Nikola IV Zrinski
Nikola IV Zrinski or Miklós IV Zrínyi (Hungarian: Zrínyi Miklós, Hungarian pronunciation: [ˈzriːɲi ˈmikloːʃ]; 1507/1508 – 7 September 1566), also commonly known as Nikola Šubić Zrinski (Croatian pronunciation: [nǐkɔla ʃûbitɕ zrîːɲskiː]),[nb 1] was a Croatian-Hungarian nobleman and general, Ban of Croatia from 1542 until 1556, royal master of the treasury from 1557 until 1566, and a descendant of the Zrinski and Kurjaković noble families. During his lifetime the Zrinski's became the most powerful noble family in the Kingdom of Croatia.
Nikola IV Zrinski
Miklós IV Zrínyi
A 16th-century engraving by Matthias Zündt
|Ban (Viceroy) of Croatia|
24 December 1542 – 27 December 1556
|Preceded by||Petar Keglević|
|Succeeded by||Péter Erdődy|
Zrin, Kingdom of Croatia
|Died||7 September 1566 (c. 58)|
Szigetvár, Kingdom of Hungary
|Resting place||Pauline monastery in Sveta Jelena, Croatia|
|Children||Ivan II, Jelena, Katarina, Juraj IV, Doroteja, Uršula, Barbara, Margareta, Magdalena, Ana, Kristofor, Nikola V, Ivan III|
|Parents||Nikola III Zrinski|
|Battles/wars||Siege of Pest (1542)|
Battle of Babócsa (1556)
Battle of Moslavina (1562)
Siege of Szigetvár (1566)
Zrinski became well known across Europe for his involvement in the Siege of Szigetvár (1566), where heroically died stopping Ottoman Empire's Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent's advance towards Vienna. The importance of the battle was considered so great that the French clergyman and statesman Cardinal Richelieu described it as "the battle that saved civilization". Zrinski became considered a role model of a faithful and sacrificial warrior, Christian hero as well as a national hero in both Croatia and Hungary, and is often portrayed in artworks.
Nikola was an ethnic Croat, born as one of the six children of Nikola III of the Zrinski family from the noble tribe of Šubić, and Jelena Karlović sister of future Croatian Ban Ivan Karlović of the Kurjaković family from the noble tribe of Gusić. His birthplace is unknown, but it is generally considered to have been Zrin Castle. The same is about his birth date, for which different primary sources give dates ranging between 1507, 1508 and 1518, but according to them and other evidence it is considered to have been in 1507 or 1508, with 1508 most often cited in scholarship.
Zrinski already distinguished himself in the early twenties during the Siege of Vienna in 1529. After the death of his father Nikola III in 1534, Nikola IV with older brother Ivan I inherited estates in Pounje, and they simultaneously started to fortify them as well as make contacts with the Ottomans, to whom paid a yearly tribute like their father. However, between 1537 and 1540 they started defending and fighting against Gazi Husrev-beg's forces for the control of fort Dubica.
In January 1539, Zrinski murdered the Imperial Army commander Johann Katzianer at Fortress Kostajnica because deserted the King Ferdinand I Habsburg, started to conspire in favor of throne contestant John Zápolya and cooperated with the Ottomans. After this event, next year the estates of the Zrinski brothers got attacked once again by the Ottomans. By June 1540, without enough help from Austrian military they fought the combined forces of Husrev-beg, Murat-beg Tardić and Mehmed-beg Jahjapašić, because of which the Fortress Kostajnica was temporarily captured, while Zrin Castle and Gvozdansko Castle managed to hold up, but the mining sites and others were devastated. As they successfully repelled the attack, from that moment on the Zrinski family continuously fighted against the Ottomans.
In 1541, with his older brother Ivan I, inherited large possessions in Croatia and Hungary of the Vrana Priory by Ferdinand I, but with the death of his brother in the same year he also became the only successor to the estates of Zrinski family. In 1542, according to Antun Vramec, he saved the Imperial Army forces from defeat at Siege of Pest by intervening with 400 Croats, for which service he was appointed Ban of Croatia, a position which held until 1556. During this period frequently came to Gvozdansko Castle in order to inspect the silver mines and the mint, like in other forts in Pounje and Pokuplje basin. As compensation for his battles with the Ottomans, he was granted the whole area of Međimurje (Muraköz) on 12 March 1546 from Ferdinand I, hence the center of the Zrinski family has moved from Zrin Castle to the city of Čakovec, where significantly rearranged the existing Čakovec Castle. In 1549 he was given a right to collect tax from the subject by himself, while in 1561 a right to freely settle serfs on his estates.
In 1556, Zrinski won a series of victories over the Ottomans, culminating in the battle of Babócsa and thus preventing the fall of Szigetvár. However, as was unsatisfied with the amount of resources for defense he voluntary withdraw from his position of a Ban of Croatia. In the next year, 1557, was titled Master of the treasury, royal office position which held until death, becoming once again one of the fifteen most influential persons in the Kingdom of Hungary. Additionally, he served as a captain of Croatian light cavalry (1550–1560), captain of Szigetvár and commander of Transdanubian border since 1561 and 1563 respectively until his death.
