The New International Encyclopædia/Zrinyi, Miklós

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ZRINYI, zrē'nyḗ, Miklós (Nicholas), Count (1508-66). A famous Hungarian general, descended from the old Slavic family of Subič who, in 1347, had adopted the name of Zrinyi from Castle Zrin in Croatia. He distinguished himself at the siege of Vienna (1529) and afterwards in the campaigns against John Zápolya and Sultan Solyman. Since 1542 governor of Croatia and Slavonia, he successfully defended that territory against the Turks for many years, and in 1503 was appointed commander-in-chief of the royal forces on the right bank of the Danube and commandant of Sziget. When Solyman, at the head of an army of 65,000 men, attacked that fortress in 1566, Zrinyi ordered a most stubborn resistance. Although his garrison consisted of only 2500 troops, he managed to hold his own from August 6th till September 7th. Neither the Sultan's promise to make him Governor of the whole of Illyria and hereditary possessor of Bosnia, nor the threat to kill his only son George, whom Solyman pretended to hold as a prisoner, could induce him to surrender. On September 5th the Turks succeeded in setting fire to the outer castle, whereupon Zrinyi took refuge in the inner castle, and when this also was fired on the 7th, met his death fighting heroically at the head of his force now reduced to 600. More than 20,000 Turks had been killed during the siege, and Sultan Solyman died on September 4th in a paroxysm of rage at the terrible repulses he encountered. The tragic end of Zrinyi was graphically described by his great-grandson Miklós (1616-64) in the epic Szigeti veszedelem (The Fall of Sziget, 1651). The catastrophe was also repeatedly made the subject of dramatic productions, notably by Theodor Körner.