Saturday, September 11, 2010

Venimus, Vidimus...

People have been noting here and there that this is the anniversary of the breaking of the Siege of Vienna in 1683. The Ottoman Empire had laid siege to Vienna in July; Vienna was in an almost perfect strategic spot for the purposes of the Empire, because of its key location with respect to the Danube and several trade routes. The Habsburgs had a treaty with Poland at the time; when the Ottoman Janissaries laid siege, the Polish king, Jan III Sobieski, came to its aid; Baden, Bavaria, Franconia, Saxony, and Swabia also supplied troops. Under Sobieski's leadership the disparate forces achieved a considerable amount of cohesion, a cohesion that the relatively disorganized Ottoman troops lacked. The result was a serious loss to the Ottoman Empire; the war went on for a good fifteen or sixteen years more, but Ottoman advance into Europe had been turned back, and before the war ended, the Empire had lost Hungary and Transylvania as well as any chance at ever capturing Vienna.

There is a common and certainly false legend that the Viennese invented the croissant to celebrate their deliverance.

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