Orban, also known as Urban (died 1453), was an iron founder and engineer from Brassó, Transylvania, in the Kingdom of Hungary (today Braşov, Romania), who cast superguns for the Ottoman siege of Constantinople in 1453.
Orban was Hungarian according to most modern authors, while some scholars also mention his potential German ancestry. Alternative theories suggest his Wallachian roots and he was described by Laonikos Chalkokondyles with the term "Dacian".
In 1452 he originally offered his services to the Byzantines, but emperor Constantine XI could not afford his high salary nor did he 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 size gun within three months at Adrianople, from which it was dragged by sixty oxen to Constantinople. In the meantime, Orban also produced other smaller cannons used by the Turkish siege forces.
The bombard technology, which mainly German technicians designed at first for the Hungarian Army, had been established between 1400 and 1450 all over western Europe, transforming siege warfare, with some pieces like the Faule Mette, Dulle Griet, Mons Meg and the Pumhart von Steyr which are still extant from the period. Orban, along with an entire crew, was probably killed during the siege when one of his superguns exploded, then not an unusual occurrence.
In popular media
- Master Orban was played by Burhanettin Üskan in the 1951 Turkish film, İstanbul'un Fethi.
- Erdoğan Aydemir played Orban in the 2012 film Fetih 1453. In the film, it is storied that Orban has made a sketch for the Doge of Genoa (Ali Ersin Yenar), but the Doge wasn't interested in his sketch. Orban has an adopted daughter named Era (Dilek Serbest) who has a romantic relationship with Ulubatlı Hasan (İbrahim Çelikkol).
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- The heirs of Archimedes: science and the art of war through the Age of Enlightenment, Brett D. Steele & Tamera Dorland, The MIT Press, 2005, p.128 & Roger Crowley, on In Our Time: Constantinople Siege & Fall, broadcast 2006
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