In 1563, on the coronation of the Emperor Maximilian as king of Hungary, Zrinski attended the ceremony at the head of 3000 Croatian and Magyar mounted noblemen, in the hope of obtaining the highest dignity of Palatine, vacant by the death of Tamás Nádasdy. Some historians like Géza Pálffy consider he did manage to obtain it. In the next year, he hastened southwards to defend the frontier, and defeated the Ottomans at Szeged. In 1565, Zrinski brought a copy of the Holy Crown of Hungary to Vienna for the funeral ceremony of Ferdinand I.
In the Spring of 1566, Zrinski was located in Szigetvár, a strategic fortress for defense on the shortest way to Vienna, when the Ottoman's Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent went with a large army for a second attempt to conquer Vienna but first decided to capture Szigetvár. Zrinski was informed by the new King Maximilian II that can remain or leave it to another captain, but on 23 April in a letter, Zrinski wrote his will to remain because many thousands of people depend on the fortress's survival and started to strategically prepare to confront the Sultan.
For over a month from 5 August to 7 September, with a small force of roughly 2,300–2,500 soldiers, mostly Croats, heroically defended the small fortress of Szigetvár against the whole Ottoman army of over 100,000 soldiers and 300 cannons, led by Suleiman in person. They did so without reinforcements which were promised by the Hungarian–Croatian King. The Siege of Szigetvár ended with every remaining member of the garrison in a desperate and suicidal charge from the fortress led by Zrinski on 7 September 1566. Suleiman also died, but from natural causes, one day before the Ottomans won the siege. As Ottoman forces had heavy casualties during the siege, the army additionally captured only near fort Babócsa and Grand Vizier Sokollu Mehmed Pasha withdraw the army's conquest.
According to historical sources, Zrinski for the time of the charge decided to be dressed in a hat and nice suit rather than a helmet and armour, choose his father's sabre to have in hand at the moment when will "bear all that I was judged by God's judgment", and hundred gold coins as a reward for the Ottoman soldier who cuts off his head. He was shot by a Janissary with a musket in the head and chest, while by other accounts it was first by a musket in the chest and then an arrow to the head. His head was eventually buried in September 1566 at the Pauline monastery in Sveta Jelena, Šenkovec, Croatia. It is uncertain what happened to his body, it could have been burned or buried near the battlefield, but according to sources most often is considered to have been buried by former Muslim captive Mustafa Vilić from Banja Luka because was well treated by Zrinski.
In Međimurje County Museum in Čakovec are preserved remains of a Zrinski family member tombstone which most probably belonged to Nikola IV, and under which most probably was buried his head. In Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna are preserved the sabre, helmet, and possibly the silk robe with decorative gold thread, which were created and wore by Zrinski during the 1563 coronation of Maximilian II. They were initially collected by Ferdinand II, Archduke of Austria at Ambras Castle in the 16th century.
Marriage and childrenEdit
Zrinski married twice, first in 1543 with Katarina Frankopan (d. 1561) and then Eva Rosenberg (1537–1591) in 1564. With marriage to Katarina Frankopan, a sister of Count Stjepan Frankopan of Ozalj (d. 1577), her vast estates, including Ozalj and part of littoral cities like Bakar, in 1550 became at his disposal due to inheritance contract. With marriage to Eva Rosenberg, a sister of William of Rosenberg the Burgrave of Bohemia, managed to connect with one of the most notable Czech noble families and, according to Géza Pálffy, to the highest elite of the Kingdom of Hungary. Due to marriages and his service during his lifetime managed to elevate the noble family to become most powerful in the Kingdom of Croatia.
With Katarina and Eva, Zrinski had thirteen children, Ivan I, Jelena, Katarina, Juraj IV, Doroteja, Uršula, Barbara, Margareta, Magdalena, Ana, Kristofor, Nikola V, and Ivan II, of whom most notably was his successor Juraj IV Zrinski. One of the younger sons married with a lady from a noble Czech Kolowrat family. According to Dóra Bobory "it is possible to detect an increasingly conscious marriage policy within the Zrinyi family, where all the daughters of Miklos married well, and where father himself chose his spouses wisely". Most notably, Doroteja became the wife of Boldizsár Batthyány in 1566, Katarina wife of Imre Forgách in 1576, while some other two daughters married into Thurzó family. For some of them, Uršula, Katarina and Doroteja, is known that were educated at Güssing.
Zrinski's heroic act at the siege of Szigetvár made him a well known European Christian hero, a defender and savior of Christendom, and "a model of a faithful and sacrificial warrior in the service of his ruler". He was also compared to Leonidas I. His cult of heroism was especially preserved among the Croats, Hungarians, and Slovaks. In Croatia, it also represented a symbol of Croatian identity, directed against Ottoman, Austrian and Hungarian political influence. Similarly, he gained some popularity during the Polish struggle for independence in second half of the 19th century and early 20th century. According to historians like Ágnes R. Várkonyi and Alojzije Jembrih, Zrinski had an "exceptional military talent, was a successful businessman, politician with a concept, and an endlessly passionate person".
