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The Ransom Of Ali Bey Of Koppány. The Impact Of Capturing Slaves On Trade In Ottoman Hungary

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Chapter Summary

The Hungarian soldiers of the border fortresses Veszprém and Várpalota, were favoured by fortune of arms in the autumn of 1583: in a clash they managed to capture Ali, the belligerent governor (sancakbeyi) of the neighbouring Ottoman district (sancak) seated in the border fortress of Koppány. Ali bey had caused a lot of trouble to the soldiers of the Hungarian fortresses since his arrival in Koppány: he had several times looted those areas around Lake Balaton that had not surrendered to the Ottomans yet. The continuation of Ali bey’s story, the description of the procrastination of his discharge by both states deserves a separate study because from the surviving exchange of letters a more detailed picture can be drawn about the mechanism of two systems of custom – the forms of exacting ransom and the practice of using guarantors –, which also makes it possible to clarify some common misconceptions.

Keywords: Ali bey; Hungarian fortresses; Hungarian soldiers; Koppány; Ottoman district; ransom; Várpalota; Veszprém



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