September 12, 2005

Gratuitous Historickal Posting (TM)


Today is the anniversary (in 1683) of the Battle of Vienna, the highwater mark of the Ottoman Turkish invasion of Europe. The city itself had been besieged by the Turk since July of that year and was near to giving in. During that time a coaltion of European forces hastily assembled to rush to its aid. The battle was capped by a genuine heavy cavalry charge led by the Polish King Jan Sobieski that caught the Turks by suprise and caused them to retreat in panic.

This battle is seen as the turning point in the Turkish attempt to conquer Europe. Although there was more fighting to come, the tide from this date flowed east, not west, and the Turks were eventually pushed back across the Danube.

(Alas, the old story that the croissant was invented by Viennese bakers in honor of the victory appears to be a myth.)

Posted by Robert at September 12, 2005 12:52 PM | TrackBack

Hmmm. I read the story about the invention of the croissant as a celebration of the Battle of Vienna in Stewart Lee Allen's The Devil's Cup: Coffee, the Driving Force in History, a book so entertaining it kept me up all night (heh, heh). He heard the story when he was in Vienna, tracing the spread of coffee into Europe. That doesn't make it true, but I like to think it's still an open question.

And seriously, I really recommend that book.

Posted by: utron at September 12, 2005 04:26 PM

Thanks for reminding me of that book! It didn't come out all that long ago, did it? I seem to remember reading a review and thinking, "I ought to get that."

Off to Amazon.....

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 12, 2005 04:30 PM

Update: It is done.

Co-incidentally, I often refer to Amazon as "The Devil's Bookshop" because it makes temptation so easy to give in to.

Posted by: Robbo the LB at September 12, 2005 04:35 PM

Okey-dokey, then. No question, Amazon is the bane of impulse bookbuyers. I just hope you like it, Robbo. Of course, I notice the customers at Amazon all enjoyed it, so if you don't I plan to blame your own stubborn freethinking versus my mindless tendency to follow the herd.

Posted by: utron at September 12, 2005 04:48 PM

The Battle of Vienna also spawned a story on the creation of the bagel though that likewise appears to be false:

"...It's believed that bagels were invented by a Jewish baker in Vienna in 1683. To thank King John III Sobieski of Poland for saving the city from Turkish invaders, the anonymous baker crafted a hard roll in the shape of a riding stirrup, in honor of the king's favorite hobby. The bread's original name was 'bugel,' from the German for stirrup." It's high time that that piece of fakelore be laid to rest. The earliest known use of the Yiddish word "beygl" is in the communal rules that the leaders of the Jewish community of Cracow promulgated in 1610. The rules stipulate that bagels are among the gifts which may be given to women in childbirth and to midwives. The word was thus being used at least 73 years before John III Sobieski defeated the Turks. The bagel, in fact, is even older. When a word or expression is new or thought to be little known, it is often defined... yet the communal rules of 1610 contain no definition or explanation. Hence it is clear that the word beygl was well established in Cracow Yiddish of the early 17th century. Indeed, since those rules allude to earlier communal rules about bagels, we may be certain that this bread is even older. We do not know when and where the bagel was invented nor whether its inventor was a Jew or a German. Contrary to popular opinion, Yiddish beygl is not derived from German bugel, although the two words are distant cousins."
---"A Bagel Brief: Rolling Back the Lineage," The New York Times May 7, 1993, Section A; Page 30; Column 4; Editorial Desk

Posted by: Bob at September 15, 2005 05:02 PM

It was said that the popular CROSANT was made to poke fun at the turks who used the cressant as their logo they made it to be able to eat the cressant YUM YUM

Posted by: spurwing plover at September 17, 2005 09:58 AM