Foxe's Book of Martyrs -- 132. FURTHER CAMPAIGNS OF SOLYMAN

132. FURTHER CAMPAIGNS OF SOLYMAN

Solyman thus put from the hope of victory of Vienna, after he had breathed himself awhile at home, the second year after, which was A. D. 1531, repairing his host, returned again into Hungary, with no less multitude than before; where first he got the town called Gunza, being but slenderly kept with a small garrison. By reason whereof the townsmen and soldiers, yielding themselves unto the Turks, were constrained to agree upon unreasonable conditions.

elchoir Soiterus in his Second Book, writing De bello Pannonico, touching the aforesaid town of Gunza, or Gunzium, differeth herein something from Remus, declaring how this Gunza, being a small town in Hungary, and having in it but only a hundred soldiers (or, as Wolfgangus Drechslerus in his Chronicle reporteth, at the most but two hundred soldiers) under the valiant captain Nicolaus Jureschitz, defended themselves so manfully and wonderfully, through the notable power of God, against the whole puissance of two hundred thousand Turks, that they, being notwithstanding distressed with lack and penury of purveyance, and suddenly of the Turks invaded, yet with pure courage and promptness of heart sustained the uttermost force and violence of thirteen assaults of that great multitude, for the space of twenty-five days together.

Although the narration of the author may seem to some incredible, yet thus he writeth, that what time the great ordnance and battering pieces of the Turks were planted upon two mountains much higher than the town, whereby they within the town were oppressed both before and behind, insomuch that eight ensigns of the Turks were already within the town, yet by the reason of women and children, and other impotent persons, who in the middle of the town were congregated in a house together, such a noise and clamour went up to heaven, praying and crying to God for help, that the Turks within the walls, supposing a new army of fresh soldiers to be sent into the town, for sudden fear voided the town, and leaped down from the walls again, (which before they had got,) whom no man either pursued or resisted; for never a soldier almost was left on the walls, which was not either slain or else wounded with the Turk's ordnance. At what time through the Lord's providence it so happened, that one Ibrahim Besse, near about the Turk, seeing both the town to be small, and the great destruction of the Turks in the siege thereof, and that the captain in no case would yield, persuaded so the Turk, declaring how the town being so little was not worth the loss of so many men, in the winning whereof there was no glory, and if he were repulsed, great dishonour might follow; whereby the Turk being persuaded did follow his counsel, which was this; that Nicolaus, the Christian captain, being called unto him, under pledges and safe-conduct, should receive the town as of his hand and gift, with condition that he should do no violence to his soldiers left behind and wounded, but should procure such means as he could for the recuring of them; and so he raising his siege departed. Another cause might be also, which moved him so suddenly to raise his siege, for that he heard the Palatine not to be far off in pursuing after him; and therefore taking his flight by the mountains of the Noricians, he returned with much spoil of Christian men's goods unto Constantinople.

For so it was provided the same time in Germany, after the council of Augsburg and Ratisbon, (at what time the controversy of religion between the protestants and the papists was deferred and set off to the next general council,) that Charles the Fifth and Ferdinand his brother, having understanding of the Turk thus ranging in Hungary, should collect of the Germans, Hungarians, and Spaniards, and others, an able army of eighty thousand footmen and thirty thousand horsemen, to repulse the invasions of the Turk. But Solyman having intelligence of this preparation of the Christian power coming toward him, whether for fear, or whether to espy further opportunity of time for his more advantage and our detriment, refused at that time to tarry their coming, and so, speeding his return unto Constantinople, retired with much spoil and prey sent before him, as is above premised; which was in the year of our Lord 1532.

Not long after, being the year of our salvation 1534, Solyman intending two wars at once, first sent Conradinus Barbarossa, the admiral of his navies into Africa, to war against the king of Tunis; whom then Barbarossa also dispossessed and deprived of his kingdom; but Charles the emperor, the year next following, A. D. 1535, restored the said king again into his kingdom, and delivered in the same voyage twenty thousand captives out of servitude.

The same time the Turk also sent another captain into Hungary, to war against Vaivoda, while he himself taking his course to Persia, planted his siege against the city Taurus, which he in short space subdued and expugned. Albeit he long enjoyed not the same; for Tahames, king of the Persians, suddenly coming upon the Turks unprepared, slew of them twenty thousand, and took his concubines, to the great foil and reproach of the Turk.

