Siege of Jajce

For 1992 Bosnian War battle, see Operation Vrbas '92.
Siege of Jajce
Part of Ottoman–Hungarian Wars
Date23 September 1463 – 25 December 1463
LocationJajce Fortress, Kingdom of Bosnia
Result Hungarian victory,
Yussuf Haram bey joins the Black Army
Hungary incorporates Jajce and 60 other minor settlements into the newly formed Banate of Jajce[1]
Kingdom of Hungary
Kingdom of Croatia
Republic of Venice
Duchy of Saint Sava
Kingdom of Bosnia
Republic of Ragusa (logistics, goods)[1]
Bohemian (Hussite) mercenaries
Ottoman Empire
Commanders and leaders
Matthias Corvinus
John V. Kállay[2]
George Parlagi[3]
Paul Kállay I.[3]
Provost Gaspar Bak of Berend[3]
Matthias Geréb of Vingard[3]
Stephen Gerendi[3]
Vladislav Hercegović[4]
Bartholomew Drágffy of Beltiug[3]
John Vitovecz[3]
John Pongrácz de Dengeleg[3]
Martin Frankopan[3]
Stjepan Frankopan[3]
Emeric Zápolya[3]
Nicholas of Ilok[3]
Mihály Országh of Gut[3]
Bishop John Vitéz[3]
Bishop Janus Pannonius[3]
Stefan of Várad[3]
Yussuf Haram bey[5]
† Mustafa bey[6]
Elias bey[7]
Units involved
Black Army of Hungary
Venetian Arsenal
Ottoman Army
4000 men-at-arms (Setton estimate)[8]
25,000 (Bánlaky estimate)[6]
14,000 cavalry
5,000 foot soldiers (Tošić estimate)[9]
40 Venetian galleys (see note)[10]
7,000 (Długosz estimate)[6]
400 (Fessler estimate)[6]
1500—2500 (Thallóczy estimate)[4]
Venice launched a diversion operation in the Ionian Sea but didn't participate in the siege.

The Siege of Jajce was a siege in 1463 and was part of the Ottoman–Hungarian Wars. The Hungarian victory meant the maintenance of Christiandom in Bosnia and – with the repulse of Ottoman forces – the protection of Hungarian territories for the 15th century.[11]


Beginning from the diet of Buda of 1462 some Bosnian-Hungarian borderline fortresses were already guarded by the Kingdom of Hungary and King Stephen Tomašević of Bosnia was accepted as a vassal to her.[12] The Bosnian King refused to pay tribute to the Porte thereafter. As a consequence both Ottoman and Christian sides began the war preparations.[13]

Travnik fortress

Sultan Mehmed II gathered an army of 150,000 soldiers in Adrianopolis and departed for the Lower Danube area in April 1463.[14] As a part of a diversion attack he commanded Ali Bey Mihaloğlu to invade southern parts of the Kingdom of Hungary. The bey crossed to Syrmia, but was pushed back by Andrew Pongrácz high cup-bearer of Hungary. He suddenly made a flanking move to the heart of Hungary until he reached Temesvár, where he ran into John Pongrácz Voivode of Transylvania and was defeated in a fierce battle.[15] Meanwhile, Mehmet II advanced to Travnik, which he besieged. Then moved to the capital city Bobovac that fell within three days. Stephen Tomašević was advised to entrench himself in the high mountains although he chose to withdraw to Jajce and later to Ključ and burnt the bridges of the roads along.[16]

Remnants of Bobovac fortress

Turahanoğlu Ömer Bey pursued his trail taking Jajce without a fight and pushed to Ključ through the Sava river and the surrounding mountains despite the marshy ground and the general inaccessibility to the town. Seeing himself in a dead-end situation Tomašević set his wife and mother to a journey through Raguse to Hungary to find refuge.[17] He fortified himself in Ključ fortress. After their arrival the Ottomans set fire around the city thus forcing the inhabitants to surrender in despair. Mahmud Pasha Angelović granted the Bosnian King. He swore an oath to the sultan and capitulated when he was promised safe retreat in return. He had to spread this agreement to the remaining fort captains in 8 days and as a result 70 places and one million florins were handed to the Porte. Discontent with this agreement Mehmet rebuke Mahmud and instructed him to transport the Bosnian King to his court. Stephen Tomašević was double crossed and despite his oath to the Sultan the last ruler of Bosnia was beheaded at Carevo Polje near Jajce.[18]

