Here is the list of persons either living in the Ring of Fire period or who directly impacted the political scene leading up to the Ring of Fire:
István Bocskay, Prince of Transylvania (1557-1606)
He was a very important figure leading up to this period: learning about his person and his achievements is essential to understand the situation in 1630. Many people, active at the time of the Ring of Fire, had fought under Bocskay and Bethlen, two heroes of Protestantism. You can see his statue on the Reformation Wall in Geneva, Switzerland, next to Luther’s.
Bocskay was an extremely wealthy nobleman of Royal Hungary and Transylvania. He had played important roles in previous Transylvanian politics and eventually gained more lands and power. He was also a skilled general and in 1595, the Transylvanian army under his command advanced into Wallachia and together with the Wallachian voivode defeated the Ottoman army nearby. The young Gábor Bethlen, the next prince of Transylvania, served in his army and was his advisor.
Later the Habsburgs cast their eyes on his vast lands and accused him of treason in order to confiscate his possessions. He had no choice but to lead a revolt against the Holy Roman Empire. He established an alliance with the Ottoman Empire and, supported by the Hajdus (emancipated peasant warriors or armed herders), compelled the Viennese court to reaffirm and guarantee the religious freedoms of and his right to his lands.
Bocskay also succeeded in gaining the support of the middle and partially the upper classes of the Hungarian nobility for his struggles. More and more rebels flocked to his forces, and as a result of this, Bocskay’s army won two critical battles against the Habsburg armies. In 1605, István Bocskay was elected to be the ruling prince of Hungary and Transylvania and by the end of the year, Bocskay gained supremacy over Transylvania and the entire part of the Kingdom of Hungary which was not under Ottoman control and eventually forced Archduke Matthias to open negotiations on recognition.
Prince Bocskay granted titles of nobility to 9,254 Hajdus and settled them on the northern part of River Tisza. He allowed tax benefits for their towns which provided them the economic ability to serve militarily. They had the personal obligation to defend the country, thereby becoming the principality’s favored social class.
At the same time, the Ottoman sultan sent a magnificent jeweled crown to Bocskay to make him king for Transylvania and Hungary. It is important to know that the Turks never gave anyone a crown and it was not their intent at this time, either. It was Bocskay’s diplomatic success to achieve it and as it turned out, it was just part of a magnificent political show.
The Turks received Bocskay in Pest and under great celebrations he was belted with a decorative saber and dressed in a cloak embroidered richly with gold and silver. Then, the second mightiest man of the Ottoman Empire placed the Turkish crown, sent from the Sultan, onto Bocskay’s head. This crown was said to have belonged to the last Byzantine Caesar, a masterpiece of a Persian goldsmith, it had been highly esteemed in the Sultan’s treasury.
At this point, the coronation took an unexpected turn: Bocskay profusely thanked them for the gift and suddenly took it off his head, saying that he could not accept this crown’s authority above the Holy Crown of Hungary. “As the Holy Crown is on Emperor Rudolf’s head, I cannot be the crowned king of Hungary, according to the Hungarian laws,” he declared and handed the Turkish crown over to one of his men, Homonnai Drugeth, to guard it. The Turks and the assembled people were astonished but it may have been possible that the present Great Vizier and Pasha Lalla Mohamed of Buda had known what would happen. The Turkish crown remained with Bálint Homonnai Drugeth and later it was confiscated from his heirs by the Court of Vienna where you can see it in the museum.
We can see how Bocskay refused the royal dignity, but made skillful use of the Turkish alliance.
The Habsburgs, who wanted to save the Hungarian provinces and set aside the unstable Rudolf II, entered into negotiations with Bocskay and concluded the Peace of Vienna in 1606. The peace guaranteed all the constitutional and religious rights and privileges of the Hungarians both in Transylvania and Royal Hungary. Bocskay was acknowledged as Prince of Transylvania by the Austrian court, and the right of the Transylvanians to elect their own independent princes in the future was officially recognized. Simultaneously, the Peace of Zsitvatorok was concluded with the Ottomans, which confirmed the Peace of Vienna: it ended the Fifteen Year War between the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. It is worth noting that at the time of the Ring of Fire many Hungarians in their forties or fifties had military experience from either this long war against the Turks or from Bocskay’s campaigns.
Bocskay survived this diplomatic triumph for only a few months—on 29 December 1606 he was allegedly poisoned by his chancellor, who was then hacked to bits by Bocskay’s adherents (or enemies?) in the town’s marketplace. It was never learned which empire had been responsible.
Gábor (Gabriel) Bethlen (1580-1629)
He was a Protestant uncrowned King of Hungary (1620-21) and a Prince of Transylvania (1613-29) and Duke of Opole (1622-25) who led an insurrection against the House of Habsburg in Royal Hungary. He was the one who turned Transylvania into the famous “Fairy Garden” as it was called at that time.
Bethlen was born in Transylvania and served in the court of Zsigmond (Sigismund) Bathory, a Transylvanian prince, and accompanied him on his campaign to Wallachia. Although he was a Calvinist, he helped György Káldy, a Jesuit, translate and print the Bible. He also composed hymns and from 1625, employed Johannes Thesselius from Erfurt, as kapellmeister (composer).
As many Ring of Fire stories deal with musicians, some facts about musicians in Bethlen’s court seem worth mentioning. Bethlen loved music and in addition to eight previously-hired German musicians he had six harpists and violinists and invited more from Silesia. He also had Italian and Polish musicians as well as eleven Turkish players. There were additionally twelve trumpeters and when Catherine of Brandenburg, his second wife, arrived, she brought along the organ player Michael Hermann who later became the city judge in Brassó (Kornstadt). Bethlen also invited organ builder masters from Germany in 1629. The last group of ten musicians arrived in January, 1628, led by the dance master called Diego del Estrada.
As previously stated, in 1605 Bethlen supported Prince István (Stephen) Bocskay and his successor Gabriel Bathory (1608-1613). Bethlen later fell out with Báthory and fled to the Ottoman Empire where he made excellent connections.
In 1613, after Báthory was murdered, the Ottomans installed Bethlen as prince of Transylvania and this was also endorsed by the Transylvanian Diet at Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg). Taking advantage of the chaotic situation after the previous prince’s murder, Bethlen was able to get into power by relying on his diplomacy at the Sublime Porte. After using the Turks’ military assistance so openly, he tried hard to improve his reputation because he was accused of “Turk friendship,” and Transylvanians in general were mockingly called “Turks with hair on” by other Hungarians.
The Transylvanian-Turkish relations were far from peaceful; it was an alliance born under pressure and the parties didn’t trust each other at all. Bethlen tried to manipulate and use his Turk “allies” as much as he could. Transylvania was still too far from both Vienna and Istanbul and Bethlen had to pay the Turks only symbolical taxes to keep them out of his country. The Turks said about Bethlen that “. . . even those who show friendship toward us, do not wish the victory of the Muslims.” Nevertheless, in 1615, after the Peace of Tyrnau, Bethlen was also recognized by Matthias, Holy Roman Emperor.
Bethlen’s rule was one of patriarchal enlightened absolutism. He developed mines and industry and nationalized many branches of Transylvania’s foreign trade. His agents bought goods at fixed prices and sold them abroad at profit. In his capital, in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), Bethlen built a grand new palace. Bethlen was a patron of the arts and the Calvinist church, giving hereditary nobility to Protestant priests. He also encouraged learning by founding a college, encouraging the enrollment of Hungarian academics and teachers, and sending Transylvanian students to the Protestant universities of England and the Low Countries, as well as in the Protestant principalities of Germany. He also ensured the right of serfs’ children to be educated.
Bethlen maintained an efficient standing army of mercenaries. While keeping relations with the Sublime Porte, the Ottomans, he sought to gain lands to the north and west. During the Thirty Years’ War, he attacked the Habsburgs of Royal Hungary (1619-1626). Bethlen opposed the tyranny of the Habsburgs and the persecution of Protestants in Royal Hungary, as well as the violation of Bocskay’s Peace of Vienna, 1606.
In August, 1619, Bethlen invaded Royal Hungary for the first time and took Kassa (Kosice) in September. His Protestant supporters declared him the leader of Hungary and protector of Protestants and thus he gained control of Upper Hungary. Three Jesuits were mercilessly executed in Kassa that same month, under his authority but without his knowledge. Later these victims, one of which was a good friend of Péter Pázmány, became known as the Martyrs of Kassa and were canonized by the Catholic Church.
In October, 1619, Bethlen took Pozsony (Bratislava, Pressburg), where the Palatine of Hungary ceded him the Holy Crown of Hungary. He was able to take the Royal Hungarian territories quite easily because the local landlords and the warriors of the Frontier sided with him at once. Skeptics may say that the nobility swore fealty to him because they didn’t want armies marching through their lands. After all, at that time it was only Bethlen who could guarantee the territorial status quo and the nobility’s unperturbed continuity of their feudal rights. Also, Bethlen’s quick success somewhat resembled the glorious age of King Matthias. On the other hand, the petty nobility appreciated that Bethlen had the money to offer an honest rate of pay for both the warriors of the Frontier and the Hajdus, the free soldiers. He encouraged them to join him, and they flocked to his flag: a foot soldier was paid three florins and a rider received four per month. It was very little, but at least it was paid regularly.
In November, his army took the suburbs of Vienna. Unfortunately, they did not take Vienna, and soon the forces of George Druget, Captain of Upper Hungary and Polish mercenaries forced Bethlen to leave Austria and Upper Hungary.
