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The 30-years war

Printed From: History Community ~ All Empires
Category: Regional History or Period History
Forum Name: Early Modern & the Imperial Age
Forum Description: World History from 1500 to the end of WW1
Moderators: Byzantine Emperor, Temujin, gcle2003
URL: http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=21459
Printed Date: 17-Jun-2018 at 23:26
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Topic: The 30-years war
Posted By: Mannerheim
Subject: The 30-years war
Date Posted: 28-Aug-2007 at 11:40
One of my favourite subjects of early modern. The war itself was one of the first if not the first real "global war". Also the peace treaty which was made after the war was the first "global" treaty that really concerned the most of the Europe and the concept of international laws was born.

Discussion about the war, its motives and its heritage.

- Do you think France should have joined the battles earlier instead of just financially aiding Sweden or was it actually a good call?

- Do you think 30-years war was inevitable due to religious chaos?

- What were the biggest winners in the war in your opinion? I would say Sweden since it gained a large amount of land although Sweden might have lost the whole war without the support of France. Also France was a big winner since it gained an upperhand to its enemies the Habsburgs.

- Who was the biggest loser in the war? I would say that some parts of the Germany were pretty badly robbed and demoralized. Germany area lost roughly 1/3 of its population although there were a lot of regional differences. Some parts were totally wiped out and some didnt really suffer at all.


Sorry about my English.



Replies:
Posted By: Roberts
Date Posted: 28-Aug-2007 at 12:48
Originally posted by Mannerheim Mannerheim wrote:



- Do you think France should have joined the battles earlier instead of just financially aiding Sweden or was it actually a good call?

France did the right thing, because it is more profitable to pay some subsidies to your ally (Sweden), who takes the brunt of fighting at first, than to involve in war together with it since the maintaining of army was very expensive.
Quote
- Do you think 30-years war was inevitable due to religious chaos?

Yes, the tension between Protestants and Catholics was very high, though at first it wasn't the reason of war.
Quote
- What were the biggest winners in the war in your opinion? I would say Sweden since it gained a large amount of land although Sweden might have lost the whole war without the support of France. Also France was a big winner since it gained an upperhand to its enemies the Habsburgs.

France certainly, it got several territories in west and also the Rhein river as its frontier. Also its main enemies were seriously weakened: Spain ceased to be major power, HRE completly disintegrated.
Quote
- Who was the biggest loser in the war? I would say that some parts of the Germany were pretty badly robbed and demoralized. Germany area lost roughly 1/3 of its population although there were a lot of regional differences. Some parts were totally wiped out and some didnt really suffer at all.

Economically and demographically the losers were the German states, though politically their were the winners. Politically the losers were Austria and to certain extent Spain.


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 30-Aug-2007 at 07:31
The big looser was, of course, Spain. It lost its importance in the global context and had to face a rebelion in its own territory (Catalonia) that seriously weekened her; and had the fight the the Portuguese who again became independent.
The HRE was also a looser as it became fragmented and lost its importance in Northern Europe. It thus became only a Central European and Balkanic power.
The major winner was France. Its policy of fighting through proxy wars was excellent. it both weakened its friends and foes alike, enabling France to became the major European power from the mid-XVII century onwards.
Sweden was also a winner, though for a short time as its territories were lost to the Russians 50 years later.
 
As for religion... well, its always used for political reasons. Always has been, always will be. The TYW was no diferent.


Posted By: Parnell
Date Posted: 30-Aug-2007 at 09:05
I think most of them were losers; Sweden's brief adventure with being an Imperial power had ended anyway; It marked the beginning of Spains collapse; It completely destroyed Germany until the early 20th century;
 
France managed to scrape alive but I suppose the big winner was the Dutch, who managed to get their coveted independence wrapped up due to the weaknesses of the spainiards evident in the war.


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"Neither apathy nor antipathy can ever bring out the truth of history" Eoin Mac Neill.


