The Holy Wars of King Wladislas and Sultan Murad

The Ottoman-Christian Conflict from 1438-1444

Series:

The Holy Wars of King Wladislas and Sultan Murad comprises the first detailed treatment of the pivotal conflict between the Ottomans and Christendom from 1438-1444. Beginning with the Council of Florence and renewed Ottoman expansion it covers the election of Wladislas, the rise of John Hunyadi and the factional politics of the Porte. "The author recounts the major campaigns including Hunyadi's victories in 1442 as well as the Long March and Varna expeditions of 1443/44. He also gives a thorough description of the armies, their tactics and strategy. Dr. Jefferson's work is the first to make full use of both Ottoman and Christian sources, and not only corrects persistent misconceptions but provides the fullest picture of this conflict to date.

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Biographical Note

John Jefferson received his M.A. from the Jagiellonian University in Krakow (2002), and his Ph.D. from Mainz University (2011) where he is a guest lecturer. He works as a consultant and translator in several languages, including Polish, Arabic and Turkish.

Review Quotes

"...Relying on his extensive knowledge of a number of foreign languages, successfully combining the various and diverse available sources, John Jefferson has managed to produce the most comprehensive account of events regarding the Ottoman-Christian conflict between 1438 and 1444 to date. His book will certainly represent essential reading for anyone interested in the research of Ottoman expansion during the 15th century, and it will surely come to be considered as the standard work for the study of the Long Campaign and the Battle of Varna. Because of the way in which it is structured and how the arguments and the story in it are presented, the book will be of interest not only to specialists, who will find a wealth of new material in it, but also to the more casual reader seeking to understand the broader context of the conflict between the Ottomans and Christians in the Late Middle Ages."
Emir O. Filipović, Prilozi za orijentalnu filologiju (Contributions to Oriental Philology), Vol. 63, Sarajevo, 2014

Table of contents

List of Maps and Tables . . . xi
Acknowledgements . . . xiii

Introduction . . . 1
The Final Charge . . . 1
The Historiography of the Conflict . . . 8
Purpose and Scope . . . 16

PART ONE: THE CONFLICT TO 1440 AND ITS CONTEXT
1. The Church, the Council and the Crusade . . . 25
Defining Crusade . . . 25
Eugene IV, Cardinal Cesarini and the Council of Basel . . . 28
The Contest to Achieve Union . . . 38
The Crusade Project at the Council of Florence . . . 55
2. The Reign of Murad II and Renewed Ottoman Expansion . . . 69
The Reign of Murad II . . . 70
The Ottoman Porte at the Time of Murad II . . . 76
The Kul/Slave Institution . . . 82
The Timar System and the Provincial Government . . . 94
The Marcher Lords . . . 96
The Transition in Ottoman Expansionist Policy . . . 102
Ottoman Relations with Karaman . . . 111
3. Three Kings of Hungary—Sigismund, Albert and Wladislas . . . 119
Familiaritas—The Lord and His Retinue . . . 119
Sigismund of Luxembourg . . . 130
The Ottoman-Hungarian Conflict to 1437 . . . 134
The Bufffer States . . . 139
Serbia . . . 140
Wallachia . . . 142
Bosnia . . . 143
The Raid on Kruševac . . . 144
Albert II, the Bohemian Wars, and the Politicization of the
Ottoman Threat . . . 146
The Ottoman Campaigns of 1438–39 . . . 157
The Election of Wladislas . . . 168

PART TWO: THE CAMPAIGNS OF 1440–1444
4. Strategy, Tactics and Order of Battle . . . 181
Ottoman Order of Battle . . . 181
The Timarli Sipahis or Provincial Landed Cavalry . . . 183
Slaves of the Porte . . . 188
Enlisted Troops . . . 193
Mobilization . . . 199
Christian Forces . . . 200
Tactics . . . 209
Intelligence and Reconnaissance . . . 216
The Crusader Fleet . . . 222
Gunpowder . . . 227
Siege Warfare . . . 230
5. The Rise of Hunyadi, 1440–1442 . . . 235
The 1440 Siege of Belgrade . . . 235
The Hungarian Civil War . . . 246
The Rise of Hunyadi . . . 255
Hungarian Civil War—Phase Two . . . 259
The Church and the Crusade—1442 . . . 263
Attempts to End the Hungarian Civil War . . . 272
The Turkish Wars of 1442 . . . 279
Şehabeddin’s Defeat . . . 286
6. The Long March . . . 295
The Church and the Crusade—1443 . . . 295
Political Developments in Hungary . . . 306
The Revolt of Ibrahim Bey . . . 309
Preparations for the Crusade . . . 315
The Battles of Nish and Aleksinac . . . 323
The Ottoman Mobilization . . . 334
The Battle at Zlatitsa Pass . . . 340
The March Home . . . 348
7. The Crusade of 1444 . . . 357
After the Long March . . . 357
Wladislas’ Position in Hungary . . . 367
Ibrahim Bey’s Insurrection . . . 371
Proponents of Peace . . . 377
Advocates of War . . . 381
Fleet Preparations . . . 393
The Attack on Ibrahim Bey and Murad’s Abdication . . . 398
The Ratifijication of the Peace Treaty . . . 406
Operations Begin . . . 422
The First Weeks of the Campaign . . . 426
The Crossing of the Straits . . . 432
The Land Expedition Continues . . . 443
The Battle of Varna . . . 455
Phase One . . . 460
Phase Two . . . 464
Phase Three . . . 467
Aftermath . . . 482

Summary and Conclusion . . . 489

Bibliography . . . 497
Index . . . 505

Readership

All those interested in fifteenth-century crusading and Ottoman history, specifically the Varna crusade, John Hunyadi, the reign of King Wladislas III of Poland, Sultan Murad II and the Council of Florence.

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