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

VII: The Ottoman Turks and the Crusades, 1329-1451,   pp. 222-275 PDF (18.9 MB)

Page 267

spring of 1437, culminating in the battle of Bobalna. Ottoman pressure was
one of the excuses to increase the tax burden on the peasantry. The Ottomans
thought it was time to attack and restore their power in the middle Danube
against Hungary. In 1438 the sultan himself at the head of his army invaded
Hungary. According to an Ottoman document133 Murad crossed the Danube at
the Kamen, near Vidin, bombarded Severin, attacked Mehadia and Mühlenbach,
and after following the river Maros (Muresh) laid siege to Hermannstadt (Szeben),
the center of Transylvania, while his raiders forayed all over the land.
He returned through Wallachia and crossed the Danube at Giurgiu. In this
campaign the Serbian and Wallachian princes, as loyal vassals, led the Ottoman
army. The Transylvanian peasantry profited from the Ottoman invasion to take
up arms against their rulers again in 1438.'~~ 
 Believing that Hungarian resistance had collapsed, the Ottomans occupied
the Serbian despotate; Smederevo fell August 27, 1439, and the frontier beg
Isa of Skopije laid siege to Yaytse (Jajce), capital city of Bosnia, and
forced king Tvrtko II to pay a yearly tribute of 2,500 ducats. The Serbian
silver mines at Novo Brdo, vitally important for supplying silver to Italy
via Ragusa, were captured by the Ottomans, and in 1439 the export of silver
to the west was prohibited.'35 In 1440 Murad II, in order to crown his successes,
attempted to capture Belgrade, the gate to central Europe, which had been
occupied and fortified by the Hungarians since 1427. His defeat at Belgrade
and the emergence of John Hunyadi swung the pendulum in the reverse direction.
Hunyadi reorganized the Hungarian frontier forces, and, perhaps more important,
took into his service Hussite mercenary troops who with their wagenburg tactics
were to revolutionize warfare in the Ba!kans. Ottoman raiders, invading Transylvania
under the frontier lord Mezid, were crushed in 1441, and the reinforced Ottoman
army of Rumelia under the beglerbeg Shehãbeddin, which was sent to
make up for the defeat in the following year, failed miserably. Hunyadi's
victories set off vibrations throughout Christian Europe and heightened the
crusading spirit in the west.'36 
 133. Inalcik, "Byzantium and the Origins of the Crisis of 1444 under the
Light of Turkish Sources," Actes du XIIe Congres international des etudes
byzantines, II (Belgrade, 1964), 159— 
134. Stefan Pasco, La Révoltepopulaire de Transylvanie des années
143 7—1438 (Bucharest, 
1964), PP. 34—107. 
 135. The Ottoman conquest of Novo Brdo, a center of silver production, took
place on June 27, 1441; see Jire~ek, Geschichte der Serben, II, 178. 
 136. Pope Eugenius IV (1431—1447) celebrated the victories entailing
"a vast slaughter of the infidels" as signs of God's clemency for Christians;
see Setton, The Papacy, II, 68. 

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