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Battle of Sisak

Battle of Sisak

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The Battle of Sisak was fought on June 22, 1593, between Ottoman
Ottoman Empire
The Ottoman EmpireIt was usually referred to as the "Ottoman Empire", the "Turkish Empire", the "Ottoman Caliphate" or more commonly "Turkey" by its contemporaries...

 forces of the Bosnian governor-general, or Beylerbeyi, Hasan-paša Predojević
Hasan Predojević
Hasan Predojević, Telli Hasan Paşa, Gazi Hasan-paša Predojević, was a military leader of the Ottoman army. Born Niko Predojević in Herzegovina, he was given the name Hasan after he converted to Islam.During the rule of Murat III he became Sandjakbey of the Sanjak of Segedin where he stayed until...

, and forces of the Holy Roman Empire under the supreme command of the Styrian
Duchy of Styria
The history of Styria concerns the region roughly corresponding to the modern Austrian state of Styria and the Slovene region of Styria from its settlement by Germans and Slavs in the Dark Ages until the present...

 general Ruprecht von Eggenberg
Ruprecht von Eggenberg
Ruprecht von Eggenberg was an Austrian colonel-general from the Duchy of Styria in Inner Austria, part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was a member of the Eggenberger family and cousin to Prince Hans Ulrich von Eggenberg.-Military career:He chose a military career early on in his life...

. The Croatian troops were led by the Ban of Croatia
Ban of Croatia
Ban of Croatia was the title of local rulers and after 1102 viceroys of Croatia. From earliest periods of Croatian state, some provinces were ruled by Bans as a rulers representative and supreme military commander. In the 18th century, Croatian bans eventually become chief government officials in...

, Tamás Erdődy, and some forces from the Duchy of Carniola
Duchy of Carniola
The Duchy of Carniola was an administrative unit of the Holy Roman Empire and the Habsburg Monarchy from 1364 to 1918. Its capital was Ljubljana...

 and the Duchy of Carinthia
Duchy of Carinthia
The Duchy of Carinthia was a duchy located in southern Austria and parts of northern Slovenia. It was separated from the Duchy of Bavaria in 976, then the first newly created Imperial State beside the original German stem duchies....

 were led by Andreas von Auersperg
Andreas von Auersperg
Andreas von Auersperg, Lord of Schönberg und Seisenberg was a Carniolan noble and leader of the defending forces at the Battle of Sisak in 1593....

 , nicknamed the "Carniolian Achilles".
The battle took place at Sisak
Sisak
Sisak is a city in central Croatia. The city's population in 2011 was 33,049, with a total of 49,699 in the administrative region and it is also the administrative centre of the Sisak-Moslavina county...

, now central Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

, at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Kupa and resulted in a crushing defeat for the Ottomans thus triggering the Long War
Long War (Ottoman wars)
The Long War took place from 1591 or 1593 to 1604 or 1606 and was one of the numerous military conflicts between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire that developed after the Battle of Mohács.- History :The major participants of this war were the Habsburg Monarchy ,...

.



Background


Although the central authorities of both the Ottoman Empire and Austria were rather reluctant to fight each other after several campaigns on Hungarian and Moldovian land and four renewals of the 1547 truce, large scale raids were being mounted into each other’s territories: There had been numerous raids into Hungary by Akinci
Akinci
Akıncı were irregular light cavalry,scout divisions and advance troops of the Ottoman Empire's military. When the pre-existing Turkish ghazis were incorporated into the Ottoman Empire's military they became known as "akıncı." They were one of the first divisions to face the opposing military and...

, the irregular Turkish light cavalry, and on the other hand, Uskok
USKOK
USKOK is a Croatian government institution. It is a State Attorney office specialized in corruption and organized crime.USKOK started work in December 2001...

s (Christian refugees from Croatia, Dalmatia, Serbia and Albania) were being encouraged to conduct raids into Ottoman territory on the Balkans. "These Uskok raids became so damaging that the Bosnian provincial forces replied with a savage raid across the Urina and Sava, capturing a number of major Habsburg forts and taking so much booty" that the Habsburg Empire had to react. According to Stanford J. Shaw "the emperor renounced the peace treaty (October 1592) and sent a force that routed the Ottomans at Sissek/Siska."

