- Suleiman and his
entourage leave Istanbul on May 10,
1529 and head west northwest through the Gate of Adrianope to Edirne.
(Linked article by M. Tayyib Gökbilgin.)
They proceed up the low-lying river valley toward Sofia. This campaign begins later, May 10,
previous ones and runs afoul of the weather right from the
outset. Flooding and bridge washouts slow the troops between
Edirne and Sofia. Their
progress is slowed by heavy rainfall and
bridge washouts in the valley leading up to Sofia. The first part
of this century saw unusually difficult weather on a regular
basis: more than average rainfall, early snows , and cold
weather. Generally, reinforcements in troops, camels,
ammunition, and supplies
of various sorts are provided throughout the journey by local
supporters, especially over long distances and in difficult
terrain. The purple spider lines at locales along the way
represent the infusion
of resources, be they soldiers, camels, horses, barley, or other.
Different sources estimate vastly different numbers for the Ottoman
Army and for provisioning point locations: the locations above
therefore deliberately abstract but do show spatial pattern and
temporal spacing---possibly suggestive of added research
The purple spiders fade as the army moves away from the added resource
point: floods along the way might cause camels to break legs;
might use up food supplies more quickly than anticipated.
however, of such incidents, mere distance from a supply point means a
reduction in that initial infusion. Hence the need for another
provisioning point. The pattern of the Ottoman Army in keeping a
source of fresh supplies is quite clear: conquer near, then a bit
farther. Use previously conquered locales as provisioning points
extend Ottoman control into farther reaches.
- It takes two
to reach Belgrade. From Belgrade to Mohacs, more flooding is
encountered and time is lost in getting to Mohacs (August 31).
The journey from Mohacs to Buda is less eventful; Buda is taken on
September 8. From
troops move toward Vienna and camp at the outskirts. Bad weather takes
a toll throughtout the campaign. They begin
to lay siege to the outer parts
of the City on September 26 and
continue until October 16. On October 14, snow enters the picture
and reduces effectiveness of
the campaign. On October 16, the Ottomans withdraw from
- In years to come,
similar patterns will repeat themselves. One agricultural,
economic, and cultural consequence of persistent fighting at the
perimeter, on soil used for vineyards, was to change the character of
the soil from soil suited to raising grapes to soil suited to raising
hops. Hence, beer replaced
wine as part of the local culture.
- As Suleiman laid
siege to Vienna, Barbarossa
(soon to be his Admiral) took
the coming Ottoman strength in the Mediterranean;
Doria, Admiral of Charles
to portrait by Titian--look on this site for portraits of
others in this period, such as Francis I)
would see many
confrontations in the Mediterranean over the next 40 years of Ottoman
domination in the Mediterranean, ending with the Naval
Lepanto in 1571.
- The animated map above was
made from reading material in Andre Clot, Suleiman the Magnificent, Saqi
Books, London, 2005. To learn more about this Conquest and the
took place around it, follow the many links below. The link
provided here offers
a starting point to this complex topic. In modern times, a game has been
devised that replays the Battle of Mohacs.
- 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 browser...free 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
- It is easy to see
where to go when in a floodplain. Navigate yourself using the
- 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 Suleiman 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
- 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:
look at all the links of this interesting site: http://www.theottomans.org/english/chronology/index.asp
- Perjes, Geza.
Translated by Maria D. Fenyo with a Foreword by Janos M. Bak. The
Fall of the Medieval Kingdom of Hungary: Mohacs 1526 - Buda 1541
Social Science Monographs, Boulder, Colorado, Atlantic Research and
Publications, Highland Lakes, New Jersey, distributed by Columbia
University Press 1989.
- The Ataturk Institute
for Modern Turkish History
- References on Suleiman:
- Environmental Programme
for the Danube River Basin and United Nations Development Programme, http://www.rec.org/DanubePCU/index.html
- Sibiweb: maps and other
- Goings on elsewhere
this year of 1529...links to sites with timelines:
- Related links:
- Goffman, Daniel. The Ottoman
Empire and Early Modern Europe. Cambridge University Press.
Link to Frontmatter.
- The Ottoman Empire and
Modern Turkey, 1453-1950, Thomas Kuhn course syllabus and notes,
Simon Fraser University http://www.lib.sfu.ca/researchhelp/subjectguides/hist/classes/hist043350.htm
- GLOBALHISTORIE: NOEN
(FORHOLDSVIS NYE) TITLER, MED SÆRLIG VEKT PÅ PERIODEN
- Agoston, Gabor. Guns
for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the
Ottoman Empire. Cambridge University Press. http://assets.cambridge.org/052184/3138/excerpt/0521843138_excerpt.pdf
- Ghazzal, Zouhair, Modern
Middle East, History 313, Loyola University Chicago, http://www.luc.edu/depts/history/ghazzal/hist313.htm
- History On-Line,