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 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 he had Wallachian roots. 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, which was not an unusual occurrence during that time.
In popular culture
- 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).
- Transcultural Wars from the Middle Ages to the 21st Century - Hans-Henning Kortüm. Books.google.com.au. 2007-01-01. ISBN 9783050041315. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- Guns for the Sultan: Military Power and the Weapons Industry in the Ottoman ... - Gábor Ágoston. Books.google.com.au. 2005-03-24. ISBN 9780521843133. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- Medieval Weapons: An Illustrated History of Their Impact - Kelly DeVries, Robert Douglas Smith. Books.google.com.au. 2007. ISBN 9781851095261. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- Asia: A Concise History - Arthur Cotterell. Books.google.com.au. 2011-05-16. ISBN 9780470829592. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- The Oxford Encyclopedia of Medieval Warfare and Military Technology. Books.google.com.au. 2010. ISBN 9780195334036. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- Diversions of a Diplomat in Turkey - Samuel Sullivan Cox. Books.google.ro. 1893. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- The Roots of Balkanization: Eastern Europe C.E. 500-1500 - Ion Grumeza. Books.google.ro. 2010. ISBN 9780761851349. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- Guns and Men in Medieval Europe, 1200-1500: Studies in Military History and ... - Kelly DeVries. Books.google.ro. 2009-08-26. ISBN 9780860788867. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- The Siege and the Fall of Constantinople in 1453: Historiography, Topography ... - Marios Philippides, Walter K. Hanak. Books.google.com. 2011. ISBN 9781409410645. Retrieved 2015-06-26.
- Runciman 1990, pp. 77–78
- 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
- Schmidtchen 1977a, pp. 153–157
- Schmidtchen 1977b, p. 226
- 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.