Activities in the gun-foundry of the Sultan (Tophâne-i Âmire)in the early 16th century
One of the important questions in the literature on Ottoman military history is when they started using guns in the Turkish army at all. Western and Turkish historians hold differing views on the subject. Most recent researches in Turkish archives and the studies based on them indicate that the first period of the Ottoman artillery can be dated to the late 14th and the early 15th centuries.
The paper directs attention to the importance of the sources concerning the economic history of this early period which are expected to yield further information on the development of Ottoman artillery.
The rest of the paper introduces the activities of the gun-foundry of the Sultan (Tophâne-i Âmire). The author discusses the military events during the time of Yavuz Sultan Selim, such as the Persian campaign with the battle of Çaldiran as well as the military operations against Egypt, connecting to them the data concerning the guns founded and carried to the battlefield during the said military operations. The paper provides numerical data on the size of the material burden a major Turkish campaign placed on the central administrative apparatus. It is possible to see what immense sums the Ottoman Empire was able to invest in order to have the most up-to-date military branch at its disposal on the battlefield.
Using the same methods, the author discusses the military campaigns of Kânunî Sultan Süleymân and the activity of the gun-foundry in the Tophâne. It would seem from the data that 1014 guns of various sizes were cast in the Tophâne between the capture of Belgrade (1522) and the battle of Mohács (1526). There is no information concerning the number of old cannons in battle order at the time, but that was also probably in the thousands.
The paper concludes with lists of the instruments used in the Tophâne, and the crafts of the workers that were employed therein.
The steppe borders of the Ottoman Empire and the exit to Moldova
The advance of the Ottoman Turks towards the northern steppes, to a great extent, was affected by the need to secure control of the Crimean Khanate, then shortly afterwards, by their occupation of Cilila (Kili, Kilia) and Cetatea Alba (Akkerman, Belograd) at the meeting point of the Danube and the Black Sea. Having acquired this territory as a result of conquest in the sixteenth century and having organized administrative units there, the Ottoman Turks believed to be in control of the steppe borderland both politically and commercially. The new administrative unit (sancak) included certain areas of the Voivodship of Moldova, being in Ottoman vassalage, but it also had relations with the Black Sea coastal region extending to the Crimean Peninsula. By and by, it brought under control both the increasingly significant Voivodship of Moldova, as well as the Crimea. At the same time, it served as the basis of the major thrusts of the advance toward the Ukrainian steppe. Having developed by the sixteenth century, this borderland, especially by the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, became a very important area, especially against powerful Russia trampling from the north. The study, based on Ottoman Turkish sources, examines the development of the administrative system of the area.
Tracing an eighteenth-century students' revolt
In 1794, at the Calvinist College of Sárospatak, Hungary, a private tutor severely, perhaps cruelly, penalized a regularly misbehaving child who had severely jeopardized his own good health. The incident, which can be regarded anything but surprising, mainly because of the aristocratic origins of the penalized person made the magistrates of the school act in an unusually assertive way. Slighting the school board made up of students, with the power to conduct such procedures, the rector and the guardian-in-chief ordered the immediate replacement of the praeceptor, who had inflicted the punishment. The unlawful measure resulted in a students' riot unprecedented in the era. Since these new developments threatened mainly the positions of first-rate students and their self-governing abilities, it was chiefly them who were involved in the indignance manifested in action.
The riot taking several weeks as well as the subsequent investigation proving unsuccessful, on the whole, offers several lessons to learn. In the first place, it proves the power of student organization, sheds light upon the peculiar characteristics of the college's organizational structure as well as some of its particular traditions encouraging the radical treatment even of the most important leaders. At the same time, mapping these few brief, yet rather eventful weeks provides us with further information with regard to the disciplinary and general moral condition of the school and, in general, major colleges. Also, we can see that the students of Sárospatak were aware of and efficiently employed the organizational methods that were new in Hungary, beginning to spread there only in the 1790s. Furthermore, it can also be observed how an everyday event developed into an unequalled series of events insofar as the students perceived in danger the future of their traditional self-government, assuming a wide-ranging sphere of authority. Finally, the conclusion can be drawn that, at least in the short run, in the face of the events, the highly respected, well-to-do, lay and clerical elite, which had no co-ordination whatsoever in certain cases, exerted a rather feeble influence on the course of events.
