Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/373

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All through these years the achievements in arms of the kingdom, if not of the King, were by no means altogether unsatisfactory. In the early years of Wladislav's reign, the old hero Paul Kinizsi still continued to inflict heavy losses on the ever aggressive Turk; and John Zapolyai, too, earned some military glory. Ujlaky's rebellion was put down by the King's general Dragfy in 1495. The internal dissensions, however, were sapping the very foundation of the kingdom; and in 1514 Hungary was afflicted with one of the terrible peasant revolts then not infrequent in Austria and Germany, which invariably led to the most inhuman as well as illegal treatment of the defeated peasants. A crusade against the infidel Turk, announced by Bakdcz as legate of the Pope, gave rise to vast gatherings of peasants and other poor people who, on finding that the nobles refrained from joining them, took umbrage at this refusal, and speedily turned their pikes on the nobility as their oppressors. A large number of noble families were cruelly and infamously murdered by the Hungarian Jacquerie led by George Udzsa. The untrained masses of the insurgents, however, fell an easy prey to John Zapolyars soldiers. Ddzsa was roasted alive, and the peasants were by a special statute degraded to everlasting serfdom.

After the death of Wladislav II (March, 1516) his son, a boy of ten years, became King, under the name of Louis II. He had been brought up under the baneful influence of his cousin Margrave George of Brandenburg (Prince of Jagerndorf), and knew only of untrammelled indulgence in pleasures and pastimes. Under such conditions there was no vigorous reform to be expected, and the new Sultan, Sulayman the Magnificent, occupied in 1521 the important border-fortresses of Szabacs and Nandorfehervar (Belgrade), after their Hungarian garrisons had exhausted every effort of the most exalted heroism. However, even the loss of these places, the two keys to Hungary, failed to produce a sensible change in the indolence and factiousness of the people. In vain was Verbckzy,—an able and truly patriotic statesman,—made Palatine in 1525; in vain good laws were passed to meet the imminent danger at the hands of the victorious Sultan. The disaster of Mohdcs, August 29, 1526, described in an earlier chapter of this volume, showed but too clearly that the Sultan's destructive plans were prompted and aided rather by the fatal disorganisation of Hungary than by the number and valour of his troops. The Jagellos ceased to exist, and at the same time an integral portion of Hungary, soon to be increased to one-third of the whole country, fell into the hands of the Turk. Other nations before this had suffered their Cannae, Hastings, or Agnadello; but either the victor was equal if not superior in degree of civilisation to the vanquished, or the latter afterwards found means at home or abroad to shake off the torpor of defeat. Hungary, with the exception of Transylvania, was after Mohacs not only defeated but paralysed; and for three centuries she could not resume her historical mission,