Battle


In spring 1593, without a declaration of war, the Governor-General of Bosnia, Hasan Pasha, with his provincial army crossed the Kupa River, then the border between Ottomans and Austria as agreed upon in a treaty concluded between Habsburg and the High Porte at Adrianople (present day: Edirne
Edirne
Edirne is a city in Eastern Thrace, the northwestern part of Turkey, close to the borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne served as the capital city of the Ottoman Empire from 1365 to 1453, before Constantinople became the empire's new capital. At present, Edirne is the capital of the Edirne...

) only a year earlier. Pounding the massed attackers with heavy artillery fire, the Austrian, Carniolan and Croat defenders broke the Ottoman siege and repulsed the enemy back towards the Kupa river. Caught in the middle between two Christian army flanks, the attackers panicked and started a chaotic retreat. Disintegrating under the unending cannonade, the bulk of the army with all the commanders are said to have been slaughtered or drowned in the Kupa river.

The Bosniak kapetan of the Ottoman force, Hasan Predojević
Hasan Predojević
Hasan Predojević, Telli Hasan Paşa, Gazi Hasan-paša Predojević, was a military leader of the Ottoman army. Born Niko Predojević in Herzegovina, he was given the name Hasan after he converted to Islam.During the rule of Murat III he became Sandjakbey of the Sanjak of Segedin where he stayed until...

, did not survive the battle. The figures concerning the Ottoman losses vary from 8,000 to a bragging and vainglorious 20,000, as legend has it, which contrasts sharply with one author’s statement that there was only a total of 12,000 Ottoman troops involved who faced 5,000 Croats reinforced by forces from Styria and Carniola. Christian losses are said to have numbered only between 40–50 men.

Christian Europe, which after relieving Spain of the Arabic Muslims had identified the Ottoman Empire with the Islamic menace, was delighted at the reports of such an allegedly grandiose victory. King Philip II of Spain
Philip II of Spain
Philip II was King of Spain, Portugal, Naples, Sicily, and, while married to Mary I, King of England and Ireland. He was lord of the Seventeen Provinces from 1556 until 1581, holding various titles for the individual territories such as duke or count....

 congratulated and Pope Clement VIII
Pope Clement VIII
Pope Clement VIII , born Ippolito Aldobrandini, was Pope from 30 January 1592 to 3 March 1605.-Cardinal:...

 praised the Christian military leaders. The traditional daily ringing of the small bell of Zagreb
Zagreb
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. It is in the northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slopes of the Medvednica mountain. Zagreb lies at an elevation of approximately above sea level. According to the last official census, Zagreb's city...

 cathedral at 2 p.m. is in memory of the battle as it was the bishop of Zagreb who had borne the major part of the costs of the fortress of Sisak.

Consequences


On July 29, 1593, the Ottoman ruler, Sultan Murad III
Murad III
Murad III was the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire from 1574 until his death.-Biography:...

, declared war on Emperor Rudolf II
Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor
Rudolf II was Holy Roman Emperor , King of Hungary and Croatia , King of Bohemia and Archduke of Austria...

. The result was a redress of the balance of power along the Croat-Ottoman border, which, since the Battle of Krbava field
Battle of Krbava field
The Battle of Krbava field , was fought between the Ottoman Empire of Bayezid II and a Croatian army of the Kingdom of Croatia in personal union with the Kingdom of Hungary on September 9, 1493 in the Krbava field, a part of Lika region, southern Croatia...

 a century before in 1493, had been in total disequilibrium in favour of the High Porte

The defeat brought the expansion of the Ottoman Empire into Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

 to a temporary halt and allowed Croatia
Croatia
Croatia , officially the Republic of Croatia , is a unitary democratic parliamentary republic in Europe at the crossroads of the Mitteleuropa, the Balkans, and the Mediterranean. Its capital and largest city is Zagreb. The country is divided into 20 counties and the city of Zagreb. Croatia covers ...

 and Inner Austria
Inner Austria
Inner Austria was a term used from the late 14th to the early 17th century for the Habsburg hereditary lands south of the Semmering Pass, referring to the duchies of Styria, Carinthia, Carniola and the Windic March, the County of Gorizia , the city of Trieste and assorted smaller possessions...

 with the duchies of Styria, Carinthia and Carniola
Carniola
Carniola was a historical region that comprised parts of what is now Slovenia. As part of Austria-Hungary, the region was a crown land officially known as the Duchy of Carniola until 1918. In 1849, the region was subdivided into Upper Carniola, Lower Carniola, and Inner Carniola...

