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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe

VII: The Ottoman Turks and the Crusades, 1329-1451,   pp. 222-275 PDF (24.1 MB)

Page 273

of Bosnia had recovered Srebrenitsa. All these developments during the summer
made the Hungarian court believe that the chances for success of a crusade
could not be better at any other time. 
 Murad II had crossed over to Anatolia against the Karamanids on July 12,
1444, but instead of fighting he signed a peace treaty with them in early
August at Yenishehir, giving up the long-disputed area to them. Then, believing
he had guaranteed peace in the east and west by eliminating the main issues
of conflict with the Hungarians and the Karamanids, he abdicated in favor
of his son Mehmed II, then only twelve years old, thus leaving all power
in the hands of the grand vizir Chandarli Khalil. A fierce rivalry soon broke
out between Khalil and the tutors of the young sultan for power in Adrianople.
The Byzantine emperor then released the Ottoman pretender Orkhan, who went
to the Dobruja to win over the frontier raiders to his cause. An uprising
of the HurUfI dervishes in Adrianople occurred at the same time, in the summer
of 1444. This chaotic state of affairs in the Ottoman empire was used as
a further argument by those in the Hungarian capital advocating a crusade.
 On August 15, 1444, at Szegedin, by taking the oath in the presence of Balta-oghlu
Suleiman, the sultan's ambassador, king Ladislas completed the formal ratification
of the treaty concluded in Adrianople on June 12.153 The king did so upon
the insistence of the despot, since otherwise Balta-oghlu would not evacuate
and surrender the fortresses in Serbia. On August 4, 1444, while negotiations
continued at Szegedin on this key point, the king proclaimed under oath a
manifesto to the Christian world about his firm decision to continue war
against the Ottomans. The Venetian senate, however, thought this was not
a sufficient guarantee, and decided to act cautiously in its relations with
the sultan. It can be concluded that Ladislas, and Hunyadi in particular,
were determined to continue the war against the Ottomans in 1444, but did
not want to jeopardize their diplomatic success of the recovery of the Serbian
despotate for the sake of a "formality". Besides, cardinal Cesarini assured
the king that an oath sworn to an "infidel" without the pope's approval was
not canonically binding, and reminded him of the possibility of excommunication
if he violated his solemn promises for the crusade. 154 
 The crusaders' army, 16,000 men under Ladislas and Hunyadi, crossed the
Danube near Belgrade on September 18—22, 1444. The Serbian 
 153. Ibid., pp. 1—53; Pall, "Ciriaco d'Ancona," pp. 42-43; idem, "Autour
de la croisade de Varna," p. 152. 
 154. Zinkeisen, Geschichte, I, 672—674. 

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