When the news of Sultan Mehmed’s capture of Constantinople reached the West, a few weeks before the last battle of the Hundred Years’ War was fought at Castillon, the Holy Roman Habsburgs were just about to recover from their devastating conflict against the Hussite heretics in Bohemia and the Borgia popes in Rome along with the powerful Italian city states preferred to be at each others’ throats, panic began to spread. The threat was real enough. With his new capital established in Constantinople, Sultan Mehmed II, already known as Fatih, the Conqueror, prepared for his big push into Central Europe along the Danube. In his way lay the Hungarian fortress city of Nándorfehérvár, Kriechisch Wyssenburg, Belgrade. With an army of 70,000, an artillery park of 300 pieces and a river fleet of 200 vessels at his command, the Conqueror began the siege on July 4, 1456. The Franciscan fire-and-brimstone priest John of Capistrano managed to incite tens of thousands of peasants in southeastern Europe and a couple of Austro-German knights to crusade against the Turks and with a considerable amount of money from the alms bag of Pope Callixtus III for the Hungarian warlord John Hunyadi, they joined forces and prepared to lift the siege against the odds of a numerically superior and far better equipped army.
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Depicted below is "The Battle of Nándorfehérvár", as Belgrade was known in Hungarian, a mid-19th century painting by an unknown Magyar artist, showing John of Capistrano in the centre and John Hunyadi on horseback to the left.
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