 to remain free from Turkish control, while the Habsburg
Habsburg
The House of Habsburg , also found as Hapsburg, and also known as House of Austria is one of the most important royal houses of Europe and is best known for being an origin of all of the formally elected Holy Roman Emperors between 1438 and 1740, as well as rulers of the Austrian Empire and...

s managed to affirm their position in those territories. Due to supply difficulties, however, the Austrians did not really manage to put this local victory to proper use, which allowed Ottomans to recover quickly and retaliate so that the ensuing war, the Second Habsburg-Ottoman War, Long War
Long War (Ottoman wars)
The Long War took place from 1591 or 1593 to 1604 or 1606 and was one of the numerous military conflicts between the Habsburg Monarchy and the Ottoman Empire that developed after the Battle of Mohács.- History :The major participants of this war were the Habsburg Monarchy ,...

, or Thirteen Years' War, did not end until the Peace of Zsitvatorok, or Žitava in November 1606. A 50-year period of comparable peace followed, beneficial to both sides which were then able to concentrate on internal problems.

Interpretation of the Significance


As the Battle of Sisak took place on Croatian territory and the main body of the Christian defenders consisted of Croatian troops, the victory has ever since played a major role in the traditional interpretation of the history of Croatia. As fighters from neighbouring Carniola re-enforced the defenders, it is Slovenian tradition to claim a major share in the victory. There are even Slovene sources that mention one nobleman Adam Rauber, "who entered history as the winner in the Battle of Sisak" . without even mentioning any Austrian or Croat commanders or troops.

Both in Croatia and in Slovenia the fact that after this battle no serious incursion into Croatian or Slovene territory by Ottoman raiders took place is generally attributed to this victory, which is declared to have even spared much of Western Europe the Turkish yoke. From both the Croat and Slovene points of view the battle was the decisive turning point in Christian-Muslim relations, a splendid historic victory by which, practically, the whole of Christian Europe was relieved of great danger.

This battle meant the final victory over the 300-years-old Turkish nuisance, which had much too long hindered the progress of the then Duchy of Kranjsko (Carniola) as the bastion of the entire Western Europe. The victory over the more than three times stronger Turkish troops practically brought salvation to the whole Christian Europe,

However, there are also more reasonable interpretations: We cannot accept and agree that "the two-hour long battle" against the Turks at Sisak, in which Slovenes were also involved, should be celebrated with such fervour.

Recent analysis of several hitherto unknown or unused Ottoman sources has shown that there seems to have been a conflict of interest between the policy of the central Ottoman administration and the aims of Hasan Pasha, the belligerent Governor-General of Ottoman Bosnia. It appears that the struggle for more land and power was an important incentive for the offensive action on the side of the Bosnian sipahi
Sipahi
Sipahi was the name of several Ottoman cavalry corps...

s, an action which at that time was not really in accordance with Constantinople/ Istanbul. The Sultan, on the other hand, may have felt that such an embarrassing defeat even of a vassal acting off his own bat could not go unavenged if he himself was not to lose face.

Whichever way one looks at it, whether it is seen as a major victory of Christian defenders over Islamic aggressors, or a bloody, yet minor combat between neighbouring provinces, the Battle of Sisak was the prelude to the long Second Ottoman-Habsburg War, and both empires experienced six more of such wars until 1791: 1592–1606, 1660–1664, 1683–1699, 1716–1718, 1737–1739 and 1788–1791.

Literature

  • Stanford J. Shaw (1976), History of the Ottoman Empire and Modern Turkey: Vol. 1: Empire of Gazis, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-29163-1.
  • Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall, Geschichte des Osmanischen Reiches Großentheils aus bisher unbenützten Handschriften und Archiven. Vol.4: Vom Regierungsantritte Murad des Dritten bis zur zweyten Entthronung Mustafa des Ersten 1574 - 1623, Budapest: C. A. Hartleben, 1829. Reprint: Graz: Akademische Druck-u. Verlagsanstalt, 1963.
  • Alfred H. Loebl, Das Reitergefecht bei Sissek vom 22. Juni 1593. Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung IX (1915), pp. 767–787.(German)
  • Peter Radics, Die Schlacht bei Sissek, 22. Juni 1593, Ljubljana: Josef Blasnik,1861 (German)

External links