Myth or Reality? Ottoman Support for Hungarian Rebels in Light of a Secret Transylvanian Mission to the Porta (1669-1670)


  • Georg B. Michels



The attempt of the Hungarian political elite to form an alliance with the Ottomans after the disastrous Vasvár Treaty (1664) remains one of the least researched topics of Hungarian and Habsburg history. This paper examines the little known attempt of Prince Mihály Apafi, the Ottoman appointed ruler of Transylvania, to intercede on behalf of the Hungarian nobility with Grand Vezir Ahmed Köprülü (1661-1676), the de facto ruler of the Ottoman Empire. The carefully crafted instructions issued to Apafi’s secret emissary, the Turkish-speaking Dávid Rozsnyai, and Rozsnyai’s detailed report about his encounters with Köprülü and top ranking Ottoman powerbrokers, provide unprecedented insights into the nature of Hungarian contacts with the Porta and reveal the deeply engrained conviction of many Hungarian nobles—both Catholics and Protestants—that becoming the sultan’s vassals was the only way to guarantee the survival of an independent Hungarian Kingdom.






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