Posted By: Temujin
Date Posted: 30-Aug-2007 at 14:34
Originally posted by Parnell Parnell wrote:

It completely destroyed Germany until the early 20th century;


ConfusedErmm


Posted By: Sikander
Date Posted: 11-Sep-2007 at 12:21
Parnell, perhaps what you meant to say was "It completely destroyed Germany until the early 18th century"?
Though destroyed during the war, Germany was quick to recover and in the 18th cent. was quite ahead in the aufklärung movement.


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 01:22
Five total posts on the Thirty Years War?  I ask you!  Smile   I know we can do better:
 
1)  Was it one war?  Was it something else?
 
2)  What elite European interests benefitted from this catastrophe of the German peoples?
 
3)  How did the concept of state governance change from 1600 to, say, 1660?  Was change complete even then?
 
4)  How did this conflict affect the participants?
     France, England-Scotland, Sweden, Austria, etc.
 
5)  Did such a period of sustained, if punctuated, conflict constitute a military revolution/evolution.  Can we discuss any longer term consequences?
 
6)  How did all this impact the New World possessions of European state entities?
 
Give us your views; let's start discussions from the questions above, or start your own.  I will pick something in a day or two.
 
   


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 14:45
I don't think that England and Scotland were directly affected by the war to any significant extent, even given the romantic attachment to the 'winter queen' in the beginning and the promises of support made to Denmark but not carried out. Things were much too hectic at home.
 
It's true that in the period England lost ground at sea (forgive the mixed metaphor!) to the French and especially the Dutch, in failing totally to breach the Dutch blockades, but that too was due mostly to weakness and, of course, inadequate state financing at home.
 
Of course the 30 Years War affected the continental balance of power, so in years to come England (by then Britain) would be fighting a different grouping of enemies, but that's about all.


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 15:31
Graham,
 
Would you say that the removal of legitimate authority on the Continent (the Mecklenburg duchies, the established Palatine house with that electorate going to Catholic Bavaria; the abjuration of the Habsburgs in Bohemia - even though it did not stand) had no effect on political thinking in England?
 
How about the overturning of accepted and established principles of constitutional understanding?  I am thinking of the Edict of Restitution and the attempt to destroy the equilibrium in the Empire.  Could there have been a correlation with Charles I's attitude and behavior before the civil wars?  Was he observing Continental political behavior on the assumption that it was the wave of the future? 
 
How about the effect in Britain (England and Scotland) of the return of large numbers of experienced officers and soldiers from their service in the European armies of the TYW.  They brought back not only military and technical expertise but attitudes and values somewhat formed by their experiences.
 
I think there was more effect than an English viewpoint might want to admit.  Wink  (kidding there.)
 
   


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 16:00
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

Graham,
 
Would you say that the removal of legitimate authority on the Continent (the Mecklenburg duchies, the established Palatine house with that electorate going to Catholic Bavaria; the abjuration of the Habsburgs in Bohemia - even though it did not stand) had no effect on political thinking in England?
Yes I would. For the people who fought against the monarchy the prime foreign example, insofar as they needed one, was in the Netherlands and the Abjuration of Philip. More importantly there was precedent in England itself for the overthrow of monarchs, and there was always the legendary glow of Magna Charta. The characters and attitudes of people like John Hampden were formed well before the outbreak of the 30 Years War.
 
Frankly I'd be surprised if many members of particularly the Parliament forces ever heard of Mecklenburg.
Quote  
How about the overturning of accepted and established principles of constitutional understanding?  I am thinking of the Edict of Restitution and the attempt to destroy the equilibrium in the Empire.  Could there have been a correlation with Charles I's attitude and behavior before the civil wars?  Was he observing Continental political behavior on the assumption that it was the wave of the future? 
Difficult to know what was going on in Charles' mind. However he was already set on a collision course with Parliament before 1629 (and the Edict of Restitution didn't last that long anyway). I'm not aware that anywhere in the ground covered by the conflict (except the Netherlands) there was any conflict between a monarch and a body representing the people. The 30 Years War seems always to engage princes of various kinds in both sides.
Quote
 How about the effect in Britain (England and Scotland) of the return of large numbers of experienced officers and soldiers from their service in the European armies of the TYW.  They brought back not only military and technical expertise but attitudes and values somewhat formed by their experiences.
The example of Prince Rupert did spring to mind when I was writing earlier. I suppose it is possible that one way or another advances in military weaponry, tactics or strategy might have flowed from Europe into the English Civil War, but I'm not well up enough on things military (as opposed to naval) to comment.
Quote  
I think there was more effect than an English viewpoint might want to admit.  Wink  (kidding there.)