In 1619 everything was ready for Bethlen to be elected and crowned King of Hungary, but if he had taken the title and the Holy Crown at that point, he would have made any further talks with Ferdinand II impossible. In the summer of 1620 Bethlen refused the Holy Crown like Bocskay had in 1605 but later negotiated for peace at Pozsony and in Kassa. He finally received ownership of thirteen counties in the east of Royal Hungary in that same year and was elected King of Hungary at the Diet of Besztercebánya (Banská Bystrica). As a result the war with the Habsburgs resumed.
In his 1620 campaign, Bethlen was successfully able to call the Hungarians to his flag again. He entered Royal Hungary with only three thousand Transylvanian soldiers, but when he arrived in the Trans-Danubian region, all the warriors of the frontier castles, from Tata, Pápa, Veszprém, Várpalota, Sümeg (mentioning just the biggest ones of the fourteen strongholds that changed sides) gladly joined forces with him after a very short time. They reasoned this way: “We have made this turn over neither in hope of booty nor for aspiring after someone’s property: but it was out of true love of our homeland and our agreement in defending the freedoms of our country and to safeguard and restore justice, and above all, it was out of the desire of the right to freely live to our faith and religion that had driven us in our actions.” Bethlen appreciated that they were the best warriors, experienced and hardened through the wars with the Turks for many generations. The Austrian general Buquoi and Miklós (Nicholas) Eszterházy tried to force them back to the Emperor’s service in 1621, but in vain; the warriors followed Bethlen’s call and in January they gathered near Szombathely (Savaria) to oppose General Collato’s army. It was interesting that these warriors fought not only against Bethlen’s enemies but also against Bethlen’s Turkish “friendly” auxiliary forces which were pillaging the Hungarian countryside.
In 1621, Ferdinand II regained Pozsony (Bratislava, Pressburg) and the central mining towns. Now it was Bethlen who asked for peace, and in December, 1621, the Peace of Nikolsburg was made. Bethlen renounced his royal title on the condition that Hungarian Protestants were given religious freedoms, and in return he was given the title of Imperial Prince of Hungary and Transylvania, seven counties around the Upper Tisza River, the important fortresses of Tokaj, Munkács (Munkacsevo), and Ecsed (Nagyecsed), and a duchy in Silesia. The Peace of Nikolsburg was a result of Bethlen’s realization that he alone didn’t possess sufficient power to reunite Hungary against the Habsburgs and that trying to do so without getting rid of the Turkish yoke would lead to great peril.
In 1623, 1624, and 1626, Bethlen, allied with the anti-Habsburg Protestants, made campaigns against Ferdinand in Upper Hungary. The first campaign ended with the Peace of Vienna in 1624, the second by the Peace of Pozsony (Pressburg) in 1626. After the second campaign, Bethlen offered the court of Vienna an alliance against the Ottomans and offered himself in marriage to Renata Cecilia, the Archduchess of Austria, but Ferdinand rejected it. Instead, on his return from Vienna, Bethlen wed the young and beautiful Catherine of Brandenburg, the daughter of John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg and the brother-in-law of Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden. Catherine’s sister was the wife of Christian IV of Denmark, who had just attacked Ferdinand.
After Bethlen’s death in 1629, it was his wife, Catherine of Brandenburg, who became the only female crowned ruler of Transylvania in 1629-1630. She is the connection between the Swedes and the Hungarians.
Swedish-Hungarian diplomatic relations began with negotiations, and when King Gustav Adolph’s envoy, Filip Sadler [i.e., Philip Sattler], arrived in Transylvania in 1626, he tried to persuade Bethlen to attack Poland. Bethlen sidestepped and offered to meet Gustav Adolph’s troops in Silesia. The Swedish-Transylvanian negotiations went on in Gyulafehérvár, Bethlen’s capital. They discussed how to aid each other mutually against the emperor, and the Swedish made an attempt to gain joint monopoly over the red copper mines. It is likely that Bethlen wanted the Polish throne for himself and may have thought of Gustav Adolph as his rival.
The princely wedding with Catherine of Brandenburg took place in Kassa (Kosice) in 1626, but only under the condition set by the bride that Bethlen should make a compensation for the Jesuit martyrs who were executed a few years previously in the very same city. Catherine was twenty-one and Bethlen was forty-five; the latter spoke neither German nor French so they must had had language barriers at first. After arriving in Transylvania, Catherine wasn’t warmly accepted by the nobility because she was too fond of grandeur and festivals. Besides, she was German. Soon gossip started connecting her with a handsome young count, István Csáky. On top of that, Bethlen seemingly fell in love with her, giving her luxurious presents and nominating her as his heir on the throne, just a few months after the wedding. The influence of the young Count Csáky had been growing and became more and more obvious. Yet, after Bethlen’s death in 1629, the nobility raised no obstacles and allowed her to take the throne, in accordance with Bethlen’s will. Bethlen had assigned his younger brother, István Bethlen, to act as a governor, thus assisting in Catherine’s reign.
The Protestant István Bethlen developed a strong dislike towards the princess because the young Catholic Count Csáky’s influence had become even stronger. The young nobleman was given control over seven royal counties in 1630 and convinced the spiritually unbalanced Catherine to convert to Catholicism and tried to make her negotiate with the Habsburgs. Although the princess hadn’t done anything wrong during her ten-month reign, her suggestibility forecast a frightening prospect for the future, and nobody wanted to take the risk. So István Bethlen and the nobles played the inexperienced princess off against the laws and took her power and wealth away, making her resign in September, 1630, just a few months before the Ring of Fire.
It was around this time that György Rakoczi appeared on the scene, and a fierce political fight developed between István Bethlen and him for the throne of Transylvania. The humiliated Catherine of Brandenburg took her revenge on István Bethlen by voting against him in favor of György Rákóczi. Her intervention decided the fate of Transylvania . . . she was able to obtain the Sultan’s athname for Rákóczi that officially put him in power. She read it in the Council with utter pleasure. The details of events concerning Catherine between 1630-1633 before she left Transylvania, never to return, would take an entire article by themselves.
In Vienna Catherine met Francis Charles, Prince of Saxonia and Lauenburg. They married in 1639 and lived happily together until she died in 1649.
Gábor Bethlen left behind a stable and independent country, a true “Fairy Garden.” It remained George Rakoczi I’s task to make it even stronger. When Wallenstein came to know of his adversary’s death, he was cursing and loudly exclaimed that “it was due time that he has finally croaked.”
Péter Pázmány (1570-1637)
He was a Jesuit, a noted philosopher, theologian, cardinal, pulpit orator, a “Hungarian Cicero in purple” and a great statesman. He was considered to be the most important figure in the Counter-Reformation in the Hungarian kingdom. It was said, “He was born in a Protestant country and died in a Catholic one.” He created the Hungarian literary language and became the Primate of Hungary, the chief priest of the kingdom, in 1616.
In 1619 he founded a seminary for theological candidates at Nagyszombat (Trnava) and in 1623 laid the foundations of a similar institution at Vienna, the still famous Pazmaneum. In 1635 he founded the university in Nagyszombat. The faculty of Theology later, in modern days, became the famous Peter Pázmány Catholic University of Budapest, named for him. Pázmány also built Jesuit colleges and schools at Pozsony (Bratislava, Pressburg) and Franciscan monasteries at Érsekújvár (Nove Zamky) and Körmöcbánya.
It was chiefly due to him that the Diet of 1618 elected Archduke Ferdinand to succeed the childless Matthias. He also repeatedly softened the martial ambitions of his good friend, the Transylvanian Prince Gabriel Bethlen and prevented György Rákoczi I, over whom he had a great influence, from allying with the Ottoman Empire and the Protestants.
Pope Urban VIII made him a Cardinal in 1629. He was assigned by the emperor to be the tutor of young Nicholas (Miklos) Zrinyi.
In 1630 he was in Rome and tried through his influence with the pope to help his country. Sadly, the pope was very cold to him and was happy when he left.
The emperor sent Pázmány to Rome again in 1632 to persuade the pope to support the steps against the decline of Catholicism. Pázmány asked the pope to dissuade Louis XIII of French from supporting the Swedish king. Urban VIII turned it down, saying that the Swedish king’s war motives were not religious ones. While Paul V and Gregory XV perceived the Thirty Years War as a religious struggle, Urban VIII didn’t because he was looking at it from the Italian princes’ viewpoint. The Pope strongly disliked the Spanish success and could hardly hide his happiness as he witnessed the Habsburgs’ decline. The Pope absolutely agreed with Richelieu on that.
In vain did Pázmány hope that the Catholic forces would do away with the heretics first, then would sweep the pagan Turks out altogether. The Barberinis of Rome praised his clever brain and wits but coldly refused his plans. He was told that he couldn’t be an advocate nor envoy of rulers because he was a high priest. He was sent back to Vienna with a very small amount of financial support against the Turks.
Later, the pope was not very happy with one of the Spanish rulers’ idea that he wanted Pázmány to return to Rome.
In one of his letters to the Emperor Ferdinand II, written in Pozsony in 1632, Pázmány suggested the creation of a western Catholic coalition against the Turks. “I know very well what they say about the Austrian Empire in Rome,” he wrote. “They think you do nothing against the Ottomans and you only want to make war with foreign help.” He did his utmost to use his influence with the pope to provoke Ferdinand and urge the war. It was a measure of his skill that he could negotiate between Prince Rákóczi and István Bethlen in 1636. He died in Pozsony in 1637. (Unless possibly superior medical treatment from the future prolongs his life—his good intentions and negotiator’s skills could be most helpful.)