Two years after this, which was the year of our Lord 1537, Solyman, who could not be quiet at home, nor rest in peace, returning again out of Asia into Europe with 270 ships, great and little,set upon Corcyra, another island belonging to the Venetians, which he besieged ten days, wasting and burning the towns and fields as he went, beside the destruction of much people therein, whom partly he slew, partly led away captives. From thence be sailed to Zacinthus and Cythara, another island not far off from Corcyra, bordering near to the coasts of Epirus and Grecia. Where he suddenly by night invading the husbandmen in villages and fields, sleeping and mistrusting no harm, drew them out of their houses and possessions, men and women, besides children, to the number of nine hundred, whom he made his bondslaves; burning moreover their houses, and carrying away all the goods and cattle being without the said city of Zacinthus and Cythara.

From thence these hell-hounds turned their course to the siege and spoil of Egina, a rich and populous island, lying between Grecia and Asia. Where first the Eginians did manfully in battle resist them, and were like to have prevailed; but being wearied at length, and oppressed with innumerable thousands of fresh Turks, which still were sent in, to rescue the other which were overcome before, were compelled to fly unto the city of Egina. Which city the cruel Turks, or rather devils on earth, with much labour, and violence of their great ordnance brought out of their ships, subdued and cast down to the ground; the citizens and inhabitants whereof, the Turk, after he had burned their houses and ransacked their goods, commanded to be slain and killed every one. The women, both noble and unnoble, with their infants, were given to the mariners to be abused, and from thence being shipped unto Constantinople were led away to perpetual misery and slavery, which was in the year of our Lord 1537.

In the same journey Solyman also took the isle in the said sea of Ægeum, called Paros; also the isle adjoining to the same named Naxus, and made them to him tributaries. The duke whereof was he which wrote the story both of these islands aforesaid, and also of the other islands, called Cyclades.

This done, Solyman directed his navy unto Apulia, where he set on land ten thousand footmen, and two thousand horsemen, which spoiled likewise and wasted those parts, while the emperor, the pope, and the Venetians were together in war and dissension. Furthermore, the next year following, A. D. 1538, great attempts began in Stiria, but by the resistance of the inhabitants the force of the barbarous Turks was repulsed, notwithstanding great spoils of men and cattle were carried from thence, and the country miserably spoiled. In the which year also the Turks turning into Hungary, gave battle unto the Christians in Savia; where through fraudulent falsehood of the captain Cassianerus, (Wolfgangus nameth him Calcianus,) being, as they say, corrupted with money, our men were put to the worse, A. D. 1538.

After that the Turks had invaded the island of Corcyra, abovesaid, the Venetians with Solyman the Turk had joined truce for a certain time, for the which they gave the Turk three hundred thousand crowns, with the city Neapolis, and Malvasia, in the borders of Macedonia. But within four or five years, the Turk, to get a new stipend of the Venetians, brake his league, and invaded their dominions; whereby they were enforced to enter new conditions again with him.

In the year of our Lord 1540, the restless Turk making his return toward Hungary, by the way passing by Dalmatia, lay against the town called Newcastle, being defended by the Spaniards. In the which town, because they refused to yield themselves, all the inhabitants and soldiers were put to the sword and slain every one. This Newcastle was a strong fort of the Christians, which being now in the Turk's power, he had great advantage over all those quarters of Dalmatia, Stiria, Carinthia, and Hungary. From thence he proceeded further, keeping his course into Hungary, where he planted his power against the city of Buda.

This Buda was a principal city in Hungary, about which great contention had been (as ye have heard before) between Johannes Vaivoda and Ferdinand. By reason whereof the Turk, occasioned by Vaivoda, came into Hungary, and delivered the city to Vaivoda. This Vaivoda, living not long after, left behind him a son, whom, being an infant, he committed to the government of one Georgius Monachus, who, being left tutor unto the infant, reduced all Transylvania, Buda, Pesta, with other parts of Hungary, which belonged to Vaivoda before, to the subjection of the child. Ferdinand hearing thereof, in a great haste and anger levied an army to recover his lands in Hungary, and so laid siege to Buda. Monachus, seeing his part weak, first sent his legate to Ferdinand, desiring him to talk and confer with him upon matters, as he pretended, pertaining to the behoof of them both. Whereupon both the parties being agreed, the place and manner of their convention was appointed, and also the day and time assigned. Thus the parties, aecording to the agreement, conventing together with their armies, withdrawing a little aside, as they were entered in communication, suddenly among Ferdinand's men happened a dag to be heard, which, by the heat of the day, (as is thought,) loosing of his own accord, gave a crack: the sound whereof coming to the ears of Monachus, he, supposing the same to have been discharged against him, in great anger drew out his sword, bidding Ferdinand avaunt with his doubling dissimulation, saying, that he would never any more trust the promises of Christians, and immediately upon the same sent to Solyman the Turk for aid against the Christians, promising that he would surrender to him free possession of Hungary, if he would come and vanquish the army of Ferdinand, lying about the siege of Buda. The Turk maketh no long tarrying, but taketh the occasion, and with a mighty power flyeth into Hungary, and eftsoons discharging the host of Ferdinand, and putting them off from the siege of Buda, getteth the city into his own hands, commanding the son of Vaivoda, with his mother, to follow after his camp.