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 19-Apr-2009 at 16:12
I was thinking more on the lines of the regimental and company officers and their wealth of experience.  Not only military but in connection with civilian-army relations.  The officers of the New Model seem more Continental than English to me.
 
Don't forget Alexander Leslie (and all the other Leslies, and all the other Scots).  AND, the effect of the Continental experience of siege warfare in relation to the conduct of the ECWs.
 
Good points on the abjuration issue.  However, the political nation in 1618 Bohemia was not that much different than in 1618 England.  The landed interests and the burghers had some voice.  The masses were mute.  Just a thought for discussion.
 
 


Posted By: Klaus Fleming
Date Posted: 20-Apr-2009 at 20:33
I can't really get my head around the Bohemian Rebellion. What on earth did Thurn and his accomplices think when they threw Martiniz and Slavata out of the Hradcany Castle window? And when Emperor Matthias, at the instigation of Cardinal Khlesl, still offered amnesty to the rebels, they chose to burn their remaining bridges and attacked Pilsen. Did they really think that the Habsburgs were so weak that they would simply fold under pressure? Had the Bohemians completely forgot about Spain, the dominant power in the early seventeenth century? There seems to be no rational way of explaining the Bohemian Rebellion - my own guess is that the Bohemians were guided by some arcane notion of scriptural precedence, ie. that they believed themselves to be modern-day Israelites, waiting for God to part the oceans for them. Go figure.

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Quae ante pedes


Posted By: Tryskochvost
Date Posted: 20-Apr-2009 at 20:44
by the way, where do you think the war started? the sources are divorcing there

(now i don´t know, if I had written it rightDisapprove)


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"Toho bohda nebude, aby Cesky kral z boje utikal"(Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs from a fight!] John the Blind-king of Bohemia,in battle for Crecy


Posted By: Tryskochvost
Date Posted: 20-Apr-2009 at 20:48
oh, i had not noted the Klaus Fleming´s  Reply.
Because I am Bohemian, I will try to help: They believed in their allies-wife of Fridrich of Falc (Fridrich Falcký) the winter king, was from engleand, I guess. and afterall bohemia was richest country of Habsburg, o time, later...


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"Toho bohda nebude, aby Cesky kral z boje utikal"(Let it never be the case that a Bohemian king runs from a fight!] John the Blind-king of Bohemia,in battle for Crecy


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 20-Apr-2009 at 22:03
Originally posted by Klaus Fleming Klaus Fleming wrote:

I can't really get my head around the Bohemian Rebellion. What on earth did Thurn and his accomplices think when they threw Martiniz and Slavata out of the Hradcany Castle window? And when Emperor Matthias, at the instigation of Cardinal Khlesl, still offered amnesty to the rebels, they chose to burn their remaining bridges and attacked Pilsen. Did they really think that the Habsburgs were so weak that they would simply fold under pressure? Had the Bohemians completely forgot about Spain, the dominant power in the early seventeenth century? There seems to be no rational way of explaining the Bohemian Rebellion - my own guess is that the Bohemians were guided by some arcane notion of scriptural precedence, ie. that they believed themselves to be modern-day Israelites, waiting for God to part the oceans for them. Go figure.
 
Rational thinking and religion don't always go together.  The ethos of the 17th century included thinking that was different than the way we think about things now.  Religion mattered; it was real to far more people than it is now.  There was no rational explanation for the defenestration, and certainly no rational reason to declining an amnesty.  Politics failed in the circumstances of the time, and when that happens, people frequently start shooting at each other.
 
Some of the previous actions of Catholic authority seemed so threatening to Protestants that to fight seemed better than to give in.  So, yeah, go figure.
 
