Pál Kinizsi

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The native form of this personal name is Kinizsi Pál. This article uses the Western name order.
Pál Kinizsi
Pál Kinizsi in a Romantic painting depicting him in 17th century Hussar uniform.
Born 1432
Died 1494
Cause of death
Monuments Statue in Budapest by János Pásztor (1930)
Religion Christian
Spouse(s) Benigna Magyar
Children None
Military career
Allegiance Kingdom of Hungary
Rank Captain General of the Lower Parts of the Kingdom of Hungary
(Latin: generalis capitaneus inferiorum partium regni)
Battles/wars Battle of Breadfield (October 1479)
Coat of arms Kinizsi Pál pecsétje.JPG
Office Comes of Temes (Comes Temesiensis),[1] since 1484

Pál Kinizsi (1432–1494) was a Hungarian general, a legendary commoner[2] commander in the service of king Matthias Corvinus. He was Comes of Temes (Latin: Comes Temesiensis) from 1484 and Captain General of the Lower Parts of the Kingdom of Hungary (generalis capitaneus inferiorum partium regni). He is famous for his victory over the Ottomans in the Battle of Breadfield in October 1479.


Origin and early life[edit]

Kinizsi was the son of a miller.[3] According to some Hungarian,[4] and Serbian historians, he was of Serbian origin,[5][6] and was possibly a descendant of Vuk Branković, though this could not be determined.[5]

Prior to his military career, he was a journeyman miller.[7]

Military career[edit]

His central estate was the Castle of Nagyvázsony.[when?]

After the death of king Matthias in 1490 he supported Polish (by birth) king Vladislas II of Hungary and the great magnates against Matthias' illegitimate son and designated successor John Corvinus. He destroyed the former king's mercenary Black Army which had became a robber band after its dissolution. He then was crippled by a stroke and died shortly afterwards.


He married Benigna Magyar,[8] the daughter of Blaise Magyar, another general of Corvinus. He had no known issue.


Kinizsi is a hero of some Hungarian and Romanian folk tales along with king Matthias Corvinus as an extremely strong former miller's apprentice. According to these tales, the king was hunting in the Bakony forest near the mill where he worked and asked for a drink; Kinizsi, to show his strength, served the cup on a millstone. The king, impressed, took him into his service, where Kinizsi's strength, prowess and loyalty earned him rapid promotion. He is said to have wielded two greatswords in battle and to have danced a victory dance after the Battle of Kenyérmező with a captured or dead Turk under each arm and a third held with his hair or belt in his teeth.


  1. ^ Géza Dávid, Pál Fodor, Ransom slavery along the Ottoman borders: early fifteenth-early eighteenth centuries, BRILL, 2007, p. 4
  2. ^ Peter F. Sugar, Péter Hanák, Tibor Frank, A History of Hungary, Indiana University Press, 1994, p. 72
  3. ^ Charles Hebbert, Norm Longley, Dan Richardson, Rough guide to Hungary, Rough Guides, 2002, p.284 [1]
  4. ^ Kocsis 1998, p. 105: "Both spontaneous and organised migration associated with the final occupation of Serbia by the Turks in 1459 (eg by Brankovic, Jaksic and Kinizsi) caused an influx of Serb immigrants"
  5. ^ a b Laszlo Szalay, Das Rechtsverhältniss der serbischen Niederlassungen zum Staate in den Ländern der ungarischen Krone, p. 7
  6. ^ Љубомир Степанов: Срби у Кнезу (Темишвар, 1998)
  7. ^ Franz Babinger, Mehmed the Conqueror and His Time, Princeton University Press, 1992, p. 374
  8. ^ Országos Széchényi Könyvtár, The National Széchényi Library, The Library, 1972, p. 21 [2]