In the history of Johannes Ramus it followeth, that when Solyman the Turk had thus prevailed against the city of Buda aforesaid, and against other parts more of Hungary, by the assent of the empire, one Joachimus, duke of Brandenburg, prince elector, was assigned, with a puissant army of chosen soldiers of all nations collected, to recover the city of Buda from the Turk, and to deliver the other parts of Christendom from the fear of the Turk, A. D. 1542. Which Joachimus, at his first setting forth, appeared so courageous and valiant, as though he would have conquered the whole world; but this great heat was so slaked in short time by the Turk, that before any great jeopardy was offered unto him, he was glad to be discharged of the voyage, and with shame enough returned home again. And would God he had left behind him in the fields no more but his own shame. For the enemies, having intelligence before of his cowardly departure, thinking to work some point of mastery or victory before his going, did set upon the right wing of his army, (which chiefly consisted of Dutchmen of low Germany,) out of the which they took away with them above five hundred strong and valiant soldiers, not killing them, but carrying them away alive. For whom it had been much better to have stood to their weapon, and to have died manfully upon the Turks, than by yielding themselves to be disgarnished of weapon and armour, and so to be left to the cursed courtesy of the foul Turks: to whom what courtesy was showed, by the sequel did appear. For after the Turks had led them out of Hungary into their own dominions, after a most horrible and beastly sort they disfigured and mangled them, and so sent them abroad through all Grecia to be witnesses of the Turk's victory. Their kind of punishment was thus: first, they had their right arm thrust through with an iron red hot, whereby they should be unable and unmeet to all labour and warfare. Secondly, their heads were shaven to the very skulls, after the manner of our friars and monks, when they are newly shaven. Thirdly, they had all their privy members cut off from their bodies, to the intent to make them unfruitful for propagation; which wound was so grievous unto them, that the greatest part of them died thereupon, the few that recovered the torment thereof led a life more bitter and more miserable than death itself. And this kind of cruelty was executed in order upon them all. In much like sort did cruel Pharaoh exercise his tyranny against the people of God in Egypt; who, to destroy the generation of them, caused all the male children to be drowned in the river. Whereby it is the more to be hoped, that seeing the tyranny of this Turkish Pharaoh is come to such an extremity, the merciful goodness of God will the more shortly send some Moses or other unto us for our speedy deliverance. This was by the cruel Turks done, A. D. 1542, witnessed by Johannes Ramus, which not only writeth the story, but by the testimony also of his own eyes recordeth the same to he true, beholding with his eyes one of the same number in the city of Vienna, who having wife and children in Brussels, either for shame or sorrow had no mind to return home to his own house.

But to return again to the city of Buda, from whence we have digressed, here is not to be pretermitted what falsehood and what cruelty the Turks used toward the Christians there after their victory. For after that Solyman the Turk, upon yielding and submission of the men of Buda, had given to them his promise of safety and life, within short time the said Turk picking a quarrel with them for selling oxen unto the Christians, and for bargaining with them, slew all the magistrates of the said city of Buda; like as in all other cities, wheresoever the Christians yielded unto him, he never, or very rarely, kept his promise with them, neither did ever any Christians speed better with the Turk, than they which most constantly did resist him.