Péter Alvinczi – born Nagyenyed (Aiud), 1570; died Kassa (Kosice, Kaschau), 1634.
He was a famous Reformed pastor, polemicist, and the great adversary of Archibishop Péter Pázmány. He studied first at Nagyvárad (Oradea). It is unknown whether he went to Switzerland and Italy but he must have gone to Wittenberg and Heidelberg, Germany. He returned in 1602 and became a dean in Debrecen, then became a pastor in 1603 in Nagyvárad where he stayed until 1604. He was invited by Prince Bocskay to come and be his pastor at Nagykereki. He accepted and became the Prince’s vicar. He was then a pastor in Kassa, 1606, where he stayed in this office until his death in 1634. When the three Jesuits were executed in Kassa, allegedly it was he who had demanded their death; one of them used to be a dear friend of Péter Pázmány. He became most famous for his debates with Archibishop Péter Pázmány. He wrote political pamphlets and exchanged letters with Prince Gábor Bethlen. He also published a Latin grammar book and was dealing with Hungarian grammar as well but his Hungarian grammar book published in 1639 has since disappeared. He would probably not have welcomed the Americans from Grantville, despite being a Protestant. Yet because of the Ring of Fire, he could possibly have lived beyond 1634.
Baron Miklós (Nicholas) Esterházy (1583-1645)
He was the founder of his family’s wealth. Coming from the lower nobility he rose to became a baron, count, and Palatine of Hungary. He had seven younger and two elder brothers as well as two sisters. He was brought up in Vienna by the Jesuits.
He converted to the Catholic faith in 1601, and his father disinherited him and chased him away from home. During the siege of Esztergom he was in one camp with Wallenstein in 1604 but nothing is known about their relationship. After serving under the former palatine, he went to Kassa where he served under its captain.
He became immensely rich because of his first marriage in 1612 with Orsolya Dersffy, the widow of the departed captain of Kassa. He had been having a love affair with Orsolya—who was many years older than him—while her husband (his boss) was still alive. Later the lady helped him a lot, and they had a son, István, in 1616.
Orsolya died in 1619 and Esterházy married another rich widow, Krisztina Nyáry, in 1624. During the fifteen years of their marriage they had nine children.
The Habsburgs noted Baron Esterházy because he was one of the few members of the Hungarian nobility to convert to Catholicism, and also because of his zeal in fighting the Turks. The king made him a baron, along with five of his brothers, in 1613, and the next year he gained his reputation as a negotiator in Linz.
His former Jesuit tutor was Péter Pázmány, and Esterházy helped him to be promoted to archbishop of Esztergom. Their relationship later was spoiled, and Pázmány vehemently attacked him in public many times while Esterházy blamed the Jesuit for his friendly relations with the almost bigot Calvinist Prince Rákóczi I. Pázmány also tried to restrict the palatine’s power and rights in favor of his own authority.
Esterházy had been in battles against the Turks during the Long War, but he also defeated the army of the Pasha of Bosnia in 1623. (When the pasha was dismissed by Prince Bethlen from his camp, the Turk soldier returned angrily home, packed with plunder and slaves. He was attacked and utterly defeated by Esterházy when crossing the Nyitra river. All the Christian captives were freed, and it was guessed that it may have been Bethlen himself who had informed Esterházy about the pasha’s route in order to get rid of his unwanted Turkish ally.)
The Emperor made him Palatine of Hungary in 1625, giving him the highest political function in the country. This time the Palatine’s annual salary was twenty-two thousand Hungarian florins. He also became Count of Fraknó and Knight in the Order of the Golden Fleece in 1626. He had been entrusted with the most important questions of the country since 1622. In his court he surrounded himself with the most talented young Hungarian aristocrats whom he trained to become successful diplomats. The list of his titles and domains is long. He fought against Prince Bethlen and was rewarded by the Emperor for it. Also, he was an enemy of Prince György Rákóczi I. Esterházy collected a five thousand-strong army when the Prince was crowned and tried to defeat him, but Rákóczi won the battle of Rakamaz in March, 1631, by sending his Hajdus to attack the mounds of the fortification.
The emperor issued some warnings against the palatine in the 1630s because he had made some attacks from the frontier castles against the Turks. He was said to have been struggling with the emperor and many times had considered resigning from his posts.
He openly supported the Hungarian interests in court and organized the upkeep of the frontier castles. Esterházy established the famous library called Bibliotheca Esterhazyana in his palace in Lackenbach, near Vienna. This palace also had a huge and elegant Renaissance garden. He considered writing to be as important as politics. His court became a meeting place of notable theologians of the age. He founded a renowned treasury-collection at his other main residence, the great castle of Fraknó (Forchtenstein) of Upper Hungary.
The palatine’s goal was to bring about the unity of Royal Hungary and Transylvania under the Habsburgs’ rule in order to defeat the Turks. He considered Transylvania a puppet-state of the Ottoman Empire, a dangerous bastion against the Catholics, but he defended the feudal privileges of the Hungarian nobility and fought for the emperor’s approval of an independent Hungarian army at the same time.
After the death of Ferdinand II in 1637, he suddenly had many enemies, although the Ring of Fire could change this. In the original timeline he was central in Hungarian anti-Protestantism and achieved the conversion of many Hungarian aristocrats, including Ádám Batthyány and Ferenc Nádasdy. He also supported the baroque-style constructions and music throughout the country.
During his last years, the young Miklós Zrínyi visited him. Later Pál Esterházy, Miklós’ son, served under Zrínyi against the Turks.
Four members of the Esterházy family died in the battle of Vezekény against the Turks when they defeated an army that was three times bigger than theirs. The palatine’s son, Pál, never joined the conspirator aristocrats against the court and helped the Habsburgs put down Prince Ferenc Rákóczi II’s freedom fight in 1703-11.
Palatine Miklós Esterházy is a dividing figure, and one can’t jump to conclusions about his person easily. It is true that he fought against the Turks with all his might, but he was absolutely loyal to the Habsburgs. The reaction of Miklós Esterházy to the Americans’ arrival is an open question.
György I Rákóczi (1593-1648)
He was an important Hungarian nobleman who became Prince of Transylvania from 1630 until his death in 1648. During his influence Transylvania grew politically and economically stronger. He was a well-educated and tolerant, “modern” absolute ruler with good military skills and experience. As a strong and independent sovereign ruler of Transylvania, an area then twice as big as modern-day Hungary, he was indeed in a position to make a difference in the Thirty Years War after the Ring of Fire.
In 1605 he was placed in the service of then-Prince István Bocskay. After Bockskay’s death in 1606, he rejoined his father, Zsigmond (Sigismund) Rákóczi. Zsigmond was elected Prince of Transylvania in 1607, but resigned a year later.
In 1619, György joined Prince Gábor Bethlen’s invasion of Royal Hungary, ruled by Ferdinand II as king. György commanded a wing of Bethlen’s army, which was sent to oppose a Polish army coming to the aid of Ferdinand. The Polish force defeated Rakoczi’s force at the Battle of Homonna (Homoneau, Humenné) on November 23rd. As a result, Bethlen had to give up his attack on Vienna and make peace. This is the attack on Vienna in which its suburbs were taken.
It is an interesting commentary on Rákóczi’s character that when he was with Bethlen’s army he received the news that his wife was about to deliver a baby. He didn’t care about the dismay of Bethlen and left the army behind just to be with his wife.
Rákóczi remained in Bethlen’s service until Bethlen died in 1629. Bethlen was briefly succeeded by his widow Catherine, and then his brother István. But the Transylvanian Diet soon turned to György instead. On December 1, 1630, at Segesvár (Schäsbrich, Sighisoara), the Estates elected Rákóczi as Prince.
He made a treaty with Ferdinand II in 1631. Rákóczi was accepted as a prince and in return he was obliged to send away the Hajdu troops. The Sultan also reaffirmed Rákóczi’s title during the same year in June.
Rákóczi was even more independent from the Turks than Bethlen had been. In 1636 he defeated the Pasha of Buda at the Battle of Nagyszalonta. Four years later he made a coalition against the Turks with the Polish king Sigismund III—unless the Ring of Fire has changed all of this.
Rákóczi followed in Bethlen’s steps and also sent a delegation to Sweden but it happened too late because Gustav Adolph had died—in that timeline—so Rákóczi couldn’t join the Swedes against the Habsburgs to take Hungary back from the Austrian usurpers. Their coalition was delayed because the Swedish king wanted Rákóczi’s military support against the Austrians quite unconditionally. But Rákóczi had his own terms: he wanted to keep his lands and the Transylvanian tradition of freedom of religion.
The Habsburgs had done everything to hinder Rákoczi’s intervention in the Thirty Years War: they had bribed the Turkish serasker (chief military leader under the sultan) who threatened to send Tatar and Turkish raiders to Transylvania if Rákóczi tried to attack the Austrians. When this serasker received his “silk string” from Murad, this obstacle was not there anymore.
So it happened in our original timeline that a decade later Rákóczi was free to decide to side with the Swedes when he learned that Torstensson broke into Austria after 1642 at Olmütz. With the coming of the Ring of Fire, who knows where twentieth-century technology will take this land? Rákóczi occupied the whole Hungarian Highland from the Habsburgs as his fellow Transylvanian princes in the past had made a habit of doing, and in February, 1644, his army was on the march to join Torstensson at Vienna. Finally the prince joined the Swedish army in Bohemia where they were besieging Brno.
