Prophecy of Victory against the Turks or Propaganda: The Writings of the German Humanist Sebastian Brant to Instigate Emperor Maximilian I into War (1494-1501)
Assist. Prof., Turkish-German University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of Political Science and International Relations, İstanbul/TÜRKİYE
Keywords: Sebastian Brant, Turkphobia, XVth century, Propaganda, Maximilian I, Bayezid II.
Sebastian Brant, one of the most important German humanists, encouraged Maximilian I to rehabilitate the Holy Roman German Empire, reform the Church and fight against the expansion of the French and Turks in his writings in Latin and German as well as in his numerous poems, which he distributed as illustrated pamphlets/ flyers. This article consists mainly of an evaluation of the texts of the German jurist and humanist Sebastian Brant against the Turks and Islam, in particular during the reign of the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I, in terms of propaganda language and the conduct of campaigns against the Ottomans, taking into account the historical background. Among Brant’s publications dealing with the Turkish theme and corresponding to the period between 1494 and 1513, four that are sufficiently significant in terms of depicting the prevailing tone will be examined more closely: Das Narrenschiff (1494), De origine (1495), Thurcorum terror et potentia (1498), Von der Vereinigung der Könige und Anschlag an die Türken (1501). It is noteworthy that this publication interval actually coincided with the Bayezid II period, the years when the Ottomans were seen to have preferred to give more weight to Western policies, and that it found its place in the atmosphere brought about by the Peloponnesian campaigns. In other words, it can be stated that the atmosphere of this period was of great importance for the emergence of this literature in connection with the crusade endeavour under Maximilian I.