Historie – Otázky – Problémy

Ottomans and Hungarian Reality of the 16th and 17th Centuries


Abstract: The Moháč disaster in 1526 significantly affected life in Hungary. The immediate presence of the Ottomans forced political and social changes for which the country was not ready – although a similar invasion had been threatened for several decades. Reports of the imminent danger posed by the Ottoman Empire, the life of its inhabitants and behaviour of the Turks towards those they subjugated had long been spread by travellers, prisoners and ambassadors. Most of these reports (not always justified) focused on the description of life in this exotic and unknown realm and also on capturing the incredible cruelty, which these reports attributed to the Ottomans. In any case, residents of Hungary were forced to cope with the presence of Ottomans and to change their lifestyles, to a certain extent. After the end of the major military offensive, everyday life on both sides – occupiers and occupied – had to adapt to conditions that engendered mutual respect and to respect certain rules of coexistence. The need to supply the border castles eventually led to the development of business and personal contacts, despite bans and embargoes issued by both parties. These circumstances, however, had an extremely heavy impact on the residents who did not evacuate to safer areas. Both sides, Ottoman and Christian, called for consistent performance of duties. However, the presence of Ottomans for one and a half centuries obviously had a strong cultural influence on the country and affected the everyday life of the population greatly.

Key words: Hungary, Ottomans, travelogues, 15th to 17th centuries, image of the enemy, coexistence

PhDr. Tünde Lengyelová, CSc., je odbornou pracovnicí Historického ústavu Slovenskej akadémie vied v Bratislavě a specializuje se na raně novověké slovenské dějiny (tundelengyelova@gmail.com)