Johannes Cuspinian (Spießhaymer), Call to Arms against the Ottoman Empire (1526)


This 1526 call to arms by the diplomat and scholar Johannes Cuspinian (actually: Spießhaymer) was directed at Emperor Charles V (1500–1558) and the later Ferdinand I (1503–1564). Spießhaymer urged the “German nation” to overcome internal squabbles and to protect Christendom by standing united against the Ottoman Empire. National attributions and appeals to the “German nation” were especially common in situations of crisis and war. At the same time, “German” was often used synonymously with “Christian,” and religious demarcations played a central role in the war against the Ottoman Empire. A translation of the title page text follows underneath the image. 


Translation of Title Page

Hortatory discourse by Johannes Cuspinian, to the princes and leaders of the Holy Roman Empire, enjoining them to wage war against the Turk, complete with a description of the conflict that recently took place in Hungary, and in which Louis, King of Hungary, perished.

And [telling] in which way Suleiman the Turk made his way even to Buda, from Belgrade; with a clear enumeration of the gifts with which Hungary is by nature endowed; and with the addition of many other things most worthy of notice.

Read, reader, and decide for yourself into what misery Christianity been thrown in our days.


Translation from the original Latin into English: Juan Acevedo

Source: Title page: Johannes Cuspinianus, Oratio protreptica ... ad ... principes et proceres, ut bellum suscipiant contra Turcum, cum descriptione conflictus, quo periit rex Hungariae Ludovicus …, 1526. Available online at:

Hungarian Electronic Library (MEK)

Markus Friedrich, “‘Türken’ im Alten Reich. Anmerkungen zur Präsenz und zu den Lebensumständen von ‘Heiden’ und ‘Ungläubigen’ in Mitteleuropa,” Historische Zeitschrift 294 (2012), pp. 329–60.

Winfried Schulze, Reich und Türkengefahr im späten 16. Jahrhundert. Studien zu den politischen und gesellschaftlichen Auswirkungen einer äußeren Bedrohung. Munich: C. H. Beck, 1978.

Johannes Cuspinian (Spießhaymer), Call to Arms against the Ottoman Empire (1526), published in: German History Intersections, <> [November 30, 2023].