FIGHTING IN HUNGARY
Smith being thus “refurnished,” made the tour of Italy, satisfied himself with the rarities of Rome, where he saw Pope Clement the Eighth and many cardinals creep up the holy stairs, and with the fair city of Naples and the kingdom’s nobility; and passing through the north he came into Styria, to the Court of Archduke Ferdinand; and, introduced by an Englishman and an Irish Jesuit to the notice of Baron Kisell, general of artillery, he obtained employment, and went to Vienna with Colonel Voldo, Earl of Meldritch, with whose regiment he was to serve.
He was now on the threshold of his long-desired campaign against the Turks. The arrival on the scene of this young man, who was scarcely out of his teens, was a shadow of disaster to the Turks. They had been carrying all before them. Rudolph II., Emperor of Germany, was a weak and irresolute character, and no match for the enterprising Sultan, Mahomet III., who was then conducting the invasion of Europe. The Emperor’s brother, the Archduke Mathias, who was to succeed him, and Ferdinand, Duke of Styria, also to become Emperor of Germany, were much abler men, and maintained a good front against the Moslems in Lower Hungary, but the Turks all the time steadily advanced. They had long occupied Buda (Pesth), and had been in possession of the stronghold of Alba Regalis for some sixty years. Before Smith’s advent they had captured the important city of Caniza, and just as he reached the ground they had besieged the town of Olumpagh, with two thousand men. But the addition to the armies of Germany, France, Styria, and Hungary of John Smith, “this English gentleman,” as he styles himself, put a new face on the war, and proved the ruin of the Turkish cause. The Bashaw of Buda was soon to feel the effect of this re-enforcement.
Caniza is a town in Lower Hungary, north of the River Drave, and just west of the Platen Sea, or Lake Balatin, as it is also called. Due north of Caniza a few miles, on a bend of the little River Raab (which empties into the Danube), and south of the town of Kerment, lay Smith’s town of Olumpagh, which we are able to identify on a map of the period as Olimacum or Oberlymback. In this strong town the Turks had shut up the garrison under command of Governor Ebersbraught so closely that it was without intelligence or hope of succor.