In 1644, he intervened in the Thirty Years War, declaring war against the new emperor, Ferdinand III. He was able to achieve his basic military goals (keeping his lands intact and defending the unique Transylvanian religious freedom) with an army that outsmarted superior forces, without a major defeat. He didn’t really want to bring the Austrian kingdom down before dealing properly with the Turks since the Habsburgs represented at least some kind of an opposing power against the sultan. The international political situation was unique, but finally resulted in the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. As part of the treaty, Rákóczi and Ferdinand made peace, too, at Linz.
Rákóczi didn’t hurry to help Torstensson in our timeline but he would probably have made more haste had he suspected that the Grantvillers might be willing to help him to get rid of both controlling powers—the Habsburgs and the Ottomans. In any case he couldn’t have come to such an agreement with the USE before 1636, but he could have let the Turks reach Vienna in 1637, in exchange for some strategic forts. The Turks’ successful Viennese campaign must have increased his political and military value in the hope of a future agreement with the USE.
Not encountering the Grantvillers, he ruled until his death in 1648 and left behind a magnificent Transylvanian Fairy Garden to be utterly destroyed by the Habsburgs and the Romanians in future centuries.
Dávid Zólyomi (around 1600-1649)
He was a tough Secler soldier of the age, vice-general of Prince György Rákóczi I, who started his career under Prince Bethlen as the Chief Captain of Field Armies. He married István Bethlen’s daughter, Kata Bethlen, in 1629. They had two children, Krisztina and Miklós.
In 1630 he took Rákóczi’s side against Catherine of Brandenburg and had a great role in helping Rákóczi to the throne. Along with his brother-in-law, Péter Bethlen, he was defeated by the army of Palatine Miklós Eszterházy in 1631 at Rakamaz. He defeated a peasant uprising led by Péter Császár in 1632.
His friendship with Prince Rákóczi worsened so much that he exchanged letters with the Pasha of Buda in order to prepare his escape if it was needed in 1632. He wanted to make the prince continue his fight against the Habsburgs so the prince had to arrest him. He was sentenced to death but was pardoned and instead imprisoned in the castle of Kővár. After his death the prince didn’t take away the lands of his widow.
Baron Miklós (Nicholas) Zrínyi (1620-1664)
Born in Csáktornya (Cakovec) from a Croatian father and a Hungarian mother, he was an outstanding Hungarian military leader, statesman, and poet, having written the first epic poem in Hungarian literature.
Although Miklós Zrínyi was only eleven years old at the time of the Ring of Fire, his story is a good example how the Habsburgs were treating Hungary and the Turkish question. After the early loss of his parents, Péter Pázmány was made his caretaker and tutor. He inherited the northern part of his family’s lands and gradually chose to feel himself a Hungarian, rather than a Croat.
With Pázmány’s help Zrínyi became an enthusiastic student of Hungarian language and literature, although he prioritized military training. In our timeline, he accompanied Szenkviczy, one of the canons of Esztergom, on a long educative tour through Italy from 1635 to 1637. The young aristocrat was received by the pope, and Zrínyi gifted him with a collection of his poems written in Latin.
Over the next few years, he learned the art of war in defending the Croatian frontier against the Turks and proved himself one of the most important commanders of the age.
Their family raised the money for their wars against the Ottomans from their own income: they traded with salt, grain, wood, and cloth. They herded 40,000 grey cattle annually to the marketplace of Légrád (Legrad) in order to avoid paying taxes to Vienna. They made a business contract with the Turk Pasha of Kanizsa as well as with the Venetian merchants to trade. They used their own armed men to herd the cattle to the harbors. It all looked very close to treason but the family was reasoning to the court that they needed the money for the defense of their homeland, and they had to get it from somewhere because Vienna couldn’t have financed the wars alone.
In 1645, during the closing stages of the Thirty Years War, Zrinyi acted against the Swedish troops in Moravia, equipping an army corps at his own expense. At Szkalec he scattered a Swedish division and took two thousand prisoners. At Eger he saved the life of Ferdinand III, who had been surprised at night in his camp by the offensive of Carl Gustaf Wrangel. Although not enthusiastic for having to fight against Hungarians of Transylvania, he subsequently routed the army of George I Rakoczi on the Upper Tisza river. For his services, the emperor appointed him Captain of Croatia. On his return from the war he married the wealthy Eusebia Draskovich.
In 1646 he distinguished himself in the actions against Ottomans. At the coronation of Ferdinand IV, King of Austria, King of Germany, King of Hungary, Croatia and Bohemia, he carried the sword of state and was made a “Bán” (duke), and the Captain-General of Croatia. Yet, his loyalty to the Habsburgs had been continually declining.
During 1652-1653, Zrínyi was fighting against the Ottomans; nevertheless, from his castle he was in constant communication with the intellectual figures of his time. The Dutch scholar, Jacobus Tolius, even visited him, and has left in his Epistolae Itinerariae a lively account of his experiences. Tolius was amazed at the linguistic resources of Zrínyi, who spoke Hungarian, Croatian, Italian, German, Turkish, and Latin with equal ease. It was also noted how heroically Zrinyi had led his people to battles, often deciding the fight with his personal bravery.
In 1655, he made an attempt to be elected Palatine of Hungary. In spite of getting support from the petty nobility, his efforts failed as the king—because of Zrínyi’s good connections to the Protestants and the Hungarians of Transylvania—nominated Ferenc Wesselényi instead.
In 1663, the Turkish army, led by Grand Vizier Köprülü Ahmed, launched an overwhelming offensive against Royal Hungary, ultimately aiming at the siege and occupation of Vienna. The Imperial army failed to put up any notable resistance; the Turkish army was eventually stopped by bad weather conditions. As a preparation for the new Turkish onslaught due next year, German troops were recruited from the Holy Roman Empire, and aid was also called for from France, and Zrínyi, under the overall command of the Italian Montecuccoli, leader of the Imperial army, was named commander-in-chief of the Hungarian army. In 1664, Zrínyi set out to destroy the strongly fortified Suleiman Bridge of Eszék (Osijek). Destruction of the bridge would cut off the retreat of the Ottoman Army and make any Turkish reinforcement impossible for several months. Zrínyi advanced 240 kilometers in winter, through enemy territory and destroyed the bridge on 1 February 1664. He was frustrated by the refusal of the imperial generals to cooperate. The court remained suspicious of Zrínyi all the way, regarding him as a promoter of Hungarian separatist ideas. Zrínyi’s siege of Kanizsa, the most important Turkish fortress in southern Hungary, failed, as the beginning of the siege was seriously delayed by machinations of the overly-jealous Montecuccoli. Later the Emperor’s military commanders, unwilling to combat the grand vizier’s army hastily coming to the aid of Kanizsa, retreated.
The court concentrated all its troops on the Hungarian-Austrian border, sacrificing Zrinyi to hold back the Turkish army. The Turks, ultimately, were stopped in the Battle of Saint Gotthard (1664). The Turkish defeat could have offered an opportunity for Hungary to be liberated from the Turkish yoke. However, the Habsburg court chose not to push its advantage in order to save its strength for the future conflict that would be known as the War of the Spanish Succession. So the infamous Peace of Vasvár, the peace with the Turks, was negotiated by Zrínyi’s adversary, Montecuccoli. The peace treaty laid down unfavourable terms for the Hungarians, not only giving up recent conquests, but also offering a tribute to the Turks, all despite the fact that Austrian-Hungarian troops were the stronger.
Yet, Zrinyi was internationally praised, received the Golden Fleece, and was honored equally by the pope, King Louis XIV of France, and King Philip IV of Spain.
Zrínyi hurried to Vienna to protest against the treaty, but he was ignored; he left the city in disgust. It is widely accepted that he, despite being a loyal supporter of the court before, participated in the conspiracy which later became known as the Wesselényi conspiracy for an independent Kingdom of Hungary. However, on November 18, he was killed in a hunting accident by a wounded wild boar. Until this day, legend maintains that he was killed at the order of the Habsburg court and “that boar spoke German.” No conclusive evidence has ever been found to support this claim; however, it remains true that the Habsburgs lost their mightiest adversary with his death.
Zrínyi is also well known for his literary works. He is the author of the first epic poem in Hungarian language, written in 1648-1649.
Its subject is the heroic but unsuccessful defense of Szigetvár (1566) by the author’s great-grandfather, who was also called Miklós Zrinyi and who lost his heroic life by desperately attacking the besiegers on the last day of the Turks’ siege. It is interesting that Suleiman I the Great, the victor of Mohács who had defeated the Hungarian King Louis in 1526, also finished his life during this siege, and his heart was buried there.
Miklós Zrínyi wrote another famous political work about the Turkish peril. Its title is Do not hurt the Hungarians—An antidote to the Turkish poison. He makes a case in it for a standing army, moral renewal of the nation, the re-establishment of the national kingdom, the unification of Royal Hungary with Transylvania, and, of course, driving the Turkish out. He thought a well-organized, small, modernized army of five to six thousand men could be a core of a standing army, and he himself was able to rise this army anytime (as he had offered this in his letter to the Emperor Leopold I before his death.)
Unfortunately, it was this political open-minded thinking and activity that was observed with utter suspicion from Vienna.