EDIT:  I am not that up on the economic issues in Bohemia/central Europe at this time.  There always seem to be bread and butter issues underlying many of these conflicts, and I wonder if someone here knows more about those in relation to the events 1618-1620.  The loss of their personal wealth and influence by the Bohemian nobility after 1620 does not seem to have been worth the risks they took.
 
    


Posted By: gcle2003
Date Posted: 21-Apr-2009 at 11:05
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

I was thinking more on the lines of the regimental and company officers and their wealth of experience.  Not only military but in connection with civilian-army relations.  The officers of the New Model seem more Continental than English to me.
I concede that a number of 30 Years War veterans played a part in the civil war, and influenced its tactics. The New Model Army was 'new' because it was fully professional and because member of the House of Lords (and the Commons) weren't allowed to serve in it. The latter bit doesn't - I think have any Continental equivalent - though t he fully professional might. On the other hand it might have been taking the prodessional Navy as its exemplar.
 
Don't forget the NMA was used to overthrow both the King and Parliament in the establishment of a pretty straightforward military dictatorship. 
Quote
Don't forget Alexander Leslie (and all the other Leslies, and all the other Scots).  AND, the effect of the Continental experience of siege warfare in relation to the conduct of the ECWs.
 
Good points on the abjuration issue.  However, the political nation in 1618 Bohemia was not that much different than in 1618 England.  The landed interests and the burghers had some voice.  The masses were mute.  Just a thought for discussion.
But no-one in the 30 Years War, apart from the Dutch, was trying to throw out a monarch and establish a republic. The 30 Years War was essentially a quarrel between monarchs and princes: it wasn't a revolution pitting an emerging bourgeoisie against an effectively feudal regime (or at least, a regime that was trying to be feudal).


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Citizen of Ankh-Morpork
Never believe anything until it has been officially denied - Sir Humphrey Appleby, 1984.


Posted By: Klaus Fleming
Date Posted: 22-Apr-2009 at 21:24
 
 
Some of the previous actions of Catholic authority seemed so threatening to Protestants that to fight seemed better than to give in.  So, yeah, go figure.
 
    
That Catholic action was of course the destruction of two Protestant churches that had been built on royal land. This episode goes very much into the heart of the problem: why did the Thirty Years War begin?
S.H. Steinberg argued that the war was a struggle for European hegemony between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. Polisensky was influenced by Marxism, and he saw the Thirty Years War as a conflict between the old feudal nobility and the emerging bourgeoisie.
However, both these historians took their eyes off the ball, which was, in my mind, the Holy Roman Empire.
 
The Empire was a supranational state, which was, at the time, suffering from administrative, legislative and judicial paralysis.
 
Let's go back to the year 1529, and the Reichstag at Speyer. Here the Lutheran deputies protested against the ban of Luther, because in their opinion matters of faith could not be decided by a majority vote in the Reichstag. This action gave rise to the term 'Protestant'.
 
Next let's visit Augsburg in 1555. Charles V grudginly acquiesces to the principle cuius regio, eius religio, which invests the Imperial Princes with the authority to decide religious matters within their own principalities. A caveat is included in the agreement, the Ecclesiastical Reservation. According to this reservation, any bishop or abbot who converts to Lutheranism forfeits his position to a Catholic administrator. Here is a major problem: Lutheran princes never recognise this reservation, as it clearly infringes matters of faith. They subsequently circumvent the reservation by having themselves elected as princely bishops, after which they simply secularise the bishoprics. Let us also note that Augsburg Peace only recognises Lutherans - Calvinists are not included in the cuius regio eius religio.
 
Obviously conflicts are going to emerge. How to deal with them? As an imperial decree had already banned feuding in the late 15th Century, litigation was the only way to solve conflicts. Two judicial bodies existed: the Reichskammergericht and the Reichshofrat. Problem: the former had ceased to exist in 1608 when its Catholic judges had marched out as a protest to the appointment of a Lutheran peer; the latter on the other hand was hopelessly biased, as it judges were all appointees of the Emperor himself - Habsburg sycophants really. No-one in the Empire has any faith in the sole surviving judicial court that only serves as a Habsburg rubber stamp.
 
