The Jacks represent the German Elector, omitting those of the ecclesiastical Electorates and the Electorship of Bohemia. Hearts - Elector Maximilian II Emanuel of Bavaria, Spades - Elector Johann Georg of Saxony, Grape - Elector Friedrich Wilhelm of Brandenburg, Pomegranate - Elector Karl of the Palatinate.
On January 26th 1683 Leopold and Maximilian II Emanuel had concluded a defensive alliance, by the terms of which the Bavarian Elector undertook to supply some 8,000 troops if the border was threatened. In the event the Bavarian contingent was reinforced by 1,000 men from Salzburg. Saxony provided another 9,000, and Franconia and Swabia sent the same number. With the 21,000 soldiers of the Imperial army, the Polish forces of the same strenght and several smaller contingents, the relieving army must have numbered over 70,000.
Brandenburg did not follow the example of Bavaria and Saxony. Elector Friedrich Wilhelm was more interested in Swedish possessions in North Germany.
The inclusion of the Elector of the Palatinate in the set of playing cards ia an error on the part of the artist. The man who actually led a battalion of troops from the Palatinate into battle in 1683 was Philipp Wilhelm of the House of Pfalz-Neuburg, who did not succeed to the Electorship of the Palatinate until two years later.
The theme linking the 10`s cannot be fully ascertained because the Grape card is missing, It is possible to reconstruct with some plausibility the illustration of the 10 Grape card, it probably depicted an allegorical figure with the Venetian coat of arms. Hearts - the Kingdom of Hungary, Spades - the Kingdom of Bohemia, Grape - Missing (Venice), Pomergranate - Holland.
The Kingdom of Hungary was the focal point of the events which led up to the war of 1683. Constantinople`s demand that a number of border fortresses be surrendered in return for a prolongation of the peace together with the repeated Habsburg claim to the Kingdom were the immediate causes of the Turkish campaign.
The disputed claims of both Empires to Hungary went back to 1526, when Ludwig II, King of Hungary and Bohemia, lost his life against the Turks. His successor was a Habsburg, who ascended the Bohemian throne in the same year. But after fresh Turkish incursions into Hungary in 1529, the Habsburgs controlled only the western half of the country.
The 9`s depict four of the military commanders in the allied army. Hearts - the Duke of Lorraine, Spades - the Prince of Waldeck, Grape - the Prince of Bayreuth, Pomergranate - General Dunewald.
Duke Karl of Lorraine was entrusted by Leopold with the overall command of the army in 1683. By a series of judicious tactical moves in thearea around Vienna he laid the groundwork for the final battle which lifted the siege, although the Polish King assumed supreme command of the allied forces during that battle.
Georg Friedrich Prince of Waldeck was rewarded for his successes on the diplomatic front by being given responsibility for drawing up the allied army. During the battle for Vienna he commanded the centre. General Johann Heinrich Count Dunewald enjoyed a reputation as one of the best commanders in the Imperial army. In the final battle to lift the siege he was in charge of the right flank, under Waldeck, while the left flank was commanded by the Franconian General Christian Ernst Margrave of Bayreuth.
The 8`s comprise three eastern European territories incorporated in the Ottoman Empire, and Switzerland, which was not in any way involvbed in the Turkish war and thus needs no Further explanation. Hearts - Abbafi in Transylvania, Spades - Cossacks, Grape - Moldavians and Wallachians, Pomergranate - Switzerland.
Wallachia, Moldavia and Transylvania were principalities which had acquired a considerable degree of autonomy despite being incorporated in the Ottoman Empire. As vassal states they duly sent contingents of troops to join the Turkish army, although these were employed primarily in bridge building.
There is no firm evidence to prove that Cossacks took part in the battle for Vienna, although they were inevitably drawn into virtually every conflict between their neighbours -the Mongolians,Poles,Russians and Turks.
The 7`s portray the siege of Vienna itself, with the city and the Turkish camp depicted on the Spade card. Hearts - Ernst Rudiger Count von Starhemberg, Spades the City of Vienna (Mayor Johann Anders von Liebenberg), Grape - Grand Vesir Kara Mustapha, Pomegranate - Emmerich Count Thokoly.
What Lotheringen as commander-in-chief of the army achieved outside the city, Count Starhemberg equalled within the walls of vienna. As commander of the defending forces he supervised the strengthening and manning of the ramparts and did much to raise the morale of the city`s inhabitants.
Kara Mustaphas Pasha was appointed Grand Vesir in 1676 and sought to surmount the internal problems of the Ottoman Empire by waging successful military campaigns abroad. He is reported to have fought courageously during the battle, but after his defeat he was dismissed by the Sultan and strangled in December of the same year.
The Hungarian Count Emmerich Thokoly, who commanded a contingent of rebel soldiers, contributed significantly to detemining the course of events in 1683 as much by what he failed to do as by anything he did. Although nominally offering his support to the Turks, he also negotiated with the Habsburg court to keep his options open. In battle he consistently withdrew before engaging the enemy, and at decisive moments, when the Turkish forces relied on his arrival, he failed to appear.
The 6`s illustrate typical representations of the four estates of 17th century society. Hearts - Priest (the clergy), Spades - nobleman (the aristocracy), Grape - burgher (the middle class0, Pomegranate - farmer (the peasantry).
A clearly differentiated hierarchial order was a feature of social attitudes in past centuries, reflected here in the sequence of the card suits. The foremost position -Hearts- is allotted to the clergy which enjoyed immense influence not only as a landowner but also as an indispensable element in court life in the subtle power politics of 17th century Europe.
The nobility did not constitute a homogeneous group but comprised several strata : the landed gentry, the hereditary aristocracy and those who had been ennobled for services rendered to the Imperial household.
With the emergence of Vienna as the sole residence of the Habsburgs in the 17th century, far-reaching changes took place in the social order of urban life, as the middle class citizens were forced to move to the outlying suburbs by the up-and-coming class of the nobility and the court officials.
Except in Tyrol and Vorarlberg, the peasantry in the crown territories had no representation of their own. It was the function of their manorial lords - the gentry, aristocracy and clergy - to uphold their interests.
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