From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Orban, also known as Urban (Hungarian: Orbán; died 1453), was an iron founder and engineer from Brassó, Transylvania, in the Kingdom of Hungary (today Brașov, Romania), who cast large-calibre artillery for the Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1453.

The Dardanelles Gun, cast in 1464 and based on the Orban bombard that was used for the Ottoman besiegers of Constantinople in 1453; British Royal Armouries collection.

Orban was Hungarian,[1][2][3][4] according to most modern authors, while some scholars also mention his potential German[5] ancestry. Alternative theories suggest he had Wallachian[6][7] roots. Laonikos Chalkokondyles used the term Dacian to describe him.[8][9]

He had offered his services to the Byzantines in 1452, a year before the Ottomans attacked the city, but the Byzantine emperor Constantine XI could not afford Orban's high salary nor did the Byzantines possess the materials necessary for constructing such a large siege cannon. Orban then left Constantinople and approached the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, who was preparing to besiege the city. Claiming that his weapon could blast 'the walls of Babylon itself', Orban was given abundant funds and materials by the sultan. Orban managed to build the giant gun within three months at Adrianople, whence sixty oxen dragged it to Constantinople. Orban also produced other, smaller cannons used by the Turkish siege forces.[10]

Bombarding technology similar to Orban's had first been developed for the Hungarian Army. It rose in popularity during the early 1400s all over western Europe, transforming siege warfare.[11][12] Examples of pieces similar to Orban's productions like the Faule Mette, Dulle Griet, Mons Meg and the Pumhart von Steyr are still extant from the period. Orban, along with an entire crew, was probably killed during the siege when one of his cannons exploded, which was not an unusual occurrence during that time.[13]


  1. ^ Kortüm, Hans-Henning (2007). Transcultural Wars from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century. Walter de Gruyter GmbH. ISBN 9783050041315. Retrieved 2015-06-26.[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Ágoston, Gábor (2005). Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman ... Cambridge University Press. ISBN 9780521843133. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  3. ^ Devries, Kelly; Smith, Robert Douglas (2007). Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781851095261. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  4. ^ Cotterell, Arthur (2011). Asia: A Concise History. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9780470829592. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  5. ^ Rogers, Clifford J. (2010). The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. ISBN 9780195334036. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  6. ^ Cox, Samuel Sullivan (1893). Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey. C.L. Webster & Company. Retrieved 2015-06-26. orban wallachian.
  7. ^ Grumeza, Ion (2010). The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500–1500. ISBN 9780761851349. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  8. ^ Devries, Kelly (2009). Guns and Men in Medieval Europe, 1200-1500: Studies in Military History and ... ISBN 9780860788867. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  9. ^ Philippides, Marios; Hanak, Walter K. (2011). The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453: Historiography, Topography ... ISBN 9781409410645. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
  10. ^ Runciman 1990, pp. 77–78
  11. ^ Schmidtchen 1977a, pp. 153–157
  12. ^ Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 226
  13. ^ Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 237, Fn. 121


  • Nicolle, David (2000), Constantinople 1453: The End of Byzantium, Osprey Publishing, p. 13, ISBN 1-84176-091-9
  • Runciman, Steven (1990), The Fall of Constantinople: 1453, London: Cambridge University Press, pp. 77–78, ISBN 978-0-521-39832-9
  • Schmidtchen, Volker (1977a), "Riesengeschütze des 15. Jahrhunderts. Technische Höchstleistungen ihrer Zeit", Technikgeschichte, 44 (2): 153–173
  • Schmidtchen, Volker (1977b), "Riesengeschütze des 15. Jahrhunderts. Technische Höchstleistungen ihrer Zeit", Technikgeschichte, 44 (3): 213–237
  • Crowley, Roger (2006), In Our Time: Constantinople Siege and Fall
  • Vékony, Gábor (2000). Dacians, Romans, Romanians. Matthias Corvinus Publishing. ISBN 1-882785-13-4.