The sultan divided his expeditionary army into three, one led by him, one by Ömer Bey and one by Mahmud Pasha, respectively, and raided the surrounding countries as well as completed the conquest of Bosnia.[19] Ömer Bey surged in the direction of the Kingdom of Croatia, while Mehmet moved towards the Duchy of Saint Sava. In Croatia Ömer Bey confronted and slew Paulus de Speranchich Ban of Croatia and his entourage of 800 men.[20] With the help of the Bogumils, Stjepan Vukčić Kosača was able to withstand the intrusion of Mehmet for a short time, before sending his youngest son as a hostage to Istanbul, and ceding all of his lands to the north of Blagaj Fort to the Empire.[21]


Mehmet II chose not to engage in winter operations and retreated bringing 100,000 prisoners and leaving Mimert (Minnet) Bey in charge in Bosnia.[20] He also didn't have other choice as their horses were exhausted and the supply lines were inefficient.[22] King Matthias Corvinus sent a couple thousand ecclesiastic army to the Lower Sava Valley and the Black Army of Hungary led by John Pongrácz de Dengeleg and supplemented by the Szeklers to the village of Keve. Matthias was a lot of Bohemian mercenaries. He also envoyed a garrison to his Adriatic subject, the Republic of Ragusa as a preventive measure.[23] He also commissioned ambassadors to the Signoria of Venice and Pope Pius II. Both of them promised financial aid, the Holy See granted a sum sufficient for the military service payment of 1000 cavalry for an year. Venice offered 20,000 ducats for the Anti-Ottoman defense. Matthias ordered all dispensable transport points to sail to the enlist point at Petrovaradin.[24] Matthias sought a long-term alliance with Venice. In 12 September just before the launch of the attack Matthias and Venetian orator John Emo in the camp in Petrovaradin.[10] The terms were:[10]

The Duchy of Saint Sava hesitated between the Ottomans, Venice and Hungary to be subjugated to. In October they came to the decision to offer themselves to Venice. Already an ally to Hungary the Doge of Venice Cristoforo Moro gently replied that Hungary had already made the necessary steps to relieve Bosnia, her armies entered Bosnia and besieged Jajce as well as the other fortresses. Following the events Stjepan Vukčić Kosača lent himself to Matthias who accepted his service. In exchange Vladislav Hercegović was promoted a Hungarian banner lord and reassured the estates of Stjepan. This ancillary alliance was signed on 6 December.[25]


Present day Jajce fortress and the surrounding town

Matthias branched off his army into two divisions. The first led by Emeric Zápolya was about to approach Jajce from the North along the Vrbas river, while the other led by the King himself carried the siege weapons and chose the network of paved roads (kaldrma) from the North-West to Ključ liberating each city connected. He appointed John Pongrácz de Dengeleg as the supplies overseer and Provost Gaspar Bak of Berend as the ammunition/siege engines operator. The third contingent was recruited in Croatia thus it arrived from West from the direction of Bihać and commanded by Martin Frangepan,[26] while the Saint-Savan reinforcements blocked Jajce from the South (Prozor, Donji Vakuf) in November[25] Matthias reached the town in a 4–5 four days march, which is considered quite a fast progress regarding the medieval infrastructure conditions. Upon the recent success among the Bosnian population Matthias anticipated local support and so he instantly attacked the town of Jajca in 5–6 October that was subdued for the first try. After a short hand-to-hand combat the Ottoman garrison locked itself in the Jajce Fortress.[26]

