Peasant revolt in the city Brezice in 1515

Dürer Albrecht,1513


  • Country Slovenia
  • Province: Styria
  • Municipality: Brezice
  • City: Brezice
  • Coordinate: 45.90158, 15.59264 

Description of the conflict

In 1515, a peasant revolt began to spread throughout the Carniola region. To curb this, they ask for the help of Captain Marko from Klis “Marcus von Clis”, the commander of the Uskok army. He went to the Croatian ban to join forces against the rebels. After successful negotiations, Marko returned. At this time, however, the emperor’s order for a truce came. Therefore, the Carniolan governor and viceroy again sent the knight Marko to the Croatian ban with a message about the emperor’s truce, so that the ban would not attack the rebels. Marko, however, used this second trip to bargain with Croatian nobles. With his company, he raided the Brežiška villages from the direction of Brestanica, where he was joined by several Croatian nobles, they captured around 500 women and children, and forcibly took them to Primorje “in mare”, where they were sold as slaves. After returning from Primorje, Marko had to report to Brežice for some unknown reason. Due to the fortified town with a strong local garrison, the proximity of the castle, his troops, and, if necessary, the help of Croatian nobles, Marko went to Brežice with his brother Štefan, ten Croatian nobles, and fifty servants. Because of all the injustices, crowds of angry farmers immediately rushed into the city, shouting “Leuhkup, leuhkup uvoga gmajna”. Unfortunately for the imperial centurion, the townspeople were sympathetic to the farmers, as they traded a lot, cooperated, and even befriended the farmers. When Marko sees that he has fallen into a trap and the townspeople are not preventing the peasants from entering the town, he attacks the townspeople in a rage and starts burning the town with his privileges. Meanwhile, he and his horsemen retreat to the old castle of Brežice. (it is not known whether he struck the peasants with his horses and fought his way to the castle or whether he used the city ford, which was still under his control). In two days, around nine thousand farmers gathered around the town and the castle (many of them were also from Laško and the surrounding area), who immediately surrounded the castle (also with fords on the Sava) and began the attack. Marko had no chance to send for reinforcements, as the rebel army was too strong and the Croatian nobility preferred to prepare to fight for their possessions. Ludvik Reinecker was the castellan at the castle at that moment, who probably had with him a porter, a few guards, and a few servants. Together with the Croatian nobles and servants, the army at the castle now numbered around 70 soldiers. The peasants began to undermine the walls of the castle with the intention that it would collapse under its weight. Marko sees what is happening and decides that he will try to get out of the castle to freedom with the six horsemen or die an honorable death. The long spears and halberds of the peasants prevent a quick escape, and when Marko is on the bridge with the horsemen, they cut him down and set him on fire. The bridge collapses into the defensive ditch and pulls the horsemen down with it. The peasants seize the opportunity and beat the knights mercilessly. Mark and his henchmen are beheaded and put on bicycles in triumph. A little later, part of the castle wall collapses and a crowd of peasants breaks into the castle. After a brutal fight, none of the defenders were left alive, and the decapitated bodies were thrown over the wall into a ditch and left unburied. They loot the Brežice castle, where they find 375 guilders that Marko carried with him (probably from the sale of farmers’ wives and children), as well as many other valuables and weapons, and at the very end, they also burn the castle.









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