, prorex partium s u p e n o r u m regni Vngariae "


Relationes

missionariorum

de Hungria

el Transilvania

11627-1707). (Bibliotheca

Academiae

H u n g r i in Roma. Fontes 1.) E d . by Istvn Gyrgy Tth. Roma-Budapest, 1994, 151: No. 14

1 2 5

Hajnal, op. cit., 128-131: No. 45. It was only after the 1663-1664 Ottoman w a r that the

Aulic W a r C o u n c i l sent G e r m a n troops attached into regiments


H u n g a r i a n border fortresses.

in great numbers to the

Istvn C z i g n y , A kirlyi Magyarorszg

hadgyi

fejldsnek

sajtossgai s eurpai sszefggsei 1600-1700 [The Characteristics and European Connections of


the Military in Habsburg-Ruled Hungary 1600-1700]. Unpublished P h . D . Diss. Budapest, 1996.

60

GZA PLFFY

were often settled on those t e r r i t o r i e s


O n the C r o a t i a n - S l a v o i
borders the same role was played by the Vlachs (Valachi) and Uskoks
(Uscoci), w h o obtained royal privileges i n return for their military
service. The significance of the g r o w i n g number of royal and private
H e y d u c k settlements also increased from the early seventeenth century
Thus the territories behind the m i l i t a r y confines h a d to participate more
actively i n the border defence. The system of garrisons previously
m a i n t a i n e d by the k i n g was replaced by a system of fortified settlements
and g u a r d houses defended by peasant soldiers and Heyducks and
controlled by the border landlords and captain-generals. This second,
hinterland defence line complemented the royal border defence system
very w e l l , as the latter and the district captaincy-generals were often
administered by the same person in these places, w h i c h made closer
cooperation between the royal and private troops possible.
126

61

T H E H U N G ARI A N - H A B S B U R G B O R D E R D E F E N C E S Y S T E M S

an

127

,;R

3. THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE MILITARY FRONTIERS AT THE BEGINNING


OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY
As a result of the so-called reconquering Turkish w a r launched i n 1683
and concluded in 1699 by the peace of Karlovitz, the frontier between
the t w o w o r l d empires was pushed back to the line of the Sava, Danube,
Tisza, and Maros. The termination of Ottoman rule i n H u n g a r y made the
maintenance of the border defence system built by the mid-sixteenth
century by the Habsburg m i l i t a r y leadership unnecessary. W i t h the
exception of Nndorfehrvr (Belgrade) and the Temeskz reoccupied
only i n 1718, the frontiers w h i c h had existed before the battle of Mohcs
were restored by the turn of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
The question in this situation was whether the n e w t h e t h i r d b o r d e r
defence system i n the southern territories of H u n g a r y against the
O t t o m a n Empire should reflect the structural a n d administrative
f r a m e w o r k existing before Mohcs or the one in the sixteenth-seventeenth
centuries, or whether it should be a completely different one.

T w o proposals were w o r k e d out concerning the establishment of the


w border defence system. One of them was f o r w a r d e d bv the palatums
pl Esterhzy (1681-1713) and the H u n g a r i a n estates in connection w i t h
the new establishment of the country i n 1688,' '* the other was the concept
of the Aulic W a r Council formed i n the 1690s. The Hungarian estates
wanted to revive the medieval defence system w i t h the restoration of the
banales and the defence captaincy-generals, and the earlier authority of
the palatums, the m i l i t a r y assistant of the ruler. A t the same time, they
wished to s u p p l y the border fortresses w i t h regularly paid standing
troops consisting of 12,000 German and 12,000 Hungarian and Southern
Slav soldiers under the joint leadership of German, Hungarian and
Southern Slav captain-generals. They w o u l d have fielded the latter ones
out of the previous border castle soldiers i n Hungary, t h o u g h i n a
similar w a y to the German a r m y i n the f r a m e w o r k of regiments. They
considered the w a r tax of the reconquered country sufficient to cover the
payment of the 24,000 soldiers.
The concept of the Aulic War Council was fundamentally different
from the proposal of the estates. The m i l i t a r y leaders in Vienna wanted
to create a qualitatively new border defence system, w h i c h was t o a
certain extent similar to the setup in the sixteenth and seventeenth
centuries. They intended to separate the zones of the new system f r o m
the reviving c i v i l local administration, f r o m the Hungarian counties, and
to establish a distinct military frontier [Militargrenze). They d i d not w i s h
to involve the Hungarian estates in the control of the m i l i t a r y frontiers
to be d i v i d e d into regiment districts (Regimentbezirke/Kompaniebezirke),
as
they intended to control the new border defence network completely f r o m
Vienna and not from Buda as had been the case in the m i d d l e ages. Under