The siege possibly started at the confluence of Pliva-Vrbas and the siege machines were installed in the half-circle of Carevo Polje-Borci-Baščeluci. Though the contemporary cannons could cause little damage to the walls as their fire range varied from 300 to 900 meters, which was also the range covered by the archery of the defenders. The King exhorted his troops by giving out letters of land donation to those who emerged in battle. In order to officially induct these manors he set up his own chancellery in the camp to administrate them. On the day of the planned general offensive the captains of the fortress called for surrender talks, which led to an agreement the same day. Those who wanted to leave could do so without their slaves the rest was free to join the Black Army. Around 400 soldiers chose to be drafted into the Hungarian army including the head captain Yusuf Bey.[27]


The smaller forts in the region were quickly recovered and were reorganized as a part of the Hungarian Banate of Jajce.[1][27] Matthias Corvinus appointed John Székely of Hídvég as the new captain and Emeric Zápolya as the new governor of Bosnia.[27] Vladislav Hercegović was awarded the Župas of Gornji Vakuf-Uskoplje and Prozor-Rama.[25]

King Matthias Corvinus also gifted the fortress of Medvedgrad to the Frangepans for their merits in the siege.[28] Stephen Gerendi saved his life when he shot a waylaying Turk during the siege and thus was rewarded the right to bear personal coat of arms.[3]

The Venetian-Ottoman conflict escalated into the Ottoman–Venetian War.[8]

See also



  1. 1 2 3 Villari (1904), p. 251
  2. Nagy (1868), p. 427
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Thallóczy (1915), p. 97
  4. 1 2 Thallóczy (1915), p. 102
  5. Zinkeisen (1854), p. 159
  6. 1 2 3 4 Bánlaky (1929), p. 66
  7. Thallóczy (1915), p. 105
  8. 1 2 Setton (1978), p. 250
  9. Tošić (2002), p. 2
  10. 1 2 3 Thallóczy (1915), p. 93
  11. Fodor (2000), p. 10
  12. Bánlaky (1929), p. 39
  13. Stavrides (2001), p. 146
  14. Fessler (1867), p. 103 (a number excluding the infantry and retinues)
  15. Borovszky (1898), p. 357
  16. Stavrides (2001), p. 147
  17. Villari (1904), p. 243
  18. Stavrides (2001), p. 148
  19. Bánlaky (1929), pp. 60–61
  20. 1 2 Zinkeisen (1854), p. 156
  21. Bašagić 1900, p. 20: U Hercegovini Mahmut paša je udario na nenadani otpor. Kršna zemlja Hercegovina sa golim brdima, tijesnim klancima i nepristupnim gradovima zadavaše turskom konjaništvu puno neprilika. Osim toga domaći bogumili junački su se borili uz svoga hercega i njegove sinove. Doduše Mahmut paša je dolinom Neretve sjavio do pod Blagaj i obsijedao ga; nu je li ga zauzeo ili je poslije nagodbe s hercegom predao mu se, nema sigurnih vijesti. Videći herceg Stjepan, da bez povoljna uspjeha, Mahmut paša ne će ostaviti Hercegovine, opremi najmlagjega sina Stjepana s bogatim darovima sultanu, da moli primirje. Na to Fatih ponudi, da gornju polovinu svojih zemlje ustupi Turskoj, a donju zadrži za se i za sinove. Mladoga Stjepana kao taoca zadrži u Carigradu, koji iza kratkog vremena pregje na islam pod imenom Ahmed beg Hercegović. Herceg Stjepan pristane na sultanovu ponudu, pa sklopi mir i ustupi Turcima svu gornju Hercegovinu do Blagaja. Na to Mahmud paša bude pozvan u Carigrad.
  22. Hunyadi (2001), p. 179
  23. Villari (1904), p. 245
  24. Bánlaky (1929), pp. 56–57
  25. 1 2 3 Thallóczy (1915), p. 103
  26. 1 2 Thallóczy (1915), pp. 94–96
  27. 1 2 3 Thallóczy (1915), pp. 101–107
  28. Thallóczy (1915), p. 336


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