Saturday, April 11, 2015

J: by Jumping (26 Ways to Die in Medieval Hungary)

Here is another historical hero everyone knows about. It's just not sure he existed.

The scene is the Battle of Nándorfehérvár, in 1456. Once again, we are back to the Turkish wars. The Ottoman armies besieged the fortress of Nándorfehérvár (today's Belgrad), but the Hungarians within the castle, together with Hunyadi János' army (remember his sons?), eventually defeated them. It was such a huge win that it stopped the Ottoman expansion into Europe for almost 70 years. (The next time we see them, a king drowns). According to sources, the Pope ordered the church bells to be sounded every noon in remembrance of this victory.
(Yeah, we claim noon bell ringing as a Hungarian achievement!)

During the siege of the castle, as the chronicle says, the Turks were trying to scale the walls, throw down the Hungarian flags, and put their on flags in their place. This was one of the pieces of psychological warfare that was very popular during siege times, since the flags were a symbol of who owned the fortress.
Well, according to legend, there was a moment in the siege where a Turk made it all the way up to the Hungarian flag on the ramparts, and prepared to throw it down. A Hungarian soldier named Dugovics Titusz (history came up with the name later on) saw this and rushed to prevent it. He fought the Turkish soldier, but in the end the only way he could stop him was to jump off the ramparts, and drag the enemy down with him. In one heroic, symbolic act, he prevented the Turkish flag from flying over Nándorfehérvár.

Think of this next time you play Capture the Flag.

(Famous painting by Wagner Sándor, usually featured in history books)

17 comments:

  1. Hi. Had to come back for some more Hungarian intrigue! This death (actually 2) struck me as pretty stupid, even if it did seem patriotic at the time. Or was there some law of war that said the war ended with the flag?

    Inventions by Women A-Z
    Shells–Tales–Sails

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    1. It was a symbolic thing. If the fighters saw the Turkish flag on the walls, they would have thought the Turks had already won and might have given up the fight.

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  2. I think you mean Capture the Flaaaaaaaaa-ghh!!!

    Hungary is such an awesome place. The history, while violent, is pretty freaking awesome.

    Alex Hurst, A Fantasy Author in Kyoto
    A-Z Blogging in April Participant

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    1. Lol XD
      Well, we have a lot of history, and we kind of live at a crossroads. It was a pretty active place through the ages... :)

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  3. I feel your games of capture the flag might be more hard core than ours ;)
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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  4. Am really enjoying your A to Z, have popped back every day to read. Thanks for sharing such interesting and horrific stories.
    martine@ silencingthebell

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  5. I don't think I'll be playing Capture the Flag again. Thank you. :P

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  6. And this is why you have back-up flags. ;)

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  7. I thought kamikaze were invented by Japanese... I was wrong, Hungarians were first!
    Evalina, This and that...

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  8. Turks? Again!!! I must say, I need to really go read Hungarian history now, it's pretty interesting and eventful :)

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    1. Yeah, really. :D If it makes you feel better, there will be some Mongols too on Monday.

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  9. Wow talk about a giant leap for mankind. Great post as always!

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  10. I never would have thought up the particular way death by jumping worked. This is pretty true of all these methods, they are all surprises. To me as much as it was for the victim. Well, maybe not quite as much for me as for them.

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  11. I'm officially impressed. True hero, this one. And from now on, every time I hear bells ringing at noon, I'll hum a couple of bars from the Hungarian anthem :) (Got to find it somewhere... Probably YouTube. Yep. Off to YouTube.)

    Thanks for the visit over at Quiet Laughter yesterday!

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    1. It's not a very hummable tune, sadly... Is there a contest for "most pessimistic national anthem ever"? We'd win that one. :D

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  12. Great post, coming from the AZ challenge. I think people were a lot patriotic then, because in today's times especially in the States, people are just plain selfish and only look out for themselves.

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  13. That was a very brave act of courage! We need more heroes, not more bystanders!

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