The Multicultural Battle of Vienna in 1683

«So the Battle of Vienna wasn’t a war between the cross and the crescent. It was not a clash of civilisations, a mighty Christian victory over Islam. Rather, Sunni Muslim Tatars were vital in helping the Catholic Polish king on the one side – just as Lutheran Hungarians were allied with the Sunni Muslim Sultan on the other. The year 1683, in the end, was just another year of battles over power and influence between the great states of Europe. Loyalties crossed all borders of faith and ethnicity.»

By Dag Herbjørnsrud, historian of ideas. New essay in the renowned magazine Aeon: «The Real Battle of Vienna«.


PICTURE (AEON): A man prays in Poland’s oldest mosque in the village of Kruszyniany. The village was given to the Muslim Lipka Tatars by King John III Sobieski of Poland in recognition of their help in defending the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. At the Battle of Vienna in 1683, the Sunni Muslim colonel Samuel Mirza Krzeczowski saved the life of Sobieski during the fight against the Ottoman army. Photo by Mark Power/Magnum