Post-classical history

The Crusade of 1456: Texts and Documentation in Translation

The Crusade of 1456: Texts and Documentation in Translation

The Crusade of 1456 offers translations of key sources from an often overlooked yet consequential event in fifteenth-century Europe.

In July 1456, a massive Turkish army settled in before Belgrade, an ancient city at the confluence of the Danube and Sava rivers. The army’s leader was the twenty-four-year-old Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, "the Conqueror," who sought to take one of the most strategically important fortifications in southeastern Europe. Three weeks later, Mehmed’s army was driven from Belgrade by a Hungarian warlord and his army, along with a ragtag force of ill-equipped crusaders.

In The Crusade of 1456, James D. Mixson gathers together the key primary sources for understanding the events that led to the siege of Belgrade. These newly translated sources challenge readers with their variety: papal decrees, letters, liturgies, and chronicles from Latin, Byzantine, and Ottoman perspectives. An accessible introduction, timelines, and maps help to illuminate this fascinating yet previously neglected story.


Part One: Preparations for Crusade, 1453–1456

1. Pope Nicholas V, Etsi Ecclesia Christi

2. Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini, Constantinopolitana Clades

3. Correspondence of 1455–1456

4. Liturgy for Taking the Cross

5. A Pope’s Call to Prayer

6. Pope Callixtus III, Omnipotentis dei misericordia

Part Two: The Earliest Accounts

7. John of Capistrano to Pope Callixtus III

8. John of Capistrano to Pope Callixtus III

9-10. John Hunyadi to Denis Szécsi, Archbishop of Esztergom & John Hunyadi to Ladislaus Garai, Palatine of Hungary

11. John Hunyadi to King Ladislaus V

12. John of Tagliacozzo to a Fellow Franciscan

13. John of Capistrano to Pope Callixtus III

Part Three: News and Propaganda

14. Ambassador of the Bishop of Šibenik to Pope Callixtus III

15. Cardinal Juan Carvajal to Francesco Sforza

16. Letters of John Goldener

17. Ladislaus V to Duke Francesco Sforza of Milan

18. The City of Nuremberg to the City of Weissenburg

19. Pope Callixtus III to Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan

20. Letters of Bernard of Kraiburg

21. Pope Callixtus III, Letter to Juan Soler

22. Anonymous (Pseudo-John of Capistrano), to All Christians

23. Anonymous, Letter to Henry of Eckenfelt

24. Liturgical Commemorations of Belgrade

Part Four: John of Tagliacozzo’s Story of the Victory of Belgrade

25. John of Tagliacozzo, The Story of the Victory of Belgrade

Part Five: Memoir and Chronicle

26. Thomas Ebendorfer, Chronicle of Austria

27. Laonikos Chalkokondyles, The Histories

28. Michael Kritopoulos (Kritoboulos), History of Mehmed the Conqueror

29. Jacopo Promontorio, Recollecta

30. Âşıkpaşazade, Memories and Chronicles of the House of Osman

31. John Thurocz, Chronicle of the Hungarians

32. Tursun Beg, History of the Conqueror

33. The Oxford Anonymous Chronicle

34. Konstantin Mihailović, Memoirs

Cast of Characters

General Timeline

Timeline of the Crusade of 1456


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