And as his promise with the magistrates of Buda was false and wretched, so his cruelty with the soldiers thereof was much more notorious and abominable. For in the expugnation of Buda, amongst the rest which were slain, two cohorts or bands of Christian soldiers came alive to his hands. To whom, when he seemed at first to grant pardon of life, he commanded to put on their armour again, and to dispose themselves in order and battle array, after the warlike manner of the Christians. Which when they had accomplished readily, according to his commandment, and he, riding about the ranks of them, had diligently viewed and beholden them a certain space, at length he commanded them to put off their armour again. Which done, certain of the tallest and strongest of them he picked out, the residue he commanded, by his soldiers coming behind them with swords, to be cut in pieces and slain. Of the other, whom he had elected and chosen, some he set for marks and butts to be shot at; some he appointed to his two sons, for them to slash with their swords, and try their strength, which of them could give the deeper wound, and, as they termed it, the fairer blow, whereby the most blood might follow out of their Christian bodies.

After the winning of Buda, the Turk purposing not so to cease, before he had subdued and brought under his obedience all Hungary, proceeding farther with his army, first brought under a strong hold of the Christians, named Pestum, or Pesta, where a great number of Christian soldiers partly were slain, partly were led away to more cruel affliction.

Then he came to another castle called Walpo, situate in the confines of Bosnia, Croatia, and Hungary. Which fort or castle he besieged three months, while no rescue or aid was sent unto them, neither from Ferdinand, king of Hungary, nor from any other Christian prince or princes. Whereupon at length the fort was given up to the Turk; but more through the false treachery or cowardly heart of the soldiers than of the captain. Wherein is to be noted an example not unworthy of memory. For when the cowardly soldiers, either for fear or flattery, would needs surrender themselves and the place unto the Turk, contrary to the mind of the captain, which in no case would agree to their yielding; they, thinking to find favour with the Turk, apprehended their captain, and gave him to Solyman. But see how the justice of God, sometimes by the hands of the enemy, disposeth the end of things to the rewarding of virtue and punishing of vice. For where they thought to save themselves by the danger of the faithful captain, the event turned clean contrary, so that the Turk was to the captain bountiful and very liberal; and the soldiers, notwithstanding that they had all yielded themselves, yet were all put to death, and commanded piteously to be slain.

Illustration -- Battle between Turks and Christians

There is in Hungary another town, bearing the name of Five-churches, called Quinque-ecclesiæ, which being partly spoiled before, as is above mentioned, which now through the loss of Walpo, and by the hugeness of the Turk's army, containing in it two hundred and twenty thousand fighting men, so discouraged, and put out of hope and heart, that the bishop and chief nobles of the town fled before the jeopardy; the rest of the commons, which were partly prevented by the sudden coming of the Turks, partly for poverty could not avoid, sent their messengers to the Turk, to yield and surrender the town, upon promise of life, unto his hands. Whose promise how firm it stood, the story leaveth it uncertain. This is affirmed, that three days after the yielding of this Quinque-ecclesiæ, never a Turk durst enter the city, A. D. 1543.

The next fort or hold gotten by the Turks in Hungary was Soclosia. The town at the first invasion of the Turks was won, sacked, and fired. The castle within the town did something hold out for a time, and first requiring truce for fourteen days, to see what aid should be sent unto them, to deliberate upon the conditions that should be proposed unto them, after the fourteen days expired, they, trusting to the situation and munition of the place, which was very strong, began for a certain space stoutly to put back the enemy. But afterward seeing their walls to be battered, their foundations to shake, for the Turk had set twelve thousand under-miners under the ditches of the castle, and their strength to diminish, and misdoubting themselves not to be able long to hold out, agreed in like manner to yield themselves, upon condition to escape with life and goods; which condition of saving their goods was the losing of their lives, especially of the richer sort. For the Turks perceiving by that condition that they were of wealth and substance, omitting the inferior or baser sort, fell upon the wealthy men for their riches, and slew them every one, A. D. 1543.

In the which history, this is also to be noted, that during the time while the castle of Soclosia was besieged, the villages and pagans [i. e. villagers] round about the same came of their own accord, submitting and yielding themselves unto the Turk, bringing in, as they were commanded, all kind of victual and forage into the Turk's camp. Which done, Solyman the Turk commanded all the head men of the pagans to appear before him; which humbly obeyed and came. Then the Turk warned them to return again the next day after, every one bringing with him his inferior retinue, and household servants. Which when they had with like diligence also according to his commandment accomplished, the Turk immediately commanded them every one, in the face of his whole army, to be slain, and so was this their reward. Which reward, the more that it declareth the bloody cruelty of the Turk, the more courage it may minister to our men, the more constantly to withstand him.