n e

,w

E m m a Ivnyi, " E s t e r h z y Pl n d o r es a m a g y a r rendek tervezete az o r s z g j

berendezkedsvel kapcsolatban [The Proposal of palatnus Pl Esterhzy a n d the H u n g a r i a n


Estates in Connection with the N e w Establishment of the C o u n t r y ] , " Levltri

Kzlemnyek

42 (1971) 137-161 and Jnos J Varga, "Berendezkedsi tervezetek M a g y a r o r s z g o n a trk


kizsnek i d s z a k b a n . A z E i n r i c h t u n g s w e r k [ S c h e m e s

for a N e w E s t a b l i s h m e n t in

H u n g a r y After the Expulsion of the Ottomans. T h e Einrichtungswerk},"


* stvan N . Kiss, Gesollschaft und Heer in Ungarn un Zeitalter der Turkenkriege Das
S o l d a t e n b a u c r n t u m , " in D,e wirtschaftlichen
Auswirkungen
der Turkenkriege
(Grazer'For
s c h u n g e n zur Wirtschaft- und Soz,aIgesch,chte, 1.) E d . bv Othmar Pickl. Graz, 1971 273-^96
E k k e h a r d Vlkl. " M i l i t r g r e n z e u n d ' S t a . u . a V a l a c h o r u m V in Die
sterreichische
Mihtargrcnze,
9-24. Kser, op. ct., passim. Bracewell op at
-'erreichte
Istvn Rcz, A hajdk a XV!,. szzadban (The H e y d u c k s in the Seventeenth C e n t u r y ]
( M a g y a r trtneti tanulmnyok, 2.) Debrecen, 1969.

Szzadok 125 (1991)

449-488.'
]

~ Apart from the works quoted in note 3, see recently Kurt Wessely, " N e u o r d n u n g der
]

unganschen G r e n z e n nach d e m grfin T u r k e n k r i e g , " in Die k. k. Militargrenze,

29-93

From

the H u n g a r i a n literature: k o s Koroknai, Gazdasgi s trsadalmi viszonyok a dunai s tiszai


hatrrvidken a XVIII.

szzad elejn [Economic and Social Conditions on the M i l i t a r y Frontier

A l o n g the D a n u b e a n d the T i s z a in the Early Eighteenth C e n t u r y ] (rtekezsek a trtneti


t u d o m n y o k korbi. j sorozat, 73 ) Budapest,

1974.

62

GZA

T H E HUNGARIAN-HABSBURG BORDER DEFENCE SYSTEMS

PLFFY

this p l a n they c o u l d s i m p l y abolish the earlier d i v i s i o n of the defence


system i n t o district and border fortress captaincy-generals, and could
establish the u n i f i e d authority of the new m i l i t a r y offices. As opposed to
the d r a f t p l a n of the palatums, they d i d not w a n t the H u n g a r i a n border
castle soldiers to take part i n the protection of the frontiers. O n the one
h a n d , they themselves were reluctant to leave their border fortresses,
a r o u n d w h i c h they were more and more often engagedin the seventeenth c e n t u r y i n the cultivation of land or animal husbandry, on the
other h a n d , the dismissed and homeless members of the H u n g a r i a n
border castle soldiery had already been recruited into H u n g a r i a n imperial
regiments f r o m the 1670s and 1680s. Due to their special light cavalry
tactics they were needed on the French battlefields of the Habsburg
Empire. Thus, apart from the German regiments, the troops of the new
m i l i t a r y frontiers were made u p of Serbian, Croatian, and Vlach refugees
w h o had settled in the southern territories of H u n g a r y , d o i n g m i l i t a r y
service i n r e t u r n for land and privileges. O n l y one c o m m o n element of
the ideas of the H u n g a r i a n estates and of the A u l i c W a r Council was left:
the reconquered country had to contribute financially to the s u p p l y of
the n e w m i l i t a r y frontiers to be established on the southern borders of
the c o u n t r y .
The foundations of the new border defence system were laid i n the
first decade of the eighteenth century according to the concept of the
A u l i c W a r C o u n c i l . F r o m the A d r i a t i c Sea to Transylvania, the m i l i t a r y
frontiers of Karolyvaros, of the ban, of Varasd, the Sava, the Danube, the
Tisza a n d the Maros were organized; these frontiers were later d i v i d e d
into w e l l distinguishable regiment districts. W h i l e the major

