Battle of Grobnik Field
|Battle of Grobnik field|
|Part of Mongol invasion of Europe|
|Golden Horde||Hungarian Croatia|
|Casualties and losses|
The Battle of Grobnik field is a legendary battle that supposedly occurred in 1242 between the Croats and the Golden Horde (Mongols) in the area below the Grobnik Castle, present-day Čavle municipality in the Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, western Croatia. The legend was recorded as late as the 16th century and was later a focus of an early romantic poem The Grobnik Field written in 1842 by Dimitrija Demeter for the 600th anniversary of the battle. Legend has it that, in a last-ditch struggle, Croats from all over the region gathered there and killed thousands of Mongols, who withdrew, never to return.
The Mongols (also called "Tatars") began attacking Europe in the 1220s. They conquered most of Russia and then headed west in the late 1230s. In almost every battle the Christian armies were destroyed and much of Hungary, Poland, Austria and the Balkans were laid waste by Batu Khan, grandson of Genghis Khan. It is known that the Mongols overran Zagreb and swept through Lika and Dalmatia but were unable to take Vinodol. The extent of death and destruction dealt out by the Mongols was compared to an epidemic of the black plague.
Arriving at the Grobnik field, the Mongols encountered a native Croatian army that tried to stop their advantage and invasion. In the battle that followed, the Mongols were destroyed, losing an entire army of 30,000 people led by the notorious army leader Batu Khan. It is believed that Grobnik ("field of graves") got its name from the many graves that were used after the battle due to great casualties. It was one of the last battles of the Mongols in Europe, after which they retreated to their homeland in far Asia. There seems to be no certain evidence of the battle uncovered on the battlefield. Many scholars and historians have long doubted and still are arguing if the battle ever took place. Most of them acknowledge that battle didn't occur at all. There has been no physical evidence of a battle uncovered on the supposed battlefield, nor is the battle mentioned in any document from that time. The first accounts about this battle are mentioned in the documents from the 14th century, but some claim that they were either a hoax or not verifiable. Legend also has it that the Croats also fought off a Turkish invasion at Grobnik field several centuries later by wearing the heads of cows and other animals (see zvončari), scaring the enemy.
- Goldstein, Ivo (1994) "The Use of History: Croatian Historiography and Politics", HeinOnline, accessed May 2008.
- Županov, Josip, "Dan zahvalnosti: jesu li nacionalni mitovi prokletstvo ili blagoslov[permanent dead link]", accessed May 2008. Županov says "Taj se mit, doduše, sve manje spominje, jer je povjesničarima poznato da se ta navodna bitka na Grobničkom polju ne spominje ni u jednom povijesnom dokumentu iz toga vremena".
- Ivan Kukuljević Sakcinski (1863). Borba Hrvatah s Mongoli i Tatari. Nakladom i brzotiskom A. Jakić. pp. 49–.