Another strong town there is in Hungary, named Strigonium, distant from Buda abovesaid the space of five Dutch miles, against the which the Turks made great preparation of ordnance, and all other instruments of artillery necessary for the siege thereof. Which city in like manner began also to be compassed and enclosed by the Turks, before it could be sufficiently prepared and garnished of our men, but that the archbishop only of Strigon privily conveyed unto them two hundred oxen. Such was then the negligence of Ferdinand, king of Hungary, which so slenderly looked unto the necessary defence of his towns and cities. Moreover, such was the discord then of Christian kings and princes, which in their civil dissension and wars were so occupied and hot in needless quarrels, that they had neither leisure nor remembrance to help in time there where true need required. Which slender care and cold zeal of the Christian rulers, not in tendering the public cause, while they contended in private trifles, hath caused the Turk to come so far as he hath, and yet farther is like, unless the mercy of the Lord do help more than our diligence. One of the chief captains within the city, was Martinus Lascanus, a Spaniard.

The Turks in the beginning of the siege, began first to tempt the citizens with fair words and accustomed promises, to yield and gently to submit themselves. But they, not ignorant of the Turk's promises, wisely refused, and manfully stood so long as they could to the defence of the city; now and then skirmishing with them in out-corners, and killing certain numbers of them; sometime with their shot disturbing their munitions, and breaking the wheels of their guns, &c.

Three special means the Turks use in winning great forts and cities: great multitude of soldiers; great ordnance and mortar pieces; the third is by undermining. All which here in the siege of this city lacked not. This siege continued vehement a certain space; in which the Strigonians had borne out four strong assaults, and slew many thousands of the Turks, till at length the Turks either departing away, or else seeming to depart unto Buda, the people at last being so persuaded and made to believe of some chief rulers of the city, (peradventure not the truest men,) the citizens being erected with hope and comfort, and singing Te Deum, as though the city had been free from all danger, suddenly (by whose counsel it is unknown) conveyed themselves all out of the city; three hundred horsemen also passed over the river and departed. The Italians which were under Franciscus Salamanca, a Spanish captain, hardly could be persuaded by him to abide, which were in all scarce six hundred.

Within three days after, three hundred German soldiers, with two ships laden with shot, powder, and artillery, were privily let into the town; so that of our men in all there were scarce one thousand three hundred soldiers. Who, seeing the small quantity of their number, burning and casting down the town and suburbs, took them to the castle; from whence they beat off the Turks valiantly with their ordnance a good space, and with wild-fire destroyed great companies of them, till at last they seeing their walls to fail them, and the whole castle to shake by undermining, but especially by the working of a certain Italian surnamed Presbyter, they gave over. This Italian, whether for fear or, falsehood, secretly, unknown to the rest of the soldiers, accompanied with two other, conveyed himself down from the walls, and being brought into the tents of the next captain or Bassa of the Turks, there in the name of all his fellows convented with the Turks, to give up to them the castle; whereupon the Turks were bid to cease the shooting. This Italian shortly after with two other Turks was sent back to Salamanca his captain, with the Turk's message. The going out of this Italian being privy to the residue of his fellows, eontrary to the laws and discipline of war, although it seemed to come of his own head; yet, forasmuch as the other soldiers were not so sure, but rather suspected lest the other Italians his countrymen had been in some part of consent therein, and would take his part; they neither durst offer him any harm for that his doing, nor yet could well advise with themselves what was best to do, for fear of privy confederacy within themselves.

Thus while Lascanus, the chief captain of the Christians aforesaid, with his fellow soldiers, were in a maze what to do, or not to do; in the mean time came one running, who, giving a sign both to the Christians and to the Turks to hold their hands and weapons, for that it was against all law of war to fight after peace and truce taken; our men, as they were commanded, went into the inward tower. The Turks in the mean time had got into the castle, and occupied all the utter parts. Then was Salamanca, by the consent of the rest, sent out to the Turk, who there being stayed that night; the next morrow the Turk's bull or warrant was sent into the castle, permitting free liberty to the Christians to depart with bag and baggage. Who now being ready to depart, first were commanded by the Turks, compassing them round about, to cast from them their dags, lances, and battle-axes into the trench. Then coming to the gate to go out, their swords were taken from them, looking then for nothing but present death.