border

fortresses were defended by the regular German regiments, the landed


and p r i v i l e g e d peasant soldier sentries served

in the g u a r d houses

(cardaks) situated between them. Their central control was entirely taken
over b y the A u l i c W a r Council after the dissolution of the Inner A u s t r i a n
W a r C o u n c i l i n 1705. The H u n g a r i a n estates were f u l l y excluded f r o m
the a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the new border defence system established i n the
territories of H u n g a r y . The m i l i t a r y leadership i n Vienna solved three
p r o b l e m s w i t h the creation of the m i l i t a r y frontiers. It decided the
struggle for the central and local a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of m i l i t a r y affairs and
b o r d e r defence i n the sixteenth and seventeenth

century to its o w n

advantage; by settling and incorporating i n the border defence the mass


of Southern Slav refugees, i t abolished a possible centre of social tensions;

63

at the same time, it created a new b o r d e r defence system w h i c h c o u l d


effectively

protect

H u n g a r y and

the

Habsburg

Empire against

the

Ottoman troops u n t i l the f o r m a t i o n of the n a t i o n states i n the nineteenth


century.
Our survey of the 500 year l o n g history of the border defence system in
Hungary against the O t t o m a n Empire cannot have answered all questions
that the reader m i g h t have. W e are g o i n g to f i n d these i n the m o n o g r a p h y
to be w r i t t e n on this topic. This piece of w o r k has achieved its purpose
if i t c o u l d ' d e m o n s t r a t e that the development of the defence system
against the Ottomans can only be understood i n the k n o w l e d g e of the
complete H u n g a r i a n theatre of w a r , i n the three periods designated
above, as the real changes i n the organization and a d m i n i s t r a t i o n of the
defence system occurred i n 1526 and 1699. U n t i l the battle of Mohcs the
medieval H u n g a r i a n K i n g d o m contained the advance of the Ottomans
w i t h its coherent border defence system controlled by the C r o a t i a n Slavonian ban, the captain-general of the L o w e r Parts (supremus capitaneus
parthim inferiorum) and the V o i v o d e of Transylvania. After the collapse
of the K i n g d o m , the Habsburg rulers were expected to solve the p r o b l e m
of stopping the enemy on the territory of H u n g a r y a n d of d e f e n d i n g the
Austrian provinces. In the organization of the new defence system,
however, they could not reject the help of the H u n g a r i a n estates, their
counterparts i n the dualistic state structure, and for practical reasons they
could not oust them entirely f r o m the local management of the system.
This explains w h y the border defence was d i v i d e d i n t o a t w o f o l d system:
the confines captaincy-generals financed by the ruler and based on the
border castles and the district captaincy-generals based on the o u t d a t e d
insurrection of the nobility and the county troops. T h o u g h the f o r m e r
constituted the most i m p o r t a n t part of defence, i t was only at the
beginning of eighteenth c e n t u r y a n d after the settlement of Southern
Slav peasant soldiersthat the A u l i c W a r C o u n c i l was able to create a
system of m i l i t a r y frontiers i n the southern territories of the c o u n t r y
w h i c h excluded the H u n g a r i a n estates.

GZA PLFFY

64

APPENDIX

ABBREVIATIONS
B = Bosnia; Cro = Croatia; H = H u n g a r y ; R = Romania;
Slo = Slovakia; Slov = Slovenia; U = Ukrainia
MAP l : THE CASTLES OF THE CROATIAN AND WENDISH-BAJCSAVAR
CONFINES IN 1 5 8 2
1 . Laibach, Ljubljana, Slov
2. Sankt Veit a m P f l a u m , Fiume,
Rijeka, C r o
3. Ledenice, C r o
4. Z e n g g , Segnia, Senj, C r o
5. Bag, K a r l o b a g , Cro
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.

