Background

In April 1543, Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha set out from İstanbul with his fleet bound for southern France. He was ordered there by Sultan Süleyman I, who was responding to a request from King Francis I for Ottoman aid against the Spanish and Emperor Charles V. Süleyman himself had embarked upon a campaign in Hungary in which he took a number of important strongholds from the Austrians. In the late summer of that year, while Süleyman was besieging Szekesfehervar, a French envoy came and reported on Barbaros's activities in the western Mediterranean. Perhaps worried that Hayreddin was overstaying his welcome, the sultan dispatched one of his privy interpreters to accompany the envoy back to France to convey his message to Francis. The interpreter was also given instructions to find Hayreddin and tell him to return to Turkey at once. Hasan set out on 5 September 1543. The following excerpt, describing his mission, is from leaves 132b-136a of History of the conquest of Siklos, Usturgon, and Ustol-i Belgrad by Sinan Çavuş, a court historian who was an eyewitness to many of the events related in the book.

Suleyman I (seated in the pavilion), receiving the embassy of Francis I (standing under the parasol).

Interpreter Hasan is sent to France from Ustol BelgradUstol Belgrad is a Slavic translation of the Hungarian name, Szekesfehervar, which means to order HayreddinBarbaros Hayreddin (Barbarossa). Pasha to proceed to KostantiniyyeConstantinople. with his victorious fleet

Hasan, an interpreter in the sultan's retinue, was ordered to accompany the French envoy back to France and to take word to Hayreddin Pasha saying that he was ordered to hoist anchor from the sea to which his vessels had gone and to set forth immediately with great haste and progress to return to the coast of RumAnatolia. and resume patrolling it.

Obeying this order, Hasan set outOn 5 September 1543. from Ustol Belgrad for Dubrovnik.Seaport on the Croatian coast. Also known by its Italian name of Ragusa, it was an independent republic at this time. From there he proceeded to Venedik.Venice. Also an independent maritime republic. The reason that an *interpreter* was chosen for this mission becomes obvious as we follow Hasan's route. From there he went to TalyaBy the sound of it, this presumably means northern Italy. and thence to the province of Gijon. Unidentified. If you think you know what this or any of the other unidentified places could be, please email me at gezgin@spamcop.net. Crossing the sea-like TunaDanube. But this cannot be the to Edol.Almost certainly Edolo, an Alpine town in Lombardy. If so, the river may be the Adige, though that hardly bears comparison to the Danube. Perhaps Hasan crossed one of the elongated lakes in the region--Garda is a good candidate--and was told (or supposed) that it was a river. He may also have thought (or been told) that he was crossing a tributary of the Danube.

Venice. Map from Piri Reis's Kitab-i Bahriye (1521).

He then proceeded to the castle called SuzikUnidentified. But Hasan's route clearly takes him through the St Bernard Pass. in the country of Izvucyin.Switzerland. and thence arrived at the castle of Lutrana, also known as Cenevre.Geneva. From there he reached Libor,Unidentified. a French castle. He left it and making five stops reached the great city of Flandere.Presumably West Flanders. The There he found the French king who queried him about the sultan's conquests in Ungurus.Hungary. Speaking eloquently and embellishing his words, he replied:

"In the country of the Sultan of the World, the possessor of crown, throne, and seal, the star of Islam and the sun of happiness both shine with honor at their zeniths. The bud of hope blossoms and the nightingale of heart's desire sings. By virtue of his stupendous might and dreadful awe he has conquered the castles of Valpova,Valpovo, Croatia. Siklos,Siklos, Hungary. Pecuy,Unidentified. Becvar,Unidentified. Sas,Unidentified. Aynvar,Unidentified. Malvar,Unidentified. Usturgon,Esztergom, Hungary. and TataTata, Hungary. and added them to the Ottoman domains.

"He has wrested all of southern Ungurus from the banks of the Tuna to AksuUnidentified. The name is Turkish and means and a broad swathe in the north stretching east and west from the hands of the infidels and added them to the house of Islam. At this very moment, the place where the kings of Ungurus are buried after their frail lives have ended with death and where their elected successors don the crown called kuruna in their language and they thus ascend the throne and attain high office–the place called Ustol Belgrad–is, as I say, at this very moment being pounded by heavy artillery. It is on the verge of capture and its infidel inhabitants on the point of annihilation."

Hearing this news, the French king replied with a request:

We are the slaves of the Sultan of the World

We would be ashamed to be negligent in his service.

That shah has a hundred slaves like ourselves

We beg him accept ourselves as one of them.

Tribute and tax, throne and crown and country

Belong to the shah. We are all his servants and slaves.

After this, Hasan set out for the French harbor of TolonToulon, France. where he conveyed the sultan's order to Hayreddin Pasha.

Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha's fleet before the French city of Toulon.

He spoke also of the same castles and regions saying that, thanks to the guidance of God and saints, they had been unable to withstand the assaults of the Muslim heroes and had been conquered by the might of the sultan's enemy-hunting sword; that Islam and Muslims had prevailed; that the infidels of those places had been separated from the House of War and incorporated into the House of Peace; that the enemy was defeated and the warriors of Islam victorious.

When Hayreddin Pasha and the pious champions with him heard the gratifying news of the sultan's conquests, there was much rejoicing and celebration and endless thanks were offered to God. Saying "May Almighty God render this great war auspicious and fortunate. May He grant that we be deserving of many more victories such as this." As ordered by the sultan, he then summoned together his warriors, janissaries, and troops and proceeded to leave the region with his great army. The ships as fleet as clouds unfurled their sails in anticipation of a favorable wind.


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