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Zacour, N. P.; Hazard, H. W. (ed.) / The impact of the Crusades on Europe
(1989)

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


Page 266

266 A HISTORY OF THE CRUSADES132. lorga, Geschichte, I, 417. 
throughout Italy as the defender of the faith and of Europe. In 1450 pope
Nicholas V (1447—1455) called on all the Christian powers to assist
him. Scanderbeg finally had to acknowledge the suzerainty of king Alfonso
I of Naples (March 26, 1451) and agree to hand Croia over to the king's forces.
In 1457 pope Calixtus III appointed Scanderbeg "captain-general of the Holy
See". But historical reality was far from the Christian or humanistic Europe's
image of him. Most of the time he acted as a mercenary or clan chief subsidized
by Venice, the king of Naples, or the pope. Also, far from achieving national
unity, he restricted his sphere of activity to northern Albania. Once, in
1438, an Ottoman subashi of Croia himself, he had rebelled against the sultan
in 1443 to recover his father's domains, when the Ottoman sovereignty in
the Balkans was on the verge of collapse. Scanderbeg's ambition was often
challenged by other Albanian clan chiefs, resulting in local feuds. 
 While the Ottomans and the Italian powers, including the papacy, confronted
each other in the sensitive area of Albania, the real front of the struggle
between Christian Europe and the Ottoman empire was the middle Danube, though
these two fronts were often connected, as when in 1434 Sigismund made contact
with the defeated Albanian lords. Later, in 1448, John Hunyadi would try
to combine his operations in the Balkans with Scanderbeg's. After the capture
of Thessalonica, the Ottoman pressure had increased to strengthen Turkish
control of the buffer states of Wallachia, Serbia, and Bosnia. Through his
embassy in 1431, Sigismund had in his turn asked the sultan to recognize
his overlordship of these countries. 
 In 1434 the Hungarian king got the upper hand in the struggle for supremacy
by receiving in his court the allegiance of the rulers of Serbia and Bosnia,
and the king's protégé, Vlad II "the Devil" (or "the Dragon",
Dracul), replaced the Ottoman favorite, his brother Aldea, in Wallachia.
The following year Shãhrukh's renewed campaign against the Karakoyunlu
in eastern Anatolia and the Karamanid attack against the Ottomans were most
encouraging news for the king.'32 Shährukh invited all the Anatolian
emirs, including Murad II, to recognize his overlordship in July 1435. To
punish the Karamanids, Murad waited for the return of Shãhrukh with
his powerful army to Central Asia. 
 Sigismund died January 9, 1437, and Hungary plunged into an internal crisis
over the succession. A terrible peasant insurrection against excessive exploitation
by feudal lords broke out in Transylvania in the 


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