Sigismund of Luxemburg and the Imperial Response to the Ottoman Turkish Threat, c. 1410-1437

Mark Whelan

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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While much has been written on Sigismund of Luxemburg’s response to the Ottoman threat, one aspect has almost been entirely overlooked; his use of the Reich to counter the Turkish danger after his election as King of the Romans in 1410. The central point of this thesis is to consider how Sigismund drew upon and used the newfound status and resources that came with holding the Imperial office in order to support his struggle against the Ottomans.
With the exception of the first chapter, this thesis is structured on a thematic basis. Chapter 1 provides the historical background required in order to contextualise Sigismund’s response to the Ottoman Turkish threat. By drawing upon a range of unpublished archival material, it also seeks to bring new perspectives to the nature of the Turkish threat which he faced and how he conceived of his struggle against the Ottomans. Chapter 2 highlights Sigismund’s use of the ‘status’ that came with Roman King in order to heighten awareness of the Turkish threat throughout Christendom. It does so through examining his letter writing, courtly ceremony and orations. Whereas chapter 2 underlines the more abstract ideological and cultural resources which Sigismund could draw upon as Roman King, the next three chapters explore how he attempted to draw upon concrete military resources. Chapter 3 explores how Sigismund drew upon naval and riverine expertise from his subjects as Roman King in order to support his warfare against the Ottoman Turks on the waters of the Danube. Chapter 4 focuses on the fortification of Sigismund’s frontier with the Turks, and the manners in which he sourced expertise and resources from his subjects in the Reich in support of this. Lastly, chapter 5 underlines how Sigismund drew upon the logistical and fiscal knowledge present in the Reich in order to support his campaigns and diplomatic manoeuvres against the Ottomans.
In contrast to current arguments, this thesis argues throughout that Sigismund’s Roman Kingship enhanced his ability to resist the Ottomans rather than hinder it, and enabled him to draw upon concrete military, political and economic in support of his struggle.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
Award date1 Oct 2014
Publication statusUnpublished - 2014

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