At last when they were come a little further, other were sent to them to discharge them of their helmets, their targets, cuirasses, and whatsoever piece of harness was about them. Whereupon great fear came upon them, lest some great cruelty should be showed upon them. Solyman, after he had long deliberated with himself, whether to kill them or not, at last, contrary to all expectation, granted their lives; but before they should be dismissed, he first caused them, in derision of Christianity, to be baited with scorns and mocks throughout all the Turkish army, and so the next day commanded them, being stripped out of their coats and apparel, to be reduced again into the castle by companies, setting over them certain Turks with cudgels and bats to lay upon their backs and sides, causing them to bury the dead carcasses, and to gather up the rubbish broken down from the castle walls, and to scour the ditches. Which done, the next day following he demanded of them, by an interpreter, whether they would enter wages with him, and take horse and armour to serve him in his wars; which condition divers for fear were contented to take, seeing no other remedy to avoid present death. Some neither by menacing words, nor for fear of any death, could be compelled thereunto; of whom certain, which stood stoutly in refusing thereof, were presently slain, whom I may worthily recite in the number and catalogue of holy martyrs.

Of the aforesaid Christians, part were carried over the river Danube, not without great villany, and contumely most despiteful. For some had their wives taken from them, and carried away; some had their wives ravished before their face; and such as made or showed any resistance thereat, had their wives before them cast into the river and drowned; also their infants and young children, being appointed by the Turks to the abominable order of the Janizaries, mentioned before, their parents not consenting thereunto, were precipitated and thrown into the river and drowned. All which things are testified by John Martinus Stella, in his Epistles, in print extant, written to his two brethren, William and Michael, &c. Which Martin Stella moreover addeth and affirmeth this, That he himself, being the same time at Vienna, did see one of the aforesaid wives, who being holden fast by the hair of the head, yet notwithstanding, having her hair plucked off, cast herself into the river Danube for the singular love to her husband, and so swam to the ship where he was. And thus this miserable company of Germans, Spaniards, and Italians mixed together, macerated with labours, with hunger pined, with watchings, dolours, and sorrow consumed, came at length to Schinda.

When the tidings thereof was noised at Vienna, partly with fear and dread, partly with indignation, all men's hearts were moved and vexed diversely. Some thought them not worthy to be received into their city, showing themselves so dastardly and cowardly. Others thought again that mercy was to be showed unto them, and commended their fact, for that they being so few, and unfurnished of aid, neither able to match by any means with such an innumerable multitude of the Turks, kept themselves till better time might serve them. But howsoever the matter was to be thought of, the captains brought the poor remnant of that rueful company unto Possidonium, where the said captains were laid fast, and there kept in durance, to render account of the whole matter how it was wrought and handled. And thus have ye the lamentable story of Strigonium.

{Ornamental Cpaital ?130}he Turk proceeding in his victories conducted his army next unto Tath, and to the parts lying near about Comaron. This Tath was also a strong hold in Hungary, wherein were placed certain garrisons, partly of the Germans, partly of the Italians. The chieftain of the Italians was one Annibal Tasso, constituted by Philippus Tornelius. This Tasso was a man well expert in prowess of war; but of a filthy, corrupt life, and also a foul swearer, and horrible blasphemer of God and his saints. To make the story short, this fort of Tath, before any siege was laid unto it, was yielded and given up to the Turks; upon what conditions, or by whose means, the author showeth not. Thus much he showeth, that the said Annibal shortly upon the same, returning into Italy, was commanded by Tornelius, aforesaid, to be apprehended and beheaded.

After the Turks had subverted and destroyed the fort of Tath, they turned their power against Alba, surnamed Regalis, for that the kings of Hungary, have been always wont there to be crowned and buried. This Alba is a little well-compacted city in Hungary, having on the one side a marsh somewhat boggy or fenny, which made the town less assaultable. But near to the same was a wood, from the which the Turks every day with six hundred carts brought such matter of wood, and trees felled for the same purpose, in the marsh, that within less than twelve days they made it apt and hard to their feet, which the townsmen thought never could be gone upon but only in the hard frosts of winter. At the first beginning of the siege there stood a little without the munitions, in the front of the city, a certain church or monastery, which the citizens pretending to maintain and keep against the Turks, had privily conveyed light matter easily to take flame, with powder, in secret places thereof, and had hid also fire withal. Which done, they (as against their wills being driven back) withdrew themselves within the munitions, waiting the occasions when this fire would take. Thus the Turks having the possession of the church, suddenly the fire coming to the powder, raised up the church, and made a great scatter and slaughter among the barbarous Turks. This was not so soon espied of them within the town, but they issued out upon them in this disturbance, and slew of them a great number. Among whom divers of their nobles also the same time were slain, and one Bassa, a eunuch, which was of great estimation with the Turks. Moreover, in the same skirmish was taken one of those gunners which the French king is said to have sent to the Turk a little before. Which if it be true, let the Christian reader judge what is to be thought of those Christian princes, which not only forsaking the common cause of Christ's church, joined league with the Turk, but also sent him gunners to set forward his wars to the destruction of Christ's people, and to the shedding of their blood, for whom they know the blood of Christ to be shed. If this be not true, I show mine author; if it be, then let the pope see and mark well how this title of Christianissimus can well agree with such doings.

