Siege of Vienna

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    In 1683 the Ottoman Grand Vizier Kara Mustafa marched up the Danube with the objective of conquering the city of Vienna. They laid siege to the city in July. They battered, and dug at the hapless city, slowly closing in on the defenders. Meanwhile the Hapsburg Emperor Leopold I assembled a coalition including several German princes and the Polish King Jan Sobieski. They attacked the Ottomans at Vienna on September 12, and routed the Ottoman army in a sudden and amazingly successful attack . This was to be the last time the Ottoman empire would attempt a major conquest in Europe and foreshadowed later offensives to be launched in turn by the Austrians and Russians which would severely reduce the Ottomans and gain these powers territory in the Black Sea.

    Note that there have been Many sieges of Vienna over the years. The Other Wiki lists at least 12 sieges as of 2024.

    The Siege of Vienna provides examples of the following tropes:
    • The Alliance: Poland, Austria, France and others.
    • Badass Boast: Jan Sobieski's quote, "Venimus, Vidimus, Deus vincit" (We came, we saw, God conquered).
    • Bling of War: The winged hussars.
    • The Cavalry: The allied army . Not the least, the Polish Army which was famed for having some of the finest horses in Europe and was therefore literal as well as metaphorical cavalry.
    • Cool Horse: See hussars.
    • Curb Stomp Battle: Once the reinforcements arrived, that is.
    • Crazy Awesome / Obfuscating Stupidity: Jan Sobieski. People took him a lot more serious after he won the battle and saved the city.
    • Dude, Where's My Reward?: King Jan Sobieski, who led the allied forces and is a legendary figure in Poland, is not commemorated much in Austria itself.
    • Even Better Sequel: The Ottomans also besieged Vienna in 1529 - a very significant battle in its own right but one which has been overshadowed by this one.
    • Evil Chancellor: Kara Mustafa. (That is a cool name though).
    • The Empire: The Ottoman Empire (do remember that most accounts are given by Europeans rather than Turks).
      • The Habsburg Empire, as well.
    • The Federation: The Holy Roman Empire.
    • Folk Hero: It is said that the first Vienna coffeehouse was opened by a merchant who found coffee when gathering Plunder from the Ottoman camp.
    • Foreshadowing: Yes, the relief force did arrive at about September 11. And some have speculated that Bin Laden remembered.
    • Gondor Calls for Aid
    • Holy Roman Empire
    • The Kingdom: Poland.
    • Last Stand: Averted spectacularly.
    • Poles With Lances
    • Real Men Love Jesus : Jan Sobieski.
    • Turks With Troops
    • Warrior Prince: Jan Sobieski.
    • What an Idiot!: Sobieski, to the future generations of Poles. 100 years later Austria and Germany (and Russia) partition Poland, and Turkey is the only neighboring state that doesn't recognizes the loss of Polish Independence.
      • It is hard to see how he could be responsible for that and Turkey was the chief threat at the time.
      • Sobieski's real fault was that he was a good warrior, but a somewhat lousy politician, unwittingly preparing the ground for later Russian dominance over Poland. Plus, a reason why Turkey didn't recognise the Partitions was that they were quite impressed by Sobieski and Poles.
        • The battle of Vienna elevated Sobieski to hero status in Poland. Unfortunately, it was his only success. His main concern was dynastic politics (he wanted to get his son elected as the next king of Poland and marginalize other magnate families to create a ruling dynasty) and while he wasn't the first in the succession of weak, decadent kings which ultimately led to the Partitions, his rule was the point of no return.
      • Granted, "Austrian Poland" was generally benign (the Habsburgs are still recalled well So Ive Heard). As for the other zones, Poles think otherwise.
      • Kara Mustafa himself. By all accounts, the Turks should have captured Vienna. However, Mustafa decided to wait. This was probably because he gambled on the Austrians surrendering, which would have allowed him to claim all the city's possessions for the Sultan, whereas if the city was taken by force, its possessions would be divvied out between the army. Instead of attacking, he bided his time and was caught completely by surprise by the Polish and German reinforcements. Had he won, the Ottomans would have used Vienna as a bridge to Western Europe. Instead, it marked the stagnation of their holdings in Europe.
    • Who Would Be Stupid Enough...?: According to some accounts, the Poles dragged their cannons over mountains to bring them to the battlefield. By hand. The Turkish commanders refused to believe anyone would try something so foolhardy and dismissed these reports. Big mistake.
    • You Have Failed Me...: The Grand Vizier was executed for his defeat at the battle.
    Fictional Works Set During the Siege of Vienna Include


    • The Drawing of the Dark by Tim Powers - An epic fantasy novel in which brewing beer is Serious Business
    • In Quicksilver, first volume of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle, "Half-Cocked" Jack Shaftoe and Eliza first meet at the Siege of Vienna, where he is serving as a mercenary and rescues her from the Sultan's harem.
    • The story The Shadow of the Vulture by Robert E. Howard uses this as the historical backdrop to tell its tale about a personal vendetta between the Sultan himself (carried out by his servants rather than him personally, of course) and a Christian knight who happens to end up in Vienna at the beginning of the siege. It also gives us the original Red Sonja.
      • The backdrop was actually the earlier siege of Vienna, in 1529, which was Suleyman the Magnificents' attempt. And actually was as important historically as the latter one as it together with the siege of Malta and Battle of Lepanto pretty much defined the limits of the Ottoman Empire's reach in Europe and the Mediterranian Sea.
    • James A. Michener's Poland has an entire chapter devoted to the siege and battle of Vienna wherein Jan Sobieski appears as a major character. The famous hussar charge is recounted as well.