Matthias Hunyadi was indisputably the greatest man of his day, and one of the greatest monarchs who ever reigned.
HUNYADI MATTHIAS I.
(1440-1490), king of Hungary, also known as Matthias Corvinus, a surname which he received from the raven (corvus) on his escutcheon, second son of Janos Hunyadi and Elizabeth Szilagyi, was born at Kolozsvar, probably on the 23rd of February 1440.
On the 24th of January 1458, 40,000 Hungarian noblemen, assembled on the ice of the frozen Danube, unanimously elected Matthias Hunyadi king of Hungary, and on the 14th of February the new king made his state entry into Buda.
See Vilmos Fraknoi, King Matthias Hunyadi (Hung., Budapest, 1890, German ed., Freiburg, 1891); Ignacz Acsady History of the Hungarian Realm (Hung.
Forces of Wladislaus of Poland and John Hunyadi of Transylvania, and succeeded in forcing on Murad II.
Hardly had the king become reconciled with this formidable antagonist, when, in 1453, the death of Hunyadi, and the fall of Constantinople, left Bosnia defenceless against the Turks.
The losses inflicted on the Turks by Hunyadi Janos, and the attempt to organize a defensive league among the neighbouring Christian lands, temporarily averted the ruin of all the neighbouring lands were governed by Moslems or Roman Catholics; and at home the peasants were permitted to retain their creed and communal organization.
In Transylvania, however, the common peril evoked by the Turkish incursion and a simultaneous rising of the Vlach peasantry had knit together the jarring interests of Magyars, Saxons and Szeklers, a union which, under the national hero, the voivode Janos Hunyadi, was destined for a while to turn the tide of war.
In 1442 Hunyadi drove the Turks from Hermannstadt and, at the head of an army of Hungarians, Poles, Servians, Walachians and German crusaders, succeeded in the ensuing year in expelling them from Semendria, penetrating as far as the Balkans, where he inflicted heavy losses on the Turkish general.
The pope urged the king of Hungary to take advantage of this favourable opportunity by breaking the truce solemnly agreed upon, and nineteen days after it had been concluded a coalition was formed against the Turks; a large army headed by Ladislaus I., king of Hungary, Hunyadi, voivode of Walachia, and Cardinal Cesarini crossed the Danube and reached Varna, where they hoped to be joined by the Greek emperor.
The battle was hotly contested; but, in spite of the prowess of Hunyadi, the rout of the Christians was complete; the king of Hungary and Cardinal Cesarini were among the killed.
In 1448 Hunyadi, now governor of Hungary, collected the largest army yet mustered by the Hungarians against the Turks, but he was defeated on the famous field of Kossovo and with difficulty escaped, while most of the chivalry of Hungary fell.
A siege of Belgrade was unsuccessful, owing to the timely succour afforded by Hunyadi (1456).
All this time the pressure of the Turks upon the southern provinces of Hungary had been continuous, but fortunately all their efforts had so far been frustrated by the valour and generalship of the ban of Szoreny, John Hunyadi, the fame of whose victories, notably in 1442 and 1443, encouraged the Holy See to place Hungary for the third time at the head of a general crusade against the infidel.
At the diet of Buda, early in 1444, supplies were voted for the enterprise, and Wladislaus was on the point of quitting his camp at Szeged for the seat of war, when envoys from Sultan Murad arrived with the offer of a ten years' truce on such favourable conditions (they included the relinquishment of Servia, Walachia and Moldavia, and the payment of an indemnity) that Hunyadi persuaded the king to conclude (in July) a peace which gave him more than could reasonably be anticipated from the most successful campaign.
It marks the dawn of a public spirit as represented by the gentry, who, alarmed at the national peril and justly suspicious of the ruling magnates, unhesitatingly placed their destinies in the hands of Hunyadi, the one honest man who by sheer merit had risen within the last ten years from the humble position of a country squire to a leading position in the state.
This feeling of confidence found due expression at the diet of 1446, which deliberately passing over the palatine Laszlo Garai elected Hunyadi governor of Hungary, and passed a whole series of popular measures intended to be remedial, e.g.
At that critical hour it was at his own expense that Hunyadi fortified Belgrade, now the sole obstacle between Hungary and destruction, with the sole assistance of the Franciscan friar Giovanni da Capistrano, equipped the fleet and the army which relieved the beleaguered fortress and overthrew Mahommed II.