English peace mediation and the Polish-Turkish talks during the Fifteen Years' War, 1593-1598
The policy of the Polish Kingdom towards the Turks in the 16th century was determined by the 'eternal peace' concluded with the Ottoman Empire in 1533. The interests of the Kingdom in the Baltics and later towards the basin of the Black Sea required that it should not get into armed conflict with the Ottoman Empire. The Fifteen Years' War, which broke out in the last decade of the 16th century between the Ottoman Empire and Emperor Rudolph II, put the Polish peace policy to a hard test. Christian solidarity, the political traditions with the Hungarian Kingdom, the more recent relations with the Transylvanian Principality would all work towards pushing the Polish royal court to join the war on the side of the Hapsburg-Transylvanian alliance. This, however, did not happen. Polish interests pointed against joining the conflict. The paper discusses the Polish-Turkish talks between 1593 and August, 1598 on the basis of the reports of Edward Barton, English ambassador to Constantinople. During the period in question English merchants and, along with them, English foreign policy were taking determined steps to establish bridgeheads in the Levantine region as well as in the Baltics in the north. The English were trying to establish strong connections with both the Ottoman Empire and Poland. What could be more natural then, that the English intention to mediate peace in the Fifteen Years' War and the foreign policy of Poland, which basically wanted peace with the Porte, should meet? The English ambassador to the Porte regularly reported on the events of the Turkish-Polish negotiations, and on the various questions debated by the parties. Early in 1596 Barton was himself participant of the talks as an interpreter and a mediator. The most important items on the agenda of the Ottoman-Polish negotiations concerned the passage of Crimean Tartar auxiliary troops across territories that belonged to Poland, and the establishment of the Polish, Turkish and Crimean Tartar spheres of interest of the Rumanian voivodates. The English ambassador wrote confidently as early as 1596 that the King of Poland would not go to war against the Sultan. Thus the most importan issue of the Fifteen Years' War from the Hungarian point of view was decided. Subsequent negotiations centred around the division of the western basin of the Black Sea among various powers. In that question Poland was also consulting with the Crimean Khanate. The Sultan was willing to recognize Polish interests in the Rumanian voivodate of Moldva. This, compared to the Polish-Turkish treaty of 1533, which had set the line of the Dniester as the border between the zones of interest of the two states, extended the Polish sphere of interest as far to the south as the Danube delta. The Sultan was also ready to recognize the jurisdiction of the Polish monarch over the territories north of, and, naturally, including, the towns of Kassa, Munkács, and Huszt. The items on the agenda of the last phase of the Polish-Turkish talks were known to English foreign policy makers. The English text of the agenda Polish-Turkish negotiations is attached in an appendix.
The campaign of 1532 and Charles V
The paper discusses the activities of Charles V and his attitude to the campaign against the Turks, based on Spanish sources so far little or not quoted. On the other hand, it surveys the circumstances and the diplomatic, military, financial components of the campaign not from a Hungarian viewpoint, but rather with respect to Charles V's imperial interests. It points out that in 1525 and 1529 Charles had been unable to join the campaigns against the Sultan because he was staying in Spain, and by the time he received the news of the Turkish offensive (the post got there in about two months), it was practically impossible for him to take appropriate measures.
The paper describes how the emperor came to an agreement, one after the other, with the King of France, the Pope, and the German Protestant Estates during 1530-31, in order to secure peace within and without the Empire in case of another Turkish war. The letters written by the Emperor reveal that in 1532 Charles intended to make war against the Turks only if the Sultan was personally to command his armies. He felt that he, the Emperor, the leader of Christianity was the proper opponent for the Sultan of the Turks. The paper points out that the approximately 100.000 strong mercenary army ordered by Charles to be gathered against the Turks was financed by the money offered by the German imperial Estates, and included Ferdinand's soldiers (Austrian provinces, Bohemia, etc.) as well as Charles's own troops from Spain, Italy and the Netherlands. These latter formed the major part of the army, and, consequently, the brunt of the expenses were also borne by Charles. According to the paper, Charles secured the funds for it from the several millions of gold pieces paid as ransom in 1529 by Francis I of France. Summing up contemporary opinions and Charles's own view, the paper comes to the conclusion that the Turks, upon seeing the immense imperial army, gave up the idea of besieging Vienna and retreated without giving battle, which Charles and most of his contemporaries correctly regarded as a victory. The loser was Hungary, but that followed from the fact that when it came to the great powers' relations, no one cared about the interest of this divided country.