Miklós Zrínyi wrote a book about the greatest Hungarian king, King Mátyás (Matthias), showing up the idea of a strong national monarchy, and this idea was a counterexample of the current reigning foreign dynasty, governing from Vienna. Zrínyi, along with the contemporary public opinion, regarded the Habsburgs as weak and if not outright ill-disposed towards the Hungarians, at least incapable of defending their Empire against the “rage of the Ottomans.” There were opinions that Zrínyi, the Bán (Duke) of Croatia could be a better leader of the Hungarian Kingdom. Some say it was Zrínyi himself who may have hinted this. In his book about King Mátyás he remarked that the great king hadn’t come from any ancient dynasties but was elected freely by the Hungarian nobility. However, Zrínyi never claimed openly that he wanted to get the crown. On the other hand, he was trying hard to get the rank of the Palatine of Hungary and to achieve it, he had built a very good relationship with George Rakoczi II, Prince of Transylvania. The Transylvanian prince in the 1650s was believed to be the perfect ruler with capable characteristics and conditions to conduct the reunion of the country with success.
Zrínyi was a devout Catholic but he was far from being a fanatic. He addressed the Protestant nobility like this: “I am of a different faith, but your lordships’ freedom is my freedom, if you are hurt, I am hurt, too. I wish the prince had a hundred-thousand good papists, a hundred-thousand Calvinist and the same Lutheran warriors, they could save this homeland . . .” (. . .) “I hold a confiding Lutheran in higher esteem than an evil-hearted Catholic.” (. . .) “Dear Sir, we have to keep our oaths even to infidels, how much more we should keep our words to our Christian brothers.” (. . .) “Attacking someone under the name of the religion is not right, it is against God’s mercy; also, it is a great sin and wrong to break our agreement with our enemy, under the cover of religion.” Here he refers to that contemporary belief that the Hungarian King Ulaszlo I had broken alliance with Sultan Murad II, and because of his perfidy he was killed at the Battle of Varna in 1444.
Zrínyi was also affected by the French idea of separating church and state and the concept of national absolutism.
At this time the Swedish king was paying closer attention to the anti-Ottoman wars and to Protestant Transylvania. Stäyger, the delegate of the Swedish ruler in Vienna, in 1655, wrote home that the Catholic aristocrat Zrínyi spoke against the Jesuits and had had a conflict with Prince Auerperg in the Court of Vienna, in an audience of the emperor which almost resulted in a duel.
Zrínyi’s opinion about religious wars was plain: “I can hardly believe that it would either be kind before God or acceptable for men to attack all of our neighbors or any Christian princes only under the excuse of religion. There are other reasons that force us to fight against the Turks or against other enemies who either share our faith or not; there are more noble reasons than the religion.”
His family’s slogan was Sors bona, nihil aliud (Only good luck, nothing else), but he used to add that God gave the fortune and showed the way. Human efforts must be made, of course: “. . .the human mind never gets so much help for the valiant soldiering or for any other thing as from learning and reading history.”
There are some rather interesting additions about Miklós Zrínyi’s family background. His father, György Zrínyi was said to have possessed outstanding characteristics. He was a Protestant. His wife was of this faith as well, but he was converted to Catholicism in 1619 by Péter Pázmány. George Zrínyi was in his best health when he joined Wallenstein’s army in 1626, April, but died in Pozsony in the same year at the age 29. Eyewitnesses wrote that Wallenstein had him killed during a lunch by giving him a poisoned radish. It is not a totally mad accusation since Wallenstein himself had written a letter to Vienna when he was very angry at Prince Bethlen for defeating his army. He proposed to the Austrian king that Bethlen should be gotten rid of by poison. There was not too much love in the Hungarians towards Wallenstein at the time of the Ring of Fire. Just imagine, had Wallenstein not died in 1634, how would Miklós Zrínyi, the second largest statesman in the Carpathian Basin beside George Rakoczi I, react in 1636 or 1637? Would the young Zrínyi, knowing that his father was murdered by the Grantvillers’ ally, join the Habsburgs who, after all, had been destined to mercilessly kill both him and his younger brother in a future unchanged by Grantville? This foreknowledge would likely leave him feeling that he had nowhere to go for advice except George Rákóczi I, Prince of Transylvania.
Miklós had a younger brother, Péter, who took care of the family’s lands near the Adriatic Sea and defended the shores against the Turks all of his life. He, too, is considered a great Croatian hero. He was later tried for treason and was beheaded by the Emperor after Miklós’ suspicious death in a hunting accident in 1664.
Zsigmond Erdődy ( ?-1639)
He was the Bán (Duke) of Croatia between 1627-1639. He studied in Vienna in 1610-11, then married Anna Keglevich in 1616. He became the Chief Count of Varasd, upon his father’s death, in 1624. The Turks defeated him at Kulpa in 1625; they shot his horse out from under him.
Countess Mária Széchy (born in Rimaszécs, about 1610; died in Kőszeg, 1679)
She was a Hungarian aristocrat who became known as the “Venus of Murány castle” for her extremely good looks. She had three husbands: first, when she was 17 she wed István Bethlen Jr., captain of Várad, who died after five years of marriage in 1632. Then she was the wife of István Kun, Chief Comes of Szatmár county between 1634-1637, but she divorced him. Finally she wed Ferenc Wesselényi, captain of Fülek castle, in 1644 when she was about 34. Later it was Wesselényi who was the leader of a famous conspiracy against the Habsburgs for which all the conspirators—Péter Zrínyi was among them—were beheaded. Wesselényi had died before the plot was discovered but Mária Széchy spent some time in prison because of it, too.
Mária had been strongly disliked and even hated by moralistic people of her time. She was said to be eccentric, unconventional, and she was rebuked for her love of men’s clothes and riding a horse like a man. It was also written about her that although she liked pageantry, she also spent great amounts of money on charity as well, supporting hospitals and poor students. She was a Protestant and her family’s lands were among the largest in Upper Hungary. Her family’s center, which was on a strategic location, became the impregnable castle of Murány in 1617. Later the castle of Murány fell into Prince Rákoczi I’s hands.Wesselényi (at that time still loyal to the Habsburgs) and his wife, Mária, took it back in 1645 from their in-laws by outsmarting them: Mária Széchy–while her family was at Rákoczi’s side—entered the castle and made the guards drunk.
Pasha Murtesa (?-1635)
First he was a pasha in Bosnia but later he became the Pasha of Buda between 1626-1630. He became Pasha of Silistria in 1603 and he was there until 1632 when he was appointed as the Pasha of Dijárbeker. He married the widow of Pasha Háfiz Ahmed in February, 1633. His wife was the sister of Sultan Murad IV. At the end of that year he was ordered to Constantinapolis where he became a kaymakam (lieutenant-governor). He was the serdar (general) in the 1634 war against the Polish. He was made Captain of the Castle Erivan in 1635, where he died next year.
Pasha Adjem Hussein (?–1631)
He was of Persian origin, and he was the standard-bearer of his country. He became the Pasha of Buda in February 1630 and vizier at the same time. He was removed from these offices in October, 1631, which so saddened him that he died after a few days. It’s possible that the Ring of Fire might change the circumstances which led to his death.
Pasha Beirám (?–1638)
He was born in Constantinople (current day Istanbul), he was an odabasi and a chorbadji. He became a muhzi-aga in 1620 then he was a turnadjibashi in 1622, then received the rank of a samsudjsibashi and a zagardzibashi the same year, whatever these names may mean. He became a jannichar-kiaya in October 1623 then a jannichar-aga. Four or five weeks later the sultan was forced to remove him from this function but as compensation he was named Pasha of Egypt in 1626. He was removed from there in 1628. He was called back to the court, and they made him the sixth vizier among the viziers. He was appointed as the Pasha of Buda in 1631 but a few days later he became a vizier again. The sources mention him as the Pasha of Rumelia in 1632. Next year he married one of the sultan’s elder sisters and thus was made a kaymakham. He acted as the Pasha of Buda again in 1634, but for just a few weeks. Then he became vizier again; and kaymakham for the second time. He wore the title of grand vizier in February, 1637. He was leading the Ottoman army against the Persians toward Baghdad but he died on the road in Djulab, in August, 1638.
Pasha Musa (?-1647)
He was the Pasha of Buda between 1631-34, 1637-38, and 1640-44. He was appointed to be the Pasha of Buda at first in October, 1631, and he was dismissed in June, 1634. He had to go to the court, but he became Pasha of Buda again in February 1637. A year later he was summoned to the court and was given the office of kaymakham. He became a second vizier in June, 1639 and in 1640 he was made Pasha at Buda for the third time. Four years later he was called to the court and they made him Pasha of Sivás. He was a kapudan-pasha in 1646. He was killed during an attack of a Venetian warship while traveling from Crete to Morea in 1647. The Ring of Fire could entirely change his timeline after 1631, and he could be involved in the Ottoman Onslaught.
He was a silibdar-aga and he became a vizier and the Pasha of Buda in June, 1634. He was removed a few days (!) later from this office and became Pasha of Bosnia. Soon he was sent away from here, too, and was made the leader of Sanjak Paphlagonia. He became the Captain of Erzerum in 1635.
Pasha Djáfer (?-1635)
He was a bostandjibashi. He was made a kapudanpasha and a vizier in July, 1632. He became Pasha of Buda in July, 1634. He was sentenced to death and stringed in May, 1635, Buda, in the original time line; events may have changed significantly for him after the RoF.
Pasha Nazuhpasazade Hussein
He had a high rank at court. He became Chief Master of Horse in 1634. Sultan Murad IV promoted him to be Pasha of Buda and vizier in 1635. At the end of February, 1637, he was made the Pasha of Rumelia by the Emperor but he lost this office in September. He stayed in the Divan as a vizier and in 1639 he achieved the rank of Pasha of Erzerum.