Brinje, C r o
Brlog, Cro
Otocac, Otocsc, C r o
Dabar, C r o
Jesenica, Licka Jesenica, C r o

34. K r c u z , Krs, K r i z e v c i , Cro


35. Cradec, Cro
36. Ivanic, I v a n i c g r a d , Ivanics, Cro
37. H e i l i g e n k r e u z , Szentkereszt,
Sveti K r i , C r o
38. C i r k v e n a , C r o
39. Sanktpeter, Szentpter, Sveti Petar
Cvrstec, Cro
40. Topolovac, Topolovc, C r o
41. Sanktgeorgen, Szentgyrgyvr,
Djurdjevac, C r o

11. O g u l i n , C r o
12. Svetica, C r o

42. N o v i g r a d , N o v i g r a d - P o d r a v s k i ,
Cro

13. M o d r u s , M o d r u s , C r o
14. D r e z n i k , D r e z n i k G r a d , C r o

43. K a p r o n c a , K o p n n i z , K o p r i v n i c a ,
Cro

15. Trzac, C r o

44.
45.
46.
47.

16.
17.
18.
19.
20.
21.

Izacic, Izacsics, B
Bihac, Bihcs, B
Ripac, Ripcs, B
Slunj, C r o
C e t i n , C e t i n g r a d , Cro
Mala Kladusa, B

22. Hresno, C r o
23. Smrckovic, C r o
24. Blagaj, C r o
25. Budacki, C r o
26. Karlstadt, Krolyvros,
Karlovac, C r o
27. Petrova gora, Petrovac, C r o
28. H r a s t o v i c a , Hrasztovica, C r o
29. Srednji Gradac, Cro
30. W a r a s d i n , Varasd, V a r a z d i n , Cro
31. V a r a z d i n s k e Toplicc, C r o
32. Remetinec, C r o
33. L u d b r e g , C r o

Dernye, Drnje, C r o
Keresztr, Murakeresztr, H
Ftyehza, H
Bajcsavr, Bajcsa, H

The territories under


the command of the
Croatian-Slavonian ban in 1582
Croatia
Krs c o u n t y
Varasd c o u n t y
Zgrb county

; E

66

HUNGARIAN-HABSBURC

BORDER DEFENCE SYSTEMS

GZA PLFFY

MAP 2: THE CASTLES OF THE BAJCSAVR, KANIZSA, AND GYR CONFINES


IN 1 5 8 2
45.
46.
47.
48.
49.
50.

Keresztr, Murakeresztr, H
Fityehza, H
Bajcsavr, Bajcsa, H
Lgrd, L e g r a d , C r o
Kanizsa, N a g y k a n i z s a , H
Szentmikls, Miklsfa,
Nagykanizsa-Miklsfa, H

51. Botszentgyrgy, Romlottvr, H


52. Kanizsa m e l l e t t i t o r o n y ,
Nagykanizsa, H
53. judvar, H
54. Kacorlak, H
55. K o m r , K i s k o m r o m ,
Zalakomr, H

The counties under the command


the Transdanubian
district
captain-general in 1582

0j

Fejr
Gyr
Komrom
Mosn
Somogy
Sopron
Vas
Veszprm
Zala

56. C s k n y , H
57. Kthely, H
58.
59.
60.
61.

K i e l m a n s z i g e t , Kilimn, H
Rajk, Alsrajk, H
Zalavr, H
Isabor, Isebor, Pacsa-lsabor, H

62.
63.
64.
65.

Plske, H
Kapornak, Nagykapornak, H
Csny, Zalacsny, H
Szentgrt, Zalaszentgrt, H

66.
67.
68.
69.
70.
71.
72.
73.

Br, Zalabr, H
K e m e n d , Kemendollr, H
Lv, Zalalv, H
Gyr, Raab, H
Ppa, H
Keszthely, H
Szigliget, H
Csobnc, H

74. T i h a n y , H
75. Vzsony, V z s o n y k ,
Nagyvzsony, H
76.
77.
78.
79.

Veszprm, H
"Palota, Vrpalota, H
Csesznek, H
Tata, H

80. S z e n t m r t o n h e g y , Szentmrton,
Pannonhalma, H
81. K o m r o m , K o m o r n , K o m a r n o , Slo

tt
4-

The cases of Ihe Bajcsavr confines


The cases of ihe Kanizsa confines
The castlcs of the Gyr cofincs
Komrom, "a border fort of its own'

67