He was remembered in a first-hand report Podsjedanje i osvojenje Sigeta (1568) by Zrinski's scribe and chamberlain Franjo Črnko, which was immediately translated in Latin by Samuel Budina and published in the same year titled Historia Sigethi, totius Sclavoniae fortissimi propugnaculi..., with the second edition (1587) edited by Petrus Albinus. It was also translated into German, Italian, Spanish and other languages. Other works include a historical epic Vazetje Sigeta grada (1584) by Brne Karnarutić, and most prominently Hungarian epic poem The Siege of Sziget (1651) by his great-grandson Nikola VII Zrinski and its partial Croatian variation Adrianskoga mora Sirena (1660) by great-grandson Petar Zrinski. In the epic poem, the elder Zrinski is the main hero and has assured Zrinski's place in Hungarian culture as it remains in print today and is considered one of the landmarks of Hungarian literature. Compared to the Hungarian poem, which is an exception in Hungarian literature, the Croatian variation fits the Croatian literature tradition. Vladislav Menčetić's Trublja slovinska (1665) is the first Ragusan literature work that introduces the idea of antemurale Christianitatis for Croatian territories and celebrates Zrinski as a hero. Pavao Ritter Vitezović also wrote a related epic poem Odiljenje sigetsko (1684).
In the 18th century, his heroic act inspired school dramas in Jesuit Gymnasiums, including Andreas Friz's Nicolai Zriny ad Szigethum victoria (1738). The German author Theodor Körner wrote a tragedy, Zriny: Ein Trauerspiel (1812), after which August von Adelburg Abramović wrote the libretto for his opera Zrinyi (1868). The Croatian composer Ivan Zajc created an opera titled Nikola Šubić Zrinski (1876), as a patriotic work which is still performed regularly today. It includes an aria "U boj, u boj", which is regularly performed at the Japanese Kwansei Gakuin University since the World War I.
Since the 16th century, Zrinski featured in many engravings and paintings, of him as a portrait or during the siege mostly as leading the charge, like by Matthias Zündt, Miklós Barabás, Viktor Madarász, Mikoláš Aleš, Bela Čikoš Sesija and Oton Iveković among others. In 1914, the Czech painter Alphonse Mucha dedicated to Zrinski the painting titled Defense of Sziget against the Turks by Nicholas Zrinsky: The Shield of Christendom from his The Slav Epic cycle.
By the imperial resolution of Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria on 28 February 1863, Zrinski was included in the list of "Austria's most famous warlords and field commanders worthy of eternal emulation", in whose honor and memory was built a life-size statue of Carrara marble at the Museum of Military History, Vienna, in 1865 by sculptor Nikolaus Vay (1828-1886). There also exist several sculptures and busts of Zrinski in Zagreb, Čakovec and Šenkovec in Croatia, Budapest and Szigetvár in Hungary, and Heldenberg in Austria among others. Parks in Zagreb (see Zrinjevac), Koprivnica and Križevci among others are named after him.
In 1866 was held a solemn commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Zrinski's death in Croatia. In commemoration of the 450th anniversary of the siege of Szigetvár (1566), the year 2016 was declared a memorial year of Nikola Zrinski and the siege of Szigetvár in Croatia and Hungary. On that occasion were held various cultural and artistic events, published many papers and books as well as organized scientific conferences in Zagreb, Čakovec, Vienna, and Pécs.
A portrait at East Slovak Museum, 18th century
A portrait by Miklós Barabás, 1842
A portrait by Viktor Madarász, 1858
A portrait by Mikoláš Aleš, 1878
A portrait by Oton Iveković, 19th century
A sculpture of Zrinski in Čakovec
A modern sculpture of Zrinski in Szigetvár
A bust of Zrinski in Szigetvár
A bust of Zrinski in Heldenberg Memorial
A bust of Zrinski for the 450th anniversary of the siege of Szigetvár, at Šenkovec, 2016
A plaque in honor to Zrinski for the 450th anniversary of the siege of Szigetvár, at Čakovec, 2016
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- Further reading
- Josip Bratulić, Vladimir Lončarević, Božidar Petrač, Nikola Šubić Zrinski u hrvatskom stihu (in Croatian, 2016), Croatian Writers' Association, Zagreb, pages 756, ISBN 978-953-278-235-6
- Szabolcs Varga, Leónidasz a végvidéken. Zrínyi Miklós (1508–1566) (in Hungarian, 2016), Kronosz, Pécs–Budapest, 2016, pages 280, ISBN 978-615-549-783-4
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Nikola Šubić Zrinski.|
- Zrinski, Nikola. German National Library
- Zrinski's sabre at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
- Zrinski's helmet at the Kunsthistorisches Museum
- Croatian documentary episode Nikola Šubić Zrinski of TV series "Hrvatski Velikani" by Hrvatska Radiotelevizija, 2016
Nikola IV ZrinskiBorn: 1507–1508 Died: 7 September 1566
| Ban of Croatia
| Master of the treasury