September 12, 2006

Gratuitous Historikal Posting, September 12th Edition

(Note: this is a ClassicRobbo[TM] posting from September 12th 2005. Fans of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle volume 1 Quicksilver will remember that this was the even in which Half-Cocked Jack Shaftoe, King of the Vagabonds, and erstwhile soldier rescues the fair Eliza from the clutches of the harem. Jack Shaftoe is by far my most favorite fictional character in all media.)

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 Steve-O at September 12, 2006 09:12 AM | TrackBack