The Siege of Szighet and the Death of Suleiman the Magnificent

[Crnka, Fran / Alfonso de Ulloa?]. Historia di Zighet, ispugnata da Suliman, re de' turchi, l'anno MDLXVI. Nuovamente mandata in luce.

Venice, Bolognino Zaltieri, 1570.

4to. 24, (2) pp. With woodcut printer's device to t. p. 18th century marbled wrappers.


Rare second Italian edition (published a year after the almost unobtainable first Turin printing) of this historically important account of the events of the Battle of Szigetvár, fought between the Turkish and the Habsburgian forces. The final page treats the number of Turkish soldiers killed in the battle.

On 8 September 1566, after a month-long siege, the Ottoman army captured the fortress of Szigetvár and beheaded the defender, Miklós Zrínyi; more than 20,000 soldiers died. Shortly before the decisive battle, Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent, who personally led the campaign, died of old age after a reign of 46 years - the longest in Ottoman history. In spite of the Turkish victory, the death of their leader, the heavy losses suffered during the siege, and an early winter caused the Ottoman army to withdraw to Istanbul. Only in 1689 did the Hungarians re-capture the city.

The first edition ("Historia Sigheti") was published in Latin by Caspar Stainhofer in Vienna in 1568. It was purportedly a translation from the Croat language, prepared by Samuel Budina (cf. Apponyi 422). The supposed author, Fran Crnka (Ferenc Czerno), was Zrínyi's surviving chamberlain. According to Göllner, the actual author (though more likely, the editor) may have been Alfonso de Ulloa (d. 1580), who also published "Commentari della Guerra" and "Historie di Europa", both appearing at Zaltieri's press in the same year as the present work.

Extremely rare; a single copy at auctions internationally since 1950.


Edit 16, CNCE 13812. Apponyi 439. Göllner 1270. BM-STC Italian 652. Hammer 761. Szabó 603. Ballagi 718. Hubay 277. OCLC 64419121. Not in Adams.