„Dieß Jhar nahmen die Oberlausitzer wiederumb eine Fahne Knechte …, in Ungarn wieder den Türcken zu schicken“. Anti-Turkish propaganda in the early modern chronicles of Zitta
Abstract: This study deals with the records of the Turkish threat to Europe from the 16th to the 18th century in the chronicles of town of Zittau. Although Upper Lusatia was never occupied by the Turks, the prevalent expression of fear of the “Turkish danger” occurs in nearly fifty manuscripts and chronicles from the town of Zittau. It consists of records of battles with the Turks, transcriptions of songs about military engagements with them, Christian prayers against the Turks, but also Turkish prayers against Christians and even threatening letters sent by Turkish rulers and high officials to the Habsburg emperors from the 16th to 18th century. That some of the songs originated in the German lands as a hidden polemic between Lutherans and Catholics (who were represented by the Habsburgs in this case) can not be ruled out.
The author of this study seeks to present several explanations as to why there is so much attention paid to such a seemingly regionally insignificant issue in the Zittau chronicles. In addition to preserving a record of events for future generations, there could also be evidence here of a moral and religious appeal, to show the bravery of the Zittau burghers who campaigned against the Turks in Hungary, or to justify the financial demands (tax) of the war against the “pagans”. The Zittau Chronicles also demonstrate the comprehensive knowledge of current affairs held by their authors. The frequency of entries about the Turks in these chronicles could also be a function of the archiving of memories associated with the collection of relics from the Turks: booty brought back by Upper Lusatian expeditions to Hungary, and which then came to Zittau Museum at the beginning of the 18th century. A comparative examination of the chronicles of the neighbouring town of Bautzen shows much less interest in anti-Turkish wars and military conflicts with the Ottomans. Only further research of the chronicles of Upper Lusatian towns such as Bautzen, Görlitz, Kamenz, Lauban and Löbau can show whether the Turkish focus of the chronicles of Zittau is indeed exceptional or merely circumstantial. This study is accompanied by an edition of an anti-Habsburg pamphlet from 1683.
Key words: the Turks, anti-turkish propaganda, the early modern age, urban historiography, chronicles, Zittau, Upper Lusatia
PhDr. Milan Svoboda, Ph.D., vedoucí katedry historie na Fakultě přírodovědně-humanitní a pedagogické Technické univerzity v Liberci, se zaměřuje na české dějiny raného novověku, zvláště na problematiku šlechty, a na regionální historii Liberecka, resp. Frýdlantska (email@example.com)