Pasha Tabani Jassi Muhammed (?–1639)
He was of Albanian origin and had been the servant of Mustafa Kizlar-Aga and succeeded him as a Chief Master of Horse. He became Pasha of Egypt in 1628 but was summoned to the court in 1630. He became the grand vizier from 1632 to 1637. He was assigned to Buda as its pasha in 1638 and he became Pasha of Silistra as well. He was removed from Buda in February, 1639, then went to the court where he was made a kaymakham in May. He was imprisoned into the Yedikule fortress and stringed accordingly in December, 1639.
Nobleman from Pozsony (Pressburg) county. He was converted from Lutheran to Catholic.
He acted as Ferdinand II’s negotiator on the peace talks with the Transylvanian prince until 1626 and was rewarded by the emperor with a village. His wife was Sára Kánya of Budafalva. Their son’s name was Peter.
Pál Nádasdy (Born in 1597, Sárvár; died in 1633 at Csepreg)
His father died when he was seven and his uncle’s son, his cousin, Tamás, took care of him until 1620. Tamás supported the anti-Habsburg Bocskay but Pál remained loyal to the king. Pál reached adulthood when he was thirteen in 1610 so he could officially take over offices that went with the male members of his family; this was the year he became the Chief Comes of Vas county (which was one of the hereditary offices of his family). When Ferdinand was crowned in 1618, Pál was made a so-called “knight with the golden spurs.”
Unlike his predecessors, Pál disliked politics and economics; he preferred hunts and pageantry. His property was taken care of by his man János Vitnyédi. His offices were: 1605, hereditary Comes of Sopron County; 1610, hereditary Comes of Vas County; 1622, hereditary chief-captain of Trans-Danubian Captaincy; 1627, chief captain of the frontier opposing the Turk-held Kanizsa castle; 1623, royal advisor and chief senechal; 1625, count and chief chamberlain.
He completed the construction of Sárvár Castle in the manner of his family’s tradition in 1615. He constructed printing houses at Csepreg and at Sopronkeresztút, too. He also sponsored talented students learning abroad such as the Protestant preacher of Csepreg, István Letenyei. Letenyei had his prayer book printed in Csepreg in 1631, in the printing house run by Imre Farkas.
Pál wed his second wife, Judit Révay, in 1620. Their children were Ferenc (eight years old at the Ring of Fire) and Anna Mária, who became a nun.
János Homonnay Drugeth (1609-1645)
He was the one who gained the title of count for his family. They were the wealthiest lords in Zemplén County and Ung County, but he had lands in Poland, too. His father György was converted to Catholicism in 1610 and he began anti-Protestantism on his vast lands. He settled Jesuit priests to his land at Homonna in 1612. Later he supported the union between the Orthodox Catholics and the Roman Catholics by bringing the high priest Athanasius Krupetzkij from Poland to Munkács (Munkacsevo) in 1613, along with 50 lesser priests. This gave an excuse later to Prince Bethlen to take away György’s lands in Zemplén County (even Homonna was taken away) so there was a traditional enmity between the Drugeth family and the tolerant Transylvania. The elder Drugeth was defeated there in Homonna in a bloody battle in 1619.
János continued his father’s policy of converting those in his lands and helped Bishop Tarasovich Bazil get his office in Munkács in 1633.
János helped to put down the peasant uprising of Péter Császár in 1632 in Gönc, with the help of the palatine and István Bethlen. He played a rather cruel role in it. He got back his lands of Zemplén County and the city of Homonna for his deed. He became Captain of Kassa and the judge of the country in 1636. Prince György Rákóczi took Homonna from him again in 1644 and the family began its decline.
See “The Austro-Hungarian Connection” in Ring of Fire II and subsequent mainline novels for his role in the New Time Line.
Below the Radar in the Hungaries:
Notable People from Ring of Fire Hungary
Palatine Ferenc Wesselényi (1605–1667)
He was a Hungarian aristocrat, general, and the Palatine of Hungary 1655-1667. His father, István Wesselényi (1583-1627) was a court advisor to Ferdinand II.
He was brought up in a Jesuit school in Nagyszombat (Trnava, Tyrnau) where he became a Catholic. He had immense physical strength and was quick-tempered; soon he became a soldier. He was very young when he took part in several battles against the Turks. He helped the Polish King Wladyslav IV Vasa by bringing him Hungarian troops against the Russians and the Tatars for which he was rewarded with Polish nobility and received a dominium worth one hundred thousand florins, too. Later Ferdinand II made him a count and the Captain of Fülek castle. He became the Chief General of Royal Hungary in 1647 and fought against the Swedes and against Prince Rakoczi II. He got hold of the castle of Murány in 1644 as has been described. For this deed he was gifted the castle of Balog as well. At the 1655 Diet of Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava) he was elected as palatine of Hungary. As a Palatine, he took part on the coronation of Leopold I. He was fighting the Turks in 1663. After the suspicious death of Miklós Zrínyi in 1644, he joined the conspirators against Vienna in 1655, supported all the way by Péter Zrínyi. Wesselényi died before the plot was discovered so he could not be executed.
Count Miklós Forgách
He was a count in Ghymes and Gács and the Chief Master of Treasury in Royal Hungary. In 1633 he was the Chief General of Upper Hungary and the representative of Ferdinand II at the same time. He was not alive in 1649. His wife was Eszter Bossányi who wrote a Hungarian letter to Prince György Rákóczi II in 1649.
Zsófia (Sophia) Bosnyák, born Nagysurány, 1609–died Sztrecsény, 1644.
She was the lady of Sztrecsnó Castle, Upper Hungary. Her father Tamás Bosnyák was a famous warrior who had been valiantly fighting the Turks. Her mother was Mária Kenderes. She was seventeen when she was made to marry Mihály Serényi, the Captain of Fülek and Szendrő Castles. The marriage lasted for only a few months, and her husband died in 1626.
She returned to his parents’ home, but her mother also died that year. Next year she lost her twenty-two-year-old brother. Her father was fighting the Turks this time in Fülek, so Zsófia had to manage the family’s lands. Soon she has become known as the generous helper of the poor and the sick.
She was twenty-one when Archibishop Péter Pázmány assisted her in marrying Palatine Ferencz Wesselényi. They moved to Sztrecsnó castle and had two boys: Ádám was born in 1630 and László in 1633. Later they moved to Vágtapolca. Zsofia’s father Tamás Bosnyák died of cholera in 1634 so Palatine Wesselényi took Fülek Castle over and then he rarely came home to visit Zsofia because Fülek was frequently attacked by the Turks because of its strategic location.
So Zsófia had to carry on maintaining the lands and bringing up the children. She was taking care of the poor, too; she established a house for them that was used as a hospital as well. The locals respected her for her good heart. Legend says that her husband cheated on her with the famous Mária Széchy, the “Venus of Murány Castle,” and Zsófia grieved a lot because of it. She spent more time with charity and regularly went to pray to the chapel of the castle at night. She had an apparition of the Holy Mary who allegedly told her to trust and pray. Eventually, her health gradually got worse, and she died at the age of thirty-five. She was put to rest in the chapel of Sztrecsnó castle.
Her brother, István Bosnyák, the bishop of Nyitra (Nitra) was two years older and died the same year. Sztrecsnó Castle got a new owner in 1689 who, when he took the place over, found the fully untouched body of Zsófia in the chapel. The body was taken to the church in Vágtapolca, Wesselényi’s village. Zsófia Bosnyák’s resting place had become a pilgrim’s destination and crowds arrived to see her in her glass-covered coffin. Her body was destroyed in 2009 when a thirty-one-year-old Slovakian man set it on fire with gasoline.
The Ring of Fire could have changed this portion of history quite a bit if Tamás Bosnyák didn’t die of cholera in 1634, and if Zsófia didn’t die at age thirty-five.
Count Pál Csáky (born circa 1603, died sometime after 1649)
He converted to Catholicism in 1614 and studied in Vienna between 1620-23, acquiring an unusually high education for his time and age. He began managing his estates in 1623 and then settled down in the Castle of Nagyalmás, in Transylvania.
He was 22 in 1625 when he married Éva, the daughter of the Hungarian Palatine Zsigmond Forgách. Éva died in April, 1639, so he married again in 1640 to Maria, the daughter of the Chief Comes (Count) of Abaúj, György Perényi. Anna died in September, 1641 and he remarried in 1643, taking the hand of Krisztina Mindszenti. He had a total of nine children from these marriages.
Prince Gábor Bethlen made him the Chief Comes of Kolozs county in 1625. He belonged to the most confidential circles of Catherine of Brandenburg, the wife of the prince. This was the reason why Prince György Rákóczi I chased him out of Transylvania in 1630, under the charge of usurping the throne. His lands were confiscated at the same time, just a year before the Ring of Fire. (This could possibly make him a likely “refugee” to Grantville. He had the education and courtly contacts in both Hungary/Transylvania and Austria, and he doesn’t quite seem to qualify for high politics. It could be made quite plausible that—upon hearing about the Ring of Fire—that he traveled to Grantville as a paid agent of the Habsburgs, copied pages regarding Hungary and Transylvania from a late-sixties-era encyclopedia and returned to Vienna to study, absorb, and forge the information to mislead his personal enemy, Prince Rákóczi I of Transylvania. At which point he’d regret not having lifted more information about the Habsburgs and the Soviet Union. He could be the source of thinking that the Americans in Grantville would be antagonistic toward Hungary and the other Soviet-bloc countries).
