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Ottoman Sultan Mahmud IV's Declaration of War on Emperor Leopold I, signed at Adrianople [Edirne] (February 20, 1683)

This ominous statement accompanied the resurgence of war between the Ottoman Empire and Habsburg Austria. The sultan’s threat-laden declaration shows that religious and political questions were inseparable in the Turkish-Austrian rivalry.

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The Great Turks Declaration of War against the Emperour of Germany (At his Pallace at Adrinople, February 20, 1683)

Mahomet Son of Emperours, Son to the famous and glorious God, Emperour of the Turks, King of Graecia, Macedonia, Samaria, and the Holy-land, King of Great and Lesser Egypt, King of all the Inhabitants of the Earth, and of the Earthly Paradise, Obedient Prince and Son of Mahomet, Preserver of the Towns of Hungaria, Possessour of the Sepulcher of your God, Lord of all the Emperours of the World, from the rising of the Sun to the going down thereof, King of all Kings, Lord of the Tree of Life, Conquerour of Melonjen, Itegly, and the City Prolenix, Great Pursuer of the Christians, Joy of the flourishing World, Commander and Guardian of the Crucified God, Lord of the Multitude of Heathens.

We Command you to greet the Emperour Leopold (in case he desire it) and you are our Friends, and a Friend to our Majesty, whose Power we will extend very far.) Thus,

You have for some time past acted to our prejudice, and violated our Frendship, although we have not offended you, neither by War, or any otherwise; but you have taken private advice with other Kings, and your Council’s how to take off your Yoke, in which you have acted very Indiscreetly, and thereby have exposed your People to fear and danger, having nothing to expect but Death, which you have brought upon your selves. For I declare unto you, I will make my self your Master, pursue you from East to West, and extend my Majesty to the end of the Earth; in all which you shall find my Power to your great prejudice. I assure you that you shall feel the weight of my Power; and for that you have put your hope and expectation in the strength of some Towns and Castles, I have given command to overthrow them, and to trample under feet with my Horses, all that is acceptable and pleasant in your Eyes, leaving nothing hereafter by which you shall make a friendship with me, or any fortified places to put your trust in: For I have resolved without retarding of time, to ruin both you and your People, to take the German Empire according to my pleasure, and to leave in the Empire a Commemoration of my dreadful Sword, that it may appear to all, it will be a pleasure to me, to give a publick establishment of my Religion, and to pursue your Crucified God, whose Wrath I fear not, nor his coming to your Assistance, to deliver you out of my hands. I will according to my pleasure put your Sacred Priests to the Plough, and expose the Brests of your Matrons to be Suckt by Dogs and other Beasts.

You will therefore do well to forsake your Religion, or else I will give Order to Consume you with Fire. This is enough said unto you, and to give you to understand what I would have, in case you have a mind to know it.

Source of English text: “The Great Turks Declaration of War against the Emperour of Germany (At his Pallace at Adrinople, February 20, 1683).” London: Printed by G. C. for John Mumford, 1683.

Reprinted in C.A. Macartney, ed., The Habsburg and Hohenzollern Dynasties in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, in Documentary History of Western Civilization. New York, Evanston, and London: Harper & Row, 1970, pp. 57-58. Introduction, editorial notes, chronology, translations by the editor; and compilation copyright © 1970 by C.A. Macartney. Used by permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

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