So can we legislate ourselves out of the approaching confessional conflict? You wish. The Reichstag was hopelessly divided and unable to decide on any issue. The real power was held by the House of Electors, who, as the most powerful princes in the Empire, were only concerned in their own well-being. The electors were also equally divided into Catholic and Protestant camps. And what's worse, two of them, Frederick V of Palatinate and George William of Brandenburg were Calvinists, and therefore outside the Peace of Augsburg. The larger House of Imperial Princes was predominantly Catholic, but still divided to no end. Some princes had one vote, some had many. Many principalities were also internally divided into competing factions. It was unclear who exactly had the authority to cast votes in the Reichstag, and even when such clarity could be reached, many princes did not regard themselves to be bound by decisions that did not please them. The Reichstag was as paralysed as the Polish Sejm was under the Liberum Veto of its noble deputies.
 
The situation in Bohemia was no less muddled. Rudolf II had granted the Bohemian Protestants the Letter of Majesty, which gave them the right to erect Protestant churches on royal domain. By tradition such domains were regarded as inalienable. This, however, was a tradition, not a decree written down anywhere. Consequently Emperor Matthias felt it his right to alienate royal land to the Catholic church. It was on such alienated land that the Bohemian Protestants decided to built the two churches, which were subsequently torn down by the ruling bishop. A conflict had arisen, but there was no opportunity for litigation, as the Bohemians had absolutely no confidence in the pig circus that was the Reichshofrat.
 
Violence ensued, and the rest is history.
 
This presentation does not of course explain why the war escalated into a Europe-wide conflict that lasted for thirty years.


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Quae ante pedes


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 19:44
Klaus,
 
I was thinking more of the 1608 Bavarian occupation of Donauworth, and the sequestration of it's status as a free city.  As stated above such acts were violations of the laws of the Empire, and bad faith, in violation of the Peace of Augsburg....Religio-Power politics.
 
The Protestants of Germany didn't see it on the 6:00 PM news, but pamphlets and broadsheets got the word around quickly enough.  If the Bohemian Protestant nobles expected or at least feared similar loss of rights and "liberties," ten years later, it is probable that it was already too late for compromise.  Very, very often, when politics fails, violence does ensue.
 
It was something of a "revolutionary" time, in terms of state formation.  The idea of reason of state was becoming fashionable, and opportunities for extending power and authority began to override previously accepted legalistic niceties. 
 
The major players used fractured Germany as a game board to fight their wars of interest by proxy.  At that time, the Turkish threat seemed to have completely receded, so there was no unifying idea in Christendom.  Religion only goes so far anyway, even though it was important to so many people in the 17th century, and it was more often an excuse for military action to gain other objectives.
 
    


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 23-Apr-2009 at 23:28
Speaking of a) using religion as an excuse, b) gaining a vital objective and c) being a major player in the TYW, let's take the case of Sweden.
 
Gustav II Adolf has been seen as a champion of Protestant, or at least Lutheran Germany in the conflict with the Catholic powers (Austrian Habsburgs and Bavaria).  The way I have seen the Swedish involvement in the war was as an opportunity to contest the Habsburg attempt to gain access to the Baltic.  This would have made the Habsburgs the arbiter of north Germany due to the economic importance of the Baltic trade, and also of it's naval stores.
 
Once the Catholic Powers were arrested in the Baltic, Sweden could secure military control of the most vital ports along the Baltic littoral east of Lubeck (Stralsund, Wismar, Wolgast and Rostock), establish a defensive bastion up the important rivers bringing trade to the Baltic, and...become the arbiter of north Germany, etc. Smile
 
Despite the death of the king, despite all sorts of complications and setbacks (Nordlingen), that is essentially what the result was of Sweden's involvement in the war.  The importance of Sweden as a power - the premier power - in this critical economic geography for the next eight decades is a remarkable story for an underpopulated, poor country.
 
The history of the war after Breitenfeld (1631) takes an interesting turn as Gustav Adolf and the adversaries of the Imperialists range out from this north German "bastion" and advance into Bavaria and the Rhineland.
 
Any thoughts as to what was in the mind of the King of Sweden?  Were there political objectives in Germany other than to gain control of the Baltic?
 
All you Swedes and Latvians and Estonians please let us hear it.
 
