Uprising in Banat
|Uprising in Banat|
|Part of Long Turkish War, Ottoman–Serbian Wars|
Map of the uprising.
|Commanders and leaders|
|Teodor of Vršac
|Koca Sinan Pasha
The Uprising in Banat[a] was a rebellion organized and led by Serbian Orthodox bishop Teodor of Vršac and Sava Temišvarac against the Ottomans in the Eyalet of Temeşvar. The uprising broke out in 1594, in the initial stage of the Long Turkish War, and was fought by local Serbs, numbering some 5,000, who managed to quickly take over several towns in the region before being crushed by the Ottoman army. The relics of Saint Sava were burnt by the Ottomans as a retaliation. Although short-lived, it inspired future rebellions.
The reign of Suleiman I has been described as the most famous period in Ottoman history. At the end of his reign, however, the constant wars had taken its toll, damaging the economy. The faulty economical politics that followed shook the economy and with that, the foundations of Ottoman society; state officials quickly became poor, their pays being worthless akçe, and corruption and briberies were common. Mutiny struck throughout the Ottoman Empire, the rebellion of the capital troops in January 1593 assuring the government to seek out a new war of conquest to get out of the crisis. The population (raja) in the Sanjak of Çanad suffered in this period, since the 1560s. Impoverished sipahi forced peasants to overwork, and imposed own taxes on them, despite laws. Tax collectors, as well, abused their position, taking higher taxes. Beys and vojvode (Christian chiefs) used the population's houses, tools and animals, and ate free of charge, which was eventually prevented by government order. A result of issues like these led to a massive migration of the population to Transylvania in 1583. Records show the worsening of the population's status, and deteriorating economy (inflation).
The defeat of the Ottomans at the Battle of Sisak (22 June 1593) and the uncertain outcome of fighting in Upper Hungary in the beginning of the Long Turkish War (1593–1606) woke up internal problems and also jeopardized Ottoman rule in the vassal principalities of Transylvania, Wallachia and Moldavia. This also created conditions for the Serb uprising in Banat in 1594.
According to Ferdo Šišić, it is also important to point out the receptiveness of the Orthodox Serbs concretely, as well as the Vlach social class (including Serbs and Slavicized Romance Vlachs, who had also been loyal and militarly useful Ottoman subjects until that very moment) generally, to the Western Christian encouragements of revolting against the Sultan and passing over to the Habsburg side; it is probable that they increasingly lose faith in their Muslim masters. A feeling which began to spread among them after the sound Ottoman defeat at Sisak past year.
Pope Clement VIII, acceding in early 1592, began a diplomatic mission aimed to forge an anti-Ottoman coalition and to strengthen the position of the Roman Catholic Church. His envoy, Aleksandar Komulović, was sent to the East in 1593–94. The Pope also instructed Komulović to inspire Serbs to revolt against the Ottomans, praising them for their bravery. Papal diplomats and Jesuits Komulović and Giovanni Battista maintained extensive contacts with the Serbian Patriarchate.
In early 1594, the Serbs in Banat began attacking the Ottomans, during the Long Turkish War (1593–1606) which was fought at the Habsburg-Ottoman border. At that time, the Ottoman army was occupied in Hungary. The Serbian Patriarchate and rebels had established relations with foreign states. The rebels had, in the character of a holy war, carried war flags with the icon of Saint Sava, the founder of the Serbian Orthodox Church and a cult figure. The war banners had been consecrated by Patriarch Jovan Kantul, and the uprising was aided by Serbian Orthodox metropolitans Rufim Njeguš of Cetinje and Visarion of Trebinje. Bishop Teodor of Vršac and Sava Temišvarac led the uprising.
In March 1594, the rebels and hajduks had Vršac attacked and set on fire. As V. Ćorović notes, it was a result of hajduk aggravation and the news of outbreaking of an Austrian-Turkish War of greater proportion, rather than being a well-prepared action. The liberation of Vršac was instrumental in the spreading of the uprising. The rebels conquered several fortified cities, with 5,000 warriors they attacked and took over Bečkerek (Zrenjanin), and then Bečej and Titel. They destroyed some Ottoman ships on the Danube, which had supplied fortresses in the north of Hungary. After initial success, the rebels had by March expelled the Ottomans from almost the entire territory of Banat and Körös.
