Copy of the miniature of an unknown Ottoman artist by Gyula Tury (1866 – 1932), 1896
Paper, Watercolour; 46x61cm
(original size: 30 x 21,5cm)
Budapest, Magyar Mezeti Múzeum
Történelmi Képcsarnok, 64.26
Sultan Syleyman I launched a second military campaign against Hungary in the spring of 1526. His objective this time was to totally destroy the Hungarian forces. Upon departing from Belgrade the army of the Ottoman Empire, which amounted to 100.000 soldiers, of which approximately 60.000 were members of the regular army, progressed cautiously along the right bank of the Danube. Then, after capturing Pétervárad (Petrovaradin) and Ùjlak (Ilok), the Ottoman army crossed the River Drava at Eszék (Osijck).
The assembling of the Hungarian troops progressed slowly. The troops gathered at Tolna and from there proceed along the Danube to come before the Ottomans. The meeting of the troops from different regions did not succeed entirely. As a consequence of conflicting orders given by the king, the troops from Transylvania, led by Voivode János Szapolyai, the Croatians, led by Kristof Frankopan, and a few Bohemian and German reinforcements failed to arrive in time at the king´s camp. On the day of the battle the Hungarian forces could only have numbered around 25.000. Attacking the advancing Ottomans, the Hungarians initiated the battle on 29 August in a field adjacent to the town of Mohács. Due to the quick offensive, for a short time at the beginning of the combat the Hungarians had the advantage. Nevertheless, the battle was decided in an hour and a half: the assault of the Hungarian army was contained and, as the troops were encircled, a panicked escape began. More than half of the soldiers died at the scene of the battle, including seven bishops and twenty-eight magnates. During his flight King Louis II plunged, together with his horse, into the swollen Csele Brook and drowned. The Ottoman army did not pursue the remaining Hungarians, but rather advanced slowly along the Danube towards the north, occupying Buda on 12 September, which by then was deserted both by the court and the local inhabitants. Queen Mary fled to Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava). After ransacking and burning the city, the sultan returned to his empire, content for the moment with his victory and the occupation of the castles in the region of Srem. The original miniature is from the Ottoman chronicler Jelalzade Mustapha´s work entitled “Listing of countries´ classed and roads”, which narrates the story of Suleyman I´s reign between 1520 and 1556. The oldest remaining copy of this work was made by Ibrahim bin Ali in Szolnok (1575) and is presently kept in the Austrian National Library (Vienna, ÖNB Handschriftensammlung Cod. H. O. 41). A copy of it was made by Gyula Tury within the framework of the collecting and copying of Hungarian cultural artefacts for the Hungarian National Museum. The composition, which is painted in two facing pages, depicts the early phase of the battle of Mohács. On the right, the sultan himself appears surrounded by his army. On the left, King Louis, II can be seen within the ring of the armoured infantry and cavalry. Groups of musicians are depicted behind the rulers.