Kingdom of Hungary Late Medieval

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1458 Jan 1

Black Army of Hungary

Hungary

The Black Army is a common name given to the military forces serving under the reign of King Matthias Corvinus of Hungary. The ancestor and core of this early standing mercenary army appeared in the era of his father John Hunyadi in the early 1440s. The idea of the professional standing mercenary army came from Matthias' juvenile readings about the life of Julius Caesar.


Hungary's Black Army traditionally encompasses the years from 1458 to 1494. The mercenary soldiers of other countries in the era were conscripted from the general population at times of crisis, and soldiers worked as bakers, farmers, brick-makers, etc. for most of the year. In contrast, the men of the Black Army fought as well-paid, full-time mercenaries and were purely devoted to the arts of warfare. It was a standing mercenary army that conquered large parts of Austria (including the capital Vienna in 1485) and more than half of the Crown of Bohemia (Moravia, Silesia and both Lusatias), the other important victory of the army was won against the Ottomans at the Battle of Breadfield in 1479.


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