I am curious why the Hungarians, as the first neighbor of then Serbia and Bosnia, who sent troops to confront the invasion of the Ottomans, didn't also participate given that it was obvious that the Ottomans would target them next after defeating the Serbs/Bosnians.

E.g. were there diplomatic failures, intelligence gathering failures, or simple political misalignments that cultivated their shortsightedness?

  • 4
    You should know the procedure by now. Please edit basic details (such as the date of the battle and how it turned out) into the question. You should also tell us if the research you've already done has turned up unsatisfactory results, so potential answerers avoid blins alleys.
    – Spencer
    Aug 16, 2018 at 18:42
  • I thought that anyone who actually knows an answer would know the details of this rather relevant historic battle
    – amphibient
    Aug 16, 2018 at 19:12
  • @amphibient Perhaps, but others coming to this site after you've got your answer might be better informed because of it (and it might trigger memories in people who know the answer, but need more context to prompt it). Aug 17, 2018 at 12:35
  • It is an issue of courtesy, of community standards, and the opportunity to educate. Those who know the answer might know the basics, but we're also here to point out interesting little corners of knowledge to those who don't know the question.
    – MCW
    Apr 25, 2020 at 14:34

1 Answer 1


The Battle of Kosovo took place on June 15, 1389

Question: Why didn't the Hungarians help the battle of Kosovo?

Short Answer:

  1. Hungary was a powerful country but had its own troubles to deal with prior to dealing with the Ottomans.
  2. The Serbians were Eastern Orthodox Christians, Hungarians were Catholic. Thus they were not traditional allies.
  3. Hungary didn't really perceive the Ottomans as a serious threat until Serbia's acceptance of their rule in 1390 which effectively brought the Ottoman Empire to Hungary's frontier.

Detailed Answer:

The Kingdom of Hungary reached the peak of its power under Louis the Great (1342–1382) who was a superior military leader. When Louis died in 1382, his daughter Mary, Queen of Hungary was crowned. However, most of Hungary's noblemen objected being ruled by a woman. A rival for Mary's crown, Charles III, arrived from Naples in 1385 and claimed Mary's throne. Although Mary was forced to abdicate, and Charles was elected King by the Hungarian Diet, Mary's supporters murdered Charles in Feb 1386. A Catholic Bishop got involved and tried to nominate Charles's infant son to the crown in the same year Charles was murdered. They succeeded in capturing Queen Mary. Eventually Queen Mary's husband (Sigismund of Luxembourg) emerged as the compromise candidate for the throne of Hungary in July 1386. Sigismund was consolidating his power and defending his crown from Queen Mary's sister (Queen Jadwiga of Poland), who invaded and was defeated in 1395.

It wasn't until Serbia accepted the Ottoman Sultan's suzerainty (1390), and brought the Ottoman empire to the boarders of southern Hungary that Sigismund perceived them as a threat. He didn't have the opportunity to attack them until 1396 at the Battle of Nicopolis.

Sigismund was defeated at Nicopolis, but eventually became King of Germany, King of Bohemia, and in 1433, Holy Roman Emperor.


  • Solid answer, but you should also mention Catholic - Orthodox divide, that also kept Christians from uniting against Ottoman Islamic invasion .
    – rs.29
    Aug 18, 2018 at 18:50
  • @rs.29 That is a very good point. With your permission I added it to my answer. I will have to read up on the extent of religious animosity between the Hungarians and Serbs specifically, but I am aware of animosity during the crusades and across wider areas of Europe. Thank You.
    – user27618
    Aug 18, 2018 at 20:39
  • It all started with Fourth Crusade and sack of Constantinople. Although not directly related to Serbia and Hungary, it showed that Catholic army could not be trusted to behave properly in "schismatic" (i.e. Orthodox) lands. Similar things happened later, after the battle of Kosovo, during the crusade that culminated with Battle of Nicopolis in 1396. Overall, there was a deep mistrust, from what we know Lazar Hrebeljanovic, sensing impeding war with the Turks tried to secure northern border from Hungarian incursions, but never pondered alliance.
    – rs.29
    Aug 19, 2018 at 10:27
  • 3
    Note that already in 1390, not a year after his death, Hungarians started raiding weakened Serbia. This led his wife Milica to accept suzerainty of Ottomans. This of course does not mean that relations between Hungarians and Serbs were always bad, Lazar himself was for some time vassal of Hungarian king and even partially participated in Hungarian internal strife. But it does show that Serbs viewed Hungary as lesser evil compared to Ottoman Empire, not as Christian brothers.
    – rs.29
    Aug 19, 2018 at 10:29
  • Not really. In 1390 Milica was forced to accept Ottoman suzerainty by appearance of another Ottoman army at Serbian borders (and she simply didn't have troops to oppose them). Latter her son Stefan (and his successor Đurađ) often allied with Hungarians against Turks, but all of those alliances were uneasy, with each side not completely trusting the other (one of the reasons they ultimately failed to stop Ottoman expansion). But overall Serbs did prefer Hungarians to Turks.
    – rs.29
    Aug 21, 2018 at 6:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.