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Classical period of the Ottoman Empire c. 1300-1600
Circumscribing the life and times of Suleyman the Magnificent 1481-1598
Life Span of Suleyman the Magnificent 1494-1566
Reign of Suleyman the Magnificent 1520-1566

Military Campaigns of Suleyman: 
Timeline of Selected Events

1521--Conquest of Belgrade
1522--Fall of Rhodes
1526--Battle of Mohacs
1529--Siege of Vienna
1532--Siege of Guns
1533--Two Iraqs Campaign
1534--Conquest of Baghdad; Battles of Tunis
1535--Battles of Tunis
1537--War with Venice; Siege of Corfu
1538--Naval Battle of Preveza
1540--Peace with Venice
1543--Siege of Nice
1548--Conquest of Van
1554--Campaign in Iran
1556--Hungarian Campaign
1557--Hungarian Campaign
1558--Hungarian Campaign
1559--Hungarian Campaign
1565--Siege of Malta
1566--Siege of Szeged

This animation is designed to give a rough idea, only, of spatial pattern over time.
Run your mouse over the map; click when the pointer becomes a hand to hear associated sounds.

  • Suleyman and his entourage leave Istanbul  at the end of April in 1532, apparently mounting another attack against Vienna.  They proceed to Guns, south of Vienna, along a route different from that in previous campaigns, through "Transdanubia" using the military road from Belgrade to Eszek, rather than through the valley of the Danube River (with its marshy west bank).  Clot notes that addtional troops and supplies joined the campaign at Belgrade, at Eszek, and at other points.  Following the capitulation of Guns on August 9, the campaign does not go forward once again to Vienna but returns to Istanbul, via a circuitous route to Graz and other towns (captured by the Ottomans) and arrives back in Istanbul November 18.  
  • As Suleyman campaigns proceeded throughout the Danube Basin and in parts east, Barbarossa and Andrea Doria were fighting for the Mediterranean.  Barbarossa often was the dominant force with much of North Africa capitulating (but with some back and forth control between the opponents).
  • The animated map above was made from reading material in Andre Clot, Suleyman the Magnificent, Saqi Books, London, 2005 and from material on the website listed in the next link.  To learn more about this Conquest and the events that took place around it, follow the many links below.  The link provided here offers a starting point to this complex topic.  
  • The topography from Istanbul to just southeast of Sofia is relatively flat.  Take a closer look at the topography surrounding Sofia:
    • Sofia, a Triangulated Irregular Network (TIN)
    • Sofia, a plausible journey path, in red dots, following topography through the TIN.
    • Sofia, a screen capture of a 3D image
    • Sofia, virtual reality (install Cosmo Player or Cortona in your downloads from the web).  The sun was set in the southwest at a height of 50 degrees above the horizon.  The vertical exaggeration was calculated by the software (ArcView 3.2, ESRI) and seems a bit on the steep side, but that is satisfactory for purposes of understanding navigational difficulties in rugged terrain.  The contour interval is 1000 feet.  Take the journey yourself!  (If the model does not fully load, the memory or the connection speed on the machine you are using is not sufficient to the task; try on a different machine.)
      • It is easy to see where to go when in a floodplain.  Navigate yourself using the Cosmo controls. 
      • Try navigating through the mountains, right along the surface.  The logic of following the streams will be evident as a good course of action.  Nonetheless, it is very easy to get lost when navigating through rugged terrain, at the level of the terrain (much easier with an overhead view...which Suleyman did not have).
      • Try using the "viewpoints" to navigate through rough areas...they are the substitute here for an experience guide.  See how important that experience can be!
      • Where next?  Maps can offer guidance that the research should take.  The Virtual Reality model makes it easy to speculate on rational routes, in terms of topography.  But, were these the routes actually used?  Research in primary sources becomes critical and the maps suggest where to look in them.
    • This link shows the topography in two dimensions from Sofia to Mohacs, including Belgrade.
  • Links to sites describing the action, references, and bibliographic material: