Vol 1 No 1 (2021)
Portraits of Nobility

Protestant “Athleta Christi” in the Propaganda of the Great Turkish War: The Demise of Georg Friedrich, Duke of Wurttemberg at Košice, 1685

Nóra G. Etényi
Department of Early Modern History, Faculty of Humanities, Eötvös Loránd University, H-1088 Budapest, Múzeum krt. 6–8., Hungary
Published April 30, 2021
  • political representation,
  • funeral,
  • ceremony,
  • Lutheran community,
  • Great Turkish War (1683–1699)


The unexpected death of the young Duke Georg Friedrich of Wurttemberg (1657–1685) on 18 October 1685 at the siege of Košice came as tremendous shock to the public of the Holy Roman Empire. The ducal family of Wurttemberg emphasized the principality’s participation and terrible loss in the war against the Ottoman Empire with a spectacular funeral and some carefully composed propaganda of ultimate honor.
The principality of Wurttemberg traditionally maintained a special relationship with the Hungarian Lutheran nobility and citizens. The death of the duke changed the attitudes of the Hungarian Lutheran elite since the principality, which provided them with significant support, had suffered such a great loss in the political, economic and spiritual center of Upper Hungary, Košice, while the young Lutheran prince of Wurttemberg, fighting among the imperial troops, could have helped with the negotiations about the surrender of the city. The funeral speeches in the collection of sermons highlighted various aspects of the royal image, and this was complemented by a volume of fine poems compiled by professors at the University of Tübingen. The decency of the fallen Prince Georg Friedrich of Wurttemberg, which included both traditional topos and a modern set of values, represented several interdependent political interests, representing the high standard, literacy, and effectiveness of the propaganda of the War of Reconquest.