In Royal Hungary he became the Captain of Szendrő Castle in Borsod county, in Upper Hungary, in August, 1633. He also gained the estates of Tarcal and the castle of Tokaj from Catherine of Brandenburg. Soon, he got his Transylvanian estates back, too. He was made a count in 1636. Through his marriages he got the castle of Szepes with 123 villages in Upper Hungary, for just 85,000 florins—which in 1651 finally became 168,000 florins because of the machinations and the greediness of the Viennese court. The Austrian emperor made him master of the treasury in 1647, for his deeds in the campaign against Prince György Rakoczi I. He was on the Diet of Pozsony (Pressburg) in 1649 and had visited Vienna countless times. This ex-lover of Prince Bethlen’s wife and turncoat would make a prime anti-Grantviller.
Count Nádasdy Ferenc (1623-1671)
Judge of the Country, aristocrat. Later he was beheaded in Royal Hungary for taking a leading part in the Wesselenyi conspiracy against the emperor. He would have been about eight years old at the Ring of Fire, and about thirteen or fourteen by the time of the Ottoman Onslaught against Vienna.
Baron István (Stephen) Thököly (1581-1651)
He was a wealthy aristocrat in Upper Hungary and unconditionally supported the Habsburgs. He would have been fifty years old at the Ring of fire, and his son, István, born in 1623, would have been about thirteen or fourteen by the time of the Ottoman Onslaught in the NTL. OTL he took part in the Wesselényi conspiracy (ca 1664-71) and was punished for it severely. His descendant was the famous Imre Thököly who rebelled against the Habsburgs and let the Turks come to Vienna in 1683. If he had known how rebellious his family members would become, how would this affect his relationship with the Habsburgs?
István (Stephen) Pálffy (1586-1646)
Aristocrat, Comes of Pozsony, general and Chief Captain of Trans-Danubian Region, loyal to the Habsburgs. His mother was Mária Fugger, from the wealthiest banker family of Europe. He was guarding the Holy Crown 1608-1625. He was given high functions and became advisor to the king and the emperor. Betlen defeated and captured him in 1621 but he remained loyal, nevertheless. He was freed in exchange for 24,500 florins. Ferdinand made him a count in 1634. He respected Péter Pázmány very much. Pálffy was converting people very aggressively. He raised a cavalry contingent for the Emperor in 1639. He remained a very firm adherent of the Habsburgs all his life. An older man at the Ring of Fire (about forty-five), he would likely be set in his ways, suspicious of the American technology, and possibly a strong adversary of the Americans.
Benedek Bakai (?-Sárospatak, February, 1633)
He was a teacher and a school principal from Kassa (Kosice). After finishing his basic schooling, he went to Belgium in 1622 then to the University of Wittenberg in 1625, and he was the first Hungarian who went to study in England. Returning home, he became a teacher or priest in Kassa (Kosice). Prince György Rákóczi I invited him to lead the college of Sárospatak in 1630.
János Bánfihunyadi (Joannes Banfi Huniades) (Nagybánya, 1576-Amsterdam, 1646)
Professor. His father was a Reformed pastor, Benedek Mogyoró of Bánfihunyad, bishop of the Trans-Tisza River Region. After his studies in Europe, János (Joannes) went to England and studied chemistry. Later he taught mathematics and alchemy in the Gresham College of London. At the beginning of his stay in England he made his living as a goldsmith, according to early English sources. Prince György Rákóczi I invited him in 1633 to come and teach at the Academy of Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg) but he couldn’t accept it due to his previous obligations in England. He became the acolyte of Sir Kenelm Digby 1633-1635. He had an English wife named Dorothy Colton, the daughter of Sir Francis Colton from Kent County, and they had four children. They set out to Hungary together in 1646 but he died in Amsterdam. János and Dorothy could be quite affected by the Ring of Fire, depending on their standing with the English government. As a Protestant scientist/mathematics teacher, Charles I could make their fellow church members’ positions quite uncomfortable. It’s possible that since Charles sold the rights to New England to the French, that János could lead a migration to Hungary/Transylvania in the NTL.
He was dealing with the effect of the mercury on gold and silver as well as different technological problems of chemistry. He was experimenting with the production of paints, glues, glass, and the creation of basic materials for medicine. One of his chemical formula can be found in the Bibliotheca Bodleiana in Oxford. He had a recognized name among the contemporary British scientists, and he was closely connected with Arthur and John Dee, William Lilly, John Booker, John Aubrey, and Jonathan Goddard. At the same time he was in everyday connection with his homeland and had been a great helper of Hungarian students in England.
János Bényei Deák (?-1645)
A Reformed teacher and pastor. Educated in Hungary, he then taught in Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), 1630, and in Marosvásárhely (Tirgu Mures ), 1633.
He was a tutor of two sons (Zsigmond and György) of Prince György Rákóczi I at Gyulafehérvár, and he edited the Latin handbook of Janua Linguarum Bilingvis, Latina et Hungarica with his pupils. He accompanied his students abroad, visiting the University of Leiden in 1634 and the University of Utrecht in 1635. Upon his return home, he became the second teacher in the college of Sárospatak in September, 1637. In his inaugural he made a speech about the “Merciful wisdom and the wise mercyness,” and he taught rhetoric among other things. He resigned in 1641 and became a pastor at Mád, and he was made a scrivener by the Diocese of Abaúj. He died of cholera in 1645. His life could have been quite altered by the Ring of Fire.
György Berényi (Bodok, 1601-1677)
Politician, writer. He learnt at Körmöcbánya (Upper Hungary) in a monasterial school and went abroad to an unknown university. Returning home, he became the castle captain of the aristocrat Forgach family, first at Sempte, then he served the Thurzó family at Temetvény as a captain.
He wrote a diary about the happenings of the Diet of Sopron (1634-35) and of the Diet of Pozsony (Pressburg, Bratislava) between 1634 and 1638 where he was a delegate of Nyitra County. He became the leader of the county’s insurrection in 1641, and he was a delegate again on the 1642 Diet. He joined the royal army against Prince György Rákóczi I in 1643.
We can find him in Rákóczi’s service in 1646 but two years later returned to Vienna and got a dominium from the king in 1655 for it. Next year he was made a baron. He was successfully negotiating with Rákóczi on behalf of Emperor Leopold I in 1659. He became a royal advisor at the court in 1660. He seemed to change sides easily.
Gáspár Bojthi Veres (born 1595, died after 1640)
Teacher; secretary of Prince Gábor Bethlen and later court member of Prince Rákóczi I.
He studied in Debrecen from 1613, then from 1617 to 1620 he studied in Heidelberg, at Prince Gábor Bethlen’s expense. Returning home in 1621, he next became a tutor to István Bethlen and a teacher at Marosvásárhely. The prince made him his historian and a professor as well, at Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia). He was responsible for the archives of the local church. Prince Rákóczi I made use of his services as a secret envoy to Germany in 1640.
He was a teacher, the son of Prince Bethlen’s envoy, Tamás Borsos. He travelled abroad for ten years. He finished his studies at the University of Padua in 1632 where he got his physician and bachelor of arts degree. After returning home, he became a Unitarian teacher and dean in Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg). Here he wed Anna Ádám in 1638. He resigned from his dean position in that year and worked as a physician. At this time he began to write his diaries, keeping records of his family and contemporary history until 1647.
He started his studies at the University of Wittenberg in April, 1631. In the 1630s there were about three hundred Hungarians learning or teaching in Western schools: he was one of them. He was teaching between 1644-47 in Besztercebánya (Banská Bystrica), Upper Hungary, then in Eperjes (Prjesov) in 1648. He became a notary public in Modor in 1651. Finally he taught at the Evangelical College of Pozsony (Bratislava, Pressburg) until his death. János might make a good agent of change in Hungary if he became fascinated with the new technology available because of the Ring of Fire.
Péter Czack (?-1636)
He was a writer and a member of a delegation in 1602 from Kassa (Kosice) to Lőcse (Levoca), escorting Peter Zabler. He was a skilled diplomat and in 1605 successfully negotiated with the Hajdu soldiers who were threatening his city, Lőcse (Levoca). We can see him among the city’s officials from 1606 until his death: he was in charge of taking care of the buildings’ and roads’ safety. He was a city judge between 1632-33. He kept a diary that has disappeared. It’s possible that his life could be expanded by medical knowledge learned from Grantville and/or that he becomes interested in America’s up-time building codes and road construction.
She was a nun of the Poor Claires, the daughter of Master of Treasury István Csáky and Anna Wesselényi. She joined the nunnery in Pozsony (Bratislava, Pressburg) in 1625. She sent letters from there to her mother and brothers and to Gábor Vadas between 1639-71. We know twelve of her letters which bear witness of her high education.
Baccio (Bartholomeo) del Bianco (1604-1656)
He was a painter, a stucco-artist, an architect, and a military engineer. He was born in Florence and he got his artistic education there. He became the assistant of Giovanni Battista Pieroni and set out to find his luck in the Holy Roman Empire in 1620.
The Council of War assigned him to examine the castles and walls in Hungary. He made scale models of Mosonmagyaróvár and Pozsony and was working on the walls of Győr, Sopron, and Komárom. Later he and Pieroni worked on the fortifications of Prague. At this time, 1623-30, Andrea Spezza was building Wallenstein’s palace in Prague, between. They got work here, too: Pieroni had designed the stanza of the garden while Baccio del Bianco made the stuccos of the central great hall between 1629-30.
Then he returned to Italy and taught architecture and fortification building in Florence. He designed the plans for the facade of the cathedral in Florence. He joined the court of Phillip IV of Spain in 1650 where he was organizing festivities and designing gardens until his death. As an architect and artist he probably would have been fascinated by the technological advancements made possible by the up-timers.
