Ilija Gregorić (c. 1520 – 1574) was a Croatian soldier, and a prominent peasant army commander from Croatian and Slovenian peasant revolt of 1573. He was also known under the nickname "Prebeg" (The Escapee) for escaping twice from Ottoman captivity.
Ribnik, Kingdom of Croatia
He originated from village of Ribnik, near Karlovac and was a serf on estates of Stjepan Frankopan of Ozalj. When Ottoman akinjis raided these lands in 1553, he was captured and taken into captivity. He nonetheless, escaped Ottoman captivity and settled again on Brdovec, where he had a house and a vineyard. He also earnt his salary as a soldier on Croatian Military Frontier, under command of captains Lenković and Semenić.
In 1564, as Ferenc Tahy. bought one part of Susedgrad-Stubica seigniory, including Brdovec, Gregorić became his serf. He took part in armed conflicts between Henning family and Tahy family for the control of Susedgrad castle. Three years later, as a semi-professional soldier, he raided Ottoman territories by order of Tahy's wife Jelena Zrinski. He was again captured by the Turks, and taken as prisoner to Constantinople. He somehow managed to get a hold on some axe, and break his shackles, which allowed him to escape again, after which he returned to Croatia in 1572.
Due to his previous military experience, rebel peasants elected him as the captain of their army. Now in command of the rebel forces, he tried to spread the revolt in Slovenia. His forces were defeated at the battles of Krško and Sv. Petar.
In popular culture Edit
- Klaić, Vjekoslav (1988). Povijest Hrvata. Matica hrvatska. pp. 362–363.