Dlugosz brought Olesnicki the red hat from Rome in 1449, and shortly afterwards was despatched to Hungary to mediate between Hunyadi and the Bohemian condottiere Giszkra, a difficult mission which he most successfully accomplished.
A revolt of the janissaries induced him to return to power, and he spent the remaining six years of his life in warfare in Europe, defeating Hunyadi at Kossovo (October 17-19, 1448).
The principal are the Hunyadi-Janos spring, of which about 1,000,000 bottles are exported annually, the Arpad spring, and the Apenta spring.
Of Poland and Hungary, and routed his forces commanded by Hunyadi Janos.
Amongst these are the Hungarian waters, Aesculap, Apenta, Franz Josef and Hunyadi Janos; and the Rubinat and Condal waters of Spain.
In the later battle of Kossovo of 14 4 8, between the Hungarians, led by Hunyadi Janos and the sultan Hungary Murad II., the Walachian contingent treacherously surrendered to the Turks; but this did not hinder the prevalent laxity of marriage, the frequency of divorce, and the fact that illegitimate children could succeed as well as those born in lawful wedlock, by multiplying the candidates for the voivodeship and preventing any regular system of succession, contributed much to the internal confusion of the country.
In 1453 Constantinople fell; in 1454 Hunyadi died; and a year later the sultan invaded Walachia to set up Vlad IV.
This expedition, under the joint command of the Despot George and of Hunyadi Janos, defeated the Turks in a great battle at Kunovitsa.
Only a few of the less important forts were delivered to the Serbs at that time; but in 1863 Prince Michael sent his wife, the beautiful and accomplished Princess Julia (née Countess Hunyadi), to plead the cause of Servia in London, and she succeeded in interesting prominent English politicians (Cobden, Bright, Gladstone) in the fate of the Balkan countries.
JANOS HUNYADI (c. 1387-1456), Hungarian statesman and warrior, was the son of Vojk, a Magyarized Vlach who married Elizabeth Morzsinay.
On the sudden death of Albert in 1439, Hunyadi, feeling acutely that the situation demanded a warriorking on the throne of St Stephen, lent the whole weight of his influence to the candidature of the young Polish king Wladislaus III.
Hunyadi, at the head of the vanguard, crossed the Balkans through the Gate of Trajan, captured Nish, defeated three Turkish pashas, and, after taking Sofia, united with the royal army and defeated Murad II.
All the preparations had been made, when Murad's envoys arrived in the royal camp at Szeged and offered a ten years' truce on advantageous terms. Both Hunyadi and Brankovic counselled their acceptance, and Wladislaus swore on the Gospels to observe them.
On reaching Varna, the Hungarians found that the Venetian galleys had failed to prevent the transit of the sultan, who now confronted them with fourfold odds, and on the 10th of November 1444 they were utterly routed, Wladislaus falling on the field and Hunyadi narrowly escaping.
At the diet which met in February 1445 a provisional government, consisting of five Magyar captain-generals, was formed, Hunyadi receiving Transylvania and the ultra-Theissian counties as his district; but the resulting anarchy became unendurable, and on the 5th of June 1446 Hunyadi was unanimously elected governor of Hungary in the name of Ladislaus V., with regal powers.
In 1450 Hunyadi went to Pressburg to negotiate with Frederick the terms of the surrender of Ladislaus V., but no agreement could be come to, whereupon the Cilleis and Hunyadi's other enemies accused him of aiming at the throne.
His immediate objective was Belgrade, and thither, at the end of 1455, Hunyadi repaired, after a public reconciliation with all his enemies.
His one ally was the Franciscan friar, Giovanni da Capistrano (q.v.), who preached a crusade so effectually that the peasants and yeomanry, ill-armed (most of them had but slings and scythes) but full of enthusiasm, flocked to the standard of Hunyadi, the kernel of whose host consisted of a small band of seasoned mercenaries and a few banderia of noble horsemen.
On the 14th of July 1456 Hunyadi with his flotilla destroyed the Turkish fleet; on the 21st Szilagyi beat off a fierce assault, and the same day Hunyadi, taking advantage of the confusion of the Turks, pursued them into their camp, which he captured after a desperate encounter.
We are so accustomed to regard Hunyadi as the incarnation of Christian chivalry that we are apt to forget that he was a great captain and a great statesman as well as a great hero.
Por, Life of Hunyadi (Hung.) (Budapest, 1873); V.