In an act of retaliation, Grand Vizier Koca Sinan Pasha ordered the green flag of the Prophet Muhammed to be brought from Damascus to counter the Serb flag, as well as the sarcophagus and relics of Saint Sava located in the Mileševa monastery be brought by military convoy to Belgrade. Along the way, the Ottoman convoy had people killed in their path so that the rebels in the woods would hear of it. On 27 April, the Ottomans had the relics of Saint Sava publicly incinerated on a pyre on the Vračar plateau, and the ashes scatted; made to discourage the Serbs, it instead intensified the rebellion.
Đorđe Palotić, the Ban of Lugos, stole armament which he sent to the rebels, and encouraged them to continue to fight; he subsequently promised that the Transylvanian Duke, Sigismund Báthory, would soon appear to them. Sava, Teodor and Velja Mironić signed and sent a letter in the name of "all spahee and knezes, all of Serbdom and Christianity", to the Transylvanian nobleman Mózes Székely, who was already at the frontier, asking for aid in the uprising, to send troops as soon as possible. They mentioned in the letter that 1,000 armed men were gathered in Vršac. The letter was sent from Vršac on 13 June, two days after the decision at the Assembly at Gyulafehérvár. However, Székely was unwilling to cross the Transylvanian border, so the Serbs were left on their own.
Hasan Pasha, the beylerbey of the Temeşvar Eyalet, gained aid from the Grand Vizier and the Pasha of Budim, thus turned with an army numbering 20,000 soldiers and attacked Becskerek (Zrenjanin), in the hands of 4,300 rebels, ending in a decisive Ottoman victory. Subsequently, Sinan Pasha took an army of 30,000 soldiers which suppressed the badly armed Serbs.
There were reprisals, contemporary sources speaking of "the living envied the dead". The freedom fight and desire to restore the Serbian state was however not put to an end. After the crushing of the uprising in Banat, Serbs migrated to Transylvania under the leadership of Bishop Teodor; the territory towards Ineu and Teiuș was settled, where Serbs had lived since earlier – the Serbs had their eparchies, opened schools, founded churches and printing houses.
The size of the uprising is illustrated in a Serbian epic poem: "The whole land has rebelled, six hundred villages arose, everybody pointed his gun against the emperor".
The site where Saint Sava's relics were burnt, the Vračar plateau, became the new grounds of the National Library of Serbia and the Church of Saint Sava dedicated to the saint. The Church is one of the largest church buildings in the world. From its location, it dominates Belgrade's cityscape, and has become a national symbol.
- ^ It is mostly known as Uprising in Banat (Serbian: Ustanak u Banatu/Устанак у Банату) and Banat Uprising (Banatski ustanak/Банатски устанак). Also Uprising of the Serbs in Banat (Устанак Срба у Банату).
- ^ Apart from bishop Teodor and Sava Temišvarac, leaders include vojvoda Velja Mironić (or Velimirović) and spahija Vukadin.
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Govorilo se da su ustanici raspolagali sa 5000 ratnika, koji su napali i zauzeli Bečkerek, a zatim Bečej i Titel. Uništili su neke turske brodove na Dunavu, koji su opskrbljivali tvrđave na sjeveru Ugarske.
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Устанак Срба у Банату и спалмваъье моштийу св. Саве 1594. — Почетком 1594. године Срби у Банату почели су нападати Турке. Устанак се -нарочито почео ширити после освадаъьа и спашьиваъьа Вршца од стране чете -Петра Маджадца. Устаници осводе неколико утврЬених градова (Охат [...]
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Дошло ]е до похреаа Срба у Ба- нату, ко]и су помагали тадаппьи црногоски владика, Херувим и тре- бюьски, Висарион. До покрета и борбе против Ту рака дошло ]е 1596. године и у Цр- иэ] Гори и сус]едним племенима у Харцеговгаш, нарочито под утица- ]ем поменутог владике Висариона.
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- Karlovačka mitropolija 1910, p. 45
Али Секељ не хтеде ни сада прећи ердељску границу, већ остави Србе њиховој судбини. Беглербег темишварски Хасан добије помоћи од великог везира и од будимског паше, те са војском од 20.000 душа нападне код Бечкерека српске устанике, којих је било на 4300 душа. Битка се брзо свршила са потпуним поразом ...
- Popović 1990, p. 302.
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Сва се бутум земља побунила, шест сто- тина подигло се села, свак на цара пушку подигао
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