But to let this matter sleep, although the Turks (as ye heard) had won the fen with their policy and industry, against the city of Alba, yet all this while the Albanians were nothing inferior to their enemies, through the valiant help and courageous endeavour of Octavianus Scruzatus, a captain of Milan: by whose prudent counsel and constant standing, the busy enterprises of the Turks did little prevail a long time, till at length suddenly arose a thick fog or mist upon the city, whereas round about besides the sun did shine bright. Some said it came by art magical, but rather it may appear to rise out of the fen or marsh, being so pressed down with men's feet and other matter laid upon it.

The Turks, using the occasion of this misty darkness, in secret-wise approaching the walls, had got up to a certain fortress where the Germans were, before our men could well perceive them; where they pressed in so thick, and in such number, that albeit the Christian soldiers, standing strongly to the defence of their lives, did what valiant men, in cases of such extremity, were able to do; yet being overmatched by the multitude of the Turks, and the suddenness of their coming, gave back, seeking to retire into the inward walls. Which when their other fellows did seek to rescue, then was there flying of all hands, every man striving to get into the city. There was between the outward walls, or vaumures, and inward gate of the city, a strait or narrow passage, cast up in the manner of a bank or causeway, ditched on both sides; which passage or ingress happened the same time to be barred and stopped. By reason whereof the poor soldiers were forced to cast themselves into the ditch, thinking to swim as well as they could into the city; where many of them sticking in the mud were drowned, one pressing upon another; many were slain of their enemies coming behind them, they having neither heart nor power to resist. A few which could swim out, were received into the city, but the chief captains and warders of the town were there slain.

The citizens, being destitute of their principal captains and warriors, were in great perplexity and doubt among themselves what to do, some thinking good to yield, some counselling the contrary. Thus while the minds of the citizens were distracted in divers and doubtful sentences, the magistrates minding to stand to the Turk's gentleness, sent out one of their heads unto the Turk, who in the name of them all should surrender to him the city, and become unto him tributaries, upon condition they might enjoy liberty of life and goods; which being to them granted, after the Turkish faith and assurance, first the soldiers which were left within the city, putting off their armour, were discharged and sent away. Who being but only three hundred left of four ensigns of Italians, and of one thousand Germans, by the way were laid for by the Tartarians for hope of their spoil, so that they, scattering asunder one one way, another another, to save themselves as well as they could, fled every one what way he thought best. Of whom, some wandering in woods and marshes fainted for famine, some were taken and slain by the Hungarians, a few with bare and empty and withered bodies, more like ghosts than men, escaped and came to Vienna. And this befell upon the soldiers.

Now understand what happened to the yielding citizens. So in the story it followeth, that when the Turk had entered the town, and had visited the sepulchre of the kings, for three or four days he pretended much clemency toward the citizens, as though he came not to oppress them, but to be revenged of Ferdinand their king, and to deliver them from the servitude of the Germans. On the fourth day all the chief and head men of the city were commanded to appear before the Turk in a plain not far from the city, where the condemned persons before were wont to be executed, as though they should come to swear unto the Turk. At this commandment of the Turk, when the citizens in great number and in their best attire were assembled; the Turk, contrary to his faith and promise, commanded suddenly a general slaughter to be made of them all. And this was the end of the citizens of Alba.

In the mean time, during the siege of Alba, the Hungarians, meeting sometimes with the horsemen of the Tartarians, which were sent out to stop their victuals from the city, slew of them at one bickering three thousand Turks. In which story is also reported and mentioned of mine author, a horrible sight and example of misery, concerning a certain captain, (a Christian belike,) who coming unto Vienna, was found to have in his scrip or satchel the half of a young child of two years old, which remained yet uneaten, the other half being eaten before, A. D. 1543.

Next after this was expugned the castle of Pappa by the Turks. Let the castle now of Papa take heed lest one day it follow after.

