Why do Hungarians Say: Worse Was Lost at Mohacs?

When a big trouble happens to someone at Hungary he says "Worse was lost at Mohacs" to describe how much of losses he had . So, What's Mohacs and what happened there?


It is a name of a battle which changed the balance of power in Europe in 1526 and led to the division of Hungary into several states between the Ottoman Empire, the Habsburg Monarchy, and the Principality of Transylvania.

The cause of the battle:

After the death of sultan (Saleem the first) the prince (Sulaiman) - who was only 26 years old - has been a sultan following his father.

The king of Hungary and Bohemia thought it was a good chance to face the ottomans who had a great expansion in Europe and who are the traditional enemy of Hungary since Nicopolis battle 1396, He refused to pay the tribute to the Muslim sultan, And more, he killed the ambassador of the sultan - killing ambassadors is considered as a big crime in the custom of states often means declaring a war-.

Other helping factors reinforced the idea of a war:

In the last few years before Mohacs battle Europe was in a hot water, wars didn't stop between France and Italy, Charles the fifth the emperor of the Holy Roman empire has great power in Europe (In Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, Hubsburg and many regions in Europe) and has ambitions to extend his influence over France.

on 24 February 1525 (one year and a half before Mohacs) the battle of Pavia happened between the Holy Roman empire and France, King Francis the first of France was defeated with many of nobles and still a prisoner for months, Finally he was forced to sign the Treaty of Madrid.

All that pushed king Francis the first to ask the ottoman sultan to fight the Holy Roman Empire, and the road from Turkey to the Holy Roman Empire led across Hungary.

Also sultan Sulaiman had another problem with Charles the fifth because of the inquisitions that were used against the Muslims in (Al-Andalus) - Spain, Portugal and some regions in France now.

The situation in the both countries before the battle:

To the ottomans they were in their golden age, Controlling a wide area of the earth, could end all rebellions which happened after sultan Saleem's death.

But, To Hungary the situation was different, the king who ruled before Luis the second were very weak consequently the nobles had got privileges which weakened the economy of the country and weakened the army too.

Appearance of the Protestantism also worsened the situation in Hungary .

It was clear that the difference between the situations in the two sides of the war was so far.

To the battle :

In the spring of 1526, Sultan Sulaiman the Magnificent organized his army in the capital city Islambul, And for 128 days the sultan and his army were moving towards the battle, They seized some fortresses on their way to secure their back and their way to return, The whole force that arrived with sultan Sulaiman to Mohacs was nearly 100 thousand soldiers, 800 ships and 300 cannons.

On the other side and as usual in wars between Hungary and the ottomans many of European armies fought fielded by the Hungarian ruler - as Hungary played the role of bulwark of Christianity for a century and a half- (Croatia, the Holy Roman Empire, Bohemia, Papal states, Bavaria, Poland) all of them sent soldiers to fight with Hungary under the banner of the cross.

The number of the the Christian army isn't indicated, Christian resources tell us that the number was about 50 thousand to 100 thousand while the Muslim resources tell us that the number was about 200 thousand, and they had 85 cannons.

In Mohacs:

Sultan Sulaiman divided his army into three lines ; The first line was from Janissaries - the strong and well-trained soldiers of the Ottoman empire- ; In the third line was the sultan and the cannons, the sultan ordered the Janissaries to fight in their place for awhile then they move to the besides gradually and the second line do too.

When the Christian army saw the heart of the Muslim lines opened they pushed into and that was the moment of the cannons in the third line ; The cannons began to fire and the death surrounded the Christian army, even the armored knights who were wearing iron shields were killed either by shells of cannons or by the melting of their armor on them.

Less than two hours and the battle was over ; king Luis the second and the back lines of the Christian army escaped from the battle but they didn't survive, some of them drowned in the Mohacs' swamps and the others died because of the stampede.

the Hungarian army was destroyed by the Muslim army, King Louis died, along with 7 bishops, 28 barons and most of his army.

No prisoners :

Sultan Sulaiman said "No prisoners" so that his soldiers started to give the rest of the Christian army their weapons which they have left to force them to fight to death.  

May some people think it was a hardness from sultan Sulaiman. But, actually this decision helped him to get rid of the Hungarian force and write "the end" on a series of wars continued for 130 years.

Although, 25000 of the Christian army were captured as war prisoners because they were wounded - Muslims don't kill wounded in their wars- and this number of prisoners exceeded the number of the Christian army in the Islamic narrate.

The results of the battle:

Hungary was divided into states and lost it's role as the bulwark of Christianity in Europe forever.

Islamic regions in Balkan were secured.

The situation of ottomans in Europe became stronger.

Till now Hungarians didn't forget this battle and set up the Historical Memorial park of Mohacs in 1976 in the memory of the Battle of Mohacs on the 450 anniversary of the battle.

And till now they still say "Worse was lost at Mohacs".



  • Share

    • 5133
    • 5,432