Johann Heinrich Alsted (John Henry Alsted, Alstedius)
(Ballersbach, 1588-Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), 1638)
He was a German Protestant theologian and philosopher and epitomized what would now be called a Renaissance man. He was teaching between 1629-1638 at the College of Gyulafehérvár where he had come with Heinrich Bisterfeld and Ludwig Piscator at Prince Bethlen’s invitation. He created numerous encyclopedic works regarding theology and philosophy, which were well-known at the time. We know of three hundred fifty-five of his works.
Tamás Borsos (born in Marosvásárhely in 1566, died sometime after 1633)
He was a notary public and city judge in Transylvania, and also acted as Prince Bethlen’s envoy to the Turks.
Mihály Dálnoki Nagy
He studied at the Unitarian college of Kolozsvár (Cluj, Klausenburg), then travelled to Italy in 1631 and studied at Padova. He returned in February, 1637. He became the president of the university. In 1645 he was studying the solar eclipse and was almost totally blinded. He was famous for his remarkable memory and for teaching philosophy. He was a pastor from 1646 on. Knowledge from Grantville would have (hopefully) saved him from losing his eyesight and certainly would have expanded his thoughts on philosophy.
Péter Debreczeni (Debrecen, 1608-?)
He was a Protestant pastor who studied in Debrecen (located in Turkish-occupied land) and became a teacher there. He was learning in western universities from 1636 on (Leiden, Franeker). He was a pastor at Munkacs (Munkacevo) in 1647 and in 1649 and perhaps in 1666 as well. Later he was pastor at Técső.
A Protestant pastor from Győr, in 1630 he was studying at the University of Leipzig, then came home and became the court pastor of Count György Széchy, the Lord of Murány Castle.
A poet in the Trans-Danubian region, her religious songs can be found in the Codex Lugosy of 1635.
Count Miklós Draskovits (1595-1659)
A poet, he was in school in 1608 when he wrote a poem for the nobleman, Ferenc Forgács. He was said to be an envoy of this nobleman. His wife was Erzsébet Endrődy.
Lutheran bishop from Zsolna (Upper Hungary). His parents gave him a nice education. He went abroad to learn and returned in 1619. He was teaching in Breznóbánya and in Bánóc in 1630. Then he became a pastor for Count Predmirre, and from there he went to Szenic. He had to run away from there because of his religion. Finally, he was elected bishop in Bánóc in 1648. He was a great orator and had a good knowledge of the Bible. He was a humble person and dressed in very cheap clothes.
Lutheran poet from Nyitra county (Upper Hungary). His brother was Florián Duchon, a Lutheran pastor. He gained the title of doctor and was famous for smaller poems.
János Fabinus (?-1644)
Lutheran pastor. His ancestor came from Poprád (Upper Hungary). He was studying in Boroszló in 1630. He was shot down at Illésháza by one of the hussars of Rákóczi.
Protestant pastor from the first part of the seventeenth century who wrote epic poems and translated the Catechisatio, Theologia, and Theologicum Examen of Guillelmus Bucanus into the Hungarian language. These works were never printed and were entirely lost.
Pál Fráter (?-1658)
Soldier, poet. He was the son of a Transylvanian judge, and his mother was Ilona Horváth Suselich. He was a soldier at several points during the reign of Prince György Rákóczi I.
In 1634 he was arrested because he was accused of being a friend of István Bethlen, the enemy of the prince. He was imprisoned in his own castle from where he escaped to Royal Hungary.
It was during his exile when he wrote his poetic letter to Anna Barcsay. Later he became a confidential advisor of Prince György Rákóczi II, the next ruler, and he was given the leadership of the Hajdu soldiers. He got his lands back in 1654, after the campaign in Moldova. There are lots of different possibilities for this character post-Ring of Fire.
Pál Keresztúri Bíró (?-1655)
Protestant preacher, distinguished educator and famous for his polemics.
He studied in Debrecen, where he became a student of theology in 1617. He became president of the students in 1620 and returned to his home village to teach in 1622. He went to Bréma, Germany, in 1624 and to the Netherlands. The following year he took a longer trip in England and came home in the summer of 1626. He set out again in 1627, presumably sent by Prince Gábor Bethlen. He became a student at the University of Leiden and came home during the late summer of 1629 to become the leading teacher of the University of Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), in the capital of Transylvania.
He was instructing the children of Prince György Rákóczi I from the summer of 1634 on. In this court-school the children of the Prince studied together with the children of the Transylvanian nobility. He became the court-priest of the next ruler, Prince György Rákóczi II, at Várad. He moved to Gyulafehérvár in 1648 and took charge again of leading the court school.
His theology consisted of a synthesis of traditional Reformed thought and Puritanism. He firmly represented the theological inheritance of the traditional Protestantism. It was not enough for him just to know the theory in all details but he was urging people to consider these principles very thoroughly and make them into a personalized religious experience. This experience was supposed to be obtained continuously, with a very close-to-God feeling. In his preachings he emphasized the Puritan moral views and not the prophetic zeal. He highlighted that a Christian man should spend his life in constant spiritual activity. He debated with his Jesuit adversaries both theologically and politically. He defended the writings of Prince György Rákóczi I, too.
In his pedagogics he thought that physical punishment should be avoided and rather than that, placidity and motivation should be applied. He didn’t consider the children “small adults” as they had been considered in the Middle Ages. In his pedagogics he used the sense of humor, the good mood, and playing, more open-mindedly than others. He thought that the attention of the children should be attracted all the time. His thinking was similar to Comenius’ slogan: “Omnia sponte fluant, absit violentia rebus” or: “Let everything go on and let the violence be far away.”
He didn’t teach reading and writing apart from each other, but taught them side by side. His students had to learn first in Hungarian and later in Latin. In teaching a language he put the emphasis on talking skills rather than making the children memorize the grammar. He may have been the first who taught the basics of modern languages this way. He taught the languages of neighboring nations and the “civilized nations’ ” languages as well: Romanian, Polish, Turkish, German, French, and English were taught in his school.
Gáspár Madách (1590-1641)
He was a juryman, judge, and a representative of the Diet of Upper Hungary. He was a comes (count) from 1636, the familiaris of the aristocrat Simon Balassa, the director of his properties of Kékkő Castle. He wrote poems in Hungarian and in Czech languages: these writings were not considered the best poems on Earth.
Some Final Thoughts:
The Hungarian heroism against the Ottoman Empire allowed the civilized Western monarchs to fight their political/religious wars for thirty years.
As a result of the Ring of Fire, the Prince of Transylvania would have learned that after these wars the Austrians would drive the Turks out after the siege of Vienna in 1683. Once Buda was retaken, Hungary would be liberated by the allied European crusaders. Contemporary sources agreed that this “liberation” caused greater misery and destruction across Hungary than the long Turkish occupation, not forgetting the Serbian attacks and massacres that followed it in the 1700s.
After forcing the Turks out, Hungary would lose the last bits of its independence and even Transylvania would fall into the hands of the Habsburgs, who, after putting down two major wars of independence (1704-1711 and 1848-49), would finally force Hungary into their monarchy, taking control over foreign, military, and financial affairs. They had only been able to create their monarchy with the Russian tsar’s help.
Hungarians would learn through the Ring of Fire that the Austrian Habsburgs would bleed them dry for three hundred years in defense of Christendom and then drag them into the First World War. Hungary was the only country in 1919 that shrank back to a smaller size than what it had been after 1541, with the allied American and West European politicians signed the Treaty of Versailles which took away seventy-four percent of its territory.
The Habsburgs were common enemies of Hungary and the USE, and the Turks could have been manipulated into crushing them. Obviously, there were either no negotiations with the Grantvillers before 1637 or they were kept completely secret. Either the Habsburgs or the Turks could have succeeded in stopping or hindering them.
It would be very much in the prince’s interest to use the Turks to destroy the Habsburgs. Of course, he would have asked for a high price from the sultan for letting them through. Who knows how many cities, villages, and strategic castles would be returned to the Transylvanians in exchange for the passage to Vienna? Who knows how many Hungarians could be saved from the Muslims’ slavery? How much stronger would his power grow?
The following books have given me a great help in writing my article:
Péter Katalin: “A magyar romlásnak százada” Budapest, 1979
Péter Katalin: “Esterházy Miklós” Budapest, 1985
Hegyi Klára: “Egy Világbirodalom végvidékén” Budapest, 1976
Újváry Zsuzsanna: “Nagy két császár birodalmi között” Budapest, 1984
Bitskey István: “Pázmány Péter” Budapest, 1986
Makkai László: “Bethlen Gábor emlékezete” Budapest, 1980
Nagy László: “Megint fölszánt magyar világ van” (Társadalom és hadsereg a 17.század első felének Habsburg-ellenes küzdelmeiben) Budapest, 1985
Földi Pál: “Zrínyi Miklós” Budapest, 2015
Földi Pál: “Tündérkert őrzői” Debrecen, 2014
Földi Pál: “Végvárak vitézei” Debrecen, 2014
Nagy László: “A török világ végnapjai Magyarországon” Budapest, 1986
Nagy László: “Hajdú vitézek” Budapest, 1986
Nagy László: “Kard és szerelem” Budapest, 1985
ifj. Barta János: “Buda visszavétele” Budapest, 1985
Somogyi Győző: “Végvári vitézek 1526-1686” Budapest, 2014
Somogyi Győző: “Az erdélyi fejedelemség hadserege 1559-1690” Budapest, 2013
Benda Kálmán: “Magyarország történeti kronológiája 1.-2. kötet” Budapest, 1981
Szerecz Miklós: “Vitézség tüköri: Zrínyitől Rákócziig” (kézirat)
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