The like fidelity the Turks also kept with the fort of Wizigradum, and the soldiers thereof. This Wizigradum is situate in the mid-way between Buda and Strigonium. Of the which fort or castle the highest tower so mounteth upon the hill, that unless it be for famine and lack of water, they have not to dread any enemy. Notwithstanding, so it happened, that the lower place being won, they in the higher tower abiding four days without drink, were compelled, with liberty granted of life and goods, to yield themselves. But the devilish Turks, keeping no faith nor promise, slew them every one; only Petrus Amandus, the captain of the place, excepted; who privily was conveyed by the captain of the Turks out of the slaughter, A. D. 1544.

To these, moreover, may be added the winning of Novum Castellum, in Dalmatia, where he slew all that were within, both soldiers and other, for that they did not yield themselves in time. Thus the Turk, whether they yielded to him or not, never spared the people and flock of Christ.

As the false and cruel Turk was thus raging in Hungary, and intended further to rage without all mercy and pity of the Christians, and easily might then have prevailed and gone whither he would, for that Charles the emperor, and Francis the French king, were the same time in war and hostility, and also other Christian princes, as Henry, duke of Brunswick, against John Frederic, duke of Saxony, also princes and rulers were contending among themselves; behold the gracious providence of our Lord and God toward us, who, seeing the misery, and having pity of his poor Christians, suddenly, as with a snaffle, reined this raging beast, and brought him out of Europe into his own country again, by occasion of the Persians, who were then in great preparation of war against the Turks, and had invaded his dominion. By reason whereof the Turks were kept there occupied, fighting with the Persians a long continuance. Which wars at length being achieved and finished, (wherein the said Turk lost great victories, with slaughter of many thousands of his Turks,) he was not only provoked by the instigation of certain evil disposed Hungarians, but also occasioned by the discord of Christian princes, to return again into Europe, in hope to subdue all the parts thereof unto his dominion. Whereunto when he had levied an army incredible of such a multitude of the Turks, as the like hath not lightly been heard of, see again the merciful providence and protection of our God toward his people. As the Turk was thus intending to set forward with his innumerable multitude against the Christians, the hand of the Lord sent such a pestilence through all the Turk's army and dominions, reaching from Bithynia, and from Thrace to Macedonia and also to Hungary, that all the Turk's possessions seemed almost nothing else but as a heap of dead corpses, whereby his voyage for that time was stopped, and he almost compelled to seek a new army.

Besides this plague of the Turks aforesaid, which was worse to them than any war, other lets also and domestical calamities, through God's providence, happened unto Solyman, the great rover and robber of the world, which stayed him at home from vexing the Christians, especially touching his eldest son Mustapha.

This Mustapha being hated, and partly feared, of Rustanus the chief counsellor about the Turk, and of Rosa the Turk's concubine, and after his wife, was divers times complained of to his father, accused, and at length so brought into suspicion and displeasure of the Turk's by them aforesaid; that in conclusion, his father caused him to be sent for to his pavilion, where six Turks with visors were appointed to put him to death; who, coming upon him, put (after their manner) a small cord or bowstring full of knots about his neck, and so throwing him down upon the ground, not suffering him to speak one word to his father, with the twitch thereof throttled and strangled him to death, his father standing in a secret corner by, and beholding the same. Which fact being perpetrated, afterward when the Turk would have given to another son of his and of Rosa, called Gianger, the treasures, horse, armour, ornaments, and the province of Mustapha his brother; Gianger crying out for sorrow of his brother's death, "Fie of thee," saith he to his father, "thou impious and wretched dog, traitor, murderer, I cannot call thee father, take the treasures, the horse and armour of Mustapha to thyself;" and with that taking out his dagger, thrust it through his own body. And thus was Solyman murderer and parricide of his own sons; which was the year of our Lord 1552.

Wherein, notwithstanding, is to be noted the singular providence and love of the Lord toward his afflicted Christians. For this Mustapha, as he was courageous and greatly expert and exercised in all practice of war, so had he a cruel heart, maliciously set to shed the blood of Christians. Wherefore great cause have we to congratulate, and to give thanks to God, for the happy taking away of this Mustapha. And no less hope also and good eomfort we may conceive of our loving Lord hereby ministered unto us, to think that our merciful God, after these sore afflictions of his Christians under these twelve Turks before recited, now after this Solyman intendeth some gracious good work to Christendom, to reduce and release us out of this so long and miserable Turkish captivity, as may be hoped now by taking away these young imps of this impious generation, before they should come to work their conceived malice against us; the Lord therefore be glorified and praised. Amen.

Previous Next