 
 
 


Posted By: Byzantine Emperor
Date Posted: 30-Apr-2009 at 20:53
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

The major players used fractured Germany as a game board to fight their wars of interest by proxy.  At that time, the Turkish threat seemed to have completely receded, so there was no unifying idea in Christendom.  Religion only goes so far anyway, even though it was important to so many people in the 17th century, and it was more often an excuse for military action to gain other objectives.
 
One wonders how the geopolitical situation might have turned out had the Ottomans continued the policy of subterfuge and back-door diplomacy that sultans such as Selim II and Mehmed III initiated with Protestant factions in Transylvania, Moldavia, and eastern Habsburg territories. 
 
It never amounted to much, but it was probably considered a threat by the Habsburgs at the time, similarly to what the Ottomans thought of Jesuit activities in Constantinople and the vicinities.
 
Originally posted by pikeshot1600 pikeshot1600 wrote:

This would have made the Habsburgs the arbiter of north Germany due to the economic importance of the Baltic trade, and also of it's naval stores...
The history of the war after Breitenfeld (1631) takes an interesting turn as Gustav Adolf and the adversaries of the Imperialists range out from this north German "bastion" and advance into Bavaria and the Rhineland.
 
I am asking this more out of ingorance than anything.  How unified, politically speaking, were the Habsburgs at this time?  Who do you mean by "Imperialists?"  I have thought of the Habsburgs as being more of a huge family bound by bonds of kinship and blood than real political unity.
 


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http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=12713 - Late Byzantine Military
http://www.allempires.net/forum_posts.asp?TID=17337 - Ottoman perceptions of the Americas


Posted By: pikeshot1600
Date Posted: 01-May-2009 at 01:08
B.E.,
 
Sometimes terminology = jargon.  "Imperialists" at this time I understand to be the Austrian Habsburgs and their reluctant clients, Bavaria (Maximillian) and some of the prince-bishops of the Empire, several of whom were related to the Bavarian Wittelsbachs.
 
I think they were unified as long as their military forces were victorious - as was true from 1620 to 1631, during which they really did not lose a battle to the Protestant forces.  On the other hand, they could not deliver the knockout punch that was a decisive victory over Palatine, Danish or Swedish armies either.
 
Catholic interests and Habsburg family solidarity held up well enough the 1620s, again, as long as the armies were successful.  The period 1631 (Breitenfeld) through (1634) Nordlingen, while a period of uncertainty, essentially transformed all that solidarity into TWO sets of Habsburg interests. 
 
Central Europe was becoming utterly exhausted - agrarian devastation meant minimal revenue for the Imperial institutions - and the Emperor came to an accomodation with the "princes of the Empire" - Saxony, Brandenburg, etc.  Unfortunately, that did not accomodate Sweden's new German interests, and France, and the United Netherlands, were subsidizing Swedish war activities and helping to pay most of their German soldiers.  France was waging a proxy war against Habsburg (primarily Spanish) interests.
 
It became apparent that France was not going to stand by and allow the Habsburgs to consolidate additional power and influence uncontested.  France had already made gains against Spain since 1601 (Treaty of Lyon), and after the disaster at Nordlingen (1634), as Protestant anti-Habsburg forces started to wane in central Europe - all of them as devastated as the Imperialists - France entered the war, against Spain, on a diplomatic pretext in 1635.
 
Not that it was obvious at some date in 1635, but this year marks the divergence of Spanish Habsburg and Austrian Habsburg vital interests.  From about that year, the two had more important interests than supporting each other unconditionally. 
 
The Spanish had ongoing wars with the Dutch and France close to Spanish territory in Flanders-Luxembourg, as well as keeping France at arm's length from Italy and Spain itself.  The Austrians had to mollify the German princes and also fend off Sweden's increasing encroachment on German Imperial affairs.  Spain was unable to do as much for the Emperor as she had in the previous decade.
 
Political unity tends to last only as long as unity serves the purposes of all parties to the union.  Smile
 
(IIRC, the Turks were engaged by Persia at this time.  They were not much of a factor in central Europe for another 50 years.)
 
       



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